By dankempster 8 Comments
Day Thirty - The Last Few Pages...
I found myself barely able to sleep last night. In my dreams I was visited by the faces of Vigilant Tyranus and Logrolf the Willful, their lifeless eyes blood-red, their voices not their own, replaced with the disembodied growl of Molag Bal. More than once I woke in a cold sweat, even calling out loud enough at one point to awaken Lydia, my housecarl, who thought I was being attacked. I know I am being punished for killing two innocent men, both of whom were serving in the name of causes far more just than my own selfishness and self-preservation. I am just not sure whether it is the Divines who are punishing me, or if I am punishing myself.
After a time, there came a point where my inability to sleep forced me out of bed and back onto whatever path fate has placed beneath my feet. I gathered up everything important, leaving the mace of Molag Bal locked in the chest by my bedside, and left Whiterun for Riverwood. Not wanting to travel alone, I asked Lydia if she might accompany me on the roads. The request proved to be a wise one - no sooner had we moved outside the city walls than we were set upon by an enraged cultist, carrying a book glorifying Boethia in one hand and a sharpened steel dagger in the other. Lydia ran the crazed Dunmer through before he could reach me, but whatever damage my body has been spared, I cannot say the same for my mind. I appear to have shaken off the attention of one Daedric prince, only to attract that of another.
If I must commit one more fact about myself to these pages, it is that in the affairs of the Divines and the Daedra, I am a coward. I feel allegiance to neither one group of immortals nor the other, but I fear suffering their wrath more than anything else in this world. I fear it in my indifference, and I fear it in my actions. As a consequence, I have always sought to act not in ways which please the deities, but in ways that ensure I do not upset them. Thinking of this now, my mind is cast back to restoring the Gildergreen in Whiterun, my quest to reforge Azura's Star, and my time spent adventuring with Barbas at the behest of Clavicus Vile. My entire life, I have walked on egg-shells before the gods. Now, with Boethiah presumably seeking vengeance for Logrolf, it seems those shells might finally have cracked.
At High Hrothgar, Arngeir and the Greybeards had told me that being Dragonborn was a gift bestowed upon individuals by Akatosh himself - great individuals who have changed the course of history, and always for the better. How can I be deserving of that same gift, after the events of yesterday? The only conclusion I have been able to reach is that perhaps even in the face of a supposedly fixed destiny, there are many paths one might take. Perhaps I was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, swayed onto another of those myriad paths by Molag Bal, or maybe even mere circumstance. If this is the case, then perhaps I can re-join the path I'd hoped to take somewhere further down the line. In the meantime I must live with the consequences, harrowing as they might be. I must also cease this indifference and cowardice in the face of the gods. For whatever reason, Akatosh has given me the gift of the dragon blood. I therefore have a responsibility, if not to the other Divines then at least to him. No more will I allow the business of the Daedra to sway me, accident or otherwise.
Lydia and I arrived in Riverwood late in the morning, and made straight for the Sleeping Giant Inn. We found Delphine down in her hidden room, putting the finishing touches to her plan to get us into the Thalmor embassy. Supposedly parties are frequently held there, and she believes I could slip in unnoticed in the guise of a guest. Once inside, I was expected to search for any notes that might implicate the Thalmor in the dragons' return. She asked me to head for Solitude and meet with her informant, a Bosmer named Malborn who works undercover within the embassy itself. I must confess, I was reluctant to return to the road after our run-in with the Boethiah cultist, but something within me (perhaps the dragon blood, or perhaps simply an imperceptible intervention from Akatosh himself) encouraged me to steel myself and press on. Delphine told me that I would find him at the Winking Skeever, awaiting my arrival.
We left Riverwood immediately, following the path we'd already taken back towards Whiterun, then heading west and finally north through Rorikstead and Dragon Bridge, arriving in Solitude just as the evening was beginning its slow transformation to night. As Delphine had said, we found Malborn sipping tentatively at a tankard of mead in the Winking Skeever. His nervous disposition and constant glances at every corner of the room was incredibly distracting, and did little to ease my own worries about possibly being followed here from Riverwood. Malborn explained the situation to me over the top of his tankard - he would be able to slip any equipment I might need into the embassy, but once inside and armed, I would be on my own. Understanding, I handed over everything that has served me so well up to this point - my beautifully-refined Orcish sword and shield, the restored amulet of Gauldur, my pair of enchanted Orcish gauntlets that improve my skill with a blade, and a healthy stock of draughts and potions. Malborn took my valuables and left, presumably returning to the embassy, while I booked rooms for the night for Lydia and myself.
This entry brings me to the final page in this journal, and thus the end of at least this part of my chronicle. Perhaps, chance permitting, I will seek out a second empty tome through a local trader, and continue to document my travels and adventures. Or (and I fear this is more likely), perhaps the chaos that currently grips Tamriel will amplify, forcing me to abandon these nightly writings and fully commit to my destiny as a Dragonborn. No matter which of these comes to pass, I hope this journal outlives its writer and finds its way into the hands of another. That way, no matter what legends may be born out of what has passed, or what is yet to come, there will always be those who know the truth - that in the two-hundred-and-first year of the fourth era, on a snowy morning in Last Seed, a humble Nord smith returning from Cyrodiil was spared the headsman's axe and plunged into a fight not just for his homeland, but for the future of all Tamriel. Until then,
- Day Twenty-Nine - A Daedric Mis-Step
- Day Twenty-Eight - Tying Up Loose Ends
- Day Twenty-Seven - Dragonborn, Dragon-Slayer
- Day Twenty-Six - Giant Killer, Horn Blower
- Day Twenty-Five - Putting Spirits to Rest
- Day Twenty-Four - Fragments of a Legend
- Day Twenty-Three - Secrets Beneath the Sleeping City
- Day Twenty-Two - A Gray-Mane Saved and a Mage Made
- Day Twenty-One - Whiterun Errands and a Missing Gray-Mane
- Day Twenty - Search for the White Phial
- Day Nineteen - Siding With the Stormcloaks
- Day Eighteen - Two Sides of the Same Septim
- Day Seventeen - Tracking the Telvanni Line
- Day Sixteen - Finding Lost Books and Lost Words
- Day Fifteen - The Axe and the Masque
- Day Fourteen - A Daedra and His Dog
- Day Thirteen - Treason and Betrayal
- Day Twelve - Counsel from the Greybeards
- Day Eleven - Old Towns, New Faces
- Day Ten - New Thu'um, New House
- Day Nine - Retrieving the Star
- Day Eight - Azura's Champion
- Day Seven - Wuuthrad and Werewolves
- Day Six - Kynareth's Will Be Done?
- Day Five - The Companions and the Sleeping Tree
- Day Four - Duelling With a Dragon
- Day Three - The Bandit, the Wife and Her Lover
- Day Two - The Golden Claw
- Day One - Escape from Helgen
- Day Zero - Here Begins My Journal