The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim satellites are generally considered one of the weakest factions in the game, at least conceptually. This is due to the fact that the quest line associated with the group is not as exciting as that of the Thieves Guild or the Dark Brotherhood. It’s also not such a long campaign. Perhaps one of the few advantages of the faction is that it has some of the most memorable NPCs in the game, such as Farkas Vilkas and Ayla the Huntress.
However, even with these characters, the quests of the Companions in Skyrim still fail, mainly due to the underdeveloped antagonist of the quest line. The Silver Hand is just not an interesting enemy faction, and that’s a shame as the group could have improved the Companion story.
The History of the Silver Hand Faction in Skyrim
The Silver Hand is a group of werewolf hunters intent on killing members of the Circle. The player meets them at the beginning of the quest line of the Companions, when they, together with Farkas, go for a fragment of the battle axe Vutrad in Skyrim. During the quest, members of the Silver Hand appear and attack Farkas, forcing him to turn into a werewolf and get rid of them. It is then that the player first learns about the lycanthropy rituals taking place among high-ranking members of the Companions.
How the Silver Hand found out about the Inner Circle of Associates is unknown. However, it is immediately clear that they want to abolish the group. At some point in the quest chain, it turns out that the Silver Hand is hunting for Wutrad fragments, trying to get to them before the Companions do it. Their motives for doing this— apart from ridiculing their Comrades—in-Arms – are unclear, but this suggests that the faction is specifically targeting the Circle.
The Silver Hand is led by a randomly generated NPC named Krev Skinner, so they don’t have unique dialogues in Skyrim. However, ordinary Silver Hand NPCs tend to shout things like, “Ysgramor will be ashamed of you!” and, “I’ll tear you apart, comrade!” during a fight with a player. This indicates a turbulent history between the two factions.
Some members of the community even suggest that the Silver Hand is a splinter group, and there is reason to believe it. Books from the Songs of Return series can be stolen from the corpses of the enemies of the Silver Hand, and these books on Skyrim tell stories about Ysgramor and Five hundred companions. This is a strangely specific detail unique to the enemies of the Silver Hand faction, and while this theory cannot be confirmed, it certainly explains how the faction found out about the Circle and why they want to reclaim the Vutrad.
Another thing worth noting is that some members of the Silver Hand supposedly fought alongside the Stendarr Lookouts. This is revealed in the note to the quest “Unholy Vigil” (although this is part of the Skyrim Creation Club supplement, so the question of whether this is really a canon remains controversial). This may seem strange, since the Silver Hand and the Sentinels of Stendarr are factions with very different methods. The Silver Hand looks like nothing more than a group of bandits, while the Sentinels consist of holy, but militant vigilantes. However, they both seek to destroy dangerous creatures — primarily werewolves—of Skyrim, so their motives are somewhat the same.
Missed Opportunities in the Skyrim Satellite Quest Line
One of the most glaring problems with the quest line of the Companions is the lack of attention to the Silver Hand and its motives. Throughout the campaign, the player can only interact with members of the companions in Skyrim, while all non-player characters of the Silver Hand are common enemies. Thus, everything the player learns about the Silver Hand, he learns from the Companions, which means that his point of view on the group of werewolf hunters is biased from the very beginning.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, this is a great tie for a twist that reveals the true nature of the supposedly antagonistic group. However, this trend persists until the end of the quest chain, so the Silver Hand never gets enough backstory to explain why the participants hate Skyrim’s companions and lycanthropy. This makes the faction look like nothing more than a modest bandit group that has arbitrarily decided to target the werewolves of the Circle.
How could the Silver Hand fraction be improved
Improving the quest line of companions will require a lot of work. First of all, the campaign should go deeper into the Silver Hand faction. This will entail the creation of more elaborate non—player Skyrim characters for the group – those who actually have unique dialogues related to the history and motives of the Silver Hand. All signs indicate that the Silver Hand is a breakaway faction, so the player will be able to learn about it directly from its members.