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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition

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Before the Storm

Scott Peers

This page details a guide through the Skyrim main story quest Before the Storm, including where to find Alvor or Gerdur in Riverwood, how to reach Whiterun and speak to Jarl Balgruuf the Greater.

Before the Storm, Skyrim.

Quest Info Description
Objective Inform the Jarl of Whiterun about the dragon attack on Helgen.
Quest Giver Hadvar or Ralof
Location(s) Riverwood, Whiterun
Prerequesite Unbound
Next Quest Bleack Falls Barrow
Reward Leveled Armor

Quest Overview

  1. (Optional) Speak to Alvor or Gerdur in Riverwood.

  2. Go to Whiterun.

  3. Seek out Jarl Balgruuf the Greater.

Speak with Gerdur or Alvar in Riverwood

Once you’ve emerged from the cave and the ruin of the village of Helgen, you can follow Ralof to Riverwood if you chose to follow him. If you followed Hadvar, you can make your own way to Riverwood, which is located north of Helgen.

Along the way to Riverwood, you can find some valuables without having to venture too far. From the cave exit, travel down the dirt path ahead until you reach an intersection with a sign-post nearby. Now, Riverwood is to the north, but if you travel slightly south you’ll see a bandit camp on the hill to the left. The real treasure here is the Skill Book: Night Falls on Sentinel . It’s in one of the tents in the camp and will raise your skill in One-Handed by one when you read it. There’s also a Treasure Map on one of the bandits.

Activate a Guardian Stone

After you’re done with the camp. go back to the sign post and head north. You’ll end up heading downwards along a rocky path and soon you’ll find the Guardian Stones, a small monument that has three pillars which are devoted to the three main types of playstyle in Skyrim; Thief, Mage, and Warrior. You can activate one of these stones now to gain one of the following bonuses:

Stone Type Effect
Warrior Stone Learn all combat skills 20% faster
Mage Stone Learn all magic skills 20% faster
Thief Stone Learn all stealth skills 20% faster

You can always return to the Guardian Stones if you want to chain the bonus depending on your desired playstyle.

(1 of 2) You can use one of the Guardian Stones to increase the rate at which you learn combat, magic, or stealth skills.

You can use one of the Guardian Stones to increase the rate at which you learn combat, magic, or stealth skills. (left), Speak with Gerdur or Alvar in Riverwood. (right)

Once you’ve activated a stone, continue heading down the rocky path. You’ll likely meet some wolves along the way, but they aren’t very threatening. It won’t be long until you reach Riverwood as you follow the path. The town has more to offer than just the main story quest line, so take some time to explore it, sell some items, potentially buy some useful items, and do some of the side quests if you wish. There is plenty to do in Riverwood, but we’re going to focus on the quest at hand here.

You’ll find Gerdur wandering around the lumbermill in the town, which is next to the blacksmith and the river. You can ask her for items and she’ll offer you a wide variety of things for free. When you’re done taking the items, she’ll ask you to speak with the Jarl of Whiterun by warning him of the dragon attack, and to see if he’s willing to send any soldiers to protect Riverwood.

Travel to Whiterun & Warn Jarl Balgruuf

Whiterun is north of Riverwood, so head out the north side of town and cross the river. Keep following the path and kill any wolves that you may come across. You’ll probably find the “Honningbrew Meadery” as you go along. You’ll also come across several farms and discover them on your map as you go. Along the way, you’ll probably encounter a warrior fighting a giant. When you speak with the warrior they’ll tell you about a group called the Companions, akin to the fighter’s guild in Oblivion. You can pick this quest line up later in Whiterun.

As you approach the gates of Whiterun, a guard will stop you and tell you that the city is currently closed due to the dragon threat. You can respond by telling the guard that you’re here on behalf of Riverwood. He’ll soon let you in. As with Riverwood, there’s a lot of side content to do in Whiterun, but we’ll focus on the quest at hand by making our way to the keep, known as Dragonsreach. When you enter the keep, head to the back of the hall, where you’ll be stopped by members of the court. A conversation with the Jarl will then ensue, after which the Jarl will reward you with some armor before the quest completes.

(1 of 2) The location of Whiterun, north of Riverwood.

The location of Whiterun, north of Riverwood. (left), Speak with Jarl Balgruuf in Dragonsreach Keep at Whiterun to complete the quest. (right)

The Jarl will tell you that he wants you to meet with his court wizard, Farengar, leading to the Bleak Falls Barrow main quest.

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Guide Information
  • Publisher
    Bethesda Softworks
  • Platforms,
    PC, PS3, PS4, Switch, XB 360, XB One
  • Genre
    Action RPG
  • Guide Release
    11 November 2021
  • Last Updated
    7 November 2021
    Version History
  • Guide Author
    Greg Wright

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Skyrim is the homeland of the Nords, a fierce and proud warrior people who are well suited for the bitter cold and mountainous terrain which defines the land. Now scarred by civil war, Skyrim faces its darkest days with the return of the legendary dragons and their leader, the World-Eater Alduin. The future of Skyrim and even the lands beyond hangs in the balance, as the people await the prophesized Dragonborn, a hero born with the power of The Voice and the only one who can contend with the dragons. You are that Dragonborn; your task is to investigate why the dragons are returning, and discover a way to defeat them. At the same time, you’re free to explore Skyrim at your own pace, uncovering its many wonders along the way.

Version 1.2

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