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I am just flabbergasted about the fact that I can't for the life of me find a single torch in all of Whiterun. I've been around the town twice now looking for a torch for sale or on five-finger discount, and it seems they are in short supply or something.

Normally this would not be an issue... I'd just use good ol' console magic to conjure up one... but my brother bought Skyrim for xbox and... well, achievements and all... anyway, console is not an option.

Am I just really unlucky or is there really no place to find torches in Whiterun?

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You mean people actually have a use for torches? The only reason I every had any was because I took them from dungeon walls to make the place stealthier. :) –  Kevin D Jan 6 '12 at 23:20
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@KevinD If you give one to your follower, they whip it out when it gets dark, (mostly) obviating the need for the "-light" spells in the Alternation school. –  user3389 Jan 6 '12 at 23:30
    
RRoD is not console magic.. –  Bora Jan 7 '12 at 0:35
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Can't you wait until it's dark, then 5-finger one from a guard walking round town? Take it right out of the fools hand. :) –  b01 Jan 7 '12 at 14:02
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4 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

The only places that have a chance to sell torches are general goods stores, of which there is only one in Whiterun: Belethor's General Goods.

The problem is that, because general goods stores can potentially stock anything, whether or not he sells torches at any given time is a total crapshoot.

You can keep refreshing his stock by waiting around for 48 hours, but it's probably easier to just fast travel to all the general goods stores or—easier yet—raid an uncleared dungeon that'll most likely have one or two.

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+1 for just raiding an uncleared dungeon... much easier (and cheaper) –  Ashley Steel Jan 8 '12 at 1:26
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The tunnels in Dragonsreach Dungeon have many a torch sconce. Enter the Guard Barracks behind the Bannered Mare, take a left and down the trapdoor into the tunnels.

If you want to explore further note that the locked gate has a lever, it's easy to miss. Of course this is the easy way in, you can probably find the more difficult way on your own:

Loose grate in back left dungeon cell. Will take some lockpicking.

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You can go to a mine they always have torches. and if your after ebony get the torch and the ore at thew gloombound mine.

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Just grab a torch from a cave wall. I wouldn't imagine many stores would stock a flaming torch, and I don't recall seeing any.

Why not just use the "candlelight" or "magelight" Alteration spells? I'm sure the court wizard could sell you the Spell Tome/s if needed.

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