Welcome to Skyrim, home of the nords. You’re second in line for the chopping block, how fun! Don’t worry though, a dragon will save your life and you’ll repay it by endeavoring to pass the execution onto itself. Well, now that you’ve been unleashed upon the region it’s time to get the haps on what’s going on, who are the influential groups, and more importantly… What are they listening to?
Followers of Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak, the stormcloaks fight in hopes of securing independence for Skyrim, and freedom to worship Talos the so-called ninth divine. One of the two warring factions over the short term fate of the region they are at an impass with the Imperial Empire which rules most of Tamriel. Most stormcloaks are rather xenophobic, especially toward elves, though not exclusively, they’re none to fond of argonians or khajiit either.
The other side of the war for Skyrim, the empire simply aims to quash what is little more than a rebellion. The outlawing of Talos worship being one of necessity, to appease a far larger threat to Tamriel, the Aldmeri Dominion. The war with the dominion has barely ended and the opportunity to prepare for another invasion is being forsaken by the civil war. They’re dealing with a rival power on one side and dissident rebels on the other.
The empire of the high elves, the aldmeri dominion are more racist than even the stormcloaks! It was due to the peace treaty that ended the war with the empire that the worship of Talos was outlawed. And they were even given reign to enforce that no one is worshipping him, dragging people from their homes at night, torturing confessions from people they suspect might be braking this law. Of course the civil war is beneficial to them, it helps to keep the empire weakened after all. All the better for them if the the nords managed to secede…
A guild of mercenaries, stationed in Whiterun. They house themselves in the mead hall, Jorrvaskr, which happily resides next to the Skyforge, an ancient forge which outputs a stronger than average steel, lucky them. They’re all about the thrill of the fight, rising up to the challenge of their rivals. Their rivals being the Silver hand, a group of werewolf hunters because guess what? A lot of them are werewolves. They do love their fighting though, and they’re none to fond of magic users either.
The College of Winterhold
Almost all that remains of Winterhold, to the towns dismay. There’s a lot of mistrust after most of the town was consumed by storms but the college was left standing with destruction surrounding it on most sides. It’s the only real haven for spell casters in Skyrim. The nords are generally wary of magic, seeing it as something for the physically weak, and something for mer, elves. The college has faculty proficient is each of the main disciplines of magic and provides services to Skyrim, corresponding with the various court wizards, offering enchantments etc. It is also home to the most refined library in Skyrim, kept in line by an orc librarian.
The Thieves Guild
Rumoured is its existence, though the effects of its machinations are visible to those in Riften. Riften being their base town of operations, as they have a small town set up in the sewers below. It’s not hard to see the corruption in Riften, Maven Black-Briar is clearly as powerful if not more so than the actual Jarl, and it’s the guild she has doing her dirty work. And they have no problem with that, so long as the pay is good.
The Dark Brotherhood
The name of a once great guild of assassins, what is left of the Dark Brotherhood is but a shadow of its former self. A ritual involving a dead body, some major organs and a chant is required to summon the group but where once the guild would find out of this ritual through the Night Mother, the gang now simply waits for rumours of the ghastly ritual being performed. The Night Mother went silent, what else could they do devoid of Listener, the thumb of their Black Hand. They just keep tipping away, doing what they can, listening and watching…