Tamriel is a vast and varied land with unique diversities also found in its provinces. The diversity, both biological, magical, or both, makes for interesting sights and sounds around every bend in The Elder Scrolls series. The fifth entry in the franchise, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, is the largest and arguably most diverse map yet.
In the center of this wild and wonderful province lies Whiterun Hold. With its wide-open plains, majestic rivers, and unyielding tundra, it has a varied landscape full of secrets to uncover — many of which don't even appear on the game's map.
10 Bloody Ambush
East and a bit to the south of Sleeping Tree Camp, there are conspicuous bloodstains on the ground among some bushes. Within the splatter is a strongbox holding some loot. Be careful when acquiring the treasure, however, as there are enemies about. Though, not the kind one thinks.
This seems like a trap a person would set, but instead, the player is set upon by two wolves who spawn beyond a nearby bush. Seems like an incredibly sophisticated trap for common canines, though this may just be that they were attracted by the smell of blood just at that moment. It may even be possible that they were the causes of the stain.
9 A Natural Bridge
The terrain in this game can get pretty crazy. The Dragonborn will sometimes need to climb mountains or cross entire lakes to complete a quest. Thankfully, there are a few handy landmarks to be found in Whiterun Hold's wilderness. Slightly south of Hillgrund's Tomb, a fallen tree can be used to cross a deep gorge.
If the player can deal with the two bandits lurking nearby, there is a chest to pilfer for a nice reward. There is also a book titled "The Black Arts On Trial" which will increase the player's Illusion Skill when read.
8 Sword In The Pond
This could be a spooky sight at first, though does not actually herald the rise of skeletal warriors from the lake. This reference to an Arthurian legend can be found northeast of Bleakwind Basin and promises some interesting loot.
In addition to some noisy Nirnroot, the sword that can be found here depends on the player's level. So if one wants a free Excalibur-tier blade, be sure to save this spot for later in the playthrough.
7 Slain By The Summoned
Necromancers are not that uncommon in this series, though situations involving them have a tendency to be both dark and sometimes comical. East of Sleeping Tree Camp, an altar can be found with two dead mages in black robes; likely those who dabble in the black arts.
Though it seems that things went awry in their most recent Conjuration endeavor, as they have apparently been slain by the three skeletal warriors that they summoned. After the Dragonborn dispatches the disloyal deviants, they can find a Conjuration skill book titled "Liminal Bridges."
6 Wispmother Well
Northeast from Ivarstead, one can find some ruins along a road in the eastern shadow cast by the Throat of the World. Look around some of the collapsed buildings and one will find a well and some non-hostile wisps floating and flying about.
Though if the Dragonborn is at a high enough level, a wispmother will spawn and begin attacking the player. She will also set her wisps upon her foes. After the ethereal enemies are dealt with, some loot can be found near a basket by the side of a closeby ruin wall. A strongbox and a Conjuration skill book titled "The Warrior's Charge" are one's reward.
5 Pillar Puzzle
Usually, puzzles in Skyrim are located in tombs or ruins, however, there is a number of obvious pillars adorning a field southeast of Sleeping Tree Camp. There are three short ones that can be interacted with to unlock a nearby gate leading to a spiral staircase.
At the bottom, one will find a skeleton and a chest which can both be looted. That is if one can figure out the combination of the puzzle.
4 Skooma Dealer Den
East of Dragonsreach, among the alcoves and rocky shelves of the area, the keener players will pick out one full of goods. But this loot belongs to a gang of skooma dealers who will attack the player on sight. Defeating them will grant the Dragonborn access to their belongings.
In addition to a chest, there are four bottles of skooma, a weapon, as well as a book titled "Aevar Stone-Singer," which will increase one's Pickpocketing skill when read.
3 Eaten By A Mammoth
Wooly Mammoths may be fierce but they are not carnivores. This raises the question of why and how human remains turned up inside of this mammoth skeleton located north of Sleeping Tree Camp. Since the behemoth's bones are embedded into the ground, it is unlikely that the huge skeleton was placed around the person like a prison.
But how else would a human fit inside? The mouth of a mammoth is too small for an adult to fit. It is always possible that magic was involved, as is appropriate for the setting.
2 Two Pillars
South of Swindler's Den, there is a pair of pillars upon a stone platform that are all that remains of an ancient structure. It has since been turned into a shrine to Stendarr and there are even offerings here that the Dragonborn can pilfer.
Among these is a flawless gem, an Enchanting skill book, as well as the contents of a strongbox. Be careful while looting, as this region is known to be frequented by giants, mammoths, and even sabre cats.
1 Dead Giant
This magnificent specimen can be found between Gjukar's Monument and Broken Fang Cave. This huge, fossilized mudcrab is quite the oddity. At least, in the modern era it is. Back in its day, it was probably a force to be reckoned with. However, just because it is dead does not mean it is gone.
During the quest "Kyne's Sacred Trials," the Dragonborn will be sent here to do battle with the ghost of this colossal crustacean. Their spectral form is pretty cool, despite being essentially a big, translucent mudcrab.
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