Fredas, 29th Last Seed, 4E 201
& Loredas, 30th Last Seed, 4E 201
I sat up quickly, then regretted my haste as the room spun.
Father’s gentle voice advised, “Take it easy, Son. Your mind and soul have had a hard time of it.”
I sat still and asked, “Helgen?”
“Nothing wooden was left standing. The towers seem intact. Falkreath Guards, Imperial troops and your friends saved many. Still, the casualties are high.”
“They are all healthy and being lauded as The Heroes of Helgen. Your friends risked their lives as they led or carried the frightened and injured to safety. Alduin was incensed and destroyed tunnels two stories below ground under solid masonry. Fortunately, they were not the main route being used. After your friends cleared spiders and aggressive bears, about half the town sheltered, untouchable by Alduin, for several hours. An underground stream provided a clean water source which helped treat wounds. Meanwhile, my good friend Nafaalilargus and his friend Valminoor started harassing Alduin whenever he landed. That hurt enough that Alduin was reduced to the occasional strafing run with the other two dragons mocking him.”
“Do you know what Alduin claimed?”
“He claimed you led him to Helgen, which is true. But you weren’t to know, and even The Nine were unaware of that possibility. Alduin can track you because you leave a ripple in time when you come out of the ethereal plane and into Mundus. Those ripples directly relate to why you had those time cycles and why the Ancient Tongues can’t remember how they defeated Alduin.”
“I suspected he could track me, yet I went to Helgen. He is right, and I am the cause of all those deaths and the town’s destruction.”
“Silah spoke to your friends. You had one dragon attack you when you exited a barrow. You came up with a plausible reason why he was waiting. He might have seen you enter and, with the patience of an immortal, waited a couple of hours for you to emerge. At the time, you contemplated how he could track you, and since there was no immediate answer to that question, you put it aside. How does that equate to you being responsible for Helgen, Son?”
“You know I will wrestle with the guilt, justified or not.”
“Yes, and even if I could snap a finger and remove the guilt, I wouldn’t. Such experiences are forging the future Valdr Septim, and we cannot say what vital lessons are taught.”
“I understand the concept all too well, Father. You and mother drilled it into me when I agreed to this role.”
Father smiled, for I was always an argumentative brat. It is always a battle between my emotions and logic. My parents were patient and would explain something as often as needed until logic piped up and told me to shut up.
I continued, “Alduin says I have met him before, and he seemed concerned about causing a Dragon Break.”
“You will meet him in the distant past, except, due to linear time, you haven’t done so yet.”
“Woah, that is enough to make me dizzy again, even though I understand why that makes sense.”
“You and Alduin are on the same timeline. If he met you in the past, and you died before doing so, that might cause a Dragon Break.”
“The triggering of a Dragon Break would depend on how crucial that meeting was to the integrity of this timeline. For instance, if I was to go back and give the Ancient Tongues new information which allowed them to defeat Alduin, that has to occur for this timeline, as it is, to be.”
“If Alduin is unsure how and where the Ancient Tongues learnt the knowledge to defeat him, he would be wary of killing you before you travel back in time.”
“Alduin has the advantage of knowing the context of that meeting. My death before that meeting could cause a Dragon Break in infinite scenarios. There are infinite scenarios where it wouldn’t. We don’t know where it was or when it was.”
“We did not speak to Paarthurnax about you before Alduin’s return. As head of The Greybeards, he may have decided it was his duty to inform the others of your existence. Silah has since visited, and they had a long, ahh….what is the Dovahzul word?”
“The word is ‘tinvaak.’ I know you speak Dovahzul, Father. You are testing my mental faculties.”
Father laughed, and I was blessed by the presence of the man who raised me, not the god who takes his place far too often.
Father continued, “Yes, they had a long tinvaak. You must realise that Silah’s understanding of time far exceeds that of male Dov. Still, Paarthurnax’s wisdom and thousands of years of contemplation have given him unique insights into Alduin’s banishment and return.”
“I assume the Ancient Tongues formulated their plan with Paarthurnax or at least discussed it.”
“Correct. The Ancient Tongues created a new Shout, the first one invented by mortals. That Shout, which they called Dragonrend, forced Alduin to land. It is not known if they ever used it on other Dov, but there is no reason to think it wouldn’t work the same. It makes a Dovah consider their mortality. It is a foreign concept to them, and their subconscious works overtime trying to frame it into a perspective they understand. In other words, it makes other subconscious actions difficult, such as flying. A Dov doesn’t think about every wingbeat but relies on their subconscious, plus a bit of Magicka, to keep them in the air. The Dovah is forced to land but can still Shout and use Magicka.”
“The Ancient Tongues still found a grounded Alduin too much. Alduin’s wall shows Felldir speaking while the other two use a Shout. Whatever Felldir did caste Alduin into the timestream.”
“He used an Elder Scroll. It doesn’t matter which one. When you search for it, you will find it if it so desires.”
“I will not discuss the metaphysics of Elder Scrolls and have learnt to accept their illogic.”
“A wise decision, Son, because I don’t know how they, and other relics, sometimes show almost sentient abilities. Others within The Nine are convinced there is a being or beings that move them around, not the relics themselves.”
“So, we don’t know how an Elder Scroll cast Alduin into the timestream. But Felldir knew it would.”
“Felldir thought it would. He discussed his plan with Paarthurnax, who warned him not to do it. Even the Jills have limited knowledge of time compared to Lord Akatosh, and they know more than Paarthurnax does. But instinct caused Paarthurnax to warn Felldir that using an Elder Scroll in such a fashion might have unforeseen consequences.”
“One of the Ancient Tongues did not survive, so perhaps in desperation, Felldir used the Elder Scroll.”
“That is good speculation, Son, but the Ancient Tongues cannot remember what they did, and Paarthurnax did not witness the battle.”
“Whatever they did caused them to forget their actions.”
“Well done, for that is our conclusion. A period of time has been snipped away from this timeline. When Silah looks back, there is a gap. We believe that gap has manifested itself as an anomaly we call a Time Wound, a Tiid Ahraan. Paarthurnax said it appeared when Alduin returned.”
“And a wound it is if part of the timeline is missing. But why didn’t that create a Dragon Break?”
“Because that missing part of the timeline still exists. However, it is not where it is supposed to be.”
“Okay…this is getting too complex for my mortal brain, Father. But, taking an educated guess, that missing timeline piece somehow made the Ancient Tongues forget what they did.”
“Yes. As Paarthurnax put it to Silah, perhaps in the very doing, they erased the knowledge of it from time itself.”
“Does Paarthurnax know the Dragonrend Shout?”
“No, as he was incapable of learning it. It is a Shout that Dov cannot know.”
