Solitude, Sky Haven Temple, Whiterun, Skuldafn, Sovngarde: War treaty, Delphine regressed, Name obtained, Trap set, Dovah captured, Alduin’s gateway, Sovngarde defiled, Four Tongues, Alduin defeated, Lydia surprised, Paarthurnax, News spread. Home at last.
This journal entry was written about 10PM on the 29th Heartfire.
The events leading to Alduin’s defeat in Sovngarde occurred over three days on Nirn. It is impossible for me to tell when one day started and another ended once we entered Sovngarde. It did not seem more than a few hours but it appears to have been considerably longer than that. I have read of other mortals visiting Sovngarde who returned to find only minutes had passed when it seemed like hours there! Others have returned weeks or months later!
I think this discrepancy in the flow of time is why I felt so uncomfortable there. With the blood and soul of a Dovah I am sensitive to the threads of time.
For practicality I am saying the events written here took three days to accomplish and have been written as a single entry as I can’t truthfully break it into individual days.
At about 7:30AM on the 27th Lydia, Meeko and I left The Winking Skeever and headed for Castle Dour. We wanted to know if a truce had been called in the Civil War.
Neither General Tullius or Legate Rikke were in their war room. A Legate Caesennius told me they had both left with a delegation representing the Elder Council. They were going to Windhelm to negotiate a permanent truce. He said that both sides have ordered their men to stand down and all aggression to cease. He said The Empire demands all Jarls who sided with Ulfric to lose their holds. They will now be governed by those who remained loyal to the Emperor. That is the only demand being made and is not negotiable.
I thanked the legate and turned to Lydia. I told her there is no longer any need to go to Whiterun to wait an outcome. I explained we needed to visit The Blades so I can get a name of one of the returned dragons. We can then go to Dragonsreach where I will issue a challenge to a Dovah and hopefully capture it.
We picked up our horses from the stables and headed for Sky Haven Temple at about 8:30AM.
We soon came across a Stormcloak spy in combat with a Solitude Guard. He soon died and was a fool. The Stormcloak cause was proven to be a fabrication of Ulfric’s. Why die for a lie?
To save time I decided to leave the main roads and cut across the wilderness to Karthwasten. I had used this route before.
We were attacked by a Dovah called Peytoinlor. I recognised him as one that had spotted and followed me but never attacked previously.
Dragonrend soon brought him to the ground.
He was a young Dovah and not much of a challenge. We soon killed him and I absorbed his soul.
At a crossing I cautioned Lydia that the river runs fast and if she and her horse went over the waterfall there would not be much hope of survival. I got a “Pffttt Whatever!” as a reply followed by giggles. I had to laugh as well.
We encountered some Forsworn who attacked without hesitating. A bit rude since I had killed their conqueror yesterday! They soon died and we crossed the bridge they were guarding. We arrived at the temple soon after.
We found Delphine and Esbern in the gardens of the temple. Before I could even greet her Delphine said,
You know… what?
“About Paarthurnax. The dragon that the Greybeards have been protecting for all these years. He needs to die. He deserves to die and it falls to you to kill him! Until he’s dead.. well, I’m sorry but we would dishonour our oaths as Blades if we continued to help you.”
(I stood there incredulous. I really had thought Delphine had changed since the time I almost Shouted her inn to pieces. I put a bit of Thu’um into my voice. Enough to rattle the temple and make birds take off and tiles to fall.)
ONCE AGAIN YOU WISH TO STAND BETWEEN ME AND MY DIVINE TASK! HOW DARE YOU! DO YOU THINK I WAS BLUFFING WHEN I SAID I WOULD SLAY YOU WITHOUT HESITATION OR GUILT? YOU ARE OATH BOUND TO OBEY AND AID THE DRAGONBORN. I DO NOT NEED YOU ALIVE TO OBTAIN THE INFORMATION I NEED. THE MAP OF THE DRAGON BURIALS IS SUFFICIENT. WHAT IS IT TO BE DELPHINE?
(I drew my sword and approached. She drew hers but knew it would be futile. I could Shout he off the cliff behind her in a second if I wished. She bowed her head and sheathed her sword.)
“I have no desire to die here today. Paarthurnax is evil and needs to answer for his crimes. The atrocities he committed are unforgivable.”
I have forgiven him. He turned against Alduin and aided the ancient Tongues by teaching them to Shout. If it was not for him there would have been no Akaviri invasion, no Dragonguard and no Blades. There would have been no mortals left at all! You owe him your very existence!
“But what if he allies with Alduin again?”
Paarthurnax has spent thousands of years waiting for Alduin’s return. Not to join with him but to help the prophesied Dragonborn defeat him. Yesterday he physically attacked Alduin and together we defeated him. Does that sound like the evil being you claim him to be?
“You fought Alduin? And defeated him? Then the prophecy is fulfilled!”
We defeated Alduin in battle but he can’t be killed on this mortal plane. I have a plan to follow him to Sovngarde but I need some information. That is why I am here.
“It is not so easy for us to forgive what Paarthurnax did.”
Do you think the Dov had any choice but to follow and obey Alduin? He is an aspect of Akatosh. No matter how powerful Paarthurnax is he could not oppose a God without allies. The Tongues were those allies. I have been tasked by Akatosh himself to destroy his own aspect. I have fought that God once and must do so again. You hesitate in forgiving Paarthurnax for what he did as a General in a war. You worship Talos. Surely you are not ignorant of the atrocities committed by Tiber Septim? The ruthless way he exterminated even the peaceful families who might have challenged his throne! Not by sword but with a 1000ft tall metal golem! How he forced the woman he loved to abort their child in case it one day made a bid for the throne! Do not forget the slaughter your Akaviri predecessors wrought on Tamriel before they bent their knee to a Dragonborn!
