Dragonborn Gallery, Windcaller Pass, Throat of the World: A gift for the Greybeards.
I have agreed with Auryen that I would only aid his archaeologists on a dig if:
- The item(s) being sought are of significant historical value
- The item(s) being sought may aid our rule of The Empire
- The archaeologists might be in physical danger from something beyond normal Legionnaires to protect against.
The dig at Windcaller Pass had been proposed by one of the Explorers Guild members, Professor Patero Marassi. He was an excellent researcher and has worked with Auryen for many decades.
Windcaller Pass is an old tunnel system that leads under the mountains to Ivarstead. It was so named as there is supposed to be a temple created by Jurgen Windcaller that pilgrims would pass through on their way to the Seven Thousand Steps. Of course it was also a useful shortcut for those travelling to Ivarstead for any reason.
Anything to do with Jurgen Windcaller is of interest. There may be new Shouts or Words of Power to be discovered. We may find artefacts that can aid us or at least be of importance to the Greybeards and history.
I do not agree with his philosophy, ‘The Way of the Voice’ that the Greybeards and Paarthurnax follow. He was simply looking for an excuse as to why the Nords were defeated by the Chimer and Dwemer at the Battle of Red Mountain in the First Era.
Our Gods, the Old Nord Pantheon and The Divines, tell you if you do something wrong. They do not have some Ancient Tongue sit in a cave contemplating his belly button for seven years before emerging to speak utter tripe. There is not a single piece of evidence that the use of the Thu’um at that battle was offensive to the Gods. Not one!
They went into that battle without any mages. They went into that battle thinking the Thu’um was the ultimate weapon. That was their problem. It needs to be part of a suite of weapons and not the only one. The soldiers had nothing else to aid them once the Thu’um failed.
My animosity towards the Greybeards was due to them judging me by their narrow view of the world. Arngeir even questioned my wish to keep this world, this ‘kalpa’, and not let it end so a new one could begin. That will happen eventually but letting it happen was not my choice to make.
I respect their right to believe the garbage of Windcaller and they are allies against the Dark Lords.
I used to be concerned about the Daedric writing upon Windcaller’s tomb. My knowledge of that language is far greater now than then. I now know it says Windcaller. Why it is in Daedric is still a mystery.
We may find things of historical and maybe military value but that is not the main reason I agreed to join the expedition. The main reason is that in a hidden valley reside two Dovah. Paarthurnax said they can’t be reasoned with. They will attack anything and anybody who enters the valley. Odahviing confirmed what he said. Apparently even Alduin gave up trying to talk to them.
You don’t have two Dovah guarding just any treasure. There must be something of value, not monetary but an artefact or knowledge, for us to find.
It was 8:00AM when we docked at the Dragonborn Gallery. I assembled The Sentinel on deck and told them, “We are going to be working with the Explorer’s Guild for at least two days. They are not soldiers. They are not used to constant profanity and crudity. They are not delicate flowers either. They are not going to faint at a few swear words but let’s keep the number lower and vulgarity less okay?”
Serana put her hands on her hips and demanded, “What about you Wulf? Are you going to keep the Dovah at bay? When he gets going he sounds like a drunken sailor who hasn’t see a woman in three months!”
“If I let him go it will be in combat where our squishy archaeological friends should not be!”
“Spit it out Wulf. What else haven’t you told us?”
“I hate smart arse antiques! What I was about to tell you is we may have to do some rock and debris clearing with picks and shovels.”
Just before we entered Calder let out the longest line of expletives and inventive vulgarities he could do with one breath. When I stared at him he shrugged his shoulders and explained, “Just expressing my love of mining.”
We entered and Patero Marassi came down the stairs.
“Ah, Emperor, I am glad you could join us in the excavation of Windcaller Pass. The team is already setting up camp and all roles have been assigned. Auryen has even joined us to help identify any finds we might make. So if you would like to fly us there, the camp is at the north foot of the great mountain outside the north passage.”
It was a three hour flight which I probably done in two and a half hours if I went via the ether to Whiterun. I chose to fly simply because it is fun.
The bell had hardly stopped ringing and ladder dropped before Patero climbed down and headed for the camp.
