Tirdas, 19th Last Seed, 4E 201

Whiterun: Fought Dragon, learned Thu’um, summoned, purchased house, made Thane, met and equipped Lydia.

Meeko woke me fairly early in the morning by licking my face. Not very hygienic but effective. After a good breakfast we headed outside just in time to see a large Redguard step right in the middle of Meeko’s deposit from the night before. A small Nord came up and said the unfortunate words, “I did that!” meaning he had also stepped in it. It was lost in translation. The Redguard grabbed him by the collar, lifted him off the ground and yelled in his face, “You disgusting little grub. The toilets are just behind the inn!” and then tossed him over the balcony. The little guy landed flat on his back and was winded. As he gasped for air Meeko and I decided it would be a good time to give Camilla and Lucan the good news.

They were extremely happy and gave me a generous reward. I also sold quite a few precious gems to Lucan but he could not afford to purchase them all. I traded some for a few spell tomes he had when he ran out of coin. I learnt those spells in no time and they were of medium complexity.

Left the store and looked over to the inn. I was glad to see the small Nord guy was back on his feet and busily cleaning up Meeko’s present from the patio. I summoned Blaze to assorted “oohs” and “ahhs” from the locals and made good time to Whiterun.

Stopped by the Khajiit’s outside Whiterun and sold them some of the gems Lucan could not afford. I was rather impressed with how much coin I had. Killing bandits and ransacking old crypts was profitable if you survived!

When I went to deliver the Dragonstone Farengar was in deep discussion with a woman trying to hide her identity under a fur hood. I recognised her straight away as the innkeeper from Riverwood. Intrigued I listened for a moment. They were discussing research both had done on dragons and their preliminary findings. All speculation as far as I could tell. Why would a supposed innkeeper travel incognito to discuss dragons with a court wizard? She mentioned her employers. Somebody obviously interested in dragons but why?

Finally Farengar noticed I was there and was thrilled to get his hands on the Dragonstone. The woman asked him to send her a copy of it as soon as possible to which he agreed. She looked me up and down and congratulated me on surviving the barrow. From her mild look of surprise I could tell she recognized me from the night before. I was going to talk to her when she dismissed me rudely with “We’ve got nothing to talk about!” I was going to stick my tongue out at her but some commotion in the hall stopped me.

Irileth came running in and announced a Dragon was spotted near the Western Watchtower. We all gathered upstairs to join the Jarl and listen to a guard report what he saw. All accept the hooded women who conveniently left rather than offer any assistance. I could tell she was a warrior by her stance. Apparently not very brave though.

The guardsman was out of breath and clearly agitated by his experience. He ran all the way from the tower to Whiterun thinking the dragon was going to swoop down and get him. When he left the tower the dragon had not yet attacked. The rest of the guards had stayed to fight if necessary. The bravery of these people continued to impress. Jarl Bulgruuf dismissed him and ordered him to get some food and rest after his ordeal.

The Jarl then ordered Irileth to gather some men and go see what is happening at the watchtower. He ordered Farengar to remain behind despite the fool’s eagerness to go see the pretty dragon. I felt like grabbing him and yelling in his face some of what I had seen. The young woman screaming as she was swallowed whole came to mind.

The Jarl turned to me and asked if I would accompany Irileth to the tower. Apparently running and hiding and hoping a dragon doesn’t eat you or burn you or stomp on you or kill you in some other unpleasant way makes you a tactical expert. I agreed to go because I was a good warrior and could help defend Whiterun, and therefore innocents, especially the Khajiit and farmers stuck outside the walls. The Jarl thanked me for recovering the Dragonstone and gave me permission to buy property in Whiterun and gifted me a weapon from his armoury.

I quite liked the idea of purchasing a house in Whiterun but decided it would be prudent to wait till after we dealt with the dragon. Not because I was rushed for time. I just thought the property values would tumble if we did not stop it from attacking the city!

So off Meeko and I voluntarily went to fight a dragon in the open even after I saw how hopeless and career ending it was in Helgen. I hoped Meeko was smart and stayed under cover. The only way he could harm a dragon is if he got caught in its throat on the way down.

