Skyrim Quest: Unbound
I opened my eyes, but they took time to focus.
The creaking, rocking and clopping of hooves were clues that I was in a carriage. But where? But when?
I concentrated on the driver. He was an Imperial Legionnaire.
I looked behind. An Imperial Officer was following on horseback.
I looked forward again. The carriage in front of us was full of soldiers with their hands bound together. At the head of this parade was a high-ranking Imperial officer. I thought him to be legate at the least but more likely a general or even a governor.
I was startled out of my contemplation by the man sitting opposite me, who said, “Hey, you. You’re finally awake.”
I looked at the man. He was a Nord. Am I a Nord?
He was a soldier in the same army as those in the other carriage. His hands were also bound. I quickly looked myself over. Dressed in rags and no sign of me being a soldier. But my hands were also bound, and I am in a carriage with soldiers. So, am I one as well?
Apart from my rags, the only thing I was wearing was some sort of necklace or pendant. I could feel the metal against my chest, but it was under my tunic, and I could not get to it with my bound hands.
The Nord continued, “You were trying to cross the border, right? Walked right into that Imperial ambush, same as us, and that thief over there.”
I looked at the thief. His hands were also bound, and his clothing was not much better than mine. He was smaller in physique and was most likely a Bosmer.
The thief exclaimed, “Damn you, Stormcloaks! Skyrim was fine until you came along and The Empire nice and lazy. If they hadn’t been looking for you, I could’ve stolen that horse and been halfway to Hammerfell.”
The thief looked at me, then said, “You there. You and me, we shouldn’t be here. It’s these Stormcloaks the Empire wants.”
So, the soldiers are Stormcloaks. That would be useful information if I knew what a Stormcloak was.
The Nord Stormcloak said to him, “We’re all brothers and sisters in binds now, thief.”
The Imperial Legionnaire driving the carriage, yelled out, “Shut up back there!”
That instruction earned a few seconds of silence.
The thief stared at the fourth person aboard the carriage, who was a large man and another Nord. He had a beak of a nose that seemed to have been broken several times in the past. The stare he directed at the thief told me much. It was apparent to me that he was somebody of authority, and he did not like the thief taking his measure. His armour suggested he was of high rank within the Stormcloaks.
This fourth passenger had a gag tightly over his mouth. A few growls issued from him that were enough to express the anger boiling inside and the contempt for his fellow passenger.
Eventually, the thief asked aloud, “What is wrong with him, huh?”
The other Nord told him angrily, “Watch your tongue. You’re speaking to Ulfric Stormcloak, the true High King.”
The thief stared horrified at Ulfric then lamented, “Ulfric? The Jarl of Windhelm? You’re the leader of the rebellion. But if they’ve captured you… Oh gods, where are they taking us?”
The Nord replied with melancholy, “This particular road leads to Helgen, but that might not be our final destination. I don’t know where we’re going, but Sovngarde awaits.”
The realisation of his possible upcoming demise terrified the thief who cried out, “No, this can’t be happening. This injustice isn’t happening.”
They both fell silent as each contemplated the fate that awaits.
Was I to be executed as well? For what crime? Was being in the same vicinity as the Stormcloaks enough for The Empire to kill a man? I needed more information!
- Wulf: What are your names?
- Ralof: I am Ralof from Riverwood. That is Jarl Ulfric of Windhelm.
- Lokir: I am Lokir from Roriskstead.
- Wulf: Where were we captured?
- Ralof: You don’t know?
- Wulf: I know nothing, not even my name.
- Ralof: They captured us at Darkwater Crossing. The Imperials laid a trap and swept up everybody in their net, Stormcloak or not.
- Wulf: You thought I was trying to cross a border, which border?
- Ralof: There are smuggler entrances to Skyrim from Cyrodiil that come out near Darkwater Crossing. However, I have heard rumours that they are not safe to use anymore.
- Wulf: Why do you assume I was coming from Cyrodiil?
- Ralof: You look more Imperial than Nord. But I suppose you could already be a resident of Skyrim and was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Your accent is unusual, and I have not heard its type before.
- Wulf: How long did they hold us in Darkwater Crossing?
- Ralof: They waited for General Tullius to arrive so he could lead this convoy of death. We were captured on the fourteenth.
- Wulf: The fourteenth of what month. Of what year? What is today’s date?
- Ralof: You don’t remember anything do you?
- Lokir: We were captured early in the morning of the fourteenth of Last Seed. The year is 4E 201.
- Wulf: And today’s date?
- Lokir: The seventeenth of Last Seed. We left Darkwater Crossing early this morning.
- Wulf: Did any of you speak to me in Darkwater Crossing or even see me there?
- Ralof: No.
- Lokir: No.
- Wulf: What about you Jarl Ulfric?
The Jarl stared at me, and I think he has judged me to be Imperial. Contempt was apparent in that scrutiny. He shook his head.
- Wulf: So, the first time any of you laid eyes on me was when we boarded this carriage?
- Ralof: You seemed to be asleep where you currently sit when we boarded. You remained fast asleep for hours despite the noise and commotion.
- Wulf: Lokir, did the Imperials catch you trying to steal a horse? Did you have any stolen goods on you?
- Lokir: No, they have not charged me with any crime or brought me before a magistrate.
- Ralof: I think they have rounded up anybody who was not a known resident of Darkwater Crossing.
- Wulf: Neither Lokir or I were wearing a Stormcloak uniform yet we find ourselves apparently on the way to some grim end. No charges and no trial. I know nothing of Stormcloaks. I don’t know anything of this rebellion. I know now that I am in Skyrim but have no idea from whence I came. I do know this is not how The Empire is supposed to act. The Empire is law. The law is sacred.
- Ralof: This is war. People are dealt with efficiently and with great expediency. The law is not allowed to interfere with war.
- Wulf: Following that path leads to the acceptance of collateral damage and justification for genocide.
- Ralof: You may not remember who you are, but it seems your moral compass is intact. That suggests you have never been a soldier in the field.
I wasn’t going to argue with Ralof. I had no foundation with which to support my deep conviction that war need not be barbaric. Who knows what I have done in the past?
The carriage was silent as we approached the walls of a town. Nothing seemed familiar including the landscape, the vegetation or the town.
Just before we reached the town gates they opened, and a legionnaire called out, “General Tullius, sir! The headsman is waiting!”
He replied, “Good. Let’s get this over with.”
