Dragon Rising is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The Dragonborn's first battle against a dragon takes place during this quest, culminating with the absorption of their first Dragon Soul and soon gaining the attention of the Greybeards of High Hrothgar, who summon the Dragonborn to their presence.

Background

A dragon has been sighted at a watchtower near Whiterun. Jarl Balgruuf has sent me along with his housecarl Irileth with reinforcements.

Alduin has reemerged in Skyrim, laying waste to Helgen[1] and spreading fear throughout the land. The Dragonborn, narrowly escaping Helgen, makes their way to the city of Whiterun on advice from either Alvor or Gerdur, and shortly becomes entrenched in a larger narrative as they report what happened.[2] After being sent to Bleak Falls Barrow to retrieve the Dragonstone, they return to the Whiterun to report to Farengar Secret-Fire and Balgruuf the Greater.[3] Unbeknownst to them all, Alduin has made his next move, sending Mirmulnir to the Western Watchtower.

Objectives

  1. Talk to Jarl Balgruuf
  2. Meet Irileth near the Western Watchtower
  3. Kill the dragon
  4. Investigate the dragon
  5. Report back to Jarl Balgruuf
  6. Use your new Shout power (optional)

Walkthrough

Delphine and Farengar converse as the Dragonborn arrives.

As the Dragonborn enters Dragonsreach, they shortly find Farengar Secret-Fire speaking to a mysterious woman named Delphine about the book, Holdings of Jarl Gjalund.

Farengar: "You see? The terminology is clearly First Era or even earlier. I'm convinced this is a copy of a much older text. Perhaps dating to just after the Dragon War. If so, I could use this to cross-reference the names with other later texts."
Delphine: "Good. I'm glad you're making progress. My employers are anxious to have some tangible answers."
Farengar: "Oh, have no fear. The Jarl himself has finally taken an interest, so I'm now able to devote most of my time to this research."
Delphine: "Time is running, Farengar, don't forget. This isn't some theoretical question. Dragons have come back."
Farengar: "Yes, yes. Don't worry. Although the chance to see a living dragon up close would be tremendously valuable... Now, let me show you something else I found... very intriguing... I think your employers may be interested as well..."
Delphine "You have a visitor."
Farengar: "Hmm? Ah, yes, the Jarl's protege! Back from Bleak Falls Barrow? You didn't die, it seems. Ah! The Dragonstone of Bleak Falls Barrow! Seems you are a cut above the usual brutes the Jarl sends my way. My... associate here will be pleased to see your handiwork. She discovered its location, by means she has so far declined to share with me."
Farengar: "So your information was correct after all. And we have our friend here to thank for recovering it for us."
Delphine: "You (Referring to the Dragonborn) went into Bleak Falls Barrow and got that? Nice work. Just send me a copy when you've deciphered it."

The council gathers to discuss the dragon threat.

Shortly after returning the Dragonstone to Farengar, Irileth will suddenly approach, informing him that there has been a dragon sighted at Whiterun's western watchtower. Irileth will then ask Farengar and the Dragonborn to meet with Jarl Balgruuf. Following them up the stairs to the second floor of Dragonsreach, a guard will join the group and begin recounting how he saw a dragon flying over the watchtower.

Irileth: "Farengar! Farengar, you need to come at once. A dragon's been sighted nearby. You (Referring to the Dragonborn) should come, too."
Farengar: "A dragon! How exciting! Where was it seen? What was it doing?"
Irileth: "I'd take this a bit more seriously if I were you. If a dragon decides to attack Whiterun, I don't know if we can stop it. Let's go."
Balgruuf: "So, Irileth tells me you came from the western watchtower?"
Whiterun Guard: "Yes, my lord."
Irileth: "Tell him what you told me. About the dragon."
Whiterun Guard: "Uh... that's right. We saw it coming from the south. It was fast... faster than anything I've ever seen."
Balgruuf: "Wat did it do? Is it attacking the watchtower?"
Whiterun Guard: "No, my lord. It was just circling overhead when I left. I never ran so fast in my life... I thought it would come after me for sure."
Balgruuf: "Good work, son. We'll take it from here. Head down to the barracks for some food and rest. You've earned it. Irileth, you'd better gather some guardsmen and get down there."
Irileth: "I've already ordered my men to muster near the main gate."
Balgruuf: "Good. Don't fail me."

