Skyrim quests: Amulet of the Moon, Alduin’s Wall, The Throat of the World, Alduin’s Bane
Skyrim mods: Inigo.
I could not sleep. I was getting close to facing Alduin and so much rested on my shoulders. I did not have my beloved to reassure me and bring me calm through our peace.
Rigmor would not know when I am to tackle Alduin. The news will break quickly if I am successful, but she would be dreading each day might bring news of failure, and my death.
I decided to get out of bed and see if Iona had left some armour and weapons for me on which to place dweomer. The armour she chose was of the same vintage as Lydia’s. The bow and axe were of excellent quality.
I spent several hours repairing the armour, honing the swords and placing dweomer.
I then went to see if Olette was OK. She looked so tiny on the adult bed, and Vick was close to her. He was a lucky find.
I suddenly realised how much luck had occurred. Just as I was gifted a considerable estate, I found people who could benefit from living there. Then the Khajiit turned up and agreed to act as guards.
There is a story told within the histories of Talos calling himself Wulf and giving a mortal a lucky coin. The logical part of my brain dismissed the idea of luck. Pure coincidence it said. Maybe, maybe not said the part of me softened by so much gobblygook.
Inigo had placed his journal next to mine on a table. I sat and read his,
Today I had to kill Felix with his own damned sword. Fool attacked me! He was planning to murder me for the last of the Skooma. He did not ask, did not enquire; he just burst into my room with a shriek and started slicing. The poor wretch had been clean for days. He got me in the leg before I could finish him. A little extra Skooma will take the edge off the pain tonight. I am selling the rest tomorrow for I am done with the stuff.
I am missing Felix today. Shame I had to kill him. Could not find a buyer for the stuff but I did meet a fancy man called Dupan at the docks earlier. He says he has a job for me and that it is well paid. I will be working with another mercenary. I hope whoever they are respects my property. I am to meet Dupan and my new partner next week in Skyrim. I always knew destiny would bring me back there.
I sometimes hear Felix talking to me even though I know he is dead. He blames me for killing him. I blame him for being a bloody Skooma addict!
He is back again, whispering from the shadows. You did not have to murder me, Inigo! Shut up. You should have just listened to me, Inigo! Shut up, Felix! Stop haunting me! I was clean for days, Inigo. You are the addict! Quiet. Please be quiet. I was not going to kill you, Inigo. I was going to help you. No! You lie! You were a Skooma head! You stole from me more than once to feed your habit! A habit we share, Inigo.
The Skooma is all gone. It was the only thing keeping Felix quiet. I need to get more before the big job… Am I an addict? Felix, leave me be! I am sorry!
Lucky, lucky me. I found a dealer this morning before I met my new companion. It is not good stuff, and I only had enough gold to buy a little, but it will have to do.
My partner seems likely enough. We can certainly get the job done that is for sure. We got into a bit of a scuffle with some thugs and… well I am glad I was not one of them. I think we will make a good team. The air is so fresh here. This land is very beautiful. My new friend is off catching dinner. Felix has been quiet all day.
We met with Dupan and his sister today. Yes, he has a sister! A very pretty lady indeed. It turns out that Dupan has two brothers as well. We are to track and kill them both. Dupan is the youngest but feels he is more deserving of their father’s inheritance. He says all they do is drink and fight and dirty the family name. We are going to be paid very well for this. My companion wants to buy a house with the takings. All I can think about is Skooma. Dupan says that if only one of us makes it back, the survivor will get the full reward. What a thing to say! Now we will be watching our backs when we should be protecting each other.
We set off at dawn, heading north. We should get to the first keep in a few days. My partner and I shared many stories and even sang a little as we travelled. I think we are becoming friends. I used the last of the Skooma today. Oh, what I would do never to have this worry and want again!
Felix is back but quieter than before. Maybe I can kick the habit this time. I have good company and gold on the way. We were attacked by a pack of ugly wolves this afternoon. My friend took care of most of them, but I got two. I think we trust each other. What a powerful ally I have made. My hands have begun to shake a little, but I will suffer it. Hush now Felix. Hush.
Brother one is no more! He was a nasty piece of work but stupid as a rock. He did not seem to notice half his men were dead until I put my dagger to his throat. We found a poor serving girl tied up in his bed-chamber. We released her and the other servants before we burned the place down. As long as word doesn’t reach the next brother before we do all will be well. I am very sick. My new friend knows something is up. On the upside, Felix has been quiet all day.
I have decided to go back onto the Skooma as soon as possible. It is only a problem when I don’t have it. With my share of our reward I will not have to worry about wanting for ten years… maybe more. My companion has grown less talkative. I am ill but on my feet. Mood swings… sweats. I fear my friend is growing wary of me. I may wake up dead tomorrow. It may be a relief. Felix is gone, I think.
I was not killed in the night. My companion is packing up our camp as I am too weak. We are about to take on brother number two, but hardly a word passes between us… If only one of us returns, the reward is double…This is what my friend is thinking. I could not defend myself in this state so I must make the first move. I must put some distance between us and use my bow from cover. I am a wretch and a fool, but I will not die today! If I do this right, I will not have to worry about wanting for twenty years, maybe more.”
