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Attn: THIS THREAD IS OUTDATED. I WILL CONTINUE TO UPDATE NEW CHAPTERS BUT PREVIOUS CHAPTERS HAVE SINCE CHANGED. TO SEE NEW CHANGES PLEASE SEE THE LINK TO FANFICTION.NET IN THE ORIGINAL POST.
THE DIVINE CHAMPION
Alduin the World Eater has returned to finish what began centuries ago. Only now there are no Dragonborn to stand in his way. Except one, the one who never died, the one that mankind would remember for eternity, the one they made a god; Talos himself.
Naal ok zin los vahriin
By his honor is sworn
Wah dein vokul mahfaeraak ahst vaal
To keep evil forever at bay
Ahrk fin norok paal graan
And the fiercest foes rout
Fod nust hon zindro zaan
When they hear triumph's shout
Dovahkiin Fah hin kogaan mu draal
Dragonborn for your blessing we pray
Believe, believe, the Dragonborn's come...
It is known that the gods do not interfere with the lives of mortals. Arkay always reminds us that we are to let them solve their own strifes, lest they become too involved like our cousins the daedra. Alas, there have been times thoughout our world's long history that the direct intervention of the gods has been needed. Not in two hundred years, not since the Great Oblivion Crisis, have the gods met to cast a fate unto the mortals. Though now it seems that their hand must be dealt once again, and though the gods may not privy themselves to say it, they fear for the lives of the mortals. For this time the danger on their doorstep was of the god's own creation.
First-born of Akatosh
The End Bringer, and the World Eater
He can only be slain by a Dragonborn. The ancient heroes of men who wielded the Voice of the dragons and could steal their power, though these heroes died with the dragons, centuries ago; none remain.
Hello, my name is Phantom and this is Dovahkiin Reborn, my Elderscrolls V: Skyrim fanfiction. I will be trying to update monthly, so bear with me.
I love comments and reviews. I request reviews actually, to make my writing better, and to help th story grow and become what it was meant to be.
Thank you for reading!
WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM
Rated: PG-13 *Mild language*Violence
That gave me the chills! I want more! However, there were some minor spelling mistakes. Like, right under "Dovahkiin Reborn" it says "Thought now it seems..." and it seems like it should say though now it seems. But, I can't wait for more! That was really good. :)
The Pantheon of the Nine Divines
Even as a god his armor was still uncomfortable. Talos shifted in his seat, very aware of the silence of the pantheon; it was unnerving. In his time among the Divines he never had seen them at a loss for words. Usually they would be arguing amongst each other, though now they had nothing to say.
The Nine were seated in a semicircle surrounding Lord Akatosh, who, as usual, assumed his form of the great golden dragon; ironic, seeing as how it was the dragons that were the problem today. Each god assumed a different form for the pantheon; Akatosh the golden dragon; Arkay a grim Imperial in black robes; Juliannos a Breton dressed in fine blue mage's robes; Stendaar, a High Elf dressed in green finery; Mara a beautiful Imperial woman in a red dress; Dibella a beautiful Breton dressed in deep violet; and Zenithar a Khajiit dressed in deep blue noble's clothes. Then of course there was Talos; a Nord in his late forties with short, light hair, and midnight blue eyes, wearing his Imperial Dragon Armor, the same that he'd worn at Sancre Tor when he was mortal. Of course their forms differed on any given day, but a each had a few favorites that they preferred, like Akatosh's dragon form.
All of them seemed to be more interested in their feet that the topic of interest. Talos felt the eyes of the dragon on him, burrowing into his soul. As lord of the gods Akatosh had that effect on the other eight. Talos watched as Akatosh shifted his weight to his right rear leg, and then started to hum in the way dragons do when they are thinking of what to say. Finally Akatosh spoke to the entire Pantheon, "The first of my children has returned; the others will follow," he said. His voice was deep and rich, yet somehow it still sounded like a mouth full of teeth, "Alduin has returned and, yet, we, the Nine, grow silent?"
Silence, then, "Lord Akatosh," Juliannos said, turning toward the great dragon, "if it truly is Alduin, of which I have no doubt, than there is nothing to speak of. He is the harbinger of the end times. If he has returned than the time has come. You created him yourself. You know that better than anyone."
Smoke trailed from the dragon's snout, "Mey," Akatosh said in a half roar, "Fool! Then why griind? Why would we meet as such? If it were hopeless than we would stand aside and watch from above as daar joor meys dir hevno ann dinoks?" he growled as he slipped back and forth from the language of the dovah and Common.
Arkay spoke so softly he could hardly be heard, "Perhaps it is time Lord Akatosh. They are doomed to death, and Alduin's appearance-"
"Is a mistake!" interuppted Stendar. "The Nords of old manipulated time! If anything this timeline wasn't supposed to have happened. It should have ended thousands of years ago, but now the whole timeline is different!"
"Vahzah," Akatosh said dipping his horned head, "time has been... ripped, torn apart."
Mara stood, "They deserve a chance. Have you not heard their prayers? If the land of Skyrim is overtaken by dragons now they will have less than a chance, especially with this civil war being waged! Talos?" she said eyeing him from where she stood.
Talos shook his head, "I do not see an end to this war any time soon," his voice was quiet and shy. "The Nords, these 'Stormcloaks' fight for the honor of their race; their ancestors. They will not give in easily," he paused, considering the fact that they fought for him as well, "or at all."
It was Arkay who spoke again. This time he seemed to have found his voice, "They are sent to their ancestors, whether it be by the hand of other men or by the maw of Alduin!"
"And what sort of fate is that?" piped in Dibella who until now hadn't uttered a word. Her voice was a squeak, "Killed and sent to Sovngarde only to be consumed by Alduin?"
