High Hrothgar, Time Wound: New shout, Paarthurnax, Doomsday cult.
We left Ivarstead and headed for High Hrothgar just before 8AM.
Apart from a few wolves the trip up the 7000 steps was uneventful and we entered High Hrothgar at about 9:30AM.
I approached Angier and told him I needed to learn the Shout the ancient Tongues used to defeat Alduin. As usual the tail tried to wag the dog and I got unneeded angst from the Greybeards. Here is the conversation:
“Where did you learn of that? Who have you been speaking to?”
I learned it a month ago from the fifth etched tablet along the steps! Not much of a secret is it? This is absolutely none of your business but The Blades helped! I confirmed the etched tablet by visiting Sky Haven Temple. Since only a Dragonborn could get into the temple it is obvious the information in there is crucial to me. Alduin’s wall confirmed what your own etched tablet told me!
“The Blades! Of course. They specialise in meddling in matters they barely understand. Their reckless arrogance knows no bounds. They have always sought to turn the Dragonborn from the path of wisdom. Have you learned nothing from us? Would you simply be a tool in the hands of The Blades? To be used for their own purposes?”
HOW DARE YOU! You call The Blades arrogant yet they fulfil their sacred duty to aid and protect the Dragonborn. The same sacred duty given to you by Kyne! A duty which you try and avoid at every opportunity. I have been given this task by The Divines. The life of every single being on Nirn is far more important than your petty arguments with The Blades. I am no puppet of The Blades. DO YOUR DUTY!
“Forgive me Dragonborn. I have been intemperate with you. But heed my warning – The Blades may say they serve the Dragonborn but they do not. They never have!”
If I was not cautious I would have died a hundred times by now! Can you teach me this Shout or can’t you?
“No. I cannot teach it to you because I do not know it. It is called “Dragonrend”. Its Words of Power are unknown to us. We do not regret this loss. Dragonrend holds no place within the Way of the Voice.”
The Way of the Voice had no place in the real world in which I live. If it did you would be preaching its virtue in temples across Tamriel. I do not care if it is offensive to you! It is crucial to me! Perhaps your leader Paarthurnax can aid me?
“You weren’t ready. You still aren’t ready.”
STOP JUDGING ME WHEN YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM CAPABLE OF! I am the Champion of The Divines, survived Oblivion and faced down a god and you tell me I am not ready? How many more people die and towns razed before your uninformed opinion says I am ready. A minute ago you asked me for forgiveness. It seems you do not learn. I bet if I told you another Dragonborn exists at this very moment you would tell me I am mistaken because you know better. You do not know everything old man. You do not know me!
“If you are not ready you will not reach our leader. Paarthurnax lives in seclusion at the very peak of the mountain. He surpasses us all in the mastery of the Way of the Voice. Being allowed to see him is a great privilege. Only those whose Voice is strong can find the path. We will teach you a shout to open the way to Paarthurnax.”
We all entered the courtyard and Arngeir taught me “Clear Skies”.
I faced the path to Paarthurnax and there was wind of unnatural strength and randomly changing direction.
I used the “Clear Skies” Shout and a length of path cleared. Lydia, Meeko and I started the climb.
I could see some dragons in the distance. I was thinking it would not be good if they attacked us on such a narrow mountain path and suddenly remembered Lydia’s phobia.
When I looked behind she was as far from the edge as possible. Meeko had deliberately placed himself between her and the sheer drop. Lydia was not looking well and staring ahead. If I knew what was ahead in all the mist and wind I would have told her to go back. Unfortunately I didn’t so the best I could do for her was go slower.
We came across several Ice Wraith and Ice Trolls that were easily dispatched.
After about a dozen shouts we found ourselves on a wide plateau. Lydia was visibly relieved.
A very large elderly dragon approached and feathered his wings ready to land. I had already guessed Paarthurnax was a dragon. The fourth etched tablet read “Kyne called on Paarthurnax, who pitied Man. Together they taught Men to use the Voice. Then Dragon War raged, Dragon against Tongue.” If he was not a man and is not in any of the God pantheons then he must be a dragon.
I left room for him to land and then approached. Here is our conversation in full:
“Drem Yol Lok. Greetings, wunduniik. I am Paarthurnax. Who are you? What brings you to my strunmah…my mountain?”