Neither Ri’saad or Baa’Ren-Dar would admire Inigo if this were all he was. I can tell there is a good soul inside that Khajiit. He will find redemption eventually.
I went outside for a while and inspected Silverpeak thoroughly. When I came back inside, everybody was up and the day had officially begun.
“And a fine mornin’ to ya Cap’n,” said Olette.
“Good morning, young lady. Did you sleep well?”
“It was just like the Warrens with all the snorin’ and fartin’ and mumblin’ in their sleep.”
“We have to go on a bit of a trip so might not be back for a day or two.”
“I heard the other’s talkin’ bout’ ya. You are one of them hero’s Ma always went on about.”
“I am? I should wear a loincloth!”
“I wouldn’t do that up ere Cap’n. Freeze your man bits off it would!”
I laughed, then said, “Have a good day, Olette.”
Vick came running up, barked and ran off with Olette in pursuit.
I said to Meeko, “You are to stay behind and look after the house like you did at Angi’s and the farm. I am so sorry, but you might even have to play with Olette and Vick.”
Meeko barked then ran to join whatever game Olette and Vick had invented.
I asked Iona, “How are the armour and your new weapons?”
“They are by far the best weapons and armour I have ever owned! Thank you, Wulf.”
My companions were ready to leave so we headed for Embershard Mine.
Near the Standing Stones, Inigo cried out in pain. He sat upright and gripped Artax’s reins tightly.
I rode over to him, and he said, “My friend. I feel…strange.”
I looked at him closely. As I did so, he groaned again, “Argh, my mind is vibrating in my skull. It feels like it is at the end of a hook.”
“Is it a migraine?”
“I do not know. I have never had one before.”
A look of relief quickly replaced the grimace on his face. He sighed and said, “It has stopped. The sensation was horrible!”
“How do you feel?”
“I’m OK. I have no idea what it was.”
“Describe what happened.”
“All of a sudden, there was a bright flash. My mind pulling out of my ears is what it felt like.”
“Let me know if it happens again. Maybe a bit of healing might help if it does.”
We dismounted next to the Standing Stones then Inigo cried out again, “Agh! It is happening again. My mind is vibrating. It feels like it is at the end of a rope!”
I asked, “Do you need healing?”
He stood, shook his head, then said, “Wait! I see something. A cabin? Trees? A face! It is fading. It is under the rug. Aagh!”
I could detect no fever or injury.
“Thank the Gods; it is weakening. Ugh.”
A few seconds later he sighed then said, “It is over. Ow.”
I asked, “You saw something?”
“I saw brief flashes of a cabin in the snow. Trees surrounded it. What is happening to me?”
“At a guess, somebody is trying to send a telepathic message but is not establishing the link properly. Some Masters of Conjuration can do it. It is not something I have studied though it would be useful.”
“Why would somebody want to tell me these things?”
“I don’t know Inigo. Maybe the clue is in what you saw. What was under the rug?”
“Something small and shiny. A coin? A Ring? No, I cannot remember. I think my brain broke.”
“What about the cabin. Do you recognise it?”
“No, but something about the landscape was familiar. I wish I could remember where I have seen it before.”
“Was the face of somebody you know?”
“A man perhaps. A bearded man. I did not recognise him. The flashes were fast and confusing.”
“And you feel tugging in a particular direction?”
“My brain does!”
“I think that man is using a Conjuration spell to try and tell you something. Let’s move on.”
“OK. If it happens again and my brain tries to escape through my nose, push it back in please.”
We walked the short distance from the Standing Stones to Embershard Mine without encountering any bandits.
We entered and could hear two people talking.
We moved in a bit further. I signalled to the others that there were two bandits lower down and that I would take care of them.
Two arrows created two dead bandits.
To progress further into the mine, we would have to lower a drawbridge. I whispered to the others, “This will make a lot of noise. They will come to check on who is using the walkway.”
I pulled a lever, and the drawbridge lowered with a loud bang that echoed.
Half a dozen bandits came to check and quickly died.
We killed more bandits on the way to a chest that contained Kharjo’s Moon Amulet.
I said to the others, “The task is only half done. No bandit is to be left alive.”
By using dragon sight and hand signals, we quickly dispatched many surprised bandits.
We made our way outside, collected our horses then rode to Whiterun.
While the others organised the horses with the Stable Master, I went to see Ri’saad.
He said, “This one sees you have rescued that one from the Riften prison.”
“Yes, he is a most usual but useful companion. I am yet to learn his full story.”
“And you wonder why Khajiit recommended him?”
“It seems he did a lot of good for poorer citizens before the tragedy with his brother.”
“They are the stories Khajiit recite around the fire at night.”
“If I don’t get a chance to get back to the other caravan can you please let Kharjo know I have his Moon Amulet?”
“I think that one wants to join you on your travels. Kharjo was not a victim of Skooma but gambling and drink. That one is also looking for redemption.”
“Ashni and Anahbi are talking shelter within Silverpeak. I was upset to hear the Thalmor targeted them for helping me. They killed New Order troops so the Dominion should be giving them medals!”
