Tuesday, November 22, 2011

18th of Last Seed, 4E 201

It's mid-afternoon here in Whiterun and I've decided to take a moment to myself to try and process everything that has happened in the past few days... I can still scarcely believe it myself!

Yesterday morning found me being carted out from the Imperial Fortress down to Helgen's town square. The Imperium intended to execute me for participating in the Stormcloak Rebellion. How they figured me part of Ulfrich's Stormcloaks I know not, but I was to be executed all the same.

As I laid my head down on the chopping block, its surface still wet with the blood of the unfortunate soul before me, I was saved by... and I can't believe I'm writing this, a dragon! It swooped down from the mountains just as the Executioner was ready to bring his axe down on the slight of my neck, its roar setting the skies ablaze, the mountains trembling under the onslaught! Within seconds, Helgen was aflame and the townsfolk was running for their very lives!

I barely managed to escape the village before it was completely destroyed. None made it out, from what I hear, but me and some Nord Stormcloak, whose name slipped my mind. He took me along to the nearby home of his sister Geodur in Riverwood, where we caught our breaths and had lunch, which was most welcome after the tribulations of that morning. Geodur and her husband are kind, hard-working people and I thank them for their hospitality.

Early afternoon, I set out for Whiterun, where I am writing this now, to bring the Jarl the news of the dragon attack. He was shocked by the complete and total destruction of Helgen and rightfully fears for his Hold and its people. He asked me to help his court wizard retrieve a stone tablet, a Dragonstone from Bleak Falls Barrow. Seeing as the Barrow is near Riverwood, where Geodur had offered me a bed for the night, I agreed and made my way back up the mountain.

A good hour's walk later I arrived back in Riverwood and spoke to some of the local traders, in an attempt to find out more about the Barrow. One of them, the owner of the general store, had lost a golden dragonclaw in an apparent break-in the night before, even though no other goods or gold had been taken...

I agreed to keep an eye out for the claw, as I was entering the ruins anyways, but this meant that the Barrow didn't contain spirits so much as either bandits or cultists. I'd have to keep on my toes.

At the trader's directions, I made my way further up the mountain towards the Barrow, my arrows silent and swift as the bandits tried their best to see what was happening before they were all dead. Making my way inside the Barrow, burrowing deep into the mountainside, I was unseen by my foes as I made my way to the inner sanctum.

Having made my way through to the Dragon Door I used the golden claw to open the way. There was a strange Wall in this as yet undisturbed part of the dungeon, on which there were Words inscribed. One leapt out at me and thus I learned FORCE, a Word of Power in an ancient language.

My investigation of the Wall had left me exposed however, and the zombified mess of a corpse of the Lord entombed here came out his sarcophagus and attacked me! I dispatched him, with some effort, and took his large, ancient blade as my own. It will serve me well in trials to come, I reckon...

In any event, having claimed both golden claw and Dragonstone, I made my way down the mountain back to Riverwood and returned the claw to the trader as night fell over the village. He was very happy to have it back, even though he remarked it was smaller than he remembered, which I'm sure is some ill-considered attempt at accusing me of filing it down. Some people just always want a little more, no matter how much you give them...

I helped out the local smith for the remainder of the evening and as the night began to deepen I made my way over to Geodur's house where I gratefully took her up on her offer of hospitality.

The next morning, this morning in fact, I set out bright and early towards Whiterun to give the Jarl's wizard his Dragonstone. The sun was rising as I walked through the forest, following the path, and I took it at a leisurely pace, drinking in the sights and sounds of the land. The journey was uneventful and I arrived at Dragonsreach, the Jarl's Keep, just as the city was starting to buzz with the day's activities.

The wizard was surprised to see me again, pompous bastard. He'd expected to send me into an impossible assignment, apparently, but I guess I'm more capable with a blade than he expected. There was another in the room with him when I arrived though, now that I think of it... A woman, her face hooded, as she was standing over a book, something the wizard, Ferengar, was proudly explaining to her. I tried to listen in at first, but she noticed me without delay. Strange occurrence, come to think of it...

I didn't have time to probe the mystery then, though, as Iruleth, the Jarl's house-carl, burst into the room and said a dragon had been sighted near the Western watchtower. We conferred quickly with the Jarl and made our way over there, a short distance from the city walls.

As we neared the tower, there were signs of battle and many fires, but no sign of the dragon. We made our way inside, to find a single terrified guard remaining, babbling of the dragon swooping down upon them. Sure enough, the dragon had been lying in wait and soon encircled the tower, the beating of its wings a thunderous roar in the air, its voice crackling with terror!

The guards scattered outside and Iruleth tried to rally them as I ran for the roof of the tower, and drew my bow. I had a perfect vantage point as the soldiers below tried to divert the dragon's attention and I managed to hit it several times, despite its constant swooping around the ancient tower. The sheer size of it was intimidating, it must have been as big as Dragonsreach itself!

A fierce battle ensued, during which the dragon tried to dislodge me from my rooftop vantage several times, swooping over the top of the tower with a thunderous flapping of its wings, its claws missing me by a hair, strafing fire at me as it passed. I took cover and dodged as best I could, firing my bow almost constantly, until we eventually managed to bring it down by sheer, collective determination.

The soldiers closed in on its hulking form, as I raced down the tower stairs, leaping from the doorway to the ground, drawing my sword. I ran up to the dragon, feeling the adrenaline of the encounter pumping through my veins, my heartbeat pounding fearfully in my ears, and took a good hew at its face, followed by another. The first blinded the fearsome creature, followed by the second which killed it outright as my blade entered its brain, its body slumping to the ground...

What happened next I cannot explain. As I was catching my breath, my mind still reeling from the implications of this dead dragon before us, its body burnt up in a matter of moments, releasing a strange energy which seemed to wash over me. I felt the same, but it appeared a momentous event, judging by the soldiers' gasps around me. They called me 'Dragonborn'.

The Jarl explained, as I returned to the Keep to bring news of the battle. He was pleased to hear we had slain the dragon, though worried about me being Dragonborn. Apparently, the Greybeards of High Hrothgar have called the Dragonborn, which now means me. The sound I had dismissed as a thunderclap on the way back to Whiterun is evidence of that, according to the Jarl. It was a word, he said: "Dovahkiin", uttered in the Voice of the Dragon.

It sounds like bad news...

I don't know about all this, it seems a lot of fantastical nonsense, but I cannot deny what happened as I stood next to the dragon's slain form. The Jarl said Dragonborn have occurred throughout Nord history, able to use the Language of Dragons to speak Shouts, or 'Thum'. I wonder why Dad never mentioned these stories? If I am indeed such a 'Dragonborn', if I do indeed have this blood, what hidden dangers lie within?

Further speculation aside, the Jarl made me Thane of Whiterun for services rendered to the city. Amazing! The honor is overwhelming, especially considering the fact I first set foot in the city only yesterday! I gained the right to purchase property, which they promptly insisted on by pushing Breezehome on me for a mere pittance. I could hardly refuse!

My new house, combined with the services of my new personal house-carl, Lydia, make me think I might settle down here. The climate is mild down here in the valley and the people are friendly and strong. Lydia and I moved into Breezehome and have started cleaning the cobwebs out. I think I'll spend the rest of the afternoon here, in Whiterun, cleaning the house and speaking to the merchants.

Then tomorrow, who knows? I might have to go visit the Greybeards, even though the prospect of climbing that cold, high mountain doesn't seem especially appealing.

Thane of Whiterun


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