Auryen was sitting under the awnings of a tent out of the rain. I asked, “You sure the museum won’t implode without you there?”
“Oh yes, Avram can certainly handle things for a while. Plus I have wanted to join an expedition for some time. This should be quite fascinating.”
“How is Avram coping with the change from the guards we had originally hired to Imperial Legionnaires?”
“He says they are very co-operative. I think they are in awe they get to guard such historic items and enjoy their interaction with the public. Some are proving quite knowledgeable on subjects that grab their interest.”
“Let us hope we find something about Windcaller. He is not my favourite historical figure but some insight into that campaign and disaster of the First Era would be good.
“Indeed Majesty. But even the architecture will be of interest.”
Eriana was the quartermaster for the Explorers Guild as well as selling items superfluous to the museum’s needs on the open market. I exclaimed, “It looks like you have half the camps provisions in your backpack!”
“It was a bigger load before! Still putting things where they should go. I will soon be sitting with my feet up enjoying a hot cup of tea while you lot traipse through the dirt and cobwebs.”
“Feel free to say hello to the mages in the airship. J’Zargo is in there if you want to try your hand at bartering with one of the best. Not as good as Kharjo but not bad.”
“I might do that after I hide all the things that could fall into his pockets by accident.”
Starting to cook some stew ready for lunch was Latoria, the Explorers Guild mage. She left the College of Winterhold without becoming Master of any School of magic. She prefers exploring the unknown of old ruins and caves rather than dusty tomes of esoteric knowledge. Like many Khajiit her presence injects enthusiasm into any group effort. I asked her, “Who is this stunning young mage? What happened to that old one? What was her name again? Laboria?”
“Nice new clothes but same old Latoria underneath.”
“Are you ready to go exploring?”
“Oh yes it is very exciting!”
The strong-arm of the Explorers Guild and expert miner and engineer is Kyre Oldensen. He was wearing a new set of guild armour commissioned by one of my favourite armourers. He said, “Greetings Majesty. This first dig will be interesting for me. Breaking through walls and moving big rocks etcetera to find something a bit more exciting than an ore vein.”
“Come on, it must be a thrill to find a rich vein of some mineral or metal?”
“It is that but you already suspect what you are going to find. I mean to be in an iron mine and find a vein of gold would be different but never happens. Here I have no idea what the sweat and effort will reveal.”
“Fair enough but I can’t say The Sentinel are looking forward to the sweat and effort. They will have nothing to whinge about though as their Emperor will be swinging a pickaxe next to them.”
Madras is a rather eccentric archaeologist who likes it so much he put up with Calcelmo for several years digging under Markarth. He sneezed as I approached, “Can you see anything through those Dwemer optical thingies?”
“Of course I can Auryen!”
“Hey, he still has a sense of humour! I thought Calcelmo would have drained that away as unnecessary for the serious study of the Dwemer.”
“After you fixed up his love life he was much easier to put up with. I only felt like hitting him with my mace every second hour.”
“Looking forward to this?”
“Yeah, should be interesting. Not as interesting as Rkund to be sure. It is just and old Nord cave and all, but could be fun.”
“Did you find an entrance to Rkund? There was nothing there when I had a quick look a few years ago.”
“Oh yes but there is so much more. I am hoping we will visit there soon for a dig.”
“Do no write of this as a boring old Nord cave. Windcaller may have stashed some Chimer artefacts plus two Dovah guardians hints at something don’t you think?”
Patero was studying some ancient pottery found just inside the cave.
I asked, “So a couple of them went inside before we arrived?”
“Yes, just for a quick look. Apparently it is swarming with creature of all types. Torches and spells did not scare them away and they are mighty hostile. Have fun clearing them out for us.”
“No problems. What else is an Emperor to do when not running The Empire?”
Serana piped up, “You mean getting in the way of High Queen Rigmor?”
“Don’t you mean saving lives Serana? You have seen how she is after a few days in the throne room.”
As we stood in front of the cave entrance I said to The Sentinel, “I do not expect anything but the typical cave dwellers. Mainly animals but could be Draugr. Still, let’s be cautious.”