Balgruuf now turns to the Dragonborn, noting that they may be of use once again.

"There's no time to stand on ceremony, my friend. I need your help again. I want you to go with Irileth and help her fight this dragon. You survived Helgen, so you have more experience with dragons than anyone else here. But I haven't forgotten the service you did for me in retrieving the Dragonstone for Farengar. As a token of my esteem, I instructed Avenicci that you are now permitted to purchase property in the city. And please accept this gift from my personal armory."

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"Help Irileth kill this dragon before it can attack Whiterun. There's no time to lose."
―Balgruuf the Greater[src]

The conversation then continues:

Farengar: "I should come along. I would very much like to see this dragon."
Balgruuf: "No. I can't afford to risk both of you. I need you here working on ways to defend the city against these dragons."
Farengar: "As you command."
Balgruuf: "One last thing, Irileth. This isn't a death or glory mission. I need to know what we're dealing with."
Irileth: "Don't worry, my lord. I'm the very soul of caution."

Investigating the watchtower

Irileth prepares the guards for battle.

Balgruuf now sends both the Dragonborn and Irileth to investigate. Follow Irileth to the guard barracks just inside the city gates, where a group of four Whiterun guards have gathered. She will begin the following speech when the Dragonborn arrives:

Irileth: "Here's the situation. A dragon is attacking the Western Watchtower."
Whiterun Guard: "A dragon?"
Whiterun Guard 2: "Now we're in for it."
Whiterun Guard 3: "What?"
Irileth: "You heard right! I said a dragon! I don't much care where it came from or who sent it. What I do know is that it's made the mistake of attacking Whiterun!"
Whiterun Guard: "But Housecarl... how can we fight a dragon?"
Irileth: "That's a fair question. None of us have ever seen a dragon before, or expected to see one in battle. But we are honorbound to fight it, even if we fail. This dragon is threatening our homes... our families. Could you call yourselves Nords if you ran from this monster? Are you going to let me face this thing alone?"
Whiterun Guard: "No, Housecarl!"
Whiterun Guard 2: "We're so dead..."
Irileth: "But it's more than our honor at stake here. Think of it - the first dragon seen in Skyrim since the last age. The glory of killing it is ours, if you're with me! Now what do you say? Shall we go kill us a dragon?"
Whiterun Guard: "Yeah!"
Whiterun Guard 2: "Damn right!"
Whiterun Guard 3: "Yeah!"
Irileth: "Let's move out."

Irileth scouts the scene.

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"That dragon should have stuck with killing Imperials. Now he's gonna learn how real Nords fight."
―Whiterun Guard[src]

With this, the soldiers rally and follow Irileth out of the city. Joining them, the Dragonborn and the group take the road west towards the watchtower, muttering both worries and battlecries as the group makes it toward the fortification. Arriving, the party finds the watchtower in flames, although there is no sign of the dragon at the moment. Irileth nestles into an outcropping overlooking the scene and converses with the group.

Irileth: "No signs of any dragon right now, but it sure looks like he's been here. I know it looks bad, but we've got to figure out what happened. And if that dragon is still skulking around somewhere. Spread out and look for survivors. We need to know what we're dealing with."

The scared surviver.

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"Shor's Bones, Did it kill them all...?"
―Whiterun Guard[src]

With that, the group begins looking around the scene, attempting to find out what happened. Suddenly, a guard from inside the tower will shout at the group:

Whiterun Guard: "No! Get back! It's still here somewhere! Hroki and Tor just got grabbed when they tried to make a run for it!"
Irileth: "Guardsman! What happened here? Where's this dragon? Quickly now!"
Whiterun Guard: "I don't know! Kynareth save us, here he comes again..."
Irileth: "Here he comes! Find cover and make every arrow count!"

