Turdas, 28th Last Seed, 4E 201
& Fredas, 29th Last Seed, 4E 201
After enjoying a hot spa and breaking my fast, I went to the living quarters.
I found Inigo relaxing in front of a fire. Aurane is never cold, but there is a natural attraction to logs burning in a well-tended fireplace.
“Good morning, Inigo.”
“Yes, it is a good morning, my friend. I am feeling the best I have been since Riften.”
“I am taking the Ka’Po’Tun to visit Sky Haven Temple. Would you like to accompany us?”
“Will there be spiders?”
“Probably not. However, that area is full of bandits and aggressive Forsworn, and we might get attacked by a dragon.”
“Then I will accompany you. I am getting rusty and fat sitting in all this comfort!”
“Come on then, let us gather the others.”
Inigo followed me to the barracks.
“Khao, come with me. We are going to investigate Sky Haven Temple. Hopefully, we will find information on how to defeat Alduin.”
“Dhali said a dragon attacked you.”
“Yes, a weak one. The dragon didn’t issue a challenge before attacking us, which was rude!”
I collected the other Ka’Po’Tun and then teleported us to Morthal’s stables.
A thick layer of fog made visibility limited as we started our trek.
We came upon Raugaj, one of Ri’saad’s caravan guards, battling a Goblin Chief. She was doing well, but one slip meant death, so I intervened.
I stepped forward and thrust my sword into the goblin, who dropped dead.
Raugaj smiled and said, “This one says thank you to Lord Welkynd. Tiredness was Khajiit’s enemy,”
“I am glad to help, Raugaj. I assume Ri’saad and his caravan will arrive soon.”
“Yes, this one was scouting ahead. Ri’saad should not be too far away.”
We continued for some time before I climbed a rock and pointed to a nearby mountain peak.
- Wulf: You can barely make out Sky Haven Temple through the fog.
- Dhali: I wonder in what condition we shall find it?
- Wulf: It was sealed by those who abandoned it, so the main temple should be in good condition. You gain entry through caves filled with puzzles.
- Khao: Will Dragonguard Spirits be guarding it?
- Wulf: Almost certainly. Even though I am Dragonborn, they will challenge my right to enter the centre of the temple.
- Dhali: Many Dragonguard Spirits can use the Thu’um.
- Wulf: I have some natural protection against The Voice. There is no dweomer I can place on armour to protect other people.
- Inigo: That is one example of metal armour working better than my leather or Khao’s cloth.
- Khao: Many of my spells work better if I am not wearing metal armour. With Wulf’s dweomer, this kimono is excellent protection.
Inigo groaned and staggered.
“My friend. I feel… strange.”
“Describe what you mean by strange.”
Inigo grimaced and said, “Argh! My mind is vibrating in my skull. It feels like it is at the end of a rope.”
Khao watched Inigo, and I think he also deduced what was happening.
Inigo continued, “The sensation is receding. That was horrible! Perhaps I am not as well as I thought?”
“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 or knowledge of you is trying to summon you. Probably via a spell tome or scroll.”
Khao 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 those pesty Penitus Oculatus!”
“If it happens again, 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 a Nord.”
A few minutes later, we saw a travelling merchant and his guards being assailed by bandits. We ran to the skirmish and rapidly disposed of the enemy.
The merchant thanked us and offered a ten per cent discount on anything he stocked.
A roar echoed as I searched the corpses for gems, followed by screams.
Inigo asked, “Is that a dragon?”
“No, it is an abomination!”
We ran towards the noise of a melee and were just in time to watch the last Forsworn fall to Dragonfire.
I used my Thu’um, and my voice echoed from the mountains.
“FAHDON WAH DEIN VOKUL MAHFAERAAK AHST DREY DAAR DOVAHKIIN!” (Let us see how you do against the Dragonborn!”
The creature ran but found itself at a cliff’s edge.
It turned and covered me in Dragonfire. I cut it down.
I opened its chest and removed its heart, then held it up.
- Inigo: My friend, is that gruesomeness supposed to tell us something?
- Khao: Wulf is holding the heart of a Daedra in his hand.
- Wulf: These monstrosities are called Draman. They haven’t been seen since The Dragon War. No Daedric Prince has claimed them as their minions, but somewhere in Oblivion, one of them created these creatures from some common reptile species.
- Dhali: It ran from you.
- Wulf: I told it I was the Dragonborn.