At the front gate Irileth was busy giving some guards a similar “Be brave!” speech I had seen the other morning. The men and women trusted her and would follow her to the underworld. They might have been doing that in a minute.

As we marched out the gate and toward the watchtower I ran ahead a bit to warn the Khajiits. They were grateful and immediately grabbed their valuables and found shelter underneath some of the ramparts. Poor protection compare to a stone building within the walls but better than a canvas tent.

We marched within a short distance of the watchtower and huddled down to plan our next move. We could see the watchtower had been extensively damaged. Many fires were burning and there was no sign of any guards. Irileth ordered her men to spread out and approach the watchtower with caution.

Meeko and I moved a bit faster and were walking up the watchtower ramparts when an obviously shaken guard came and told us to hide as the dragon was still around. Then it let us know it had returned by bellowing a challenge and the attack was renewed.

I immediately knew it was a different Dovah to the one that destroyed Helgen. Although still impressive in size it was probably 50% smaller than the Helgen destroyer. Unlike the Helgen destroyer it spoke some common tongue and I learned its name was Mirmulnir. It swooped in and picked up a guard who screamed pitifully till the Dovah tightened its grip and snapped her back. As the Dovah made another swoop it dumped the lifeless body amongst a group of guards firing valiantly with their totally inadequate Imperial bows.

The Dovah was issuing all sort of insults at the guards in between Thu’um attacks. I was concentrating on where I thought it might land because I knew our best bet was for me to try “The Sword” on it scaly hide. As I watched this Dovah I saw another in the far distance. Looks like the dragon problem might be an invasion.

Finally it landed but it was a fair distance away. As I sprinted for it I noticed it was concentrating on an annoying white dog that was lunging forward trying to bite the Dovah and then leaping back as it returned the favour. It was a dumb thing for Meeko to do but kind of amusing if you ignored the danger to him. It probably saved a couple of guards lives as they closed in whilst the uneven duel continued. This Dovah seemed to have mage abilities as well. It had summoned some black skeletal warriors which added to the mayhem of the battle and the woes of the guardsman.

I eventually arrived and like something from the most far fetched heroic play I leapt onto the Dovah’s neck and plunged “The Sword” with all my might through a gap in its scales where the neck and head meet. A gap that only shows when the Dovah is stretching its neck whilst lunging at something. Lunging at something like an annoying dog!  I knew the gap would be there even though I had not fought a Dovah since waking on the carriage. No time to figure all that out as I had to safely leap from the neck of a thrashing and dying Dovah. Its last word’s struck me like a hammer.

NO DOVAHKIIN!

Cousin to a dragon? Me? I knew nothing of my family tree but I would think such a thing would not be spoken about in polite company.

Suddenly there was a crackling sound. The guards all leapt back from the corpse as it appeared to self-combust. I felt no fear, just an expectation and stood my ground.

As the corpse started to fall apart and float away in short lived embers there came a whooshing sound like wind through a narrow gap in rocks. Tendrils of light reached from the corpse and engulfed me in an almost unbearable brightness.

I could dimly hear Irileth ordering her men to stand back. As suddenly as it started the spectacle stopped. All that was left of the Dovah was a skeleton with bits of bloody flesh clinging here and there.

I knew.

I knew all there was to know about the Dovah word for “Force” that had etched itself into my brain in Bleak Falls Barrow.

I knew it was the first word of a Thu’um.

Like Ulfric Stormcloak, I could use the Thu’um.

Meeko! The thought of him brought me back to the present and I circled the Dovah’s skeleton looking for him. He was sitting getting pats and praises from a couple of guards and making a dust cloud with his sweeping tail. If people tell you dogs can’t smile tell them they know nothing.

A group of guards approached with Irileth. One of them stepped forward and declared I must be a Dragonborn. As he defended his reasoning to the sceptics he urged me to resolve the argument by using “The Voice”, the Thu’um.