Fighting Mirmulnir

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"Talos save us! It's a dragon!"
―Whiterun Guard[src]

From the south approaches Mirmulnir, the dragon that destroyed the watchtower. He will shortly circle overhear, letting out a unique howl before beginning to attack the party.

Mirmulnir attacking

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"Scatter and get behind cover! We need to hurt it, somehow! If you've got a bow or spells, now would be a good time to use them!"
―Irileth[src]

Mirmulnir will shortly lay waste to the entire party with both Fire Breath and Frost Breath shouts. Initially, the dragon will fly as opposed to landing, making melee combat difficult and forcing one to use ranged attacks for much of the fight. Once his health drops to below half, he will be forced to land, now allowing for a more even fight. If much of the group is still alive at this point, Irileth and the guards may be able to distract Mirmulnir long enough for a melee-oriented Dragonborn to attack from the flank or behind. Mirmulnir's melee attacks consist of biting and tail swiping, which can sometimes immediately kill the Dragonborn if they are not careful.

Aftermath

Mirmulnir's soul is absorbed.

As the final hit is landed, Mirmulnir will yell, "Dovahkiin? No!!" before breathing his last breath. After Mirmulnir is defeated, Irileth and the guardsmen will begin panicking as the corpse glows and poises to explode; however, instead, wind will suddenly envelope the Dragonborn as they absorb his soul, unlocking the ability to shout. A guard will shortly run up to them and begin speaking.

"I can't believe it! You're... Dragonborn..."

Dragonborn? What do you mean? "In the very oldest tales, back when there still were dragons in Skyrim, the Dragonborn would slay dragons and steal their power. That's what you did, isn't it? Absorbed that dragon's power?"
I don't know what happened to me. "There's only one way to find out. Try to Shout... that would prove it. According to the old legends, only the Dragonborn can Shout without training, the way the dragons do. (Or "Well, you can Shout now. You couldn't before, right? That can only mean one thing. You must be Dragonborn." if shouted prior.)"
I think you may be right. "There's only one way to find out. Try to Shout... According to the old legends, only the Dragonborn can Shout without training, the way the dragons do. (Or "Yes. I think I am. You can Shout now. That can only mean one thing. You must be Dragonborn." if shouted prior.)"

Seeing now the sight in front of them, the soldiers observing this proclaim that the hero in front of them must be a legendary "Dragonborn."

Whiterun Guard: "Dragonborn? What are you talking about?"
Whiterun Guard 2: "That's right! My grandfather used to tell stories about the Dragonborn. Those born with the Dragon Blood in 'em. Like old Tiber Septim himself."
Whiterun Guard: "I never heard of Tiber Septim killing any dragons."
Whiterun Guard 3: "There weren't any dragons then, idiot. They're just coming back now for the first time in... forever. But the old tales tell of the Dragonborn who could kill dragons and steal their power. You (Referring to the Last Dragonborn) must be one!"
Whiterun Guard 4: "What do you say Irileth? You're being awfully quiet."
Whiterun Guard 5: "Come on, Irileth, tell us, do you believe in this Dragonborn business?"
Irileth: "Hmph. Some of you would be better off keeping quiet than flapping your gums on matters you don't know anything about. Here's a dead dragon, and that's something I definitely understand. Now we know we can kill them. But I don't need some mythical Dragonborn. Someone who can put down a dragon is more than enough for me."
Whiterun Guard 3: "You wouldn't understand, Housecarl. You ain't a Nord."
Irileth: "I've been all across Tamriel. I've seen plenty of things just as outlandish as this. I'd advise you all to trust in the strength of your sword arm over tales and legends."
Whiterun Guard 3: "If you (Referring to the Last Dragonborn) really are Dragonborn, like the old tales, you aught to be able to Shout. Can you? Have you tried?"
Last Dragonborn (The player character): "Fus (Unrelenting Force)"
Whiterun Guard 3: "That was Shouting, what you just did! Must be. You really are dragonborn, then..."