"Their fates are sealed!" Juliannos said as he rose from his chair. His face was growing red with anger, "They destroyed the last of the dragonborn!" He pointed at Talos, "Your own kin! The Septim line was the only chance of the Dragonborn returning. They did this to themselves! The Septims were murdered by the hands of mortals! Their fates were sealed two hundred years ago, and they are lucky to have had this long at all!"
Zenithar stood as well, "He speaks sense," he looked at Juliannos, "as usual. The Dragonborn are dead, both their line and their kind are gone."
Are they? thought Talos as the others continue debating over whether or not they could do anything. The other Dragonborn were killed long after Talos had ascended; they were in Sovngarde now, and even Talos wouldn't step foot there now, not with Alduin lurking in the mists surrounding the Shor's Hall. Not like Arkay would grant them to live again anyways. That's last thing the world needed, undead Dragonborn running around. Then an idea hit him. His heart jumped in his chest. There was one Dragonborn left alive! One who had never died, one who was never defeated, one who was so renown and powerful he became a living god. A living, breathing, Dragonborn, god, he thought with a smile.
The others were still at each other's throats as Talos stood and walked into the middle of the pantheon, his armor clinking with each movement like war drums proclaiming a march. None seemed to notice him save for Akatosh who nodded, and then with a great roar the dragon god sent a stream of golden flame into the air, silencing the warring gods. They stared at him as he started to speak, "The dov, Alduin, was, is, my creation," he began, his voice heavy with emotion, "Prodah, it is foretold. As I create, he destroys. Evenaar, the mortals have cause the end, as they always do," he stopped, and looked at each god in turn, "Alduin heyv. It is Alduin's duty. This what he was created for, though this is not the time, and this is no longer the world he was created to destroy. Only a Dovahkiin can prevent Alduin from exerting his wrath on the mortal realm and the realms beyond. They bought themselves time, selfishly, though now there is no more Dovahkiin to save them. No way to stop the end."
All were silent, then there the sound of heavy armored footfalls as Talos approached Akatosh, "Niid Drog Akatosh," he said, adopting the dragon tongue, "there remains one Dovahkiin alive." The others stared at him, "I am not one of the original Eight, in fact I was a man, a warrior, a Dragonborn. I never died." Talos continued, "I am Dragonborn, the first, and the last," Talos said watching the others closely.
The Eight watched him with wild eyes as the god of men continued, "As you all know the Empire has banned my worship. My own creation, my blood, tears, and life force into that Empire, and they throw me away like I was nothing." Talos' eyes grew fierce, "Return me to Skyrim. They removed my god hood, so then let me earn it from them again. Let me show you that I still deserve to serve among you as a Divine."
Akatosh lowered his head to look into Talos' eyes, "Dovahkiin, indeed? If this is done when you arrive in Skyrim you will lose all of who you are. You will need to find yourself again."
Talos nodded, "Yes, I did it once, dovah, I can do it again."
Akatosh snorted then raised his head above the crowd, "Do any object the Dragonborn's request?"
Akatosh faced Talos again, "Good luck, Zeymah, I hope to see you in Sovngarde when you have succeeded." Then the great dragon breathed upon Talos.
And the world was consumed in darkness.
Sacred ChampionHe felt a cold stone beneath him. Talos tried to rise, but his body fought against him. His head was pounding, his ears ringing, his stomach lurching, his very breath felt stolen away. But this was both new and familiar to him. Pain, he thought. He hadn't experienced pain in so long; so very long. He lay there on his back in the darkness that surrounded him. He was unsure of where he was, only that it was dark and cold.
Talos was vaguely aware that he was naked. He sat cross legged as he tried to organize his thoughts. First things first, he thought, who am I? Obviously due to lack of fur, scales, or enormous teeth he was not Orc, Khajiit, or Argonian. Thank the Nine, he corrected his thoughts, Eight, for that. He stood, unsteady at first, and he stared at his hands. They were large and free of any marks or calluses. He judged by his height and weight he was Nord. So I am still myself then, good. He touched his brow where he had a taken a scar from a dragon and found it was not there. He was new. Young, not even out of his twenties. I have been given another life.
Now for the second task, where was he exactly? He turned left, arms outstreched until his hands found rock. He followed it until he found a door leading into a central chamber. Grasping the door frame he entered, and then fell to his knees when he saw an altar before him. Of course, he thought staring at the altar... the altar where his Imperial Dragon Armor once lay. The others had returned him to where he'd left. Sancre Tor... My legacy.
The temple had turned to ruin. By the looks of it there had not been a visitor there for centuries. There were no obstacles to hinder his path. With a quiet prayer to Arkay for the souls of those buried here, Talos began to search the graves and tombs of the dead in search of any sort of armor or clothing, and a weapon if he should be so lucky. These graves were those of Bretons and Nords, dead from the battle of Sancre Tor. Yet there were a few here who were once Blades, and others who were once royalty though, now, long forgotten; his own descendants. Sadly, he found the ruins of Sancre Tor had been looted long ago. He found nothing but rags, yet rags were better than nothing when it came to going bare into the world. If he was remembering right, Sancre Tor was in the Frostback Mountains bordering Skyrim. He would need protection from the cold.
As he left the ruins he was blinded by the light of the sun and the pure whiteness of the snow. For a moment he was at a loss for direction. Then he remembered, like an old memory from a lifetime ago.
North, to Skyrim.
"Hey, you, you're finally awake," said a voice from across from him. Talos blinked his eyes, the world returning into focus. What happened? He remembered walking though the mountains, then hearing fighting, and going to see if he could find out what was going on, then... nothing. Once things came into full focus he looked across from him There sat a young Nord in chain mail with blue cloth underneath, to his left were two more Nords, one in peasants clothing and the other who looked like he was a noble;
the noble was gagged. "You were trying to cross the border, right?" the young Nord said as he eyed Talos with concern, "Walked right into that Imperial ambush, same as us, and that thief over there," he said as he nodded in the direction of the ungagged Nord.