“We will honour your wish in this matter.”
One final thing you need to remember. You have the audacity to think this temple belongs to you. You would never have had access without my Dragonborn blood opening the seal. I could reseal it just as easy. This temple is for the Dragonborn to use as he or she sees fit. You are but a guest. No more chances Delphine. I will kill you without a chance to talk your way out of it next time.
I approached Esbern who had been watching my exchange with Delphine but was now engrossed in a book. He looked up and asked, “Yes Dragonborn?”
I need the name of a Dragon. One of high rank so is more likely to answer my challenge if I Shout his name.
“I think I know the ideal one. He became Alduin’s second in charge when Paarthurnax changed sides. His name is “Od-Ah-Viing” whose literal translation is “Snow-Hunter-Wing”. The ancient Nord’s called him “Winged Snow Hunter”.
Thank you Esbern, I made this trip knowing you would have my answer.
“Dragonborn, please forgive Delphine for her prejudice and hatred toward dragons and Paarthurnax in particular. Trainee Blades are taught to hate Dov and never a redeeming word is spoke.”
Think on this Esbern. No other sentient species has been hunted almost to extinction simply for existing. Dov deserve the same rights as Khajiit or Orsimer or Redguard etc. When Alduin is gone there will be no more hunting of my kin without cause. Rebel Dov will be treated like any other criminal. Peaceful Dov will be left alone or I will hunt down the hunters!
With that Lydia, Meeko and I left the temple and rode towards Whiterun.
We arrived and stabled our horses at about 7:40PM and headed straight for Dragonsreach.
Jarl Balgruuf assured me all was ready and to meet him out on the Great Balcony.
I spoke to Meeko and Lydia and told them they must stay in the map room adjacent to the balcony until I call for them. That I was not engaging Odahviing in battle and the less people in his way or around him the less people he can hurt. Lydia understood and Meeko just lay staring at the doors.
I spoke to the Jarl and told him I will Shout the name of a very powerful dragon who will regard that as a challenge. That he would accept my challenge and get to Whiterun fairly quickly as I have no doubt he has been shadowing me. I urged the Jarl not to engage the Dovah but to allow me to offer myself as bait. He agreed.
I spoke to Irileth and told her the same.
I walked to the very edge of the balcony and used the full strength of my Thu’um.
OH DAH VIING!
The shout could be head echoing for many seconds. Odahviing appeared travelling at tremendous speed.
He swooped down and scooped up an unfortunate Whiterun guard. He gained height and dropped the already dead man.
Odahviing turned for a new attack when I hit him with Dragonrend.
He landed on the balcony with a resounding thump.
I approached him with sword drawn to give him the impression I was going to fight. Then I started back peddling and he pursued.
When in position Jarl Balgruuf gave the order and a lever was pulled and trap sprung.
I approached him. Like Alduin he was under the impression I do not understand Dovah speech. Here is our conversation,
“ Nid! Horvutah med kodaav. Caught like a bear in a trap… Zok frini grind ko grah drun viiki, Dovahkiin. Ah. I forget. You do not have the dovah speech.
My… eagerness to meet you in battle was my… undoing, Dovahkiin. I salute your, hmm, low cunning in devising such a grahmindol – stratagem.”
(I did not say anything at this stage. I wanted Odahviing to worry a little.)
“ Zu’u bonaar. You went to a great deal of trouble to put me in this… humiliating position. Hind siiv Alduin, hmm? No doubt you want to know where to find Alduin?”
I know he is hiding in Sovngarde. I need to know how to get there.
“Rinik vazah. Hiding is an apt phrase. Alduin bovul. One reason I came to your call was to test your Thu’um myself. Many of us have begun to question Alduin’s lordship, whether his Thu’um was truly the strongest. Among ourselves, of course. Mu ni meyye. None were yet ready to openly defy him.”
You were telling me how to get to Alduin?
“Unslaad krosis. Innumerable pardons. I digress. Yes, he has travelled to Sovngarde. He goes there to regain his strength, devouring the sillesejour… the souls of the mortal dead. A privilege he jealously guards… His door to Sovngarde is at Skuldafn, one of his ancient fanes high in the eastern mountains. Mindoraan, pah ok middovahhe lahvraan til. I surely do not need to warn you that all his remaining strength is marshalled there. Zu’u lost ofan hin laan… now that I have answered your question, you will allow me to go free?”
(I did not want to keep him a captive for long or try and force him to follow my orders.)
Not until Alduin is defeated in Sovngarde.
“Hmm… krosis. There is one detail about Skuldafn I neglected to mention.”
Tell me what you know then.
“Only this. You have the Thu’um of a Dovah, but without the wings of one, you will never set foot in Skuldafn. Of course, I could fly you there. But not while imprisoned like this.”
(On pure instinct I trusted Odahviing. A dragon’s word is as good as any and better than most.)
Fine. I will set you free if you swear to take me to Skuldafn.
“Onikaan koraav gein miraad. It is wise to recognize when you only have one choice. And you can trust me. Zu’u ni tahrodiis. Alduin has proven himself unworthy to rule. I go my own way now. Free me, and I swear I will carry you to Skuldafn.”
