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- Speak to Bujold the Unworthy in Bujold's Retreat.
- Join the assault on Thirsk Mead Hall and defeat the rieklings.
- Meet her at Hrothmund's Barrow.
- Listen to her interaction with Hrothmund's spirit.
- Keep her secret, kill her, or betray her to Kuvar.
Thirsk, the legendary mead hall founded in the Third Era by Hrothmund the Red of the Skaal, was built for Nord warriors who wanted to live, hunt, and fight in the wilderness, the old way. When you visit Thirsk Mead Hall, it is clear that the mead hall has seen better days, as it is currently inhabited by rieklings, without a single proud Nord in sight. Head east from the Hall and locate Bujold's Retreat, where you will find the former Nord inhabitants, clearly exiled from their own Hall and quite frustrated and embarrassed. As you enter the camp, you will witness a heated discussion between Bujold and Kuvar:
Bujold: "It won't be that easy to get rid of the Rieklings, Kuvar."
Kuvar: "I never said it would be. But either way, we have to try. Whether we succeed or not, it'll stir up some of the old blood in this crowd."
Bujold: "I'm not going to lead them to their deaths if they aren't ready."
Kuvar: "Then train them. What are we doing here? We should either get used to staying here, or be preparing to retake the hall. You're having us do neither, and I can't stomach it."
Bujold: "Your stomach isn't my problem. We'll act when I say we do and not before."
Kuvar: "Well, you'd better say something. And soon."
Talking to the other residents reveals that everyone is unhappy about living in the remote camp, instead of the cozy warmth they are used to in the Hall. If you seek out Kuvar, he will explain it: "We brought ourselves out here, along with our shame. We used to be proud warriors of Thirsk Mead Hall. There, up on the hill. But we let that sweet life get the better of us. We grew soft, and..." He then tells you what happened: "Rieklings. Those filthy vermin... they came in numbers. Waves of the things. One at a time, they're pests, but with this many... And so here we are, out of our home."
Locate the leader with the unflattering byname, Bujold the Unworthy, and ask her what is going on. Like Kuvar, she will be painfully honest: "What's going on here is that we've been kicked out of our home." She then proceeds to explain that rieklings took over the Hall and will explain how the mighty warriors lost the battle against the small vermin: "With tenacity and numbers. Didn't help that we'd grown a little too comfortable up there. Too much mead. Too many stories. Too few battles." While it is clear that the Nords drank themselves out of their home, ask her if she needs any help and she will gladly accept and reason that "Some new blood should be enough to rouse these layabouts to actually fight again." At this point, consider completing a favor quest for camp inhabitant Elmus (it becomes unavailable once this quest is started) - and consider if you want to help the Nords or not, as you will miss out on the quest The Chief of Thirsk Hall.
As soon as you agree to help the Nords, the quest will initiate and Bujold will gather her warriors with the words:
"Hey, you lazy milk-drinkers, get over here! I know you're all starting to settle in here, and keep up the fat lives you got used to up in the hall. But look here. This outsider has more fire than any of you. All I had to do was mention our little infestation, and he/she volunteered in a second! I don't want to have my spirit outstripped by some wanderer. So let's get up there and kill us some Rieklings!"
After the speech, all the warriors will draw weapons and set off at a running pace towards Thirsk Mead Hall, determined to reclaim it and wipe out the rieklings. You will have no choice but to tag along and fight a total of nineteen angry rieklings defending their new property. A total of six rieklings will defend the exterior while the rest will be inside, doing everything they can to protect their property, including the riekling chief himself. The chief can only be wounded by the Nords to the point where he drops into the recovery position; it falls to you to finish him off. When all is said and done and dead rieklings lie everywhere in the Hall, locate Bujold who will be exhilarated by the battle and ask how you feel. Regardless of your answer, she will ask you to be her 'second' for a journey, as she needs to get another blessing from Hrothmund the Red before the Nords again take up residence in the Hall.
Bujold will lead you to a Nordic ruin called Hrothmund's Barrow, southwest of Benkongerike. Near the entrance she will turn around and ask you whether you are ready or not. You can then ask her what this place is and she will explain the full background: "The burial place of Hrothmund, who founded Thirsk. He brought a group of true warriors away from the soft life of the Skaal, to know the wilderness, to feel the sting of cold and of steel. I know that... sounds a little silly. It's just the way it's written in the books, and that phrase has always stuck with me." She will also explain what will happen in the barrow: "It's pretty simple. Hrothmund's axe is in there with him. Anyone who attempts to take hold of it has their spirit judged by Hrothmund himself." She will then reveal that she is quite confident that she will receive Hrothmund's blessing once again. After all, she received it before.
The Spirit of Hrothmund
Inside the barrow, head through the first empty chamber and enter a huge water-filled room. As you approach, the water will disappear, and the now visible path will lead you right to Hrothmund's Axe, where Bujold will try and grab it, as per tradition. When she does, Hrothmund's spirit will speak:
Hrothmund: "You seek my blessing for the leadership of Thirsk Hall?"
Bujold: "I do. It is I, Bujold. You blessed me in the past, and now I've rid the hall of Rieklings and returned it to its rightful owners."
Hrothmund: "And well it is that this has happened. But I have always watched, and know that it was your softness that lead to your own exile."
Bujold: "No! I..."
Hrothmund: "You allowed your fellow warriors to grow weak while the dangers around you mounted."
Bujold: "Then... the leadership is not mine?"
Hrothmund: "No. Nor is there any among you fit to serve. For a band in the wilderness, it is better to have no leader than a poor one."
After her conversation with Hrothmund, an embarrassed Bujold will approach you and two options will be available, although both will lead to Bujold making the decision to return to Thirsk Mead Hall and continue her leadership as if Hrothmund had given his blessing. She will explain why: "No matter what Hrothmund says, we need a leader. And I'm still the best person for that." When you point out that she goes against Hrothmund's wishes she will continue: "Look what's happened to us so far under his watchful eye. He gave his blessing to all the leaders who brought us to this point. Anyway, he's dead and we're alive. It's time to begin a new tradition for Thirsk. And I'm going to do that. All I need is for you to back me up. You don't even need to lie... just don't tell anyone else what you heard here."
- Should you choose to tell Bujold that you will keep her secret, then tell Kuvar the truth, Bujold will be disabled and disappear from the game as soon as she leaves Thirsk Mead Hall.
- Once the warriors have cleaned up the mead hall, three new favor quests will be available. See this section for details.
- If you've returned Bilgemuck to the rieklings before starting this quest, he'll remain outside the hall indefinitely even after it's been retaken by the Nords.
- Before volunteering to assist the Nords in retaking the Hall, you can kill all of the rieklings that currently inhabit it save the chief, who is flagged as essential at this point. When you then join the assault with Bujold, no rieklings will be waiting outside, and the chief will only have eight warriors inside to help him fight off the attackers.
- The total number of rieklings to kill given in the relevant quest objective can be as high as twenty, but will vary based on how many are still alive.
- The following empty quest stages were omitted from the table: 0, 205.