Lokir pleaded, “Shor, Dibella, Kynareth, Akatosh. Divines, please help me!”
I told him, “The Divines can’t appear and help you. You would know that if you worshipped them when your life was not in danger.”
General Tullius had gone to the right of the entrance and was speaking to some Mer. Altmer I would guess.
As we passed them, Ralof said with considerable contempt, “Look at him, General Tullius the Military Governor. And it looks like the Thalmor are with him. Damn elves. I bet they had something to do with this.”
I now had an idea about the situation. The Thalmor are the governing council of the Third Aldmeri Dominion. The Dominion fought a war against The Empire which ended up with neither side as conclusive winners. Some of the treaty conditions, The White-Gold Concordat, are offensive to many who worship Talos. Is that the cause of this war or just one of several grievances? Maybe I will learn more before I draw my last breath?
The caravan of death slowly made its way through the streets of Helgen. Legionnaires and citizens lined the route.
At one stage, Ralof reminisced, “This is Helgen. I used to be sweet on a girl from here. I wonder if Vilod is still making that mead with juniper berries mixed in. Funny, when I was a boy, Imperial walls and towers used to make me feel so safe.”
We passed a house where a young boy was sitting on the veranda. He asked his father, “Who are they, daddy? Where are they going?”
His father replied, “You need to go inside, little cub.”
“Why? I want to watch the soldiers.”
The father, not wanting his child to see the brutality of war, growled, “Inside the house. Now!”
Visibly surprised at his father’s temper, the boy replied, “Yes, Papa” then ran inside his home.
It was difficult to tell the allegiance of the civilians watching. I suppose that in a civil war, it is wise to remain as neutral as possible until your hand is forced. It would certainly be unwise to yell support for the Stormcloaks when surrounded by Empire soldiers.
The driver pulled on the reins and commanded, ‘Whoa!” which the horse did with a neigh and instant compliance. Lokir almost toppled over with momentum.
Lokir asked worriedly, “Why are we stopping?”
Ralof replied, “Why do you think? End of the line.”
Lokir loudly pleaded, “No! Wait! We’re not rebels!”
Ralof told Lokir quietly but with conviction, “Face your death with some courage, Lokir.”
A very loud and officious Imperial Captain yelled out, “Get these prisoners out of the carts. Move it!”
Ralof said, “Let’s go. We shouldn’t keep the gods waiting for us.”
I stood and waited for Ulfric and Lokir to disembark.
I then stood behind them. Another Imperial officer stood next to the captain. It was the man who had been following our carriage. He had a quill and ledger book at the ready.
When standing close to the others, I realised how tall I was. I towered over them all.
Lokir pleaded with Ralof, “You’ve got to tell them! We weren’t with you! This whole thing is an injustice!”
The captain growled with an impressive tone of authority, “Step towards the block when we call your name. One at a time.”
Ralof observed, “The Empire loves their damn lists!”
I replied, “One at a time? Does she think we are going to rush in a mob to our death?”
“It is sad to see Hadvar with that quill in his hands. We have been friends since childhood.”
Hadvar called out, “Ulfric Stormcloak. Jarl of Windhelm.”
Ulfric did not hesitate and walked with confidence towards his death. I did not know why he was the only one with a gag. It would be good to find out before I die and have one mystery less to take into the afterlife.
Ralof proudly said, “It has been an honour, Jarl Ulfric!”
As Ulfric reached halfway to the block, Hadvar said, “Ralof of Riverwood.”
Ralof silently walked the same path as Ulfric and stared at his friend as he passed by.
After Ralof was halfway to the blocks, Hadvar said, “Lokir of Rorikstead.”
Lokir yelled, “No, I’m not a rebel. You can’t do this!”
Lokir ran straight past the captain and down the street towards the entrance.
The captain yelled, “Halt!”.
Of course, Lokir ignored her and kept running. He yelled back, “You’re not going to kill me!”
The captain barked, “Archers!”
Lokir ran swiftly, but he made the fatal mistake of not weaving. Two Imperial Legion archers aimed and let their arrows fly.
Lokir screamed when the arrows imbedded into his back with an audible thump. He fell forward and was dead before his face hit the ground. His corpse slid a few feet more due to momentum, and then all was still.
The captain said in a condescending tone, “Anyone else feel like running?”
I heard somebody nearby yell out, “What a coward that one was!”
Another part of me took over. The being that took over was foreign in thought and values but was part of me. What I thought was all of me since waking on the carriage took a backstage to this other half that was full of rage at the injustice it just witnessed and a menacing whisper undoubtedly heard throughout Helgen left my mouth.
“Whoever called Lokir a coward is an ignorant fool. He was not afraid of death. He was sickened by the injustice inflicted on him. Convicted of no crime and given no trial. The basic rights of The Empire ignored by the very people who should be defending those rights, not ignoring them. Yet he was expected to walk to his doom meekly. He was not like these Stormcloaks. He did not know what his crime against The Empire was. He did not have the assurance of Sovngarde for the afterlife. He did what he could to fight this injustice, and that was to run. He should be admired, not ridiculed.”
There was stunned silence all around. I was back in control. Or at least the other part of me that awoke on the carriage was. How could I speak so quietly but with such power? I stood as confused as everybody else.
Eventually the captain stared at Hadvar who then realised she wanted him to continue. He looked at me and said, “You there. Step forward.”
I walked a few steps forward then stood still before Hadvar and the captain.
- Hadvar: Who are you?
- Wulf: There are only eight of us. Surely The Empire can keep track of eight. Who do you think I am?
- Hadvar: Captain Logino, he matches nobody on the list.
- Logino: Forget the list lieutenant. He goes to the block.
- Wulf: What is the charge Captain Logino? Surely that, along with my name, place of arrest and conviction must be recorded! The whole Empire might collapse if not!
- Hadvar: Prisoner, it is futile at this stage to try and escape by foot or smart mouth. I would like your remains returned to your home and family. For that to occur, I need a name and place of origin.
- Wulf: I have no intention of trying to escape this injustice. The poor headsman probably gets paid per chop, and I would feel guilty depriving him of his coins. Besides, we both know why I have to get chopped, don’t we?
- Hadvar: We do?
- Wulf: I bet Captain Logino usually is neither this bossy or loud-mouthed. She is putting on a show for General Tullius over there. If we were to step aside and discuss this lack of listing, we might cause a delay in the proceedings, and I am sure the general has other essential places to be. So, to make her look good, keep her superiors happy and not dent her chances for promotion, Captain Logino expects me to walk up and have my head lopped off meekly. No questions asked.