(I had read Dov love to talk. I was not in the mood for a week long chat.)
I think you already know who I am.
“Yes. Vahzah. You speak the truth Dovahkiin. Forgive me. It has been long since I held tinvaak with a stranger. I gave in to the temptation to prolong our speech.”
Why live alone on a mountain if you love conversation?
“Evenaar bahlok. There are many hungers it is better to deny than to feed. Dreh ni nahkip. Discipline against the lesser aids in qahnaar…denial of the greater. Tell me. Why do you come here, volaan? Why do you intrude on my meditation?”
I need to learn the Dragonrend Shout. Can you teach me?
“Drem. Patience. There are formalities which must be observed at the first meeting of two of the Dov. By long tradition, the elder speaks first. Hear my Thu’um! Feel it in your bones. Match it if you are Dovahkiin!
(Paarthurnax then turned around slightly so he was facing a rune wall. He then blasted it with a shout that produced fire.
When he had had finished I approached the wall and absorbed the first Word, Yol (Fire), of the “Fire Breath” Shout.
I turned to face him and Paarthurnax then gifted me with his knowledge of Yol.
Paarthurnax then asked me to Shout “Fire Breath” at him so he could measure the strength of my Thu’um.)
“Aaah… yes! Sosedov los mul. The Dragonblood runs strong in you. It is long since I had the pleasure of speech with one of my own kind. So. You have made your way here to me. No easy task for a joor… mortal. Even for one of the Dovah Sos. Dragonblood. What would you ask of me?”
Can you teach me the Dragonrend shout?
“Ah. I have expected you. Prodah. You would not come all this way for a tinvaak with an old Dovah. No. You seek your weapon against Alduin.”
How did you know I came for Dragonrend?
“Alduin komeyt tiid. What else would you seek? Alduin and Dovahkiin return together. But I do not know the Thu’um you seek. Krosis. It cannot be known to me. Your kind – joorre – mortals – created it as a weapon against the Dov…the dragons. Our hadrimme, our minds, cannot even … comprehend its concepts.”
How can I learn it then?
“Drem. All in good time. First, a question for you. Why do you want to learn this Thu’um?”
“I like this world. I don’t want it to end so I need to stop Alduin.
“Pruzah. As good a reason as any. There are many who feel as you do, although not all. Some would say that all things must end so that the next can come to pass. Perhaps this world is simply the Egg of the next kalpa? Lein vokiin? Would you stop the next world being born?”
I have been shown the beauty of this world by one I love dearly. I wish to see more of it and share it with her. The next world will have to take care of itself.
“Paaz. A fair answer. Ro fus… maybe you only balance the forces that work to quicken the end of this world. Even we who ride the currents of Time cannot see past Time’s end. Wuldsetiid los tahrodiis. Those who try to hasten the end may delay it. Those who work to the delay the end may bring it closer. But you have indulged my weakness for speech long enough. Krosis. Now I will answer your question.”
(Talos told me Akatosh could not see what occurs if The Divines preferred timeline is not adhered to. Does that mean if I, or we if Rigmor is deeply involved, fail in a future task the End of Time occurs?)
“Do you know why I live here at the peak of Monahaven – what you name Throat of the World?”
No. Dragons like mountains?
“True. But few now remember that this was the very spot where Alduin was defeated by the ancient Tongues. Vahkrukt unslaad… perhaps none but me now remember how he was defeated.”
By using the Dragonrend shout?
“Yes and no. Viik nuz ni kroon. Alduin was not truly defeated either. If he was you would not be here today seeking to… defeat him. The Nord of those days used the Dragonrend Shout to cripple Alduin. But that was not enough. Ok mulaag unslaad. It was the Kel – the Elder Scroll. They used it to… cast him adrift on the currents of time.”
Are you saying the ancient Nords sent Alduin forward in time?
“Not intentionally. Some hoped he would be gone forever. Forever lost. Meyye. I knew better. Tid bo amativ. Time flows ever onward. One day he would surface. Which is why I have lived here. For thousands of mortal years I have waited. I knew where he would emerge but not when.”
(Elder Scrolls are a mystery to even the mages in Winterhold. Nobody knows who wrote them, what they are made of or their purpose. It takes special training to be able to read them and the result might be prophecy, a possible thing that maybe. It might be hidden history such as the one recently found and read pertaining to the “Forgotten Hero”. I was wondering if an ancient Dovah might have an answer.)
