Irileth is a Dunmer nightblade and a resident of Whiterun living in Dragonsreach. She acts as housecarl to Jarl Balgruuf the Greater, and rarely leaves his side. She assists the Dragonborn in their first battle against the dragon, Mirmulnir. She is encountered again later, as ally or enemy, during the Civil War questline.
Irileth is one of four housecarls in the game who is not a Nord. The others are Faleen, the Redguard housecarl of Jarl Igmund of Markarth, Rayya, also a Redguard, who is the housecarl of the Thane of Falkreath Hold, and the fourth is Teeba-Ei who becomes the housecarl to Sorli the Builder if she becomes Jarl of Hjaalmarch during the Civil War.
Being early battle comrades, Irileth and Balgruuf agreed that she would be assigned as his Housecarl. It is known that Irileth is more protective of the Jarl than most Housecarls. At some point in her life, Irileth was trained by the Morag Tong guild of Morrowind.
Irileth is very serious about her job and her loyalty to Balgruuf, occasionally to the point of paranoia. Even after the Dragonborn kills Mirmulnir, Irileth remains distrustful of him/her, though she still tells the Dragonborn that she is glad that they are on her side. She does not seem to care much about Skyrim's traditions or tales; after Mirmulnir is slain, she refuses to involve herself in debating about the Dragonborn's identity; she is simply relieved that the dragon is dead.
If the Dragonborn visits Irileth in the Blue Palace after claiming Whiterun for the Stormcloaks, she speaks of the many dark ways she has dreamt of the Dragonborn's death. Additionally, she is very suspicious of the Dragonborn, approaching them with her weapon drawn and saying that she has constantly got her eye on them.
When Mirmulnir attacks the Western Watchtower, she asks the Dragonborn to assist her with defending against the dragon.
If the Dragonborn sides with the Imperial Legion, then the Dragonborn will fight alongside Irileth to protect Whiterun from the Stormcloaks. Alternatively, siding with the Stormcloaks means the Dragonborn must fight Irileth, along with Balgruuf and several of the Whiterun Guards.
"Keep your distance..."
- How did a dark elf come to be Housecarl? "Balgruuf and I share a battle bond. We met as youths, and forged our friendship in the fires of war. When he became Jarl, I insisted on serving as his protector. He had no cause to argue. Gods, you are curious. Almost... dangerously so."
- What does a Housecarl do? "I am charged with protecting the Jarl from any and all threats. Powerful men have many enemies. More so, in times of strife. So you can imagine the dangers. Oh, yes, there have been attempts on the Jarl's life. More than one would-be assassin has met his end at the tip of my blade."
- What threats does the jarl face? "Take your pick. Dragons, Stormcloak assassins, ambitious and unscrupulous nobles... Sometimes I think his own children want him dead. And those are just the physical threats. Assaults on his sanity are another matter entirely. Every day, he deals with obsequious functionaries and incompetent bureaucrats. Sadly, I'm not allowed to eliminate them. Well, not yet, anyway."
"I've got my eyes on you."
"What's the meaning of this interruption? Jarl Balgruuf is not receiving visitors."
- I have news from Helgen. About the dragon attack. "Well, that explains why the guards let you in. Come on then, the Jarl will want to speak to you personally."
- Alvor sent me. Riverwood is in danger. "As housecarl, my job is to deal with all dangers that threaten the Jarl or his people. So you have my attention. Now, explain yourself."
- A dragon has destroyed Helgen. "You know about Helgen? The Jarl will want to speak to you personally. Approach."
- I was told to give the message directly to the Jarl. "Whatever you have to say to the Jarl, you can say to me. I'm starting to think..."
"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."
- After Before the Storm
Irileth: "The Jarl has finally agreed to send you back to Riverwood."
Whiterun Guard: "Yes, Housecarl. We'll leave immediately."
Whiterun Guard 2: "It's just us against a dragon, is that it?"
Irileth: "I can't afford to send anyone else. And we don't know where the dragon is. Your main job will be to keep an eye out and get the people to safety if the town is attacked. I don't expect the three of you to fight off a dragon by yourselves. But I do expect you to do your duty."
Whiterun Guard: "Of course. We'll keep Riverwood safe. You can count on it. Let's move out. Time's a wasting."
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."
At the Western Watchtower:
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."
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!"
After the Dragonborn absorbs the dragon's soul:
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. 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 really are Dragonborn, like the old tales, you aught to be able to Shout. Can you? Have you tried?"
: " "
Whiterun Guard 3: "That was Shouting, what you just did! Must be. You really are dragonborn, then..."
Irileth will be found in Dragonsreach when Ulfric's axe is being delivered to Jarl Balgruuf, and the following conversation will take place about it:
Balgruuf: "Proventus, what do you make of all this? If Ulfric were to attack Whiterun..."
