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.
Inigo turned and exclaimed, “These are the posts from my vision! The cabin must be nearby. Come, let’s follow them.”
“We shall cautiously follow them, Inigo. No running ahead!”
“Okay. I am glad you are all by my side. I will not run ahead again.”
We followed the posts, which led to a staircase. Down below, I could see somebody waving a staff around and talking to a dead wolf.
We approached him, and I could tell he wielded a reasonably powerful Staff of Resurrection.
He chanted, “Rise up and live again!” then, “I grant you a new life!” and finally, “Come on, get up!”
I coughed, and the startled idiot turned and said, “Oh… hello there. I didn’t notice you walking over. I was focusing my Magicka. Or at least, I thought I was. I don’t know what I’m doing.”
I snatched the staff out of his hand and growled, “That is obvious. Where did you steal the staff from?”
“Oh, I didn’t steal it! See, my grandfather was a wizard. My father wouldn’t talk about him much. But I found some of his things in the attic, including this staff. After that, I thought I was turning into a wizard, too, because dead things near me would come to life again for a while. I even went to the College of Winterhold. But they just laughed at me. They said the magic is in the staff, not in me.”
“You have used up the charges within the staff. If you don’t have the coin for a mage to recharge it, it is just a stick.”
“Oh, well, I will have to sell it. Some money would help after Stormcloak idiots confiscated our crops.”
I opened my gem bag and retrieved three emeralds.
I asked, “What is your name?”
“I am Lord Welkynd. I will give you these three emeralds, worth at least 1800 septims altogether. That is far more than the staff is worth. Take the gems, sell them to a Khajiiti caravan, tell them I sent you, and stay away from your grandfather’s magic items.”
“I am sorry Stormcloaks took your crops. They said you should be proud to help the rightful High King, Ulfric Stormcloak.”
“That is precisely what they said while pointing very sharp swords our way.”
“Be careful getting home, Snorvaar.”
“Ahh, I will leave in a minute. I need to think better from now on!”
I turned to Inigo, who grimaced and said, “More mind vibrations! The source is at the top of these steps. I can feel it!”
“Then let’s go and put an end to them.”
As predicted, we climbed the steps, and a small cabin was at the top.
Inigo sighed and then said, “Thank the gods! I am not crazy. There it is, the cabin I saw, my friend. I bet you a hundred septims the door is locked tight.”
“I am sure it is. Do you want me to knock or knock it down?”
“No! We do not know who is inside, so let’s enter discreetly. During one of my painful episodes, I said something is under the rug.”
“A shiny thing. You think it is a key.”
“Yes, my mother used to leave a spare in exactly the same place.”
“Because burglars would never think of looking there.”
“I was being sarcastic.”
“Well, my friend, your delivery needs practice. Anyway, let’s see if there is a key.”
Inigo looked under the rug, then triumphantly handed me a key and said, “Let’s see who is inside!”
I unlocked the door, which would have taken me a few seconds to pick.
We entered, and the first thing to greet us was a painting of Inigo’s head, minus the jaw.
“Is that supposed to be me?” exclaimed Inigo.
I was looking at some other disturbing paintings when Inigo gasped.
I walked over to him as he stared at some items on a bookshelf.
“What’s the problem, my flea-riddled friend?”
“These items. The club, the helmet, the skulls. They are from adventures Fergus and I shared. Why does he have them? Who is he?”
“Well, let’s find out. It seems he has just gone to sleep after a busy day trying to pull your brain through your nose.”
I gently shook the man’s shoulder.
He looked around as he sat on his bed, then exclaimed, “Oh my, You’re… you’re here. I was beginning to lose hope.”
“There is always hope. Now, how can we help you.”
He stood and demanded, “What?”
“I asked how we can help.”
“No…not you, you barbarian! Him!”
He pointed at Inigo and tried to barge past me. He found me to be an immovable object.
I growled, “I am as far removed from a barbarian as anybody you will ever meet. Speak to me like that again, and you will find my fist in your face.”
I stepped away before my Dovah temper took control. As I walked past Inigo, I whispered, “Don’t get any closer. I don’t trust the scrawny little shit!”
- Langley: Inigo? Is it really you? Or am I dreaming?
- Inigo: That is my name, and let me tell you this, if you insult my friend again, I will also be forced to harm you. Do we have an understanding?
- Langley: My apologies. I am often too terse for my own good. I mean nothing by it, I assure you.
