Fredas, 26th Hearthfire, 4E 201
& Loredas, 27th Hearthfire, 4E 201
I forced myself to get out of bed, bathe and dress for the day. Even Meeko gave up trying to drag me out of the foul mood I was in.
I was starting the day far later than usual. I knew that while I slept, Delphine and Esbern were aboard a carriage from Whiterun to Markarth. When we teleport to Markarth, we will still be ahead of them.
I had just finished breaking my fast when Vayu came up to me.
He said, “Silah came visiting in her spirit form. She says she will join us very late today or early tomorrow. She said you would know why.”
“She is investigating time anomalies. I am one of them, but I don’t know what the others are.”
“Celestine said that is how Alduin is finding you. She said you are causing noise when you come out of a teleport.”
“When I come from another plane, my Dragon Soul automatically synchronises with the linear time of Mundus. While that happens, I am leaving a signature that Alduin recognises. However, I must continue to teleport. Otherwise, things would take far too long.”
“Are we ready to leave?”
“Yes, let me gather the rest of today’s team.”
Inigo was in the living room.
I told him, “The walk from Markarth to Sky Haven Temple crosses Forsworn territory. They will attack us. Even if we wore Imperial Army uniforms, they would attack us.”
“They have no hope of winning their own country using force. They would be better off fortifying what they have and making peace with their neighbours.”
“Ulfric Stormcloak put an end to that idea when he slaughtered thousands of non-combatants.”
“True. Perhaps a peaceful solution can be found when the civil war is over.”
I recruited Taku and then summoned Seiko and Lydia.
When the squad was assembled, we teleported to Markarth Stables, where it teemed with rain.
Inigo whined, “Can you hear those screams? That is the sound of my fleas drowning.”
“With the amount of dirt you have been gathering, they are probably getting covered in mudslides.”
Despite the inclement weather, we encountered many travellers on the road to Markarth.
Many of those heading to Markarth had come from Ri’saad’s caravan.
There were several orphans amongst the Khajiiti.
I walked over to Ri’saad, who remained dry under the awning of his tent.
“Good morning, Ri’saad.”
“Good morning, Dragonborn. Khajiit has not met Wulf outside of Markarth before.”
“I see that business is good.”
“Yes, this position catches lots of passing traffic and the citizens of Markarth. Khajiiti were offered a closer space but preferred this one.”
“I have found an orphanage that will take some of your young ones.”
“When this one was asked, a few kittens were expected. The Thalmor are determined to wipe out a particular pride, so Khajiit was inundated. It is too dangerous for them on the road, especially those who live inside cities. However, nowhere in Thalmor controlled territory is safe for them. So we ended up with many kittens, and that is good news you bring me.”
“In a few days, we can send many of them to safety.”
“Khajiit thanks you once more, Wulf.”
“How are the roads around here?”
“There are many Forsworn near the mine. They have taken it over and are aggressive.”
“That is the direction we are heading. The Forsworn would be wise to leave us be.”
“Then expect to fight, for they are some of the few who dare attack Khajiiti caravans.”
We continued, and I could see Forsworn guarding a bridge.
We approached with weapons sheathed, yet Forsworn attacked us.
We quickly and efficiently killed them all.
I turned to the group and said, “A lone dragon was attracted by the fighting and has recognised me. He has issued a challenge.
Nahstrunbrit was not very strong and easily defeated.
We crossed the bridge then Lydia asked, “What is that bowl type thing?”
“The Dwemer had round ships that travelled via the ethereal plane. That is one of their ports.”
“They didn’t rely on mages to zap them around?”
“No, but neither did The Empire for some time. They had the Terminus System that normal carriage drivers could use. You would climb aboard a carriage no different than today. The carriage would enter a terminus, and a second later, you emerged from the destination terminus. All that knowledge was lost, mainly due to Dragon Breaks.”
A Thalmor Patrol approached. Taku whispered, “Leave some for me, Wulf.”
I said to the Justiciar, “It seems you weren’t invited to Elenwen’s party. Otherwise, I would have killed you as well!”
The Justiciar tried to cast a spell, but my sword slicing into him ended that plan. So, he drew his shortsword instead.
I removed his head which put an end to his second plan.
I stepped forward, swinging my sword in rapid arcs. The other two Thalmor died.
Taku was upset I didn’t leave him any.
When dealing with The Thalmor, I noticed another fight nearby. We rushed to it and found some travellers accosted by bandits.
I Blinked to a Dunmer Mage who was taking a toll on the travellers.
I cut her across the throat.
My team soon took care of the rest.
I approached a Reachman.
I said, “Good morning. I am Wulf, The Dragonborn.”
“Well met, Wulf. I am Deys Prommun from Evermore in High Rock. We are travelling to Dawnstar and have found a lot of trouble on this route from Markarth.”
“It has a reputation for aggressive Forsworn and bandits who kill and share their bounty with the Forsworn.”
“The travel guides never mention the dangers, only the beauty. Anyway, I thank you and your friends for your timely arrival.”