- Shiva: It killed half a dozen Forsworn. Some of them hoped the river would protect against Dragonfire.
- Wulf: Draman are mindlessly territorial. They attack and kill anything that intrudes on their claimed piece of Nirn. Like dragons, it seems some of them have been in hiding and have come out to play.
- Shiva: Why make such beasts if they are not used to conquer like other Daedric minions?
- Wulf: To sow chaos, Shiva. That narrows their potential creator down to a dozen of the Dark Lords. That is their only purpose.
- Dhali: What is that Dwemer structure? It looks like it is being used.
- Wulf: It is a library called The Cryptic Runes. It is worth visiting as they often have rare tomes. It works on an honour system. If you borrow a book, you must leave a book or books equivalent in value.
- Dhali: Why place it out here?
- Wulf: They have a retail store in Solitude. This place was chosen so only the skilled can reach it. Call it a way of culling undesirable elements. We just crossed a Dwemer drawbridge so they can isolate themselves from most attackers.
I walked up to a dishevelled Nord standing on the drawbridge.
“Tymvir, I am glad you survived. I am sorry for the loss of your Forsworn friends.”
“Lord Welkynd, we were discussing current Forsworn tribal politics when that thing attacked without warning. Three of my friends melted in front of me!”
“It is a form of Daedra called Draman. They are mindlessly violent, and your friends could have done little to combat it.”
“Draman? Would they be listed in any bestiary?”
“Perhaps some from the time of The Dragon War might mention them. The body is there for anybody who wants to study it. I think you will find they are crocodilian in origin.”
“What language did you speak, and why did it run?”
“I spoke in Dovahzul, the language of dragons. Draman regard themselves as landlocked dragons and speak their language. That was Dragonfire that it breathed. It ran because I was its worst nightmare. I am The Dragonborn.”
“The Dragonborn? The one in the songs and prophecy?”
“Yes, and that prophecy has come to pass. Alduin, The World Eater, has returned.”
“I need to tell the others and have a few meads. That thing would have eventually found me and burnt me like the others. Thank you, Lord Welkynd, for saving me from that fate.”
As I watched Tymvir walk towards the library, Inigo screamed in pain and fell to his knees. Shiva helped him back to his feet.
“Agh! It happened again. My mind was vibrating again, and something was tugging at it.”
I asked, “Do you need healing?”
He shook his head, then said, “No, the pain is gone. I did as you asked and tried to see where the summoning originated. I saw brief flashes of a cabin in the snow surrounded by trees.”
“Do you recognise the cabin?”
“No, but I had an odd thought. My brain told me, ‘It is under the rug!’”
“What is under the rug, Inigo?”
“Something small and shiny. A coin or ring? I don’t know. I cannot remember what it was. I think my brain is broken.”
“You didn’t recognise the cabin, but was the landscape familiar?”
“I think it was high up on a cliff in or near the icefields. All of that area looks much the same. Sorry I cannot be more precise.”
“You have done remarkedly well, Inigo. You thought clearly when in pain.”
“I also saw a bearded man. I did not recognise him. The flashes were swift and confusing.”
“He is probably the incompetent moron trying to summon you. If it happens again, try hard to narrow his location. We must find him and stop him!”
“Okay. If it happens again and my brain tries to escape through my nose, push it back in, please.”
We walked past the now empty Forsworn camp. They were members of one of the more reasonable tribes. If you showed them respect, they returned the favour, and no violence resulted. The Draman would not care. It claimed territory they dared to trespass upon.
A bit further along the main road, we encountered Ri’saad’s caravan heading for Morthal.
“Master Ri’saad, I must warn you that dragons have returned. Your large caravan might be a deterrent to bandits, but it makes a perfect target for a dragon.”
“Khajiiti learnt much from fighting dragons long ago. I will instruct my people to disperse on alternate sides.”
“So if a dragon attacks, you hide on the side opposite to the person in front of you.”
“Yes, that way, the dragon cannot get us all in a single pass. We must travel the roads, Lord Welkynd. It is our livelihood and way of life.”
“You have kittens with you. They are welcome to stay with us until the dragons are no longer a menace.”
“You will understand if I decline. The dangers of the road are part of its appeal. Once again, it is how we choose to live and, if need be, die.”
“I don’t judge you, Ri’saad, but it is an option. Perhaps the kittens will not be keen to travel after a dragon attack.”