- Inigo: Okay. My friend here is the legendary Dragonborn and deserves your respect.
- Wulf: No, Inigo, I have earned respect by merely being another person. Civility costs nothing.
- Shiva: What is your name, little man?
- Langley: Langley. Langley Longseer to some.
- Shiva: Control your terseness, Langley, or we shall take turns spanking you. Understand.
- Langley: Yes, yes, I have already apologised.
- P’Sua: I didn’t hear an apology, just a piss poor excuse.
- Inigo: These others are Dragonguard from Akavir. They, too, expect civility.
- Langley: Well, I’m sure you all make quite a team, Inigo, but it is you who I have been seeking all these years. I’m so glad you are still alive.
- Inigo: Who are you? Why have you been seeking me?
- Langley: As I said, my name is Langley. Langley Longseer to some. Dear boy, I have much to tell you. How did you find me?
- Inigo: I started to get brief, painful visions a while ago. They showed me flashes of this place and you. I also felt a nasty, tugging sensation.
- Wulf: The tugging was after Langley read that book on his nightstand called The Lusty Argonian Maid.
Langley seemed confused as to why the Dragonguard burst out laughing. Inigo struggled to keep his face straight.
- Langley: At least the spell works. Not entirely as intended, but it got you here in the end. I was about ready to string that Conjuration mage up by his toes.
- Inigo: You summoned me? I have to tell you that your spell needs work!
- Wulf: I bet there is nothing wrong with the spell. Just a certain somebody whose expectations exceed their skill.
- Langley: I’ve been trying to locate you for quite some time. I even travelled to Riverhold. I found your parents shortly after they died; gods rest their souls. Oh dear, you do know about that, don’t you?
- Inigo: They were killed protecting a trading caravan. I heard. Were you there?
- Langley: Yes. I am so sorry for your loss. I am sorry for all your losses. In a way, I’ve been travelling with you. Just a step behind.
- Inigo: Did my mother and father die well?
- Langley: They met their end with dignity. They died holding hands. I was the one who found them, and I made sure they had a fine burial.
- Inigo: Why were you there? Were you looking for me even then?
- Langley: I had hoped they could lead me to you. I continued to track you for years, and then the trail went cold… after I found your brother.
- Inigo: You found Fergus? How? Have you always been hiding in my past, haunting every step I take? Why? I do not know you! What do you want from me?
- Langley: I have come to know you very well. I am your friend, Inigo, perhaps the greatest friend you have. We are destined to work together!
- Inigo: I already have the only friends I need.
- Langley: You don’t understand. There’s a great evil coming. I don’t know when exactly, but it is close. I’ve seen it in my dreams. You are there too. You are the champion destined to destroy the Doom Strider.
- Inigo: What are you talking about? The Doom Strider?
- Langley: Yes, The very avatar of destruction and death. It is a demon that has plagued my dreams for decades.
- Inigo: I… I need to sit down.
- Langley: Take a seat. Rest, and I’ll tell you all I know. I’ve been keeping a note of everything.
Inigo turned to me and said, “I am sorry, my friend. I need a moment. My legs are a little wobbly all of a sudden.
Langley said, “Go and sit down. It is a lot to take in, I know. Make no mistake, Inigo, you are safe here. You all are.”
Inigo walked to the table and sat.
I stepped up to Langley.
He said, “Inigo and I have much to discuss. I don’t wish to be rude, but perhaps it is best if you leave us to it for a bit.”
I asked, “Inigo, are you comfortable being left alone with Langley?”
“Yes, my friend. If you wait outside, I will come and get you when we have finished talking.”
“Okay, but don’t accept sweets from him and run away if he touches you inappropriately.”
Inigo chuckled, then said, “Please, my friend, my head is still tender.”
I told Langley, “I don’t expect you to tell him anything he won’t share with me, but we shall still do as you ask. Inigo can carve you into tiny chunks, so I feel safe leaving him with you.”
I signalled the Dragonguard, and they followed me outside.
We chatted about various things, including the large Shrine to Talos sitting proudly in the open. I doubt Langley is a devotee, which leads to the question of who put the statue there.
The consensus amongst The Dragonguard is that Langley is an idiot.
After almost an hour, Inigo came and fetched me. The Dragonguard remained outside as the cabin was a bit congested with us all inside.
Inigo was already seated when I entered and walked up to Langley.