Not far in we saw an established camp that had recently been claimed by two large predators who had fed on the previous owners. We dispatched them and moved on.
A troll objected to us but a few arrows shut it up.
A monument with the symbol of Jurgen Windcaller caught my attention. It was similar to the ones along the 7000 steps to High Hrothgar and written in Atmoran. I read the plaque,
“Those to the right like to crawl in the dark.
Those to your left…”
“The writing is too worn so spiders to the right and unknown to the left. We will go right in a second but that pile of rubble is worth looking at.”
I started chipping away with my small archaeology chisel and putting interesting shards into a leather bag I was carrying.
Serana asked, “Why collect those bits and pieces?”
“When an expert like Auryen gathers enough he gets an idea what they were.”
I held up a larger fragment and said, “For instance this could be part of an idol, pot, cup, plate etcetera. As you get better at it the more likely you are to spot bits an untrained eye might miss.”
“I see. Everyday items are not described in the histories are they? We don’t know what a spoon, or plate and so on looked like unless somebody put them in a painting or carving.”
“Yes and that is the major part of what an archaeologist does. They show us how our ancestors lived through the mundane items and not the priceless artefacts.”
“Can I have a go?”
I handed Serana the tools, small pickaxe, chisel, hammer, brushes, tweezers etc. She knelt down and was fully absorbed in the work.
She found some promising bits and they went into my bag with the others.
“It is kind of soothing isn’t it?” I asked her.
“Yes and there is the sense of discovery that is always enticing.”
“Let’s go kill some spiders!”
I have found lightening is your best friend again the giant spider. It easily removes the web and lets you kill them from a distance much faster than a bow. It is also great for removing the thick webs blocking a passage.
Chain lightening eliminates the swarms far quicker than the sword.
Serana often employs fire from a staff and lightening from her free hand.
After a few dozen spiders we came to the end of their lair…
…and into a cavern with an underground stream.
I spotted something long and white sitting on a pedestal.
When I picked it up it was cold but it was not ice. I will have to ask Auryen about it.
I spotted and retrieved another shard a little further on.
After more angry cave dwellers were dispatched we found ourselves back at the plaque. So there was no need to go left as that is where we came from.
We made our way to a large boulder that had fallen and blocked a path sometime ago. There was a cold breeze coming though the gaps leading us to believe the path might lead outside.
“OK Sentinel. Two at a time start chipping away at the boulder. We will change every 15 minutes. I will go get Kyre so with six of us that is half an hour between your turn so not a word of complaint.”
We finished about six hours later and there was a lot of blood leading to where the rock was.
I said to Kyre, “Head back to camp. By the amount of blood something very big was chased by something bigger that killed it and dragged it back home for dinner. Plus this probably leads outside to the two Dovah.”
“Giant flying lizards that can swallow you whole are not for me! They are all yours plus whatever beastie left all that blood.”
Not far in we found the ‘beastie’. It was a much larger than average troll.
Ghorbash said to Calder, “You had better go tell your Mummy she is blocking the path.”
Argus replied, “Nah, we killed his mother in Evermore. That is his childhood sweetheart.”
Serana gave them a stare that would freeze a volcano and they shut up. I managed to sneak behind and kill the thing with a backstab.
In front of us was a stairway. The cool breeze was coming from that direction.
To the left was a doorway which I opened with a lockpick.
The room only had one door. Some gold ore was stored there.
There was a chest and another of those weird shards.
We went back and climbed the stairs. Another plaque was there which read,
“I, Jurgen Windcaller,
Dedicate this Temple
To Ice and Time,
For they had forged my Land”
Just to the right of the plaque was a passageway that led to the hidden valley, and the two Dovah.
I signalled The Sentinel and they stayed just inside the tunnel.
I used Dragon Aspect Shout and Dragonhide spell on me then went outside to speak to the dragons,
- Wulf: Drem Yekrem ahrk Sorgul. Aal mu tinvaak? (Peace Yekrem and Sorgul. May we speak?)
- Sorgul: Hi fen kos fin Dovahkiin. Alduin laan mu wah aak krif hi. (You must be the Dovahkiin. Alduin wanted us to help him fight you.)
