Side Quest: Missing in Action

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At some point when you're in the Whiterun market, you'll witness Fralia Grey-Mane arguing with Idolaf and Olfrid Battle-Born. She'll accuse them of holding her son Thorald prisoner, and they'll insist that he's dead. If you don't see this argument, then try entering and exiting Arcadia's Cauldron nearby, and eventually you should trigger it.


When you talk to Fralia at the conclusion of the argument, she'll offer to tell you the whole story, but she'll insist that you meet with her in her house where you can speak privately. Inside House Grey-Mane, Fralia will greet you, but then her other son Avulstein will burst in and demand to know what you're doing there. Eventually he'll recognize your usefulness, and he'll ask you to look for proof that the Battle-Borns know where Thorald is.

The proof, an Imperial Missive, can be found in the House of Clan Battle-Born. There are three ways to get it:
  • You can steal the Letter from Olfina from Jon Battle-Born (who can usually be found loitering in the market) and then blackmail him with it. He'll go home and grab the missive and then give it to you at the statue of Talos (where Heimskr preaches).

  • You can pass a tough persuade check with Idolaf Battle-Born, and he'll give you the missive. Idolaf can usually be found in the Bannered Mare or in the House of Clan Battle-Born.

  • You can steal the missive from the House of Clan Battle-Born. You'll find it on a desk in a locked room on the ground floor. The best time to steal the missive is in the morning after Idolaf and Olfrid have left for the day. If you make Idolaf happy (by telling him that you support the Battle-Borns) or help Lars Battle-Born (by convincing Braith to stop bullying him), then you'll be able to wander around the House of Clan Battle-Born without anybody caring, making the theft easier.
The Imperial Missive will mention that Thorald was captured by the Thalmor and taken to Nightwatch Keep. When you give the missive to Avulstein, he'll announce his intention to assault the keep. You'll have two ways to respond:
  • If you agree to join Avulstein's assault, then when you arrive at Nightwatch Keep, you'll find Avulstein and two other warriors waiting outside for you. All three will begin following you, and you'll be forced to attack the Thalmor. The two warriors can be killed, but Avulstein will only slump down for a while once he's taken too much damage.

  • If you tell Avulstein that you'll take care of the matter, then Avulstein will stay put in Whiterun, and you'll be on your own. You'll then have the option of assaulting the Thalmor or sneaking past them. At one point a third option was planned, where you could get General Tullius (in Solitude) to order the release of Thorald, but this option was (apparently) never completed.
If you attack the Thalmor, then your toughest battle against them will be outside, where you might have to face five or six enemies at once. Inside, you'll only have to deal with two or three at a time.

You'll find Thorald chained up against the wall in the interrogation room (#5). When you free him he'll begin following you, and you'll need to escort him out of the keep. Outside, Thorald will go his own way, but he'll ask you to tell his mother "to suffer the winter's cold wind, for it bears aloft next summer's seeds." When you deliver this message to Fralia back in Whiterun, she'll reward you with a random enchanted weapon (if Eorlund is still alive) or some gold (otherwise).

Note: If you're playing an unpatched version of the game, then you might need to lead Thorald through the back entrance of the keep (Exit B) to get the quest to update properly.

1 - Book

In the shelf behind the bar you'll find the book 2920, Morning Star, v1, which will increase your One-Handed skill by 1.

2 - Thalmor Captain

Somewhere around here you should encounter the Thalmor captain (usually a Northwatch mage), who will drop the Northwatch Captain's Key when she dies. The Northwatch Captain's Key doesn't appear to unlock anything.

3 - Book (Lower Level)

On a crate here you'll find the book The Legendary Sancre Tor, which will increase your Two-Handed skill by 1.

4 - Northwatch Interrogator

In this room you should encounter the Northwatch interrogator, who will drop the Northwatch Keep Key when he dies. The Northwatch Keep Key unlocks the back door to the keep (Exit B).

5 - Thorald

6 - Cells

You can open the cells by activating the nearby levers, or you can pick the "master" locks.

  1. Front entrance.
  2. Back entrance. To open the back entrance you'll either need to pick a "master" lock or acquire the Northwatch Keep Key (#4).




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