Wait for two minutes. I have to speak to somebody before I leave.
(I entered into the map room to speak to Lydia and Meeko. I explained to Lydia that the only way to get to where Alduin enters Sovngarde is to fly on the back of a dragon. She paled and I thought tears would start. Then she got control of herself and told me she will ride if the dragon can take two. She must see this to the end. I nodded to her then turned my attention to Meeko.
He understood he could not come and when I reminded him of the Jarl’s three children he was more accepting of the fact. We then went to the balcony.)
(I walked up to the guard and instructed him to release the dragon. The Jarl assured him it was OK. I then went downstairs and watched.
Odahviing was released and stated waddling towards the edge of the balcony. Masters of the sky they maybe but on the ground they have all the grace of a drunk duck.)
In the dragon tongue Odahviing said, “Faas nu, zini dein ruthi ahst vaal.”
(He was warning us to stay clear of his tail. I passed that onto those watching.)
When in position he asked “Saraan uth – I await your command, as promised. Are you ready to see the world as only a dovah can?”
Can you carry my housecarl, my friend, as well?
“Your fahdon… of course!”
(I turned to Lydia and asked if she was sure of this. I could detect her fear trying to override her duty. It was an unfair contest. She nodded and so I told her how it will work. There are many spines on Odahviing’s neck and I would grab hold of two and brace with my feet. She was to climb as close as she can to me and wrap her arms around my waste and also anchor with her legs. I told her it is best if she keeps her eyes open even if to stare at my back. That would reduce any motion sickness she may have. She nodded again. I took my place of the Dovah’s neck and Lydia soon followed. I asked if she was ready and got a firm “Yes”.)
We are ready. Take us to Skuldafn.
“Zok brit uth! I warn you, once you’ve flown the skies of Keizaal, your envy of the dov will only increase. Amativ! Mu bo kotin stinselok.”
(He then lifted into the air and flew us with great speed and surprising smoothness to Skuldafn. The words he spoke when taking to the air roughly translates to “Upwards we fly to the realm of the king.
He was correct about my envy. We were higher than The Throat of the World and the air was so thin I started to labour a bit for breath. Part of that may have been the death grip Lydia had on me. Any higher she would have broken ribs! She had her face planted into the fur of my cape and I heard her muffled prayers to The Divines naming each in turn. The flight was over too soon for me. Not soon enough for Lydia.
We dismounted rather elegantly for newcomers to dragon flying.)
Odahviing turned to me and said,
“This is as far as I can take you. Krif voth ahkrin. I will look for your return, or Alduin’s.”
With that he departed rapidly. I suppose he would not like to be seen transporting Alduin’s deadly enemy!
Some extremely loud but dry retching was happening behind me. I turned and a rather green Lydia was on all fours looking miserable. When I asked why the dry retch she informed me the Jarl’s cleaners have several big piles to clean on the balcony. I had not noticed when carefully watching the newly released dragon. Meeko probably ate them anyway!
I summoned two Dragon Priests and asked Lydia if she was ready. She said she was so onwards we went. I had no idea what we would be facing.
Before we moved ten feet a dragon called Feltiidarg attacked.
Dragonrend brought him down. A combination of offensive spells from the Dragon Priests and I plus Lydia arrows killed him fairly quickly. I absorbed his soul.
We fought many Draugr and skeletons as we slowly moved our way towards the main entrance of the largest building. Then another dragon attacked.
I do not even know the name of that one. He attacked. He died. I absorbed another soul.
It was a very long battle up many steps till we finally reached the doors to the largest building.
We entered and were immediately set upon by the undead inhabitants.
Dremora Lords were more effective in dusty old building so I replaced the Dragon Priests with them. The Draugr could Shout and used a combination of “Unrelenting Force” and “Frost Breath”. Many Lich were also present along with Skeletons. I found fireballs and lightning strikes the most effective weapons.
Several rooms had picture puzzles but no great intellect was needed to solve them.
One area was swarming with giant spiders. Lightning reduced them to ashes.
A powerful Lich guarded a Dwemer Puzzle Door. We killed it. Nearby was a diamond dragon claw. I picked it up and looked underneath for the door combination. It was Dragon, Moth, Fox.
I entered that combination, inserted the claw and the door slid down into a recess with a loud grinding of rock on rock.
Learnt the Word “Storm Call” and used a stored dragon soul to understand its meaning so I could use it in a Shout.
We emerged onto a large ledge and were immediately set upon by Draugr, Lich, Skeletons, two dragons and a live Dragon Priest!
It was a long, hard, chaotic battle with Thu’um and spells doing the most damage.
The two dragons were called Adaalrik and Dwiinavrok. I absorbed their souls.
The Dragon Priest was called Nahkriin. I searched his remains and found and usual mask and staff.
We climbed to the highest part of the building and found two circles. One was in a large area with stylised dragon wings and tails surrounding it.
The other was on a platform overlooking the first. It had a small circle in the middle that was a few inches deep.
Assuming the Dragon Priest was in charge of whatever this was I inserted the strange staff into the hole.
A beam of light shot up into infinity and I could feel a strange dweomer coming from it.
I said the Lydia that my best guess tells me this is a portal. The stylised dragon wings and tails and the sheer size of the beam indicates it is for something much larger than man or mer. Something the size of a dragon perhaps? Lydia agreed and we both decided to risk it.
I stepped into the beam closely followed by Lydia. We were instantly transported to a valley of sheer beauty. We were in Sovngarde!