Shouting when the guards ask is optional, and regardless, Irileth will then speak with the Dragonborn.

"That was the hairiest fight I've ever been in, and I've been in more than a few. I don't know about this Dragonborn business, but I'm sure glad you're with us. You better get back to Whiterun right away. Jarl Balgruuf will want to know what happened here. I'm taking command here for the moment. You head back to Whiterun and let the Jarl know what happened."

On the way back to Whiterun, the Dragonborn will hear a loud voice calling out "Dovahkiin" as the sound of a full-powered shout echoes down from the mountains. Entering the city will trigger two Alik'r Warriors to begin arguing with a Whiterun guard, although they have no direct impact on the quest and only serve to begin "In My Time of Need."

The council awaits the Dragonborn.

Returning to Dragonsreach, the Jarl and his council awaits.

Proventus: "Good. You're finally here. The Jarl's been waiting for you."
Balgruuf: "You heard the summons. What else could it mean? The Greybeards..."
Hrongar: "We were just talking about you. My brother needs a word with you."

Balgruuf explains the shouting from before to be the Greybeards calling them to High Hrothgar to teach to them what it means to be a Dragonborn.

"So what happened at the watchtower? Was the dragon there?"

The watchtower was destroyed, but we killed the dragon. "I knew I could count on Irileth. But there must be more to it than that."
Turns out I may be something called "Dragonborn." "Dragonborn? What do you know about the Dragonborn?"
When the dragon died, I absorbed some kind of power from it. "So it's true. The Greybeards really were summoning you."
The Greybeards? "Masters of the Way of the Voice. They live in seclusion high on the slopes of the Throat of the World."
What do these Greybeards want with me? "The Dragonborn is uniquely gifted in the Voice - the ability to focus your vital essence into a Thu'um, or Shout. If you really are Dragonborn, they can teach you how to use your gift."
That's just what the men called me. "Not just the men. The Greybeards seem to think the same thing."
The Greybeards? "Masters of the Way of the Voice. They live in seclusion high on the slopes of the Throat of the World."
What do these Greybeards want with me? "The Dragonborn is uniquely gifted in the Voice - the ability to focus your vital essence into a Thu'um, or Shout. If you really are Dragonborn, they can teach you how to use your gift."
When the dragon died, I absorbed some kind of power from it. "So it's true. The Greybeards really were summoning you."
Turns out I may be something called "Dragonborn." "Dragonborn? What do you know about the Dragonborn?"
When the dragon died, I absorbed some kind of power from it. "So it's true. The Greybeards really were summoning you."
The Greybeards? "Masters of the Way of the Voice. They live in seclusion high on the slopes of the Throat of the World."
What do these Greybeards want with me? "The Dragonborn is uniquely gifted in the Voice - the ability to focus your vital essence into a Thu'um, or Shout. If you really are Dragonborn, they can teach you how to use your gift."
I killed the dragon, I think I deserve a reward. "There's no question about that. It was a mighty deed. You've earned a place of honor among the heroes of Whiterun. But there must be more to it than that. Did something... strange... happen when the dragon died?"
Turns out I may be something called "Dragonborn." "Dragonborn? What do you know about the Dragonborn?"
When the dragon died, I absorbed some kind of power from it. "So it's true. The Greybeards really were summoning you."
The Greybeards? "Masters of the Way of the Voice. They live in seclusion high on the slopes of the Throat of the World."
What do these Greybeards want with me? "The Dragonborn is uniquely gifted in the Voice - the ability to focus your vital essence into a Thu'um, or Shout. If you really are Dragonborn, they can teach you how to use your gift."
When the dragon died, I absorbed some kind of power from it. "So it's true. The Greybeards really were summoning you."
The Greybeards? "Masters of the Way of the Voice. They live in seclusion high on the slopes of the Throat of the World."
What do these Greybeards want with me? "The Dragonborn is uniquely gifted in the Voice - the ability to focus your vital essence into a Thu'um, or Shout. If you really are Dragonborn, they can teach you how to use your gift."

