Skyrim:Battle for Whiterun (Imperial)

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SR-qico-Imperial Legion.png
Protect Whiterun from the Stormcloak invasion.
Quest Giver: Automatic after Message to Whiterun (Imperial)
Location(s): Whiterun
Prerequisite Quest: Message to Whiterun
Next Quest: Reunification of Skyrim
Reward: Title of "Quaestor"
ID: CWSiegeObj
Smoke rising over Whiterun

Quick Walkthrough[edit]

  1. Meet with Legate Rikke.
  2. Defend Whiterun.
  3. Destroy the attacking force of Stormcloaks.
  4. (Optional) Talk to Jarl Balgruuf the Greater after his speech.

Detailed Walkthrough[edit]

The Burning City[edit]

The Burning City

At the end of Message to Whiterun, report to Legate Quentin Cipius and he will tell you the latest news about the Stormcloaks and give you your new orders: "The Stormcloaks are here. In force. Get down to the front line. This is it. We must hold the city. Move it!"

Upon leaving Dragonsreach, you will find Whiterun under siege by Stormcloak catapults. Along the city wall of the Plains District, the Imperial Legion will be returning fire with their own catapults. The streets will be busy with citizens running back to their houses and city guards making ready to fight the enemy. Whiterun will suffer great destruction during the battle. Severio Pelagia will be killed and his home, as well as Heimskr's, will be destroyed.

The Bleeding Battlefield[edit]

Just outside the city gates, you will find Legate Rikke on the strategically important main entryway, busy addressing a crowd of fully-armed Imperial Soldiers:

"This is it men! This is an important day for the Empire and for the Legion. And for all of Skyrim. This is the day we send a message to Ulfric Stormcloak and the rebel Jarls who support him. But make no mistake. What we do here today, we do for Skyrim and her people. By cutting out the disease of this rebellion, we will make this country whole again! Ready now! Everyone, with me! For the Empire! For the Legion! Rrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!"

Soon after Rikke finishes her speech, the Stormcloaks will start their attack. Their archers will provide suppression fire from a distance outside the gate, while the main force will move up the main road in groups. First, you need to defend the barricades, then the drawbridge. Finally, you need to kill attacking soldiers until the percentage of attackers remaining drops to zero. Legate Rikke and Hadvar, both of whom are essential and cannot be killed, will give you a hand during the defense, so stay close to one or both of them if you are having difficulty. The united force of Whiterun guards and Imperial soldiers will take advantage of the fortifications and draw the attention of many enemies.

Don't worry if you are unable to defend the barricades or drawbridge. It does not affect the ending of the quest or your reward.

The Inspiring Speech[edit]

The Inspiring Speech

When the percentage of remaining attackers drops to zero, the battle will be over. Any surviving Stormcloaks will lose heart and flee the battlefield.

Irileth will tell everyone to follow her, as Jarl Balgruuf the Greater wishes to speak. You may listen to his speech after the combat:

"Revel in your victory here today, even as the gods revel in your honor! They already sing of your valor and skill! The halls of Sovngarde are no doubt ringing with your praises! In defeating these Stormcloak traitors, you have proven the hollowness of their cause and the fullness of your hearts. The citizens of Whiterun are forever in your debt! But Ulfric will not stop here. No, he will continue to strike out against any true Nord who remains faithful to the Empire. He will continue to sow discord and chaos wherever he can. And so, we must each one of us, continue to fight this insurrection, lest our fallen brothers have died for naught! Lest our honor be lessened should we allow these bloodthirsty beasts to prowl our lands! Carry on men, my gratitude and blessings go with you! For Whiterun! For the Empire!"

At the end of his speech, you may talk to him. The jarl will thank you and grant you the privilege of buying a house in his city, if you haven't already: "Thank you for your role in all of this. It'd be my honor should you decide to make Whiterun your home. Speak with Proventus. He'll make the necessary arrangements."

When you return to General Tullius in Solitude, he commends you for the victory and gives you the title of "Quaestor".


The soldiers muster a defense of the city
  • This quest, Battle for Whiterun (Stormcloaks), Battle for Solitude, and Battle for Windhelm are all different radiant versions of the same quest.
  • After Balgruuf finishes his speech, you can ask him why he chose to side with the Imperials and what it will take to win the war.
    • His response for why he sided with the Imperials will be "Mutual advantage! Any fool can see that. For centuries, we have benefitted from the Empire's protection, and prosperous trade with the south. In exchange, the people of Cyrodiil sleep peacefully, knowing that their northern border is guarded by the fiercest warriors in all Tamriel."
    • His response for what it will take to win the war will be "Ulfric Stormcloak's head on a pike. Do you think Ulfric really cares about Skyrim's independence, or the welfare of its people? I promise you, he doesn't. He's nothing more than a barbarian renegade, whose lust for power has cost the lives of countless innocents."
  • Your horse can easily be killed if it's waiting by the stables, as it does if you fast-traveled here.
  • Followers who are accompanying you when receiving this quest cannot exit the Whiterun city gates with you, and instead stay inside the walls until you return.
    • Select the "part ways" dialogue before leaving the city gates and recruit them again on the other side. This does not work for followers who return to Whiterun when dismissed, such as Lydia or Jenassa.
    • During the previous quest Message to Whiterun, tell your follower to wait just outside the city gates before returning Ulfric's war axe to the jarl.
  • It can be somewhat difficult to keep the barricade intact because your own archers will shoot at it while trying to shoot the enemies. To get around this, you can run past the stable and into the field. This is essentially the spawn point. You will have to kill about 50 enemies by yourself, but they will prioritize attacking you over the town.
    • In fact, defending the city becomes much easier when exactly one of the barricades is down, as the gap will form a bottleneck and the Stormcloaks will ignore the other barricade.
  • There is a temporary Stormcloak camp outside the city next to the Meadery. If you run to it directly after the battle, there will be one Stormcloak Soldier in the large tent looking at the map, but no other inhabitants.
  • After this quest Fort Greymoor will be garrisoned by Imperial Soldiers. Additionally, due to the Empire having control of Whiterun, Heimskr will be arrested and sent to the dungeon.