“Even if I find the three Words of Power used, I would not know how to use the Shout. I would not know how the Ancient Tongues intended for it to work. I know Fus, the first word of Unrelenting Force, and I contain an unused Dragonsoul. Unless I use that soul, I won’t know how the Unrelenting Force Shout is supposed to work. It is like casting a spell. You can mouth the words and do the hand movements, but you can’t cast it unless you know how the spell works.”
“You are starting to see the difficulty of your task. Somewhere, there may be the knowledge you need to learn the three Words of Powers and how to use the Dragonrend Shout. You must search for that information and the Elder Scroll. Doing this before approaching Paarthurnax and the Time Wound would be best. Do you know why this is?”
“My presence near the Time Wound may force Alduin’s hand. If he thinks I helped the Ancient Tongues defeat him, he might immediately attack us and decide the risk of a Dragon Break is acceptable.”
“That is our conclusion. As per usual, the decisions on Nirn are entirely yours. However, in this instance, we have decided to offer some advice. The concepts involved are complex, even for The Nine. Lord Akatosh is uncertain about the outcome of any actions involving the Elder Scroll and Time Wound. We think your instincts for time, and ethereal travel might allow you to travel back to when the Dragon War was fought. But that cannot be attempted until you find the Elder Scroll and should not be attempted until you search for information regarding the Dragonrend Shout.”
“I don’t know how many dragons have returned to fight for Alduin or how quickly he can revive the ones buried. However, if dragons start attacking the population, I will attempt time travel, Father, even if I haven’t exhausted my search for Dragonrend knowledge.”
“As I said, Son, the decisions on Nirn are entirely yours.”
“I have more questions.”
“Of course. Your armour is on the mannequin. Get dressed, and we shall sit and talk some more.”
“I apologise, Father, for my temperament the last time we spoke.”
“There is no need, son. Hjalti knows that Talos can be a cold bastard at times.”
I laughed as I walked towards my armour. People call me weird, but you can’t be normal when you live as a mortal but talk to gods. The Priests and Priestesses of Mara very rarely marry outside that clergy as others find it difficult to relate to them. Lady Dibella reduces that problem by having a single mortal speak to her in each temple. Sybil is the name given to the chosen mortals, who are always female. Many mortals with constant contact with gods, whether Aedra or Daedra or another form, end up insane. They are forced to consider concepts beyond mortal experience or the ability to comprehend fully.
The armour I wear is an improved version of that worn by The Blades. It is more flexible and has far fewer straps and other fiddly things that consume time when donning it. Therefore, I was fully armoured in just over twenty minutes, about ten minutes less than Blade armour would take.
Before I sat down, Father almost broke my ribs in a bear hug. He said, “I should have done that last visit.”
We sat, and Father said, “You will return to Nirn about an hour after your friends return from Helgen. The horror will be fresh in their minds. If you intend to see the carnage, ensure any remains have been removed. I know your mage friends took many priests of Arkay there.”
“Please explain the cycles to me?”
“Before the cycles started, you reached the part where Alduin said you had previously met. Logically, if you have yet to do something, you can’t remember it. However, with your connection to this Time Wound and whatever happened when Alduin was banished, you knew what he said was true and wanted to remember that meeting. That is when the cycles began. You don’t remember the first time Alduin said that to you, and it was only during your last cycle did you let the timeline reach that point again. At that stage, you almost started the cycles again, but your subconscious decided it was too dangerous, and despite you fighting it, it put you into a deep sleep.”
“So, how many cycles did I do?”
“We don’t know, but you will only remember a couple. Your enhanced sense of time is not something we have seen before, Son. We are unsure if the enhanced sense is a product of Lord Akatosh’s blessings combined with those of Ningheim. It could simply be a random event of your soul’s creation. Whatever the reason, you eventually realised you were in a cycle.”
“I stopped some of them because they diverted from the original timeline. Like the one where I noticed Ulfric Stormcloak wasn’t wearing a gag. Or when I decided to protect a Khajiiti trader unfairly sent to the block.”
“We don’t know what you remember, but either of those events would have triggered another cycle. You were travelling parallel timelines and subconsciously concluded they were incorrect.”
“So, am I in danger of doing that again?”
“I have placed a dweomer on your amulet. You will always be anchored to this timeline. It doesn’t mean that cycles can’t happen, but you can be sure you are in the correct timeline even if things play out slightly differently.”
“I will find this hard to explain to my friends.”
“Metaphysical gobblygook with a dose of mumbo-jumbo.”
“Huh, if I ever have a coat of arms, that will be the motto!”
“Silah says she tried to talk to you about Rigmor.”
“Father, you and others keep telling me my ability to ethereal travel to her, untrained, was unique. There is a connection between Rigmor and myself, and I won’t have people tell me to forget about her. It was my experience, and if I can’t convey everything, I ask people to understand its profound influence on me. I am only twenty-two years of age, Father. If you want grandchildren, there is plenty of time. Also, how could I honestly enter any relationship with the risks I take? It would be unfair to any partner.”
“And what if you found Rigmor, and she was free to be with you? Would it be unfair to her to enter a relationship?”
“Like everything, I would take it one step at a time and don’t think too far ahead.”
“You are certain you will meet again, aren’t you.”
“I believe Rigmor and me are supposed to be together. Not destined, I hate the idea of preordained destiny. It is an intuitive feeling deep in my soul, and nothing will convince me I am mistaken.”
“Did Alessia ever say the same thing to you?”
“No, why? Did Mother foresee something?”
“There I go, putting my mortal foot into my Divine mouth. My refusal to discuss it further provides some of your answers, Son. We had better leave it at that.”
“Father, some of your mistakes are deliberate flouting of the rules. If that is obvious to me, it would also be obvious to the other Divines. Anyway, what is the punishment? Do they send you to your room without supper?”
“You have never had Lord Akatosh yell at you. It is not physical, in-the-ear dressing down but a barrage of anger aimed at your existence. It is a very unpleasant experience.”
“Can the Time Wound be healed?”
“We hope so, for it is disturbing now we know it is there. It is a blemish we can’t ignore, like a scratch on a painting that draws the eyes to it. Perhaps if you defeat Alduin and his soul returns to Lord Akatosh, that will heal the Time Wound. But that is supposition, for we don’t know.”
“Explain how Alduin finds me.”
“After Alduin returned and the Time Wound appeared, you synchronise with Nirn’s sequential time when you come out of the ether. You send ripples or vibrations along the timeline for the smallest fraction of a second. Like a fly vibrates a web and the waiting spider finds it, you vibrate time, and Alduin finds you.”
“I must work fast before Alduin has many allies and starts wreaking havoc on the population. However, I must be cautious using teleport spells as they will mark my location.”
“You will do what is needed, as you always do.”
“Do the Greybeard know who I am?”