The aforementioned dialogue begins "The Way of the Voice." Balgruuf, Proventus Avenicci, and Hrongar will then begin conversing again in regards to what has happened.

Hrongar: "That was the voice of the Greybeards, summoning you to High Hrothgar! This hasn't happened in ... centuries, at least. Not since Tiber Septim himself was summoned when he was still Talos of Atmora!"
Proventus: "Hrongar, calm yourself. What does any of this Nord nonsense have to do with our friend here? Capable as he (Or "she") may be, I don't see any signs of him (Or "her") being this, what, "Dragonborn.""
Hrongar: "Nord nonsense?! Why you puffed-up ignorant... these are our sacred traditions that go back to the founding of the First Empire!"
Balgruuf: "Hrongar. Don't be so hard on Avenicci."
Proventus: "I meant no disrespect, of course. It's just that... what do these Greybeards want with him (Or "her")?"
Balgruuf: "That's the Greybeards' business, not ours. Whatever happened when you (referring to the Dragonborn) killed that dragon, it revealed something in you, and the Greybeards heard it. If they think you're Dragonborn, who are we to argue? You'd better get up to High Hrothgar immediately. There's no refusing the summons of the Greybeards, it's a tremendous honor. I envy you, you know. To climb the 7,000 Steps again... I made the pilgrimage once, did you know that? High Hrothgar is a very peaceful place. Very... disconnected from the troubles of this world. I wonder that the Greybeards even notice what's going on down here. They haven't seemed to care before. No matter. Go to High Hrothgar. Learn what the Greybeards can teach you."

Balgruuf will then once again speak to the Dragonborn:

"You've done a great deed for me and my city, Dragonborn. By my right as Jarl, I name you Thane of Whiterun. It's the greatest honor that's within my power to grant. I assign you Lydia as a personal Housecarl, and this weapon from my armory to serve as your badge of office. I'll also notify my guards of your new title. Wouldn't want them to think you're part of the common rabble, now would we? We are honored to have you as Thane of our city, Dragonborn."

Balgruuf: "Back to business, Proventus. We still have a city to defend."
Proventus: "Yes, my lord.

The quest then concludes, with the Dragonborn now needing to make the pilgrimage to High Hrothgar and speak to the Greybeards. Upon completion of this quest, dragons will begin attacking the Dragonborn at random and will take up residence at the various Dragon Lairs around Skyrim.

Rewards

Jarl Balgruuf promotes the Dragonborn to Thane of Whiterun, gives them the Axe of Whiterun, and assigns Lydia as their housecarl.

Journal

Dragon Rising – MQ104
ID Journal Entry
10 I recovered the Dragonstone from Bleak Falls Barrow, as the Jarl of Whiterun requested. I should speak to him about my reward.
  • Objective 5: Talk to Jarl Balgruuf
13 A dragon has been sighted near Whiterun. Irileth, the Jarl's housecarl, asked me to come with her to discuss the situation with Jarl Balgruuf.
40 A dragon has been sighted at a watchtower near Whiterun. Jarl Balgruuf has sent me along with his housecarl Irileth with reinforcements.
  • Objective 15: Meet Irileth near the Western Watchtower
65
  • Objective 20: Kill the dragon
80 A dragon was sighted at a watchtower near Whiterun. Jarl Balgruuf sent me along with his housecarl Irileth with reinforcements. The dragon attacked us and we killed it. We should investigate its corpse to see if we can learn anything about where it came from.
  • Objective 30: Investigate the dragon
90 A dragon was sighted at a watchtower near Whiterun. Jarl Balgruuf sent me along with his housecarl Irileth with reinforcements. The dragon attacked us and we killed it. When I approached the dragon's corpse, I absorbed some kind of power from it. I should return to Whiterun and tell the Jarl what happened.
  • Objective 40: Report back to Jarl Balgruuf
  • Objective 50: (Optional) Use your new Shout power
160 A dragon was sighted at a watchtower near Whiterun. Jarl Balgruuf sent me along with his housecarl Irileth with reinforcements. The dragon attacked us and we killed it. When I approached the dragon's corpse, I absorbed some kind of power from it. When I returned to Whiterun, the Jarl rewarded me for my services. I am now a Thane of Whiterun with my own personal housecarl.
  • Quest complete

