Fredas, 3rd Frostfall, 4E 201
& Loredas, 4th Frostfall, 4E 201
Rigmor and I only spoke briefly. I was more confident facing Alduin in Sovngarde than using the Time-Wound.
Iona was uncomfortable about visiting Sovngarde, so she did not accompany us.
Vayu was equally uncomfortable. He had never visited my Aetherius Room for the same reason.
Therefore, today’s team was Inigo, Kharjo, Lydia, Celestine and the fully recovered Jordis. Any of the mages could have fixed her stomach complaint. However, Jordis preferred her body to fight such minor illnesses naturally.
During the morning, I noticed lingering glances between Inigo and Jo’rassa. Perhaps she can help him find redemption.
When everybody was ready, I teleported us to Breezehome.
We quickly made our way to Dragonsreach. The streets were deserted. It was not long before we stood before Jarl Balgruuf. I did a slight bow of the head, deserved recognition of his noble rank.
- Balgruuf: It is I who should be bowing to you. You have saved my city twice, and now you fight for our freedom.
- Wulf: I am only doing what is right, my Jarl.
- Balgruuf: The news sheets are full of rumours about The Dragonborn hovering over Windhelm and singing.
- Irileth: The Stormcloak sympathetic news sheets say you are an agent of The Dominion and spreading lies. The Imperial sympathetic new sheets say you have told the truth and challenged Ulfric to refute your claims.
- Wulf: We flew around Windhelm. We did not hover. Somebody killed a lot of Thalmor at their embassy. They also stole a lot of Dominion intelligence on Imperial citizens. Amongst that intelligence was a dossier on Ulfric. Many of the claims I made are within that dossier. Other parts I know from speaking to Talos. Others are from the accurate histories, not the propaganda. Ulfric has the chance to refute what I said. Just saying they are lies will not be enough on his part.
- Celestine: Wulf will fight The Stormcloaks. He is giving them a chance to go home and not die needlessly. Ulfric does not care about Talos worship. His desire to be the High King is his only motivation.
- Balgruuf: And what if I decide that Ulfric’s cause is just?
- Wulf: You know the answer, my Jarl. But it won’t come to that. You will try and remain neutral, but Ulfric needs Whiterun, just as The New Order needed Whiterun.
- Celestine: Once the dragons are no longer a threat, Ulfric will make his move. The civil war will increase in intensity. There will be no more sparring, Jarl Balgruuf. Whiterun will be Ulfric’s priority.
- Wulf: I will use The Voice, The Dragonguard and dragons to crush The Stormcloaks. Once the killing starts, I will not stop till they are no more.
- Celestine: At no time in history has a battle been lost by the side commanded by a Dragonborn.
- Wulf: Miraak lost.
- Celestine: Okay, once, but he was not on the side of The Divines.
- Balgruuf: You will understand if I remain neutral until there is evidence of a Stormcloak advance on Whiterun.
- Wulf: I have given you no advice, my Jarl. Whiterun is your Hold, and I simply tell the truth so that any decision you make has facts, not fallacies, to consider.
- Balgruuf: As I promised, my men stand ready. The great chains are oiled, and the harness is robust. We are waiting for your command.
- Wulf: Has the population been warned?
- Balgruuf: You would have seen a few stragglers hurrying to clear the streets on your arrival. They should all be indoors by now.
- Wulf: Okay, let us go and trap a dragon!
As we headed for Dragonreach’s balcony, we passed a tactical map showing all the cities, towns, villages, and forts contested in the civil war.
I asked my team to stay in the map room. There was no need for The Dragonguard to be on the balcony. I am the bait and should be the only one out there.
The balcony was huge, but to a dragon that relishes the open spaces of Nirn’s skies, it would be a tiny, unbearable prison of minute dimensions.
A dragon harness hung from the ceiling on thick chains. When it dropped onto Odahviing, a collar would circle his neck and lock into place.
Many theories exist on how Olaf One-Eye captured the dragon called Numinex and imprisoned him. I have a radical view as to who Numinex was. I believe it was Paarthurnax. That would explain why Paarthurnax did not know Numinex’s name and explained it away by saying the captured dragon could not remember. I doubt the skull above Dragonreach’s throne is that of the legendary captive. How could Paarthurnax visit the captured Numinex and not be noticed? Why would he have not rescued Numinex?
