“Tending the Flames” is a Bards College Faction Quest in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Talking with Viarmo will yield that you need to do something for the college to be considered for Admission. To this end, he will be sending you after that Lost Verse to help the College hold its ritual of "The Burning of King Olaf". The Jarl of Solitude, Elisif the Fair, finds this festival in very poor taste with the recent assassination of High King Torygg. You are sent to find this Lost Verse in Dead Men's Respite. He explains that it would allow them to hold their "Burning of King Olaf.
Make your way to Dead Men's Respite. Enter the Respite and head down the first tunnel. You find that there is a ghost just ahead of you. You will see the ghost point to the door just beyond the altar in front of you.
On the table is the Ruby Dragon Claw. The door will open when you take it. But it will also release 4 Draugr that will converge on you. Move back into the entry way to avoid being swarmed by them. Use it to bottleneck them. With them defeated, head through the now open gate across from the entrance of the Respite.
Head down the corridor to the T-intersection. Stop before you reach the actually crossing. You will see the ghost of a figure walk past you. Also, because there is a pressure plate in the middle that triggers a spear trap on the sides of the entrance that can inflict heavy damage. Turn to the left and continue along the path there. Continue forward to the stone door. To the right of it is a pull chain. Activate it to clear the way forward.
Once again, this will loose a number of Frostbite Spider and a Draugr Deathlord on you. Hang back and deal with them at range (unless you are melee focused, then go ahead and charge in). Head to the back and turn to the West.
There are 2 rooms you need to burn your way through because of Webbing with some loot inside them. The one to the North has nothing, just a dead end. The one to the South is where you can go forward. Before you do though, continue to the West then South. Burn through the webbing blocking the way forward to find a locked chest (Apprentice level). Now head through the door to the South. Pull the chain to the right of the stone door to clear the way forward.
As you open that door, expect a few Draugr to be coming in after you. Quickly take them out then continue forward to the East. Watch out again if you go straight East because there is another pressure plate at the start of the next corridor leading to a potion and a Coin Purse. You can also find the Speech skill book The Buying Game sitting nearby there. Be careful because there is a battering ram that will swing in at you from behind when you remove something from those stones. Head back to the West and then turn to the North. There is a Draugr waiting in the corner for you so spot them and take it out. From there, make your way to the Northwest.
This will lead to another large chamber. Inside you will need to deal with a pair of Frostbite Spiders. Kill them off and head across the room to the North. There is a webbed over nook with some loot inside it. AFter that, head to the middle of the Eastern wall. Underneath the candles is a pull chain that will open a trap door in the Northern. Drop down into the water below.
Head through the corridor to the North. Follow it as it winds around the roots, through the water. There are a few Skeevers lurking in the water. Just beyond the skeever you have more Draugr waiting for you. Continue forward to the next chamber.
This chamber lets you see the mysterious ghost again. This time they go up the ramp in the Southern part of the room. Follow them upwards as you deal with the various Draugr that are emerging from their coffins.
The situation does not improve on the upper level. As you start across the narrow bridge you will find it is trapped with a number of swinging blades. You can either dash through each set of blades or just use Whirlwind Sprint. Get across the bridge and use the pull chain to disable the blades. After that, take the ramp upwards. Now just open the door and head to the West and turn to the North, follow the path down. The door to the West, for now, is sealed.
Head down the ramp to the North. You will encounter a Draugr Deathlord. Defeat it and continue on forward and head down the ramp leading to the West. This leads to another chamber for you to explore. There are some Draugr behind gates. They can and will attack you through the openings. There are at least 5 of them scattered throughout the room. Take them on one at a time to make things easier.
You want to pull the chain in the middle of the Southern wall to continue forward. This will open the gate in the floor. Just follow the stairs on down. This leads to another door. To the left is a pull switch that will clear the way forward. This will reveal the Lost Verse and the Ghost of its author, Svaknir. King Olaf's Verse rests in his hands. Pick it up then head back up the ramp.
With King Olaf's Verse in hand, head up the ramp. At the top, turn to the West. You will see the ghost again. Follow him to the sealed door. He will open it up for you. At the end of the hallway you will find the puzzle door that you need the Ruby Dragon Claw to open.
The key to the puzzle is: (top down) Wolf, Eagle, Wolf. Get that sequence and then activate the key hole. Go on through and head into the next room. Svaknir will call out to Olaf that, "It is time."
You will find that there are a lot of Draugr scattered throughout the room. You need to fight through most of them. You have close to 20 to fight over all. The good news is that only 2-4 Draugr at a time. Defeat them and then continue to the South to press forward. You will find after that, there are more to deal with. You need to defeat Draugr Deathlord and Draugr Scourge.
Take the stairs up to arrive at the sarcophagus. Go past it to find a Word Wall. This is a word from the shout: Whirlwind Sprint. This leads you into battle against King Olaf One-Eye. This is just like fighting another Draugr Deathlord. Keep a little distance and take your time to defeat.
Turn to the Southeastern part of the room. You will find the door. Open it up using King Olaf's Treasury Key and go into the room.
You will find a large chest. You will find plenty of loot inside it. There is also a pull lever to the right of it. Open it up and you will find the way to get back to the surface quickly.
Exit from the dungeon and make your way back to the Bards College in Solitude. Go to Viarmo and talk with him. Viarmo is disappointed in that the Verse is incomplete. Parts of it are illegible and others have just faded out. Viarmo explains that it will not do to convince Elisif. The Dragonborn will suggest that they should make up the missing parts. Viarmo will be hesitant but will go with the idea.
O, Olaf, our subjugator, the one-eyed betrayer;
death-dealing demon and dragon-killing King.
Your legend is lies, lurid and false;
your cunning capture of Numinex, a con for the ages.
|Olaf found him asleep|
|Olaf made a deal with Numinex|
|Olaf was Numinex. A Dragon in human form! (Persuade Speech 25)|
Olaf grabbed power, by promise and threat;
From Falkreath to Winterhold, they fell to their knees;
But Solitude stood strong, Skyrim's truest protectors.
Olaf's vengeance was instant, inspired and wicked.
|Olaf ordered disguised troops to attack Solitude|
|He convinced Solitude to attack Winterhold|
|He sacked it and used magic to blame Solitude|
|Olaf sacked it in dragon form! (Persuade Speech 50, if only you choice your persuade)|
So ends the story of Olaf the liar, a thief and a scoundrel we of Solitude commit to the fire. In Solitude bards train for their service, they also gather each year and burn a King who deserves it.
The Verse Reading
Get inside the Blue Palace. Just inside to the right is Viarmo. Talk with him. Follow him up the stairs and into the Jarl's chamber. He will read the Verse for Elisif the Fair who will appreciate it. She will give a reward to the College and Viarmo will pass some of it directly to you. He will then tell you to go back to the college and talk with Jorn.
Once inside the Bards College. You can find Jorn around with much effort. Talk with him and tell him that the Festival is back on. He will be grateful and tells you to meet him after dark. Wait until around 8 pm and then talk with him again. He will tell you to meet him out in front of the Bards College. Go on outside.
Once outside, turn to the right and go over to the marker. You will find the various bards coming together beneath their effigy. Wait an hour or so to get everyone together beneath the effigy quickly. Soon, Viarmo will make the announcement that you are a Bard and sets the effigy ablaze.