If games were books, then The Elder Scrolls series would be like an entire library. The sheer amount of lore in this game series is downright staggering! There's so much depth in the series' rich history that it's almost hard to discern its stories from historical fact. From the dawn of Man and Mer to the Great War, the series has such a detailed history which helps build its meaty lore. With lore this deep, it's only natural for it to also come with a few unexplained happenings.
Stories that capture the imagination, not just because they're fascinating, but also because they're quite mysterious. These types of stories are bountiful in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim alone. The game never has a shortage of stories that boggle the mind. Despite the game's intricately detailed history, there are still some things that fans know little about. Why did an important figure vanish without a trace? What's the secret identity of a certain powerful foe? Who keeps bugs in jars that are sealed with mystical runes?
There are so many unsolved mysteries in this icy region such as mystical foliage with an equally mystifying purpose, powerful mages with hidden mysteries and people that disappear without a trace. It seems like some tales in this game bring up more questions than answers. Fans might find it befuddling how some of these stories lead to a dead end. Here, we will at least try to shed some light and attempt to decipher 30 little-known details in Skyrim that are very mysterious. Who knows, perhaps the readers themselves just might be able to find the answers to Skyrim's most baffling secrets.
30 A Thief Without A Name
Thieves Guild member Sapphire is certainly one of the most suspicious figures in the group. She claims that she got her name for having an affinity for precious gems. However, is it even her real name?
She still refuses to reveal her real name even after players help her out.
Some fans believe that Sapphire might very well be her actual name but others are still quite skeptical. The fact that there's a note in the guild telling others that she's “more than meets the eye” only arouses more suspicion.
29 Rune's Puzzling Past
There's a member in the Thieves Guild who goes by the name Rune. He might come off as an ordinary guy but there's actually a lot of mystery surrounding him. You see, Rune isn't exactly his birth name. In fact, he doesn't even know what it is himself.
He was only named Rune because the people who found him in a shipwreck also found a strange stone with runic inscriptions inside his pocket. Even if players tell Rune that they will try and find any leads about his past, they can never find anything that links to his mysterious origins.
28 An Unexplained Phenomenon
Out of all the strange happenings in Skyrim, there's still a lot of questions regarding the infamous event known as the Karthwasten Massacre. The event was brought up by Imperial Legion general Tullius during the main story-line, in a quest called “Season Unending.” However, there's not much known about the event itself.
The Imperial Legion claims that the StormCloak Rebellion decimated dozens of Skyrim's people during this occurrence yet there's little insight into what really happened at the time. Players could still find a town called Karthwasten in Skyrim but they won't be finding any signs of annihilation any time soon.
27 Falion's Hidden Agenda
Players traveling to Morthal will hear about a strange wizard named Falion. He can be heard having odd conversations with her adopted daughter. When players decide to follow this peculiar wizard, he will lead them to a summoning circle.
It's no wonder lots of rumors lead to this suspicious fellow.
What he does in this place and how it affects his adopted daughter's “bad dreams” is anybody's guess. Players aren't the only ones suspicious of Falion's secret agenda either. Even Morthal's Jarl Idgrod Ravencrone feels that there's definitely something fishy about Falion, we just don't know what exactly.
26 The Tale Of Unknown Origins
Everyone who has played Skyrim for quite some time will undoubtedly have heard of the song called “Ragnar The Red.” After all, most bards in the game have bashed the tune into the heads of most fans already! The song talks about a braggart named Ragnar and a beautiful shield maiden known as Matilda.
What most don't know is who these characters actually are. Some suspect that Ragnar might be the headless horseman who's seen galloping in the field late at night. While that might be plausible, there's no actual proof that verifies both Ragnar and Matilda's identities. Perhaps some tales are best left to the imagination.
25 Identity Of The Ebony Warrior
Upon reaching level 80, players will be challenged by a Redguard known only as the Ebony Warrior. This dark metal-clad warrior is as powerful as he is unnervingly mysterious. He can cast spells, attack up close, fight from a distance and even heal himself when injured!
His combat prowess gives enough problems on its own but what makes him even more intimidating is his concealed identity. Players can't seem to see through his cold, dark and expressionless helmet. Who is this Ebony Warrior and how does he have the guts to call out someone who has already slain countless dragons?
