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Many great heroes have walked the lands of Skyrim throughout history. Tavern bards sing songs about them, and parents recall their heroic deeds as tales to their children at bedtime. But for every hero, there is almost always a villain. Or, in this instance, three.
Arch-Mage Gauldur was a powerful man in the court of High King Harald in the First Era of Tamriel. Strong, wise, and honorable, everyone respected Gauldur except three: his sons Sigdis, Mikrul, and Jyrik. Forever in their father’s shadow, the three grew to resent him deeply. Eventually, they learned that their father’s power stemmed from the amulet that he always wore.
The trio of villainous sons murdered their father and split his amulet into three pieces amongst themselves. Cruel and wicked, they used their newfound powers unjustly and began murdering innocents and destroying villages. High King Harald deployed a company led by Geirmund, Arch-Mage of Windhelm, to destroy them.
After a long campaign, Geirmund succeeded in defeating the Gauldur brothers at the cost of his life. Sealed away were the three brothers, with the pieces of their father’s amulet at the places where they fell in battle. High King Harald ordered every record of Arch-Mage Gauldur and his sons destroyed in hopes that history would forget them.
But legends are not so easily forgotten. The tale of the Gauldur family has persisted into the Fourth Era. Several locations throughout Skyrim will shed light on what happened to Gauldur and his sons, with Geirmund’s Hall being one of them. It’s time for some spelunking.
- Level 20+
- Bow and Fortify Archery potions or magical apparel
- Ranged magic spells
- Personal carriage (Engar, Gunjar, or Markus) for fast-travel
- Green Thumb perk (Level 70 Alchemy required)
- Whirlwind Sprint shout
Geirmund’s Hall is on an island in the middle of Lake Geir. It’s just east of the village Ivarstead.
You’ll be visiting Ivarstead during the main quest on your way to see the Greybeards, but if you haven’t already been here, it’s quite the hike. You can get here by traveling from Riften and making your way around the mountain.
If you have any of the three personal carriage drivers, that can immediately take you to Ivarstead. If you’re into Alchemy, I suggest making the trip on foot as you can forage a lot of alchemical ingredients on the way.
Forbidden Legend is all about learning what happened to the Gauldur family. To complete the quest, you will first need to visit the tombs of all three Gauldur brothers and retrieve the pieces of their father’s amulet. Geirmund’s Hall is one such place.
Neloth in Tel Mithryn is looking for the staves of Azra Nightwielder and will send you to radiant locations to retrieve them. Geirmund’s Hall is one of the potential locations to find one of Azra’s staves.
- Gauldur Blackbow
- Gauldur Amulet Fragment
- Words & Philosophy (Two-Handed skill book)
- Two pearls
- Small pearl
- Bleeding Crown
- Fly Amanita
Discovering the Gauldur Legend
If you can fast travel to Ivarstead, head there, then head east across the lake to a small island. Here you will find Geirmund’s Hall.
If you haven’t already discovered Ivarstead yet and have to huff it on foot, it’ll be a long hike from Whiterun. Alchemists will appreciate the trip, as you’ll collect a lot of mountain flowers and tundra cotton along the way. Be sure to circle the exterior of Geirmund’s Hall to get some valuable stuff. You can forage a couple of imp stool mushrooms and mine some corundum ore veins here. Climb to the top of the Hall, and you can get a Rock Warbler egg from a nest.
Geirmund’s Hall Interior
Geirmund’s Hall is an excellent place to forage alchemical ingredients, especially bleeding crown and fly amanita. Be sure you gather them all to help power-level your
There’s a lone iron ore vein on your left as you make your way into the cave. Feel free to mine it if you like. Soon, you’ll come across the body of a dead adventurer, carrying a copy of Lost Legends. Read this book to begin the Forbidden Legend quest, if you haven’t already. Two skeevers will be here to bother you, so take care of them before inspecting the hole in the center of the cave. Jumping down is your ticket into Geirmund’s Hall. Don’t worry since there’s a pool of water at the bottom.
