The following is an oral history of the little known Windhelm Incident, which resulted in a number of injuries to prominent members of the court, and the controversial imprisonment of the Dragonborn and her faithful squire. According to those involved it took place in the year 4E 201, months after the dragons returned to Skyrim.
Ulfric, Jarl of Windhelm: It was at the end of Sun’s Dusk, if I recall, a few months after we escaped Helgen. I was giving an impassioned speech, and in the corner of my eye I see the Dragonborn, followed by some young cub, marching toward the throne. It wasn’t unusual. Many great warriors have heeded my call to purge the land of the Imperials, and I assumed the Dragonborn was no exception.
Hjoromir, Squire to the Dragonborn: So the Dragonborn is muscling her way past the guard, and I’m trying to keep up while sifting through my coin purse to make sure Sadri didn’t short us. To be honest, I didn’t even hear what Ulfric said that made the Dragonborn so mad.
Jorleif, Steward to Jarl Ulfric: I remember Jarl Ulfric was really getting into it. He said something like “I fight for the men I’ve held in my arms, dying on foreign soil!” That’s when I saw the Dragonborn grab the poor boy by the collar and point at the Jarl. I still don’t get what set her off.
Dragonborn, Savior of Skyrim: It actually wasn’t anything Ulfric said. I just didn’t like his face.
Galmar Stone-Fist, Stormcloak Commander: Sure, I heard her make the order. I didn’t expect the little snowback to do it though. Greener than an Elf’s britches, that one.
Jorleif: We all thought it was a joke, and a poorly conceived one at that. Ulfric is the Jarl of Windhelm. Not even the Dragonborn has the right to treat him like an infant.
Hjoromir: I know exactly why the Dragonborn issued the order. True heroes like us are paragons of justice. Jarl or not, Ulfric murdered the High King.
Dragonborn: Again, I didn’t really care about the consequences. Did a Jarl deserve better? Maybe. But did that face need to be punched? Absolutely.
Hjoromir: It wasn’t hard at all. I just pictured my father was there, licking Ulfric’s boots. I imagined the look on his face when I shoved him aside and punched his precious Jarl in the mouth. I probably spent too much time thinking about it, because Ulfric realized something was wrong.
Ulfric: The cub’s face was flushed with rage. I’ve seen it before from the peasant folk who’ve fallen victim to Imperial propaganda. As soon as the boy raised his fists, I blessed him with the words of my forefathers.
Yrsarald Thrice-Pierced, Stormcloak Officer: I was just on my way out of the war room when I heard Jarl Ulfric unleash his shout. I rushed over to see some poor sod flying across the hall. Literally. Flying.
Jorleif: I tell you, I’ve seen Jarl Ulfric use his shout before, but the way this boy tumbled like one of my niece’s dolls….Ha! I nearly burst at the seams laughing.
Stormcloak Guard: I don’t think it was being flung that was the worst part. It was when he hit the wall. His bones made this horrible crunching noise that made us all shudder.
Galmar: At that point, I didn’t give a mudcrab’s uncle about the boy. It was the Dragonborn who posed the real threat.
Hjoromir: I’m sure it might’ve looked bad, but I was in complete control. I had actually anticipated Ulfric would use his shout, and I needed to properly gauge its effects to know how to counter it.
Jorleif: To the boy’s credit, he got up, eventually. In fact, I was so busy watching him struggle that I didn’t notice the Dragonborn had drawn her bow.
Galmar: I don’t know what that fool Jorleif was doing, but he would have only gotten in the way.
Yrsarald: Needless to say we had our hands full with the Dragonborn. But for some reason she was content to stay on the defensive. It was almost like she was waiting for the boy to get back up.
Dragonborn: Yeah, I was watching Hjoromir the whole time. The shout itself wasn’t nearly as bad as the collision, but it still wouldn’t have been enough to kill him. I just had to hold the guards off until he got his second wind.
Galmar: How long was the boy down? How should I know? No one was paying attention to that idiot.
Ulfric: The Dragonborn may be strong, but even she is no god. So I called upon mighty Talos for aid, and asked that he smite these fools who defiled the Palace of the Kings. I listened for a reply, when I heard a voice call my name.
Hjoromir: Yeah, that was me. A true hero never hits a man in the back.
Hjoromir: Now, at this point I’d studied Ulfric’s movements, and I deduced that shouting exhausted a great deal of stamina. If he used his shout on me, he would be on the defensive for the next minute or so. That would be my best chance to finish what we started.
Ulfric: The boy was like this annoying fly who kept buzzing around my ear. A pest. So like a fly I swatted him away.
Hjoromir: The shout wasn’t nearly as effective the second time. Not only did I brace myself for its impact, but I also realized that like any voice, it’s only effective so long as you can hear it. That’s why before I challenged him the second time, I reached into a nearby fruit bowl and stuffed a grape in each ear. Clever, I know, but I’ve always maintained that a warrior’s greatest asset is his mind.
Ulfric: It wasn’t that I didn’t have the energy. I could’ve killed him, but he didn’t deserve a warrior’s death.
Hjoromir: Ulfric was even more tired than I anticipated. He could barely hold his axe above his chest. In fact, he didn’t look tired. He looked old.
Hjoromir: In the end, I didn’t put my full weight into the punch. Maybe I felt pity for the man my father loved so dearly.
Galmar: I was standing right there, and Jarl Ulfric didn’t flinch. Hmph. I’m not sure the boy even hit him.
Ulfric: The boy missed. Now that he’s free, I imagine he will return to his village and boast to his friends about the day he struck a Jarl, but it will not be the truth.
Jorleif: To be frank, I didn’t get a very good look. There was so much going on, it was hard to tell. It was definitely close though.
Dragonborn: There’s no doubt the kid landed the punch. Just barely grazed Ulfric’s chin. Sure, he was beaten mercilessly afterward, but he did it. I was impressed.
Jorleif: We were all surprised when the Dragonborn laid down her weapon. It was as if she was waiting the whole time for the boy to hit the Jarl.
Ulfric: I couldn’t execute them. The Dragonborn could still be of some use. I simply needed to convince her that our cause was just. Nonetheless, her actions could not go unanswered. A week in the Bloodworks seemed like an adequate punishment.
Dragonborn: It was worth it to see Hjoromir punch him in the face.
Hjoromir: My father told me a lot of stories about Ulfric. How he drove back an army of Forsworn invaders, and shattered the High King to pieces with his voice. But when I met him in battle, I realized that despite all the talk, he was….well, he was just another man.