“If they are fortunate enough to survive such as thing, they will be free to choose. However, we cannot be afraid of a possibility none of us has witnessed.”
“Raugaj was battling a Goblin chief. We killed it, and she is well.”
“We are behind schedule, so she has been exposed at our camping place for too long. I will apologise to her. I thank you for aiding my people once again.”
“I have something I want you to look at.”
I sell all the gems I gather to Ri’saad’s caravans, so he is used to evaluating them for me. What I handed him was a red jewel in a golden box. The jewel levitated upon opening the box. Auryen had told me what it was. I was interested to see if Ri’saad knew.
“Ah, recently, Khajiit saw another one of these. This jewel is a Stone of Barenziah.”
“When did you see one?”
“Not long ago, a person asked if I had seen others as they were keen to purchase them. Ri’saad could tell the mannerisms of an assassin and suspected she was one. She confirmed with a threat that if I sold such gems to anybody but her would result in consequences. Her name was Astrid, and this one was told contacting any member of The Thieves Guild in Riften would be the best way to contact her. Khajiit would bet his whiskers Astrid is of The Dark Brotherhood.”
“So, others are aware they are part of Barenziah’s Crown. It seems there is a race on, and I will represent the only ones looking at the historical value of crown and jewels.”
“My caravans do not buy and sell stolen goods. We are not Baandari. If one of the jewels is offered to me, I will need guarantees about its origin before purchase. I will inform you of such a thing whether or not this one buys the jewel.”
Ri’saad handed the Stone of Barenziah back to me.
“I did not pilfer it, Ri’saad. It was inside the house I purchased in Solitude.”
“Khajiit never thought you did steal it, Lord Welkynd.”
“I hope trade in Markarth is good. Don’t forget about the dragons.”
“We shall start practising the alternate dispersal tactic when we leave Markarth.”
As Ri’saad passed Dhali, he bowed to her. When we arrived in Skyrim, they spent hours discussing Khajiiti and Ka’Po’Tun societies.
A while later, I decided to take a shortcut across the river. Everybody’s armour, and kimono, had a dweomer that allowed swimming no matter the weight. The dweomer also prevented drowning.
I swam across and waited for the others to catch up. The dweomer also kept everybody dry.
The entrance caves to Sky Haven Temple were next to a sizeable Forsworn encampment. We approached with weapons sheathed as a woman watched.
She drew her axe and demanded, “Come no closer. This land belongs to us, and we broker no trespass.”
“I am a citizen of The Empire and Skyrim. We desire to reach the cave leading to the temple. Therefore, we will legally and without violence skirt the territory you claim to own.”
“We claim that cave as well. I forbid you to cross our lands.”
“You endanger your entire tribe. Bring forward your chief and see if he agrees with your stance.”
“He will do the same as me.”
I walked forward with weapons still sheathed. The woman gave a war cry, attacked and died.
The rest of the Forsworn attacked, and they all died in minutes. The entire tribe was wiped out over a false claim of trespass. I would say a lesson was learnt, but none of them was alive to remember it.
I cleaned my sword, sheathed it and then proceeded towards the cave.
I pointed to a goat’s head impaled upon a stick.
- Wulf: That totem claims the cave on behalf of the clan.
- Dhali: You sympathise with The Reachmen, but the Forsworn are not going to change people’s minds.
- Wulf: They tried it the peaceful way, Dhali. Many believe His Imperial Majesty was about to give The Reachmen part of The Reach as their Hold just before the atrocities at Markarth. Ulfric Stormcloak and his butchers put an end to that peaceful resolution.
- Shiva: You are eager to end Ulfric and his rebellion, aren’t you?
- Wulf: I want to discredit him so much that his troops abandon him. Then I will gladly cut him to pieces.
- Inigo: I cut down one of those ugly hags. Was that their leader?
- Wulf: They are called Hagraven, and they can be tribal leaders. Usually, they have a Briarheart of two leading the tribe. I didn’t see any of those amongst the dead, so they are probably in this cave.
- Dhali: They would be unaware their tribe is no more.
- Wulf: They are about to die ignorant of that fact.
- Dhali: Okay, Wulf, we shall wait for you to summon us.
- Inigo: Good luck, my friend.
- Wulf: There is no luck with Dragonguard Spirits, Inigo. You are skilful enough, or you die.
