The Barbarian Bard

Tales and Musings by Michael A. Espinoza

The Fall of Whiterun: A Skyrim Poem

Some background for this poem:
Inspired by the video game Skyrim, this poem chronicles the siege of the city of Whiterun by the Stormcloak army. During the era in which the game is set, the land of Skyrim is embroiled in many a turmoil, but one of the most gripping conflicts in the land is the civil war between the Imperials and those who support the governing of Skyrim by the empire based in Cyrodiil, and the Stormcloaks, Nords who want their land ruled by their own governing body. There is no clear “good guy” in this war. Some argue that Ulfric is right to fight the Empire that governs Skyrim with an iron fist, bans certain forms of worship, and is quick to declare sentences of death. Others hold that he is a racist egotist, wanting a land that would favor Nords above all other races. And some hold that he is an inadvertent puppet in the plan of a third faction who hopes to profit from strife between the Empire and the Stormcloaks. But debating that is not the point of this poem. This piece tells of one event the player’s character may encounter based upon their previous choice, that is, whether or not they chose to return the ancient Jagged Crown to Ulfric, an item he feels will validate his kingship of Skyrim. He then sends the player’s character to Whiterun, to offer the Jarl (lord/ruler), Balgruff, an axe, which serves as a symbolic question: If the Jarl accepts it, then he sides with Ulfric and will support him in fighting the Empire. Balgruff sends the axe back to the Stormcloak leader. His answer is clear…

—–

Nords for generations to come,
when ancient stories they sit and tell,
will ’round the hearth-fire recount the tale
of the day that Whiterun fell.
The great walled city stood untouched
by foe from far afield.
In Dragonsreach the Jarl did sit,
his city as his shield.
Then Ulfric, of the Stormcloak line,
sent a message to Whiterun’s hall.
In silent words the message spoke,
“Side with me or fall.”

Balgruff sought to guard his keep,
to save his city from harm,
and so he sent a message back,
and formed up his men-at-arms.
The Whiterun forces held the walls
and barricaded roads.
The Stormcloaks made ballistas ready
to fire devastating loads.
Down came the barricades
the city streets ran red.
Mailed boot steps trampled over
the dying and the dead.
The Stormcloaks took the hold and keep,
though struck not the Jarl down,
but offered his seat to one more loyal
to Ulfric and his Jagged Crown.

Now times have changed and years gone by,
the world not as it was.
But still all Nords remember clear
the Stormcloaks and their cause.
And above all else they do recall
and on this memory dwell:
the day that Nord fought Nord for land,
the day that Whiterun fell…

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