“Yes, they were summoned by Paarthurnax and told. They will wait for you to use your Thu’um, their tradition, before summoning you.”
“I fear too many people know my true identity.”
“You can trust those who live with you in Aurane and the Dragonguard stewards at your estates. The Greybeards would never tell a soul. The clergy accept you as Champion of the Divines and would not delve any deeper than that. You will be okay if senior nobility doesn’t find out. Plus, it is amazing how quickly our mortal agents can alter official documents and hide things than need to be hidden.”
“Okay, Father, I am ready to return. I assume the dweomer on Aurane will foil Alduin’s detection.”
“Yes, but that is by pure luck rather than design. Alessia would approve of that name, Son.”
Father hugged me once more, and I willed myself into Aurane.
Valdimar and Gregor were the first to notice me, and then others started to converge.
Using a bit of Thu’um, I said, “I am perfectly okay. There is something wrong with Mundus’ sequential time that confused my brain. That is the simplest explanation. Please, do not be concerned. I thank you all for your assistance to the people of Helgen. Many died, but the toll would have been far worse without your help.”
That stopped the progress towards me. Everybody got the clue. I do not want to explain what happened as it is complicated.
I walked over to Inigo.
He said, “Okay, you are well. If you explained it, I am sure the time problem would hurt my brain. So, what is next?”
“I am going to visit Helgen and see what Alduin did. The subsequent anger and sorrow will further motivate me to eliminate his threat. We should be safe from Alduin as he has to return to Sovngarde and restore his energy reserves. I shall decide what is next from there.”
“Who do you want to accompany you to Helgen?”
“You, Celestine and some of the Ka’Po’Tun. Follow me.”
Celestine greeted me with a smile as I collected her and the others for the trip to Helgen.
I teleported to the outskirts of Helgen and gagged.
- Wulf: After so many battlefields, the smell of burnt flesh should not affect me.
- Dhali: But these weren’t just soldiers, Wulf. They were innocent civilians, many of whom you knew.
- Wulf: I will ask about some of them. It is okay if you don’t know their fate.
- Celestine: I helped the Priests and Priestesses of Arkay identify the dead. I know the name of most of the casualties and how they died.
- P’Sua: We can tell survivors’ stories, including Ulfric Stormcloak.
- Wulf: Trust that bastard to survive.
- P’Sua: He didn’t help anybody and left with a detachment of Thalmor.
- Wulf: We saw First Emissary Elenwen trying to order General Tullius to hand over the prisoners.
- Shiva: Gregor told us that Tullius told her to fuck off.
- Wulf: In a more diplomatic manner, but yes. She was within her rights to demand such a thing under The White-Gold Concordat, but Tullius didn’t care. He wanted to end the civil war, and shortening Ulfric was the quickest way.
- Shiva: Gregor also said that Tullius suspects some cooperation between Ulfric and The Thalmor.
- Wulf: There have been rumours but no proof. I am reasonably sure The Thalmor were behind The Markarth Incident, which led to the Forsworn becoming so militant and the civil war. If I had proof, I would gladly share it from the back of Nahfahlaar over Windhelm. More people would believe my words if we put an end to Alduin, and there is no denying that I am The Dragonborn.
- Inigo: Come, then, my friend. Let’s get this over with so we can all move on to more pleasant things. Ko’rassa and I have exciting plans!
- Shiva: That should keep her amused for a whole two minutes.
- Inigo: Hey, that is not true! I am renowned for my stamina.
- Shiva: Does Mr Dragonfly watch?
We moved into Helgen as Inigo choked with shock and indignation.
We walked in silence till we reached the remains of The Resting Pilgrim.
- Wulf: Matlara?
- Celestine: We found her remains inside the inn. Only a locket given to her by Torolf allowed identification.
- Wulf: Torolf and Haming?
- Inigo: I witnessed what happened to Torolf. Several of us accompanied Lieutenant Hadvar, who ignored General Tullius’ order to make his way to Solitude and report what happened. He was determined to help us aid the civilians. Torolf and Haming were running towards us when Alduin landed hard, and Torolf fell, breaking a leg. Hadvar ran towards Haming while Alduin stared at him. I thought they would all be killed. Haming was unaware that his father was injured, and Hadvar said, ‘Haming, Torolf, come this way. Don’t look back, or the dragon will get you!’ The deception worked, and Haming accompanied Hadvar around the corner and away from Alduin. Torolf watched his son run to relative safety and smiled just before Alduin burnt him with Dragonfire. Rarely have I felt such anger, my friend. I drew my swords and was ready to run, screaming at that black demon. Kharjo held me back until I realised the futility of such a gesture. We rejoined Hadvar, and Haming was placed in the care of Gunnar, an elderly Nord. Hadvar told me Gunnar was a decorated soldier in The Great War, where he lost one of his eyes. He said Gunnar would take Haming to his grandfather if his mother were killed.
- Celestine: Neither Hamming nor Gunnar were amongst the casualties I helped identify. Such chaos ensured that the names of survivors were not taken at the time. I assume that information will trickle back slowly.
- Wulf: Moava the Khajiiti trader?
- Shiva: He died, and so did the headsman. Those boulders raining down squashed them flat. That was a terrible, random form of killing, Wulf.
- Wulf: It is no worse than armies using catapults and trebuchets to lob boulders, rotting cows, flaming balls of pitch and other items into a city. However, it is not a Shout I would use if innocents could get killed along with the enemy.
- Inigo: They fire rotten cows into cities?
- Shiva: They will use anything rotten, including the heads of fallen enemies. They hope to spread disease and destroy morale. The water can become undrinkable if a rotten piece of flesh lands in a well.
- Inigo: Sheesh!
- Wulf: I have learnt enough about the casualties for now. I don’t want to dwell on those who didn’t make it when so many did. That is a triumph over Alduin. Father said Alduin’s foul mood only worsened when Nahfahlaar and Valminoor started harassing him.
- Dhali: They stopped him from landing, and his attacks were not as effective from a height.
- Wulf: Oh, I didn’t ask about General Tullius!
- P’Sua: I watched some burly Penitus Oculatus drag him away and out a gate. He threatened them with many reprisals, but they did their duty. Nahfahlaar reported Tullius and a large escort of Penitus Oculatus and Legionnaires were well on their way to Solitude hours after Alduin’s attack.
- Wulf: How did the Legionnaires in Helgen fare?
- Dhali: Whilst the town was under martial law, the Falkreath guards were told to remain indoors.
- Wulf: I should have twigged something as wrong when Legionnaires were on the battlements when I first arrived.
- Dhali: When Alduin’s attack started, the guards joined the fight. None of them would listen to us when we told them Alduin could not be defeated. I think the Legionnaires escorting Tullius were the only Imperial Army survivors apart from the odd soldier like Hadvar, who decided to help us and not fight. Most soldiers and guards died fighting an unwinnable fight instead of helping the civilians escape.