I entered the cave and used Heat Vision. I could see a Briarheart, a Forsworn lying down and one sitting in a chair.
I took care of the Briarheart first.
I then yelled, “Woohoo, over here!” and waited for the other two to come to me.
I turned the Briarheart over. The Reach Magic used to transform them fascinated me. Perhaps one day, I will get to study such things at leisure.
The Forsworn must have learnt early on not to enter the area patrolled by the Dragonguard Spirits.
I saw some Akaviri Spirits. Heat Vision showed my opponents to be undead. I could have taken them out with my bow, but that was more of a test for assassins, not a Dragonlord of The Dragonguard.
I approached a Dragonguard Monk, who Shouted and covered me in Dragonfire.
Not only can monks Shout, but they are also faster than most troops when closing in and in combat.
We clashed, and the flames combined Dragonfire and the dweomer on my sword. The monk was destroyed.
A Dragon Knight then faced me, heavily protected by dweomer.
I cut him down while arrows bounced around me, fired from many directions.
Three columns needed to be turned, so the Akaviri symbol for Dragonborn faced forward.
I kept moving to avoid being a sitting target for the archers. A drawbridge lowered when I finally turned the last column to its correct orientation.
I ran across and made short work of several archers.
The next puzzle required me to reach a pull chain without getting peppered by poison darts. To do so, I stepped only on the tiles showing the Akaviri symbol for Dragonborn.
When I pulled the chain, another drawbridge lowered.
I destroyed more Dragonguard Spirits, including a captain.
After more fighting, I finally reached the entrance to Sky Haven Temple.
Guarding the entrance was a Magus, a shaman who was ten feet tall. She was kneeling as I entered.
I sheathed my sword and approached, and she stood to greet me.
In Tsaesci, I asked, “Who denies Dragonlord Valdr Septim entrance to Sky Haven Temple?”
“We have awaited you, Valdr Septim, for you are Dragonborn and the rightful heir to The Ruby Throne. I am High Priestess Akamizu, among other titles.”
“Were you stationed here?”
“Yes, and we made it seem like the temple was abandoned. It was not. We have guarded it, hoping this day would arise.”
“You are a vampire, but I sense no taint on your soul.”
“You will not find any trace of Molag Bal. Do you have a Shaman?”
“Yes, he is a good friend of mine.”
“And does he have access to arcane secrets not shared with you, his good friend?”
“Yes, he does.”
“It is good to see traditions are upheld. You know I must fight you with all my skill, Valdr. Your death may seal the fate of all, so fight well.”
I bowed and then retreated to the other side of a circle. A circle that was also a Blood Seal. It was a lock that would only respond to the blood of a Dragonborn.
I drew my weapon, and Akamizu took up her fighting stance. Her weapon was a bladed two-handed staff.
Her staff would be slow but carry much kinetic energy. Blocking it with my shield would be foolhardy. I decided to leap above the swinging blade.
My Lifeforce was drained quickly when the red miasma touched me. I am immune to Blood Magic, but there was something different about Akamizu’s dweomer.
I charged and leapt. Mid-flight, Akamizu changed the trajectory of her staff with surprising speed.
I grabbed my shield with my sword hand as Akamizu’s staff connected with tremendous force and immediately reversed my trajectory.
I kept some dignity by rolling and leaping to my feet. I resisted the urge to say, ‘Ta Da!’.
Akamizu laughed and said, “That was a worthwhile tactic, Dragonborn, but one I have seen before.”
Akamizu approached with her staff held forward at an angle. I now knew her speed, and that stance would allow a quick transition to other grips suitable for countering any attack.
Akamizu had probably seen every move in my repertoire. I decided my best hope was to try something unusual. I attacked, knowing full well I would be sent flying once more.
Akamizu swung her staff, and I did the stupid thing and tried to block the blow with my shield. I was sent flying again but did not have a dignified landing. All the time, my Lifeforce was draining, which would kill me if her weapon didn’t.
I stood and waited for Akamizu to swing once more. She did so, and I had a fraction of a second to do as planned. Instead of trying to block her staff, I held my shield at an angle.
The staff slid across the shield, and its momentum meant Akamizu could not block my counterattack. I sliced across the Magus’ midriff, then back again.
Akamizu said, “Well done!” as she collapsed.
I searched Akamizu and found a rare book, Annals of The Dragonguard. It was in mint condition, and Auryen will be keen to put it on display.