"Damn you stormcloaks, Skyrim was fine before you came along. Empire was nice and lazy," said the thief. Talos frowned, the Stormcloaks? Of course, the civil war in Skyrim.
At this point he hadn't bothered to see who was driving their little wagon train. Talos took this chance to look at the driver; an Imperial soldier. "If they hadn't been looking for you, I could've stolen that horse and be half way to Hammerfell," the thief fummed, then turned to Talos, "You there, you and me – we shouldn't be here. It's these Stormcloaks the Empire wants."
"We're all brothers and sisters in binds now, thief," said the young Stormcloak quickly.
They were all silent for a few moments, it was the thief who broke their silence, he turned to Talos, "And what's wrong with him, huh?" he said as he stole a glance at the gagged noble.
"Watch your tongue. You're speaking to Ulfric Stormcloak, the true High King," the Stormcloak growled, "Show some respect!"
The thief's face turned white, "Ulfric? The Jarl of Windhelm?" he said shakily, "You're the leader of the rebellion. But if they've captured you…." he gasped, "Oh gods, were they taking us?"
Talos looked at the man to his right, so this was the great Ulfric Stormcloak? The man who rebeled against the Empire; against the elves? Talos held back a smile, Just like me when I was young, one man against the world. Meanwhile the thief was becoming more and more anxious; he was litterally shaking in fear.
The Stormcloak seemed to notice this, "What village are you from horse thief?" he said, his voice soft, comforting.
The thief looked at him curiously, with what looked like accusation in his eyes, "Why do you care?"
"A Nord's last thoughts should be of home," the Stormcloak said softly.
"Rorikstead. I… I'm from Rorikstead," the thief said, his voice cracking over each word.
Talos watched as the train of wagons approached a great stone wall. There was a loud creaking sound as the front gates opened. Somewhere a soldier cried out something, but Talos did not hear the response. He was thinking of ways to get out of this predicament. Sadly, though, none came to his mind that wouldn't endanger the other prisoners.
The thief was now crying out to the gods, "Shor, Mara, Dibella, Kynareth, Akatosh. Divines, please help me!" Talos bowed his head, maybe Akatosh had heard him, but his prayers would be in vain. The Divines did not involve themselves in the lives, or deaths, of mortals. He wasn't sure if this thief was a believer of the Nine, but Talos was there and heard his prayer; if he had any power still maybe it would matter.
As they passed the entrance gates Talos was able to catch a glimpse of a soldier in shining armor, and then he saw him conversing with a group of High Elves. The Stormcloak must have seen them too, "Look at him, General Tullius, the Military Governor, and it looks like the Thalmor are him, Damn elves. I bet they had something to do with this," he hissed.
A sour taste grew in Talos' mouth. So those were the Thalmor? The ones who had banished his worshipers from the Empire? Who thought them mighty enough to control the gods? Anger grew inside him, anger he had not known for a millenia; the rage of a man scorned. Unintentionally he reached for his Voice, but then he stopped, shocked. He could not reach it. The capability of the Voice was there, the essense that made him Dragonborn, he could feel it inside him, but he could not remember a word of the language that gives power to the Thu'um.
His heart pounded in his chest, Akatosh had said he would lose something of himself, had his mastery of the Dragon Lanuage been that? Without the words the Voice was nothing. He would be starting over. This is what he meant.
Defeated, Talos sunk into his seat as he caught the Stormcloak in mid conversation, "Funny, when I was a boy, Imperial walls and towers used to make me feel so safe," he said with a half hearted laugh.
He watched as the wagon cleared a corner and then eased next to the other wagon, the prisoners from the other wagon already had begun disembarking. Theirs had only stopped for a moment when a harsh voice shouted a command, "Get these prisoners out of the carts. Move!"
Immediately, they started leaving their cart. Once they were all off they lined up the Imperial Officers arranged themselves in front. The captians' armor flashed in the late afternoon sun as the soldier next to her held a scroll and quill and seemed to be counting.
"Empire loves their damned lists," said the Stormcloak next to him, Talos held back a laugh.
The soldier with the scroll began reading off names. As their names were called the prisoners assembled themselves at the block, and now they had reached their group, "Ulfric Stormcloak, Jarl of Windhelm," Ulfric stepped forward and followed the others, still gagged and unable to speak.
"It has been an honor, Jarl Ulfric," said the Stormcloak beside him reverently.
"Ralof of Riverwood," said the reader.
The Stormcloak beside him, Ralof, smiled softly at Talos, "Let's go. Shouldn't keep the gods waiting for us," then he followed Ulfric to the block.
"Lokir of Rorikstead."
The thief practically jumped out of his skin at the sound of his name, "No, I'm not a rebel! You can't do this!" he said, eyeing the Imperials wildly. "You're not going to kill me!" He bolted and ran like a daedra fleeing a Temple. Talos hoped for a moment that Lokir would escape.
"Archers!" cried the Captain. A triple of arrows flew from the walls and into Lokir's back. The thief fell to the ground and moved no more. He was dead before he had even hit the ground.
"Anyone else feel like running?" asked the Captain of the remaining prisoners, there was silence.
Shaking his head the list reader continued, but then stopped and looked directly at Talos, "Wait," he said. "You there. Step forward." Talos stepped forward, keeping his eyes on the soldier, "Who are you?"
"I'm a Nord, I came from Cyrodiil," Talos said, his voice rough from lack of use. He searched his brain for a name. He couldn't say he was Tiber Septim, or Talos, not even his name before that. Then a word came to mind, he wasn't sure of where it came from or of it's meaning, but it was perfect.
Talos smiled, "Revakkaal."