As I came to the end of the balcony, I noticed a Whiterun Guard standing there.
I walked over to Jarl Balgruuf.
- Balgruuf: What are you waiting for? Let’s get this over with.
- Wulf: Not until the guard, you and Irileth are under the roof!
- Irileth: As your Jarl said, let’s get this over with.
- Wulf: No, Irileth. I don’t need you to risk your lives to capture the dragon, and none of you is to attract Odahviing’s attention. He could kill you in an instant! I will not proceed until you three are under the roof.
- Balgruuf: Soldier, move to the back of the balcony. Irileth and I will stand closer to the front so we can observe.
- Wulf: Nobody is to attack Odahviing except me!
- Balgruuf: You heard The Dragonborn. Sheath your weapons!
I waited for all three to be in position.
I walked to the end of the balcony and used the full strength of my Thu’um.
“OD AH VIING!”
Dragonsreach shook, and my Thu’um echoed from the distant mountains.
Jarl Balgruuf asked, “Are you sure he will answer?”
A roar from behind and to my right startled him.
I said, “There is your answer, Jarl.”
Odahviing is a magnificent red dragon, and his grace in the air was undeniable. He saw only me in the open, but still, he was cautious and circled Dragonsreach.
When he flew closer, I shouted, “JOOR ZAH FRUL!”
The blue miasma of Dragonrend surrounded Odahviing.
Odahviing struggled to land with some dignity. I stepped back so as not to be blown over by his downdraught or knocked over.
The Dovah’s rage was palatable. I covered him in Dragonfire as he lunged for me and then leapt away.
The strength of Odahviing’s Thu’um exceeded that of Alduin. His Dragonfire burnt me, my skin cracked, and I bled. I had to cast Grand Healing on myself as I backpedalled.
Arrows had struck Odahviing despite the Jarl’s orders.
When the Dragonfire cleared and Odahviing could see me, I yawned and grinned. I stood without a weapon drawn and arms crossed.
Dragons do not yawn, but they know mortal body language. I just told Odahviing his best was far from impressive. He stared at me with hate and anger and then stomped towards me.
I used a small amount of Dragonfire to keep Odahviing’s gaze on me.
When Odahviing approached the right place, I yelled, “Release the trap!”
Odahviing halted, briefly looked up saw the harness dropping.
He roared, “NID!”
I Shouted, “GEH!”
When the harness hit Odahviing’s neck, restraints sprung, and the collar encircled it.
Odahviing roared with anger and frustration. I decided to let him calm down before approaching.
Odahviing was trapped, but I had almost died. My blood on the balcony showed that the brief fight was almost my last.
I opened the door to the map room and asked The Dragonguard to join me.
Inigo was amused and said, “Hehe! Look at that silly gas bag. I bet he is feeling very embarrassed at the moment.”
“Hehe! Look at my blood on the balcony. I bet I was lucky to survive.”
“Oh! Well, at least the trap worked.”
Odahviing soon realised anger would not release him. He calmed, and I approached.
Odahviing grumbled, “Horvutah med kodaav. Caught like a bear in a trap…”
“A bear would have been more cautious.”
“Zok frini grind ko grah drun viiki, Dovahkiin… Ah. I forget. You do not have the Dovah speech.”
“Daar los folaas. That is wrong. Did Alduin tell you I do not speak Dovahzul? It seems he was wrong about so many things. I knew you would want to test yourself against me, and I smiled and yawned to make you angrier. I do it to mortals, immortals and gods. It is a good tactic as they all make mistakes when anger takes over.”
“Dovahkiin. I salute your, hmm, low cunning in devising such a grahmindol – stratagem.”
“I am Dov, and I know how we react. It was intelligent planning, not cunning.”
“Zu’u bonaar. You went to a great deal of trouble to put me in this… humiliating position. Hind siiv Alduin, hmm? No doubt you want to know where to find Alduin?”