Akamizu was wearing as Vayu does, an Amulet of Dibella. I also found a note.
I turned Akamizu over and looked into her lifeless eyes. She was an undead that could still wear an Amulet of Dibella. Vayu can keep such mysteries, for I think I would find some answers disturbing.
I read the 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, the true heir to the Imperial Throne.
Yet their faith shall not be rewarded in their lifetimes.
For this reason, blessed with an immortal body, I 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.
The thirst will soon be unbearable. It and loneliness are the price I pay for this longevity.
If these are my last words, I pray the reader remembers our names.
Dragonguard High Priestess, Akamizu”
At the bottom of the note was a list of the senior Dragonguard amongst those I fought.
I name the following as Avatars of The Dragonguard.
Akamizu: Dragonguard Magus and High Priestess.
Sujiwara: Dragonguard Monk.
Taira Matsutoshi: Dragonguard General.
Kinomasu: Dragonguard Captain.
We use the more simplified ranks of the current Dragonguard, but each of those ancient titles is represented among my friends.
I would worry about the corpses later. I did not want to leave their remains unattended.
I removed my helmet and gauntlets, then knelt with a dagger. I sliced across the palm of my left hand and then held it flat against the Blood Seal.
A bright light shone, and the bust of Reman Cyrodiil pivoted to allow access to the temple.
I climbed a short flight of steps and opened another door.
I entered Sky High Temple, and my eyes were immediately drawn to Alduin’s Wall.
It was as described in an ancient text Auryen found in his collection. As I looked at it, I found a peculiarity not mentioned in that text.
I summoned my friends and instructed them to search for anything to aid us. They split up and did so. While they did that, I sketched the three panels of Alduin’s Wall.
I joined my friends for the last minutes of the search but found nothing of use concerning the defeat of Alduin.
Inigo came up to me and said, “My friend, we have found many excellent weapons and armour and mouldy food but nothing useful.”
“There is a clue on Alduin’s Wall.”
I gathered everybody, and we stood before the ancient masterpiece. There was excited chatter as my comrades pointed out parts of the sculpture that caught their eye.
Inigo remarked, “Alduin’s Wall, like all of the stonework here, is very impressive. It is a pity so few people will see it.”
“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.
“Some scholars say that Alduin’s Wall represents the accumulated dragonlore of The Akaviri, Dragonguard and Blades. It does nothing of the sort! 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 most 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 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 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 that race 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.
I don’t want to go off on a tangent, but I don’t think a Blade found The Totem of Tiber Septim. That is a discussion I am happy to have over cheese and wine.
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 try to summarise it here.
The Underking destroyed the Numiduma.
This Dragon Break became known as The Warp in The West. The Dragon Break ended when Jills, including Silah, combined the parallel timelines into the one we live in today.
Numidium is shown on Alduin’s wall here.”
I pointed to the relevant part.
I asked, “Are there any questions?”
Dhali asked, “Was this lore once part of Blade training?”
“Yes, it was.”
“Should it be part of Dragonguard training?”
“It was taught to Blades when they still had access to Alduin’s Wall. The prophecy was important, as it is a list of events giving clues to Alduin’s return. I don’t know if anybody in Tamriel has figured out that Alduin’s return was imminent. The prophecy is fulfilled, so we can teach it as history once we defeat Alduin.”
“The third omen says, ‘When the thrice-blessed fail and the Red Tower trembles.’
Briefly, the third omen foretells 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 pointed to the relevant part of the third panel.
Inigo said, “This is fascinating. We have all heard the prophecy, but I don’t think we knew what it meant. If prophecies are supposed to warn us, why hide them with allegory and mumbo-jumbo? Why not just use plain language, and then the people who need to heed the warning understand?”
“That is a valid question, Inigo, and I have no logical answer. 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 Crisis.
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 the latest instead of the 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?”
I waited a few seconds and then proceeded to discuss the middle panel.
“The middle panel depicts three Ancient 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 Ancient 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 a mage. 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. But then again, the other two don’t have swords but also carry staffs. Weird.
The third Tongue is Gormlaith Golden-Hilt, a Nord Swordmaiden 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 severely injured.
Or, the same Shout was used by both Tongues, forcing Alduin to land no matter his level of damage. That Shout would be tremendously valuable 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 essential to Alduin’s defeat, or they would not have depicted it on Alduin’s Wall. This depiction of the three Ancient Tongues suggests The Akaviri had some idea of what occurred but not the specifics.”