- Hadvar: And will you?
- Wulf: I could die with my head in the dirt or lying in a basket. My head tells me the basket will be more comfortable.
- Hadvar: Very well. Name and hometown?
- Wulf: For some reason, I like the name Wulf. My home is Nirn. Just make sure my head is buried with me, and the Rights of Arkay spoken over my grave.
- Hadvar: Very well.
- Wulf: As for you, Captain Logino. The Divines will not care what rank in the Imperial Legion you are when you die. Your adherence to the Ten Commands of the Nine Divine determines your worthiness. Lord Julianos says, ‘Know the truth. Observe the law. When in doubt, seek wisdom from the wise.’ You will be judged by him and found wanting this day.
- Hadvar: Make your way to the block Wulf. I guarantee your remains will be treated with respect and that Arkay’s Rights administered as per your wish.
- Logino: No, wait till we have ticked off the other four prisoners then follow me, prisoner.
- Wulf: As you wish, Captain Logino. Should I salute now?
Hadvar and Captain Logino quickly ticked off the other four prisoners. So eager was she to seem efficient the captain almost ran to her position behind the chopping block. She needn’t have bothered as General Tullius was giving Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak a tongue lashing.
With his arms crossed, General Tullius stood in front of Ulfric and said, “Ulfric Stormcloak, some here in Helgen call you a hero. But a hero doesn’t use a power like The Voice to murder his king and usurp the throne.”
My other half came to the fore once more, and his rage was terrible! Inside my mind, the discussion was as if he stood before me. Thankfully nobody nearby was privy to it. They would think me deranged.
“Ulfric killed the lawful king using The Thu’um, also known as The Voice. He has started a civil war where worshippers of The Nine on both sides will perish, including non-combatant women and children. I am sure he has justified it somehow to his followers. We cannot accept such an act!”
“We can’t? And who are you? What the hell is The Thu’um?”
“I am you. I have no idea who we are. It will be fun to find out, won’t it? The Thu’um is, well, I am not quite sure what it is. I know it is why Ulfric wears that gag.”
“We are about to be shortened by the headsman.”
“Oh well, maybe The Divines will let us in on the secret when we, I mean I, are dead.”
“If we are one, then ‘are dead’ is wrong.”
“Obviously I am the more interesting part of us. Only bores correct other people’s grammar.”
“But you are not another person; therefore, I am not a bore!”
“That sentence alone proves otherwise.”
My internal dialogue was interrupted by General Tullius’ continued dressing down of Ulfric. He said, “Ulfric, you started this war and plunged Skyrim into chaos. Now The Empire is going to put you down and restore the peace.”
A roar echoed, and everyone immediately titled their heads to the sky.
“What was that?” asked Hadvar.
General Tullius turned towards him and replied, “It is nothing to concern us. Carry on!”
Captain Logino shoved her nose further up the general’s backside, saluted then said, “Yes, General Tullius!”
She turned to a Priestess of Arkay and ordered her to give us our last rights. A priestess is not a soldier. The captain should have asked, not ordered.
The priestess said, “As we commend your souls to Aetherius, blessing of the Eight Divines upon you, for you are the salt and earth of Nirn, our beloved…”
Once more, my voice was heard by all, but it was not a whisper this time. It was a roar to rival the one we heard only moments before. This time both halves of me spoke with an anger immeasurable.
“THERE ARE NINE DIVINES!”
Everybody stared at me as my words echoed from the walls of Helgen.
Before the priestess could continue, a young Stormcloak came striding up to the block and said, “For the love of Talos, everybody shut up and let’s get this over with.”
The priestess looked at me and then the Stormcloak. She said, “As you wish.”
The young Stormcloak shuffled closer to the block then demanded, “Come on, I haven’t got all morning!”
He knelt then Captain Logino placed pressure on his back till he bent over and placed his head in position. Hadvar stood before the block. Captain Logino removed her foot, and the headsman got a good grip on his axe.
The condemned man said, “My ancestors are smiling upon me, Imperials. Can you say the same?”
The headsman lifted his axe high. Blood already covered the wicked blade. I wonder who got the chop before we arrived?
The instrument of death came down and with an audible thump ending the mortal life of the young Stormcloak.
The head landed neatly in a wooden crate placed before the block. I hope Hadvar keeps track of which head is which. They will need several crates to cater for us all.
The Stormcloak’s body stayed in place for a couple of seconds which was too long for Captain Logino. She unceremoniously pushed it with her foot.
The corpse toppled over. The heart was yet to realise its host was dead and continued to function for several more beats and far less blood than I would have predicted pumped weakly from the headless torso. The red spray encircled the space where the head should be. Then the heart stopped.
There was a mixture of cheering and jeering from the citizens of Helgen. “You Imperial bastards!” and “Justice!” were some of the more popular chants.
Ralof said out loud, “Kalsing was as fearless in death as he was in life.”
Captain Logino stared at me, then pointed my way. With a voice dripping with venom, she said, “Next, the loudmouth named Wulf.”
I turned to the other condemned and quipped, “It looks like I have jumped the queue. My apologies, I am happy to wait my turn if you wish?”
Everybody laughed but Captain Logino and a soldier who yelled out, “I bet Wulf wishes he had his lucky coin now!”
“What does that mean?” the other half of me asked myself.
“No idea. It didn’t get any laughs.”
Another roar, louder and closer than before, echoed throughout the town of Helgen. Three words spoken in a deep and powerful baritone voice followed soon after.
“ZU’U LOST DAAL”
All those around me looked skyward again. I was too stunned to move. Somehow, I knew it was a Dovah that just spoke, and I understood it! The three words in Dovahzul, ‘Zu’u lost daal’ roughly translates to, ‘I have returned!’ in Tamrielic.
Hadvar said, “There it is again. Did you hear that?”
Captain Logino was not going to let some unknown roaring beast interrupt the machinery of state-sponsored murder. She growled, “I said, Wulf next!”
Hadvar instructed me gently, “To the block, Wulf. Nice and easy.”
I had no choice. If I ran and got shot in the back like Lokir I am sure my body would unceremoniously be dumped somewhere. Receiving the Rights of Arkay was vital to me. I trusted Hadvar to keep his promise.
I walked up to the block then told Hadvar, “You are a good man. You represent The Empire’s values far better than Captain Logino.”