“I know he is hiding in Sovngarde. He needs to consume more souls quickly before we arrive and kill him. I need to know how he gets to Sovngarde so that I can follow.”
“Rinik vazah. Hiding is an apt phrase. Alduin bovul. I came to your call to test your Thu’um for myself. Many of us have begun questioning Alduin’s lordship, whether his Thu’um was truly the strongest. Among ourselves, of course. Mu ni meyye. None were yet ready to defy him openly.”
“I am not interested in your politics. Tell me how I get to Sovngarde.”
“Unslaad krosis. Innumerable pardons. I digress. As you said, Alduin has travelled to Sovngarde to regain his strength, devouring the sillesejoor… the souls of the mortal dead. A privilege he jealously guards… His door to Sovngarde is at Skuldafn, one of his ancient fanes high in the eastern mountains. Mindoraan, pah ok middovahhe lahvraan til. I surely do not need to warn you that all his remaining strength is marshalled there. Zu’u lost ofan hin laan… now that I have answered your question, you will allow me to go free?”
“Tell me how to get to Skuldalfn, and I give you my word that I will release you once Alduin is defeated.”
“Hmm… krosis. There is one… detail about Skuldafn I neglected to mention.”
“You have the Thu’um of a Dovah, but without the wings of one, you will never set foot in Skuldafn. Of course, I could fly you there but not while imprisoned like this.”
“Odahviing, do you swear on Bormahu, on Akatosh, that you will fly me to Skuldafn if I release you from this trap?”
“Onikaan koraav gein miraad. It is wise to recognise when you only have one choice. And you can trust me. Zu’u ni tahrodiis. Alduin has proven himself unworthy to rule. I go my own way now. Free me, and I will carry you to Skuldafn.”
“Then we have a deal, Odahviing.”
Just then, Farengar came striding up and said, “A captive dragon, just think of the possibilities!”
“Speak to him if you wish but do not show disrespect!”
“I don’t think you could stop me, but thanks for your permission anyway.”
Farengar turned to Odahviing and said, “Incredible! Uh… sir, you have no idea how long I have waited for such an opportunity! I would be most appreciative if you would permit me to perform some tests on you. Purely in the interests of the advancement of knowledge.”
Odahviing replied, “Begone, mage. Do not test my patience.”
“I assure you that you will not even notice me. Most of my tests should hardly be painful to a large dragon.”
I said, “Farengar, Odahviing does not permit you to conduct such tests.”
“All I want to do is take some blood and flesh samples.”
“No, I will not allow you to torture him.”
“He is a beast with no rights. Now, if you don’t mind….”
Farengar saw my rage and tried to flee. I ordered, “Stop and face me, mage!”
Farengar haIted, and then turned. I stepped forward and positioned my hands to help focus the illusion. I said to Farengar, “You are being choked to death.”
Farengar started to gasp and tried to remove the nonexistent ligature around his neck.
I growled, “Dov are not beasts! I am trying to save everybody from Alduin, but you think your curiosity is more important. You want to treat this intelligent being as some laboratory animal and risk the truce I arranged with him. On top of that, you dare to ignore a Thane of this Hold.”
Farengar was starting to panic and struggled even more with the imaginary ligature.
“I am Dragonborn and a Ningheim. Should I let you strap me to a table and take my flesh and blood samples? After all, you have never encountered either of those before.”
Gurgling was the answer Farengar gave.
“You are a disgrace to the robes you wear. I should talk to the Arch-Mage and have your rights to college facilities revoked, but I won’t. However, I feel disgusted. Get out of my sight, you puss-filled bottom pimple!”
Farengar still gurgled.
“Oh, I almost forgot, you are no longer being throttled.”
Farengar gasped, then without a word, he fled, accompanied by the laughter of all, including his Jarl. Even Odahviing chuckled, which sounded like an avalanche.
I climbed to the balcony and said to a Whiterun Guard, “Open the trap.”
He replied, “Are you sure about that? You want to let that dragon loose after all the trouble catching him in there?”
“Your right! What was I thinking? Let’s all become enslaved because you know more than me about Alduin and dragons.”