“Farewell, and I hope the rest of your walk to Dawnstar is uneventful.”
“As do I. Farewell.”
Another dragon attacked not much further along the road while issuing a challenge to me.
I yelled, “His name is Dunbritvith. Beware, for he is far stronger than the dragon we just defeated!”
It took much longer to defeat Dunbritvith than Nahstrunbrit, but he still succumbed without posing a significant threat to us.
I had just finished absorbing Nahstrunbrit’s soul when I heard Esbern say, “Ah… the power of the dragon is yours! There can be no doubt that you are The Dragonborn of prophecy.”
I walked over to Esbern, and he could see I was not amused.
“Esbern, your poor dragonlore is shown once more. I do not absorb any power from Dov I defeat. I absorb their souls and not just their Life Force but also their conscience. This removes the dragons from this and any future Kalpa. They cease to exist! I am supposed to learn something about The Thu’um from this travesty, but I don’t, as Lady Kynareth has already gifted me the knowledge I need. This soul absorption is an abomination that I have asked to be removed, but even Lord Akatosh cannot do so.”
“I did not mean to offend.”
“I might be The Dragonborn of prophecy, but I am not the only one that exists.”
“How can that be?”
“Dragonborn have free will as do all mortals. Not all of us decide to use Lord Akatosh’s gifts to benefit all. After defeating Alduin, I will have to defeat a Dragonborn who has allied with a Daedric Prince. I am glad you and Delphine have caught up. The danger only increases from here.”
I walked over to Delphine.
She said, “We saw the Forsworn bodies, a dragon carcass, slaughtered Thalmor and bandits. I told Esbern we must be getting close to you and The Dragonguard.”
“And that is why it was better we travelled ahead of Esbern and you. But I can smell many campfires. I assume many Forsworn are nearby, so stay behind us.”
Deys overheard the conversation and warned his group of possible danger.
Many Forsworn were using ancient ruins as a base at the foot of the stairs leading to Sky Raven Temple.
I did not try and conceal myself. As soon as Forsworn saw me, they attacked. What followed was the death of dozens, none of them on our side.
Many accuse Forsworn of being savages. There was nothing civilised in my dance of death.
Forsworn have a well-earned reputation for bravery. Yet some cowered as I approached, covered in the blood and gore of friends and family.
I hardly used The Voice. I preferred to kill close to my victims to revel in their pain and fear.
If they tried to run, they died.
If they stood and fought, they died.
As usual with large Forsworn tribes, their matriarchal leader was a Hagraven.
I cut her down and looked for more enemies.
I came across Esbern having difficulty with a dual-wielding Forsworn warlord.
I quickly parried his two weapons and then cut him down.
The last Forsworn alive had no chance. The fighting was over.
Deys came running up to me.
He exclaimed, “I have never seen anything like that! You just stepped from one Forsworn to the other and cut them down. It was amazing!”
“It is what I do, Deys. I will keep on killing as long as The Divines need me to do so.”
Deys gathered his group, and they continued their journey. I silently climbed steps to a cave I instinctively knew led to Sky Haven Temple. As I waited for the others to catch up, I used Magicka to clean the blood and gore from me.
A familiar spirit appeared before me.
My allies assembled behind me and stood quietly when they saw the spirit.
I said in Tsaesci, “General Xile, I thought I had released you from Mundus?”
“I was given one more task, Dragonborn.”
“And what is that task?”
“When they sealed Sky Haven Temple, Dragonguard volunteers remained to protect it from tomb robbers and others. You must fight their undead forms to reach the Blood Seal. General Taira Matsutoshi is their leader. Akamizu, Magus of The Dragonguard, is his second in command.
Most volunteers you face are proficient in The Voice, and the trial is for you only. Do not take your comrades inside.”
“Are you finally to enter your afterlife, General Xile.”
“Yes, and my wife and many generations of descendants eagerly await my arrival.”
General Xile said as his spirit faded, “I am here, my beloved. Let us embrace and be one again….”
I turned to the group.
- Esbern: Dragonborn, was that an Akaviri?
- Wulf: Yes. He is General Xile and one of the Akaviri generals who surrendered to Reman Cyrodiil.
- Delphine: What language was that?
- Wulf: Some call it Akaviri, but its real name is Tsaesci.
- Vayu: Wulf has met General Xile before.
- Wulf: He remained in a barracks turned into a tomb near Whiterun. He waited for me so he could warn me about Alduin’s return. I had known for years, but The Dragonguard did not know that would be the case when they asked for volunteers.
- Inigo: What did he say?
- Wulf: I have said before that Sky Haven Temple would have trials to ensure only the worthy can unseal it. Being Dragonborn is not enough.
- Vayu: General Taira Matsutoshi and some of his troops volunteered to guard the temple after their deaths. Magus Akamizu is also a guard. She will be a deadly opponent.
- Delphine: But aren’t Dragonguard, like Blades, sworn to the service of Dragonborn?
