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  skyrim - civil war: imperials
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In Skyrim, Civil War is raging between two factions – the Stormcloaks and the Imperials.  To complete the Civil War questline, you must pick a side.  Both paths are similar so it’s just a matter of preference.  To initiate the questline, ask any soldier, citizen or Jarl how they feel about the war.   If they sympathize with the Imperials, your journal will add the miscellaneous objective: “Join the Imperial Legion.”  If they sympathize with the Stormcloaks, your journal will add the miscellaneous objective: “Join the Stormcloak Rebellion.” 

To sign up with the IMPERIALS, travel to SOLITUDE and enter CASTLE DOUR.  Inside, you’ll hear General Tulius talking to Legate Rikke, about the war.  Ask General Tulius if you can join the Imperials and he’ll tell you to speak with Rikke.  Do so and she will give you a small task to prove your worthiness.  This initiates the quest, “Joining the Legion.”

J O I N I N G   T H E   L E G I O N 

Legate Rikke wants you to clear bandits from FORT HRAGGSTAD, which is west of Solitude, so that Imperial troops can set up a base there.  Agree to do this for her and head over to the fort.  Once there, a number of bandits will rush out to attack so approach with caution.  Clear the courtyard then do the same inside.  Explore the fort for treasure either during battle or after you’ve killed all bandits.  In addition to chests, notable items inside include the Archery SKILLBOOK, “The Gold Ribbon of Merit”.

Report to Legate Rikke then speak with General Tulius to take the Imperial oath.  After swearing your allegiance, Tulius tells you to go see Solitude’s blacksmith (Beirand) to pick up new armor.  Ask Beirand for either light or heavy armor.  Upon completing this quest, you automatically fail the “Join the Stormcloak Rebellion” objective, and begin “The Jagged Crown”.

T H E   J A G G E D   C R O W N 

Legate Rikke tells you to meet her at KORVANJUND to retrieve the Jagged Crown.  Korvanjund is high in the mountains west of Windhelm.  You can rest at Nightgate Inn on the way there.  If you happened to find “Treasure Map VI” during your travels (found near Volunruud), the chest it points to is on top of the Korvanjund archway by a tree.

Upon reaching the ruins, you’ll see Rikke standing with a squad of soldiers – among them, Hadvar from Helgen.  Speak with Rikke when you’re ready to begin the raid.  During the battle, look for a master-locked gate towards the bottom that contains a chest.  Once the Stormcloaks have been defeated, follow your team inside.

Crouch behind the rubble with your comrades and spy on the Stormcloaks up ahead.  When Rikke gives the signal, charge in and attack.  After the skirmish, two soldiers stay behind to guard the entrance.  Keep moving through until Rikke stops at the mouth of a tunnel.  She sends you off to find an alternate route while the others stay behind.  Use the time alone to loot the ruins, starting with several burial urns in the room. 

Sneak upstairs to a room occupied by Stormcloaks.  As soon as you’re detected, the Imperials will rush in to fight, forcing you to follow once again.  After ridding the foes, loot the room and climb the stairs to the east to find a chest and a skeleton holding the Light Armor SKILLBOOK, “Jornibret’s Last Dance”.  Pull a lever near the cliff to forge ahead with your comrades.  After defeating more Stormcloaks, Rikke explains the significance of the dead Draugr in the room.  Go through the tunnel to reach Korvanjund Halls.

Inside, battle Stormcloaks that are still alive and loot dead Draugr as you proceed through the halls.  Dash through the swinging blades on the left to reach a chest.  Use the lever on the floor to stop the blades, go back through and continue downstairs where Legate Rikke will comment on some wall carvings.  Approach the circular door at the end and take the EBONY CLAW lying next to it.  Open your inventory and examine the Ebony Claw.  Rotate the door rings until they match symbols shown on the Claw.  From top to bottom, they are:  FOX / MOTH / DRAGON.  Once set, activate the keyhole to lower the door. 

In the next room, Rikke asks you to look for a lever that will open the gate.  Enter the door on the right and go upstairs.  Remove a dagger off the pedestal to open a secret passageway.  Follow it down to a chest.  Stand to the right while opening the chest to avoid a spear trap.  After collecting its contents, exit the cave and follow the catwalks across to an alcove with another chest.  Look for a lever inside the alcove.  Pulling it opens the gate below but also awakens Draugr.  Go down and help the Imperials fight the undead enemies.  After killing them, proceed to a door and enter Korvanjund Crypt.