24 The Perplexing Orb In Kagrenzel
Anyone who has visited the Dwemer ruins of Kagrenzel will immediately notice one thing that stands out from the rest. There's a seemingly intelligent orb that scans players upon entry before they're allowed inside the ruins' inner sanctum. The orb itself cannot be attacked nor interacted with yet it does interact with the player, circling and floating above them.
It's quite unnerving that there are several lifeless bodies surrounding the orb.
The name of the ruins does sound closely similar to the great Dwemer engineer Kagrenac. Could this be a work of the famed Dwemer architect? Nobody knows for sure.
23 Black-Briar Manor's Dirty Secret
The manor of Riften city's most influential family known as the Black-Briars certainly holds a dirty little secret. Players who visit the basement of this eerie manor will notice a heavily locked door. Behind this door are the remains of a sacrificial ritual that aims to summon the Dark Brotherhood to dispatch a certain target.
The question is, who is the mysterious victim of this sinister ritual? Clues about this dark deed can be found within the manor but the identity of the victim remains uncertain. Either way, it's no surprise that such a notorious family dabbles in the dark arts.
22 The Psijic Monks' Wardrobe Conundrum
The Psijic monks have a long history of being mysterious but who would've thought that their signature attire would be just as mystifying? Numerous books found in Skyrim describe them as gray-hooded monks or “cloaks of gray” on multiple occasions. However, in the game, the monks are seen wearing brightly-colored robes instead.
What could've contributed to such a drastic change in attire? Could there have been a change in their order or did they simply run out of gray clothing? If that's the case, then they shouldn't be surprised if people mistake them for some random cult.
21 The Thalmor Embassy Conspiracy
When players meet Delphine during the main quest, she will tell them that she's pretty sure the Thalmor are behind the dragon attacks. Once players visit the Thalmor Embassy, however, they'll find out that they had nothing to do with the dragons at all. A dossier inside the Embassy reveals that the Thalmor were solely relying on the dragon attack at Helgen to help start the civil war but were not responsible for causing it.
If there weren't any dragons at Helgen then Ulfric would've perished and the war wouldn't have resumed. It's a wonder what the Thalmor would've done if a dragon hadn't intervened.
20 The Enigmatic Argonian Mage
Before players get to enter Ironbind Barrow, they'll be greeted by a Redguard named Salma and a suspicious Argonian mage named Beem-Ja. Unbeknownst to both Salma and the players, Beem-Ja was actually using them to beat the warlord Gathrik and absorb his powers. Players can find a note on Beem-Ja suggesting that Salma comes from a wealthy family and Beem-Ja was supposedly her bodyguard.
The note also revealed that Beem-Ja had a criminal past. It's a wonder what Beem-Ja would've done with Gathrik's powers, it's even more baffling why a criminal like Beem-Ja was ordered to protect the daughter of a wealthy family.
19 Gathrik The Skyrim Menace
Ironbind Barrow is home to the infamous Draugr warlord called Gathrik. Some believe that he is the strongest Draugr enemy in the whole game. In fact, his Draugr deathlord character model is easily one of the tallest among most NPCs in Skyrim.
How can someone this powerful not have a backstory?
Aside from being such an intimidating figure, not much is truly known about Gathrik's past. The fact that a mage named Beem-Ja wanted to absorb his powers shows that Gathrik is an omnipotent being. Unfortunately, his past will forever be buried along with him since it's nowhere to be found in the game.
18 Anska's Cryptic Scroll
Nordic warrior Anska is looking for a certain scroll that will supposedly reveal her heritage. Players get a chance to help her find it when they enter High Gate Ruins. To get this special scroll, players will have to defeat a powerful dragon priest called Vokun.
If there's anyone who deserves to find out what the scroll contains, it's gonna be the players since they had to risk their lives in order to obtain a piece of paper. While players can ask Anska about the scroll, She'll never reveal its contents. What a bummer!
17 Letters From An Unknown Friend
The Dragonborn is so famous that he frequently gets letters from the courier. Some letters come from jarls and museum curators while others come from someone who claims to be “a friend.” Who is this so-called friend, why are they constantly sending letters and are they truly an ally, or something else?