- Wulf: The Dragonguard require recruits to pass many trials before being accepted into their ranks. All of my Dragonguard friends bear the scars, mentally and physically, of those trials. To be allowed access to this temple, a shrine to Reman Cyrodiil, I must pass a challenging and potentially fatal trial.
- Vayu: And Wulf must do this alone.
- Esbern: But Alduin’s Wall? How will you know what it means?
- Wulf: I will know, Esbern. But don’t fear. Once I have passed the trial and deem it safe, I will return here, and you can enter.
- Delphine: You said that all the young Blade recruits who came to Akavir passed such trials.
- Taku: Yes, we did, and some of us have asked if it was worth it.
- Vayu: It was not the trials of The Dragonguard that broke you, Taku. They brought you back from despair. You would be a drunk in a gutter somewhere if not for The Dragonguard.
- Wulf: Taku enjoyed the gentle ministrations of The Thalmor before escaping and joining us in Akavir.
- Vayu: Some of the trials are specific to a person. They tap into your greatest fears and make you face them.
- Wulf: The hallucinogens administered by Vayu and other Dragonguard shamans are combined with spells to produce an experience indistinguishable from reality. When somebody says they are Dragonguard, you know they have conquered their greatest fears.
- Inigo: I wonder would my trial would entail?
- Lydia: A giant bathtub with bars of soap attacking you.
- Inigo: We walked in the rain earlier. That is enough of a wash for a month at least!
- Wulf: The totems out the front of the cave mean at least some of it is infested with Forsworn. I guarantee the Forsworn soon learnt where not to trespass. Most of the Akaviri guards I will encounter are users of The Voice.
- Esbern: How will we know if you have failed the trial?
- Wulf: I will be dead, and Alduin will be laughing.
I entered the cave and used Heat-Vision.
That showed me two Forsworn. One was lying down, and the other was sitting.
I switched to Night-Vision and crept forward.
I killed the sleeping Forsworn with my first arrow. He screamed, and that alerted the Forsworn that was sitting.
He came running, still not seeing me in the dark. My second arrow killed him.
What Heat-Vision didn’t reveal was a Briarheart. He came running and died when my third arrow hit him.
I am not opposed to using stealth. When you are outnumbered,v and alone, honourable sword fights are not ideal. Therefore, when I found the Akaviri spirits, I used stealth to stalk and kill them.
My first target was a monk. They can close at a fast rate and can be challenging to defeat in a sword fight.
As the monk fell, another Akaviri charged me. Another arrow ended its existence.
A drawbridge would give me access to the next part of the temple. A puzzle would need to be solved to lower the drawbridge. I did not fancy arrows and Shouts being directed at me as I solved the puzzle, so I removed the Akaviri spirits guarding the drawbridge.
The puzzle had an obvious solution. There were three columns with various Akaviri symbols on different facets. I had to turn the columns so that the symbol for Dragonborn was at the front.
The drawbridge clattered down. So much for stealth!
I made my way past the three guards.
I came to a room full of pressure plates. I assumed that standing on the wrong pressure plate would not be pleasant.
Once again, the answer to the problem was obvious. I had to make my way across the room and pull a chain. I had to stand on the pressure plates with the Akaviri symbol for Dragonborn to do so safely.
Halfway across, I looked to my right and could see another drawbridge. I assumed that pulling the chain would lower it and disable any traps.
I made it to the chain, pulled it, and the drawbridge lowered.
I killed three more Akaviri spirits, including that of a captain.
General Taira Matsutoshi wandered over. He saw the captain’s body and then looked at me. He issued a challenge, so I drew my sword.
Taira was a Swordmaster. It took all my skill to defeat him.
Taira used Whirlwind Sprint to escape when I was about to deal with the final blow. Another Akaviri spirit had snuck up behind, and I quickly turned to parry his blow.
I cut him down and returned my attention to where Taira had gone. The captain’s body had fallen off the drawbridge.
Taira appeared and Shouted Ice Form at me. It was only a Two Word shout, and I resisted it. A Three Word Shout would have most likely disabled me.
I blocked his two-handed swing and cut him down.
I made my way to the room with the Blood Seal.
Akamizu, Magus of The Dragonguard, sat before a pivoting head of Reman Cyrodiil. Dripping my blood onto the Blood Seal would open the way to the centre of the temple and Alduin’s Wall.
A red haze surrounded Akamizu. Even from a distance, I could feel the power of the Blood Magic. I am immune to Blood Magic that targets my blood, but I sensed what Akamizu utilised would target my Life Force.
She said in Tsaesci, “Come, Dragonborn. Prove you are worthy or die.”
I drew my sword and slowly approached. Akamizu drew her bladed staff and then attacked at incredible speed.
I slowed her progress with a full-strength, Unrelenting Force. It would have smashed most opponents against the head of Reman Cyrodiil and ended the fight. All it did was stagger Akamizu.
While Akamizu was off-balance, I hit her with Unrelenting Force once more.
I then closed and started raining blows upon her. Her bladed staff was too slow to parry or counterattack. However, my Life Force was being drained at a tremendous rate. I only had seconds to beat her or retreat.