“That is the type of idiocy Khajiit endure in Elsweyr. To hurt an Altmer is taboo, no matter what they have done.”
“Be wary on the roads, Ri’saad. The dragons are more active.”
I hired a carriage to Markarth then we all climbed aboard.
It was about 3:15 PM when we started our trek toward Sky Haven Temple.
Kyne offered up another target.
I heard a dragon call out my name so warned the others, “A dragon called Vusojot has just issued me a challenge. Just be wary, he could appear from just about anywhere.”
Vusojot attacked, but he was weak.
Some arrows from Lydia, Iona and Inigo and Lightening from Celestine and me brought him down quickly. Vusojot died mid-air, crashed into a hillside then rolled down into the river.
A couple of imbecilic bandits attacked. They just saw us take down a dragon and we outnumbered them, but they still thought they could somehow win. They lasted seconds.
I was slowly absorbing Vusojot’s soul so waded through the water till I was much closer.
Inigo watched, then asked, “Is there no way you can prevent that?”
“No. I got closer so it would be over with quicker.”
“Would it still happen if you were on the opposite side of Nirn to the slain dragon?”
“Very slowly, but it would still happen.”
We walked out of the river and emptied our boots. Before setting off again, Inigo said, “So, we are going to Sky Haven Temple. Alduin’s Wall sounds very informative. I wonder if there is an Inigo Wall anywhere.”
“You never know!”
“If there is such a thing, I wonder what story it tells…and who carved it. Maybe you will find your wall next to Alduin’s Wall. That would be weird. Perhaps everyone is carving their own wall without realising it.”
“What if we are all chisels, scratching our own furrows across time?”
“Yes! What if time is like a big wall of stone covered with millions of scratches? Maybe we all carve a furrow as we experience our own tiny sections of the same gigantic wall!”
“What if all those scratches already existed?”
“What if from the right perspective time is happening all at once? Yes. Maybe we are not carving. Maybe we are just following a path!”
“And time is merely our method of transport!”
“I agree. Woah!”
“Indeed. We may have solved one of life’s mysteries, my friend. I am not sure people are ready for this.”
“Their minds would explode!”
“Yes, we would not want that to happen. It may be safer if we keep this between us for now.”
“No, it would be very messy. Let’s get moving. My feet are dry enough.”
Between us and the entrance to Sky Haven were dozens of Forsworn. I decided to approach with weapons sheathed to see if they were going to be nice or nasty.
A couple of Forsworn stared at me as I approached with my hands well away from both sword and bow.
They attacked, we retaliated.
Esbern and Delphine ran into the melee and were getting overwhelmed. I ran down to assist them.
I cut down their assailants, but Delphine was severely injured. I cast Grand Healing on her.
She was soon up and eager to get back into the fighting.
It did not take long for all the Forsworn to either die or flee.
Delphine came up to me and said, “That shows how rusty I am. Thanks, they would have finished me if not for you.”
“You are OK, so let’s concentrate on the task.”
We entered a cave. There was no architecture to indicate we were within Sky Haven. Several Forsworn attacked and died.
A bit further in we found some steps and Akaviri stonework.
At the top of the steps was a drawbridge to the left and three pillars with Akaviri symbols on them.
Esbern and Delphine stood scratching their heads and trying to figure out what to do.
I said to them, “It would take me no time at all to try the twenty-seven possible combinations. But the solution is obvious. You simply turn all three columns to show the Akaviri symbol for Dragonborn at the front.”
I did that and the drawbridge lowered.
I told Delphine and Esbern not to run ahead. I did not want them to trigger traps in their eagerness.
We came to another puzzle that wouldn’t stretch the intelligence of a two-year-old. Yet Esbern and Delphine once again got into an in-depth discussion on how to solve it.
I turned to Esbern and said, “Just leave the thinking to me. You two are giving me a headache with the constant and ultimately useless chatter! I can solve this puzzle in two ways. I could use the Whirlwind Sprint Shout to zip across the tiles without putting pressure on them. Or I can walk only on those showing the Akaviri symbol for Dragonborn.”
I did the latter and pulled the chain. Another drawbridge dropped.
We crossed the drawbridge into a large chamber.
At the end of the chamber was a large bust of Reman Cyrodiil II. On the floor was a Blood-Seal.
Esbern started waffling on about superb architecture and lost Akaviri arts etc.
I knelt and drew blood with my knife then spilt it onto the Blood-Seal.
Only the blood of a Dragonborn would work. Since I am one, the Blood-Seal glowed brightly then the giant head pivoted to reveal a stairway leading to Sky Haven Temple’s interior.
Esbern was so busy trying to impress everybody with his mediocre knowledge he missed the fact I had already done the blood ritual.
He asked sheepishly, “Oh, you knew it was a Blood-Seal?”
“It was in the book, remember. Now let’s go see this wall, shall we?”
I entered the main chamber. Alduin’s wall was there and perfectly preserved.
Esbern was dawdling and commenting on just about every carving and painting he saw.
I yelled, “Esbern, you can study the place as much as you want later. Let’s just concentrate on what we came to see.”
