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Weird Mysteries That Never Made Sense In Skyrim

Tamriel has lore deeper than the darkest of barrows, and since Skyrim's release back in 2011 (yes, we feel old too), players have been steadily uncovering the mysteries that Bethesda expertly wove into the game. There are 820 books to peruse, about 1,000 NPCs to chat up, and over 400 locations to explore in the whole of Skyrim. Most of these who-dun-its and ancient legends are meant to be solved in the form of a staggering 273 quests, but as much content there is with satisfying conclusions, some mysteries remain unsolved.

There's a mystery behind these mysteries, too: why were they included? Was there cut content? Future DLCs that went unreleased? Players are lucky though in that the passing years have allowed the internet to do its thing: obsess. Many a Reddit thread has chewed over these inconsistencies and conspiracies. We've got theories, but no real conclusive answers to these unsolved mysteries of Skyrim.

Narfu's sister Reyda: who dun it?

There are several NPCs with screws loose, and one is crazed Nord beggar Narfi in Ivarstead. He asks the Dragonborn to look for his missing sister Reyda, heartbroken that he didn't get the chance to say goodbye to her as he was able to with his father and mother. The player is directed to the local Innkeeper, Wilhelm, who may have information as to her whereabouts.

Wilhelm tells the player that Reyda disappeared a year ago, and that ever since Narfi has been speaking in third person, rhyming: the typical markers of a mental break. Taking pity on him, Wilhelm told Narfi that she was coming back, but really believed her to be long dead. The player might then search her out on the islands east of Ivarstead where she was known to wander, but this information is a dead end. What remains of Reyda is nowhere near there, instead found at the bottom of the river southeast of the village. On her skeleton are alchemical ingredients and a necklace.

The weirdness really unfolds if the player bypasses Narfi to confirm the necklace's origin with Wilhelm, who says, "Reyda! You saw Reyda? Did you tell her Narfi cries? Did you tell her Narfi never said goodbye like mother and father?"

Wilhelm sounds strangely like Narfi, who says the same thing upon viewing the necklace. Narfi will either accept his sister's death or go on hoping to find her, depending on how truthful the Dragonborn is with the poor creature.

Falion's Secret is never unveiled

Morthal has a couple urban legends about their resident Redguard mage: he sacrifices children and devours deer hearts. Although Falion assures the Dragonborn and his orphaned apprentice Agni that these are just "horrid tales," there is still something about him that doesn't quite add up.

Firstly, he can cure vampirism, which is a pretty sweet deal if the player becomes suddenly adverse to sunlight. Secondly, he claims to have met "Daedra and Dwemer and everything in between," which would either suggest an amazing wealth of power or an incredibly long lifespan, since the Dwemer disappeared thousands of years prior. Falion is a decent guy, but a frustrating character in the sense that the player never gets to know what his secret is in the quest "Falion's Secret." He tells the player not to go out at night and that the marshes are dangerous. Little Agni speaks of nightmares of her adopted father "making monsters." In the marshes at night, the player can find Falion in a stone summoning circle. But Falion gives no explanation.  

We may have some idea as to what was happening in the marshes. One Redditor noted that Morthal is surrounded by frozen lakes. The powerful and cruel Volkihar vampires live in frozen depths and reach through the ice to grab unsuspecting victims. Perhaps vampire expert Falion was being true to his word and doing his duty to see Morthal "rest in peace" by warding off these frozen foes, but this remains only a theory.

Who is the Ebony Warrior?

The Dragonborn is getting used to vast skill and power; an ancient choir chants as the hero levels up to 80. But Bethesda doesn't want to let players get cocky. Level 80 is when the player's skill is truly tested. On the streets of a major city, the Ebony Warrior will appear, faceless behind his intricate armor. He says the time has come and sounds suspiciously like a bored player who has gone though every playable quest: "No villains to slay, no challenges to face ..."

The Dragonborn is the Ebony Warrior's very last conquest, the only one worthy enough to send him to Sovngarde. The Ebony Warrior then awaits his death at the Last Vigil, a campsite tucked away in the Velothi Mountains. This is a fight that players have to carefully prepare for by gathering their best weapons, armors, and maybe a few wheels of cheese just in case. Even then, the player might be caught off-guard when they discover that the Ebony Warrior can steal the Dragonborn's thunder and use the Unrelenting Force shout. This is why walkthroughs recommend bringing along a strong follower and even a dragon as back up.