I warned the captain, “If you put your foot on my back, I will do my best to turn around and bite it off. My disdain for you is so much I would not be surprised if my severed head also tried.”
I knelt, bent and put my neck in the right spot on the block. While getting comfortable, I remarked to Hadvar, “I don’t think my head will fit in with Kalsing’s. Please don’t let it roll too far.”
The headsman looked down at me with zero compassion in his eyes. I was a few septims more for him to feed his family or waste on booze and women and nothing more than that to him.
Just as he prepared his grip and stance for the upswing, a most magnificent sight appeared overhead. A red and black Dovah approached.
General Tullius exclaimed, “What in Oblivion is that?”
Captain Logino quickly jumped at another chance to impress and yelled, “Sentries! What do you see?”
I said to her, “Put your head where mine is Captain Logino. I have a perfect view from here!”
The headsman was concentrating. I suppose there is some pride in doing the job well and chopping cleanly though the neck and not the skull or worse still, the shoulders.
Several voices yelled out “Dragon!” It was probably a mixture of soldiers and civilians who recognised what they now faced.
The headsman’s axe was about to reach its apex when the Dovah landed heavily on the roof of a tower overlooking the town square.
The downdraught of its mighty wings knocked the headsman sideways.
The Dovah stared into my eyes and sniffed loudly through his impressive snout.
I found myself adept at reading the body language of this magnificent being. The Dovah was puzzled by what he saw and smelt.
I said, “Kruziik gein. Zu’u paar wah tinvaak nuz dii tiid los ko.” (Ancient one. I desire to speak but my time is over.)
I was concentrating so much on the uninvited guest I was oblivious to the panic and chaos surrounding me.
As the Dovah surveyed the scene, the headsman recovered his composure.
The Dovah then spoke three more words,
“JIID SO DAAN” (moon sorrow doom)
The power of the Dovah’s voice staggered the headsman. The sky turned from the bright blue of the sunny day to dark rolling clouds. Water did not fall from these clouds, but meteors did! They landed and crushed soldier, civilian and building alike.
My other half remarked, “I think we have just discovered what The Thu’um is.”
“Why can we, I mean I, understand Dovahzul?”
“It is apparent we possess knowledge that the average mortal does not. We will have to find out who we are to solve that puzzle. We can speak the language as well!”
“You are referring to this single entity as a plural once again.”
“Everybody knows that speaking to oneself is a sign of madness.”
General Tullius yelled, “Guards, get the townspeople to safety!”
The Dovah spoke yet another two words,
“FUS RO” (force balance)
Everybody, including myself, was thrown like leaves in the wind. We landed in random crumpled shapes around the Helgen town square. Some were never to rise again. Some were screaming in terror and pain. Many trained soldiers and guards, despite the strange attacker and its methods, responded with instinct. Orders were issued, and the battle for Helgen began.
I had not noticed the guards till that moment. They stayed in the background while the Imperial Legion took control of Helgen. Now the town was in danger they appeared in numbers to save it.
I staggered to my feet and looked around some more. The headsman was dead. I could not see much else as smoke and dust combined with the storm overhead and turned day into night.
My other half remarked, “He did not use all his power with that last Shout? Why?”
“I have no idea what you are blabbering on about! Keep quiet while I find a way to save our unexpectedly intact body.”
Over the screaming I heard General Tullius’ calm and commanding voice, “Someone get the Battlemages out here. Now!”
A Legionnaire cried out in panic, “It won’t die! It just keeps coming!”
Ralof was crouched nearby. Somehow, he had got rid of his restraints. He yelled to me, “Wulf, follow me! Come quickly as the gods won’t give us another chance!”
He stood, turned and ran towards the entrance of a small tower.
He waited for me just inside the entrance as meteors fell all around. In front of the tower was a Legionnaire standing still watching without fear as death missed him by feet and sometimes mere inches. Behind Ralof I saw Ulfric peeking around a corner. Ralof yelled, “Forget the Imperial. His mind is gone!”
I couldn’t do that. I stood in front of the Legionnaire and yelled at him, “Soldier, see that doorway. Come quickly. You will be safer in there.”
“I can’t leave my post. Captain Logino would chew my balls off!”
“There is a Dovah, a dragon, attacking. You should be listening to General Tullius!”
He stared at me blankly then a large rock smashed his head to pulp. I took that as a clue I should not be standing out in a meteor shower either and ran inside the tower.
Ralof closed the door behind me, but I doubted even the stone of the tower would stop the Dovah.
Several wounded and healthy Stormcloaks occupied the small room. Ulfric was pressed against a wall.
- Ralof: Jarl Ulfric! What is that thing? Could the legends be true?
- Ulfric: Legend’s don’t burn down villages.
- Wulf: You people doubted the existence of Dov? Do they not teach you history in the schools of Skyrim?
- Ulfric: You spoke to the dragon. I thought the Greybeards were the last people alive with that skill. Who are you, Wulf?
- Wulf: I do not know these Greybeards. As I told you all on the carriage, I do not know who I am.
- Ulfric: Can you use The Thu’um?
- Wulf: I do not know.
- Ulfric: We need to move. The dragon watched us enter. He will come for us.
- Ralof: Follow me, Wulf, we will head up through the tower.
Ralof and I climbed up the stairs to the second level landing.
A Stormcloak was kneeling and studying some rubble that blocked the stairs.
The Dovah spotted us through a crack in the tower’s wall.
He smashed through the wall with his head which caused more masonry to fall and pin the now screaming Stormcloak in place.
Ralof wanted to help his fellow soldier, but I dragged him back down the stairs a few steps.
I yelled to him, “Duck!”
“YOL TOOR SHUL” (fire inferno sun)
Dragonfire incinerated the trapped and screaming Stormcloak.
Satisfied with his work, the Dovah flew off to find more prey.
We waited for the flames and heat to dissipate before looking through the hole in the wall.
I said to Ralof, “I am going to leap into that inn down below. I will assess the situation from down there.”
“I will go inform Ulfric of the way out and help with the wounded. We will follow when we can. Good luck out there, Wulf.”
My landing was awkward as my hands were still bound. My balance was not ideal!
I walked to the exit and beheld a scene of utter devastation.
Standing out in the open was the young boy who wanted the watch the soldiers. His father had ushered him inside to save him from witnessing the executions. A few feet before him lay injured guards and soldiers crying out in pain and terror. I doubt he would view soldiers with the same sense of wonder ever again.