- Wulf: You can’t blame people who have never experienced something like Alduin. The Empire teaches Legionnaires they can overcome any enemy with their discipline and training.
- Dhali: We must warn Tullius and the Jarls that normal defences are no good against dragons. Their priority should be getting civilians to safety.
- Wulf: They are used to having plenty of time to prepare for an enemy advancing upon a city. They have no warning when dragons attack. Some shelters suitable for a siege are not suitable when dragons attack. We will try and educate them, but first, they need to believe we are the authority on dragons.
- Dhali: Hopefully, our actions during Alduin’s attack will convince them.
- Wulf: The biggest problem will be Jarls unwilling to compromise their defences designed to repel enemy soldiers in the off-chance creatures from myth attack their settlements.
- Inigo: Cities like Riften and Whiterun would fare no better than Helgen with their wooden buildings and walls.
- Wulf: Yes, look around, and there is hardly any damage to the stone structures. There would be if Alduin were allowed to spend time dismantling them.
- Dhali: Are we finished here, Wulf?
- Wulf: One more place, Dhali, then we can go home.
- Dhali: The town centre?
- Wulf: Yes, I want to see if I have issues standing where I was when Alduin arrived.
- Dhali: It may be complicated, but I would like you to explain what occurred.
- Wulf: Father summarised it as metaphysical gobblygook with a dose of mumbo-jumbo.
- Dhali: You have corrupted a god with your colloquialisms.
- Wulf: He spent eighteen years with me in Roscrea. The locals corrupted him.
- Dhali: But will you try explaining it to us in as simple terms as possible?
- Wulf: Yes, over a few meads, quite a few, I shall attempt to do so. My journal entry will be…different….
- Inigo: I hope you mention the incredibly handsome blue Khajiiti in your journals.
- Wulf: I might do that. Such dour subjects could do with comedy relief now and then. How do you spell your name again?
- Inigo: Not funny, my friend.
- P’Sua: I think if we did a show of hands, we would vote that it was, in fact, funny.
We had to climb over smouldering ruins to reach the town centre. I wandered around the area I was in when Alduin arrived and was not troubled by any time-related weirdness.
After a few minutes, I said, “I promise this is the last part of this depressing tour. I want to climb that tower and look over the town. That memory will help motivate me if things get difficult in our fight against Alduin.”
We climbed the tower, and the view catalysed great anger and a silent vow of revenge.
I told the squad, “My main concern is Whiterun and Riften. I endanger the cities by visiting them. Father confirmed that Alduin could track me and how. However, we must make them aware of the danger. At the moment, they will only get rumours. It may be days before Riften hears about Helgen, but Whiterun should know by now. I will teleport us outside of Whiterun so if dragons attack, we will not be fighting in the streets with many civilians in great danger.”
From the tower, I teleported us to Whiterun stables. A welcoming party consisting of a large wolf pack was there to greet us.
We soon disposed of them.
We made our way to Dragonsreach, listening for the roar of dragons. To our relief, none attacked before we entered Jarl Balgruuf’s abode.
As we approached the throne, we overheard a conversation between Jarl Balgruuf and Proventus, his whiny Imperial advisor.
- Proventus: My Lord, please, you have to listen as I only counsel caution! We cannot afford to act rashly in times like these. If the news from Helgen is true… well, there’s no telling what it means.
- Balgruuf: What would you have me do, then? Nothing?
- Proventus: My Lord, please, this is no time for rash action. I just think we need more information before we act. I just…
The Jarl noticed us and put his hand up to silence Proventus. Jarl Balgruuf’s housecarl, Irileth, approached us. She is a Dunmer Nightblade and fought beside the Jarl in many battles during The Great War. When Jarl Balgruuf inherited the position from his father, she insisted on being his housecarl.
Irileth growled, “What’s the meaning of this interruption, Lord Welkynd? Jarl Balgruuf is not receiving visitors.”
“I can hear from the conversation that news of Helgen has reached the Jarl’s ears. It would be beneficial, don’t you think, to hear what happened from an eyewitness?”
“You were there?”
“Well then, approach the throne and don’t forget….”
“How can I forget you are keeping an eye on me, Irileth? You remind me every time I visit.”
Irileth almost smiled. She is beautiful with her stern face. She would be stunning if a smile did break out.
I was used to Jarl Balgruuf’s gruff manner and gave as good as I got. Therefore. I was not surprised or offended by his greeting.
- Balgruuf: Well, Lord Welkynd, I trust you have something vitally important to tell me. Important enough to interrupt me in the middle of my council?
- Wulf: Oh, perhaps it isn’t vital, and it can wait till later if you want. Maybe I was wrong to think you might want to hear about the dragon attack on Helgen.
- Balgruuf: Are you sure a dragon destroyed Helgen? That it wasn’t some Stormcloak raid gone wrong?
- Wulf: I witnessed the attack’s start but became unconscious early in the battle. My colleagues saw it all.
- Balgruuf: By Ysmir, Irileth was right!
- Wulf: Helgen was under martial law. General Tullius arrived with a convoy, including two carriages of prisoners. They were to be executed in the town centre.
- Irileth: Why execute them in Helgen, and why would General Tullius be there?
- Wulf: First Emissary Elenwen was also there, for one of the prisoners to be executed was Ulfric Stormcloak. They chose Helgen as the long ride to Solitude invited a desperate attack from Stormcloaks trying to free their leader.
- Irileth: That makes sense.
- Balgruuf: I should have guessed Ulfric would be mixed up in this.
- Wulf: Don’t start thinking that the Stormcloaks have dragon allies. I assure you that they do not!
- Proventus: And how can you be sure of that, Lord Welkynd?
- Wulf: Because, Court Councillor Proventus, I was the reason the dragon attacked Helgen.
Irileth drew her sword.
- Balgruuf: You had better explain that statement well, Lord Welkynd!
- Wulf: Oh, it is a far better explanation than Irileth has for breaking the laws of parley. I have done nothing to justify the drawing of a weapon during council!
- Balgruuf: Lord Welkynd is correct, Irileth. Sheath your sword.
- Irileth: Yes, my Jarl. And I apologise, Lord Welkynd.
- Wulf: Please listen and don’t challenge what I say. I am here to help save lives, not be called a liar and defend myself against ignorance.
- Balgruuf: You have always been straightforward in your discussions with me. I find it refreshing, even if Proventus almost feints with indignation and Irileth itches to teach you a lesson.
- Wulf: It would be Irileth who would be taught a lesson, Jarl Balgruuf. Nightblade she may be, but I am a Swordmaster of The Dragonguard and have killed over a thousand in battle.