A series of blows ended her, but my Life Force continued to drain.
I cast Grand Healing, which allowed me to survive until Akamizu’s Dweomer ceased the Life Force draining.
I searched Akamizu and found the following note.
“We have barricaded the entrance to the inner sanctum.
When we resigned ourselves to the duty of protecting this Temple, many of us were already weakened after being forced to flee the heartland.
Much time has passed, and my kinfolk have long since lost their minds, pacing back and forth. They single-mindedly guard the place that gave them sanctuary…
They await the arrival of The Dragonborn, true heir to the Imperial Throne.
Yet their faith shall not be rewarded in their lifetimes.
For this reason, I, blessed with an immortal body, shall devote myself to their memories. To keep some small part of them alive and reward their loyalty.
Alas, I must return to my duties whilst some semblance of my sanity remains.
That is the price I pay for this longevity. The Thirst… Soon it will become unbearable…
If these are my last words, then I pray, remember our names.
— Dragonguard High Priestess, Akamizu”
Akamizu was a mighty vampire. She drained the blood of the other Dragonguard till they became a form of undead. Taira maintained some semblance of who he was. That is why he challenged me to a duel.
Akamizu also claims that I am the rightful Emperor. Once I would have been, the danger is people who may think I still am. Unless instructed by The Nine, I do not want and would not accept The Ruby Throne.
I did not want Akamizu’s body to be an object for curious eyes. I moved her to a small garden and laid her down.
Akamizu was a devotee of Lady Dibella and wore her symbol.
I visited each body, and if I could ascertain their name through possessions, I placed it in my mind, never to be forgotten. I will get a plaque made with those names placed within the temple when I have the chance.
I name the following as Avatars of The Dragonguard.
Akamizu: Dragonguard Magus.
Sujiwara: Dragonguard Monk.
Taira Matsutoshi: Dragonguard General.
Kinomasu: Dragonguard Captain.
I inspected the Blood Seal and the pivoting bust of Reman Cyrodiil.
I decided I would wait till everybody was a witness before unsealing the inner temple.
I made my way outside and nodded to Esbern. He and Delphine rushed inside, eager to see a place of legend for Blade and Dragonguard alike.
We followed at a more mundane pace.
Inigo came up to me and said, “My friend. I feel… strange.”
Inigo grimaced and said, “Argh! My mind is vibrating in my skull. It feels like it is at the end of a hook.”
Vayu watched Inigo, and I think he also deduced what was happening.
Inigo continued, “The sensation is receding. That was horrible!”
“How do you feel? Can you describe in more detail what happened?”
“I feel okay. I have no idea what that was. Suddenly, there was a bright flash, and it felt like my mind was being pulled out of my ears.”
“Inigo, I think I know what caused it but can only prove it via experimenting. I won’t do that as there is a danger to you.”
“What is it?”
“Somebody without the requisite skill and or knowledge of you is trying to summon you. Probably via a spell tome or scroll.”
Vayu added, “You can’t just summon anybody. You have to know them well enough to create a mental picture of them. Not just their looks but also their personality.”
I continued, “If you could summon anybody you wanted, it would make assassinations easy, don’t you think?”
Inigo laughed and said, “Make me a scroll to summon Titus Mede II. Then I can kill him from home and avoid the Penitus Oculatus!”
“If it happens again, try and think of where they want you to go. We need to find them and stop them.”
“What danger is there?”
“They could damage your mind, Inigo. They could even kill you!”
“Okay. If I start dribbling and staring straight ahead, please don’t mistake me for Lydia.”
I said to everybody, “I will open the entrance and enter by myself. Everybody is to wait here until I return and give the okay to proceed.”
I walked up to the Blood Seal and then faced Esbern.
I said, “Esbern, do not be tempted to enter till I say it is safe. You have no idea of the power of the spirits I have already faced.”
“Okay, Dragonborn. I will do as you ask.”
“Oh, of course, Dragonborn. I will do as you ordered.”
I knelt and drew a knife across my palm.
Drops of blood touched the Blood Seal, which was suddenly enveloped in bright light.
The bust of Reman Cyrodiil slowly pivoted upwards.
I made my way to the central chamber of Sky Haven Temple.
I walked over to Alduin’s Wall and felt my anger rise. It told me nothing that the Emblems of the 7000 Steps hadn’t already. That was a month ago!
I sketched the wall’s three main panels. Any future criticism of my hasty artwork will be met with a Thu’um enhanced raspberry from Aetherius!
I decided to do a thorough search of the temple to check if there was a danger to others and search for a clue to the shout used by the Ancient Tongues.
In a small alcove, I found a selection of Akaviri weapons. One of them had a unique Dweomer specifically designed to increase damage to dragons. It is probably an artefact Auryen would be interested in.
Inside a small chest were a note and a key. The note was in Tsaesci. A rough translation follows.
“Dragonborn, armour had been created for you. It lies within the Akaviri halls of Nafaalilargus, in the mountains in the south of Skyrim. The scarce clues point to its entrance being near the border gate of Cyrodiil, along the road from Falkreath.