An elderly Nord and Hadvar were trying to coax him to safety. The Dovah came into to view and prepared to land close to the boy.
The elderly Nord remained hidden behind a burning building. Hadvar came and stood out in the open, within clear view of the Dovah, and called out, “Haming, you need to get over here. Now!”
Haming turned then started ambling towards Hadvar.
The Dovah landed behind Haming with such force the boy almost fell.
I feared for Haming’s life so called out, “Dreh ni krii fin kiir. Rok los ni him hokoron.” (Do not kill the child. He is not your enemy.)
As Haming regained his balance, the Dovah looked between him and the injured whose terror and screaming had understandably intensified.
Haming was smart enough not to look behind him and ran towards Hadvar with the grace and swiftness that children possess.
Hadvar yelled encouragement, “That a boy. You’re doing great.”
The Dovah decided the injured soldiers and guards were the more desirable target and proceeded to incinerate them.
My other half said, “You know my kind have no mercy. He simply chose the bigger threat.”
“Your kind? Are we one soul or not? If so, I do believe I am mortal and some breed of Man. Not Mer or Khajiit or Argonian. I see no scaly skin, and if I could fly away from this nightmare, I would do so.”
“We are one soul, but I have realised what we are. It is best if I let that revelation come slowly to you. Concentrate on surviving for now and don’t lie to me! You could never leave when your help might be required. Such silliness will surely kill us one day.”
I stood and watched the Dovah finish his slaughter of the defenceless. If I am somehow related to that merciless killer, it is probably best that I figure out how and why slowly. I fear it will be similar to having a mass murderer as an uncle.
To my left, Hadvar yelled, “Wulf, you are still alive and if you want to stay that way come over here!”
I approached the trio. Hadvar and the old Nord had weapons drawn and faced the direction that the Dovah would approach from if it waddled over. I knew it would not do so. Dov are graceful and majestic in the air but cumbersome and slow on the ground.
Haming stood in some tall grass. If he thought that would hide him from the Dovah, he was wrong. Many of them could sense the body heat of mortals even through thick stonework.
Hadvar turned to the old Nord and said, “Gunmar, take care of the boy. I have to find General Tullius and join the defence.”
Gunmar replied, “Gods guide you, Hadvar.”
I followed Hadvar and hoped I did not lose sight of him in the chaos. I had no idea of Helgen’s layout before the Dovah destroyed it. Now it was a maze of crumbled and burning buildings with little visibility and the constant shadow of the Dovah flying overhead.
We eventually found General Tullius surrounded by some Battlemages, Helgen town guards and other troops.
As Hadvar ran towards him, General Tullius yelled, “I need you to escape alive Lieutenant! You are to be the witness to this all of this if I do not survive. Now go and hide in the bowls of the keep till the screaming and explosions cease!”
Hadvar replied, “I would prefer to fight the beast!”
General Tullius’ anger was palpable as he yelled, “I admire your courage soldier, but in my Legion, lieutenants do not question a direct order from a general.”
Hadvar saluted and replied, “Yes General Tullius. May I ask, did Captain Logino survive?”
General Tullius just shook his head. Hadvar’s shoulders slumped a little before he turned and ran towards the keep’s entrance. I called out to General Tullius, “Ulfric Stormcloak made it out of the town square uninjured. I last saw him inside one of the smaller towers.”
If Tullius was surprised at one of the condemned snitching on Ulfric, I do not know. I was too busy trying to keep up with Hadvar to wait and find out.
As I followed Hadvar through the streets of Helgen, I witnessed both misery and extreme bravery. I saw no cowards that day!
Soldiers and mages were standing their ground and throwing everything they had at the Dovah. Fireballs, ice spears, lightning bolts and arrows seemed to have little or no effect on him. Thu’um after deafening Thu’um issued forth from his massive jaws. Buildings crumbled and crushed those inside and outside. People outside died from the force of the Thu’um or smashed against buildings and rubble. Other people burst into flames or were frozen and then shattered like delicate porcelain. Meteors continued to rain down, but the Dovah seemed to care little for any that hit him.
The Dovah would fly and rain death down from above. Then he would land with such force more buildings would crumble and people tossed by the wind of his wings or tossed to the ground by the quake created. The downdraft scattered any near him when he lifted off. Occasionally a brave soul would get within striking distance and engage with sword, axe, hammer or mace. Their mightiest blows would land like they hit an anvil. Sparks would fly. Sometimes the blow jarred the weapon from their hands or snapped their bones. I doubt the Dovah felt a thing. He would occasionally notice a nearby mortal and disdainfully squash them like a bug with a mighty foreleg or swat them to their doom with a swish of his massive tail. Most horrifying of all was when he leant down, took a person in his jaws and shook them like a terrier dog with a rat. Armour or not, there would be a brief scream, a sickening crunch and the victim rendered in two. The only advantage I could to see to armour was the Dovah would allow both pieces to fall to the ground. Quite often one of both halves of the unarmoured would vanish down his throat with an audible gulp. I even saw him throw a young woman in the air, catch her and swallow without bothering to bite or end her pitiful screams. How long would she continue to scream inside his gullet?
One method of killing the Dovah employed was the worst in my estimation. He would grip one or more victims with his massive talons and lift them high above Helgen. He would then drop them upon people on the ground. Those below would never get hit but would look up at the approaching screams and watch the falling victims till they hit the ground. Often, especially if not armoured, the dropped victims would splatter on impact covering anybody and anything close by with viscera, brains and blood. It was an inefficient way to kill but an effective way to demoralise.
One victim of the Dovah was a Helgen guard who was plucked from the battlements as he bravely fired ineffectual arrow after ineffectual arrow into his giant adversary. I thought it was going to be just another drop from a great height death except this time the guard’s scream as he plummeted to his death was accompanied by these words, “Hin sil fen nahkip bahloki”. (Your soul will feed my hunger.)
“Oh, this is not good!” exclaimed my other half.
“Since when do Dov consume souls? Tell me what you know!”
“No, you are not ready.”
“If I could physically grab you, I would beat the truth out of you!”
“Another lie! You are incapable of such methods. That is why you will learn to rely on me. You can punch yourself in the face if you wish. That would be amusing!”
Many people stayed with dead and dying loved ones. Oblivious to the chaos around them. Such love is a powerful force that often conquers logic and self-preservation.