- Inigo: I hope Alduin is not that ugly!
- Dhali: Who will know the Shout used to bring Alduin to the ground?
- Wulf: We shall try The Greybeards. I assume their leader, Paarthurnax, is still alive. I doubt Lady Kynareth knows the Shout.
- Dhali: Surviving Blades may have the knowledge we seek if we ever find them.
- Wulf: I could travel to The Imperial City and ask the Moth Priests. An Elder Scroll might contain the answer. We have done what we can here. I want to reseal the place, so follow me.
I removed my blood from the Blood Seal using Magicka, and Reman Cyrodiil’s bust lowered into place.
There was no sign of Akamizu. We walked to the exit, as I wanted to ensure none of the corpses was left exposed. They were all gone!
When we exited, I noticed a Dragon Mound in the distance.
I said, “I want to inspect that Dragon Mound. It is of an unnamed dragon.”
We made our way to the Dragon Mound.
Then I stood atop it and said, “You can see his outline in the mound’s shape. I can sense his soul. He is unaware of us or time, but he is not dead. If I desired, I could absorb his soul. That would be murder, for he cannot defend himself. No, I shall wait for him to be revived and defeat him in combat.”
Inigo groaned and held his head. P’Sua prevented him from collapsing uncontrollably to the ground.
After a few seconds, Inigo said, “It is okay. The pain has gone.”
P’Sua stood close in case Inigo collapsed again.
“My friend, my mind was tugged again! It was much stronger this time, but I still tried to find where the idiot doing it was. I saw wooden posts upright in the snow and a tower I recognised. I camped there once, a long time ago.”
“If we visit the tower, do you think you can find the cottage from there?”
“We can try. The tower is called Snowpoint Beacon. It is nothing special from what I remember, but I am sure it is close to the source of these embarrassing episodes.”
I had memorised my map of Skyrim, so I knew where the tower was. I said, “Okay, that is not far from Dawnstar. These episodes are not embarrassing, Inigo. They are dangerous! We must make this a priority before you are injured. Everybody, please gather around. We are heading for Dawnstar.”
We appeared out of the ether. A startled guard said, “Oh, it is you, Thane. One day I might get used to people suddenly appearing out of nowhere.”
The guard wandered away, mumbling about mages and how they would be the end of him when his heart gave way.
I walked over to Ahkari.
“Greetings, Ahkari. How is business now that the nightmares no longer plague Dawnstar?”
“Much better, Lord Welkynd. Before, they were too miserable or too scared to buy from us. Now that everybody is happy, our business is brisk.”
“I saw Ri’saad on the road and warned him, as I shall warn you. Dragons have returned to Skyrim, and a long caravan on the road would be a temptation. They could sweep along your procession with Dragonfire. I know you will not stop your routine, but you must have a plan ready if a dragon attacks.”
“Did Ri’saad have such a plan?”
“He mentioned something called alternate dispersal tactic.”
“Ahh, that sounds familiar. This one will ask the older members of this caravan. Ri’saad has probably taught them this thing.”
“It is fairly simple. Each person moves to the opposite side of the person in front. That way, if the dragon decides to strafe, there are two lines of people, not one.”
“That is something we shall have to practice. Thank you for your warning, Lord Welkynd.”
“You are most welcome, Ahkari. I regard those of Ri’saad’s caravans as close friends and wish you all the best.”
The route to Snowpoint Beacon was across undulating, rocky terrain.
When we approached a remote Shrine of Dibella, three spirits were admiring the gifts that devotees left. When they saw us, they attacked.
We soon turned them into puddles of ectoplasm.
No harm had been done to the statue or shrine.
I turned to the group and said, “While we are here, I want to look at the new Temple of Stendarr.”
The gates to the valley containing the new temple were locked. We continued towards Snowpoint Beacon.
A large bear ran towards us, intending bodily harm.
In a flash, Inigo drew his bow, nocked and fired an arrow. It hit the bear in the centre of its forehead, killing it instantly.
I exclaimed, “That was excellent marksmanship, Inigo.”
“The Dragonguard and Sentinels say you are the best marksman they have ever seen. Perhaps we should have a competition?”
“Shooting targets is easy, Inigo. Let us see who impresses who when the targets are trying to kill us.”
“I accept that challenge, my friend. Do not be too embarrassed when I thrash you.”