I shoved the guard aside and pulled the chain to release Odahviing. The guard was going to say something but quickly shut his mouth when I stepped closer and growled.
Counterweights slowly lifted the harness to free Odahviing.
Some guards drew their weapons.
Odahviing said, “Faas nu, zini dein ruthi ahst vaal.”
I called out, “Odahviing said to fear not. His honour keeps his rage at bay.”
I also said, “Odahviing, nii los nunon fin mey wo dreh ni ov!” (Odahviing, it is only the fools who do not trust!)
I leapt over the balcony as Odahviing did a ponderous turn and waddled to the end of the balcony. Graceful in the air does not equate to graceful on the ground.
I said as I walked to join Odahviing, “Dragonguard, I will summon you once we reach Skuldafn.”
I stood next to Odahviing.
He asked, “Saraan uth – I await your command, as promised. Are you ready to see the world as only a Dovah can?”
“Yes, I am eager to experience the domain of Kaan! Take me to Skuldafn.”
I climbed aboard Odahviing’s outstretched neck, and then he said, “Zok brit uth! I warn you, once you’ve flown the skies of Keizaal, your envy of the Dov will only increase.”
I laughed and replied, “You are much smaller than Nafaalilargus, and I think less agile than Silah. It will be interesting to see how your speed compares.”
“You have flown on Dov?”
“Lord Akatosh sent them to assist me. Perhaps Alduin neglected to tell you of my Dov allies.”
“Yes, he is wary of me due to my lack of enthusiasm for another war. Why do you not use one of the other Dov to take you to Skuldafn?”
“I wanted to demonstrate trust, Odahviing.”
Odahviing chuckled, leapt into the air, and trumpeted, “Amativ! Mu bo kotin stinselok.”
I laughed once more and replied, “Indeed, let us fly onwards into the freedom of the sky!”
It took just over an hour before we landed in Skuldafn. I immediately jumped to the ground.
Odahviing leapt back in the air as he said, “This is as far as I can take you. Krif voth ahkrin. I will look for your return or Alduin’s.”
If I lose to Alduin, I don’t suppose Odahviing being spotted transporting me to Skuldafn would be a good thing for him! Hence his haste to depart.
I summoned The Dragonguard.
- Inigo: Woah! That was a bumpy one! This place smells exciting. Where are we, my friend?
- Wulf: There seems to be some rudimentary attempt to prevent teleporting here.
- Celestine: It didn’t work but just made it ‘bumpy’.
- Wulf: Inigo, we are in Skuldafn. It is one of many cities that mortal and Dov once shared. Now it is Alduin’s eyrie.
- Lydia: Will this place be heavily guarded?
- Wulf: I expect many Draugr will be here and all of the most potent kind. Close on them fast as they will be users of The Voice.
- Jordis: What about dragons?
- Wulf: I don’t know how many Dov are still loyal to Alduin. If any, they will be here.
- Inigo: Giant spiders?
- Wulf: Probably not.
- Inigo: This place no longer smells exciting.
- Wulf: Because I expect Thu’um using Draugr, we shall try stealth. I have some resistance against The Voice, but you will be tossed around and frozen and other fun things.
- Celestine: I will concentrate on Restoration again.
- Wulf: Good. Let’s go!
I aimed at a Draugr.
He fell to a single arrow.
The next Draugr needed two arrows.
A dragon named Ruthlonven came out of the ether and swooped.
He turned to attack, and I Shouted Dragonrend.
Ruthlonven crashed to the ground, and within seconds he was defeated.
As I absorbed Ruthlonven’s soul, Kharjo commented, “It seems the dragons remaining loyal to Alduin are not very powerful.”
As we cautiously climbed the stairs, we saw several flags with the Nordic representation of Alduin upon them.
I pointed to a stream of vertical lights.
I explained, “That is the portal to Sovngarde. It wasn’t open when we first arrived.”
Lydia asked, “Do you think Alduin is about to use it?”
“No. The Life Force absorption he does in Sovngarde is not a rapid process. He seems to have needed a few days between each restoration to gather enough. When we battle him once more, he will be far weaker.”
Skeletal Mages were also defenders of Skuldafn.