I knew I could do it. I knew the first word of this Thu’um will not kill or main. So for the first time since wakening I looked upon others and used the Thu’um on them. They all staggered back including Irileth and all arguments for and against me being Dragonborn ceased.

So I am Dragonborn. Dovahkiin. What the fuck does that mean? Did Mum or Dad have kinky unprotected sex with a Dovah?  Or maybe Grandma or Grandpa had a thing for scaly derrières? More unanswered questions to add to my already impressive pile.

Irileth urged me to return to Dragonsreach and inform the Jarl of what occurred whilst she supervised attending the injured and other duties. Since I had nothing else to do but go insane asking the same questions over and over I started walking back to Whiterun. Meeko joined me and nudged my hand for a pat. I scratched behind his right ear for a while then his left ear got jealous so I scratched it instead.

Just as we reached the Whiterun stables a thunderous “DOVAHKIIN!” shook the very earth and seemed to come from all directions at once. As people picked themselves off the floor I felt like apologising. “Yes, that is me but I didn’t know Mum and Dad were going to call me in for dinner!” Who yells like that and why? If you want me, send a courier like normal people do!

In Whiterun there were huddles of people talking about dragons and Greybeards. Greybeards? Old people? What is so fascinating about old people?

I entered Dragonsreach and approached the Jarl.  His steward advised me to give my report to him immediately.

I told Jarl Bulgruuf of the battle and the defeat of the Dovah. I also mentioned I might be a Dragonborn. He had no doubt I was. He explained that call of “Dovakhiin” came from a group of elderly men who had dedicated their lives to learning Thu’um and a religion based around it. He said it was a summons for me to attend the Greybeards in their fortress at the top of the 7000 steps. Hrongar, the Jarl’s brother, said the summoning of a Dragonborn by the Greybeards is something that has not occurred since the days of Tiber Septim hundreds of years before.

The Jarl urged me to visit the Greybeards as soon as possible and that a summons from them was of a high honour and should not be ignored. He then proceeded to thank me and wished to make me Thane Of Whiterun, the highest rank a Jarl can bestow upon a citizen. However it could not be formalised till I purchased a property in Whiterun. This I did immediately by purchasing a house called Breezehome from his steward. After buying basic decorations for the house I was left almost penniless again. So much for the small fortune I had accumulated over the last few days.

Jarl Balgruuf then officially made me Thane Of Whiterun and gave me a magnificent axe as a badge of my rank. He also told me I now had a personal housecarl called Lydia who was waiting for me near the entrance. I thanked him for his generosity and went to greet Lydia.

Lydia turned out to be a stunning beauty whose grace and poise hinted at an accomplished warrior to my trained eye. She introduced herself, showed some real amazement at me being a Dragonborn and explained her duties. I did not like the idea of somebody volunteering to be my personal bodyguard and putting their lives at risk to save mine as duty demanded. Neeko was different. We had become firm friends in the few days we had travelled to together and friends watch each other’s back. I decided that I needed Lydia to follow me as a friend, not as her superior and started thinking of ways to accomplish that transformation.

Lydia was a board and sword fighter like me and claimed her marksman skills were quite good as well. Looking closely at her equipment (her armour and weapons, not her womanly assets) it was all serviceable but not good enough for somebody who may have to tackle the occasional dragon by my side. I had very little money, no gems left and the only assets I was willing to sell were the armour Jarl Bulgruuf gave me at our first meeting and the weapon he gave me for getting the Dragonstone.  There is no way I would sell “The Axe Of Whiterun”. Even a Jarl must smart a little giving away such an expensive and unique weapon so it meant more to me than just a symbol of my new rank.

Whilst I was pondering this Lydia had got to her knees and was patting Meeko enthusiastically whilst talking to him in that annoying high pitched voice dogs seem to love. “Whose a bootiful boy then? Yes, yoosy woosy is a bootiful boy arn’t you.” I felt like chiming in with “Whose a fewoshis killing machine who likes rolling in entwails and eating pooh pooh?” but time would let her discover the truth herself.

