I deliver the hard-won Jagged Crown to General Tullius back at Imperial Legion headquarters in Solitude, and receive my next assignment. It's to deliver a message to the Jarl of Whiterun, telling him he's about to be attacked by the rebel Stormcloaks, and urging him to side with us Imperials.
I'm not letting myself use fast travel, but this is pretty much going back the way I came, so I wouldn't mind cutting down my journey time. I wonder how much horses cost.
A thousand gold? Forget it, annoyingly happy stablemaster. I wouldn't spend that even if I—oh wait, I do have it. OK, sold!She's a stout, mottled little number the game insist on calling "Sarah the Implausible's horse". Since I can't see a way to change that, I decide to name her Sarah the Implausible Horse. I clamber on and ride out, Belrand jogging stoically behind us.
Sarah the Implausible Horse isn't actually much faster than me, as evidenced by the fact that Belrand can pretty much keep up with us, but somehow the journey seems to race by. We only stop when I spot a spider chasing a fox, and dismount to cast Calm on him. Less of that, nature.
It's my first time in Whiterun—I was told to race here to warn them of the dragon attack right at the start of the game, but I decided to have a long and weird military career first. After a brief argument the guards let me in to see the Jarl.
"I have a message from General Tullius!"
"Whatever it is, it'll have to wait until I've finished dealing with this dragon situation."
Oh yeah, that reminds me: "A dragon destroyed Helgen and Whiterun is next!"
"A dragon?! You're sure?"
When he eventually accepts the existence of the dragon he told me about three seconds ago, he doesn't care what Tullius has to say. This is awkward, because I don't care about the dragon or Whiterun or the world.
He tells me to give the message to his bodyguard—his 'housecarl'. I refuse—my orders are to give it to the Jarl, not the carl. The Jarl says he'll only take it if he can immediately give it to the carl without reading it. Since this technically fulfills my mission without actually achieving anything worthwhile, I agree, and give it to the Jarl who gives it to the carl and my objective is complete. Bureaucracy in action!
Unfortunately, I also need his response. And he won't read the note until I help him save his stupid city from that flying whatever. Alright, Jarl, what have I got to do?
I have to go to Bleak Falls Barrow.