This friend is certainly good at stalking.
Some might assume that the letters are coming from Delphine. However, players will continue to receive these letters even when they're in bad terms with the Blades. Perhaps the letters are from the Nine Divines themselves? Nobody knows.
16 The Curious Case Of Olaf
Some accounts depict Olaf One-Eye as an honorable king while others describe him as a charlatan. Olaf helped trap the calamitous dragon Numinex saving Whiterun city in the process but a bard named Svaknir claims that his heroic deeds were a lie. What's even stranger is that two Olaf One-Eyes exist at the same time!
Olaf can be seen in Sovngarde enjoying the afterlife and praising Svaknir. The very same Olaf also appears in Skyrim but as a Draugr who calls Svaknir an “insolent bard” instead. This suggests that Olaf's accomplishments and the bard's accusation might actually coexist. Yup, it's exactly as weird as it sounds.
15 Olaf's Lost Poem
Olaf One-Eye's story only gets weirder when players unravel Svaknir's poem about him. In the poem, Svaknir lashed out at Olaf calling him a false king and a fraud. The problem is, only a few words of the poem can be read as the rest of them are censored out.
Players had to help a bard named Viarmo make up the rest of the poem just so they could finish Svaknir's story. It's a wonder what Svaknir's actual poem could've been like. Now that his words are forever gone and his poem has been rewritten, the fans might never know the real story.
14 Kvenel's Fall From Grace
Kvenel the Tongue is described as a hero in some books but when players find him in Skyrim, he's anything but heroic. During the quest “Silenced Tongues,” Kvenel appears as a unique semi-transparent Draugr enemy. Aside from his spectral appearance, he's also the only Draugr that dual-wields two unique weapons.
It's unclear what happened to Kvenel during his adventures, how he ended up in this tomb why he has a strange spectral form and what happened to the rest of the Tongues. Players basically just invade his tomb, steal his weapon and silence him. Why? We may never know.
13 Creation Of Dragonrend
There's a segment in the game's main quest where the players must travel back in time to learn an ancient shout called Dragonrend. Some were expecting that they'll witness how the shout was created. However, the shout was already made by this time and players only get to see it in action.
So how did humans create something that only comes from dragons? Sure, humans were taught how to utilize these shouts but not even dragons expected that they would actually create their own! The only thing known about Dragonrend is that it was made from pure disdain and hatred.
12 Solitude's Mysterious Underbelly
Solitude visitors will notice a distinct noise whenever they're wandering the streets. A unique running-water sound plays whenever people go near what appears to be a manhole cover. What's beneath these covers? Is it a simple storm drain or is there a complex sewage system underneath Solitude?
Perhaps locals might start hearing alligator noises down there too.
Some claim that visiting the jailhouse leads to the fabled Solitude sewers but the dungeon only has one entrance and exit. Fans have argued its purpose so much that they've already started creating their very own Solitude sewer mods themselves.
11 The Unreadable Book
There's a quest that sends players on a mission to find a book authored by the great wizard known as Shalidor. He is the wizard who created the notorious maze within Labyrinthian but the purpose of his work is shrouded in mystery. Just when players thought they can finally unearth his secrets after finding his book, they hit a dead end.
While players can still read the book, they wouldn't exactly be able to understand anything. The book is filled with scribbles and drawings, there's basically no readable text in it. Who knew Shalidor was even better than Da Vinci at hiding his code?
10 The Eye Of Magnus
The Eye Of Magnus is an ancient artifact that will always be remembered by anyone who has done the College of Winterhold mage quests. In fact, this artifact was discovered way before the Dragonborn was even, well, born! However, its real purpose and how it got into Saarthal was never explained.
There's so much power in this artifact yet not much is known about it. It still continues to create ruptures in Skyrim even after it was confiscated by the Psijic monks. Now that it's in the hands of the Psijics, who knows what they'll do with it.
9 Cave Of Wonders
There's a cozy little cave south of Markarth called Purewater Run. Now, this is quite a curious little cave even when it's not exactly associated with any quests. Players will immediately notice an enormous nirnroot in the cave's entrance but that's not all.
Players will certainly wonder why this cave even exists.