Escape from Helgen
"Captain, what should we do? This one's not on the list."
"To the block," she said curtly, "all of them."
The reader mumbled something Revak couldn't hear, "Yes Captain," he said, avoiding eye contact with Revak, "You heard the Captain, prisoner, to the block."
With a soft nod Revak followed the others to the block. He strained against the binds around his wrists, managing to loosen them a little, but still not enough to free his hands. Dismayed, he took his place in between two Stormcloak soldiers. He felt the eyes of the citizens of the small town bearing on him. He watched as a middle aged Imperial dressed in fine armor and a red generals cloak was led to the execuation area accompanied by two High elves dressed in intricate black robes. Hate grew in Revak's stomach, Damn the Thalmor to Oblivion!, Revak cursed, My Empire has become nothing but their puppets! The general approached Ulfric, who was still gagged, and stared into the Nord's eyes before beginning.
"Ulfric Stormcloak," he said, his voice condemning, "some here in Helgen call you a hero, but a hero doesn't use a power like the Voice to murder the king and usurp his throne."
Helgen? Revak thought. He didn't remember Helgen; meaning that it must be a newer village. And the Voice? Ulfric could use the Thu'um? That was interesting. The general was still droning on, "You started this war! Plunged Skyrim into chaos! And now the Empire is going to put you down and restore peace." This is wrong! No trial? Revak thought. Certainly for something this important the Empire should go through all the proper procedures before just simply killing a man! This is insanity.
Tullius turned and rejoined to the Thalmor. The Captain saluted the general as he passed her, "Give them their last rites!" she commanded the priest next to her.
The young priest stepped forward. You could tell she was nervous, she walked softly, like her legs shook beneath her. She raised her hands, "As we commend your souls to Ather-"
"Oh, for the love of Talos, shut up already," Revak jumped a little at the sound of his name. I'm a curse now? he thoughtas the Stormcloak to his right stepped forward.
The priestess seemed just as surprised. Revak could almost make out her scowl from where he stood. "Very well then," she said as the Stormcloak passed her as he made his way to the block. The Captain lowered him to his knees and pressed his head against the stone.
He was smiling as the headsman raised his axe, "My ancestors are smiling at me, Imperials! Can you say the same?" he said as the axe hung in the air before swiftly cutting through his neck; the man died with a smile still etched on his face. His body slumped to the ground as there was a sickening thud as the head landed in the basket. Blood pooled around the bare neck as two Imperials cleared the headless body away from the block so that the next prisoner could approach.
"Next prisoner!" called the Captain, her eyes searching through the crowd. "You!" she pointed at Revak, "the renegade Nord from Cyrodiil!" Revak sighed as he stepped forward. That's when he heard it, a roar. It was dulled, like whatever made it was some distance away. Revak paused as the creature roared again, the others looked just as nervous, muttering under their breaths and searching the sky as they tried to find the source of the strange call.
The Captain wasn't about to let a strange creature interupt her, "I said, next prisoner," she said with a hint of venom.
Revakaal's mind was a buzz as he approached the block. He'd already thought of a plan. His bonds were loose enough so that they granted some movement, but not much. As he approached he saw that the headsman had been favoring one leg, meaning that his other had been injured previously. He could knee the headsman and use the axe to sever the bonds. Revak said a small prayer to Akatosh for luck.
As he approached he heard that call again, but much louder and closer this time. Revak approached the block, his heart afire in his chest. That's when he saw it. Just above the tower he could see a huge black dragon; almost as large as Akatosh's avatar. It swooped and turned, it's maw open and raw with black and red flames. Everyone was frozen in fear as the dragon gathered it's flame. Revak ducked to the ground, narrowly avoiding the stream of flames, as it released the flames. Revak rolled and landed on his knees, and watched as the dragon landed on the tower.
Even in his time as Talos he'd never seen a dragon that size. It can't be, he thought as he watched the dragon gather flame once more. Revak saw the Captain issuing orders to frantic soldiers. The dragon drew back it's head and let free a blast of flame. Revak charged the Captain, knocking her off her feet and preventing her from being toasted in her armor.
Flames surged over their heads as Revak looked and saw that the Captain's helm had fallen off. Her brown eyes were wide in fear and surprise, "Sorry M'am, I'm afraid that you've got a bit of a dragon problem," Revak said as he pushed himself to his feet and ran in the direction of the keep, following a group of Stormcloaks.
Running was awkward still in binds, but he made it into the keep. Two Stormcloaks closed the door behind him. Revak sank to the floor, sweat crawling down his brow. Once the world stopped spinning he took account of what was around him. It was a simple keep tower. A few Stormcloaks already were there a few of them injured. The others were either aiding the injured or grouped togther speaking in hurried hushed voices.
He recognized Ralof as he approached. The young Nord's blond hair was caked with soot and ash. He motioned to Revak to come closer, holding a dagger in his hands. "Here," he said, "let's see if we can get those bindings off." Revak nodded and let Ralof cut his bonds. Once free Revak rubbed his wrists to return circulation. Revak nodded in thanks, and rose to his feet. The sounds of fighting and fire still coming from outside.
Ralof looked at him, "What was that thing? You don't think," he paused, choosing his words, "you don't think the legends can be true?"
Revak scowled, "Legends don't burn down villages."
"True," Ralof nodded. "C'mon, let's get out of here," he said eyeing the stairs. "This place is nothing but a tomb." Revak agreed, this shoddy tower wouldn't stand up to any dragon... especially that one.
"Good idea," Revak said as he started up the steps. Ralof followed, as they made their way up the entire tower shook. Both of them had to go down to their knees to prevent falling down the stairs from the force of the shaking.
"What in Oblivion is that?" Ralof cursed as he took the lead, "C'mon kinsman!"