Hadvar noticed I would occasionally stop to observe the battle. He did not run and leave me but stood patiently and waited for me to continue following him.
There were two entrances to the keep. Hadvar headed for the most westerly one.
Just before we reached it, Ralof came running from our left. The two childhood friends now confronted each other. I prayed to The Divines that I would not witness one kill the other.
- Hadvar: Ralof! You damned traitor. Out of our way!
- Ralof: We’re escaping, Hadvar. You’re not stopping us this time.
- Hadvar: Fine. I hope that Dragon takes you all to Sovngarde.
- Ralof: Wulf! Come on, into the keep!
- Wulf: I have no beef with you Ralof, but I will never be a Stormcloak. Deep in my soul, I know what Ulfric did was wrong to kill the rightful King no matter how he tries to justify it. Skyrim has not resorted to such methods for centuries and has experienced peace among the Holds as a result. It does not mean I support The Empire either. After all, I just escaped their injustice. I will have to learn more about this civil war before I decide anything. Good luck, Ralof. You are a good man but so are many who will die when countryman slaughters countryman.
- Ralof: Then I wish good fortune to you Wulf. I hope we never have to meet on the battlefield.
- Hadvar: Come then, Wulf! We need to get inside!
Hadvar let me enter the keep first, then followed and closed the door.
Once inside, Hadvar said, “Come here, Wulf and let me cut those bindings.”
I approached, and Hadvar sliced through the tight ropes. Circulation returned, along with tremendous pain, to my hands.
Hadvar waited for my string of expletives to end then said, “Looks like we’re the only ones who made it. Was that really a dragon? The bringers of the End Times?”
“Yes, it was a dragon. Ralof mentioned a legend when he spoke to Ulfric. Is that the End Times you are talking about?”
“You are a mystery Wulf. You gave me a name but no home. You seem to be knowledgeable in some things but claim ignorance of our most famous prophecy.”
“I do not know who I am or from where I came. Wulf might be my name, but I do not know if even that is correct. Please, tell me of this prophecy.”
“It saddens me to tell it without Ralof. As children, we would recite the song with each taking alternate verses till the last which we would sing in harmony. I have no doubt the sight of a dragon would remind him of it, as it will for every Nord who has been taught our history.”
“Just talk it through if singing it would sadden you.”
“I thought I might have a singing voice when it finally broke. Alas, that was not the case, so I will not sing it to save your ears. Not because I am sad for a friend gone astray.”
Hadvar might be wary of his singing voice, but his spoken words were the equal of any bard I would wager.
- “Dragonborn, Dragonborn, by his honour is sworn,
- To keep evil forever at bay!
- And the fiercest foes rout when they hear triumph’s shout,
- Dragonborn, for your blessing, we pray!
- Hearken now, sons of snow, to an age, long ago,
- And the tale, boldly told, of the one!
- Who was kin to both wyrm, and the races of man,
- With a power to rival the sun!
- And the voice, he did wield, on that glorious field,
- When great Tamriel shuddered with war!
- Mighty Thu’um, like a blade, cut through enemies all,
- As the Dragonborn issued his roar!
- Dragonborn, Dragonborn, by his honour is sworn,
- To keep evil forever at bay!
- And the fiercest foes rout when they hear triumph’s shout,
- Dragonborn, for your blessing, we pray!
- And the Scrolls have foretold, of black wings in the cold,
- That when brothers wage war come unfurled!
- Alduin, Bane of Kings, ancient shadow unbound,
- With a hunger to swallow the world!
- But a day shall arise, when the dark dragon’s lies,
- Will be silenced forever and then!
- Fair Skyrim will be free from foul Alduin’s maw!
- Dragonborn be the saviour of men!
- Dragonborn, Dragonborn, by his honour is sworn,
- To keep evil forever at bay!
- And the fiercest foes rout when they hear triumph’s shout,
- Dragonborn, for your blessing, we pray!”
I felt both dread and elation as Hadvar finished his excellent narration. The third last verse seemed to fit in with current events. Brothers are indeed at war thanks to Ulfric. I decided not to worry about the implications for now. I did not have enough evidence to support what I suspected. It was pure speculation.
My other half said, “Wise decision. Let us discover the truth with certainty before we crawl under a bed and hide.”
“I have no intention of hiding!”
“I know that! It was a figure of speech. Do you have to be so literal?”
“If I can scoop you out of my head with a spoon, I might consider that a good option.”
Hadvar said, “You spoke in the language of the dragon. How did you learn to do that?”
“As I said, I know not who I am or from where I came. Let us concentrate on getting out of here alive. I think waiting for the screams and explosions to stop is a bad idea. The Dovah seems intent on weeding out and killing all who reside in Helgen. I saw him smash through a tower wall with his head to get at a single Stormcloak.”
“In that case, I will take your advice, and if General Tullius survives, I am sure he will only give me five to ten in the stockades. Look around and see if you can find some armour that will fit. I think your chances are slim as you are not exactly of average size. Maybe a helm and serviceable weapon are the best you can hope for.”
Hadvar sat on a nearby bed and soon seemed lost in thought. I looked around. A bright light hovered over an ancient chest in the corner of the room.
When I stood before the chest, the light vanished.
“That was weird!”
“Not as weird as sharing my head with you!”
The chest was locked. I was about to go searching for the key when my other half suggested, “What is that thing dangling around our neck. You have arms now. Have a look!”
It turned out to be a rather intricate key.
“You knew what it was. You are hiding more than why that Dovah eats souls.”
“I am leading you to the truth. Just open the chest!”
The key fit, and there was a satisfying sound of tumblers falling into place when I turned it. The catches that were keeping the chest’s lid closed clicked a second later, and it lifted to reveal the contents without my aid.
Inside the chest were museum exhibits. But instead of being dusty and mouldy the armour and weapons within were used but well maintained.
The Amulet of Talos glows. I can sense a dweomer on it but did not recognise what it does.
“How can we sense dweomer?”
“I don’t know. You are the one with all the answers.”
“I have very few answers.”
The chest plate is of Atmoran design and made from ebony with gold trimmings. It has strong dweomer to protect the wearer against the Destruction School of magic. It also protects against poison and allows the wearer to breathe underwater or swim on top without sinking like a stone.
The boots are of the softest leather but provide above-average protection due to ebony inserts. Dweomer on them improves the chances of sneaking undetected.