- Wulf: Dreh hi sahvot ahst Windcaller’s rot? (Do you believe in Windcaller’s words?)
- Sorgul: Rok lost aan nikriin! (He was a coward!)
- Yekrem: Fin Thu’um los fah krongrah ni drem! (The Thu’um is for conquest not peace!)
- Wulf: Hi dein daar kumnaar? (You guard this valley?)
- Yekrem: Nii los un! (It is ours!)
- Sorgul: Nid aal vod! (None may pass!)
- Wulf: Zu’u los Jun ahrk daar los dii golt! Zu’u dreh ni laan wah krii hi. Mu fen vod. (I am king and this is my land. I do not want to kill you. We will pass.)
- Sorgul: Hi los ni un Jun! (You are not our King!)
- Yekrem: Nid tinvaak. Krif! (No more talking. Fight!)
They lifted off and the battle began. The Sentinel knew not to get too close to me as I am guaranteed to be the target of any Shout used. Instead they fanned out and started peppering the two Dovah with arrows and spells.
As predicted they did a co-ordinated attack and simultaneously covered me in Dragonfire. It was not exactly comfortable but my protections prevented any real damage.
The left wing of Sorgul was bloodied and tattered and the front of Yekrem was even bloodier.
I did not use Dragonrend on them. I had hoped they would realise the futility of the fight and choose to flee. Dragonrend is such an insult to Dov pride they become enraged and will fight to the death.
Both were almost down when they crossed my path for the last time. I only used the Thu’um once during the battle and my flames ended their lives.
I approached Sorgul full of regret as I hate killing Dov.
As I absorbed his soul Argus asked, “We know you do not like this Wulf. It means the end of their life with no possible resurrection. Why do you not refuse to do it?”
When the soul absorption was over I replied, “I have no choice. I cannot stop it and even if I moved to the other side of Nirn it would still happen but slower. Since there is no option to stop it I get closer and speed up the process.”
Yekrem’s death plunge placed him on top of a cliff and I pointed him out to Argus, “Yekrem is all the way up there. I have started to absorb his soul already and will climb to get it over with.”
By the time I reached Yekrem the absorption was half complete. It did not take long for the rest.
We started exploring the valley. There were two inactive Word Walls, an exit on the opposite corner to which we entered and a strange column with a dweomer I could not recognise. I called Serena over and asked her, “What do you think this is?”
She studied it and after a while replied, “I think it has something to do with those strange white shards you have been collecting. Auryen might know.”
There was a chest in the middle of the valley and upon opening it I recovered a jade dragon claw.
“Okay Sentinel, there is an exit over there and this jade claw. I suggest we head back to camp and tell the others as they may wish to come with us to see what is behind the door it opens.”
We reached the camp at about 8:30PM and I approached Patero, “The two Dovah were intent on battle and now they are dead. I wish I did not have to slaughter my brothers but there are still many who will never overcome their base instincts.”
“I cannot hope to understand how it makes you feel Majesty but you have my sympathy.”
“They were not protecting the secrets or temple of Jurgen Windcaller. They despised his philosophy. I think they found a refuge from The Blades and other troubles and were simply defending their home. I did find this jade claw so there must be a Dwemer Puzzle Lock in the next part of the tunnels.”
“Oh, have you? Wonderful! Latoria, Kyre and I will come with you. I’d love to see what it leads to.”
“We will leave in about thirty minutes. The Sentinel and I will have a quick meal.”
Before I sat down to have some stew I talked to Auryen. I handed a white shard to him and asked, “Have you ever seen anything like this?”
“I have never seen it but have read about it. I believe it is crystallized ice otherwise known as eternal ice or Eternium. It is a pure elemental manifestation of frost Magicka. In many ways it’s much like concentrated Stalhrim and is incredibly rare. In fact the only known sum of the element was forged into a staff by a wizard called Hrormir.”
“Earned me a good bit of gold did Horny Hrormir! The Song of Hrormir is not known by many so when travelling as a bard I would use it to persuade a patron to hire me for several nights. Inn clients particularly like the verse,
‘Surely I would help thee
But I have already a Quest to drink
Twelve Flagons of Mead in one Hour,
And then to bed four Wenches,
So I must with grace decline.’