I turned to Lydia and she said, “As beautiful as this is my Thane, I feel an overbearing sense of fear and futility. There is evil here and that must be Alduin. We have found him. Let us go and kill him!”
We could hear Alduin trumpeting, his wings flapping and the occasional “thump” as he landed. We could not yet see him though. Soon we came to a thick fog or mist.
I used the “Clear Skies” shout…
…and it was clear.
I had to use “Clear Skies” a couple of times more before we saw Alduin hovering ahead and the spirit of a deceased Stormcloak.
I approached the Stormcloak and this is what was said,
“Turn back traveller! Terror waits within this mist. Many have braved the shadowed vale, but vain is all courage against the peril that guards the way.”
Who are you?
“Near Giants’ Gap, in the gloom before dawn, we marched, unsuspecting into the Imperial’s trap. Then we stood and fought, our shield-wall defending until by dawn’s light the Legion’s ranks wavered. But I never knew if nights-end brought victory – a swift flying arrow to Sovngarde carried me.”
What is this mist?
“I do not know – but none have passed through. Alduin, his hunger insatiable, hunts the lost souls snared within this shadowed valley. Can you lead the way to where Shor’s hall waits, beckoning us on to welcome long sought?”
Yes, it is at the far end of the valley from here.
“I saw it fair when first I trod this long-sought path. The pain and fear vanished, dreamlike, and a vision beckoned… Shor’s hall, shimmering across the clouded vale. But quenched was hope by the shrouding mist – my mind is darkened. I’ve lost the way and wander blindly. Hurry! Before Alduin your life devours bring word to Shor’s hall of our hard fate!”
Don’t worry. I am here to kill Alduin!
“Beware! The World-Eater waits within the mist!”
Several more “Clear Sky” shouts and a few more glimpses of Alduin and I came face to face with Ulfric Stormcloak. I was glad my plan worked and he was accepted into Sovngarde. He was a good soldier before the Thalmor butchers twisted him into their puppet. It seems he has learned first-hand what I told him about the Civil War feeding Alduin. Here is what he said,
“Skyrim was betrayed, the blood of her sons spilled in doomed struggle against fate. And so in death, too late, I learn the truth – fed by war, so waxed the power of Alduin, World-Eater, wisdom now useless. By gods’ jest in this grim mist together snared, Stormcloak and Imperial, we wander hopeless waiting for succour.”
Lydia wanted to know why they all talked in flowery phrases. I told her I have no idea but it is rather irritating. She agreed.
More mist cleared and a grumpy looking Galmar Stone-Fist was waiting for me. I wonder what flowery words he will use to question my manhood and honour? Should I apologise for knocking his teeth out with my shield and stabbing him in the heart? Nope! Here is what he said,
“Dragonborn, even in death you dog my steps? How come you here? The king of this realm will cast you out – cursed be your name by all sons of Skyrim, with scorn unceasing.”
Ouch! I don’t think I will get a Nameday present from him! Of course he would not be here if fighting me had not shown him to be the courageous warrior he once was. Up till then he was sycophant of Ulfric with his nose so far up the Jarl’s arse he was in danger of suffocating.
More mist cleared and there stood a young Imperial soldier. He was not very talkative or flowery,
“Turn Back! Before he finds you!”
More mist cleared and Alduin sighted again.
Then High King Torygg approached me and said,
“When Ulfric Stormcloak, with savage Shout, sent me here my sole regret was fair Elisif, left forlorn and weeping. I faced him fearlessly – my fate inescapable, yet my honour is unstained – can Ulfric say the same?”
Lydia yelled, “He had no honour to stain my King!”
After a few more Shouts the Hall of Valour came into view. Even though it appears large, and may even be larger inside, there is no way it could hold all the worthy Nord’s who have earned admittance over the eras. We have also encountered only a few souls on the way here and I doubt very much Alduin has consumed the rest. My theory is this. There are many such Hall of Valour co-existing in parallel. Souls that have entered may find themselves in a different hall without realising it. That way they get to meet heroes of the past such as Ysgramor.
It was also strange that such high ranking mortals are all together in this particular Sovngarde. Some say Shor is also Lorkham and is also Shezarr and therefore a “Sibling” of The Divines. Whatever the relationship between Shor and The Divines I am guessing some manipulation is going on within his realm to make sure particular souls are together. Stories and histories of the Immortals regarding their blood and love relationships vary greatly between races. It is easy to read a book and think it tells the real story. When you find something contradictory you can do more research or ignore it. No matter what you do the truth is hidden from us mortals as per usual.
I approached Tsun, God of trials against adversity and Shield-thane of Shor. Some say he is Zenithar of the Breton pantheon, Zeht of the Redguard pantheon and Z’en of the Bosmer pantheon. That is once more conjecture as the absolute truth is hidden from us. One thing that is not in dispute is that his brother Stuhn was also a Shield-thane of Shor and is now Stendarr of The Divines.
“What brings you, wayfarer grim, to wander her, in Sovngarde, souls-end, Shor’s gift to honoured dead?”
I pursue Alduin, the World-Eater.
“A fateful errand. No few have chafed to face the Worm since first he set his soul-snare here at Sovngarde’s threshold. But Shorn restrained our wrathful onslaught – perhaps, deep counselled, your doom he foresaw.”