What do you think an Elder Scroll is?
“Hmm. How to explain in your tongue? The Dov have words for such thing the joorre do not. They are artefacts from outside time. An individual Elder Scroll had never existed, but has always existed. Rah wahlaan. They are.. hmm.. fragments of creation. The Kelle… Elder Scrolls as you name them, have often been used for prophecy. Your prophecy comes from an Elder Scroll! But this is only part of their power. Zofaas suleyk.”
(It is useful to have more knowledge of Elder Scrolls in general. I need to find the specific one used by the ancient Tongues. From what I remember reading, Elder Scrolls tend to find those who need them. Not magically appearing as such but found when looting bodies and/or dungeons).
How does any of this help me?
“Tiid krent. Time was… shattered her because of what the ancient Nords did to Alduin. If you brought that Kel, that Elder Scroll back here… to the Tiid Ahraan, the Time Wound… With the Elder Scroll that was used to break Time, you may be able to… cast yourself back. To the other end of the break. You could learn Dragonrend from those who created it.”
Do you know where I can find an Elder Scroll??
“Krosis. No. I know little of what has passed below in the long years I have lived here. You are likely better informed than I.”
I might ask Angier or The Blades. They may have some idea.
“Trust your instincts Dovahkiin. Your blood will show you the way.”
How could an elder scroll cast Alduin through time?
“Vomindok. I do not know. Perhaps in the very doing they erased the knowing of it from time itself.”
(What if my memories are the same? What if I did something that has wiped them from time itself? Not a pleasant thought!)
“The Dov are children of Akintosh. Thus we are specially… attuned to the flow of time. Perhaps also uniquely vulnerable? I warned them against such a rash action. Even I could not foresee its consequences. Nust ni hon. They would not listen.”
You were there?
“Yes. There were a few of us that rebelled against Alduin’s thur… his tyranny. We aided the mortals in his overthrow. But they did not trust us. Ni ov. Their inner councils were kept hidden from us. I was far from here on the day of Alduin’s downfall. But all Dov felt the… sundering of Time itself.”
What does the Dragonrend Shout actually do?
“Although I have never heard it the ancient Tongues explained to me it makes a Dovah contemplate their own mortality. Something that is completely foreign to a Dov.”
You are master of the Greybeards. Do other’s come here to train?
“I have taught the Way of the Voice for centuries and the Thu’um since long before that. But no Dovahkiin. Others do not come to train here any more. Saraan. You are the first in over 100 years. I meditate on the Rotmulaag – the words of Power. I counsel in their use. It is enough for me.”
You meditate on the Words? How?
“Knowing a Word of Power is to take the meaning into yourself. Contemplate the meaning of Rotmulaag. You will become closer to that Word as it fills you inner self. Will I tech you Dovahkiin? What word calls you to deeper understanding? There are three to master: Fus, Feim and Yol.”
(I had a choice of improving the first Word of the Shouts, Unrelenting Force, Become Ethereal and Fire Breath. I chose the first Word of Unrelenting Force as it is the most versatile of all the Shouts.)
“It is called “Force” in your tongue. But as you push the world, so does the world push back. That is “Fus.” Let its meaning fill you. Su’um ahrk morah. You will push the world harder than it pushes back.”
What do I do with the Elder Scroll when I find it?
“Return it here to the Tiid-Ahraan. Then… Kelle vomindok. Nothing is certain with such things. But I believe the Scroll’s bond with the Tiid-Ahraan will allow you a… a seeing. A vision of the moment of its creation. Then you will feel – know – Dragonrend in the power of its first expression. You will see them.. wuth fadonne… my friends. Hakon, Gormlaith and Felldir.”
Who are they?
“The first mortals that I taught the Thu’um. The first tongues. The leaders of the rebellion against Alduin. They were mighty in their day. Even to attempt to defeat Alduin… sahrot hunne. The Nords have had many heroes since but none greater!”
With that Paarthurnax had finished talking to me for now. I looked up at the peak of the mountain and decided to start climbing. Lydia stayed to amuse the old Dovah with a lively discussion about “apple cabbage stew”. Meeko just wandered around looking for things to sniff and pee on.
