Wulfharth's Plaque in Windhelm.

Wulfharth, also known as Ysmir, Dragon of the North, Shor's Tongue, and the Breath of Kyne[1][2] was an ancient king of Skyrim. He is the subject of several Nordic myths and legends, and has become known as The Underking or The Ash King.[1][3]

Wulfharth was proficient at using the Thu'um, and his voice was so powerful that he could not verbally take the oath of allegiance required of him by the Pact of Chieftains.[1] He is said to have died and been resurrected multiple times throughout Tamrielic history.[1][3]

Mortal history[edit | edit source]

Wulfharth was born in Atmora in the First Era. He was chosen ruler of Skyrim in 1E 500 by the Pact of Chieftains after the death of High King Hoag Merkiller who was killed in the Battle of Glenumbra Moors.[4][2]

Religious reform[edit | edit source]

A depiction of Shor as seen in ancient Nordic ruins.

Wulfharth's first act was to continue the work of his predecessor in restoring the old Nordic faith, outlawing the Alessian Doctrines and reinstating the traditional Nordic Pantheon.[4] This was followed by persecution of the Alessian priests, many of whom were burnt at the stake.[2]

Military deeds against the Orcs and Elves[edit | edit source]

In addition to his involvement at the Battle of Glenumbra Moors, Wulfharth is recorded as having fought repeatedly against the Orcs, "shouted their Chieftain into Hell", and then fighting against them and "the ghost of Alduin", who turned the Nords into children. Wulfharth pleaded with Shor to come to their aid, and Shor fought Alduin and Wulfharth learned the thu'um of How to Shake the Dragon Just So. However, he shook too many years out of himself, and died.[2]

During his reign, he was also said to have driven the Direnni Hegemony from Skyrim.[5]

Resurrections[edit | edit source]

War of the First Council[edit | edit source]

The Heart of Lorkhan.

With the Chimer and the Dwemer fighting among themselves in the First Era, the Nords either saw an opportunity to regain their old dominions and invaded,[2] or were invited to participate in the war by House Dagoth and the Dwemer.[6][7] The Tongues who led this war summoned Shor, who summoned Wulfharth to lead the Nords.[2]

The Red Mountain.

Some sources claim that Wulfharth was involved in the Battle of Red Mountain and slew Dumac, the leader of the Dwemer, before Vivec blasted Wulfharth to pieces.[2] Other sources imply Dumac was killed by the Chimer warlord Nerevar.[8] The Khajiit claim that Alkosh summoned them to Red Mountain as well, and that Wulfharth shouted at the moons until they moved and turned the Khajiit into Senche, and rode Dro'Zira during his final assault on Red Mountain.[9]

Yet another tale claims that the Nords and Wulfharth were at Red Mountain to reclaim the Heart of Shor. This version of events say that Wulfharth made peace with the orcs, causing a large portion of his army to desert. In the climactic battle, Wulfharth had obtained the Heart but needed time to acclimate to its power. During this time, he and Voryn Dagoth faced Nerevar and his two companions, Alandro Sul and Dumac Dwarfking. Wulfharth blinded Alandro Sul with a shout and slew Dumac, but was weakened by a blow from Dumac's warhammer, Sunder. Nerevar took the opportunity to finish Wulfharth off and slay him with a surprise side attack with Keening.[2] Other sources claim he survived the Battle however, and was just displaced, being carried back to Skyrim.[3] The same book claims that the Battle gave Wulfharth a lasting enmity against the Tribunal.

Second Akaviri invasion[edit | edit source]

When the Kamal invaded Skyrim in the 2E 572, Wulfharth was summoned again to aid the Ebonheart Pact, either by Almalexia[3] or Jorunn the Skald-King.[10] It was during this time that Wulfharth began to be called the Underking, and disassociated with the Nords in some way. Following the invasion, Wulfharth disappears again.[3]

Wars of Tiber Septim[edit | edit source]

Notice: Much of this section is based on the text The Arcturian Heresy. Few other sources mention Wulfharth in connection with Tiber Septim's wars at all.

High Hrothgar.

Three hundred years later, Wulfharth is woken by the "rumbling of the Greybeards" and a chosen one prophesied to restore the empire of Tamriel. Wulfharth goes to the Greybeards and gets shouted to pieces, before heading to find the chosen one, Hjalti Early-Beard of High Rock. It is possible that Wulfharth became the "stormcrown" of Talos, after a storm allegedly spoke to Hjalti in his tent before the battle and followed him above his head during the taking of Old Hrol'dan.[3]

After this, Wulfharth, now called the Underking, assisted Hjalti in the governance of the expanding empire, pressing him to conquer Hammerfell and Morrowind, the latter to further his hatred of the Tribunal.[3] When he refused do so, Wulfharth left Tiber Septim's cause.

The Mantella[edit | edit source]

Numidium as it appears on Alduin's Wall.

After Tiber Septim was gifted the Numidium by the Tribunal, he asked Wulfharth back, saying he was right all along. Wulfharth returned and was trapped by Tiber Septim. His soul was ripped out and possibly merged with that of Zurin Arctus and trapped within the Mantella, or possibly trapped within his body, in order to power the Numidium.[3][11] The now-functional Numidium allowed Tiber to complete his conquest of Tamriel.

The Underking[edit | edit source]

The Underking.

Despite no longer having his full soul, Wulfharth, now always called the Underking and conflated with Zurin Arctus, destroyed the Numidium after finding out what it was used for.[3][12] He also cursed the tomb of the Reman emperors at Sancre Tor, which was then sealed by the Grandmaster of the Blades.[13]

During the events of the Warp in the West, the Underking regained the part of his soul that was trapped in the Mantella, allowing him to die in peace.[14]

Plaque[edit | edit source]

A plaque in Windhelm, located outside the Palace of the Kings, is dedicated to Wulfharth. Wulfharth's plaque reads:


WULFHARTH
OF ATMORA

REIGNED 1E 480 ― 533

Ysmir, Shor's Tongue, Dragon of the
North and noble champion who
defeated the Direnni and cleaned
Skyrim of the Alessian heresy.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Jarl Balgruuf the Greater believes Wulfharth to have been Dragonborn; when asked, "What's it mean to be Dragonborn?" he may reply, "Wulfharth was Dragonborn. Talos, too – the founder of the Empire, back in the good old days."
    • This is further supported by Arngeir, who states the title "Ysmir", the "Dragon of the North" is traditionally given to Dragonborn who come to High Hrothgar.

References[edit | edit source]

High King of Skyrim
Hoag Merkiller 1E 4801E 533 Erling
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