Trivia

  • Delaying this quest until one is more prepared later in the game can be extremely beneficial. The random dragon attacks can kill non-essential characters who still have quests to be completed, cause traveling to be hazardous, or simply become an otherwise annoyance with the frequency of attacks. In order to avoid this, the previous quest "Bleak Falls Barrow" must not be completed until the player is ready, as "Dragon Rising" starts automatically upon presenting the Dragonstone. This means that the player should not collect the Dragonstone when in Bleak Falls Barrow, as it is a quest item and once picked up cannot be dropped again.
    • Since dragons will not appear, no Dragon Shouts can be activated until this quest is completed.
  • Tor is only mentioned during this quest, as well as Hroki. Both served at the Western Watchtower, and were apparently picked up and eaten by the dragon. Whiterun guard armor can be found on the dragon's corpse, and it is most likely the remnants of one of them; it is unknown what happened to the other. There is coincidentally a Hroki inside Markarth, although it is unlikely that Hroki actually survived, and so the two are most likely unrelated.
  • It is not necessary to wait for Jarl Balgruuf to make his speech before going to fight Mirmulnir. As soon as Irileth interrupts Farengar, the Dragonborn can go to the Western Watchtower, and a quest marker will already be there.
  • Before starting this quest, the Western Watchtower is an unmarked location and is already destroyed, although guards will patrol it, and there will be no fire.
  • It is necessary to complete "Dragon Rising" in order for Jarl Balgruuf to allow "Battle for Whiterun" to be started for either side.
  • This quest is the only time when the Whiterun Hold Guards will be seen wearing Hide Helmets, Leather Helmets, or Scaled Helmets, and be armed with one or two-handed iron or steel weapons in place of the normal Imperial Sword.
  • The map marker for Dragonsreach will disappear during the return to Whiterun so as to prevent the Dragonborn from fast travelling directly to it as the Greybeards call the Dragonborn.

Bugs

This section contains bugs related to Dragon Rising. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  / XB1  ,  PS3  / PS4  ,  PC  / MAC  ,  NX  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
  •  PC   Sometimes Lydia, the housecarl, does not appear and cannot be found. To fix this bug, open the console and type: player.placeatme 000A2C8E
  • Sometimes after killing the dragon, no dialogue is initiated and no shout is performed.
  •  360   PC   Sometimes when killing Mirmulnir, instead of saying Dragon Soul absorbed, it says that the first word of Unrelenting Force was learned.
  • Sometimes Irileth will not run into Dragonsreach with info on the dragon sighting, preventing the quest from starting. This only seems to happen when talking to Farengar about the Dragonstone before obtaining it. Obtaining the Dragonstone before the first visit to Dragonsreach prevents this problem, as all the essential NPCs are already inside Dragonsreach. It is unclear if the bug only occurs in modded games (including official DLCs), or whether it is actually a vanilla problem. If the quest does not start, even using the 'SetStage' console command will not help start it.
  • This quest has a chance of becoming bugged if done at a high level (15 or higher, when Mirmulnir spawns as a Blood Dragon). Mirmulnir will kill the guards in one attack and sometimes kill them faster than they respawn, resulting in no dialogue initiated when the dragon dies.
  •  PC   Mirmulnir's soul may not be obtainable. If console commands are used to advance the quest, dragons will not naturally spawn in the game world.

Achievements

Dragon Soul (Achievement).png
Dragon Soul
Absorb a dragon soul
Points 10 Gamer points.svg
Trophy
Bronze trophy


References

  1. The events of "Unbound"
  2. The events of "Before the Storm"
  3. The events of "Bleak Falls Barrow"
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