The gauntlets are similar to the boots. They are a combination of soft leather and ebony inserts. They are fingerless to allow finer control of a bow. Dweomer on them improves archery and two-handed skills. They also let the wearer punch with considerable force. Handy within the inns and taverns of Tamriel no doubt.
The shield is ancient Nordic in design. It has dweomer to improve blocking and one-handed weapon use.
The Ebony Circlet has embedded rubies of great size and quality. It has many dweomer on it to improve all the schools of magic.
The bow is made of a metal I do not recognise. I inspected the shield again and decided its trimmings were of the same unknown metal. The dweomer on the bow provide increased damage via Destruction School damage.
The quiver contains a couple of dozen arrows of superb quality, but they have no dweomer.
The two-handed sword is made of the same strange metal as the bow and also has dweomer to provide damage from the Destruction School.
When I lifted the one-handed sword out of the chest, I gasped. It was made of the same strange metal and was of a design used by the Colovian army centuries ago. It has the same dweomer as the other weapons. I gasped when I picked it up because I knew this sword. It was a link to my past.
“I think all of these are familiar to us, but a favourite weapon is something intimate. An extension of the warrior. A reflection of who he is.”
“What makes you think we know these other items?”
“Logic and intuition. I suspect the armour will fit like it was tailor-made.”
“Well then, let us test your theory!”
I looked over at Hadvar. He was still sitting on the bed and staring into space.
“I don’t think he knows what is happening over here.”
“How is that possible?”
“How is it possible you had a key to open a chest containing a king’s ransom full of weapons and armour in a place you fled to while escaping a Dovah when one has not been seen for centuries?”
“That was a very long sentence to describe gobblygook!”
“A word that came into my head that seems entirely appropriate.”
I donned the armour and tried the various weapons.
The armour was a perfect fit. The two-handed sword was superb but not something I would typically use. The one-handed sword and shield were more to my liking. I was in the middle of a sequence of complex forms when Hadvar exclaimed, “Where did that getup come from and who taught you those forms? Are you a blade-master?”
“They were in that chest over… What the fuck?”
“What chest Wulf?”
“Umm, a chest that was there a minute ago.”
The chest had vanished. More gobblygook!
“Let us pretend a chest was there. How did you don that armour in the few seconds since I told you to search for stuff?”
“It has been more than thirty minutes since you asked me to do that!”
“Oh, I must have fallen asleep. How embarrassing! That is not a soldierly thing to do.”
“Do not fret Hadvar. You must be exhausted, and it does not matter. As you can see, I am ready to proceed.”
“That swordsmanship I just witnessed?”
“I don’t know. Maybe it is all show, and some flea-ridden bandit could slice me to pieces in seconds?”
The sounds of battle filtered through the door. The defenders of Helgen were making a good account of themselves.
Hadvar urged, “Let’s keep moving. That thing is still out there!”
“Hadvar, so far you have called the dragon a thing and a beast. It is neither. They are sons of Akatosh and as old as Nirn itself. They are highly intelligent and no more a beast than Man or Mer. Call it a Dragon, Dovah or even wyrm. Do not mistake it for a mindless creature. That is what you Nords do. That is why you think it was okay to wipe out the Falmer.”
“Once again, you display a nimble brain. It must be frustrating to remember Nirn’s history but not your own. I know you do not want my pity and I offer none. But I do understand.”
Hadvar pulled a chain which raised a portcullis of sorts.
I quickly grabbed a lantern and attached it to the front right of my armour. I knew there was an attachment there for that purpose.
“I told you so! So familiar you didn’t even have to look.”
We walked through the doorway, and I could instantly hear voices. Hadvar seemed oblivious to them.
As we approached another pull-chain Hadvar finally realised there were others in the keep. We stopped to listen.
“Come on, Embrod, we need to get moving! That dragon is tearing up the whole keep!”
“Just give me a minute Lydtta… I am out of breath… Do you think Ulfric made it? I did not see him with any of the others.”
“I don’t know. Ralof said he lost sight of him soon after the attack.”
“That was brave of him to run back outside after making it in here. I pray to Talos he and Ulfric survive this day.”
Hadvar whispered, “Hear that? Stormcloaks. Maybe we can reason with them.”
“It is worth a try. You can continue trying to kill each other after we survive this.”
Hadvar pulled the chain and walked to the centre of the room with his sword sheathed.
He said, “I mean no harm. Let us work together and…”
That was a far as he got before the two Stormcloaks snarled and attacked.
Hadvar was still drawing his sword when I found myself before Embrod. I used my shield to deflect a blow aimed at Hadvar’s neck. Hadvar managed to deflect another blow from Lydtta with his shield.
I plunged my sword through the chest of Embrod. The dweomer on my blade briefly flared, but the Destruction magic was not needed. My sword had already sliced Embrod’s heart in two.
Lydtta was a fierce Shieldmaiden, and Hadvar was barely keeping her blows from his vitals. Even though he had now drawn his weapon, she did not give him a chance to counter her attack. She was a berserker, and Hadvar was going to die if he did not change his tactics.
I unceremoniously shouldered Hadvar aside and engaged Lydtta. She growled and started raining blows upon my shield. Berserkers sacrifice defence for attack. I let her overreach then caught her sword arm behind my shield. I then sliced her across the middle, disembowelling her but not yet killing her. I sliced her head off, then walked quickly away from the scene of carnage.
Hadvar yelled, “Wait, Wulf, there may be others!”
I opened a door into a corridor, and another Stormcloak attacked. Before Hadvar had even breached the small distance to me, I had disarmed her and cut her down.
When I could see no more enemies in the long corridor, I stopped and waited.
Hadvar caught up, laughed then said, “I don’t think some flea-ridden bandit could slice you to pieces in seconds.”
I growled at him, “I would not have had to kill one of them if you knew how to counter a Berserker! Don’t they teach you anything in the Legion?”
“Wulf, I grew up learning how to fight beside Nord Berserkers. I never thought I would ever be fighting them!”
“I apologise Hadvar. It seems I am proficient at something I will never enjoy. The civil war will be a nightmare for all of Skyrim’s people, as neighbours and friends try their hardest to kill each other. The Daedric Princes will be laughing as Divine worshippers slaughter each other.”
“Let us head along this corridor and see if anybody else has survived. Next time I will negotiate with my sword drawn.”
When we neared the halfway point of the corridor, the Dovah roared.
The ceiling then collapsed, blocking any further travel in that direction.
Hadvar stood before the rubble and said, “Damn, that dragon doesn’t give up easy.”