Take the key from this box to unlock the Halls.
But be warned, for this armour is guarded by the jewel of Tiber Septim, Nahfahlaar!”
Empire citizens live their whole lives, never questioning why the symbol of The Empire is a dragon in the shape of a diamond.
The diamond shape represents the Chim-El Adabal, the Red Diamond central to The Amulet of Kings. The dragon is Nahfahlaar, later called Nafaalilargus. A friend of my father, hero of Elsweyr and ally to The Dragonguard.
Nafaalilargus was killed by Cyrus the Redguard in 2E 864. The dragon was cornered in the treasure vault of Stos M’Kai by Cyrus. This confined space limited the dragon’s manoeuvrability, and Cyrus had learned a trick from Argonian villagers. He dipped his sword in Dragonfire, which enabled it to penetrate Nafaalilargus’ hide. There is much history surrounding the battles of Tiber Septim’s campaign against the Redguards. The leadership of Cyrus and the demise of Nafaalilargus led to Tiber Septim negotiating a treaty with the Redguards. Hammerfell became part of The Empire but had more autonomy than would have otherwise been given.
If a scholar reading this is unaware of Nafaalilargus’ history, they should be ashamed and immediately study this fascinating if sometimes misrepresented Dovah.
It should be noted that Nafaalilargus and Odahviing are the only two Red Dragons known to exist.
I decided I would retrieve the armour immediately after leaving Sky Haven Temple. Nafaalilargus being alive is no great shock. How he came to be restored is a mystery worth solving.
My search of Sky Haven Temple revealed no clues about the Shout used by the Tongues.
However, I did find a portal in the shape of a sword. When I stood close to it, I knew it led to a pocket plane of Oblivion.
I returned to the Blood Seal room and told everybody they could enter the temple proper.
Delphine and Esbern raced ahead. I asked my group the wait for a minute.
- Vayu: Wulf, you do not look pleased.
- Wulf: Alduin’s Wall tells me nothing I didn’t know a month ago.
- Inigo: This was a waste of time?
- Wulf: We had to visit this place, Inigo. The Ancient Tongues have gone to great lengths to hide how they defeated Alduin. If the Akaviri Dragonguard knew, it would have been recorded on Alduin’s Wall. Alas, they didn’t know any more than the Greybeards. They Shouted Alduin from this world. That is all I know.
- Vayu: What now?
- Wulf: I am letting Esbern inspect Alduin’s Wall. Then I shall talk to him and Delphine. It seems a visit to Paarthurnax is the next logical step.
- Lydia: Did you find anything of use in there?
- Wulf: A note says a special suit of armour had been made for me. Nafaalilargus guards it inside some ruins near the border crossing close to Falkreath. I want to retrieve the armour before visiting High Hrothgar.
- Vayu: Nafaalilargus! Will he recognise who you are?
- Lydia: Don’t all dragons recognise The Dragonborn?
- Wulf: He will know I am The Dragonborn. Vayu was wondering if Nafaalilargus would know who my parents are. I assume he does.
- Lydia: Rigmor said I would never guess who they are.
- Wulf: I will tell you soon, Lydia. Now is not the time to complicate things.
- Seiko: Was there anything else?
- Wulf: A portal to a pocket plane of Oblivion. I can’t leave without visiting wherever it is.
- Vayu: It is not to a Dark Lord’s realm?
- Wulf: It could be a portion of one. Unless I have visited a realm before, I can’t recognise it from this side of a portal. For instance, I would know if it was a pocket plane of The Ash Pit, Malacath’s realm.
- Inigo: Why risk such a dangerous thing? Why don’t you ignore it?
- Wulf: It could pose a danger. I want to utilise Sky Haven Temple as a base for The Blades. I can’t do so without knowing where the portal leads.
- Vayu: Esbern has probably finished his viewing of Alduin’s Wall by now.
- Wulf: The expression on his face will tell us that.
Everybody gasped when they caught sight of Alduin’s Wall. There is no doubt it is impressive in terms of craftsmanship.
Inigo said, “The stonework in this place is very impressive. It is a shame not many people will see it.”
I walked to Esbern, who was staring at the first panel of three. I asked, “Esbern, have you finished looking at all three panels?”
He turned and said, “Yes.”
His face told me he had arrived at the same conclusion. A shout was used, but there was no indication of what Shout.
“Okay, let me narrate what it depicts. Then we can discuss what is next. All of you, feel free to ask questions.”
Everybody went silent, and I began.
“Alduin’s Wall is not the accumulated dragonlore of The Akaviri or Dragonguard or Blades. However, it does give a clue as to how the Ancient Tongues defeated Alduin.
Alduin’s Wall is divided into three panels. The first panel depicts the Dragon War.
Dragons and mortals coexisted in peace for millennia and shared great cities. Dragon Priests were the intermediaries between the two and mainly were benevolent leaders.