Just then the wall gave way as fire streamed inside, nearly cooking them on the spot. The stood, frozen, as the dragon passed on. Slowly, Revak looked out through the gap. The dragon was on the other side of the village attacking a group of Imperial archers.
Ralof stood beside him, "You go ahead," he said, his blue eyes fierce as he watcehd the dragon killing the Imperials and citzens alike.
Revak nodded as he approached the gap in the wall. Below he saw the inn. Part of the roof had been blown apart, leaving the second floor open. It would be a tricky jump, but it would be possible. He was about to jump, but then he stopped and looked at Ralof, "What about you?"
Ralof shook his head, "I've got to see if I can help the other Stormcloaks."
"Then I'm staying with you," Revak said, stepping away from the gap, "We probably have a better chance together."
Ralof smiled, "Good!"
Together they ran down the stairs, taking them two at a time, only to find that the others had already left. "Damn it!" Ralof said once he noticed the others had left.
"They probably thought we'd died when the dragon broke through the wall."
"Probably," he said, kicking a sack with a satisfying thud.
Revak frowned and started searching for another way out, any way out avoiding outside. He noticed a door that must lead below the keep, "Hey, look," he said, pointing to the door, "a way out, don't you think?"
"Ha, looks like our luck isn't completely spent," he said as he picked up an axe from a dead Stormcloak. Revak watched him, "Gundar won't be needing these anymore," he said as he handed Revak a iron sword.
Revak drew the sword from it's scabbard, it wasn't the greatest of quality and it was heavily used, but it was sharp; that would be all that he'd need. He gave it a twirl as he checked the balance. Once convinced that it wouldn't shatter he sheathed it and wrapped it and it's belt around his waist and followed Ralof further into the keep.
The door did lead underneath the keep. The air was moist and dank. There little light except for the occasional torch leading the way down the dark hall. "I think this leads to the dungeons," Ralof said softly.
At the end they reached a door. It was wooden and barely on it's hinges. They heard voices inside. Smoothly as he could, Revak drew his sword. Ralof did the same with his axe. Revak raised his finger to his lips, Quiet, now. Ralof nodded as Revak slowly grasped the door handle and pushed.
The smell inside was strong with carrion. Slowly, gently, Revak stepped forward, the door was on the opposite side of a wall. On the other side he heard a soft voice, "Shhh shhh shhhh little ones! You're safe here. Old Lex will take care of you. Safe in your cages. You'll sing for Lex! Oh such beautiful songs!" the voice was soft and sinister, with a crack of insanity.
Revak looked back at Ralof, who urged him forward, his eyes full of disgust. As Revak turned the corner he saw what almost made him gag. Cages hung from the ceiling. Some held bodies, but others only bits and pieces. Inside one of the cages sat a Nord, who seemed barely alive. On the other wall lay a table full of sinister tools. Revak didn't even know what some of them were. At the table stood an elderly Imperial soldier, who was using a towel to remove the blood from his arms. On the other side of the room there was another door.
Revak pointed at the Nord in the cage, On three, Revak mouthed. Ralof nodded.Then he held up his fingers, One, two, three, and just as they were about to charge the old man there was a crash at the other door.
A Nord woman wearing Stormcloak mail burst through the door with her bow drawn followed by another Stormcloak. With a throaty cry she released her arrow, missing the old Imperial by inches. He turned and fired a stream of electricity. She ducked and the electricity was absorbed by the wall behind her. Revak and Ralof charged in as well, surrounding the Imperial.
The old man cackled, "Oh look! Enough for a choir!" fire started gathering in his fists, the old mage smiled wickedly, "Oh the songs! The beautiful cries! A symphony!" He threw a wall of flame, knocking them all back. Revak saw stars as his head hit the stone floor. Shaking away the pain in his head he charged the old mage, who now held a dagger in his hand.
With the ease of a veteran Revak disarmed the mage, and before the mad old Imperial even knew what had happened Revak's blade pressed against throat. "Arkay guide you," Revak mumbled as he drove his sword through the man's throat. A crazed smile was imprinted on the old mage's face, and with one last gurgle he fell to the floor and moved no more.
With a sigh Revak used the mage's robe to clear his blade of the gore. Then sheathed it as he heard the others getting to their feet. Revak turned and offered his arm to Ralof who grudingly accepted it, rubbing the back of his head. The Stormcloak woman was getting up as well, though her companion moved no more. Blood pooled around his head, Revak knew instantly that he'd landed in a bad way. With a silent curse and a prayer Revak approached the fallen Stormcloak and closed his eyes.
"He was a good man," said the woman, "and a good soldier."
Revak nodded, "Sadly he'll have to stay here," she nodded solemly. "Are you all right? Name's Revak, my friend is Ralof. What's your name?"
"My name is Sigrid. I got a couple bruises from landing and a burn from the flames, but nothing serious," she said as she removed her helm, revealing her brown hair and light eyes. She picked up her former companion's axe and placed it on his chest, folding his hands over it, "Dagar, I'll see you in Sovengarde, brother." Sigrid turned to Revak, "We'd come to get any prisoners out of this wretched place," she looked at the Nord in the cage, "are we too late?"
Ralof walked to the cage, and shook his head.
"Do you know a way out of Helgen? What's going on on the surface?"
She shuddered, "The whole village is lost, that monster is picking off soldiers one by one and destroying the entire keep. The only way out is the way we came, but I think it's been blocked."
"I think I may know a way," Ralof said, "I told you I used to be sweet on a girl from here? She and I would meet in some caverns below the keep. I could get in without her parent's even knowing I was here. There might be a way to get in from here."
Revak shrugged, "Might as well try." He looked at the Sigrid, "You ready to go?"
She scoffed, "Me? Ready to kill some Imperials? Next Imperial I see is dead."