(I think Tsun and some other heroes could probably defeat Alduin if given the chance. Tsun is a master of the Tongue as well as a peerless warrior. Shor stopped them because he was “deep counselled”. No doubt by The Divines. “…your doom he foresaw.” No doubt Akatosh wants me to face and defeat Alduin as part of The Divines manipulations to ensure their preferred timeline occurs. The souls consumed by Alduin are simply more collateral damage to them. I wonder what Lydia would think of her beloved Bjorn’s soul being traded for The Divines plans? No wonder Daedra can get such devoted followers willing to destroy to hurt The Divines.)
I seek entrance to the Hall of Valour.
(I wanted to see if any heroes would be allowed to join me in battle.)
“No shade are you, as usually here passes, but living you dare the land of the dead. By what right do you request entry?”
By the right of being Dragonborn. Gifted my powers by Akatosh. By the right of being Champion of The Divines. By the right of prophecy as foresaw by Shor himself.
“Ah! It’s been too long since I last faced a doom-driven hero of the dragon blood.”
(I wonder how many Dragonborn did not stray too far and were found worthy by Tsun and Shor. Not many if the Greybeards scepticism is valid.)
Can I enter the hall of valour?
“Living or dead, by decree of Shor, none may pass this perilous bridge ‘til I judge them worthy by the warrior’s test.”
(Tsun then drew his axe and attacked. I yelled to Lydia not to interfere. He was a fine warrior but I knew he was not using all his skill. There would be very few who could beat him if he did. The Hall of Valour would be a lonely place. A well trained soldier or experienced mercenary would be sorely tested. I soon dealt what would normally have been a killing blow. He sheathed his axe.)
“You fought well. I find you worthy. It is long since one of the living has entered here. May Shor’s favour follow you and your errand.”
Lydia and I started to cross the famed Whalebone Bridge. I asked her what she was thinking. She replied, “I should be in awe of what few mortals have seen and all Nord warriors aspire to see. Yet the closer I get to the final battle the more my mind is consumed by two things. A burning need to avenge my beloved. Fear of what has happened to his soul in this accursed land of endless mist and misery.”
As we approached the giant doors I felt a lessening of the dread we had experienced since entering this realm of Shor’s. I wonder how much effort he is expending to lessen the worry of those inside. It would be hard to prevent heroes of old from seeking retribution if they felt the full force of Alduin’s evil. Many would probably sally forth despite Shor’s restraint.
We entered and were met by Ysgramor. His real history is one of the most clouded by opposing views. My need to seek the truth urged me to sit with him, have a few meads and ask him questions. Alas, that is not why I was there. He said,
“Welcome Dragonborn! Our door has stood empty since Alduin first set his soul-snare here. By Shor’s command we sheathed our blades and ventured not the vale’s dark mist. But three await your word to vent their fury upon the perilous foe. Gormlaith the fearless, glad hearted in battle. Hakon the valiant, heavy-handed warrior. Felldir the Old, far-seeing and grim.”
As I looked around I recognised many legends watching Lydia and I. Lydia was whispering their names to herself as we walked. I am sure she was storing them and their descriptions in memory for later telling around a table with incredulous friends and colleagues. It appears that Shor’s lessening of the dread and pervasive evil she felt outside has allowed her to appreciate this part of Sovngarde.
We approached the three ancient masters of the Tongue. The first men to be trained by Paarthurnax in the Thu’um. The heroes I saw confront Alduin via the Elder Scroll. Here is what they had to say,
Gormlaith: “At long last! Alduin’s doom is now ours to seal – just speak the word and with high hearts we’ll hasten forth to smite the worm wherever he lurks.”
Felldir: “Hold comrades. Let us counsel take before battle is blindly joined. Alduin’s mist is more than a snare. Its shadowy gloom is his shield and cloak. But with four Voices joined, our valour combined, we can blast the mist and bring him to battle.”
Hakon: Felldir speaks wisdom. The World-Eater, coward, fear you Dragonborn! We must drive away his mist, Shouting together, and then unsheathe our blades in desperate battle with our black-hearted foe.”
Gormlaith: To battle my friends! The fields will echo with the clamour of war, our wills undaunted.”
With that the three heroes ran for the exit! Despite the imminent battle I had to chuckle. I never had the chance to, “…just speak the word…”
Lydia looked at me as if I had finally gone crazy under the pressure. I just stuck my tongue out at her and ran to catch up with warriors thousands of years older than me!
We exited the hall to find the ancient Tongues already crossing the Whalebone Bridge. I wonder why they used whale bone? I could see plenty of trees nearby but no sea. It must have cost Shor a lot of money to transport that lot to Sovngarde! With that irrelevant thought another chuckle issued forth. I did not need to look at Lydia to know she was shaking her head in bemusement.
As we passed Tsun he said, “The eyes of Shor are upon you this day. Defeat Alduin and destroy his soul-snare.”
I finally caught up with the heroes of old at the edge of the mist. Felldir spoke,
Felldir: “We cannot fight the foe in this mist!”
Gormlaith: “Clear Skies – combine our Shouts!”
I thought the combined Thu’um of the Greybeards was powerful. The combination of these three ancient Tongues and I dwarfed that power many times over. The vision through the Elder Scroll did not convey this to me. I felt awe at what they would have wielded in battle against the Dov!
The mist vanished.
Then Alduin’s “Mist” Shout was heard.
VEN MUL RIIK!
Roughly translated that means a strong and unstoppable wind generated by the inborn power of a Dovah’s Thu’um.
The wind indeed blew Alduin’s mist to fill the cleared area once again.
Felldir: “Again, together! Alduin is strong!”