Proventus: "As in all things, lord, caution... I urge us to wait and see."
Irileth: "Prey waits."
Balgruuf: "I'm of a mind with Irileth. It's time to act."
Proventus: "You plan to march on Windhelm?"
Balgruuf: "I'm not a fool, Proventus. I mean it's time to challenge Ulfric to face me as a man, or march his Stormcloaks up to the gates."
Proventus: "He'll do no such thing! A dagger in the back is all you could expect!"
Irileth: "He was rather straightforward with Torygg."
Proventus: "Torygg? He simply walked up to the boy and murdered him!"
Irileth: "That "boy" was High King of Skyrim."
Balgruuf: "I'm not the High King, but neither am I a boy. If Ulfric wants to challenge my rule in the Old Way, let him. Though, I suspect he'll prefer to send his "Stormcloaks" to do it for him."
Irileth: "True. He's already proven his personal strength. Now he seeks to prove his army's."
Proventus: "Then might I urge you to consider General Tullius' request? I mean, if you are bent on offending Jarl Ulfric..."
Irileth: "Ulfric is the one who has offended. But, Proventus has a point. Ulfric has made it clear; in his mind, to refuse his claim is to side with the Empire."
Proventus: "And what harm is there in letting a few Legionnaires die in place of your own men?"
Balgruuf: "It seems cowardly."
Irileth: "Was it cowardly then to accept the White-Gold Concordat?"
Balgruuf: "This again? That was different. Was I given a chance to object to the terms of the treaty? No. The Jarls weren't asked. We were told. And we had to like it."
Proventus: "The chests of gold didn't hurt."
Balgruuf: "Damnit! This isn't about gold!"
Irileth: "It's time to decide."
Proventus: "Lord, wait. Let us see if Ulfric is serious."
Balgruuf: "Oh, he's serious. But so am I."
Farengar: "Incredible! Uh... sir, you have no idea how long I have waited for such an opportunity! I would be most appreciative if you would permit me to perform some, ah, tests on you. Purely in the interests of the advancement of knowledge."
Odahviing: "Begone, mage. Do not test my promise to the Dovahkiin."
Farengar: "I assure you, you will not even notice me. Most of them are hardly painful at all to a large dragon such as yourself."
Irileth: "Farengar, very bad idea. Even for you."
Farengar: "Surely you won't miss a few scales... or a small amount of blood..."
Odahviing: "Joor mey! What are you doing back there? Yol... Toor...Shul!"
Jarl Balgruuf the Greater: "Farengar! Enough, fool!"
- Balgruuf the Greater
Irileth: "Balgruuf, did you slip out again last night for a drink at the Bannered Mare?"
Balgruuf: "Heard about that, did you? Yes, I went out for a pint or two. What of it?"
Irileth: "These secret visits to the tavern will make you an easy target for an enemy assassin. You should have told me first."
Balgruuf: "Damn it, woman, I'm the Jarl of Whiterun! I won't apologize for talking to my people. You can't protect me every moment of the day."
Irileth: "That might be so, but it will never stop me from trying."
- "We can never rest easy, for Balgruuf's enemies will not."
- "Please keep your weapons sheathed in the Jarl's presence."
- "You are a welcome guest, but you must still respect the rules of the Jarl's household."
- "I've got my eyes on you."
- "Mind yourself in front of the Jarl, or we'll have serious problems."
- "There are so many delightful ways I've pictured you dead." —When exiled
- "Exile or no, my duty to Balgruuf remains. Keep that in mind when you approach him, for I will be watching." —When exiled
- "Keep your distance." —When exiled
- Irileth, Idesa Sadri, and Dravynea the Stoneweaver are voiced by Lani Minella (in English) and Blanche Ravalec (in the French version).
- Despite being an important figure within Dragonsreach, she does not have her own personal bedroom. Instead, she spends her entire time standing next to the Jarl's throne without eating or sleeping.
- Irileth will always carry an Elven Bow, regardless of one's level. If The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn is not yet installed, this is an excellent place to get one early on.
This section contains bugs related to Irileth. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
- Jarl, but the dialogue will be the same. Sometimes, if The Battle of Whiterun is won in the Stormcloak's favor, she may reappear in Dragonsreach as if Balgruuf is still the
- If one casts Rout on her close to The Whispering Door; she'll be able to unlock the door to get away. Only the Jarl Balgruuf and Farengar Secret-Fire should be able to do this; she is likely simply programmed to be able to open any door regardless of locks.
- If the housecarl of Jarl Vignar Gray-Mane, Olfina Gray-Mane, is killed, she will be his housecarl and the if dialogue option "How did a dark elf come to be a housecarl?" is chosen, she will refer to the battle-bond of her and Jarl Balgruuf the Greater.