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Skyrim Civil War: What Happens If You Choose The Imperials

In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, players find themselves in the midst of a civil war for the eponymous province. The Imperial Legion is looking to keep Skyrim within the fold of the Empire of Cyrodiil, while the rebellious Stormcloaks are seeking national autonomy and liberation from laws restricting religious worship. Shortly after the beginning of the game, the player has the option of choosing either side, joining the Imperial Legion leading to crushing the Stormcloak rebellion and solidifying Skyrim as a subordinate province in the Empire.

The Skyrim Civil War is largely a consequence of the Great War which took place prior to the events of the game. The Great War was a conflict between the Empire of Cyrodiil and the Aldmeri Dominion for influence across Tamriel. A treaty to end the Great War, known as the White-Gold Concordat, included a concession to the Aldmeri Dominion outlawing the worship of Talos throughout the Empire. This is a particular point of motivation for Ulfric Stormcloack, leader of the rebellion and hopeful High King of Skyrim, though many other figures sympathetic to his cause are primarily interested in Skyrim simply becoming an independent nation.

Related: Skyrim Civil War: What Happens If You Choose The Stormcloaks

In order to join the Imperial Legion, players have to travel to Solitude in order to seek out General Tullius, leader of the Empire's forces in Skyrim. At the outset of the Civil War questline, the province is essentially split in half by the two factions, with Skyrim's city of Whiterun bearing the only neutrality. Both factions are also seeking the Jagged Crown, which was worn by the ancient kings of Skyrim. The early quests in the Civil War plotline on the Imperial side revolve around acquiring the Jagged Crown and petitioning the Jarl of Whiterun to swear allegiance to the Empire.

Following Whiterun's fealty to the Empire, the Battle for Whiterun begins a series of smaller skirmishes which lead to the conclusion of the Skyrim Civil War. The Battle for Whiterun is by far the largest conflict the Dragonborn participates in, helping the Imperial Legion defend the city from a Stormcloak siege. Following a successful defense of Whiterun, the Dragonborn helps the Legion gain control of a series of forts and conducts various acts of espionage and subterfuge intended to cripple the Stormcloak war effort.

Once significant control of Skyrim has been obtained, the Imperial Legion mounts an assault on Windhelm, the Stormcloaks' primary stronghold. After Windhelm's defenses have been broken, the Dragonborn confronts Ulfric Stormcloak with General Tullius, and the Legion commander reads Ulfric his crimes against the Empire: "You are guilty of insurrection, murder of Imperial citizens, the assassination of King Torygg, and high treason against the Empire." After a final fight, Ulfric is defeated and requests to be executed by the Dragonborn, since "it'll make for a better song." The player can either grant Ulfric's final wish or defer the final blow of Skyrim's civil war to General Tullius.

Next: How Elder Scrolls 6 Could Change If Imperials Or Stormcloaks Won

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