He moved like a geriatric snail towards the wall. As he dawdled, he said, ‘Shor’s bones! Here it is! Alduin’s Wall…so well preserved…I’ve never seen a finer example of early second era Akaviri sculptural relief…”
I growled, “Esbern, I need information, not a lecture on art history. Can you do that for me?”
“Yes, yes. Let’s see what we have…”
The wall consisted of three panels. Esbern stood in front of the first.
He said, “Look, here is Alduin! This panel goes back to the beginning of time when Alduin and the Dragon Cult ruled over Skyrim.”
He moved to the centre of the first panel.
“This part shows the mortals rebelling against their dragon overlords…the legendary Dragon Wars.”
As he walked toward the centre panel, he said, “Alduin’s defeat is the centrepiece of the Wall.”
He stood before the centre panel.
- Esbern: You see, here he is falling from the sly. The Nord Tongues, masters of the Voice, are arrayed against him.
- Delphine: So, does it show how they defeated him? Isn’t that why we are here?
- Esbern: Patience, my dear. That Akaviri were not a straight forward people. Everything is couched in allegory and mythic symbolism.
- Wulf: It is evident to me what they did. Unless they are regurgitating their lunch, they are using a Shout.
- Esbern: Yes, yes. This here, coming from the mouths of the Nord heroes. This is the Akaviri symbol for ‘Shout.’ But…there’s no way to know what Shout was used.
- Delphine: You mean they used a Shout to defeat Alduin? Are you sure?
- Esbern: Hmm? Oh, Yes. Presumably something somewhat specific to dragons, or even Alduin himself. Remember, this is where they recorded all they knew of Alduin and his return.
- Delphine: So, we’re looking for a Shout, then. Damn it.
Delphine asked me, “Have you ever heard of such a thing? A Shout that can knock a dragon out of the sky?”
I was so furious, and I needed to vent.
I walked a few steps away from Delphine, looked up and thundered, “Dear Divines, what the fuck have I done to deserve these two clowns? I hope Dov have not killed people as I wasted all this time and effort. This inept crap is the sort of thing Sheogorath would find amusing!”
I walked towards Esbern. Not in a threatening manner, but he looked into my eyes and saw my Dovah to the fore. He looked down and probably felt his time on Nirn was up.
I said, “I will not harm you Esbern. But do not expect me to be polite. You call yourself a scholar on the Dov yet it seems you have ignored the knowledge of The Greybeards! The Blades have been so fixated on Paarthurnax they have dismissed The Greybeards which is idiotic in the extreme. Who would know more about dragons than those who live with one? Hundreds of people each week walk the seven thousand steps. They have done this since High Hrothgar was constructed in 1E 707. Nearly all of those countless pilgrims would have read the ten Emblems of the seven thousand steps. That means countless people know that Emblem Five says, ‘Man prevailed, shouting Alduin out of the world.’ All the effort we put in rescuing you and getting to this wall, and all you can tell me is what those countless pilgrims and I already knew. You too would have known this fact if you were not so biased and had read sources other than Akaviri and Blade!”
I turned to Delphine and said, “I should throw you two out of here and reseal the place! I will ask Paarthurnax about the Shout. That ancient dragon will most likely be the saviour of Nirn once more just like he was when he taught the Ancient Tongues the Thu’um at the request of The Divines! You and the Blades ignore that fact! You also forget The Divines forgave Paarthurnax for his crimes. I advise you to keep out of my way for some time. I can’t always control the Dovah inside of me who wants to turn both of you into piles of ash.”
I turned to my friends and said, “Let us have a quick look around. We might find something of more use than these two.”
“Aren’t you a bit harsh?” asked Inigo.
“I am to battle Alduin. I am not afraid for my life, but if I lose, every single mortal dies! I knew three weeks ago that a Shout defeated Alduin. I need answers, not history lessons! It is their senseless hatred for Dov and The Greybeards that has caused this lack of knowledge and waste of time. So no, I am not too harsh!”
“I see the dragon in your eyes, my friend. Rigmor is not here, but your friends are. Calm down so you can think.”
I walked away, and the others followed.
On a table, I found an excellent Katana with an odd dweomer on it. I will have to study it to figure out what the dweomer does.
In the barracks was a full set of magnificent Akaviri armour from the first era. I took that as it was not only of historical value, it looked intimidating!
I also found a slightly updated copy of ‘Atlas of Dragons’,
“Herein is recorded the list of known dragons, both living and dead, including those slain by the Dragonguard since the time of its founding, as well as those slain in earlier ages, where they can be identified. Unfortunately, only a few of the dragons slain by our Akaviri predecessors during the Crusade were recorded, and thus this list is sadly incomplete.
Deceased by Report
Nahagliiv – Local tales name him as the dragon buried in the mound west of Rorikstead. No date associated with his death, although almost surely dates to the Dragon War era.
Odahviing – Records dating to the Crusade of interrogation of captured Dragon Cultists indicate that this dragon was buried in a mound in the southeast of Skyrim, near Riften.
Sahloknir – Local legends claim this is the dragon buried in the mound near Kyne’s Grove, slain by the Nord hero Jorg Helmbolg in the First Era.
