Helgen: Unwinnable battle, fight for survival, escape.
Ralof recovered quickly and ran to an intact tower where he paused and yelled for me to follow. I staggered though the door to join him knowing we were far from safe.
We came across Ulfric inside the tower. He appeared as calm as if on a Sundas stroll and seemed unperturbed by Dragon’s reappearing in Tamriel. I do not believe he had anything to do with the Dovah’s sudden appearance. I believe the Dovah saw our train of doom as there were quite a few wagons carrying the condemned to Helgen and followed out of curiosity. I felt kind of sorry for the headsman. Sundas was probably going to fund his retirement. I saw the top half of him lying in one of the streets with a look of surprise on his face. We lost track of Ulfric in the chaos. I do remember hearing a Thu’um not of the Dovah’s voice or power. It could only have been Ulfric using it during his escape.
I think the Dovah recognised General Tullius and Ulfric. I believe his intention was to wipe everybody out when gathered together in the city square. At the last second he recognised me as another Dovah and changed his Thu’um to a less deadly option. This gave me a chance to escape which I believe was his intention. Time will tell if I am right.
I climbed the tower steps only to be confronted by the Dovah’s fire destroying any chance of going higher. I jumped through the gaping hole he left and into a ruined inn. At that stage I had lost track of Ralof.
When I left the inn I encountered Radvar, a young Imperial officer who had been supervising my beheading. I saw him risk his life in full view of the Dovah to rescue a young boy and guide him to some shelter. It appears you can be a cold hearted cog of the Imperial war machine and have compassion at the same time. He had argued against my execution as I was not on the list so I decided to trust him as I was hopelessly lost.
I followed Radvar through a few streets and could see nothing but misery and extreme bravery.
Soldiers and mages were standing their ground and throwing everything they had at the Dovah. Fireballs, ice spears, lightning bolts and arrows seemed to have no effect. Thu’um after deafening Thu’um issued forth and buildings crumbled and crushed those inside and outside. People burst into flames, froze and shattered or were smashed against buildings. The Dovah would fly and rain death down from above. Then he would land with such force more buildings would crumble and people were tossed by the wind of his wings or fall with the quake he created. Any near him when he lifted off were scattered by the downdraft. Occasionally a brave soul would get within striking distance and engage with sword, axe, hammer or mace. Their mightiest blows would land like they hit an anvil. Sparks would fly. Sometimes the blow jarred the weapon from their hands or snapped their bones. I doubt the Dovah felt a thing. He would occasionally notice a nearby soldier and disdainfully squash them like a bug with a mighty foreleg or swat them to their doom with a swish of his huge tail. Most horrifying of all was when he leant down, took a person in his jaws and shook them like a terrier dog with a rat. Armour or not, there would be a brief scream, a sickening crunch and the victim rendered in two. The only advantage I could to see to armour was the Dovah would allow both pieces to fall to the ground. Quite often one of both halves of the unarmoured would vanish down his throat with an audible gulp. I even saw him throw a young woman in the air, catch her and swallow without bothering to bite or end her pitiful screams.
Many people stayed with dead and dying loved ones oblivious to the chaos around them. Such love is a powerful force that sometimes conquers logic and self-preservation.
After a few minutes of running and ducking, hoping to have not been noticed, we had turned so many corners I could not tell you where we were in relation to the town square. Eventually we came across Ralof. He urged me to follow him instead of the Imperial which made sense to me. Who knows when their urge to finish me off would resurface! So I ducked into a nearby tower with Ralof whilst Radvar threw curses at him and the Stormcloaks. I got the impression by the look on Ralof’s face they had been friends once. Such is the price of civil war.
I equipped myself with some fairly average armour and weapons from deceased Stormcloaks. It was obvious to me the quality of both were significantly inferior to even the lowest ranked Imperial soldier. I had no idea what my prowess in combat was like. I did equip a shield and sword as they felt the most natural. As we wound our way through buildings, trying to stay out of the open if we could, my abilities were soon put to the test.
We rounded a corner of a fairly intact building and came across several Imperial soldiers including their chief torturer. As if the chaos outside did not exist they charged us immediately in their haste to continue the civil war. I found myself flowing like a dancer and dispatched three of them in seconds. I did not even think about what I was doing. At the time I thought it must just be good training at some stage that I do not remember undertaking. Now I know I am a Dragonborn I think that training might have made me more than just a good warrior. I would have to be a highly efficient killing machine to do the bidding of The Divines.
Ralof was cornered by the torturer. A small mean looking man with the face of a rat who appeared to be very proficient with the two nasty looking daggers he was mesmerising Ralof with. I could see the Stormcloak was tiring quickly and only just managing to block with his axe and shield. There was no time for a man on man challenge. I simply walked up behind the torturer and thrust my sword through his back and out the ribs where his heart was beating a second before. He would have not been worrying about his back or flank. After all, I was just one smelly rebel against three trained Imperial soldiers last he saw. Ralof gawked at the falling torturer and then the other three I had killed. It was my turn to get him moving as bits of the ceiling were still falling and I could hear walls caving in.
We both had several more chances to test our fighting expertise as we made our way to a cave Ralof knew would lead us away from Helgen. I could see that Ralof was more than above average in skill when facing a conventional soldier. The torturer’s fighting technique had been something new to him.
Making our way through the cave was fairly uneventful after we dispatched a few Imperial soldiers guarding the entrance to Helgen. We did have to fight some giant spiders which produced the most delightful crunchy sound when you hit them hard enough.
We finally exited the cave to bright sunlight. As we stood getting our bearings we saw the Dovah leave from the ruins of Helgen and fly north. He appeared to be intent on gaining height which was a relief to Ralof. He informed me his home town, Riverwood, was in that direction. We decided to walk there together and ponder our course of action over a good meal and mead. It seemed like a lifetime ago since I had either.