“Well, that leaves the door to your left. Let’s see where that goes.”
As soon as we entered the room beyond, two more Stormcloaks attacked.
As Hadvar engaged one, I quickly cut down the other. I then killed Hadvar’s opponent seconds later.
Hadvar laughed once more then said, “Before you criticise, I was doing everything I have been taught to do against a two-handed attacker.”
“What you were doing was sufficient against a competent wielder of two-handed weapons. But these two were ‘sword and board’ users who could only find those huge two-handed swords they wielded. They had no technique. That man was hacking at you like you were a piece of wood that needed to be turned into kindling.”
“You ascertained this in a split second? You must have extensive martial training and experience that you recall instinctively.”
“I have a feeling I can cast spells as well, but I will wait to try that. I can imagine a wrongly cast Fireball is not pleasant to be around.”
“I think that is a wonderful idea. Practice your spellcasting when I am many miles away!”
“Maybe I can just try the Super Armageddon spell. Now, how does that go again…”
“Just joking Hadvar! What next?”
“This is an old storeroom. Maybe we can find some potions that could come in handy later on.”
We did a quick search and came up with a handful of reasonably weak Magicka and Healing potions.
The door exiting the storeroom led to the dungeons. Two Legionnaires were engaging the last of what looked like two Stromcloak assailants.
By the time we reached them with weapons drawn the last Stormcloak lay in a pool of his blood.
The two soldiers turned out to be a torturer.
And his assistant.
- Caven: You fellows happened along just in time. These boys seemed a bit upset at how I’ve been entertaining their comrades.
- Hadvar: Don’t you even know what is going on? A dragon is attacking Helgen!
- Caven: A dragon? Please. Don’t make up nonsense. Although, come to think of it, I did hear some odd noises coming from over there.
- Hadvar: Come with us. We need to get out of here.
- Caven: You have no authority over me, boy.
- Wulf: What makes you think that? You wear the Legion’s armour and paid by The Empire. A lieutenant certainly has authority over a scrawny little shithead like you. Torturers believe they are brave when facing those tied down and unable to fight back. They are cowardly weasels like you! If Hadvar decides to order you and there is no compliance, I will knock you out then carry you over my shoulder and worry about bathing later.
- Caven: See those two dead Stormcloaks over there. Would you like to join them?
- Wulf: Your companion, a rank and file member of the Imperial Army, cut them down. He would never disobey the orders of Hadvar.
- Hadvar: Your friend would last less than a second against Wulf. But that is beside the point. Did you not hear me? I said the keep is under attack!
- Allimo: Forget Caven. I’ll come with you, and there is no need to order me.
- Caven: Fuck off then Allimo! You were too squeamish anyway.
We left the dungeons and soon found ourselves in a natural cavern full of Stormcloaks.
I decided to give my marksmanship and bow a try. I killed four within seconds and decided I was not too bad at the archery stuff.
When all were dead, Hadvar said, “All right, let’s see if we can find a way out.”
“How many Stormcloaks were brought into Helgen for execution?”
“Just the two wagons. Eight in total including you and that little fellow who died running.”
“I have killed nine so far. Allimo killed two protecting that wrinkly old fart and two more here. You killed three just now. Remember one before me in the queue had his head lopped off, so there are a lot more live Stormcloaks than there should be. What does that tell you Hadvar?”
“That there was a Stormcloak rescue party and we have been killing them as we go!”
“So logically, there is a way out since they found their way in!”
“But how would they know where Ulfric was?”
“If I were Ulfric I would have had scouts watching Darkwater Crossing. They probably did not want to confront whatever number of troops you had there to spring the trap but thought they could sneak attack and rescue their leader at some stage. They did not expect a Dovah to attack and change the situation so drastically.”
“They also expected us to take Ulfric to Solitude and deal with him in public with the High King’s widow, Jarl Elisif, attending. Choosing Helgen in secret was done in an attempt to thwart such a rescue attempt.”
“Well, I suspect General Tullius did not expect a Dovah to appear either. At the moment, both sides are making split-second decisions and not following well thought out plans.”
Allimo said, “I find all this fascinating but feel some responsibility for Caven. His job may be unpalatable to some, but he has done good service to The Empire over the years. Even Blackwell admires his work. So, if you don’t mind, I will go and look after him as I have done for years.”
Hadvar nodded, and Allimo left to do his duty as he saw it.
I asked, “Are we supposed to know who this Blackwell is?”
Hadvar replied, “A man you never want to meet if suspected of being a danger to The Empire.”
“What, like a penniless man dressed in rags with no weapon and no known association with the Stormcloaks?”
“They are the worst kind. We might have to eliminate every one of them!”
As we left the cavern full of dead Stormcloaks, the corridor behind us collapsed.
We had no option but to go forward and hope we found the exit.
All signs of civilisation soon vanished. We were now in 100% natural caverns.
One cavern was full of giant spiders. We killed them all and avoided their venom attacks in the process.
Hadvar whined, “What next, giant snakes?”
“Only if I need to take a piss.”
“Wulf, you are weird!”
A breeze promising fresh air wafted through a cavern that was home to two huge bears.
We decided to try and sneak past them. After all, the cavern was the bears’ home, and we were trespassing. Lucky for them we did so without waking the snoring pair.
Exiting the bear cavern was a narrow winding tunnel. At the end of it we saw daylight streaming through an exit.
Hadvar said, “This is it! I was starting to wonder if we’d ever make it.”
“There might be hundreds of Stormcloaks waiting to pounce upon us. Or maybe the Dovah is sitting there biting the heads off all those who step outside?”
“How about some optimism?”
“Well, one Dovah would be better than two Dovah waiting for us!”
Hadvar just shook his head, and we proceeded to exit the tunnel.
He almost soiled his breaches when the Dovah flew overhead roaring in triumph.
I was standing up staring at the Dovah thinking how beautiful and majestic he was. Hadvar was crouching behind a rock hoping that would protect him even though the Dovah had just ripped apart an entire town.
I snuck up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder.
He leapt up, turned around and finally realised it was me and not a Dovah behind him. Colour slowly returned to his ashen face.
“What next? I do not know this land at all.”
“Well, it looks like he’s gone for good this time. But I don’t think we should stick around to see if he comes back. The closest town from here is Riverwood. My uncle’s the blacksmith there. I’m sure he will help you out.”
“Riverwood it is then. Lead the way Hadvar.”