Alas, Alduin could not control the basic instincts of Dov to conquer and control. He wanted to make himself an overlord of all Dov and mortals. Like most megalomaniacs, he could persuade others to aid in his endeavour. Most dragons did not oppose Alduin, and many Dragon Priests were seduced by power and joined the cause. The relationship between Dov and mortals changed from cooperation to enslavement. Eventually, this led to mortals turning on the dragons they once revered. This rebellion resulted in the Dragon War, as depicted in the first panel.
Are there any questions?”
I waited a few seconds, then continued.
“Okay, I will skip the middle panel for a minute and talk about the third. It shows the events of The Prophecy of The Dragonborn.
Like most prophecies, it comes from an Elder Scroll. The prophecy says,
- When misrule takes its place at the eight corners of the world
- When the Brass Tower walks and Time is reshaped
- When the thrice-blessed fail and the Red Tower trembles
- When the Dragonborn Ruler loses his throne, and the White Tower falls
- When the Snow Tower lies sundered, kingless, bleeding
- The World-Eater wakes, and the Wheel turns upon the Last Dragonborn.
“The first omen says, ‘When misrule takes its place at the eight corners of the world.’
This omen refers to the Staff of Chaos, a powerful relic that can open gateways to other worlds and obliterate all living beings. In the late Third Era, the Imperial Battlemage Jagar Tharn used the Staff of Chaos to imprison Emperor Uriel Septim VII within a pocket plane of Oblivion. Jagar Tharn then used Magicka to impersonate Emperor Uriel Septim VII for ten years. A period referred to as the Imperial Simulacrum.
Jagar Tharn was killed by The Eternal Champion, who also rescued the emperor from Oblivion.
After using the Staff of Chaos to imprison the emperor, Jagar Tharn broke it into eight pieces and hid them all over Tamriel. This omen is depicted in this part of Alduin’s Wall.”
I pointed to the relevant section.
I continued, “The second omen says, ‘When the Brass Tower walks and Time is reshaped.’
The Brass Tower is another name for Numidium, an enormous brass golem created by Dwemer High Craftlord Kagrenac. The Dwemer never used Numidium as they vanished before it could be activated. Tiber Septim used Numidium but to what extent is debatable. A control rod was needed to control Numidium, and Battlemage Zurin Arctus created one. The control rod was called The Totem of Tiber Septim.
Shortly after Tiber Septim had united all the countries of Tamriel under The Empire, The Underking destroyed Numidium, and The Totem of Tiber Septim was lost.
In the Third Era, The Blades were tasked with finding the parts of Numidium and The Totem of Tiber Septim. The Numidium was eventually reconstructed, but The Totem of Tiber Septim remained lost till 3E 401. A Blade found it in the Iliac Bay region. When the various kingdoms and city-states of the region heard this, they all coveted it to conquer their enemies with it.
A Dragon Break occurred, and all seven powers in the Iliac Bay then owned a Totem of Tiber Septim and a Numidium! During a Dragon Break, Nirn exists in simultaneous timelines running in parallel. Several seemingly conflicting histories are valid during this period.
At least five Numidium, collectively called Numiduma, roamed and destroyed vast areas of High Rock and Hammerfell.
The outcome of this Dragon Break is a complex subject, and I will not even try to summarise it here.
This Dragon Break became known as The Warp in The West. The Dragon Break was ended when Jills, including Silah, combined the parallel timelines into the one we live in today. The Underking destroyed the Numiduma.
Numidium is shown on Alduin’s wall here.”
I pointed to the relevant part.
I asked, “Are there no questions?”
Esbern said, “I don’t have a question, but I do find your knowledge refreshing. This lore was once part of Blade training. Is it part of Dragonguard training?”
“No, it is not. But I have been taught much history and lore by the best teachers, namely, those who lived the history and The Divines. The Nine recognised my ability to learn quickly and remember almost every detail when I was a child. That is why they asked if I would be their champion. My knowledge will save my life more often than my sword and bow. More importantly, it will save the lives of those I am sworn to protect, the mortals of Nirn.”
“You have spoken to deceased historical figures?”
“Yes, but what they are allowed to tell me is restricted by The Nine. As I solve tasks, I gain more knowledge. The Nine could tell me how Alduin was defeated, but they have deemed it more beneficial if I discover the answer by myself. I agree with their philosophy, but it can cause great stress. As I search for the answer on how to beat Alduin, his allies are killing and destroying. The Nine are willing to accept this collateral damage, but I find it hard to accept. However, they know far more than me, so I must trust their judgement on these things.”
“Please, Dragonborn, continue your fascinating explanation.”
I cleared my throat and continued, “The third omen says, ‘When the thrice-blessed fail and the Red Tower trembles.’
“Briefly, the third omen foretells of the fate that would befall The Tribunal at the hands of The Nerevarine in the late Third Era.
The fulfilment of the Nerevarine Prophecy resulted in Vivec, Almalexia and Sotha Sil losing their immortality. They are the thrice-blessed of the omen.