He said, “Inigo and I have had a bit of a chat, and he’s persuaded me that you can be trusted. It seems we are in this together. I have given him my notes, and he’ll let you read through everything. If you have any questions, I’ll do my best to answer them.”
“Gosh, nobody has ever trusted me before! Now if you don’t mind, I would like to speak to Inigo privately.”
Langley walked away, and I sat opposite Inigo.
I said, “Well?”
“This Langley fellow may be rude and gruff, but he’s on our side. He gave me some books. Can you believe that he found my father’s journal? He also gave me two books he’s written about his search for me. They contain a lot of information about my importance and are excellent books but also sad. I have my very own prophecy! I’ll tell you what I know if you want to hear more about it. Langley says we are going to save the world. That is unless you think we have something better to do.”
“We shall talk prophecy in a minute. More important at the moment is your health. How is your head?”
“It is still a little tender. Oh, that reminds me. It would help if you asked Langley about the summon spell causing my mind vibrations. He has a spare copy. Maybe you can figure out what he was doing wrong.”
“I already know what he was doing wrong, but I shall look at it anyway. I have only recently rediscovered teleportation spells, so I am dubious about the spell’s quality. So, tell me about your prophecy.”
“I will tell you what I know.”
“There is no need to worry about it sounding unlikely.”
“Okay. The Inigo Prophecy. Somewhere in the world, a very nasty being is gathering its strength. If left unchecked, it will grow until its evil influence burns away all that is good in this world. It has often appeared in Langley’s dreams for many years as a gigantic figure striding through the land, leaving nothing but pain, anguish, and death in its wake. He calls it The Doom Strider. In the same dream, he sometimes sees a handsome blue Khajiiti defeat the menace with his help. He calls this fellow The Champion. That is me, my friend. Much of Langley’s prophecy is hazy, and he says that sometimes his dreams show more than one outcome, but now he and I have finally met, he believes we stand a good chance of preventing much suffering.”
“Standard prophecy stuff so far, except no mention of any other source except his dreams. Can I ask you for some details?”
“Of course. What details can I help you with?”
“What can you tell me about The Doom Strider?”
“Not much, I’m afraid. Langley is the man to ask about that. I know I am destined to fight whoever and whatever it is. I hope you will be at my side when the time comes, my friend. Of course, I will do my best to keep this from interfering with my debt to you.”
“You are my friend and owe no debt. I will be with you all the way, Inigo.”
“It warms my heart to hear you say that, my friend. With your help, I can finally put some good back into this world.”
“Tell me about the book Langley gave you.”
“They are called ‘In Search of a Champion’ and ‘Da Vinci’s Journal’. My father wrote the journal, and Langley wrote the other one. Langley’s book is in two volumes and contains the story of his search for me and a few tales about Fergus and me. The journal is my father’s account of our upbringing. In my opinion, these books are informative and quite moving.”
“It is a precious thing Langley has given you.”
“Yes, it is a precious thing, indeed.”
“Did you find out anything about your birth parents?”
“Like all Khajiiti, my physical characteristics were probably determined by the moons at my birth. I seem to be the product of a rare celestial alignment that only occurs briefly every few hundred years. A blue child was seen as a bad moon omen in the backwards village where I was born. I would have been sacrificed if my birth mother had not smuggled Fergus and me away.”
“Was Fergus also in danger?”
“We were not identical, but we were twins. Perhaps his life was forfeit by association. Whatever the case, I think my birth mother could not bear the idea of separating us.”
“I assume he wasn’t blue due to a change in the celestial alignment.”
“Correct. I can only guess there was enough time between our births for the moons to shift. Langley thinks the alignment that produced me may only last for a few moments. I am incredibly unique, my friend.”
“Tell me what you think of Langley.”
“He is interesting.”
“I will take your word on that. How do Langley’s visions work?”
“Langley has dreams that often come true. He usually foresees the beginning, the middle, or the end of a future event, but never all three. So, he may know that a man at the market will get into a fight but not know why. Or he will see a dead man at the market but not know how he died. To make matters worse, he sometimes sees two or more possible endings. Until we met, he couldn’t be sure that we ever would. He is understandably relieved.”
“He sounds like a typical seer. He is far from unique with his foresight. Tell me about his search for you.”