- Proventus: Preposterous!
- Wulf: Court Councillor, if you have any regard for this city and its citizens, you will shut up and listen.
- Balgruuf: Remain silent till I ask your advice, Proventus.
- Proventus: Yes, my Lord.
- Wulf: You know me as Lord Welkynd since that title came with the purchase of Dragonmount, now called Dragon’s Keep. I have many titles. I am Thane of Falkreath Hold, Haafingar, Hjaalmarch, The Pale and The Rift. I am champion of Sheogorath and Meridia. All those titles are insignificant to the two given me by The Nine. I am Champion of the Divines and Dragonborn.
- Balgruuf: What proof do you have of those last two titles?
- Wulf: You may ask any Priest or Priestess with direct communication with a Divine. However, the proof that I am Dragonborn will soon arrive, as The Greybeards will summon me to High Hrothgar.
- Balgruuf: Explain why the dragon attacked Helgen.
- Wulf: The dragon that attacked Helgen is Alduin, The World Eater. He has returned to Nirn and desires another Dragon War. If he wins, all mortals will be enslaved. He tracked me to Helgen, so he attacked that town. It was a coincidence that Ulfric, General Tullius and First Emissary Elenwen were there.
- Inigo: By the way, all of them survived. I thought that would be something you may have wanted to know at some stage.
- Irileth: Quiet unless spoken to!
- Wulf: You will soon learn that those behind me, and my other friends, saved many Helgen citizens at significant risk to themselves. Excuse them if they are not experts on court protocol.
- Inigo: Okay, I am being quiet. I know how to be quiet when told to be quiet. So here I am, being quiet. I am pretty good at it, am I not?
- Wulf: Inigo, if you continue, I will tie your tail in a knot.
- Irileth: You came to Whiterun while implying the dragon that destroyed Helgen can track you. Haven’t you put this city in danger?
- Wulf: Yes, but not from Alduin. Like any warrior, he needs time to recuperate after a battle. I don’t think he has enough allies to attack in numbers, and any single dragon is no match for us.
- Balgruuf: What do you say now, Proventus? Shall we continue to trust in the strength of our walls? Against a dragon?
- Irileth: My lord, we should send troops to Riverwood at once. It’s in the most immediate danger if that dragon lurks in the mountains…
- Wulf: Alduin is not lurking in the mountains, and Whiterun will have as much chance as Helgen against him. If General Tullius and his elite troops couldn’t defend Helgen, what chance does your depleted number of guards have to defend Whiterun? Riverwood needs troops not for defence but to help coordinate the civilians and herd them to safety if there is an attack by a dragon. They don’t give you a warning, Jarl Balgruuf! Dragons appear from the ether and start killing. It would be best if you had plans whose priority is to save civilians. Then you can worry about trying to kill the attackers.
- Proventus: The Jarl of Falkreath will view any troop movement into Riverwood as a provocation! He’ll assume we’re preparing to join Ulfric’s side and attack him. We should not…
- Wulf: Court Councillor, don’t you think the Jarl of Falkreath would be worrying about his town being razed to the ground and not a handful of troops appearing in Riverwood?
- Proventus: Yes, but….
- Balgruuf: Enough! I’ll not stand idly by while a dragon burns my Hold and slaughters my people! Irileth, send a detachment to Riverwood at once.
- Irileth: Yes, my Jarl.
- Proventus: If you’ll excuse me, I’ll return to my duties.
- Balgruuf: That would be best.
- Irileth: He is like a scolded puppy with his tail tucked between his legs.
- Wulf: As Jarl Balgruuf knows, sometimes it is necessary to cut out the bullshit.
- Irileth: Indeed, you two are much alike in that.
- Balgruuf: This was well done, Lord Welkynd. I want to give you a small token of my esteem. You sought me out on your initiative. You’ve done Whiterun a service, and I won’t forget it.
- Wulf: I am doing my duty as Champion of The Divines, Jarl Balgruuf. Saving lives is all the reward I need. There is much work to be done to thwart Alduin. I hope the Jarls forget about the civil war and protect their citizens until that is accomplished. They might soon learn that troops gathered for battle prove tempting targets to roaming dragons. A single pass of Dragonfire would decimate either or both sides.
- Balgruuf: You expect much of those whose bloodlust has overtaken common sense.
- Wulf: I expect nobles to care for their citizens.
- Balgruuf: Come, Lord Welkynd, and let’s speak to Farengar, my Court Wizard. He’s been looking into a matter related to these dragons and… rumours of dragons.
- Wulf: Has he? This discussion will be interesting.
We followed Balgruuf to Farengar’s laboratory.
I looked around the laboratory and noticed Atlas of Dragons on Farengar’s desk.
Balgruuf said, “Farengar, I’ve found someone to help you with your dragon project. Go ahead and fill him in with all the details.”
Balgruuf did not announce my titles. I knew he was fishing for proof of my claims.
- Farengar: The Jarl thinks you can be of use to me? Oh yes, he must be referring to my research into the dragons. Yes, I could use someone to fetch something for me. When I say fetch, I mean to delve into a dangerous ruin in search of an ancient stone tablet that may or may not be there.
- Wulf: Dangerous ruins and a stone tablet? What have they got to do with dragons?
- Farengar: Ah, no mere brute mercenary, but a thinker – perhaps even a scholar? When the stories of dragons began to circulate, many dismissed them as mere fantasies, rumours. Impossibilities. One sure mark of a fool is to dismiss anything outside his experience as impossible. But I began to search for information about dragons – where had they gone all those years ago? And where were they coming from?
- Wulf: You want me to go to Bleak Falls Barrow and retrieve The Dragonstone?
- Farengar: How did you know that?
I walked around the desk, and Farengar hurriedly moved to Balgruuf’s side, eyeing my companions with concern.
I pointed to the open book and said, “You want to compare the map of Dragon Mounds on The Dragonstone with dragons listed in Atlas of Dragons. I see some text is in Tsaesci and some in Yokudan, so this copy comes from Wind Scour Temple in Hammerfell.”
I moved back to the other side of the table.
- Wulf: You do not need The Dragonstone. I have it and a copy of Atlas of Dragons, and I know in which order Alduin will revive his comrades. The first will be his second in command, Odahviing. He will continue in an anti-clockwise direction from there.
- Balgruuf: Is that why you sought this Dragonstone, Farengar?
- Farengar: Ahh…yes, my Jarl.
- Wulf: You realised The Prophecy of the Dragonborn has come to pass.
- Farengar: Yes, we did.
- Wulf: Tell Jarl Balgruuf what you concluded.
- Farengar: That The Dragonborn would appear to combat Alduin.
- Balgruuf: You knew I was searching for proof, Lord Welkynd.