Viinturuth – Death dating back to Dragon War era, according to documents recovered from Dragon Cult temples which record his burial near Lake Yorgrim.
Vuljotnaak – Death dating back to Dragon War or just after, according to recovered Dragon Cult documents, which record his burial in a mound near Granite Hill.
Slain by the Dragonguard
Grahkrindrog – Slain in 2E 184 after perpetrating great slaughter in Winterhold and Eastmarch. Name confirmed with assistance from the College mages.
Krahjotdaan – Slain in 1E 2871 in the southern Jerall Mountains, name confirmed by the dragon’s own account.
Unnamed Dragons – Numbering 12, as recorded in the Annals dating back to the founding of Sky Haven Temple.
Known to Live
Ahbiilok – Sightings are dating back to the early years of the Dragonguard throughout the northern Jerralls. Multiple attempts to kill him have failed. He is believed to be lairing somewhere in Morrowind.
Mirmulnir – Last sighted in the Reach in 2E 212.
Nahfahlaar – Repeated alliances with mortal protectors which have prevented his elimination. His last known protector was the King Casimir II of Wayrest, which the Dragonguard successfully ended in 2E 369. He escaped, and his current location is unknown.
Paarthurnax – The legendary lieutenant of Alduin in the Dragon War. He is now known to lair on the Throat of the World under the protection of the Greybeards of High Hrothgar. Master Araidh continues the established policy of avoiding direct confrontation with the Greybeards while waiting for an opportunity to exact justice upon him.”
When we exited the Temple, we encountered the ghosts of three Akaviri. Thinking they would recognise me as Dragonborn, I approached them.
They turned and attacked.
We turned them into puddles of ectoplasm.
Some Forsworn survivors occupied the caves. We killed them when they attacked us.
It was just before midnight when we arrived at the Markarth stables.
I hired a carriage to Whiterun so we could collect our horses.
I then hired another carriage to take us to Riften with the horses in tow.
At just after 7:30 AM on a typical foggy morning in The Rift, we set off for High Hrothgar from Riften.
Halfway up the mountain, the weather cleared. The others were busy talking amongst themselves and enjoying the views. I was still fuming even hours after leaving Sky Haven Temple.
Just past midday, we arrive at High Hrothgar.
We entered, and I knew my Dovah was still prominent.
We found Arngeir eating his midday meal.
I said, “I am going to see Paarthurnax now. I need to learn the Shout used to defeat Alduin.”
“Where did you learn that? Who have you been speaking to?”
“The fifth Emblem tells everybody who can read that a Shout was used to defeat Alduin. It also shows that fact on Alduin’s wall. Is this more knowledge you thought I wasn’t ready for?”
“The Blades! Of course. They specialise in meddling in matters they barely understand. Their reckless arrogance knows no bounds. They have always sought to turn the Dragonborn from the path of wisdom. Have you learned nothing from us? Would you simply be a tool in the hands of the Blades? To be used for their own purposes?”
“How dare you speak to me like that! I have learned absolutely nothing from The Greybeards! You call The Blades arrogant, yet you sit there and judge me without the slightest idea of what my relationship with The Blades entails. They are trying to help me save Nirn, which is something The Greybeards have yet to do. I am neither their puppet nor yours!”
“No, no, of course not. Forgive me, Dragonborn. I have been intemperate with you. But heed my warning, The Blades may say they serve the Dragonborn, but they do not. They never have.”
“They will serve me, or I will close Sky Haven Temple to them and leave them to the mercy of the Thalmor.”
“Why do you want to ask Paarthurnax about the Shout?”
“Because The Greybeards will not know it. You probably think it has no place within the Way of the Voice. Am I correct?”
“You are correct. We know that it is called ‘Dragonrend’. We do not know its Words of Power, and we do not regret this loss.”
“Then we have nothing else to discuss for now. I wish to head up to the summit while the weather is still favourable.”
“You weren’t ready to see Paarthurnax. You still aren’t ready. But thanks to the Blades, you now have questions that only Paarthurnax can answer.”
“You keep thinking you know more than The Divines! Kyne decided I was ready weeks ago. I also wanted to know about that shout three weeks ago and not from The Blades. Compared to you, they are the least arrogant people I know.”
We made our way outside and headed for the path to the summit.
Nobody in the group had bothered speaking to me much since Sky Haven Temple. I don’t blame them!
I warned the group, “Nobody is to run ahead even if you see an enemy within the winds. It is a long way down. There would be plenty of time to regret not listening to me if you get blown off the edge!”
“LOK VAH KOOR!”
Clear Sky cleared away the wind and fog, but the strength of my Thu’um shook the mountain, and we all lost balance.
I laughed and said, “Maybe less Thu’um next time!”
We made rapid progress with the occasional Ice Wraith or Golem our only delay. I was far more careful with how much Thu’um I used each time.
I had to do one more Shout to reach the summit.
I warned the others, “Stand away from me. Do not draw your weapons or doing anything Paarthurnax might consider hostile. Do not speak when I am conversing with him.”
Clear Skies cleared the final wind and fog, and we stepped onto the summit. Paarthurnax came flying towards us at great speed while roaring his challenge.
He then hovered while staring at us.
