Tending the Flames – p. 2 | The Bards College quests

In this section of our TES V: Skyrim guide, we provide a detailed walkthrough of the second part of the Tending the Flames quest, which is one of the side quests offered by The Bards College. After retrieving King Olaf’s Verse, you must return to The Bards College, but be prepared for an enemy to stand in your way – King Olaf himself. Once you bring the Olaf’s Verse to The Bards College, a lot of meetings await you.

  • New main objective: Return to the Bards College
  • New main objective: Help Viarmo reconstruct Olaf’s Verse
  • New main objective: Meet Viarmo at the Blue Palace
  • New main objective: Watch Viarmo perform Olaf’s verse
  • New main objective: Speak to Viarmo
  • New main objective: Speak to Jorn
  • New main objective: Speak to Jorn after dusk
  • New main objective: Attend the Burning of King Olaf

New main objective: Return to the Bards College

Return to the Bards College through the same rooms, but be cautious as you will encounter new Draugrs in one of the rooms. Pause at the previously ignored sealed door and wait for the ghost of Svaknir to unlock it (as shown in the screenshot). It is recommended to use the newly opened western passage.

Proceed to the next locked gate, where you will need to solve a symbols puzzle. You must set three interactive rings in the correct order. Look at the Ruby Dragon Claw in your inventory, which you obtained at the beginning of the quest, to learn the order. The solution is shown in the screenshot above – the upper ring should display a wolf, the middle a hawk, and the lower a wolf. Finally, use the claw to unlock the passage.

Head south and save your game on the way. Upon arriving at a large southern room, you will engage in a long fight with Draugrs, consisting of multiple parts. Start attacking the undead who rise from their thrones (as shown in the screenshot) and note that the ghost of Svaknir is helping you. Also, he cannot die. Be careful as you will eventually have to face increasingly powerful Draugrs, including four Draugr Scourges.

Finally, you must fight the main boss of this quest – King Olaf One-Eye (as shown in the screenshot). Attack him before he can rise from his grave, and later in the battle, step back and let Olaf fight with Svaknir. You can also join in, but your main focus should be on avoiding the boss’s attacks. Afterward, examine his corpse and take King Olaf’s Treasury Key. Additionally, you should check the nearby Word Wall to learn the Word of Power – Fury, Whirlwind Sprint.

Enter through the side door by using the key (shown above). Once inside the treasury, make sure to check the contents of the main chest. Then, pull the lever and follow the narrow corridor back to the crypt exit. Open the world map and travel to Solitude, specifically to The Bards College. Speak to Viarmo and give him King Olaf’s Verse.

New main objective: Assist Viarmo in reconstructing Olaf’s Verse

When talking to Viarmo, he will reveal that the verse is incomplete. Your character will suggest falsifying it. Viarmo will begin reciting the verse and ask you twice how to fill in the gaps (shown above). It is recommended to choose dialogue options related to Speech (Persuasion). If those attempts fail, you can still use standard dialogue options.

New main objective: Meet Viarmo at the Blue Palace

New main objective: Observe Viarmo performing Olaf’s Verse

After completing the verse, Viarmo will take it to The Blue Palace and recite it to the Jarl in an attempt to revive the tradition of the Burning of King Olaf. The Blue Palace is located in the southeast of Solitude. Follow Viarmo or meet him there. Find him and ask if he is ready. Follow him to the main hall and wait for him to begin reciting the verse (shown above). Regardless of your choices regarding the gaps, the Jarl of Solitude will be pleased and decide to restore the Bard feast.

New main objective: Speak to Viarmo

New main objective: Speak to Jorn

New main objective: Speak to Jorn after dusk

Speak to Viarmo and he will send you to Jorn to help with preparations for the feast. Leave The Blue Palace and return to The Bards College. Find Jorn and speak to him (shown above). If you meet him after dusk, you can proceed to the next part of the quest automatically. Otherwise, Jorn will ask you to come back later.

New main objective: Attend the Burning of King Olaf

Leave The Bards College and head northeast. Stop by the small square and wait for the interested parties to gather and watch the burning of the dummy King Olaf (shown above). Afterward, speak with Viarmo, who will officially make you a member of The Bards College and reward you with gold (the amount depends on the “quality” of the verse, or how many Persuasion dialogue options were used). Although the quest is complete, you can continue to complete three other quests of The Bards College, which are described in the following sections of this guide.


1. What is Tending the Flames and how do I start the quest?

Tending the Flames is a quest in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that is part of The Bards College quests. The quest requires you to retrieve King Olaf’s Verse, a lost poem that is said to contain the key to discovering the truth about King Olaf One-Eye’s reign. To start the quest, you must speak to Viarmo, the headmaster of The Bards College in Solitude. He will give you the quest and ask you to retrieve the poem.

2. Where can I find King Olaf’s Verse?

King Olaf’s Verse can be found in Dead Men’s Respite, a Nordic ruin located in the mountains southwest of Morthal. The ruin is filled with draugrs and traps, so make sure you come prepared for a battle. Once you reach the end of the ruin, you will find a word wall and a pedestal. Place the three fragments of the poem on the pedestal to reveal the full poem and retrieve it.

3. What rewards do I get for completing Tending the Flames?

Completing Tending the Flames will reward you with a leveled amount of gold and an increase in your Speech skill. Additionally, you will gain the ability to perform a new shout, Fire Breath, which allows you to breathe fire on your enemies. The quest is also a requirement for becoming a full member of The Bards College.

4. Are there any tips for completing Tending the Flames?

One tip for completing Tending the Flames is to bring a follower with you to Dead Men’s Respite. The ruin can be challenging to navigate alone, and having a follower to help you in combat can be useful. Additionally, make sure you have a good supply of health potions and other healing items, as the draugrs in the ruin can deal a lot of damage. Finally, be prepared to solve some puzzles and traps along the way, as they are a common feature in Nordic ruins.

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