I decided we would visit Adrianne, the blacksmith I gifted the Stormcloak gear to, and see if the two gifts from the Jarl could be used as down payments on a set of higher quality gear for Lydia.

News travels fast amongst the Nords. By the time we reached Adrianne’s forge people were pointing at us and I heard the terms “Dargonborn”, “Dovahkiin”, “Dragonslayer”, “Thane” and “Look at the cute white doggy!” many times.

I humbly approached Adrianne with my proposition. She looked at Lydia and asked if she was willing to fight dragon’s by my side and any other enemy that I faced. Lydia proudly claimed that was her duty and she would not let her ancestors down by failing at it. I still felt uncomfortable at duty being the reason somebody might die at my side but could see the importance of the vow to Lydia and said nothing to diminish it.

Adrianne had the biggest smile on her face and asked us to wait. She went into her shop and a few minutes later emerged with a wonderful set of mail armour. It was of a design I did not think had been popular for centuries but functional and beautiful nonetheless. The armour provided protection but did not hide the femininity of the warrior nor exploit it for titillation. Many civilisations on Nirn celebrated the genders of their warriors. Some made them all wear the same formless tin cans.

As beautiful as it was the price must be phenomenal. The two trade in would not even cover the cost of the shield! I have no doubt I could pay the price in time but was Adrianne willing to wait? Was she willing to risk the debt going unpaid if my risky occupation was cut short? She dismissed my objections and asked Lydia to follow her for a fitting. I waited patiently by myself. Meeko as usual had found some children willing to play and was off somewhere near the marketplace. I could tell that from the giggles and muted barks in that direction.

After a while the ladies returned and Lydia looked like a shield maiden from days gone past. She was obviously proud to wear such armour and Adrianne had tears in her eyes. That is when the story emerged. It was a suit of armour passed from female warrior to female warrior in Adrianne’s family for centuries. When it was handed to Adrianne by a beloved aunt she was a young warrior in training. An injury to her right eye, something not visible to us but obviously debilitating to her, cut short that career option. A dream was crushed but luckily a family friend took her on as a blacksmith’s apprentice. She now loves her occupation but always felt guilty she had no female children or nearby relative to pass on the family armour. She wanted to gift it to Lydia. She would be privileged if a warrior fighting beside a Dragonborn wore her family armour. Now it was time for Lydia to start tearing up. They hugged and the deal was done no matter how uncomfortable I felt over such a generous gift. Since the gift was for Lydia I really had to bite my tongue and just accept the generosity.

I insisted Adrianne keep the two trade in. Lydia insisted Adrianne keep her old armour. Adrianne insisted they and Lydia’s old weapons be used as payment for an excellent sword and bow for Lydia. I thanked her profusely for her generosity and after more hugs between the ladies we set off to inspect our new house.

We did not have far to walk since Breezehome was next to Adrianne’s. A good size without being a mansion. Comfortable and convenient. More tears from Lydia when I presented her new room to her. Apparently it had been a long time since she had a space to herself. Barrack living lacked both privacy and the chance for individual expression. I assured her she could decorate it how she wanted and that this was her home as much as mine. More tears. She must have an inbuilt reservoir. I told her the rest of the day was hers but we would be leaving at first light for Ivarstead and the 7000 steps to High Hrothgar. It was a long trip through known bandit territory and I doubted we would not have to bloody our weapons. That did not seem to worry Lydia so much as that height we would be at High Hrothgar. Snarling bandits trying to disembowel you is OK but being high up isn’t? People are weird.

Lydia went off to gather her meagre possessions from the barracks. She also visited the Khajiit and the General Goods Store to buy knickknacks for decorating her room and some cooking gear insisting preparing meals was part of her duties and she had trained for it.

As I write this journal entry I am lying on my new bed. Lydia spent hours placing her new possessions carefully around her room with Meeko acting as her decor adviser. One woof good. Two woofs no. Lydia had prepared a wonderful meal but the cost of the ingredients reminded me I was almost a beggar again.

We will set off at first light in the morning.

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