The most defensible Hold in Skyrim, the explanation for this can be the eminently invulnerable nature of Solitude itself: set upon a stone arch that towers on top of the mouth of the large and diverse Karth river; additionally encircled by the soaring peaks of the in-scalable Haafingar mountains, Solitude is each a political beacon and powerful military state. This hold was also home to the late High King Torygg, killed by Ulfric Stormcloak in a duel. It was known from the Imperials in Cyrodiil as the Jewel of Skyrim, but that has been contested over the years. The Jarl of Solitude is Elisif the Fair, widow to Torygg, resides in the Blue Palace, located at the far end of the city.
Political Upheavalassassins to kill Imperial officials to replace with their own. To buy time to recuperate, and hopefully repel the rebellion, Emperor Titus Mede II initialized the deployment of the Imperialium to infiltrate the ranks of the Stormcloaks and sabotage them. The plans failed, on both ends, and the final attack on Solitude began, led by Ulfric Stormcloak, Galmar Stone-Fist and the Dragonborn himself.
Imperial PlanningLegate Silian Secunia, Legate Sosia Mede, Tribune Attrebus III and Tribune Battle-Born met in Castle Dour with General Tullius and Captain Aldis, the commander of the city guard. However, Legate Rikke was not present, as she had been killed at the Battle of Markarth. Being the speakers of the group, Silian and Sosia presented their elaborate plan. Legionnaires and Haafingar Guards would hide out in Dragon Bridge, and sneakily approach the Stormcloaks from behind. There would be little to no resistance until the Stormcloaks reached the city gates.
At this point, the gates would be locked and blocked, hopefully delaying the rebels from getting into the city. Archers and mages on the walls would rain arrows and magic attacks onto the Stormcloak soldiers, hopefully crippling their leaders and a good portion of their men. Now, the hidden men in the woods would reveal themselves and close the smaller outer gates, locking them from the outside. They would watch to make sure that no rebels escaped, and no more reinforced them. The Stormcloaks trapped inside the courtyard would be utterly massacred, as they would have absolutely nowhere to go.
Battle for Solitude
"Damn! By the Nine!" shouted Silian, very angered by the crumbling of their plans. Very soon, the Medes arrived with their soldiers, prepared to fight. Silian approached Kaisarus, and said he would march the Mede couple's soldiers out, and that they should stay back and make plans for the battle with General Tullius. Leaving a portion of their men to fight as archers on Solitude's walls, the officers marched out with their soldiers, prepared to fight. After a fierce hour of fighting, Imperial soldiers were beginning to dwindle. "Fus... Ro Dah!" Several soldiers were thrown into walls and shoved onto the ground, including Vönund, as the Dragonborn's Thu'um was unleashed. The Dragonborn focused on Vönund as he had braced himself with Perun. "Zun... Haal Vik!" he shouted toward Vönund, who lost grip on his war axe, causing the handle to slightly snap.
Bleeding profusely from his head, Vönund stood up, picked up Perun, and charged the Dragonborn. Swinging like a madman, he hit the Dragonborn several times. However, the Dovahkiin managed to outmaneuver him and shout at Tribune Battle-Born again. The Dovahkiin dropped his shield and held his sword at his side as Vönund entered a guard stance. "Wuld... Nah Kest!" was the last thing Vönund heard as a blur rushed through him, throwing Vönund into a wall where he bled to death. "Vönund!" cried Silian, looking back as the Dragonborn and a few dozen Stormcloaks burst through the gate.
"Men! You were trained for this day! Fight like you've never fought before! Fight for Vönund! Fight for our late Emperor!" shouted Legate Secunia as he rode his horse around the battle, providing physical and emotional support for his men. The Legionnaires rout the Stormcloaks, but they send back a larger wave of reinforcements. Among the reinforcements were many archers, who slaughtered almost all of the troops that Silian marched out. "Fall back to Fort Hraggstad!" shouted Silian to the survivors of the attack.
They ran as fast as they could for the fort, a position they could defend well, and make their last stand if the Stormcloaks came for them. Upon reaching the fort, Legate Secunia waved to the men inside the fort, signaling that they were friendly. However, a flurry of arrows was unleashed on the Legionnaires. In the moments of confusion that followed, many Legionnaires watched arrows pierce their comrades, a traumatizing sight. Finally, Silian discovered that the Stormcloaks had previously taken over the fort, and were waiting to ambush those who fled. "South! Go south!" The twenty-five survivors of the ambush sprinted south, into the snowy wilderness. Three were killed while fleeing, and another died of injuries not far from Markarth.
Meanwhile, the battle in Solitude was going terribly for the Imperials. The Stormcloaks had breached the walls, and were on their way to Castle Dour. Just when the defenders thought they were beginning to win, two tremendous shouts broke the air: one that rained lightning on the Legionnaires, and one that summoned a dragon to destroy them. Finally, Ulfric Stormcloak, Galmar Stone-Fist, and the Dragonborn smashed into the Castle Dour, and killed Tullius' replacement for Rikke, and heavily wounded the General. Just as Ulfric was going to finish off General Tullius, Galmar stopped him. He said, "If you want a storybook ending, perhaps the Dragonborn should do it." Ulfric proceeded to give his sword to the Dovahkiin, who killed Tullius. The trio marched outside to listen to Ulfric's speech.
The survivors of Secunia's centuria were Tribune Jonuni Statlilius, Tribune S'Baadar, Praefect Nirtiu Fulbarni, Quaestor Aurelius Scipio, Auxiliary Falcedon Nucciu, and fifteen others. Upon escaping the Stormcloaks at Fort Hraggstad, they changed into plainclothes, hiding their gear in sacks, and escaped to Cyrodiil.
Skyrim made an alliance known as the Knights' Accord with Hammerfell. Because of this alliance, High Rock was forced to secede from the Empire and become allied with Skyrim and Hammerfell, but not after a devastating war that lasted years.