Near the summit I found an old pickaxe. It had a smithing enchantment of some sort on it. I kept it as a souvenir.
I just missed the sunset by the time I got to the summit but was gifted with the orange afterglow that sometimes follows. I must bring Rigmor here one day. I must!
It was pitch black as we cautiously made our way back to High Hrothgar. Lydia was far more confident walking in the dark because she could not see the edge or the tiny villages, rivers and roads. So I was slower than going up and my housecarl wanted to go faster. Weird!
We entered High Hrothgar and I found Arngeir meditating. As I approached he asked,
“Did he tell you what you wanted to know? Did he teach you the Dragonrend Shout?”
No, but he told me how to find out.
“So be it. If he believes it is necessary for you to learn this… we will bow to his wisdom.”
I did not need Paarthurnax’s or your approval to save Nirn! I need the Elder Scroll the ancients used. Do you know where to find it?
“We have never concerned ourselves with the Scrolls. The gods themselves would rightly fear to tamper with such things. A for where to find it… such blasphemies have always been the stock in trade of the mages of Winterhold. They may be able to tell you something about the Elder Scroll you seek.”
I doubt something not created by The Divines or Daedra or, as far as anybody can tell, any immortal could be blasphemous. They seem to be as natural as stars in the sky or the wind. You object to the use of the Dragonrend Shout and an Elder Scroll. Do you have another way to defeat Alduin?
“Perhaps not. But this shout was used once before was it not? And here we are again. Have you considered that Alduin was not meant to be defeated? Those who overthrew him in ancient times only postponed the day of reckoning. They did not stop it. If Nirn is meant to end, so be it. Let it end and be reborn.”
When was the last time you heard a child laugh? Watched light reflect off the ripples in a lake or river? Made love to a woman you share your soul with? There is much beauty worth saving. I can see that staring at grey walls whilst wearing grey robes and not actually participating in life might lead to such an idiotic perspective. It is the nature of any animal, beast or man or mer, to fight for their survival. There is something wrong with your philosophy and the way you live to allow such meek and terrible surrender to appear a valid option! What do you find so bad about the Dragonrend Shout?
“It was created by those who had lived under the unimaginable cruelty of Alduin’s Dragon Cult. Their whole lives were consumed with hatred for dragons. They poured all their anger and hatred into this Shout. When you learn a Shout you take it into your very being. In a sense you become the Shout. In order to learn and use this shout you will be taking this evil into yourself.”
What a load of utter rubbish! Have you learned a Shout like Fire Breath? Burning to death any creature that stands before you, even a man or mer, is less evil than making Dov face mortality? There is nothing evil about Dragonrend! Even if there was, your philosophy dictating you become a shout is preposterous and without merit. You learn the maning of the Word of Power and that is all! What do you have against The Blades?
“The Blades were born of dragon-hating crusaders. They still carry that legacy although they may not remember from whence it came. They carried out genocide of dragons when they first came to Tamriel. Now they will do it again with your help.”
YOU INSULT ME ONCE MORE ARNGEIR! I regret every single Dovah I am forced to kill in self-defence or to protect the innocent and defenceless civilians of Skyrim. I do not agree with the actions of the Akaviri, the Dragonguard or The Blades. No other intelligent species has been hunted simply for existing. The Blades have almost been hunted to extinction by the Thalmor. Perhaps this role reversal will enlighten those who survive. There will always be rogue Dov the same as any other species have the morally corrupt. There will always be a need for specialist soldiers to track down and bring to justice such rogue dragons. That is what The Blades should become. If it was ever within my power I would outlaw the killing of my kin simply for being Dov.
With that I signalled for Lydia and Meeko to follow and we made our slow progress down the mountain to Ivarstead.
The only thing darker than the night was my anger at such arrogant fools who have never done a single thing to aid the citizens of Nirn.
Usual routine when we reached the inn in Ivarstead. I told Lydia we would be heading off to Winterhold to visit the mages on the morrow.
I sat and wrote this journal entry before crawling into bed.
Anger prevented sleep. In my head I listened to Rigmor telling me about her trips to the Imperial City with her mother. More simple beauty worth fighting for. Such beauty replaced the anger.
I know not what time I fell asleep. I do know my last thought was the sun shining on the face of my beloved as she looked up and laughed.