"Good," he laughed quietly as they left the torture chamber behind them. Revakaal took the lead, the other two in tow. They found themselves in a winding hallway, and Revak guessed by the smell of dirt and water they were pretty deep underground, "Which way did you come?" he asked Sigrid as he kept moving down the tunnel.
"A little ways down there's another path, we came from there. It connects to the main hall, " Revak nodded as they continued. "Your accent, it's strange," Sigrid said as she caught up with Revak, "You're not from Skyrim?"
"No," Revak said shaking his head, "I was raised in Skyrim, but I spent much of my time in Cyrodiil."
"Wait," she put her good hand on his shoulder and stopped him, "Cyrodiil? You didn't fight for the Empire? Did you?"
Revak knew he needed to step lightly here, "No," he said, gesturing that they should continue forward, "I didn't, but my, uh, father did. He was something of a hero in the Legion. A sort of legend." Revak hated lying, but he didn't think the world was ready for Talos quite yet.
Sigrid stiffened, "I knew it! I saw how you disarmed that mage, that wasn't something that the Stormcloaks teach; that was an Imperial move."
"My father taught me how to fight," Revak shrugged, "Look, I hold no love for how the Empire has acted in all this - like how they removed Talos from the Divines," bastards, "but I'm no Stormcloak either."
"You are going to have to choose sometime," said Ralof from behind them, "Maybe not now, but you've seen the true face of the Empire today."
Revak scowled, "I've seen the actions of a few members of the Empire. I'm not going to place judgement on the entire Empire for the actions of a few Legionaires."
They were silent for a time, as they continued, until they reached and intersection of the tunnels. "There," Sigrid said, pointing, "that's the way we came." They turned left only to find the entire tunnel shaking, and next thing they knew they were on their backs again and the tunnel in front of them blocked by rocks.
"Damned dragon doesn't give up easy does it?" Ralof said, picking himself up.
"Apparently not," Sigrid said with a sigh, "I guess we go the other way. I hope it opens up into that cavern you were talking about."
They turned and made their way down the other path. It opened up into a doorway, leading down some small stairs and into small underground stream.
"Is this it?" Revak turned to Ralof.
"Must be," he shrugged, "I never knew how she got down into the caverns, just that they were there"
They followed the stream to a dead end, the only path being a small tunnel, "Guess we have to go that way," Revak said softly, "let's go."
The tunnel was too small for them to walk through normally. Instead they had to walk sideways, almost crawling along the wall. Luckily, that little tunnel was short and opened up into a large cavern; but something felt off. There was some weird sticky material along the walls and floor, and large sacks of something Revak didn't recognize were littered about, as well as the leftovers of animals. The three stood there silent for a moment. Revak drew his sword, as did the others draw their weapons. Just as they did three shapes fell from the cavern's ceiling.
Three frostbite spiders landed in front of them. They were arge green and red beasts that were the size of a large dog, "Watch out for poison!" Revak cried as he dodged a spider that had charged him. He sidestepped the eight legged monstrosity and slashed at one of it's legs as it past; severing the leg from the body. The creature cried out in pain and lunged at Revak again, this time it jumped in the air. With a cry he slashed at it mid-air and the spider fell to the ground in front of him, cut nicely in half. The others dispatched their spiders, and the three stood catching their breath.
"I hate those things," Ralof grunted between breaths, "too many eyes you know?" Revak laughed as he wiped his blade clean and sheathed it. He was careful to avoid the webs they continued down the cavern, and into a large open area where they met the stream again.
"At least we're heading in the right direction," Sigrid said pointing at the water, "That should lead to an exit sooner or later."
They followed the water, until Ralof stopped Revak in his tracks by blocking him with his arm, "Hold up!" he whispered as he crouched low, "There's a bear up ahead! See her?"
Revak saw her now, a large black cave bear was resting in the open area just ahead, "We could sneak by or take our chances, " Revak said softly.
"Or we can take it out from here," Sigrid laughed. She picked an arrow from her quiver and drew her bow smoothly. She aimed carefully then let loose the arrow. The bear cried in pain, and tried to get up, but it was too injured to move. The arrow was stuck firmly in it's neck and within seconds it ceased moving.
"Nice shot," Revak laughed as they passed the bear and Sigrid collected her arrow, "you hunt a lot?"
Sigrid nodded, "My father used to hunt out in Eastmarch before he died."
"What happened if you don't mind me asking?" Revak said.
"He was executed by the Empire. He was a devout worshiper of Talos, and he preached all over Skyrim once they removed him from the Divines," she said softly. "They executed him publicly in Solitude to make an example of him and to show that the damn Empire meant it when they banned Talos worship."
Then he reached under her chainmail and pulled out an amulet, a golden symbol all too familiar to Revak, "This was my father's Amulet of Talos," she said holding it gently, "it's all that's left of him now."
Revak raised an eyebrow, "May I?" he said holding out his hand. Reluctantly, she removed the amulet and placed it gently in his hand. Here is one of my people, he thought, forced to worship her father's god in secret. To worship me in secret. He wasn't sure if he had any power, but he blessed it as best he could. Protect the wearer of this amulet from all foes, and if the worst passes, grant her a good death and a place in Sovngarde. "It's a beautiful piece," he said returning it to her, "treasure it. You never know; it might be lucky."
She smiled weakly as she put the amulet back on and tucked it under her armor. They walked for a few moments before they saw daylight. Their eyes squinting in the sun they left the cave. Their noses were assaulted by the thick smell of pine and crisp snow.
They stood there, soaking in their freedom, "Thank the Nine we made it," Ralof said, as he turned to the others, "I wonder if Ulfric made it out."
"He's Ulfric! He shouted the high king to death. I'm sure he can survive a dragon attack," Sigrid said with a smile, "I mean we did."