As soon as you drop down, look into the water until you find a raised stone that you can activate. After pressing it, you’ll hear a metal click that reveals a hidden submerged passage up ahead. Swim into this secret room to find a random waterbreathing potion, soul gem, iron greatsword, and chest with random loot.
Swim back to the previous cavern and open the iron door to take your first steps into Geirmund’s Hall. Two frost spiders will be here to greet you. There’s an Adept-locked door to your right that contains a leveled set of armor, a shield, and a health potion. On the left side of the room is a table with some goodies. There’s a randomized set of gauntlets plus a chest. The chest has an Adept-trap trigger, however. If you set it off, you’ll get a flamethrower to the face. Disarm it before claiming your loot inside. Be careful not to step on the pressure plate trap in front of this desk, either.
Make your way into the next room, which is a partially-flooded crypt. Four draugr are playing possum here, one for each emblem pillar.
There’s a random soul gem on a table up ahead, but taking it sets off a mammoth tusk trap. Take it from the side to avoid getting hurt. As for the puzzle in the room, it’s pretty standard Skyrim fare. You can figure it out with trial and error, but the correct code is bird, whale, snake, whale.
Pull the lever at the end of the crypt after inputting the proper code to release the gate. Follow the rocky passage until you reach the next chamber. There will be three leveled draugr inside. If you’re having a tough time dealing with these guys, stay where you are and bottleneck them.
From the entrance to this chamber, look up and to your left. There’s a secret iron door with a chest inside. If you have the Whirlwind Sprint shout, you can climb onto some nearby debris and use Whirlwind Sprint to cross the gap.
Be careful, as a soul gem trap will activate once you open the door, setting off a flamethrower trap. Back on ground level, head to the left corner of the room to find a big coin purse hidden behind some rocks. Then climb up the stairs to reach the altar of Lord Geirmund.
You can loot Lord Geirmund for some random loot and read the Geirmund’s Epitaph for some backstory. As the one who slew the Gauldur brothers, High King Harald buried Geirmund here in hopes that he would guard the realm against the Gauldur brothers in death, as he had in life. In other words, one of those villains lies in the Hall.
You can pick up Lord Geirmund’s key if you wish, but all it does is unlock the Adept-locked door behind you. I prefer to leave it and get some easy Lockpicking experience. Open up the door and kill the draugr and frost spider inside. There’s an arcane enchanter here in case you came across some heavy enchanted items you don’t need. There’s also a poison and randomized weapon on the table.
If you head to the right, you can peek through a wooden grate to get a look at the final chamber of Geirmund’s Hall. On the left of this grate is an invisibility potion on a bench. Make your way down the left side of the room to fight another draugr. If you’re a high enough level, this one may be a deathlord.
Leveled armor and a bow are on the desk here to your left. Pick up your spoils before progressing forward. On the right side of the room, there are two levers. The one on the floor is a trap that activates wall spikes. Pull the one on the wall to lower the wooden bridge.
If you don’t have the Whirlwind Sprint shout, you can drop down from here to access the iron door with the chest inside. You’ll have to make your way back up here, though.
Another leveled draugr and lever will be on this central pillar. Kill the undead Nord, then pull the lever to drop down the next bridge. Two more draugr will be waiting for you on the other side. Kill them, then prepare for a boss fight.
Get your bow or magic ready and wait for Sigdis to rise from his coffin. As soon as he does, immediately smack into him with a few attacks before he can orient himself.
Sigdis is easily the most annoying of the three Gauldur brothers to fight. He has access to the full Unrelenting Force shout, which can send you flying. He can also use the Disarm shout, which can be annoying.
Sigdis’ main parlor trick is constantly teleporting around the chamber are creating three clones of himself. Hitting Sigdis or his clones makes him teleport again. You can tell which Sigdis is genuine since the clones have a slight blue aura and different helmets.
Ordinarily, companions and summoned minions are helpful in boss fights, but against Sigdis, they’re a disadvantage. They aren’t smart enough to target only the real Sigdis and waste time on the clones. The real Sigdis will keep teleporting around the room and dragging out the fight. You might want to tell any companion you have with you to sit this one out.