Follow your comrades through the tunnel into a room with a throne.  On it, sits a Draugr Deathlord (or similarly leveled boss).  Approaching the throne awakens the boss, and causes more Draugrs to rise out of their coffins.  Kill the lot of them then loot the boss to obtain the JAGGED CROWN.  Rikke tells you to bring the Crown to General Tulius while she stays behind with her men.  Before leaving, explore the chamber.  In addition to a big chest, you’ll find a word wall.  Read it to learn a new word in the Dragon Shout, “SLOW TIME”.

Climb the stairs and take the shortcut back to Korvanjund Temple.  Once outside, return to Solitude and give the Jagged Crown to General Tulius.  Note that you can betray Tulius and bring the Crown to Ulfric Stormcloak instead, causing you to fail the quest and change your allegiance to the Stormcloaks.  This will be your last opportunity to switch sides.  If you remained loyal to the Imperials, Tulius tells you to visit the Jarl of Whiterun.  This ends the current quest and begins “Message to Whiterun”.

M E S S A G E   T O   W H I T E R U N 

Speak with Jarl Balgruuf in Dragonsreach to get his official support.  The Jarl decides to side with the Imperials and gives you his WAR AXE to bring to Ulfric Stormcloak – a not-so-subtle message that war is coming. 

Travel to Windhelm and enter the Palace of the Kings.  Give Ulfric the war axe and he’ll express disappointment that you didn’t side with his rebellion.  Ulfric tells you to return the axe to Jarl Balgruuf.  Do as he says. 

Back in Whiterun, Jarl Balgruff will not be surprised that Ulfric returned the weapon.  He tells you Imperial troops are already heading to Whiterun and that you should report to Legate Quentin Cipius.  This ends the current quest and begins “Battle for Whiterun”.

B A T T L E   F O R   W H I T E R U N 

Talk to Legate Quentin Cipius in Dragonsreach and he’ll tell you to meet up with Legate Rikke outside the city gates.  Upon exiting Dragonsreach, you’ll see the battle is already underway.  Go to the staging area just outside the city and speak with Legate Rikke.  After rallying the troops, Rikke tells you to prevent Stormcloaks from getting past the wooden barrier.  Kill enemies as they try to break through.  If you fail to defend the barrier, you must fall back to defend the drawbridge instead. 

After killing all of the Stormcloaks, report to Jarl Balgruuf who will give a short victory speech.  Speak with the Jarl afterwards to end the quest and begin “The Reunification of Skyrim”. 

R E U N I F I C A T I O N   O F   S K Y R I M 

Report to General Tulius in Solitude.  Having secured Whiterun, you must now conquer the remaining holds in Skyrim by doing a series of quests for General Tulius.  This quest tracks your overall progress in the Civil War and remains active until all nine holds are controlled by the Imperials.  Note that Solitude does not need to be captured since Imperials already control it.

The order in which General Tulius offers the “Reunification of Skyrim” quests varies, and the amount he offers depends on whether or not you finished “Season Unending” in the main questline.  The list below shows quests that will definitely be offered as well as quests that are conditional:

MANDATORY QUESTS

  • The Battle for Fort Amol
  • Battle for Windhelm

CONDITIONAL QUESTS

  • A False Front
  • The Battle for Fort Dunstad
  • Compelling Tribute
  • The Battle for Fort Greenwall
  • Rescue from Fort Kastav
  • The Battle for Fort Snowhawk
  • The Battle for Fort Sungard
  • The Battle for Fort Neugrad

The remainder of this guide is organized by the initial allegiance of the Holds when you first arrive in Skyrim.  If Holds have changed hands as a result of other factors (e.g. “Season Unending” peace negotiations), then skip down to the applicable section.  Speak with General Tulius to get your first assignment.

A   F A L S E   F R O N T

NOTE:  You will not receive this quest if Dawnstar was given to the Imperials during the quest “Season Unending”.

Tulius tells you to report to Legate Rikke at the Pale Imperial Camp, which is west of Dawnstar.  Once there, speak with Rikke to learn that you must intercept documents from a Stormcloak Courier so that they can be falsified.  Rikke indicates that the Courier travels between Nightgate Inn and Candlehearth Hall in Windhelm.