Revak smiled, but then heard that the similar roar of the dragon once again, "Everyone DOWN!" he cried as he pushed the others to the ground just as a large black figure soared overhead. Revak checked and saw that the dragon was flying North and away.
"By the gods," Ralof whispered. They watched in silence as the dragon flew over the mountains and out of sight. A shiver went down Revakaal's spine, that had to have been Alduin. The only other dragon he'd seen that size was Akatosh himself. It was unnerving that he'd run into Alduin already. He wondered if worm had noticed him. If he could sense him at all. It was an unsettling thought that he didn't know for sure.
RiverwoodRevak and the others watched as the great black dragon flew East over the mountains and out of sight. "There he goes, looks like he's gone for good this time," Revak said as the dragon disappeared.
Revak stood, taking the moment to check their surroundings, making sure they were alone, "No way to know if anyone else made it out alive, huh?" he said softly.
Ralof shook his head, "No, and this place is going to be swarming with Imperials soon enough."
"Ralof, you and I need to return to Windhelm," Sigrid said as she stood, offering her hand to Ralof, "We have to return to the Stormcloaks," Ralof took her arm and she pulled him to his feet, "they need to know what happened."
"Of course, " Ralof agreed, "we'll stop in Riverwood first. My sister, Gerdur, runs the mill. We can get some supplies then head to Windhelm."
He turned to Revak, "I know you're not a Stormcloak, but you're welcome to join us to Riverwood. I'm sure my sister would help you as well."
Revak nodded in thanks and followed the Stormcloaks down the path, then to the road to Riverwood.
They reached the village before the sun set. The village's small stone wall greeted them. For the first time since before he could remember Revak felt safe. The town was quiet. Its few residents already returning home for their evening meals or to the tavern to relax. It was a quaint little place, chickens roamed freely, as well as dogs, and a few cattle in their pens. The sound of the River and mill were omnipresent, and the constant rushing sound of the river was relaxing in a way. Ralof lay a hand on Revak's shoulder, "Welcome to my home, my friend, " he said. He pointed toward the mill, "Let's find my sister, she should be somewhere around the mill."
Then he headed toward the mill, Sigrid and Revak followed in tow. "Gerdur!" Ralof called as they made their way to the opposite side of the mill. A young Nord woman with light hair appeared from behind the lumber yard, she saw Ralof and her face lit with a smile. She ran to Ralof and hugged him, tears threatening to fall from her eyes, "Brother! Mara's mercy! It's good to see you." She pulled away, "But is it safe for you here? I heard that Ulfric had been captured!
Ralof smiled, "Don't worry Gerdur, I'm safe, at least I am now."
"What happened?" Gerdur stepped back and seemed to finally notice Sigrid and Revak, "and who's this?" she said as she looked them from head to toe taking in their haggard appearance.
"These are my friends," Ralof said. He pointed to Sigrid, "This is my comrade and fellow Stormcloak, Sigrid," Sigrid nodded, "and my friend Revakaaal."
"Welcome," Gerdur smiled. "Any friend of my brothers' is a friend of mine."
"Thank you," Revak nodded, "your welcome is much appreciated."
"Your accent," Gerdur said, eyeing Revak suspiciously, "it's different. Where are you from?"
"I'm from Cyrodiil, "Revak said calmly. He took note that he'd have to adjust his speech during his time in Skyrim.
"Really?" she said, taken aback, "Cyrodiil? And you're friends with Stormcloaks?"
"Not everyone in Cyrodiil supports what the Empire's done," Revak smiled softly. "Besides, I'm a Nord."
She nodded in agreement, "Well then," she looked at the three, "you three look like you have quite the tale to tell."
Sigrid laughed, "You don't know the half of it."
Ralof pulled Gerdur aside, "Is there somewhere we can talk? No telling if the news of Helgen has reached the Imperials."
"Helgen?" she said, shocked, "Has something happened?" She looked at the three, when none were forthcoming she stepped back, "You're right, follow me. Just one moment," then she turned and called out, "Hod!" she shouted.
A large Nord man stepped out from beside the lumber mill, "What is it woman? Sten drunk on the job again?"
"Hod, just come here," she said sharply. Without another word she led him to the group. Hod's eyes grew wide when he saw Ralof.
"Ralof!" he said, shocked, "What are you doing here!" Gerdur motioned for silence. Without another word she led them to an outcropping near the side of her mill, where the sound of their voices would be drowned by the sound of the river and the mill.
Once they were safe Hod turned to Ralof and embraced his brother-in-law roughly, "Now, Ralof, what's going on? You three look pretty well done in."
Ralof sighed and took a seat on large rock nearby, "I can't remember when I last slept..." Then Ralof began his tale, how his Stormcloak caravan had been ambushed by Imperial soldiers, how they'd been taking captive. Every now and then Sigrid would add to the story, but Revak remained silent. He simply didn't remember this ambush, or how he'd gotten to be in the middle of it. Everything since Sancre Tor had been a blur. Finally Ralof reached the attack at Helgen, "They had us lined up at the headsman's' block, all ready to start chopping-"
"Those cowards!" Gerdur interrupted.
"They wouldn't dare give Ulfric a fair trial," Ralof continued patiently, "Treason! For fighting for your own country! All of Skyrim would have seen the truth then, but then, out of nowhere, a dragon attacked."
Gerdur shook at the word 'dragon', "You can't be serious, a dragon?"
"I can hardly believe it myself," Ralof confirmed, much to Gerdur's apparent dismay.
"As strange as it sounds," Sigrid said calmly, "we'd all be dead if that dragon hadn't attacked when it did. In the chaos we managed to slip away."
"Are we the first to make it to Riverwood?" Revak asked softly, fearing the answer.
Gerdur shook her head, "No one else has come up the South road today." Revak's heart sank.
Sigrid stepped forward, "We need to lay low, maybe some supplies for the trip back to Windhelm."