I chuckled, and we continued our walk.
We came upon a giant spider.
Inigo laughed as he drew his sword and headed for some spider squishing.
Khao hit the spider with a lightning bolt and turned it crispy before Inigo reached it.
- Inigo: No! You have no idea how much I have missed spider squishing!
- Wulf: Khao, Inigo is obsessed with spider squishing. Think of it as a substitute for the Skooma he was addicted to.
- Khao: Oh, I apologise, Inigo. I don’t remember you mentioning this when we talked together.
- Inigo: It is an odd thing to confess.
- Khao: You are a blue Khajiiti who paid to live in a prison cell and thinks Wulf is somebody you tried to murder. You carry a jar containing a dragonfly who you insist is a person. What makes you think spider-squishing addiction is any weirder than those?
- Inigo: True.
- Dhali: We shall all endeavour to leave giant spiders for you, Inigo.
- Inigo: Thank you, my friends. You must admit, the crunchy sounds they make when you hit them is amusing and addictive.
- Dhali: Ahh, if you say so.
We continued, and a bit further on, Snowpoint Beacon came into view. To my left was an old fort called Driftshade Refuge.
Inigo yelled, “Bandits are attacking from the fort!”
I turned, and two of them had already been hit by arrows from my companions.
A third one on the roof also died.
Dhali asked, “Are they a type of bandit?”
“No, they are a vigilante group called Silver Hand. They hunt lycanthropes. You will notice they all carry silver weapons, and there are werewolf heads on spikes. It doesn’t matter if the target is wild or civilised. They kill without mercy.”
“Why did they attack us.”
“I assume they attack anybody who dares walk past their fort. Well, they made a mistake this time. I cannot leave them to harm innocents.”
“I agree, Wulf. This attack was unprovoked aggression and will need to be atoned for.”
We entered Driftshade Refuge and slaughtered dozens of Silver Hand before we came to a torture room.
I growled, “Killing lycanthropes is not enough for these animals. They torture them! I don’t know how many Silver Hand there are, but this lot is history. Let’s continue.”
We killed the last Silver Hand, and Inigo said, “My friend, these people are like rabid dogs. Which is weird since most of their victims were werewolves.”
“Victimising lycanthropes did not get them killed, Inigo. Attacking people who walk past this fort was inexcusable.”
“I agree. Let us forget the Silver Hand and continue to Snowpoint Beacon.”
Sentries at Snowpoint Beacon shouted an alarm and attacked. I was getting mighty tired of random aggression, so I ran ahead and butchered a dozen bandits and their trained troll in a killing frenzy.
Khao hit a few with Ice Spears, and arrows hit others. Most of them were killed by my katana cutting through armour, flesh and bone without pause.
I glanced at the carnage, then ran to the top of Snowpoint Beacon.
There I found and killed the bandit gang’s leader.
I rejoined my friends one level down.
- Wulf: Okay, Inigo, we are at Snowpoint Beacon. What next?
- Inigo: My friend, the others may be used to seeing you fight, but that was frightening. You flowed from one to the other without pause, and most didn’t have time to block or react.
- Wulf: Shiva is a Dual Wielding Swordmaster. Dhali is a Swordmaster, and P’Sua is a Greatsword Swordmaster. All are capable of what I just did if they have to. I was foolish and ran ahead because my dragon soul influenced my mood, and anger overrode caution.
- Dhali: Wulf was constantly admonished for such action, but in the end, we realised we could not control his nature. All we can do is try to keep up and provide support.
- Wulf: What you saw, Inigo, is my Dance of Death. The steps flow naturally from one to the other, and I do not have to strategise each kill. I instinctively know what to do. However, when I have to strategise, I can.
- Inigo: I was not criticising, my friend. I am still learning about you and those who travel with you.
- Wulf: I know, Inigo. All the housecarls and Kharjo have expressed the same sentiments as you. So, what is next?
- Inigo: Next, we need to find the wooden posts I saw. They must be close.
- Wulf: Was there anything special about the posts? Did they have a sign on them or another distinguishing feature?
- Inigo: In my vision, the posts were worn with weather-beaten flags on top. The flags were plain red. According to my nose, the wood in this fort seems to have been cut relatively recently. I can smell stone, ice, you lot, and…old timber! Come, my friend. The posts are this way!
Khao looked amused as Inigo flew past him.
We followed Inigo to an old post.