Do you know the tale?”
“No. Perhaps you can entertain us with it over the campfire when we are not so busy?”
“I would love to but you might not like what he uses the staff for. Just hold it by the handle if I find it.”
“Legend says Hrormir broke the staff into six pieces.”
“Well I already have three and I think we found his forge. So if I find all six I will try it.”
“You killed the two Dovah and I am sorry you had to do so.”
“So am I but their choice.”
I sat, had some stew then headed for the caves once more.
Just before we entered I told them, “Calder, Argus at the back with guild members in the middle and the rest of us leading.”
The Dwemer Puzzle Door was not far into the new cave and to the right. No hostiles were encountered.
Latoria asked, “How do these doors work Majesty?”
“Each one has a Dragon Claw specific to it. You have seen all the Dragon Claws at the museum? None of those would open this door. The combination part is stupid and makes no sense to me.”
I handed Latoria the claw and said, “See underneath the claw are three old Nord animal totems. Touch each ring of the wheel till the totem matches the corresponding one on the claw.”
Latoria looked at the claw and set, top to bottom, bear, whale, snake.
“Now put the three feet of the claw into the slots.”
Latoria did that and the magicka on the door recognised the correct claw and totem combination. It descended with the rumble of stone on stone.
“Notice how the totems reset.”
“Why do you say the totem combination is nonsense?”
“The answer is given on the claw and since you can’t open the door without the claw it makes them redundant and very stupid. They offer no extra level of security.”
“Well nobody said the Dwemer were smart. Smart people do not vanish from Nirn overnight!”
There was another shard in the room and a locked box which I picked open.
Inside were two items. Firstly a ring that had a strong dweomer to improve unarmed combat damage. I sensed Kyne when I held it. Secondly an amulet or talisman that reduced the cool down between shouts much more than a Talos amulet. I could sense Kyne on it as well.
I said to Patero, “These items almost definitely belonged to Windcaller. I know Auryen brought along several books on known Windcaller artefacts. Perhaps he can confirm their identity while we explore further.”
“Good idea. Perhaps Latoria can take them back.”
I approached the ever smiling Latoria and asked, “Did you hear what needs to be done?”
“Oh yes. Not to worry as I know the way and the bad things are cleared.”
“Do you sense the magicka in this room?”
“There is definitely the presence of the Voice down here and a lot of other magics as well. Very exciting it is!”
I handed her the relics and she went wandering back to camp as happy as a pig in mud.
As we continue multiple trolls could be heard making a racket. We found them in a large cavern and took them down with arrows.
There was another pile of rubble that gave up some more small Nord pieces of pottery.
The Sentinel were not impressed when a fallen limestone and granite column blocked our progress.
I asked Kyre, “What do you think? We only have to make a path wide enough for a person at a time.”
“Probably six to eight hours.”
Patero said, ”In that case I will arrange for a camp in the valley. It will be much more convenient than the one at the front entrance. Come and get us when needed.”
Patero wandered off and we started chipping away at the column. Three teams of two, fifteen minutes each turn.
After seven hours we cleared a wide enough path to continue.
I could hear something echoing and wasn’t sure what it may be. I advised Kyre, “Head to the new camp. Sounds like some sort of beastie nearby and there is no need for you to be in danger.”
Kyre totally agreed and made a hasty retreat.
We entered a cavern full of dead trolls. I warned, “Keep alert. Not many things can slaughter trolls like this.”
We soon discovered what could and did. Half a dozen Ice Wraiths.
I jumped down to be in the middle of them. Even though excellent marksman The Sentinel were not having much luck hitting the fast moving creatures that tended to zig when you though they would zag.
Serana and I know through experience that Lightning Bolts are the best thing to use against them. Precise aim is not required. Shoot a bolt near a target and it will find its own way to it faster than anything can move out of the way.
We soon destroyed them. There was another one of Windcaller’s plaques which read,
“Those to your left are made of ice
They do not fear those to your right”
The creatures to the right were wolves and some trolls protecting a white shard. They died but we were faced with a rock in the way of the next passage.