We were pretty efficient at destroying the undead guards from a distance.
Another Dovah, this one named Jotsujun, attacked us.
He hovered over Jordis and Lydia.
I Shouted Dragonrend.
Jordis was doing an excellent job with shield and sword as I ran towards the skirmish.
I sliced Jotsujun’s face several times.
Then I leapt upon his head.
My sword penetrated Jotsujun’s skull and into his brain. The fight was quickly over.
As I absorbed Jotsujun’s soul, Inigo mirrored Kharjo’s earlier remark.
He said, “I have fought grandmother’s scarier than these dragons!”
“I assume that is a metaphor of some sort?”
“No, my friend. It is a dragon. Sheesh, I thought you would recognise them by now!”
I sniped a Draugr sentry.
Then we entered the northern tower of Skuldafn.
- Kharjo: Why are we here when the portal is elsewhere?
- Wulf: Curiosity, mainly. I can see these buildings are early Nord architecture and want to explore them.
- Kharjo: Ahh, this is the advice the lady called Rigmor gave you.
- Lydia: Rigmor is no lady! Well, according to her.
- Wulf: Yes, Kharjo. I have a keen interest in archaeology, and this place might be unique. I have been neglecting things that help me suppress my Dovah personality.
- Inigo: I bet the zombies are the same.
- Jordis: Inigo, why do you call them zombies?
- Wulf: Inigo has a bit of a Draugr phobia.
- Lydia: So, if I say Draugr, that bothers you, Inigo?
- Inigo: Every time you say anything, I get bothered.
- Lydia: Draugr…Draugr…Draugr…Draugr…
- Inigo: I hate you.
- Lydia: Draugr…Draugr…Draugr…Draugr…
I rushed past them, yelled, “Zombies!” and then killed a couple of Draugr with Unrelenting Force.
The tower was full of Draugr, Skeletal Mages, Liches and nothing of archaeological interest. We dealt with them quickly, with only a few Dragonguard getting smashed by Unrelenting Force. Celestine soon had them on their feet.
Kharjo was not amused when I killed a Draugr on a ramp which slid down and bowled him over.
He asked, “Have you sated your curiosity, my friend?”
“Think of this as therapy, Inigo. You have faced your fears and survived!”
“I still hate zombies.”
We exited to a balcony of the northern tower. I used my bow and Voice to eliminate enemies from a safe distance.
I had thinned out enemy numbers, but there were still many who attacked as we headed for the main building’s entrance.
Some of the Draugr were extraordinarily strong in Thu’um and constitution. Even after Unrelenting Force sent them many yards into the air, they continued fighting after falling onto the stone buildings.
We eventually cleared the way to the main entrance.
Inigo whined, “I bet it will be Zombie City as soon as we enter! Whole families of many generations are just waiting to add to my scars.”
Lydia quipped, “I think Draugr have more interesting things to think about than you, Inigo.”
“Dust, cobwebs, total boredom, etcetera. All are infinitely more interesting than you.”
“Ow! You are in good form today.”
We entered, and Inigo yelled, “Zombie City! I told you!”
We spent quite some time wiping out the undead in the first part of the building. I found that Thunderbolts and Thu’um were the quickest methods for me.
We entered a chamber with a Nord Totem puzzle and many powerful Draugr.
After we cleared the undead, I solved the puzzle. I think it was designed to keep braindead knuckle draggers from proceeding further.
There was more undead, more fighting. The enemy was powerful but still no match for The Dragonguard and me.
Inigo got excited when he saw spider webs ahead.
Unfortunately for my blue friend, they fought beside powerful Draugr, and Kyne marked a couple. That meant Inigo missed out on some leisurely spider bashing.
We entered another room with another idiotic Nord Totem puzzle.
The puzzle was solved after racking my brains for less than a second, and a drawbridge was lowered.
More tedious undead slaughter led us to my favourite, a Dwemer Puzzle Door.
Usually, you have to go looking for the Dragon Claw Key for the Puzzle Door. One of the undead guarding the door was a Lich, and the claw was on its corpse.
