By dankempster 1 Comments
Day Four - Duelling With a Dragon
After a freshly-prepared breakfast of apple cabbage stew, I left what remained of Mistwatch at around 10:00am. My trek back to Riverwood was peaceful, leaving me free to take my time and admire the area south of the White River. I arrived in Riverwood mid-afternoon, and informed Ralof, Gerdur and Hod of my return. While I was away, the three of them had been talking of nothing but the dragon attack on Helgen. Fearing for Riverwood, given its proximity to the attack, Gerdur asked me to visit Jarl Balgruuf in Whiterun and ask for his support. I agreed, but were I to go straight away I would arrive at nightfall, so I resolved to head for Whiterun in the morning.
Having not crafted anything since I left my old smithing shop in Cyrodiil, I decided to sharpen my skills and refresh my memory. The local blacksmith, a kindly Nord named Arvol, gave me licence to use his forge if I provided my own materials. When I said I had none, he pointed me in the direction of an old abandoned mine to the west of town - Embershard Mine. The place was absolutely crawling with bandits (not quite as abandoned as Arvol remembers, it seems). Still, I was able to harvest a great deal of iron ore from the mine. Unfortunately, Arvol has no smelting equipment, which means I'll have to wait a while before I can actually turn this ore into workable ingots. Still, it's a start.
I emerged from the mine in the late evening and, as usual, I spent the night at Gerdur's home. Her hospitality has known no bounds these last few days, and I am incredibly grateful to her family for accommodating me at such short notice. I rose at around 4:00am and chose to skip breakfast in favour of making an early start on my journey to Whiterun. During my travels I passed a group of adventurers tackling a monstrous giant. I drew my sword and shield and rushed in to assist them, but before I could strike a blow, the giant had fallen. The leader of the group introduced herself as Aela the Huntress, and her posse as members of the Companions. She explained that the Companions were always looking to take on new members, and advised me to speak with their leader at Jorrvaskr in Whiterun if I was interested.
When I arrived at Whiterun, I told the guards at the city gates that I'd come to seek protection for Riverwood. They pointed me to Dragonsreach palace, and told me I would find the Jarl there. Balgruuf wasted no time in offering Riverwood his aide, but first asked me for something in return - his adviser, an Altmer magician named Farengar required a stone interred within, of all places, Bleak Falls Barrow! I could not believe the coincidence! I reached into my pack and produced the stone tablet that I recovered from the Barrow's shrine. It was exactly what Farengar had been looking for! And to think, I'd contemplated selling this to Lucan Valerius in Riverwood a few days ago!
The Jarl's happiness at the recovery of the stone was short-lived, however, as word reached the palace of another dragon sighting - this one near the Western Watchtower. As a survivor of the atrocities at Helgen (and therefore, in Jarl Balgruuf's eyes, more qualified than anyone), I was asked to accompany a band of city guards to the watchtower and slay the creature. We arrived at the tower to find it in flames, and several of its occupying guards dead. As we scouted for survivors, the flying menace returned. It took a great deal of effort to bring it down, but some well-placed arrows to its head and underbelly proved enough to ground it. Once down, I moved in for the kill and drove my new-found orcish sword hilt-deep into its skull.
With a final deafening roar that almost seemed to speak to me, the mighty dragon breathed its last. As life ebbed from its body, I began to feel a strange sensation beginning in the tips of my fingers, but soon spreading to my whole body. Sheets of purest light shot from the dragon's corpse and seemed to slip beneath my skin. Inexplicably, the word I had read from the shrine at the Barrow suddenly made perfect sense. Curious, I spoke it - "Fus!" - and almost fell backwards as the word passed my lips with incredible force, tearing grass from the ground and leaves from nearby trees. One of the city guards, a witness to this act, called me 'Dovahkiin' - 'Dragonborn' in the common tongue. He explained that by felling the dragon, I had absorbed its power, and been given the gift of the voice.
All this was proving too much for me to take in at once, and so I led the expedition back to Whiterun, to tell the Jarl that the dragon had been dealt with. I had hoped that relaying this news might shift the focus away from what else had happened at the watchtower, but I was proven wrong when the Jarl's housecarl relayed her account of events. Balgruuf advised me that my next step should be to ascend the Throat of the World, and speak with the Greybeards at High Hrothgar. He also bestowed upon me the honorary title of Thane of Whiterun, in recognition of my recent services to the Hold. One of the perks of this title is the appointment of my own housecarl, a battle-hardened woman by the name of Lydia. I have asked her to remain at Dragonsreach for now, but I may yet require her services, should things continue to become more complicated.
I write this in a room at the Bannered Mare, Whiterun's established inn. The bed is warm and comfortable - well worth the ten gold I had to part with for it, and an ideal place to lock myself away and ponder over today's developments. If I am Dovahkiin, as they claim, then where does that leave me? I came home to Skyrim in the hopes that I might ply my trade to my kinsmen, but all that has happened so far suggests that the Gods may have other plans for me. For now, I think I will continue on the path of the adventurer for a while. If nothing else, it's bringing the gold in comfortably. Perhaps I can save enough to move back to Karthwasten and open a smith's forge of my own. In the morning, I plan to take Aela's advice and seek counsel with the Companions. Until then,