“All he knew, in the beginning, was that The Champion was Khajiiti, avoided death at an early age, and had blue fur. He finally heard about a remote village among the shifting sands of Elsweyr that ritualistically sacrifices any child born among their number whose fur is blue. He deduced that The Champion was likely a blue child from this village that somehow escaped their fate. He searched for the village but found Riverhold and heard about me. That was a few years after Fergus and I left to find our fortune, so he began tracking us. Along the way, he heard tales about my brother and me. He even collected mementoes from our endeavours. You can see a few over there on those shelves by the chest. After finding Fergus lying among the remains of our camp, he lost track of me. The years went by, and he grew weary. Langley eventually returned here and employed a group of adventurers to continue searching for me and look for any signs of The Doom Strider. He also paid a Conjuration mage to concoct a Summon Inigo spell. As you and Khao deduced, my mind vibrations resulted from him trying unsuccessfully to use the spell.”
“No wonder you are blue. You said all that without taking a breath! What happens next?”
“We wait for Langley to receive more information from his sources or his dreams. When he hears something new, he will let us know.”
“I hope he will not rely on giving you a headache to contact us!”
“That was his plan.”
“A terrible plan, but we have time to figure out something else. I think I had better go talk to Langley.”
“I will stay here, my friend. I feel you will speak a lot of gobblygook, and my brain is still recovering.”
I walked over to Langley, who had been stirring a stew.
I asked, “May I ask you some questions?”
“You may, but I must warn you, I may record this conversation for posterity.”
“Not to worry, for I am not one for applying floccinaucinihilipilification to such records. You might have to forgive my sesquipedalianism, but it is a trait of my Dragonblood. Such records are not impedimenta to me but the opposite. So long as it is recorded without tergiversation, equivocation, circumlocution or prevarication. Don’t you agree?”
“What chance do you give of your prophecy coming to pass?”
“On average, the accuracy of my visions is about ninety per cent. That percentage goes up when the event I predict is closer in time and, or the subjects of the event are known to me. The fact that Inigo and I have now met and had a chat suggests the chance that the rest of my vision will come to pass has increased substantially. Do you follow?”
“Absolutely. My very existence on Nirn at this precise time was written in prophecy on an Elder Scroll. So yes, I understand. My Mother is regarded as one of the most accurate soothsayers in history.”
“Oh, um, good.”
“What can you tell me about the Doom Strider?”
“I’m horrified by how little I know on the subject. I think it’s human, or at least I believe it walks in human form. My dreams and visions are often metaphorical, so it’s hard to discern exactly what it is or the nature of the destruction it will bring.”
“So, for instance, it could be a plague carrier that walks the land, causing death and devastation through disease rather than war or physical damage.”
“Yes, I suppose it could be. But Inigo’s skillset revolves around killing, so I think it is more likely that The Doom Strider has a corporeal form.”
“Describe what the Doom Strider looks like in your dreams.”
“There are two dreams. In both, I see a towering, dead-minded, red-eyed monstrosity walking the world, leaving sorrow, death and despair in its wake. The very gods are powerless to intervene. In one vision, I see them watch in horror as Nirn decays and rots.”
“And Inigo saves the day in your other vision?”
“Yes. It starts similarly, but this time The Champion is there to stop The Doom Strider. I see a baby blue Khajiiti elude death before his first birthday. I see him grow into a great warrior. I see him and me talking earnestly, and the gods rejoice as he defeats the demon.”
“You do realise the gods are always powerless to intervene? That is why they have mortal champions like The Vestige, The Nerevarine and others, including me. I am The Dragonborn and Champion of The Divines, Langley. Dragons have returned to Skyrim, and soon I will have to stop Alduin from enslaving all mortals. If this is a true prophecy, then Inigo may be a mortal champion, and the gods will rely on him to save Nirn.”
“What do you mean if this is a true prophecy?”
“The only place the Inigo Prophecy is mentioned is in your writing and is a product of your brain. Any additional evidence is yet to be presented to confirm it. You forcing an eventual meeting with Inigo is not an indication that the prophecy is true. Tamriel suffered for nearly two thousand years because people believed the false prophecies of one mortal. So, forgive me if I remain sceptical until I encounter independent verification. I will not express my doubts to Inigo, but I hope for your sake this is not a load of bullshit, intentional or not.”
“Do you think I am making this up?”
“I am saying you have no evidence. That is not the same as saying you are a liar or mistaken. So put your ego away and tell me how Inigo defeats the Doom Strider.”
“That is unclear to me. Perhaps now that Inigo and I are known to one another, my dreams will offer a clearer picture. I’ll be sure to keep him posted.”