I asked Inigo, “Have you ever seen one of these Dwemer Puzzle Doors before?”
“No. It looks complicated!”
I handed Inigo the Dragon Claw Key and said, “Here, let us see if you can figure out how to open it.”
Inigo took the claw and turned it around in his hand. He then studied the door and laughed.
He said, “It can’t be that easy or stupid!”
Lydia and Celestine simultaneously replied, “Yes, it can!”
Inigo set the totem symbols to match those on the back of the claw.
He then inserted the claw into the centre circle.
He said, “Whoa!” when the centre circle pivoted back and forth.
I told The Dragonguard, “Step back. A few undead are probably waiting on the other side. I can also hear a Word Wall.”
The loud grating of stone on stone accompanied the slow descent of the door.
As expected, a few powerful undead heard the door and waited for us.
After we dispatched the enemy, I approached the Word Wall.
It tried to teach me strun, which means storm. It is the first Word of Power of the Storm Call Shout.
I already knew the Word, the Shout and how to use it.
- Lydia: Wulf, make your choking impression.
- Wulf: Dovahzul does not sound like choking!
- Lydia: Come on, do it!
- Wulf: The glyphs say, in Dovahzul, ‘Ahrk ond drey sahrot Heimverlund meyz nol hevno brom med strun do uznahgaar nahkriin nol Sovngarde nimaar.’
- Jordis: Quick, smack Wulf on the back before he turns blue!
- Lydia: Yes, the worst thing that could happen is turning blue!
- Inigo: Waking up next to you would trump that.
- Wulf: Ahem. The glyphs roughly say, in Tamrielic, ‘And lo did mighty Heimverlund come from the brutal north, like a storm of unbridled vengeance from Sovngarde itself.”
- Kharjo: Khajiit thinks Heimverlund is a dragon’s name.
- Wulf: Yes, it is. Heimverlund was the eighteenth dragon created by Lord Akatosh. He made the sword that Boethia wields, a golden Katana called Goldbrand. He introduced smithing to the Nedic people of Atmora.
- Lydia: Boethia gave you a replica of Goldbrand.
- Wulf: Yes, it symbolises my rank as her mortal champion. When the Imperial City was retaken during The Great War, they found the real Goldbrand on The Dominion’s General. He planned to sacrifice every person in The Imperial City so that Boethia could open an Oblivion Gate and enter Mundus.
- Kharjo: Khajiit thinks Heimverlund would have to do many famous things to be on a Word Wall.
- Wulf: Heimverlund used Goldbrand to bribe Miraak, the Dragonborn I need to deal with in Solstheim. Miraak did not help the Tongues fight Alduin. I don’t think this bribe was the only thing that turned Miraak from his gods.
- Kharjo: Anything else?
- Wulf: He made The Skyforge long before any Nords stepped foot in Skyrim.
- Kharjo: How did he die.
- Wulf: Heimverlund and twelve other dragons fought a Dragonborn. Heimverlund was killed but the Dragonborn lost.
- Inigo: Miraak?
- Wulf: He was the only Dragonborn alive, so it must have been him.
- Inigo: This Miraak sounds powerful, my friend.
- Wulf: We shall see.
- Celestine: Heimverlund is an example of a dragon that once aided mortals, the Nedic, but turned against them under the influence of Alduin. Perhaps one day, he abandoned Alduin as many other dragons did.
Not far from the Word Wall, we discovered the corpse of a mortal burnt by Dragonfire. Their identity and how long ago they died are unknown.
We could feel a breeze and smell the fresh air. An exit was close.
The most potent Draugr encountered in Skuldafn guarded the exit. It took a lot of effort to fight our way to it.
I said to The Dragonguard, “We are close to the portal. Who knows what Alduin has guarding it!”
We exited, and surprisingly, the undead guarding the portal were few.
After eliminating the undead, we approached the stairs to the portal.
Two dragons guarded the portal.
I Shouted Dragonrend, and the blue miasma engulfed Midrotul.
Midrotul managed to land away from us. The other dragon, Iizkrenvur, attacked.
Dragonrend made him crash to the ground.
Iizkrenvur lasted no longer than the two earlier dragons.