Once again we cleared the mist. Once again Alduin filled it with his Mist Shout. Hakon was discouraged,
Hakon: “Does his strength have no end? Is our struggle in vain?”
Gormlaith: “Stand fast! His strength is failing! Once more and his might will be broken!”
Felldir: “Again and we break his grim hold over Shor’s realm and redeem it for eternity!”
This time our combined power not only cleared a small area of mist. It removed it entirely from Sovngarde!
Alduin attacked! The five of us ran into the open field to do battle.
The World-Eater was hit by several Dragonrend shouts and was compelled to land and face our weapons wielded with righteous wraith.
Alduin, as all Dov seem to do in battle, tries to intimidate us with taunts. Here is a selection that I can remember:
- Nust wo ni qiilaan fen kos duaan. (Those who do not bow will be devoured.)
- Pahlok joorre! Hin kah fen kos bonaar. (Arrogant mortals! Your pride will be humbled.)
- Zu’u lost kriaan hi ont, nu hin sille fen nahkip suleyki. (I’ve killed you once. Now your souls will feed my power.)
- Zu’u Alduin, zok sahrot do naan ko Lein. (I am Alduin. Most might of any in the world!)
- I have already defeated your friends once. Beyne. I do not fear them. (Beyne means scorn.)
- Zu’u unslaad! Zu’u nis oblaan! (I am immortal. I cannot die!)
Some lost Imperial and Stormcloak warriors had found their way once the mist had gone and entered the battle with courage. I saw several consumed by Alduin.
The battle on the ground was fierce and at the forefront was Lydia. She did not allow any other to take her place in front of Alduin. Gormlaith, one of the most revered dragon slayers in history, had fallen to Alduin in battle.
Lydia fought with a ferocity fuelled by the mortal emotion revered by The Divines and often mocked by the Daedra.
As his end neared Alduin turned to me and tried one last Shout. It failed. His strength in Thu’um was gone. Lydia took a mighty swing from his flank and her sword embedded itself deep into the World-Eater’s neck. I had a brief flashback of the brave warriors who had got within striking distance of Alduin at Helgen. How it was like hitting an anvil when they landed a blow. Whatever dweomer protected him that day was also gone. It was fitting she landed the last blow of this long and difficult battle.
Alduin writhed in agony as his soul was ripped from his body.
I did not absorb it. It went straight up and I assume was collected by Akatosh since Alduin was one of his aspects. I knew this was probably not the last Nirn would see of Alduin. If no other force destroyed it first he would eventually return for another try.
Alduin was consumed by holy flames.
Eventually all that remained was a black foulness silhouetting the outline of a Dovah.
When the last of his soul left his remains the holy fire started consuming this foulness.
Then an explosion dispersed the foulness.
As the last of the foulness was clearing from the sky Tsun approached and said,
“This was a mighty deed! The doom of Alduin encompassed at last and cleansed is Sovngarde of his evil snare. They will sing of this battle in Shor’s hall forever. But you fate lies elsewhere. When you have completed your count of days I may welcome you again with glad friendship and bid you join the blessed feasting.”
For the side of the battleground an Imperial soldier shouted, “All hail the Dragonborn! Hail him with great praise!” There was a chorus all around me as others repeated the adulation.
“When you are ready to re-join the living just bid me so and I will send you back. Tarry not too long. The land of the dead is not meant for mortals to linger.”
Just as Tsun finished his warning Shor’s domain was finally clear of all traces left by Alduin’s demise. I felt something was wrong. Like my own soul was in danger of becoming a permanent guest of Shor. Living souls in his domain were subject to primal forces and laws that not even Gods can deny. Lydia and I still had some time before I thought permanent damage would be done.
The sunlight became unnaturally bright to my eyes. Colours seemed exaggerated and smell intensified. It was intoxicating!
The three ancient Tongues wished to give their farewells. This is what they said,
Felldir: “Our ancient debt for Alduin’s reprieve is now repaid. The long night is ended!”
Hakon: “I’ll look for you friend when at last you return to Shor’s hall. The honour will be ours when you re-join the ranks of Sovngarde.”
Gormlaith: “Even here where heroes throng few can match this mighty deed. What glory! The gods themselves must envy us this well-earned honour!”
I turned and spoke to Lydia. This is what I told her, “I know you did not fight for glory or honour but you are due them as much as I or those three heroes of old. I will try my best to make sure your part in this victory is not lost to history. That the source of your courage was of far more importance that those vain accolades. This must be understood by those that follow. Love drove you to battle. Love is also the reason why mortals must try and avoid battles where possible.”
I turned and there before me was a sight many philosophers would wet their pants over. Three of the most powerful men in Skyrim standing next to a common Imperial soldier. Mortal enemies side by side. Visual proof that death erases hatred and rank. We are all equal when our souls leave our mortal vessels.
I know that some harsh words were said before but these shades were under the influence of Alduin’s mist. I approached to see if the philosophers were right. This is what they said,
Ulfric: “You saved us all. We will sing of you forever.”
Galmar: “In life we were enemies but eternities too long to hold a grudge. My heart is now free of such old hatreds. Hero of the Nords I name you Dragonborn. Let none deny it.”
Torygg: “Tell Elisif I am now safe in Shor’s domain. It will ease her grief a little.”
From behind me I heard a loud shout of, “Lydia! Is that you my beloved? Have you too fallen in battle?”
A bit further up the path stood a blond haired, blue eyed Nord in a Falkreath guard uniform. It could only be one person and that was soon confirmed.
