Dunstad, Dunstad Grove, or Fort Dunstad is a fortified settlement located in the center of the Pale forest in Skyrim, just close to the Whiterun Hold border to the south. Dunstad is the regional stronghold of Dawnstar.
Dunstad is located on the road in between the city of Dawnstar and the Whiterun Hold, in a small valley located in the southern Pale. The area is heavily forested and houses a variety of ruins ranging from the Ancient Nords to the Dwemer. Dunstad itself serves as a resting station between Dawnstar and Central Skyrim; it is sought out by the Bandits of Skyrim as well as rival nations of Dawnstar. The nearest settlement to Dunstad are the townships of Stonehills, Lainalten, and the city of Snowhawk.
During the Imperial Simulacrum from 3E 389 to 3E 399, Emperor Uriel Septim VII was imprisoned along with Talin Warhaft in the Deadlands by Jagar Tharn. Tharn planned for months to capture the throne, and he was able to achieve so in the span of ten years. Tharn had a powerful weapon called the Staff of Chaos, and he split it into nine pieces and scattered them across Tamriel, the staff was the only thing keeping Uriel Septim and Warhaft in Oblivion. A warrior escaped his clutches and traveled all corners of Tamriel to retrieve the missing pieces. The hero was known as the Eternal Champion, and he assembled the staff and defeated Jagar Tharn at the Imperial Palace. The Eternal Champion had at one point visited the town of Dunstad Grove in their quest to recover the pieces.
During the Skyrim Civil War in 4E 201, Fort Dunstad served as a military bulwark for the city of Dawnstar and the Stormcloak Rebellion located within the hold. The Stormcloaks in Dawnstar were under the administration of Frorkmar Banner-Torn. Located within the fort was an inn,The Stumbling Sabrecat, which was run by Baral Sendu. Fort Dunstad was a crucial asset as whoever held it, had control over the Pale. As the war raged on, the stronghold fell under the control of bandits in the region and utilized it as a fighting pit for skeevers.