It was about 8:30AM when we reached the new camp. I informed them all of the situation. Kyre returned with us to help remove the rock.
Five hours later and the rock was gone. Before we could investigate the newly opened passage Latoria came running up with fear in her eyes.
“Calm down Latoria. What has got you so scared?”
“Auryen confirmed they are Windcaller’s Ring and Windcaller’s Talisman. I was bringing them back to you when a terrible thing befell me!”
“You are still alive and not hurt. Did you see J’Zargo naked?”
“Only once and this Khajiit laughed. But that is not it. Latoria heard a terrible screaming sound. It was something not of this world! It scared poor Latoria and she lost her balance, tripped and knocked the wind out of her. After she composed herself, Latoria noticed the Windcaller relics were gone! Something terrible swooped in and stole them from her!”
“What do you suppose it is?”
“Latoria does not know and Latoria does not want to find out either. The others also heard the scream and have all ran back to camp. I came looking for you.”
“That was very brave Latoria. Did you see where it went?”
“I saw a shadow heading this way. Maybe it has gone down the new passageway!”
“We would have noticed a big hairy screaming monster if it ran past us.”
Ghorbash said, “Not if it an invisible big hairy screaming monster. Maybe it is staring at Latoria right now licking its lips. Khajiit kebabs! Yummy!”
Latoria’s eyes started darting around and she was trembling with fear.
“Ignore this brainless lump. If the monster wanted lunch he could have munched on you when you were winded. Don’t worry about the beast, we will deal with it.”
“Oh, Latoria certainly hopes so. So horrible that sound! Nothing good could come from something that makes that racket.”
“Are you okay to head to camp by yourself?”
Latoria shook her head. She was almost crying with fear.
Serana took her by the paw and said, “Come on, I will walk you there and if any of the others pick on you just remember you came running to us when they went running outside. They are the scaredy-cats and you are the brave cat.”
When they were out of site I smacked Ghorbash on the back of the head.
“I told you these are bookworms, not seasoned soldiers or adventurers.”
“I did not swear or say anything vulgar!”
I just shook my head and moved down the newly opened tunnel in pursuit of the beast. We did not know if it came this way but might as well start somewhere.
I found another shard in a cavern with a few Pygmy Trolls. They are small but can still tear a man to pieces. A few Ice Spears and arrows and they were dead.
We encountered no other hostiles but could hear pitiful squeaking behind some ancient wood scaffolding. Serana had caught up and was behind me when we spotted the ‘beast’.
A racoon had one of its paws caught between two planks and could not free itself. I freed the poor thing and discovered the Windcaller relics under the plank I had move aside.
I waved my finger at it and growled, “Lucky for you I do not speak racoon otherwise I would give you a lecture on honesty and bullshit about karma!”
If anybody tells you a racoon can’t look guilty tell them they know nothing. We left the little guy behind as we continued exploring.
We entered a circular chamber with two gates. Both closed trapping us while poisonous gas was fed in from pipes at different heights. The armour of The Sentinel has many dweomers added by me. So we were all fairly safe from poisoning but still the coughing fits were not ideal.
I was looking for a solution when our little thief came trotting up the corridor and released us from Windcaller’s trap.
“Okay little guy. All is forgiven.”
He had the smarts to use a pull chain. He has survived in caverns full of predators. He could be quite a help during these trips and I do not recall any rule of the Explorers Guild banning small animals.
There were two gates to the trap cavern. The other led to an exit.
We found ourselves near Ivarstead. Windcaller Pass was now useable once again!
We made our way back to the valley with our new recruit following close behind.
They all laughed with embarrassment and amusement at running terrified from such a vicious beast.
I said, “It seems he wants to join the Explorers Guild but he will need a name.”
Latoria suggested, “What about Fafnir?” and everybody agreed.
Marassi said, “Okay, Windcaller Pass has been well and truly explored. I suggest we return to the guild with our spoils and start cataloguing our finds.”
“Alright, I will leave you lot to it. I am taking the relics to the Greybeards. I am turning their lives upside down so this will be a welcome distraction for them.”