Nightgate Inn is your best bet.  Travel there and if the Courier is inside, pickpocket him without getting caught.  If he has already left, persuade the innkeeper to tell you where he’s gone.  If persuasion fails, intimidate or bribe the innkeeper to get the information.  At this point, you can either wait for the Stormcloak Courier to return to the inn or track him down on the road. 

To avoid bounties, dash to the quest marker and confront the Courier on a secluded road.  Since he will not give you anything willingly, kill him and loot his body to obtain the STORMCLOAK DOCUMENTS.  Take the Courier’s clothes as well.

Bring the documents to Legate Rikke.  After she falsifies them, she instructs you to deliver them to Frorkmar Banner-Torn in Dawnstar.  Put on the courier’s outfit and go to Dawnstar.  Enter the barracks and give the forged documents to Frorkmar.  Return to Legate Rikke afterwards.  Give her your report to end the quest and automatically begin “The Battle for Fort Dunstad”.

T H E   B A T T L E   F O R   F O R T   D U N S T A D 

NOTE:  You will not receive this quest if Dawnstar was given to the Imperials during the quest “Season Unending”.

Speak with Legate Rikke at the Pale Imperial Camp and she’ll tell you to join your fellow legionnaires in taking back FORT DUNSTAD, which is south of Dawnstar. 

After meeting up with your team, kill all of the Stormcloaks at the fort.  Clear barricades and sweep the courtyard, then do the same inside.  You can stand back and let your allies do most of the fighting or rush in to protect them.  Explore the fort for treasure either during battle or after it’s been captured.  In addition to chests, notable items inside include the Heavy Armor SKILLBOOK, “2920, MidYear, v6”. 

When all of the Stormcloaks are defeated, your journal updates.  Having taken the Pale, Brina Merillis becomes Jarl in Dawnstar.  This ends one phase of the “Reunification of Skyrim” quest and the next one begins as soon as you talk to General Tulius. 

C O M P E L L I N G   T R I B U T E

NOTE:  You will not receive this quest if Riften was given to the Imperials during the quest “Season Unending”.

After reporting to Tulius, meet Legate Rikke at the RIFT IMPERIAL CAMP.  She wants you to go to Riften and steal an Incriminating Letter to use against the Jarl’s steward, Anuriel.

Travel to RIFTEN and enter Mistveil Keep.  Sneak into the hallway behind the throne and turn right.  Unlock Anuriel’s quarters without getting caught.  Once inside, steal the INCRIMINATING LETTER from the drawer.  Leave the room and bring the letter to Anuriel.  Persuade her to cooperate and she’ll eventually mention a shipment of valuable goods heading to Windhelm. 

Return to Legate Rikke at the Rift Imperial Camp and tell her about the shipment.  She plans to ambush the wagon and tells you to meet her squad by the road.  Travel to the location marked on your map (near Shor’s Watchtower) and speak with Hadvar to learn that the wagon has broken down.  He wants you to go up the road and distract the Stormcloaks so that the Imperials can take out sentries posted above.  You can go with his plan or tell him to wait while you take care of the Stormcloaks yourself.

If you decide to go with Hadvar’s plan, sneak into position with your comrades.  After they stealthily eliminate one of the sentries, head towards the Stormcloaks and start attacking.  As soon as you engage them, your squad will open fire.  Once all of the Stormcloaks are dead, unlock the chest on the cart to grab the goods.  Talk to Hadvar afterwards and he’ll tell you to report back to Legate Rikke.

T H E   B A T T L E   F O R   F O R T   G R E E N W A L L

NOTE:  You will not receive this quest if Riften was given to the Imperials during the quest “Season Unending”.

Speak with Rikke at the Rift Imperial Camp.  She wants you to join fellow legionnaires in taking back FORT GREENWALL, which is south of Shor’s Stone.

After meeting up with your team, kill all of the Stormcloaks at the fort.  Clear barricades and sweep the courtyard, then do the same inside.  You can stand back and let your allies do most of the fighting or rush in to protect them.  Explore the fort for treasure either during battle or after it’s been captured.  In addition to chests, notable items inside include the One-Handed SKILLBOOK, “Mace Etiquette”. 