Further down the cave is a deep body of water that strangely leads to some Dwemer artifacts including a chest and a large Dwemer centurion head! The cave isn't anywhere near a Dwemer ruin so it's quite bizarre to see Dwemer architecture in such a remote location.
8 Arniel's Uncertain Fate
The College of Winterhold is home to a lot of eccentric individuals including a Dwemer-obsessed mage named Arniel Gane. Arniel is trying to simulate the disappearance of the Dwemers. If players decide to help Arniel in his research, they'll cause his disappearance instead.
Players then gain the ability to summon Arniel's shade afterward. It's unclear if this shade is the real Arniel. In fact, this shade doesn't sound like him at all! It's quite uncharacteristic for such a passive guy like Arniel to suddenly become a bloodthirsty mage who constantly yells “must [eliminate].” Perhaps Arniel really did join the dwarves.
7 The Wizard's Dark Past
During the mage quests in the College of Winterhold, players get a chance to speak to a mystical figure known only as the Augur of Dunlain. Most refuse to speak of him but those who do describe him as a brilliant student who sought power and got more than he bargained for. Tolfdir explains that the Augur used to be a student just like them before he got into an “accident.”
The Augur not only lost his physical form, but he also lost his real name and identity in the process. Of course, Tolfdir never explains what led to this so-called accident.
6 The Disappearance Of Mirabelle
Mirabelle Ervine is a master wizard at the College of Winterhold. It was believed that she gave her life to save the university from ruin during the time that Ancano activated the Eye of Magnus. While Mirabelle supposedly perished during the event, her body was never found.
The weird part is, some members still expect her to show up even after she perished. Some students even talk as if she's still alive! Mirabelle even has hidden voice dialogue calling players as the arch-mage even when she never lived to see them take over the college.
5 Catastrophe Or Great Mystery?
The city of Winterhold is now in ruins thanks to a catastrophic event referred to as 'The Great Collapse'. What could cause such a cataclysmic calamity? Well apparently, it could've been anything since it wasn't entirely explained in the game.
Arch-mage Savos Aren suspected that the event might've been caused by the eruption of Red Mountain. Although the eruption happened way before the collapse occurred so that's quite a delayed reaction. Another theory is that it might have something to do with the Eye of Magnus reawakening but everything else is just mere conjecture at this point.
4 Nerevar's Unsolved Demise
Indoril Nerevar is such an iconic figure in the series' long history and was instrumental to the premise of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. However, his demise is heavily disputed by various conflicting books found across Skyrim. Some say Nerevar perished while fighting the Dwemers in Red Mountain while others claim that he was ended by his own people.
Some books even admit that his passing is quite confusing given the varying accounts of different authors. How Nerevar met his end will always be a mystery that's as puzzling as the disappearance of the entire Dwemer race.
3 The Strange Tree In Markarth
Why is there a lone tree hidden deep inside Markarth city's Dwemer ruin Nchuand-Zel? This is the same question being asked by fans as well as the excavators of the said ancient ruin. This strange tree is the subject of several notes from scholars who've perished within the ruins.
How can a simple tree be entangled in so much mystery?
Scholars found its existence quite baffling and its similarities to a tree in Whiterun makes it even more perplexing. While it might look like a normal tree, it's said to have some sort of purpose, we just don't know what.
2 The Legend Who Nobody Knew
Any player who stumbles upon Wayward Pass will eventually bump into some skeletal remains lying atop what appears to be a shrine. While there may be various tributes around it, the thing that stands out the most is the skull itself. It comes with a unique name, the “Ancient Traveler's Skull.”
The skull appears larger than usual and weighs a lot heavier than normal skulls too. Who is this supposedly legendary traveler and why do some pay tribute to him? It seems like his skull has no other uses either, aside from serving as a morbid decoration, that is.
1 The Mind-Bending Bug Jars
When players discovered jars that are filled with insects in them, they couldn't help but wonder, who in Skyrim puts bugs in jars? More importantly, why? This strange bug jar conundrum has been debated by countless fans over the years.
It's a mystery that's been bugging fans, literally.
Some suggest that the notorious bug jars were supposed to be part of a quest that was deleted from the game. If that's the case, then we're still left wondering what that quest might have been. The strange runes inscribed on the jar's lid doesn't help explain anything either.