I had the six shards and approached the forge.
As I placed them in the gap in the forge the staff took shape. When the last was in place there was a flash and the staff was whole once again.
First thing I thought was there is no way he used it for the purpose suggested in the song!
I picked it up and it had the most powerful frost dweomer I had ever encountered. A find addition to the museum!
We made our way back to Nafalilargus and I flew it to High Hrothgar. The Sentinel came on deck and I told them, “I wish to present the relics to all of them, including Paarthurnax. So we will do that first thing in the morning. The Greybeards can either climb the paths or I can fly them up. I will just go in and tell Arngeir. You can all head below deck. It is late and we have been going since 8:00AM yesterday.”
As they entered the cabin I entered High Hrothgar and spoke to Arngeir.
“Greetings Dovahsebrom, how can I help you?”
“There is something extremely important I need to speak to you all about. That includes Paarthurnax. Can you all be at the Throat of the World by 9:00AM? I am quite happy to fly any up who think the climb is too much.”
“I am the only one who has spoken to our leader in centuries. Rest assured we are quite capable of making the climb and will meet you there at the designated time. I know it will not be something trivial and will not ask what it is.”
I bowed to Arngeir and left for the airship.
I was exhausted and so were The Sentinel. Seasoned warriors we are but using a pickaxe for hours reminds you painfully of muscles you forgot you had.
We went to bed early and awoke with groans and moans and the mages had no sympathy at all.
I flew Nafalilargus to the Throat of the World. The Sentinel watched from on deck as I approached the four Greybeards and Paarthurnax.
“Good morning Masters. Good morning Paarthurnax.”
The Greybeards bowed and Paarthurnax rumbled, “Drem Yol Lok Dovahsebrom. I will curtail my need for tinvaak as my curiosity is greater. Why have you assembled us here altogether for the first time in centuries?”
I said, “Please hold out your hands palm up Master Angeir.”
He did as I asked.
“In your left hand I place Jurgen Windcaller’s ring as worn at the Battle of the Red Mountain.”
The other day I saw smiles on these ancient men’s faces. Now I saw astonishment and wonder.
“Can you feel the presence of Kyne Master Arngeir?”
“Yes I can Dovahsebrom! We thought this was lost to us.”
“In your right hand I place Jurgen Windcaller’s Talisman also worn at the Battle of Red Mountain.”
Arngeir stood stunned and the other three Greybeards were equally mesmerised.
Paarthurnax said, “We knew of these things. In his writings he tells of how he discarded them as symbols of his misuse of the Thu’um for war. But still they belonged to him and are part of his path to the Way of the Voice and therefore ours. They are indeed a mighty gift to bestow upon us.”
Arngeir asked, “Where did you get them?”
“We had heard rumours of a temple of sorts within Windcaller Pass. Your founder had made a temple there but now it is mostly in ruins. Hidden behind a Dwemer Puzzle Door was a box with those within. The only place they belong is with you, his devoted followers.”
The four Greybeards were passing around the relics and all of them seemed touched by the gesture and the fact they held something of Windcaller.
I said to Paarthurnax, “Unfortunately Yekrem and Sorgul were not believers in the Way of the Voice. They attacked and I gave them plenty of chances to realise they were outmatched but still they died without cause.”
“Many Dov are slaves to that need for dominance and to prove themselves in battle. Their numbers are dwindling as they die for their folly. You always emphasise free will and that was theirs.”
“I assume these gentlemen and yourself might have a bit of a tinvaak so I will leave you to it. I had better make an appearance in the throne room and take some of that burden from my Queen.”
“The tinvaak would be more interesting if one of them deigned to lift up the items for me to see and sniff!”
I left the most ancient of beings with the most ancient of men and boarded Nafalilargus.
I went to my room and wrote these journal entries as Brelyna took us via the ether to the Imperial City.
As Emperor was this a responsible use of my time? Of course it was!
I might not have learnt a new Shout or Word of Power but the ancient passage to Ivarstead is open once again and I saw a sense of wonder on the wrinkled faces of very old men.
Men I have asked to help fight a war despite their Way of the Voice.