Lydia stood stunned.
She turned and dropped her shield in shock. With a cry of “Bjorn!” she started to run towards him as he ran toward her. It was like a scene from all those badly written romance stories that earn their authors a fortune!
I approached Tsun and he said, “This is not a good thing Dragonborn. Such meetings of dead and living rarely ends in happiness for either!”
I replied, “Do you not think this is a reward to Lydia for the courage and skill she showed in the defeat of Alduin. In my heart I know this is a reward from Shor. I am sure this will bode well for both.”
Tsun accepted this and we let the couple have precious time together.
They approached each other at full speed and somehow stopped in time to embrace each other as long separated loved ones have done since the beginning of time.
They then walked hand in hand to the water’s edge where they talked for I do not know how long.
Eventually Lydia must have felt the pull on her soul as strong as I did. She took one last look at her beloved, wiped some tears from her eyes and joined me next to Tsun.
I told Tsun we were ready to return to Tamriel. He said,
“Return now to Nirn with this rich boon from my lord. A Shout to bring a hero from Sovngarde in your hour of need. I am going to place you near one of our most reviled enemies who became one of our most revered friends. You know of whom I speak.”
With that Tsun Shouted us back to Nirn.
There was a blinding flash.
Then we found ourselves on the Throat of the World. We were surrounded by dozens of Dov who gathered after they felt the demise of Alduin.
One Dovah would say a sentence then take off to fly I know not where. I only caught a few of lines of what was said due to my disorientation. I felt something was wrong with time but did not know what.
Here is what I can recall:
- Mu los vomir! (We are free of fealty!)
- Alduin mahlaan! (Alduin is fallen!)
- Sahrot thur qahnaraan! (The mighty overlord is vanquished!)
- Dovahkiin los ok dovahkriid! (The Dragonborn slew him!)
- Thu’umii los nahlot! (His voice is silenced!)
It seems to me few of the Dov will miss him! He ruled through fear and violence. His legacy will be contempt and hatred, not respect, from most of those he commanded.
I approached Paarthurnax and had the following discussion.
“So, it is done. Alduin dilon. The Eldest is no more, he who came before all others, and has always been.”
I have no regrets. Alduin had to be stopped.
“Of course. Alduin wahlaan daanii. I would have not helped you if I thought otherwise. You did what was necessary. Alduin had flown far from the path of right action in his pahlok – the arrogance of his power. But I cannot celebrate his fall. Zu’u tiiraaz ahst ok mah. He was my brother once. This world will never be the same.”
I was just fulfilling my destiny as Dragonborn. Doing what The Divines required of their mortal Champion.
“Perhaps now you have some insight into the forces that shape the vennesetiid… the currents of Time. Perhaps you begin to see the world as a dovah. But I forget myself. Krosis. So los mid fahdon. Melancholy is an easy trap for a dovah to fall into. You have won a mighty victory. Sahrot krongrah – one that will echo through all the ages of this world for those who have eyes to see. Savor your triumph, Dovahkiin. This is not the last of what you will write upon the currents of Time.”
(Paarthurnax then leapt into the air.)
“Goraan! I feel younger than I have in many an age. Many of the dovahhe are now scattered across Keizaal. Without Alduin’s lordship, they may yet bow to the vahzen… rightness of my Thu’um.”
(He then hovered above and faced me.)
“But willing or no, they will hear it! Fare thee well, Dovahkiin!”
Paarthurnax then flew off to I know not where. Same as the other Dov had done.
Soon after Odahviing landed and said,
“Pruzah wundunne wah Wuth Gein. I wish the old one luck in his… quest. But I doubt many will wish to exchange Alduin’s lordship for the tyranny of Paarthurnax’s “Way of the Voice”. As for myself, you’ve proven your mastery twice over. Thuri, Dovahkiin. I gladly acknowledge the power of your Thu’um. Zu’u Odahviing. Call me when you have need, and I will come if I can.”
He also flew off to an unknown destination.
I turned to Lydia and was surprised to see her smiling. I told her it was important we get the news of Alduin’s defeat to several people. That we can rest when we have done so. She accepted that.
Our first stop was to the Greybeards, We found them gathered together at a large table. It seems there were more of them in the past. I could understand their difficulty in finding and keeping recruits. I also wondered how they would fare with the loss of their leader.
Arngeir stood and approached. Here is what was said,
“”I can see it in your eyes. You’ve seen the land of the Gods and returned.”
Yes. We found Alduin’s portal to Sovngarde.
“Does this mean… it is done? Is Alduin truly defeated?”
I hope so. But I don’t know if Alduin can ever be completely destroyed.
“Perhaps, perhaps not. Dragons are not like normal mortal creatures, and Alduin is unique even among Dov. He may be permitted to return at the end of time to fulfil his destiny as the World-Eater. But that is for the gods to decide. You have done your part.”
(I knew I could not escape without some philosophical crap from Angier. I listened with feigned interest.)
“You’ve shown yourself mighty, both in Voice and deed. In order to defeat Alduin, you’ve gained mastery of dreadful weapons. Now it is up to you to decide what to do with your power and skill. Will you be a hero whose name is remembered in song throughout the ages? Or will your name be a curse to future generations? Or will you merely fade from history, unremembered? Let the Way of the Voice be your guide, and the path of wisdom will be clear to you. Breath and focus, Dragonborn. Your future lies before you.”
