Arngeir: So you've done it. The men of violence are gathered here, in these halls whose very stones are dedicated to peace. I should not have agreed to host this council. The Greybeards have no business involving ourselves in such matters.
Yes, yes. Which is why I allowed this violation of all our traditions. But regrets are painless. Here we are. Take your seat at the council table and let us see what wisdom we can find among these warriors of Skyrim.
Now that everyone is here, please take your seats so we can begin. I hope we can all come here in the spirit of...
Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak: No. You insult us by bringing here to this negotiation? Your chief Talos-hunter?
Legate Rikke: That didn't take long.
Galmar: Hear, hear!
Elenwen: I have every right to be at this negotiation. I need to ensure that nothing is agreed to here that violates the terms of the White-Gold Concordat.
General Tullius: She's part of the Imperial delegation. You can't dictate who I bring to this council.
Arngeir: Please. If we have to negotiate the terms of the negotiation, we will never get anywhere. Perhaps this would be a good time to get the Dragonborn's input on this matter.
Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak: By Ysmir's beard, the nerve of those Imperial bastards, eh? To think that I would sit down at the same table with that Thalmor bitch. Either she walks or I do.
I'm glad we agree on this.
Elenwen: Very well, Ulfric. Enjoy your petty victory. The Thalmor will treat with whatever government rules Skyrim. We would not think of interfering in your civil war.
Galmar: Ha! Skyrim will never bow to the Thalmor. Unlike your Imperial friends here.
Legate Rikke: You're lucky I respect the Greybeards' council, Galmar!
Tullius: Legate. We represent the Emperor here.
Legate Rikke: Sorry, sir. It won't happen again.
Arngeir: Now that that's settled, may we proceed?
Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak: I have something to say first.
Legate Rikke: Here we go.
Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak: The only reason I agreed to attend this council was to deal with the dragon menace. There's nothing else to talk about, unless the Empire is finally ready to renounce its unjust claim to rule over the free people of Skyrim.
Legate Rikke: I knew he wouldn't be able to resist.
Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak: We are here to arrange a temporary truce to allow the Dragonborn here to deal with the dragons. Nothing more. I consider even talking to the Empire a generous gesture.
General Tullius: Are you done? Did you just come here to make speeches? Or can we get down to business?
Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak: Yes, let's get this over with.
Arngeir: Are we ready to proceed? Jarl Ulfric. General Tullius. This council is unprecedented. We are gathered here at the Dragonborn's request. I ask that you all respect the spirit of High Hrothgar, and do your best to begin the process of achieving a lasting peace in Skyrim. Who would like to open the negotiations?
Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak: Yes, let's get down to it. We want control of Markarth. That's our price for agreeing to a truce.
Jarl Elisif the Fair: So that's why you're here, Ulfric? You dare to insult the Greybeards by using this council to advance your own position?
Tullius: Jarl Elisif...
Jarl Elisif the Fair: General, this is outrageous. You can't be taking this demand seriously! I thought we were here to discuss a truce!
General Tullius: Elisif! I said I'd handle it. Ulfric, you can't seriously expect us to give up Markarth of the negotiating table. You hope to gain in council what you've been unable to take in battle, is that it?
Arngeir: I'm sure Jarl Ulfric does not expect something for nothing.
Legate Rikke: Yes, that'd be entirely out of character.
Jarl Elisif the Fair: Wait. General, you don't intend to just hand over Markarth to that traitor!
Jarl Balgruuf the Greater: This is how the Empire repays us for our loyalty?
General Tullius: Enough! First, let's be clear. This council wasn't my idea. I think it's a waste of time. You are a traitor of the Empire, and deserve a traitor's death. But I at least will negotiate in good faith.
Since we're all here at your request, I'd like to hear what you think Markarth is worth.
In exchange for Markarth, the source of most of Skyrim's silver? Hardly. Riften seems like a better choice to me. Well-fortified, easily resupplied from across Lake Honrich. Plus all the mead we can drink.
Not enough to outweigh the loss of Markarth. With the Reach in enemy hands, our whole position in Solitude would be threatened.
Fair enough. I was hoping you could put aside your loyalties for the greater good, but I see you're firmly in Ulfric's camp. Still... Winterheld would allow us to directly threaten the rebel supply lines out of Windhelm. Better than nothing, I suppose. But Ulfric will need to offer a lot more if he wants me to give up Markarth without a fight.
Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak: The Dragonborn has spoken, Tullius. Markarth will be ours. Now we'll see if there's anything behind your talk of good faith.
General Tullius: You disappoint me, Dragonborn. I accepted your invitation on trust in your good name. But it seems you intend to favor Ulfric. I can see now that this is not a negotiation at all. I know you, Ulfric. If I hand over Markarth, you'll be ready with a new demand. You'll never defeat the Empire, and you know it. But you're willing to sacrifice thousands for your own selfish ambition. Soon enough I'll have you back under the headsman's axe, and this time, there won't be any dragon to save you.
Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak: As always, the Empire's fine words are worth nothing!
Esbern: Stop! Are you blind to our danger that you can't see past your petty disagreements? Here you sit arguing about nothing! While the fate of the land hangs in the balance!
Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak: Is he with you, Delphine? If so, I advise you to tell him to watch his tongue.
Delphine: He is with me. And I advise you both to listen to what he has to say, before you do anything rash.
Esbern: Don't you understand the danger? Don't you understand what the return of the dragons means? Alduin has returned! The World-Eater! Even now, he devours the souls of your fallen comrades! He grows more powerful with every soldier slain in your pointless war! Can you not put aside your hatred for even one moment in the face of this mortal danger?
General Tullius: I don't know about the end of the world, but this dragon situation has gotten out of hand. If this truce will help the Dragonborn here put an end to that menace, we both gain. Remember that, Ulfric.
Now, back to the matter at hand. You know as well as I do that we can't hand over Markarth on these terms.
Galmar: Shor's bones, where will these demands end?
Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak: Let's hear it.
General Tullius: We want compensation for the massacre at Karthwasten.
Legate Rikke: You slaughtered the very people you claim to be fighting for! True sons of Skyrim would never do such things.
Galmar: Damned Imperial lies! My men would never stoop to such methods, even in retaliation for your butchery at...
Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak: This is our homeland, Tullius. All the blood spilled in this war is on your head.
General Tullius: So Dragonborn, what do you say?