When all of the Stormcloaks are defeated, your journal updates.  Having taken the Rift, Maven Black-Briar becomes Jarl of Riften.  This ends one phase of the “Reunification of Skyrim” quest and the next one begins as soon as you talk to General Tulius.

R E S C U E   F R O M   F O R T   K A S T A V

NOTE:  You will not receive this quest if Winterhold was given to the Imperials during the quest “Season Unending”.
 
After reporting to Tulius, meet Legate Rikke at the WINTERHOLD IMPERIAL CAMP, which is in the mountains northwest of the city.  Rikke wants you to rescue some soldiers that were taken captive by Stormcloaks in FORT KASTAV.  Meet up with Imperial scouts outside the fort.

Once there, speak with Hadvar, who tells you to sneak inside Fort Kastav’s prison and free the Imperial captives.  His team will help you fight once you’ve emerged in the courtyard.  Do as he says and sneak inside.  Kill any Stormcloaks that get in your way as you make your way down to the cells.  Free the Imperials and they will rush over to a chest that holds their armor and weapons.  Once they are outfitted, you can tell them to wait or have them join you in the fight outside.  Having the soldiers wait assures that none will be killed.  Either way, sneak outside.

As soon as you attack Stormcloaks in the courtyard, Hadvar’s men will rush in to assist.  Once the courtyard is cleared, Hadvar will help you clear out the interior of the fort.  If you told the prisoners to wait, fetch them and they’ll join the others outside.

When ready, sneak inside the fort with Hadvar.  Kill all Stormcloaks you come across and loot rooms as you go, with your ultimate target being the Fort’s Commander who isn’t all that hard to defeat.  In addition to chests, notable items inside include the Block SKILLBOOK, “Warrior”. 

After taking over the fort, your journal will update.  Speak with Hadvar, who tells you to report to Tulius.  Having seized Winterhold, Kraldar becomes Jarl.  This ends one phase of the “Reunification of Skyrim” quest and the next one begins as soon as you talk to General Tulius.

T H E   B A T T L E   F O R    F O R T   S N O W H A W K 

NOTE:  This quest will only be given if you gave Morthal to the Stormcloaks during the quest “Season Unending”.

After speaking with Tulius, report to Legate Rikke at the HJAALMARCH IMPERIAL CAMP.  She wants you to join troops on a ridge south of FORT SNOWHAWK to begin the takeover.  After meeting up with your team, kill all of the Stormcloaks at the fort, including reinforcements that arrive during battle.  Clear barricades and sweep the courtyard, then do the same inside.  You can stand back and let your allies do most of the fighting or rush in to protect them.  Explore the fort for treasure either during battle or after it’s been secured.

In addition to chests, notable items include a Block SKILLBOOK titled, “A Dance in Fire, Book II” and a key that unlocks the fort’s central chamber.  The prison tower contains very little so most of your fighting will take place outside.  When all of the Stormcloaks are defeated, your journal updates.  Having reclaimed Hjaalmarch hold, Idgrid Ravencrone returns as Jarl in Morthal.  This ends one phase of the “Reunification of Skyrim” quest and the next one begins as soon as you talk to General Tulius.

T H E   B A T T L E   F O R    F O R T   S U N G A R D
 
NOTE:  This quest will only be given if the Stormcloaks took the Reach during the quest “Season Unending”.

After reporting to Tulius, speak with Legate Rikke at the REACH IMPERIAL CAMP.  She’ll tell you to join the attack on FORT SUNGARD.  Head north to meet your fellow legionnaires.  As soon as you approach, they will dash towards the fort.  Break down barricades and help your comrades defeat all Stormcloaks both inside and outside the fort.  As usual, loot rooms along the way.  In particular, look for a Smithing SKILLBOOK, “The Last Scabbard of Akrash”, on a table at the top of the Muster and open a couple of chests in the hall.  In the second part of the fort, there’s an alchemy lab on the bottom floor and a room with a Shrine on top.  Look for an adept-locked chest there as well. 

Inside the Annex, you’ll find a smithing area and two chests in the Commander’s quarters.  Also grab the Fort Sungard Jail key from a table.  You’ll also find a chest in between the spiral staircases and some moonstone ore in a cart.  The final tower to explore is the Oubliette, which leads down to the fort’s prison.  At the bottom, there’s a long drop that can seriously injure you so be careful.  The chamber below contains a corpse and the Pickpocket SKILLBOOK, “Guide to Better Thieving” - worth getting if you haven’t read it already.  Use the secret exit to get back upstairs.