  • Legate Quentin Cipius may not start this quest, instead giving only generic greetings.
  • Random dragon attacks may occur in and around the city of Whiterun during this quest.
  • After this quest, Heimskr doesn't get arrested and instead simply preaches in front of the Shrine of Talos non-stop. ?
  • When defending the barricades, if you destroy both of them yourself before the enemy does, the Stormcloaks will be unable to find the barricades and you will end up fighting on the field alone. ?
  • There is a rare situation where you and the enemies will not be able to destroy the barricades. ?
    • Restarting the game will fix this.
  • After you finish this quest, [...] may appear in your journal instead of the name of the next quest and the quest marker will disappear.
    • Do not stand next to Balgruuf when he's running up the ramp to deliver his speech. Go stand in among the soldiers he will be addressing below him. Then you will be within the trigger area and the quest will correctly update.
    • Sometimes the bug is caused because the trigger area isn't spawning precisely in the correct location (it sometimes spawns too high, you can't hit it by walking through it). So, another thing that often helps is after you deliver the axe to Ulfric, don't go straight back to Whiterun. Spend time doing other things and other quests, away from the Whiterun cell, until the area has time to respawn with the quest flags set. Otherwise, the area is all respawned with all the quest updates and alterations to the area all happening at once, the moment you enter the cell - and this sometimes glitches, ending up with the master quest being labeled [...]. This helps insure that by the time you DO go back to Whiterun, the trigger area will have spawned in the right spot (down around where the soldiers gather, in the grassy area near the entrance gate) and will update the quest correctly.
  • NPCs such as Aela, Lydia, Lucia (if adopted), and your hired bard may appear as soon as you leave Whiterun and be attacked by the Whiterun guards. Additionally, no Stormcloak guards will spawn.
    • Be sure to dismiss all followers before exiting the city gates, Additionally, move your family to a different city before you start this quest.
    • On PCUse the console command setstage CWSiegeObj 9000 to complete the quest instead.
  • Legate Rikke may not complete her speech, making the battle unwinnable. Balgruuf may also fail to give his speech at the end of the quest.
    • Re-entering Whiterun's main gate may update the quest objective from "Meet with Legate Rikke" to "Defend the Barricades".
    • It is possible to attack Rikke until she becomes hostile, and then to yield to her, to move the quest forward. Balgruuf's speech may be bypassed simply by travelling away from the area after the battle. Both will prevent you from watching the entire scene, but will allow you to continue play.
    • This bug seems to be related to guards failing to travel to the mustering point prior to the battle, and therefore the speech scene being unable to proceed until those actors are in their correct positions -- possibly related to the locking main gate that prevents your followers from joining you for the battle.
  • Upon reaching the barricades, the Stormcloaks may run away but the quest will not update, leaving the quest marker at the barricades ?
    • Reloading the autosave from exiting Whiterun fixes this issue
  • Rarely, after exiting Dragonsreach, the quest will update to 'Speak with General Tullius' and the battle will be skipped. NPCs will react as if you fought in the battle. ?
  • If you report to General Tulius before reporting to Balgruuf the Greater, the miscellaneous objective "Report to the Jarl of Whiterun" will be stuck in your journal with no way to complete it.
    • On PC Use the console command CompleteAllObjectives CWPostWhiterunObj.

Quest Stages[edit]

Only the quest stages and objectives that are possibly relevant to this radiant version of the quest are shown.

Battle for Whiterun (CWSiegeObj)
Stage Finishes Quest Journal Entry
1 The Stormcloaks are attacking Whiterun. I have been ordered to defend the outer walls and keep the rebels from taking the city.
8999 Fails quest☒
9000 Finishes quest☑ We have successfully defended the city of Whiterun. Demonstrating the weakness of the rebels' cause and the excellence of the Imperial Legion.
Objective 2000: Meet with Legate Rikke
Objective 2030: Defend the Barricades
Objective 2040: Defend the Drawbridge
Objective 2999: Destroy Attackers (<Global=CWPercentPoolRemainingAttacker>% Remaining)
  • The following empty quest stages were omitted from the table: 9999.
  • Any text displayed in angle brackets (e.g., <Alias=LocationHold>) is dynamically set by the Radiant Quest system, and will be filled in with the appropriate word(s) when seen in game.
  • Not all Journal Entries may appear in your journal; which entries appear and which entries do not depends on the manner in which the quest is done.
  • Stages are not always in order of progress. This is usually the case with quests that have multiple possible outcomes or quests where certain tasks may be done in any order. Some stages may therefore repeat objectives seen in other stages.
  • If an entry is marked as "Finishes Quest" it means the quest disappears from the Active Quest list, but you may still receive new entries for that quest.
  • On the PC, it is possible to use the console to advance through the quest by entering setstage CWSiegeObj stage, where stage is the number of the stage you wish to complete. It is not possible to un-complete (i.e. go back) quest stages, but it is possible to clear all stages of the quest using resetquest CWSiegeObj.