- Wulf: Yes, and your own Court Wizard just provided it. The Nine knew years ago that Alduin’s return was imminent, but not precisely when. They sent me to await his return and defeat him. I must compliment you, Mage Farengar, but you just let it slip you weren’t working alone. Who else knows of this?
- Farengar: Their identity is a secret. I cannot tell you.
- Balgruuf: I am ordering you to tell Thane Welkynd the name of the person working with you. I know, but I would hate to think you disobey me.
- Farengar: Thane Welkynd?
- Balgruuf: Yes, I decided it was time I made him Thane. Everybody else has.
- Wulf: I can see you have a moral dilemma, Mage Farengar. So let us try a question and answer to make it easier. How many others know of your conclusion about the prophecy?
- Farengar: Just one.
- Wulf: And their name?
- Farengar: I know her as Delphine.
- Balgruuf: She is a Breton and is the innkeeper of The Sleeping Giant Inn in Riverwood. She has been here often discussing things with Farengar. She may be an innkeeper, but Irileth and I recognise a warrior when we see one.
- Wulf: Mage Farengar, is Delphine a Blade.
- Farengar: I…ahh…well….
- Wulf: It’s okay, Mage Farengar. Your hesitance tells me all I need to know. I am a Dragonlord of The Dragonguard, and The Dragonborn. I have many Blades living at one of my estates and present no danger to Delphine. She owes me her allegiance, plus I outrank her. More importantly, she may have crucial information I require. I request, no, as your Thane, I order you do not contact Delphine and warn her of my identity. I need to assess her without prior bias.
- Farengar: There are more Blades?
- Wulf: Yes, and Dragonguard. Have you noticed something about some of my companions?
- Farengar: Apart from one of them, they are all Khajiiti.
- Shiva: We resemble Pahmar-raht and Pahmar, but we are not Khajiiti. We are Ka’Po’Tun from Akavir. Only our blue friend is Khajiiti.
- Dhali: We are Dragonguard and tasked with protecting The Dragonborn, Lord Welkynd.
- Balgruuf: As if today could get any stranger.
- Wulf: You have no idea how strange things might get, my Jarl.
- Farengar: I will not tell Delphine, Thane Welkynd. Anyway, I doubt I will travel the roads when dragons are around.
Just then, a flustered Irileth came running up to us.
- Irileth: My Jarl and Farengar, you need to come at once. A dragon has been sighted nearby.
- Farengar: A dragon! How exciting! Where was it seen, and what was it doing?
- Irileth: I’d take this more seriously if I were you. If a dragon decides to attack Whiterun, I don’t know if we can stop it. Let’s go.
- Balgruuf: So, Dragonborn, you have brought destruction to my city.
- Wulf: Where was the dragon, Irileth?
- Irileth: It attacked the Western Watchtower. We have a witness who ran here to tell us.
- Wulf: Then, my Jarl, the dragon does not intend to attack Whiterun. It is bait, and I am the fish.
- Balgruuf: What makes you say that?
- Wulf: You fought in enough battles. Would you notify the enemy of your intention to attack their city by attacking an outbuilding of no strategic value?
- Irileth: Lord Welkynd is correct. The Western Watchtower is not crucial to our defence. I have already ordered the guard on high alert, and they are manning the walls as we speak. Attacking the tower and then the city doesn’t make tactical sense.
- Wulf: If it were Alduin, he would not hesitate to attack Whiterun. But he is still gathering his strength after Helgen. It will be one of his allies, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he observes the battle. He is taking my measure, my Jarl.
- Balgruuf: Let’s speak to the guard and make plans from there.
We rushed upstairs and talked to the guard.
- Balgruuf: Irileth tells me you came from the Western Watchtower?”
- Irileth: Tell him what you told me about the dragon.
- Guard: Uh… that’s right. We saw it coming from the south. It was fast… faster than anything I’d ever seen.
- Balgruuf: What did it do? Was it attacking the watchtower?
- Guard: It was just circling overhead when I left. I thought it would come after me for sure. I heard it roar and attack the tower, but that didn’t slow me down! I never ran so fast in my life…
- Irileth: I could see the tower burning from the battlements.
- Wulf: What colour was the dragon?
- Guard: Bright red.
- Balgruuf: Good work, son. We’ll take it from here. Head down to the barracks for some food and rest. You’ve earned it. Irileth, you’d better gather some guardsmen and get down there.
- Irileth: I’ve already ordered my men to muster near the main gate.
- Balgruuf: Good. Don’t fail me!
- Wulf: We shall run ahead. The dragon is neither Alduin nor Odahviing, so we should be able to defeat it quickly. Irileth and your guards better hurry if they wish to join the fight.
- Balgruuf: Is that a boast, Thane Welkynd?
- Irileth: Thane?
- Wulf: I never boast, my Jarl. I know our capabilities against dragons or mortals.
- Farengar: I should come along. I would very much like to see this dragon.
- Balgruuf: No. I can’t afford to risk both of you. I need you here working on ways to defend the city against these dragons.
- Farengar: As you command.
- Wulf: If you want to meet a dragon, Farengar, I will summon one or two of my allies, and you can chat with them.
- Farengar: You have friend dragons?
- Wulf: Mortals have always had dragon allies. How do you think we won The Dragon War?
- Farengar: Oh.
- Balgruuf: One last thing, Irileth. This isn’t a death or glory mission. I need to know what we’re dealing with.
- Irileth: Don’t worry, my lord. I’m the very soul of caution. Besides, if Thane Welkynd is correct, I might not have to bloody my sword.
We rushed ahead and quickly outdistanced Irileth. I think she was shocked at our pace.
We exited the city and stood on some wooden battlements. They would be useless against a dragon.
I used Zoom Vision and saw some of the tower had been destroyed. There was no sign of the dragon.
We ran toward the tower, and when we got close, I noticed a dragon circling nearby. I pointed to it and said, “That was not the dragon the guard saw. I think it is an observer. It will watch what happens and report to Alduin.”
We ran up a ramp and entered the tower. A lone guard greeted us.
- Guard: No! Get back! It’s still here somewhere! Hroki and Tor got grabbed when they tried to run for it!
- Wulf: Guardsman, are you the only survivor?
- Guard: I don’t know!
The was a roar, and the guard quivered with fright and exclaimed, “Kynareth, save us. Here he comes again!”
We ran back outside. A Fire Dragon hovered overhead and said, “Thuri du hin sil ko Sovngarde!” (My Overlord will devour your souls in Sovngarde!)
I replied, “Zu’u dreh ni los Alduinik wah dein, naal fah hin mindok joor?” (What is your name, sacrifice of Alduin?)
“Mirmulnir. You are brave. Bahlaan hokoron. Your defeat will bring me honour.”