A large rock called Baar Dau had appeared over Vivec City during The Tribunal’s rule. Where Baar Dau originated and what it was is a point of conjecture, and I have not read anything that persuades me enough to choose a theory.
What is undeniable is that Vivec had the power to remove Baar Dau but refused to do so. He let it hover over Vivec City to remind the populace of his power and guarantee servitude.
When Vivec lost his god powers, The Daedric Prince, Clavicus Vile, helped two Dunmer, Sul and Vuhon, create a machine called The Ingenium. This machine kept Baar Dau aloft but was powered by souls. Living people were sacrificed and were selected for the strength of their souls. Vuhon had Ilzheven, Sul’s beloved, sacrificed. Sul tried to rescue her, which destroyed The Ingenium. Baar Dau crashed into Vivec City, and the shockwave caused Red Mountain to erupt. The Red Mountain is also called The Red Tower.
This part of Alduin’s Wall depicts this omen.”
I point to the relevant part of the third panel.
Inigo remarked, “Lucky for us, that was a brief explanation. My whiskers are turning grey!”
Vayu countered, “Show some respect, Inigo. Wulf is doing us a service by explaining Alduin’s Wall and his prophecy. Plus, by verbalising his thoughts, these things are clarified in Wulf’s mind.”
Inigo looked shocked and said, “I meant no offence, Vayu. But the mood is a bit sombre at the moment. I was only trying to lighten it a bit.”
I said, “Everybody, please relax. The mood is sombre, and you all know why, including Esbern.”
Delphine said, “I have no idea, but I suppose you will get to the reason for the gloominess soon enough.”
“Yes, Delphine, I will. The fourth omen says, ‘When the Dragonborn Ruler loses his throne, and the White Tower falls.’
This is a two-part omen. The first part refers to the assassination of Emperor Uriel Septim VII and the subsequent Oblivion Crises.
The second part of the omen refers to the capture of The White-Gold Tower by The Dominion during The Great War.
The Daedric rune for an Oblivion Gate is used to depict this omen.”
I pointed to the symbol on Alduin’s Wall.
“The fifth and last omen reads, ‘When the Snow Tower lies sundered, kingless, bleeding.’
This omen refers to the murder of High King Torygg by Ulfric Stormcloak and the subsequent civil war. That has left Skyrim kingless.
Skyrim is often symbolised by The Throat of the World, also known as the Snow Tower. The civil war has divided Skyrim into two factions. It has been sundered. The artisans have depicted this omen by the allegorical sundering of The Throat of the World.”
I pointed to the depiction of The Throat of the Word being rent in half.
I concluded, “These five omens lead to the prophecy’s outcome, ‘The World-Eater wakes, and the Wheel turns upon the Last Dragonborn.’
Alduin is here, and so am I. I doubt that I will be the Last Dragonborn. Perhaps it should have said latest instead of last.
The outcome is depicted by this very Nord looking character fighting a very ugly Alduin. You can see the Akaviri symbol for Dragonborn above his head, and they have depicted a Shout issuing from his mouth. He is winning by the reaction of the three Dragonguard raising their swords in triumph.”
I pointed to the Dragonborn and three happy accomplices.
I asked, “Are there any questions?”
After a few seconds, I proceed to discuss the remaining panel.
“The second panel depicts three Tongues making Alduin fall from the sky. You can tell he is falling by the position of his head and wings. He doesn’t look too pleased about it!
The three Tongues depicted are well known to historians. The one on the left is Hakon One-Eye. He was a Nord warrior of great skill.
The Tongue in the middle is Felldir the Old, a mage. Due to Nordic bias, Felldir is not referred to as such. You can’t have a milk-drinking spell caster be a Nord hero! At least they have depicted him holding a staff on Alduin’s Wall.
The third Tongue is Gormlaith Golden-Hilt, a Nord Swordmaiden who was also of great skill. She did not survive the final fight with Alduin.
Notice that Hakon and Gormlaith are Shouting while Felldir seems to be talking. He is not casting a spell as his hands would not be as they are.
There is nothing on Alduin’s Wall or within Sky Haven Temple to tell us what Shout the Tongues are using or what Felldir is doing.
The Shouts issued by Gormlaith and Hakon may have inflicted the final bit of damage which made Alduin land, as all dragons do when injured enough.
Or, the same Shout was used by both Tongues, and it forced Alduin to land no matter his level of damage. That Shout would be of tremendous use against all dragons but essential when fighting Alduin. He cannot be harmed when flying, so the only way to defeat him is to make him land.
Whatever Felldir is doing must be an essential part of Alduin’s defeat, or they would not have depicted it on Alduin’s Wall. This depiction of the three Tongues suggests The Akaviri had some idea of what occurred but not the specifics.”
- Esbern: I agree that Alduin is falling from the sky.
- Delphine: Wulf, have you ever heard of a Shout that can knock a dragon out of the sky?
- Wulf: No, and I doubt The Greybeards will know it. It would be incompatible with The Way of The Voice. Therefore, I will ask Paarthurnax.
- Esbern: But isn’t Paarthurnax their leader?
