200 years have passed since Matin Septim sacrificed himself to save Tamirel form Dagon and his armies. The Empire with the lose of the Dragon Line, and no true Emperor rule, has declined, helped by the Elven Alliance's, refered to as the Thalmor. Only Skyrim remains, in the year 4E 201, locked in a bitter Civil War between the Stormcloaks and the soldiers of the Imperial Legion.
The future Dovakiin, Dragonborn, wakes in a cart heading for Helgen, an fortified Imperial Hamlet. Confused, a Stormcloak rebel, named Ralof wastes no time in talking to him. Lokir, a fellow prisoner starts talking, addressing a large, imposing man rudely. Ralof quickly steps in telling the man to treat him with respect. He's talking to Ulfric Stormcloak, Jarl of Windhelm and the Rightful High King of Skyrim. He backs off and the cart arrives at Helgen.
Dragonborn looks around the hamlet watching the residents come out to watch the coming executions. Ralof remembers his youth before the cart rumbles to a halt. It's time. Dragondorn wearily dismounts with ralof and Ulfric at his side. The prisoners are processed and Lokir starts to tremble. He tries to make a break for it, resulting in him being shot. Then it's Dragonborn's turn. He steps forward, unrecognised by the Imperial processing the prisoners, Hadvar, but nonetheless, Dragonborn is led to the block.
After Tullius, the Imperial General in charge of the Imperial Legions, gloads his victory into Ulfric's face then steps back and lets the executions begin. A roar breaks through the air. Largely ignored, the executions begin. After one rebel is called beheaded, Dragonborn is called forward. Accepting his fate, he trudges forward, puts his head on the block and waits. The it happens.
A massive Dragon seeps out of the sky, landing on Helgen's main tower. He roars releasing a Thu'um, or shout which knocks everyone down. Quickly realising what is happening, Dragonborn turns towards Ralof's voice, beckoning him to safetly. Fire starts raining down on the group and Tullius orders the soldiers to fight. Arrows ping out of bows and soon the screams of the dying are everywhere. But it doesn't matter. Dovakiin is already running, sprinting for the opposite tower.
He dives in, the door thrust close behind him by Ulfric. The rebels, Ralof among them look scared, turning to Ulfric who calmly replys to their questions 'Legends don't breathe fire.' He tells the rebels to make for the stairs, Ralof running on ahead. The wall suddenly smashes apart, killing the Imperial soldier behind it to reveal the dragon. It breathes fire then departs. Ralof urges Dragonborn to jump to the ruined inn below and Dovakiin does, landing hard. He jumps from the floor onto the ground, running into Hadvar, who is protecting some villagers.
He tells Dragonborn to come, if he wants to stay alive, and runs into the town. Running past devastation, they are trapped by the dragon as he looks over a wall, but as he departs they run to the main tower. Ralof blocks their way, axe in hand. Hadvar faces him, gripping his sword. Ralof mocks Hadvar and the Imperial tells him to go, before he comes after him. Ralof runs shouting at the Dragonborn to follow. Following they go into a small tower coming across one of Ralof companions. He sighs, before telling Dragonborn he should retrieve the weapons and armour. Doing so, they hear voices. Imperials.
Ralof takes cover an plans an ambush. As the soldiers come round the corner both men leap on them. Weak as they are, their fighting prowess far outweighs the soldiers. They trek through the tunnels, ending up out of Helgen. Onto Riverwood! Ralof leads, the two prisoners turning up at the logging town around midday.