“We are not just brave, Mirmulnir. We are your doom.”
Mirmulnir swooped and was met with arrows and lightning. As with the previous dragon, he was soon overwhelmed and crashed to the ground.
The amount of damage we inflicted in seconds with our swords was immense. Even Celestine, who is an expert wielder of the katana, joined in the slaughter.
Mirmulnir reared up, said, “Dovahkiin…no!” and died.
The fight was over in less than a minute, and as I absorbed Mirmulnir’s soul, Irileth and her guard arrived panting, then stood and watched the spectacle.
I looked up, and the other dragon hovered briefly before flying away.
I opened one of the absorbed souls and learned to use the Unrelenting Force Shout. Then I faced High Hrothgar and used a Shout for the first time in my twenty-two years of being Dragonborn.
I turned to my group, who could see the experience was profound.
I said, “We shall walk back to Whiterun. I need to gather my thoughts.”
When I turned towards Irileth, she looked stunned. The guard next to her was more composed. He and the guards inspecting the skeleton knew more of what was happening than their commander.
- Guard 1: You… must be Dragonborn!
- Guard 2: Dragonborn? What are you talking about?
- Guard 3: That’s right! My grandfather used to tell stories about the Dragonborn. Those born with the Dragon Blood in them. Like old Tiber Septim himself.
- Guard 2: I never heard of Tiber Septim killing any dragons.
- Guard 1: There weren’t any dragons then, idiot. They’re just coming back now for the first time in… forever.
- Guard 3: The old tales tell of the Dragonborn who could kill dragons and steal their power. You must be one!
- Guard 4: What do you say, Irileth? You’re being awfully quiet.
- Guard 2: Come on, Irileth, tell us, do you believe in this Dragonborn business?
- Irileth: Hmph. Some of you would be better off keeping quiet than flapping your gums about matters you don’t know anything about. Here’s a dead dragon, and that’s something I definitely understand. Now we know we can kill them. But I don’t need some mythical Dragonborn. Someone who can put down a dragon is more than enough for me.
- Guard 1: You wouldn’t understand, Housecarl. You ain’t a Nord.
- Irileth: I’ve been all across Tamriel. I’ve seen plenty of things just as outlandish as this. I’d advise you all to trust in the strength of your sword arm over tales and legends.
- Wulf: Sorry to say, Irileth, but your men are right. I told you I am The Dragonborn. I am not some tale or legend! Without me, you have little chance of defeating the dragons. I advise you to learn who I am and why The Divines have sent me. Ignorance could get you or your men killed.
- Guard 3: See, I told you so.
- Wulf: You were wrong. I do not steal a dragon’s power. I absorb their soul, from which I gain knowledge of The Voice. I do not just have the blood of a dragon. I also have the soul of one.
- Dhali: Did any of you notice the other dragon hovering and observing the fight?
- Guard: Another one? No!
- Wulf: He will not attack. He is going to report what he saw to his overlord, Alduin.
- Guard: Now you are speaking of tales and legends.
- Wulf: No, I am not. Ask Mage Farengar, for he knew this moment in time was approaching. If you will excuse me, I need to report to Jarl Balgruuf.
We walked toward Whiterun in silence. The Dragonguard knew the significance of my first Shout, and one of them had quietly explained it to Inigo.
We were approaching Whiterun’s outer gate when the earth shook as The Greybeards called, “DOVAHKIIN!”
My title echoed for several seconds. Then it was deadly quiet for a second before every dog for miles around started barking, sheep and cattle cried in fear, and people came running out of their houses and businesses.
I said, “I don’t want to get caught in the crowd. Let’s teleport the rest of the way.”
We teleported into Dragonsreach and approached the throne.
Proventus said, “Good. You’re finally here. The Jarl’s been waiting for you.”
I growled, “Bullshit, Proventus! Nobody would expect us to have defeated the dragon and returned so soon!”
Then Hrongar, Jarl Balgruuf’s brother, said, “We were talking about you. My brother needs a word with you.”
“Funny enough, that is why I am walking towards him. What a coincidence!”
I stood before Jarl Balgruuf, my temper not helped by inane comments.
- Balgruuf: What happened at the watchtower? Was the dragon there?
- Wulf: It was as we predicted. The dragon was there to challenge me. Another dragon hovered nearby and observed the battle. The dragon’s name was Mirmulnir, and he was of the Fire Dragon species. When we reached there, he had already destroyed part of the watchtower, and only one guard was alive. The Dragonguard and I took just over a minute to kill Mirmulnir. Irileth and her men did not reach us until the battle was over.
- Balgruuf: That was a mighty deed. You’ve earned a place of honour among the heroes of Whiterun, Thane Welkynd. But there must be more to it than that. Did something… strange… happen when the dragon died?
- Wulf: It might seem strange to others, but my friends and I expected it. I absorbed the soul of Mirmulnir, and it was quite a spectacle to observe.
- Balgruuf: So, it’s true. The Greybeards were summoning you.
- Wulf: I told you that they would. They called my name in Dovahzul, the language of dragons. Dovahkiin means Dragon hunter born, or to simplify it in Tamrielic, Dragonborn. Mirmulnir also called me Dovahkiin as he died.
- Hrongar: The Greybeards summoned you to High Hrothgar! That hasn’t happened in … centuries, at least. Not since Tiber Septim was summoned when he was still Talos of Atmora!
- Proventus: Hrongar, calm yourself. What does any of this Nord nonsense have to do with our friend here? Capable as he may be, I don’t see any signs of him being this Dragonborn.
- Hrongar: Nord nonsense?! You puffed-up ignorant milk drinker! These are our sacred traditions that go back to the founding of the First Empire!
- Balgruuf: Hrongar. Don’t be so hard on Avenicci.
- Wulf: No, my Jarl, Hrongar should be hard on Avenicci.
I approached Proventus and said, “You are more than puffed up and ignorant. You are a danger to your Jarl! My arrival was predicted in Prophecy, and I was just called Dragonborn by The Greybeards. You question my honesty, and for that, I should smash you in the face! However, to keep the rules of parley, I will suggest the same to you as I did Irileth. Learn about me, and what it means now I am here. Then you may be able to advise your Jarl during this crisis properly.”
I moved away from the increasingly uncomfortable Proventus and stood once more before Balgruuf.
Balgruuf laughed, then said, “I had better do the formality. You’ve done a great deed for me and my city, Dragonborn. By my right as Jarl, I name you Thane of Whiterun. It’s the greatest honour that’s within my power to grant. I assign you, Lydia, as a personal Housecarl and this weapon from my armoury to serve as your badge of office. I’ll also notify my guards of your new title. We wouldn’t want them to think you are part of the common rabble, would we? We are honoured to have you as Thane of our city, Dragonborn.”