Who is this formidable foe? Surely one would have heard tale of such a strong warrior with such an iconic look? The only thing Skyrim fans really know for sure is that the Ebony Warrior is a Redguard and really, really, really hard to best.

Sybille Stentor: is she serving the Wolf Queen?

Skyrim has its glitches, as all Bethesda games do, but this particular bug appears as if it might actually be a feature. Sybille Stentor is the Court Wizard of the Blue Palace in Solitude, appointed by the late High King Torygg whom she helped to raise. She is sharp-tongued and even sharper-toothed: she's a vampire. It's no secret that she makes use of the prisoners from Castle Dour Dungeon as a convenient food source.

She has an antagonistic relationship with Falk Firebeard, the steward to Jarl Elisif. Firebeard is the one who summons the Dragonborn to Solitude to investigate Wolfskull Cavern, where a Ritual Master was resurrecting Potema Septim, the Wolf Queen. Though the Dragonborn dispatches the necromancer, they later have to return in order to defeat the former Empress' angry spirit. It is after completing this quest that Sybille's mystery may unfold, unanswered. There is a bug in which Sybille will sleep constantly after the Dragonborn has defeated the Wolf Queen. She will not leave her bed, not even to feed on the prisoners in the dungeon. There have been no official patches to this problem, just a couple fan-made mods.

Cut dialogue also shows that Sybille was the first to know about Potema's resurrection, even though she had dismissed Firebeard's concerns about Wolfskull Cave. Marrying this information together makes Sybille's sudden narcolepsy seem deliberate rather than accidentally mysterious. There were an awful lot of vampires in the catacombs on the way to Potema's throne, after all ...

Who is sending the letters?

Early in the game it is clear that there is someone watching the Dragonborn. Although this is a creepy sentiment, the watcher in question calls themself a "friend." The moment the Dragonborn absorbs their first dragon soul and shouts their mighty Thu'um, both the Greybeards and this mysterious person are alerted. Whether the Dragonborn is on the standard mission at the Western Watchtower or elsewhere in the world, they will soon after receive a letter from a courier saying that they've cause "a bit of a stir" and that "not everyone is anxious for the return of the Dragonborn." However, the unnamed writer wants the Dragonborn to continue on, saying, "Skyrim needs a true hero these days."

This "friend" has eyes everywhere. Players have claimed that the letter has found them after returning from unknowable places like Sovngarde or the Soul Cairn. Out in the wilds, in the darkest of dungeons, at the tops of mountains: this stranger is watching. Who are they? We genuinely don't know. The only hint is that whoever is writing these has knowledge of locations with words of power for the player to learn new shouts. Therefore some people have theorized that the letters are from the Ebony Warrior himself, seeing as he too knows how to Fus Ro Dah with the best of them. Others say Delphine is the writer, having previously signed a letter as "a friend," but really we don't know for certain who the Dragonborn's stalker is.

Who killed the woodsman?

Pro tip: players who favor two-handed weapons would do well to take a wander in the woods in Falkreach. They might just happen upon an iron battle axe that is so heavy it takes a moment more to swing, but does a bit more damage for the player's trouble. The Woodsman's Friend itself isn't exactly mysterious, but the body found beside it is. Beside the axe is it's former owner, a woodcutter who met some fatal fate out in the wilds. There is no apparent cause of death, but well-read players might think back to an old tale.

The story goes that a woodcutter and his family lived deep in the woods, starving one winter after the crops turned bad. The kind-hearted woodcutter welcomed a stranger into their home one stormy night. The traveler revealed himself to be a mage with magical scrolls that summoned a lavish feast for his hosts. But the woodcutter's wife was suspicious of the mage's generosity. Surely there was a price to pay, surely the mage had some dark purpose.

While her family paid no mind to her worries, the woodcutter's wife became paranoid. Finally, one night, she took her husband's axe and lopped off the mage's head, which then laid a curse on her, saying that after she died, she would haunt the pines. And now, it is said that on moonlit nights, a traveler might be unlucky enough to happen upon a weeping woman with a bloody axe.

Lokir says he's from Rorikstead... and Rorikstead is weird

It's hard to forget the fate of Lokir, the first death of many in the game. He was that horse thief who tried running from the chopping block, only to be shot down by archers. Before his death, he takes the advice of his fellow criminals in the wagon and thinks of home: Rorikstead.