When satisfied we were not hostile, he landed with a ‘thump’.
I approached slowly but stopped before getting within weapon distance.
In a deep baritone, he said, “Drem Yol Lok. Greetings, wunduniik. I am Paarthurnax. Who are you? What brings you to my strunmah… my mountain?”
“You are old and wise, so you already know who I am and probably know why I am here.”
“Yes. Vahzah. You speak true, Dovahkiin. Forgive me. It has been long since I held tinvaak with a stranger. I gave in to the temptation to prolong our speech.”
“Yet you have chosen to live atop a mountain. It is almost impossible for any mortal to reach here and tinvaak with you.”
“Evenaar Bahlok. There are many hungers it is better to deny than to feed. Dreh ni nahkip. Discipline against the lesser aids in qahnaar… denial of the greater.”
“You have isolated for millennia so as to deny your base instincts for conquest and domination?”
“I am as my father Akatosh made me. As are you… Dovahkiin.”
“Yes, and I too fight my baser instincts.”
“Tell me. Why do you come here, volaan? Why do you intrude on my meditation?”
“You were expecting me, so how can I be an intruder? Besides that, this mountain belongs to the mortals of this land, of which I am one. You are a guest here, or have you forgotten?”
I was testing this ancient Dovah. I wanted to see how well he had suppressed the base instincts that led to his committing some of the worst atrocities of the Dragon War. Having old men who worship the gas you fart is not a challenge to those instincts.
Paarthurnax stared at me for several seconds, shook his massive head, then said, “Again, you speak the truth, Dovahkiin.”
“I need to learn the Dragonrend Shout. Can you teach me?”
“Drem. Patience. There are formalities which must be observed, at the first meeting of two of the Dov. By long tradition, the elder speaks first.”
Paarthurnax turned till he was facing a Word Wall. I stepped closer to him.
He said, “Hear my Thu’um! Feel it in your bones. Match it, if you are Dovahkiin!”
Paarthurnax then scorched the Word Wall with Dragonfire. Even standing at his side, the heat was uncomfortable.
I approached the Word Wall but already knew the Word of Power, Yol, the first Word of the Fire Breath Shout.
Paarthurnax said, “A gift, Dovahkiin. Yol. Understand Fire as the Dov do.”
Paarthurnax tried to gift me his knowledge of the Word but could not.
“Ah, you already know the Word and the entire Shout.”
“Gifts from Kyne along with many other Word and Shouts. I needed to be powerful in the Thu’um quicker than The Greybeards wanted me to be.”
“A wise decision. Now, show me what you can do. Greet me not as a mortal, but as Dovah!”
I decided to do the full Shout but at half strength.
“YOL TOOR SHUL”
“Aah… yes! Sossedov los mul. The Dragonblood runs strong in you. It is long since I had the pleasure of speech with one of my own kind.”
“Daar lost ni dii pah mulaag. Nii los onik wah qah grik.” (That was not my full strength. It is wise to hide such.)
“Another sensible decision. You have made your way here, to me. No easy task for a joor… mortal. Even for one of Dovah Sos. Dragonblood. What would you ask of me?”
“The same question I asked five minutes ago. Can you teach me the Dragonrend Shout?”
“Ah. I have expected you. Prodah. You would not come all this way for tinvaak with an old Dovah. No. You seek your weapon against Alduin.”
“Alduin has returned. I am the Dragonborn. It’s obvious why I trekked up here! For the third time, can you teach me Dragonrend or not?”
“Krosis. Sorrowfully, no. It cannot be known to me.”
“Do you know of a way for me to learn it?”
“Drem. All in good time. First, I have a question for you. Why do you want to learn this Thu’um?”
“I need to stop Alduin and not because of prophecy or destiny. I like and love many things in this world, and I will not stand by and watch it destroyed.”
“Yes. Alduin… Zeymah. The elder brother. He is gifted, grasping and troublesome, as is so often the case with firstborn. There are many who feel as you do, although not all. Some would say that all things must end so that the next can come to pass. Perhaps this world is simply the Egg of the next Kalpa? Lein vokiin? Would you stop the next world from being born?”
“If the next world is supposed to be born, then I will fail. I am not going to stop fighting because some idiots who know not love or ambition want to see this world end! Let them try and stop me if they think that is what should happen!”
“Paaz. A fair answer. Ro fus… maybe you only balance the forces that work to quicken the end of this world. Even we who ride the currents of Time cannot see past Time’s end… Wuldsetiid los tahrodiis. Those who try to hasten the end may delay it. Those who work to delay the end may bring it closer.”
“If I wanted to debate philosophical bullshit I would do it in a tavern over a few meads. I answered your question. Answer mine!”
“You have indulged my weakness for speech long enough. Krosis. Now I will answer your question. Do you know why I live here, at the peak of the Monahven – what you name Throat of the World?”
“You said you were going to answer my question. Yet you ask another.”
“Drem. Patience. I am answering in my way. This is the most sacred mountain in Skyrim. The great mountain of the world. Here the ancient Tongues, the first mortal masters of the voice, brought Alduin to battle and defeated him.”