After killing all of the Stormcloaks at Fort Sungard, your journal will update.  Speak with Hadvar, who tells you to report to General Tulius.  Having reclaimed the Reach, Igmund returns as Jarl in Markarth.  This ends one phase of the “Reunification of Skyrim” quest and the next one begins as soon as you talk to General Tulius.

T H E   B A T T L E   F O R   F O R T   N E U G R A D 

NOTE:  This quest will only be given if you gave Falkreath to the Stormcloaks during the quest “Season Unending”.

After reporting to Tulius, speak with Legate Rikke at the FALKREATH IMPERIAL CAMP.  She’ll tell you to join fellow Imperials in the takeover of FORT NEUGRAD.  Meet your team and start the raid.  Break down barricades and help your comrades defeat all Stormcloaks both inside and outside the fort.  As usual, loot rooms along the way.  In addition to chests, get the Light Armor SKILLBOOK, “Jornibret’s Last Dance” off a table in one of the side rooms.  You’ll also find a unique treasure map on the roof.  The FORT NEUGRAD TREASURE MAP leads to a chest southeast of Helgen.

After taking over the fort, your journal will update.  Speak with Hadvar, who tells you to report to Tulius.  Having reclaimed the Hold, Siddgeir returns as Jarl of Falkreath.  This ends one phase of the “Reunification of Skyrim” quest and the next one begins as soon as you talk to General Tulius.

T H E   B A T T L E   F O R   F O R T   A M O L

After reporting to General Tulius, speak with Legate Rikke at EASTMARCH IMPERIAL CAMP.  She wants you to rendezvous with troops that will be taking over FORT AMOL, which is southwest of Windhelm.  Save your game before going there - the location is buggy.  If you arrive and see a bunch of mages instead of troops (or no one at all), reload your game and walk to the fort from a different location.  Do not fast-travel there.

Once you have confirmed that Stormcloaks are, indeed, inside Fort Amol, meet up with your Imperial team and prepare for the raid.  Clear barricades and sweep the courtyard then do the same inside.  You can stand back and let your allies do most of the fighting or rush in to protect them. Explore the fort for treasure either during battle or after it’s been captured.  In addition to chests, notable items include an Enchanting SKILLBOOK aptly titled, “Catalogue of Armor Enchantments” in the cellar.

When all of the Stormcloaks are defeated, your journal updates.  Instead of reporting to Tulius, return to Legate Rikke and ask her what else needs to be done.  She tells you it’s time seize control of Windhelm and General Tulius himself will be there.  This starts the final Civil War quest, "Battle for Windhelm".
 
B A T T L E   F O R   W I N D H E L M 

Travel to WINDHELM STABLES where General Tulius is waiting, along with Legate Rikke and a group of legionnaires.  Speak with Tulius then watch as he gives a speech to bolster the troops.  When he’s finished, lead the charge into the city.  The main gate is locked so you’ll have to enter from the north. 

Kill all Stormcloaks that get in your way but don’t dwell in any spot for too long, since they only respawn.  Cut through waves of enemies and destroy barricades, knowing that it’s impossible for General Tulius or Legate Rikke to die.  They will, however, become hostile if you accidentally hit them too many times.  Your principle goal is to find Ulfric Stormcloak in the Palace of the Kings and force him to surrender. 

Upon entering the Palace, General Tulius and Legate Rikke automatically join you.  Locate Ulfric and his chief lieutenant, Galmar Stone-Fist.  General Tulius tries to reason with them but fails, so fight the duo until Galmar dies and Ulfric Stormcloak collapses.  Note that Ulfric will use his “Unrelenting Force” Shout during battle.  As a Dragonborn, you can easily “out-shout” him.  Once he’s down, Ulfric will ask you to strike the finishing blow.  Do as he asks.

After the battle, General Tulius hands you a leveled sword.  Brunwulf Free-Winter becomes Jarl of Windhelm and will make you his Thane if you speak with him.  The new Jarl also allows you to buy property in the city, Hjerim.  This finishes "Battle for Windhelm" and, more importantly, the "Reunification of Skyrim" quests.  Congratulations on completing the Civil War questline!

 

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