Thinking of Rorikstead might not be that comforting, though. Rorikstead is weird, to say the least. And the people there make no mention of dearly departed Lokir. The village is fairly remote, small, but has too many inconsistencies to stay inconspicuous, despite Whiterun guards saying that it is a boring posting. Rorikstead was once Rorik Steading and has had a long history of thriving, dying, and rebuilding. Rorik, the village noble, comments how strange their bountiful harvests are, considering the harsh terrain. The local mage Jouane Manette shushes him, attributing their success to hard work. But the mage does have a secret: he's teaching a local child magic.

There's nothing wholly weird about that, but the shifty way he's going about it raises suspicions. Not to mention the fact that every home in Rorikstead contains soul gems and a book or two about the Daedra. So the fan theory follows that the people of Rorikstead are Daedra worshippers, which is how they are able to get their famously prosperous harvests. But we don't know for sure what Rorikstead's secret is, or why they've buried all traces of Lokir.

It's a feature: bugs in the jars

There are a lot of strange items to be found in Skyrim: giant's toes, plants that hum, and gems that suck up souls, so a bug in a jar might not seem so weird, comparatively. Scattered throughout the game, there are five bugs trapped in jars for the player to find: a luna moth, a torchbug, a dragonfly, a bee, and a butterfly. The bugs themselves aren't nearly as interesting as the runes found on the inside of the lids, however. The runes and their possible translations have left fans drawing maps, scouring the internet, and tearing out their hair in true conspiracy theory fashion.

Some attempts at translation point to various locations: High Hrothgar, Horse Lake, and Dawnstar. Others have insisted that the locations of the jars are more important to the ultimate mystery, going as far as to make a sort of pentagram/transmutation circle that the locations seem to create. Could these jars indicate an oncoming apocalypse? An attempt by the Thalmor to wipe out all of mankind?

Despite seeming to be integral to some kind of quest, the jars have ultimately no known meaning. This is one mystery solved by an interview with a developer, in which we learned that they were actually part of a quest that was cut. But the larger question remains: what were the significance of the jars supposed to be in that quest?

Rune's past remains mysterious

Speaking of runes, let's talk about Rune, the boy with no past. He is a member of the Thieves' Guild and has no memory of his past or what his true name might be. He was found washed up on shore near Solitude, the apparent victim of a shipwreck. The poor but kind-hearted fisherman that found him only had one clue as to the boy's identity: a rock with strange, unreadable writing on it. So he dubbed the boy "Rune" and raised him as his own son.

Rune will admit that most of the money he pilfers for the Thieves Guild is spent toward his ultimate goal of finding out about his past. That gold has been spent in vain. A note can be found in the Thieves' Guild Cistern from Athel Newberry saying that they have failed to find any trace of Rune's parents. Sounds like just the job for the ever-resourceful Dragonborn, right? The conversation one can have with Rune certainly seems to suggest as much as the player promises to "keep an eye out for anything."

Alas, there is no follow up for poor Rune. He appears to be the victim of a quest that never made it into the final game and was later abandoned. Some players suggest that Skyrim's infamous 11/11/11 release date made it so that some unfinished material had to be cut, Rune's story just one quest to never be completed.

What happened to the Dwemer?

In Skyrim, you can encounter Khajiit, Redguard, Argonians, and actual dragons, but you'll never see a living Dwemer. All that is left of the ancient race are their machines and booby traps, telling of vast technological riches and a society that should have stayed on into the modern age. So what happened? Where are all the Dwemer?

Engineers and artisans, they were more advanced than any other race back in the First Era, which makes their vanishing all the more mysterious. According to ancient lore, it happened all at once during the Battle of Red Mountain. Ancestors of the Dark Elves were outraged when it appeared that the Dwemer had found the Heart of Lorkhan, the god who created the mortal realm, his heart torn out as punishment by other gods. The Dwemer created profane weapons in order to channel the Heart's power in an attempt to make their people divine. However, when its power was used, it appeared to backfire entirely. The entire race of Dwemer were destroyed or otherwise disappeared.

This event is described as the most profound mystery of all of Tamriel. Scholars are left to scratch their heads at what could have become of the Dwemer. Reddit users are baffled too, but have their theories: maybe all Dwemer souls were absorbed by the artificial god, Numidium, created by the Heart. Did they reach a higher level of consciousness? Unless Elder Scrolls 6 has answers, we'll never know.

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