Jorunn the Skald-King is a biography about the life and triumphs of Joruun before he was crowned High King. Helgreir Lute-Voice, the author of the book, most likely traveled with Jorunn in his “Pack of Bards” made up of his closest friends and fellow musicians. It describes his early life as a Bard, the sacking of Windhelm, and his revenge against the Akaviri invaders that were responsible. As you read the book, you can use the map below to help visualize and keep track of locations.
Prince Jorunn was the second child born to Queen Mabjaarn Flame-Hair, making him ineligible for being crowned King. Jorunn instead pursued a career as a bard, travelling all across Northern Tamriel in disguise. While he had little interest in politics or combat training, he exhibited skills as a natural leader and promoted the arts wherever he went.
When Jorunn was 26, news arrived that the Akaviri were making their way to Windhelm from the North. He arrived as the city was breached, and his mother and sister were lost in the battle. As the next heir of Windhelm, Jorunn traveled to High Hrothgar for help. The Greybeards, masters of the Way of the Voice, summoned Wulfharth the Ash-King from Sovngarde to organize the battle against the Akaviri. Together they traveled throughout Eastern Skyrim building an army, and settled at Riften to fortify the city.
Ada’Soon Dir-Kamal, leader of the Akaviri force, decided it would be easier to simply skip Riften and continue their war campaign further south. Seeking vengeance for his family’s death, Jorunn led his army after them into Morrowind. The Akaviri were crushed thanks to the combined efforts of the Nords, Dark Elves and Argonians, and Jorunn returned home to officially be crowned High King.
As a child, Jorunn grew up under the impression that his older sister Nurnhilde was destined to be the ruler of Eastern Skyrim. While some might have been jealous, he was more interested in learning the arts and exploring the world rather than political agendas and beurocracy. This includes visiting places such as Sutch, a town that existed in Cyrodiil until it was eventually destroyed, and even the city of Solitude, the capital of Western Skyrim under control of the Reachmen. Thanks to his travels, Jorunn will most likely have a very accurate understanding of how things really are under his rule as King, with a better understanding of the concerns and troubles of the common people.
It’s difficult to imagine how Jorunn must have felt when he arrived at Windhelm too late to save his family, regardless of the fact that he probably would have been killed in the battle along with them. The Greybeards must have seen true potential in him to summon a champion from Sovngarde to fight by his side. Wulfharth the Ash-King was a ruler in the First Era known for driving out the Alessian Order from Skyrim to return to the Nordic pantheon of animal spirit worship. Other sources such as The Arcturian Heresy claim that Wulfharth was actually summoned by Almalexia to fight with the Tribunal rather than Jorunn. Without additional sources, it’s difficult to identify what the truth really is. Regardless of who did it, the fact that Wulfharth was summoned at all demonstrates the true danger that the Akaviri posed to the future of Tamriel.
An important note to take away from this book is that Jorunn was crowned High King of Skyrim, not the immediate ruler of the Ebonheart Pact. It would be years later when the Pact became official, and even then there would most likely have been an internal struggle for power. Who was Jorunn to command Almalexia, a living god of the Tribunal? Why should the Argonians take orders from a land-strider? While the Daggerfall Covenant unanimously elected their leader, the ties and relationships between the races of Ebonheart make it one of the most fragile Alliances in the war. As the story unfolds, it will be exciting to see how the different races and governments interact with each other in an effort to protect what they believe to be most important.