Since no one can prove which side of the story is correct, then you can simplify the situation by looking at it using only the facts you know.
Reasons to support Saadia:
-She has broken no known laws of either Skyrim or Whiterun.
-She is currently a peaceful and productive member of the community.
Reasons NOT to support Alik'r:
-They are a group of seemingly hostile foreign warriors (emphasis on foreign... Skyrim doesn't play well with others).
-They are going around causing disturbances across Skyrim and Whiterun Hold in particular.
-They made their temperary base of operations with a known group of bandits.
-Regardless of what laws or rules Saadia may have broken elsewhere, Skyrim authority is under no obligation to cooperate with a foreign matter or investigation. Even if she broke the laws in a different Hold within Skyrim, Whiterun authorities aren't obligated to recognize the charges.
-No official request was made to higher authorities, either the Jarls or Imperial representatives, to detain Saadia. Rebels or not, their fight(s) aren't your problem.
-One warrior was even caught sneaking around where he shouldn't have by Whiterun guards, so their reputation is made even more questionable.
Considering all of these facts, the Alik'r warriors should be treated as a threat to the peaceful people of Skyrim. It really doesn't matter what Saadia did or didn't do. As a Skyrim citizen, she should be fiercely defended.
Oh, yeah? And here are the reasons NOT to side with Saadia:
- the Alik'r are respecting the laws of Skyrim. Sure, at least one of them broke a law, but he has let the guards detain him;
-the Alik’r are not bloodthirsty assassins as Saadia claims. Kematu does not attack on sight and he doesn’t kill Saadia on the spot, but rather apprehends her;
-Saadia hasn’t asked the jarl
for protection or immunity, which can mean that she cannot convince him of her innocence;
-the Alik’r operate in plain view of the guard, meaning that they do not feel the need to hide their intentions (something assassins or spies will do).
All said and done, there is not enough context to say who’s telling the truth and the quest can be solved/role-played either way. That makes it one of the better quests in the game. Sadly, there are no-long term consequences to it, which would have made it even better.
But, if one is to really ignore the stories, go for the money. Find Saadia and reveal her location to the Alik’r in Rorikstead.
Purrington wrote: I always helped Saadia because she has beautiful blue eyes. In the seven or so years I've played Skyrim, not once have I cared about the story behind that quest.
What a weak man, you would not survive Skyrim a day in real life lol
Contrary to what Synthurion said, I think the Alik'r are taking a pretty peaceful path considering they are legendary warriors. They could have enter Whiterun and sack the city until they found their target, but instead most of them are hiding in a cave.
They are NOT REALLY causing disturbances, you see them interrogating redguard women on the road, not torturing them or imprisoning them.
You said it yourself, they are foreigners and Skyrim doesn't like strangers. Knowing that, I don't get why you're surprised that the Alik'r won't make an official request to a jarl.
Also they get pissed if you kill Saadia while bringing her to the stable, pretty sure that's because they wanted her to be judged and/or interrogated, not murdered.