“They Shouted him out of this world. I assume that happened here. Was it Dragonrend that they used?”
“Alduin was not truly defeated. If he were, you would not be here today, seeking to… defeat him. The Nords of those days used the Dragonrend Shout to cripple Alduin. But this was not enough. Ok mulaag unslaad. It was the Kel – the Elder Scroll. They used it to… cast him adrift on the currents of Time.”
“Did they erroneously think Alduin would remain adrift?”
“Some hoped he would be gone forever, forever lost. Meyye. I knew better. Tiid bo amativ. Time flows ever onward. One day he would surface, which is why I have lived here. For thousands of mortal years, I have waited. I knew where he would emerge but not when.”
“The Time-Wound and the use of the Kel. Are they connected?”
“Tiid krent. Time was… shattered here because of what the ancient Nords did to Alduin. If you brought that Kel, that Elder Scroll back here… to the Tiid-Ahraan, the Time-Wound… With the Elder Scroll that was used to break Time, you may be able to… cast yourself back. To the other end of the break. You could learn Dragonrend from those who created it.”
“Do you know where I can find an Elder Scroll?”
“Krosis. No. I know little of what has passed below in the long years I have lived here. You are likely better informed than I. Trust your instincts, Dovahkiin. Your blood will show you the way.”
As soon as Paarthurnax said that, my compass started.
I said, “The Divines will lead me to the Elder Scroll. What do I do with it when I find it?”
Return it here, to the Tiid-Ahraan. Then… Kelle vomindok. Nothing is certain with such things… But I believe the Scroll’s bond with the Tiid-Ahraan will allow you a… a seeing, a vision of the moment of its creation. Then you will feel – know – Dragonrend, in the power of its first expression. You will see them… wuth fadonne… my friends – Hakon, Gormlaith, Felldir.”
“I assume they are ancient Tongues?”
“They were the first mortals that I taught the Thu’um – the first Tongues. The leaders of the rebellion against Alduin. They were mighty, in their day. Even to attempt to defeat Alduin… sahrot hunne. The Nords have had many heroes since, but none greater.”
“They did not slaughter Mer so have been forgotten. How did the Elder Scroll cast Alduin adrift in time?”
“Vomindok. I do not know. Perhaps in the very doing, they erased the knowing of it from Time itself. The Dov are children of Akatosh. Thus, we are especially attuned to the flow of Time. Perhaps also uniquely vulnerable. I warned them against such a rash action. Even I could not foresee its consequences. Nust ni hon. They would not listen.”
“You were Alduin’s second in command. Even today some will not forgive you for atrocities committed.”
“There were a few of us who rebelled against Alduin’s thur… his tyranny. We aided the humans in his overthrow. But they did not trust us. Ni ov. Their inner councils were kept hidden from us. I was far from here on the day of Alduin’s downfall. But all Dov felt the… sundering of Time itself.”
“What does Dragonrend do?”
“I cannot tell you in detail. I never heard it used. Kogaan. It was the first Thu’um created solely by mortals. It was said to force a dragon to experience the concept of Mortality. A truly vonmindoraan… incomprehensible idea to the immortal Dov.”
“I will return with the Kel.”
Paarthurnax lifted off then landed to perch upon the Word Wall.
I said to Inigo, “I am going to climb to the very top. Do you want to join me?”
“No, I have not been this high since my Skooma days! It is high enough.”
The three women scrambled up the side of the mountain with me.
I found a strange pickaxe near the very top.
I looked out over Skyrim. Rigmor would love the view!
I waved to Inigo down below. Over to the right, I could see the ancient Akaviri temple that Rigmor and I once rode past. Everything reminds me of her. I needed her at Sky Haven Temple when I was close to murder caused by frustration. Esbern had seen it in me and was right to be afraid.
We made our way down then I said to Inigo, “You have to climb that last bit just once. Then you can truly say you have been to the very top of the world.”
“I am afraid of having one of those headaches and losing balance.”
“Oh, I didn’t realise that was the reason.”
“That is OK, my friend. I did not tell you so how would you have known?”
We made the trip back to High Hrothgar without incident. I found Arngeir and approached him.
He said, “So, you spoke to Paarthurnax. The Dragonblood burns bright in you.”
“One minute, I am not ready, and the next my Dragonblood burns bright. Make up your mind Arngeir.”
“Did he tell you what you wanted to know? Did he teach you the Dragonrend Shout?”
“No, but he told me how to find out.”
“So be it. If he believes you must learn this, we will bow to his wisdom.”
“I do not care what The Greybeards think on this matter. You are not responsible for battling Alduin. If it were up to you, I would be contemplating the meaning of my belly button while people below died in terror. If I do not learn Dragonrend, how do you propose I defeat him?”
“Maybe there is no other way. This Shout was used once before, was it not? And here we are again. Have you considered that Alduin was not meant to be defeated? Those who overthrew him in ancient times only postponed the day of reckoning. They did not stop it. If the world is meant to end, so be it. Let it end and be reborn.”
“Why did The Divines place me on Nirn? If not to stop Alduin, then why am I here? Are they wrong? Why has Kynareth gifted me with the tools to fight for this world? Was she wrong?”