I accepted the Sword of Whiterun from Balgruuf and replied, “I am honoured to be Thane of your wonderful city, my Jarl. I assume I am supposed to own property in your Hold before I can legally be named Thane?”
“Oh, yes, I forgot about that.”
“Can we say I purchased the property? I will place the funds in your account within a day or two.”
“That would be acceptable. The house is called Breezehome. Lydia can take you to it.”
“Good. Now, I must hurry home.”
“Aren’t you going to the Greybeards?”
“No, my Jarl. I am not at their beck and call. They are sworn to assist me, and I have to rest before tackling the 7000 steps and whatever trials the Greybeards have for me.”
I bowed, and we headed for the exit.
Lydia waited for me to approach.
- Wulf: Welcome to our band of misfits, Lydia.
- Lydia: The Jarl has appointed me to be your housecarl. It’s an honour to serve you.
- Wulf: You will soon learn that nobody serves me, Lydia. If they are to accompany me on dangerous missions, they want to help the citizens of Nirn.
- Lydia: Jarl Balgruuf said you might take a little getting used to.
- Wulf: My friends with me today are Dhali, Shiva, P’Sua and Celestine. They are all of the rank Dragonlord within the Dragonguard. Dhali, Shiva, are P’Sua are Swordmasters. Celestine is a Master Mage. The blue Khajiiti is Inigo the Brave. Nobody is quite sure what he is or why he keeps following us.
Each of my companions bowed to Lydia as I mentioned their names. Inigo went cross-eyed.
- Lydia: I am unaware of those ranks. I do know the Dragonguard were the Akaviri who became The Blades.
- Dhali: You will have much to learn quickly, Lydia. But the other five housecarls soon became accustomed to our large group of mixed races, talents and backgrounds.
- Lydia: Other five housecarls?
- Wulf: This is the sixth Hold to make me a Thane.
- Inigo: Lydia, ignore my friend’s rude introduction. You will soon realise I am the backbone on whom all the others rely.
- Dhali: Just nod at Inigo, Lydia. He gets upset if you shatter his illusion.
- P’Sua: There will be many people to help you acclimatise. It may seem daunting at first, but as Dhali said, the other housecarls seem fine now they have stopped dribbling and rocking back and forth on the spot.
- Wulf: I will inspect Breezehome another time. We must travel to our primary residence as quickly as possible. Lydia, you must place your hand on my shoulder to do so.
- Lydia: May I ask why my Thane?
- Wulf: You can ask any questions you want when you want. My name is Wulf, and that is how I will be addressed unless instructed otherwise. We do not use honorifics or ranks.
- Lydia: Okay, Wulf, why must I place my hand on your shoulder?
- Wulf: We are going to teleport to our home. It is a palace within a magically hidden town. We call the town Aurane, which means welcoming. We call the palace Sepredia, which means peace.
- Lydia: And does our need to travel there immediately involve the dragons?
- Wulf: Yes, Lydia. The dragons can track where I am but cannot find Aurane. The longer I remain in one place outside of Aurane, the more likely dragons will attack.
- Lydia: I have read about teleports and how they were widely used long ago.
- Wulf: Once I get to know you better, which doesn’t take long, I can teleport you without physical contact. Until then, I must concentrate on you alone to get us to Aurane. Celestine will teleport the others. You will briefly experience the ultimate cold and darkness, but no danger exists. You will soon get used to it.
Lydia placed her hand on my shoulder, and a second later, we were inside the palace.
Lydia exclaimed, “That was amazing! How far did we travel?”
“We are deep within the mountains on the border of Skyrim and Bruma.”
“I have never seen a building like this before.”
“It is fashioned after Ayleid architecture. You will learn about it as we go.”
The others appeared, and I spoke to Shiva.
“Can you please be Lydia’s guide and show her around.”
“Yes, of course. I think Lydia will adapt quickly, Wulf.”
Shiva walked over to Lydia, and they soon chatted like old friends as she gave her a tour.
One of the guards called me over.
“Yes, Dragonguard Hedrida?”
“We have a new guest, so I waited as long as possible, but I have important news.”
“Vayu and the others have arrived and are at the inn.”
“From what I can gather, Nahfahlaar and Valminoor plucked them one at a time from the deck of their ship and brought them to the nearest secluded beach on Tamriel’s mainland. From there, Vayu and the other mages teleported them here.”
“Celestine will be relieved!”
I walked over to Celestine and could not wipe the grin from my face.
She said, “Okay, Wulf, explain the grin.”
“Vayu and the others have arrived and are at the inn.”
I called Dhali over, and we teleported to the inn.
Celestine saw Vayu and ran to him. Everybody watched their embrace, and the couple and bystanders shed many tears.
When Celestine and Vayu sat down to talk, Dhali and I did the rounds and said hello to the others from Akavir.
The Divines decided we could not wait for the Dragonguard to arrive by ship. Picking them up on Akavir was too risky, but plucking them from a ship at sea, far from the eyes of the Tsaesci, was deemed an acceptable risk. Therefore, our friends arrived weeks earlier than expected.
After forty minutes of animated chatting with Celestine, Vayu approached me and almost crushed me with his greeting hug.
I laughed and said, “Shaman Vayu, you took your time arriving!”
“I enjoyed the dragon ride. Some of the others didn’t. I think Kogo needed to change his underwear.”
“Well, this will be their living quarters as the palace is already full.”
“You mean we have to say in this terrible inn stocked with a huge range of foreign alcohol?”
“I said their living quarters. It seems that Celestine didn’t wreck the surprise. Come with me.”
Celestine looked at me, and I nodded. She and Dhali joined us as we walked to Vayu’s surprise.
We entered the house, and I announced to Vayu, “This is home for you and Celestine.”
“It had to be to fit your ego inside.”
“I am at a loss for words, Wulf.”
Dhali hugged Vayu and said, “You and Celestine have been the backbone of our group for years. You have more than deserved it.”
I added, “We shall leave you two alone for a few days. Celestine can fill you in on everything that has happened and where things stand.”
“What are you doing tomorrow?”
“Visiting old men with long beards and a Blade who has been in hiding. She calls herself Delphine.”
“Ahh, if that is who I think it is, that is her real name.”
“She has been hiding out in the open and owns an inn in Riverwood.”
“Yep, that sounds like the Delphine I know. She was an excellent operative before and during The Great War.”
“Delphine and the Court Wizard of Whiterun figured out the prophecy was fulfilled. Hopefully, she will be a useful addition to our ranks.”
Dhali said, “Come, Wulf. You are not fully recovered and need some sleep.”
“Yes, Master. I will do as you command, Master.”
We teleported into the palace, and Dhali headed off to bed, as did I.
I do not know what time I fell asleep.