“If Inigo spent more time with you, would that help clarify your foresight?”
“It may well do.”
“Then I will suggest he considers spending time here when he is not accompanying me if that is agreeable to you.”
“Yes. I would suggest that anyway, so I am glad we agree.”
“You are a learned man. Can you enlighten me as to where you were taught?”
“I’m a native of Skyrim, but I moved to Cyrodiil in my teens. I never joined a guild or anything. I had a talent for magic and was packed off to the Imperial City on an apprenticeship. I received my training from an angry little man called Barton Barius. He was a bit of a pyromaniac but a decent sort. He never used his power against humans and wouldn’t hear of it, but he enjoyed burning everything else. He taught me a great deal about Destruction Magicka, alchemy and even how to hone my visions. He imbued in me a thirst for knowledge, and I soon began researching various subjects outside the discipline of magic. When I returned to Skyrim, I travelled the Holds making gold by predicting the weather for farmers and such, but my main focus soon became science.”
“The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experimentation.”
“Oh, you know of the discipline.”
“It has its uses, but sometimes you have to accept the metaphysical is beyond our comprehension. Many have wasted their lives trying to figure out why rather than just accepting what is. But the gods will not give you a better plough or more efficient irrigation. They gave mortals free will and the capacity to think. To apply science to better mortal life is what the gods want. The Dwemer bent it to try and compete with the gods that made them. They dabbled in the metaphysical when they should have concerned themselves only with the physical.”
“I have been doing you a disservice, haven’t I?”
“You have been doing Inigo a disservice by questioning my abilities. He is going to risk his life fighting beside me against Alduin. If we lose, you will be a slave of the dragons. If the Doom Strider succeeds, Alduin will fulfil his duty and destroy Nirn, and a new Kalpa will result. Inigo needs to believe in me as he seeks his redemption. Do you understand what I am saying? You are risking his morale! He has to believe we can defeat Alduin.”
“I am not trying to replace you. You have this vision of Inigo and yourself saving the world. The Divines will let me know what, if any, part I have in this. Now I request you let me try the spell. It is no reflection on you if I get it to work and you can’t. I am a Master in Conjuration, and you are not.”
Langley called Inigo over and explained, “You stay here, and your friend and I will go outside.”
He said, “Once we are on the path, I’ll give you the spell, and you can try to teleport Inigo to us.”
“Let’s go. Alduin gets stronger as we dally.”
Inigo said, “I will sit here and not sneakily taste any of Langley’s cooking.”
We went outside then Langley held out the spell book.
I didn’t take it and explained, “I don’t need it, Langley. Watch.”
I summoned Inigo.
- Langley: How did you do that?
- Wulf: I am an expert on summoning, Langley. Was it a College of Winterhold mage that sold you that spell?
- Langley: No, they refused. They said it was dangerous if you didn’t know the subject well. I purchased it from a wandering mage.
- Wulf: And you thought because you followed Inigo for so long, you knew him well enough.
- Langley: Yes, and I was wrong, wasn’t I?
- Wulf: You could have harmed Inigo, even killed him.
- Langley: I did not realise. The last thing I want to do is harm you, Inigo.
- Inigo: I know that, Langley. Let Wulf see the spell, and he can tell you if it will work.
Langley handed me the spell book. It would work, but only for a single person at a time. Whoever the mage was, he was more advanced than most in his work on teleportation.
- Wulf: Langley, the spell will take practice. When you and Inigo get to know each other better, try summoning him from a short distance away. That way, you will not deplete your Magicka reserves. As you get better at the casting, the amount of Magicka used will reduce.
- Inigo: I saw you two talking a bit more civilised before. Trust me, Langley, when I say you could not wish for a more worthy ally.
- Langley: I am beginning to realise that. Anyway, I’m getting cold. I think I will head inside. Feel free to make yourself at home and stay as long as you like. When you leave, I’ll contact you with my lesser version of the spell if I hear anything new.
- Inigo: Thank you, Langley. I am glad we finally met.
- Langley: I am too. I can see you’re every bit the champion this world needs. I’ll see you soon.
Langley turned to me and said, “I’m sorry if I spoke out of turn earlier.”
“I gave as much as I received, so no apology needed. We have to get along if we are to help Inigo defeat the Doom Strider.”
“Yes. I agree. Please don’t take anything I say to heart. I know I can be insufferable at times. Right. Goodbye for now.”
Langley headed up the stairs and into his cabin.