- Wulf: Remember he taught mortals how to use The Voice. He knew and used an extensive array of Shouts when he was Alduin’s lieutenant. He had no qualms teaching those Shouts to mortals. Even though he now follows The Way of The Voice, he would not hesitate to teach me this particular Shout.
- Vayu: Wulf, you are being surprisingly calm. I expected you to be livid.
- Wulf: I am a bit annoyed.
- Esbern: Why is that?
- Wulf: Do you hold the same grudges against The Greybeards as Delphine?
- Esbern: Possibly. Why do you ask?
- Wulf: The best and most comprehensive source of Dragonlore resides with those who live with one. Have you ever climbed the 7000 steps and read the emblems?
- Esbern: No.
- Wulf: What about you, Delphine?
- Delphine: I haven’t either.
- Wulf: The emblems tell part of the Dragonlore known by The Greybeards. Hundreds of pilgrims have climbed the steps each week since 1E 707 when High Hrothgar was constructed. Even if you don’t climb the steps, the contents of the emblems are detailed in many well-respected scholarly works. Therefore, hundreds of thousands of people learnt what happened to Alduin but not you, Esbern.
- Esbern: Yes, I ignored the writing of The Greybeards due to bias.
- Wulf: There is no great harm done. I did not refer to Greybeard literature, so I was ignorant of an essential fact until a month ago. You must remember that I have only been in Skyrim for a few months. I had access to vast resources and didn’t ignore Greybeard literature out of bias but made an incorrect assumption that what I read covered everything known.
- Delphine: What do the emblems say?
- Wulf: Part of the fifth emblem says, ‘Man prevailed, shouting Alduin out of the world.’
- Delphine: So, you have known that a Shout was used all along?
- Wulf: For the last month, yes. I hoped Alduin’s Wall would teach me that shout.
- Vayu: But now you know there is more to it than a Shout.
- Wulf: I suspect so, with how Felldir is depicted. That is why viewing Alduin’s Wall has been successful in another way.
- Delphine: What’s next, apart from your visit to Paarthurnax?
- Wulf: I want to start recruiting new Blades and use this temple as headquarters. As Grandmaster of The Dragonguard, Vayu outranks you, Delphine. However, you can stay here and remain in charge of The Blades when Vayu is absent.
- Delphine: I was going to suggest that Esbern and I stay here. We might butt heads, but he will soon have a family to support. Therefore I will gift Sleeping Giant Inn to Orgnar.
- Esbern: Will Forsworn enter the temple now that the Akaviri guards are gone?
- Wulf: Some of them will return. Their duty to protect the temple did not end with my arrival.
- Vayu: Dragonguard will rotate through here to help train the recruits.
- Esbern: Won’t the dragons simply disperse once you defeat Alduin?
- Wulf: Many that are friendly to us will remain. There will be the odd one who can’t overcome the need for battle and conquest.
- Vayu: The Blades were far more than dragonslayers. Wulf is working out a way to bypass The White-Gold Concordat’s outlawing of The Blades.
- Delphine: What are you planning, Wulf?
- Wulf: That The Dragonguard be officially recognised as an independent unit of The Imperial Army, similar to the Penitus Oculatus. We can be a more official form of The Dawnguard and Vigilants of Stendarr. I haven’t had any dealings with The Dawnguard yet, but The Vigilants are out of control.
- Vayu: We can’t call a Blade a Dragonguard without them passing the trials. But we can name you Apprentice Dragonguard.
- Esbern: I would be the oldest apprentice in history!
- Wulf: Some Mer apprentices don’t start till they are two hundred years of age.
- Esbern: Oh.
- Wulf: There is a portal to Oblivion on the top balcony. I will enter it and see why it is here and, if necessary, close it.
- Esbern: Is that wise?
- Wulf: No, but it is necessary.
We made our way to the portal while Delphine and Esbern animatedly discussed potential recruits.
Inigo asked, “Do you know what you are walking into?”
“The glowing sword is an Akaviri Ancestral Sword. It is an ancient design and must have been passed down dozens of times. So, the location of the portal and that sword tells me the pocket plane in Oblivion has something to do with a Dragonguard.”
“You can’t ignore this portal, can you?”
“No, so the quicker I enter, the quicker I can return.”
I stepped into the portal and was transported to a replica of Sky Haven Temple.
The Imperial Army had laid siege to the temple.
At first, I only encountered dead legionnaires. Their armour was of an early design.
When I encountered deceased defenders, they were Akaviri Dragonguard from when the temple on Nirn was sealed.
Standing next to Alduin’s Wall was what at first appeared to be an Akaviri Shaman. Looking at his Aura showed that assumption to be wrong. If he was a mortal, he shared his soul with something else.
I said to him in Tsaesci, “I am Wulf, The Dragonborn. I expect you to obey your oath as Dragonguard and remain civil while we speak. My weapons will remain sheathed as I approach.”
I strolled toward the shaman, who remained silent. Then he charged at me, and I knew he could kill me with a single blow.
Unrelenting Force staggered him.