If you brought a companion with you and gave them a good weapon, I suggest checking on them after the fight. Sigdis may have used the Disarm shout on them, and since Skyrim companions aren’t the brightest, they won’t pick their weapon back up.
It’s possible to kill Sigdis in melee combat, but not recommended. Sigdis uses a bow, and you’ll take damage trying to get to the real one and be an easy target up close. You won’t be able to get in that many hits before he teleports. The best strategy here is to fight arrows with arrows. The walkway you used to enter the chamber is an excellent place to camp and finish the fight. You can shoot Sigdis at all the plinths he teleports to and use the wall for cover. Alternatively, you can hide behind his coffin.
Eventually, Sigdis will go down, and you can collect your main prizes from Geirmund’s Hall: the Gauldur Blackbow and Gauldur Amulet Fragment.
The Gauldur Blackbow is a leveled, unique Ancient Nord Bow that can absorb magicka. The Gauldur Amulet Fragment possessed by Sigdis increases stamina by 30 points.
Now! Let’s do some final scavenging. Look for mushrooms hidden in the water and behind grassy patches. Circle the plinths in the room to grab some hanging moss. Head up to Sigdis’ coffin and scan the room for more goodies. You’ll find a couple of potions lying around near the walls on the left.
Head down the passageway to reach the room with a boss chest. Inside will be some random loot that’s always worth a pretty penny. On the left side of the chest is a small pearl and two pearls, both rare alchemy ingredients.
Look to the bookshelf on the right for some random potions, a leveled helmet and gauntlets, a soul gem, and a copy of Words & Philosophy, a Two-Handed skill book.
Make your way down the final passageway, activate the lever, and you’ll be back in the first chamber with the dead adventurer and hole in the ground.
And that’s it! Geirmund’s Hall is complete.
Elder Scrolls Online: A Different Geirmund’s Hall
Interestingly enough for my ESO players, Geirmund’s Hall also appears in Elder Scrolls Online. But with a twist.
ESO takes place long after the defeat of the Gauldur brothers but a thousand years before the events of Skyrim. But instead of being a tomb for Sigdis and the fallen Arch-Mage, it’s a bustling town with numerous quests that you can complete.
Question: Is the Gauldur Blackbow good?
Answer: The Gauldur Blackbow is leveled, so it should be relatively on par with your current weaponry regarding damage (Before Fortify Smithing shenanigans). The enchantment also scales with your level, so that’s nice. However, absorbing magicka is a niche weapon effect that’s useless if not fighting mages.
I find it to work best when you have level 100 Enchanting and can put two enchantments onto weapons and armor. I like the absorb magicka when I run into mages and DOT damage like the shock effect that hurts everyone. Since you can’t re-enchant any items, the Gauldur Blackbow is only mid-tier to me.
Question: Is the Gauldur Amulet Fragment worth wearing?
Answer: On its own, probably not. You’ll be able to find much stronger Fortify Stamina amulets from merchants. Once you get the reforged Gauldur Amulet, then there’s a debate worth having.
Question: Since Sigdis is the hardest to fight, should I save him for last?
Answer: It’s easy to take on Geirmund Hall first since you have to go to Ivarstead early into the main quest and likely wander over to Geirmund’s Hall. Sigdis’ brothers are noticeably easier to take down, so it’s up to you. Spoiler alert without being a complete spoiler, this won’t be the last time you run into Sigdis anyway.
Geirmund’s Hall Guide: Conclusion
The Forbidden Legend quest is one of the best ways for new players to get their blood flowing in Skyrim. Depending on how early you come here, Sigdis might be your first truly difficult boss battle. After taking down Geirmund’s Hall, you’ll come across plenty of sweet loot in the other tombs of the Gauldur brothers.
I highly recommend completing this quest before level 30-35, so you can reclaim the reforged Gauldur Amulet. It’s a great necklace, but once you reach level 100 Enchanting and can put double enchantments on your items, your own creations will outclass it. You will get the most use out of the Gauldur artifacts in the mid-game, and these quests are a ton of fun to do before you become too powerful.
Until next time!