I turned to Inigo and said, “Well, that was interesting!”
“I am glad you are giving Langley a chance, my friend. I believe he means well, even if he is not very good at showing it.”
“I have realised something about seers such as Langley. How can you get close to anybody if you might have a vision of something terrible happening to them or them doing something unacceptable? He also thought that you and he would be some heroic pair together. He did not expect a third person to share the adventure and feared becoming redundant. He also took his failure with the spell personally. He is not all that bad.”
“His heart is in the right place, I think. I find him quite amusing.”
“There was much more I wanted to ask him. Maybe next time we visit.”
“We solved the mystery of my vibrating brain, so that is a good outcome.”
“I still have things to do today. I will take everybody back to Aurane and recruit another squad.”
“I am still trying to digest everything Langley told me. There is a lot to sort through.”
“If you want, I can read the books he gave you. Perhaps then I can help some more.”
“That would be good. I feel we are beginning a fantastic adventure, my friend.”
“I think you will find that hanging around with us will take you on many fantastic adventures. Even Mr Dragonfly will get excited!”
“If you do not mind, I would like to discuss something with you when we have a moment.”
“Of course. We have been going nonstop for almost a day. When we get to Aurane, we shall sit and talk. Then you must rest.
“Good. It is not a pressing issue, just something I would like to hear your opinion on.”
We teleported to Aurane, and The Dragonguard headed for food or bed. Inigo followed me outside.
We sat down, and I could see something was worrying Inigo. I waited for him to start since he wanted the chat.
“My friend, do you mind if I ask you something?”
“Of course not! Now, what is it that is worrying you?”
“Langley is a fascinating man. He knows a lot about me, and there is a great deal of evidence that his visions usually come to pass. All that said, we have only just met him. Do you think we can trust him in your heart of hearts?”
“Yes. Langley thinks he is trying to do good. I began to understand his personality when I got over my anger. I think he is an honourable and honest person.”
“I feel the same way. He has many flaws, but who doesn’t? Even though we have just met, he has been a part of my life for years. He is a good man. Hearing your opinion has eased my mind. Thank you, my friend.”
“There is something else worrying you. We did not need privacy to discuss my opinion of Langley.”
“Yes, there is something else I am compelled to mention.”
“I told Langley about how you spared my life and how I am indebted to you. He questioned my memory. He said my mind has been through a lot with the Skooma, the grief, the endless battles and so on. He suggested that maybe you are not the person I remember.”
“Inigo, I told you that when we first met. I can’t be the one you tried to murder, and you owe me no debt!”
“What does Langley know anyway? He does not know you as I do. He does not know about our shared past. No, I will not entertain such a silly idea. I am not confused and would know you anywhere. You are my friend, and that is the end of the story! He is jealous of our friendship. Pay it no mind. Anyway, that is all I wanted to say. Let us talk of other things.”
“Yes, Inigo, I am your friend. We met at the jail in Riften and not before. Sooner or later, you will realise this. Logic tells you that I can’t be that person. I have only been in Skyrim for four months. Before that, I lived in Akavir and Roscrea. I have never been a bandit or Skooma addict and would never be a robber or burglar. That is not what a Champion of The Divines does.”
“Please, my friend. Drop it for now. Maybe later.”
“Okay, I will not press the matter. The lute in your cell was full of arrows. I take it you prefer singing?”
“Yes, I have never been very good, though. I enjoy writing songs, but sometimes it is more fun just making up words as I go along. Improvisation keeps the mind sharp and boredom at bay.”
“Maybe you can sing something while we are travelling?”
“Maybe, but nothing too serious. I would rather save my good songs for Bards College… For now, anyway.”
“I think I can guess why, but tell me anyway.”
“Well, I know it is silly, but my songs are special to me. I would rather perform them in a special place.”
“That is not silly, and I understand. I intend to visit the Bards College because I like to perform, and Olette wants to join when she is older.”
“If you want me to improvise something while we are travelling, maybe I can help out. We will see.”
“Go and get some sleep, Inigo. I am visiting my museum and seeing if Auryen can shed some light on what the Ancient Tongues did to defeat Alduin.”
“Why can’t the Ancient Tongues remember?”
“I don’t know, Inigo. Time manipulation was somehow involved, which is why Alduin was thrown into the time stream. We are getting into some serious metaphysics and gobblygook, so I would only be guessing.”
We entered the palace, and I went looking for my next squad while a weary Inigo headed for bed.