As per usual, when I challenge Arngeir to think he goes silent.
I asked him, “What do you think is so bad about me learning Dragonrend?”
“It was created by those who had lived under the unimaginable cruelty of Alduin’s Dragon Cult. Their whole lives were consumed with hatred for dragons, and they poured all their anger and hatred into this Shout. When you learn a Shout, you take it into your very being. In a sense, you become the Shout. In order to learn and use this Shout, you will be taking the evil into yourself.”
“You do not even know what the Shout does yet you sit there and judge it to be evil! There are many Shouts that you know that can be used to cause physical harm. Did you absorb evil when learning them?”
I was getting so tired of the lectures from Arngeir. I asked him, “If I was to start destroying High Hrothgar using Shouts as taught to me by Kynareth, what would The Greybeards do?”
Arngeir did not answer, so I answered for him, “You would defend High Hrothgar using the Thu’um. You would try your hardest to kill me. The Greybeards are not pacifists. You would use the Thu’um to defend what is valuable to you! Nirn, Mundus and mortals are valuable to me. I will use the Thu’um to defend them. Are you capable of seeing how idiotic your beliefs are when faced with reality? Ulfric Stromcloak did. When he climbed down the mountain and back into the real world, he forgot all about The Way of the Voice. He used Unrelenting Force to kill the High King. That act was evil, but the Shout is not!”
I could not help myself. I needed to vent some more so said, “Do you love anything, Angier? Do you ever just look at what the Gods have made and lose yourself in its splendour? I am tired of talking to you.”
I pitied my companions for they were in the presence of a most unlikeable character. I was a sarcastic, angry person with a permanent scowl on my face.
We rode to Riften in silence and had no encounters.
After we stabled the horses, I sought out Kharjo.
I held out his Moon Amulet, and he took it, saying, “There it is. Ah…Home…”
“We are glad to have retrieved it for you.”
“If you ever need the skills of a Khajiit warrior by your side, I would be honoured to travel with you.”
“You would not be leaving the caravan vulnerable, would you?”
“No, other guards have arrived.”
“In that case, welcome to my ever-growing band of suffering companions. We will be staying at my house in Riften tonight.”
“Then lead on, friend.”
We waited for Kharjo to gather his gear and say goodbye to the other Khajiit. Then we started walking towards the Riften North Gate.
As we walked, Inigo said to Kharjo, “Hello, Kharjo. My name is Inigo. Pleased to meet you.”
“Now aren’t you a strange one.”
“You have no idea. How are you doing?”
“An astute question for we are far from home and this is a cold hard land.”
“We are, and it is. But the snow and ice only serve to highlight the warmth we feel for those we care about. It is not so bad.”
“Hmm. I had not thought of it that way. Fortune smiles upon this meeting.”
“I hope so. It is good to have you with us.”
We entered Honeyside, and I told Kharjo, “I want you to travel to Silverpeak, my estate near Whiterun. You will be able to see it from many miles away as it is halfway up The Throat of the World. Do you know Ashni and Anahbi?”
“Yes, we have guarded caravans together in the past.”
“They live there at the moment so can vouch for you when you get there. Do you have a horse?”
“No, but I have funds. A new one arrived at the Riften stables today that I like.”
“It may be a few days before we get back to Silverpeak. For now, sit and have a meal and get to know the others.”
I walked up to Lydia and said, “I am sorry for my less than pleasant demeanour.”
“Wulf, we all know you do not suffer fools. We also know you are simply trying your best to be prepared for Alduin. So far, scant help has come from either The Greybeards or The Blades.”
“I miss Rigmor. Just her presence would have calmed me. Poor Esbern is an old man and I did not mean to scare him the way I did.”
“He was taking the whole thing too flippantly, and you were right about the bias getting in the way. He should have known about the Emblems. The Greybeards have also been less than useful.”
“There are plenty of beds below. Tomorrow we travel to Winterhold. Somewhere near there I will find the Elder Scroll or information about it.”
“That radar thingy?”
“Yes, it started as soon as Paarthurnax mentioned we needed the Kel.”
“It was amazing to be that close to a dragon that wasn’t trying to kill us!”
“He has been waiting thousands of years so he can help defeat Alduin once again. The Blades want to kill him for crimes committed thousands of years ago. They are welcome to try, but they had better not demand I do it for them!”
“I would not be sure of that! I am retiring early. Please sit and chat with the others. See if you can lighten the mood once I am out of the way.”
I went to my bedroom. Despite being one floor below with several doorways between, I soon heard laughter from my companions.
I sat and wrote this journal entry then retired to bed. I was worn out from being angry and frustrated.
I know not what time I fell asleep.
I know it was with a slightly faded red mountain flower on the pillow beside me.
Rigmor looked at the ring the Priestess of Mara had travelled from Bravil to give her. It was in the shape of a red flower. She was told the rules of its use, the primary one being she could not let anybody in Cyrodiil know she was going to be visiting Wulf. An elderly man who Rigmor suspected was Talos had told her why The Divines wanted their relationship to be kept secret. He had promised a way that they could see each other. The ring was that way. Wulf would soon have his. He only had to survive Alduin first.