With that enthralling speech out of the way Lydia and I exited the front door
Before we even started our long trek down the 7000 step Lydia asked me to stop. She then walked to the very edge of a sheer drop! I walked up beside her and was astounded to see her smiling.
I said, “Lydia? I hope you are not thinking of jumping. I still have burdens that need carrying. What happened to your fear of heights?”
Lydia turned towards me and said, “Bjorn and I spoke of many things. Many more than I would have thought possible in the time we had! He described to me how he died. He was on a wall equipped with a bow and was almost out of arrows. He called down to a fellow guard to throw some up. As the other guard was about to do so Alduin came in fast from behind and seized Bjorn. Thinking his fate was to be broken in half and consumed his suppressed his fear and directed all his love and final thoughts toward me. He meant to tell me how much he loved me. He got the thought “Lydia!” out before he realised what Alduin was doing. He had climbed very high ready for a dive upon a target in Helgen. He was outside the perimeter of the town when he simply dropped Bjorn. As he plummeted towards the ground his last thoughts were filled with terror, not love. Only when he told me this did I remember what I originally thought was a nightmare. I thought I dreamt somebody shouting my name as I plummeted from a great height to my death. Bjorn had made a connection with me and I had his memory of death. Once I made that connection the fear of falling and death was no longer mine.”
I am no longer shocked or surprised by such seemingly impossible events. This was no stranger than me making a doll which I gave to Rigmor who in turn gave it to her child self in a dream to regain her desire to be the warrior she is!
I said to Lydia, “You seem far more composed than others would be after having a long cha with their deceased beloved!”
She replied, “I will continue to morn and miss Bjorn. I can’t imagine that not being a part of my life till my dying day. I did as I wanted. What I needed. I avenged his death. I found he earned his place in Sovngarde. I no longer have the dread his soul was consumed by Alduin. We got to say our final goodbyes, after the event mind you. Better late than never! So I am content. I think you for giving me the chance to be so.”
I was tearing up by now. I simply said, “Damned cold wind always makes my eyes water!” and started on the long decent. Lydia just laughed and followed.
Our horses were still stabled in Whiterun. I summoned Blaze and Lydia rode pillion behind me. Blaze showed no reaction to this extra load. I swear he would show no emotion if I set him on fire!
Blaze was not much faster than Dogmeat but he never tired. We made rapid progress and had no encounters on our way to see the Blades.
I approached Delphine and she exclaimed,
“We heard the news from Whiterun – that you left the city on the back of a dragon! That’s a little… showy, even for you. Since you’re still alive, I assume you have good news to report?”
Yes. We used Alduin’s portal to travel to Sovngarde. With the aid of the first Tongues we defeated him. I don’t think he is dead as we think of it. However I believe he will not return to Nirm for a very long time.
“Gods above… that’s better news than I had hoped! When you walked into my inn that day, I never imagined where it would all lead… dragons out of legend… Sovngarde…”
Esbern then said,
“You have done it… just as the prophecy said…I knew you could do it… I believed in you and yet… I still didn’t think I’d live to see this day. Thank you Dragonborn. You’ve done a great service for us all.”
Lydia and I then left for the trip home.
We had no encounters and arrived in Whiterun at about 6:00PM.
We made our way to Dragonsreach and I approached Jarl Bulgruuf with the news. He said,
“Well Irileth owes me a few meads! We bet weather or not we would ever see you again. Glad I won. Very glad to see you my friend. What news Dragonborn?”
Lydia and I travelled to Sovngarde and with the aid of legendary warriors of times past we defeated the World-Eater. Please send couriers and inform the world of this good news.
“You went to Sovngarde? Both of you? We must sit in The Bannered Mare and I will shout you many drinks as you tell me this tale!”
I would love to Jarl but it would have to be The Drunken Huntsmen. I am bared from The Bannered Mare.
“I will not ask why! About Meeko, he has been a blessing! He’s had my children laughing and just enjoying being young. Dagny has been so busy she has not even nagged me about a new dress! I would appreciate it you sent him over here when you are able. The guards have even started to salute him when he asks for exit or entry to Dragonsreach!”
He would love that Jarl. He has a mind of his own so would probably visit without me sending him this way.
“Just one slightly delicate matter. The children have been feeding him whatever we are having for our meals. This has produced rather odorous and sometime noisy results! It can be embarrassing if I am talking to an important dignitary and the smell drifts over. Any advice on how to prevent this unfortunate side effect of his otherwise welcome visits?”
I have found pinching my nostrils together is the best.
With that we left the Jarl laughing and Meeko in tow.
We bought some warm food from vendors in the market and finally entered Breezehome at about 7:00PM.
Lydia was emotionally and physically exhausted and wandered off to bed about an hour later. Meeko followed her intent on catching up on the gossip.
I was so tired I forgot to ask how the peace talk had gone!
I was determined to put a full stop to this task of The Divines before retiring to bed.
I hung up General Tullius’ personal sword had given me the night I told him of Ulfric’s demise. I hung up a bow that I found I can’t remember where!
I mounted the pickaxe I found at highest point in Tamriel. I dressed a mannequin with the ancient Akaviri armour I found.
I then kneeled and prayed to The Divines. I thanked them for giving me the skills to carry out their wishes and save the mortals of Tamriel. I asked them to do what was needed to ensure Rigmor and I meet again.
I then wrote this journal entry and collapsed into bed.
I know not what time I fell asleep. I do remember a dream of a Saint Alessia telling me I had done well. Silly dream!