Wuuthrad, meaning "Storm's Tears" in the language of Atmora, was the legendary battleaxe wielded by Ysgramor during his conquest of Skyrim in the late Merethic Era. With Wuuthrad in his hands, Ysgramor and his Five Hundred Companions slaughtered an untold number of elves, which culminated in the founding of the First Empire of the Nords. For the Companions, Wuuthrad is a sacred relic which holds a great deal of respect and reverence, and through it they can trace their line straight back to the first Harbinger. It is held to be the greatest of all Nord weapons.
Legends surrounding the origins of the weapon date back to the Night of Tears, when Ysgramor and his eldest son Yngol fled to Atmora upon the last ship from Saarthal. As he watched the first human city of Skyrim burn, Ysgramor was said to have been so consumed with grief, that he wept tears of pure ebony. Yngol, who was purportedly the greatest blacksmith the Atmorans had ever known, collected the tears in a stein and began to forge Wuthraad upon the deck of the fleeing ship. Using lightning to heat the tears and the ocean's swell to cool them, he completed the mighty axe during the night and presented it to his father the next morning. Ysgramor cried out in joy, sadness, and rage and there on the deck of the ship he named the axe Wuuthrad.
Upon returning to Skyrim with his Five Hundred Companions, Ysgramor led a long campaign against the elves and the only weapon said to fit in the Harbinger's hand was Wuuthrad. Said to be an axe of great vengeance, Ysgramor also used it to slay Sinmur the chieftain of Skyrim's giant clans and hundreds of his kin.
Wuuthrad's power and legend grew alongside Ysgramor's. When Ysgramor died, he chose to be buried in a barrow on the northern shores of Skyrim, facing towards Atmora. His tomb was sealed with a locking mechanism that required Wuuthrad to be placed in the hands of a statue of the Harbinger. Once the tomb was sealed, Wuuthrad was later taken to the vaults beneath Fallowstone Hall, the ancient headquarters of the Companions. The vaults below served as a museum and mortuary for the Companions, and contained immaculate, gleaming trophies within. At the center of the vault, Wuuthrad was put on display in the hands of a statue of Ysgramor.
During the Alliance War, a band of Reachmen led an attack on Fallowstone Hall, in an attempt to steal Wuuthrad. While Harbinger Vigrod Wraithbane and the Companions attempted to stop them, the Reachmen were ultimately successful in obtaining the axe. The reasons for the theft became clear when the Vestige later discovered the Order of the Black Worm sought to reanimate the giant Sinmur and an army of his kin. When Ysgramor used Wuuthrad to slay Sinmur, it imbued the axe with great power against the giant. The Worm Cult believed this power could be used to raise Sinmur and use him in their schemes.
Thallik Wormfather, the necromancer leading the plot, took Wuthraad to Arcwind Point and began a ritual to raise Sinmur. Their plan was foiled by the Ebonheart Pact, when the Vestige interrupted the ritual and killed Thallik, with the aid of the ancient Companions Hakra and Valdur. Unexpectedly, Wuuthrad was shattered in the process and three fragments of the axe were scattered across the Smokefrost peaks. It later came to light that Thallik didn't die, but instead used the remaining power within Wuthraad to fuse his spirit with Sinmur. The spirit of Sinmur fled from Arcwind Point and attacked Riften in a rampage.
Although Wuuthrad was shattered, even the shards were considered potent artifacts. As such, a race to retrieve the shards began between the Ebonheart Pact and the Worm Cult. One particular shard came into the possession of a necromancer called Gullveig. She used the power of the shard to tear the souls from people in an attempt to transform into a lich. Another shard came into the possession of a Nord named Thorulf, housecarl to Thane Unnvald Ironhand of Fullhelm Fort. It was discovered Thorulf was secretly a necromancer working for Gullveig. He used the shard to corrupt the mind of Thane Unnvald and raise an undead army in order to overthrow the fort. His plan was discovered and he fled, leaving the shard behind. The third shard was taken to the ancient Nordic ruin of Forelhost by the Worm Cultist Nordhal. The shade of the Dragon Priest Vosis claimed the shard for himself and his minions drove off the cultists.
All the shards were eventually recovered by the Vestige for the Ebonheart Pact and it was decided they would be used against Sinmur and the Worm Cult, who were lurking at the summit of Mount Trolhetta. Because Wuuthrad was imbued with great power against Sinmur, even the shards would do him harm. A method of harnessing this power was discovered by the Pact, involving placing the shards in runic braziers. The Vestige, Jorunn Skald-King and a legion of Ebonheart Pact soldiers traveled to Trolhetta summit to face Sinmur. Using the shards, the spirits of Sinmur and Thallik was torn apart and Sinmur was severely weakened. The spirit of Sinmur was banished and the shards of Wuuthrad were returned to the Companions.
By the Fourth Era, the shards and haft of Wuuthrad had been further fragmented into twelve separate pieces. Four fragments were held by the Companions, which they displayed inside Jorrvaskr, the legendary mead hall of the Companions. The Companions actively sought out missing pieces, as even the fragments were considered to be treasured artifacts. Reverence of the Harbinger's battleaxe was such that banners depicting Wuuthrad were displayed throughout Jorrvaskr in its honor. Some Companions even believed that without Wuuthrad, Ysgramor could not have conquered Skyrim.
In 4E 201, The Companions discovered that the Silver Hand, a rival brotherhood of werewolf hunters, had also been searching for the missing fragments and had found several themselves. The Last Dragonborn successfully retrieved the fragments from all across Skyrim, and brought them back to Jorrvaskr after receiving word on their whereabouts from an unknown scholar. In an unexpected turn, the Silver Hand stormed Jorrvaskr, killed Harbinger Kodlak Whitemane and stole the fragments, save one. The Companions sent the Last Dragonborn to retrieve the fragments once more, and kill the leadership of the Silver Hand as reprisal.
Once the fragments had been returned to Jorrvaskr, Kodlak Whitemane's cremation took place at the legendary Skyforge in Whiterun. Master blacksmith Eorlund Gray-Mane believed that Kodlak's soul rekindled the Skyforge back to its original glory, according to the old legends. Inspired by the Skyforge's renewed strength, Eorlund used the flames of Kodlak's funeral pyre to reforge Wuuthrad. Ysgramor's ancient battleaxe was presented to the Last Dragonborn to carry into battle and free the spirit of Kodlak Whitemane from the clutches of Hircine. The Companions traveled alongside the Last Dragonborn to Ysgramor's tomb and placed Wuuthrad back into the ancient statue of the Harbinger in order to unseal the entrance and aid the spirit of Kodlak Whitemane.
- For game-specific information, see the Skyrim article.
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