"You all are welcome to stay with us as long as you need to," Gerdur said with a smile, "and are free to take any supplies you need."
Ralof stood and hugged his sister, "Thank you, Gerdur."
With that Hod and Gerdur lead them to their home. It was a nice place, small and simple, yet it was also the largest house in the small town, there was plenty of room for all of them. They were given bed rolls while Gerdur prepared the evening meal. The smell of cooked beef made Revak's mouth water. He felt like he hadn't eaten in a thousand years, then he laughed to himself when he realized that was probably true. Over dinner they discussed their travel plans, "Let's stay the night, then we can make the journey to Windhelm tomorrow," Sigrid suggested.
"And what of you Revak?" Ralof asked as he opened a new beer, "You're not a Stormcloak, so you don't have to go back to Windhelm."
Revak stared at his plate, that he wasn't sure of. He knew his ultimate goal, defeat Alduin, but something like that hardly came with a manual. Where do I even start! He thought, still staring at his beans like they would tell him all the answers.
There were no Blades to take to his side anymore, and it wasn't like the Greybeards were ever interested in hunting dragons. If he'd returned as a full god he'd simply approach Alduin. As it was, Revak wasn't Talos Stormcrown, he was Revakaal. His powers dropped significantly when he volunteered to return to Nirn. Something Akatosh warned him about before he returned. Perhaps I was too hasty in volunteering to return, he thought."I'm not sure; I suppose I am curious as to what's going to be done about this dragon."
He was surprised when Gerdur smiled at him, "I thought you'd be. Look, I know you don't know us very well, but we need your help." Revak motioned for her to continue, "Riverwood doesn't have a standing guard force. We used to have a few guards from Whiterun, but they were forced to leave because of the Civil War. Whiterun needed all of its guards in case of an attack. But now, with these dragons, Riverwood is in danger." She took a breath, "Would you be willing to go to Whiterun tomorrow and request the Jarl return those soldiers to Riverwood."
"Of course," Revak agreed, "I will journey to Whiterun in the morning."
Gerdur smiled, "Thank you, Revak, you don't know how much this means to us, to Riverwood."
"It's no trouble at all. I'm glad to help."
At that they finished their meal and prepared to sleep for the night.
* * * * * * * * *
Once everyone was asleep Revak opened his eyes. Slowly, he stood, keeping sure that Ralof and the others were soundly asleep. Revak gathered his things and, sneaking, he made his way to the door and slowly opened it and made his way outside. The cold night air bit his face as he made his way around the house and into the woods.
He walked for a time until he reached a clearing. Revak placed his things on the forest floor and stood in the center of the clearing. He gathered some sticks and bark and piled them in the center of the forest. He knelt down in front of the wood pile, and then focused on his inner life force. The magicka within, and using a flame spell his lit the pile, creating a small fire.
Revak sat before the fire, listening the cracks and pops of the flames. Reverently, Revak opened his pack and removed a sweet roll, "For the Divines," he said as he dropped it into the fire. Greedily the flames ate away at the pastry. This was an old custom, giving sacrifices to the Divines, very old in fact it was old when Revak was a young man named Hjalti living in Skyrim. That was before he was even given the name Talos.
"Akatosh," he prayed, "guide me."
He closed his eyes tightly, hoping, praying, that the great dragon would somehow show himself and help him. Instead, the fire glowed softly and the air smelled faintly of burnt cinnamon. He was about to give up when suddenly there was a flash of light around him.
Blinking, Revak found himself in a world of white. He stood, taking in the environment around him. He noticed he was wearing his divine Imperial Dragon armor, "Where am I?"
"No place in particular," said a deep voice behind him, Revak jumped and turned around, and found himself face to face with an old man in gold robes.
"Akatosh?" Revak said.
The old man nodded, "Yes." He smiled, "You always knew I had a weak spot for sweets."
Revak returned the smile as Akatosh motioned for Revak to walk with him, "What is it that you needed?"
"A briefing would be nice," Revak said harshly.
Akatosh stopped, "Sadly there is no briefing for this." Akatosh saw Revak's confused expression and continued, "This wasn't supposed to happen. When the heroes of old sent Alduin out of time they actually sent him forward. He was supposed to destroy a different world. Now time is out of balance."
"You're saying if they hadn't have done that Alduin would have succeeded in the past, meaning there'd be a different past… present," Revak concluded.
"Exactly, Alduin was doing his duty, but now he is filled with revenge. This isn't the world he was meant to destroy anymore. There is no simple way to defeat him."
"But the old ones did," Revak said as the idea brewed in his head, "they stopped him long enough to send him forward in time."
Akatosh smiled, "Exactly."
"So I need to figure out how they did it in the past."
"How do I do that?"
"I can't help you more than I already have. The others will be watching," Akatosh said quickly, "And our time here is nearing an end. Good luck Tiber Septim."
Revak whinced as he felt his mind returning to his body. Once he opened his eyes he was shocked that it was already morning. Faint trails of sunlight peeked through the canopy above, dew had coated him like a fine mist, and his small camp fire had gone out. He stood, ignoring the head rush as he reached his feet, and gathered his things and returned to the house.
By the time he got there Ralof and Sigrid were already packing their supplies on their horses and preparing to leave. Revak noticed a third horse had been tacked for him. It was Ralof who spotted him first, "Good morning, friend," he said as he placed the saddle on his horse, "I see you went for an early morning jaunt?"
"Helps clear the head," Revak grunted as he blinked in the early morning sunlight.
Ralof laughed, "We were just about to leave. I was worried you'd left us without a proper farewell!"
"Perish the thought," Revak said with a grin. He approached his horse. The brown mare was already fully tacked, and had supplies in the saddlebags.
"Did Gerdur set this all up?"
Ralof nodded, "She had to leave early to manage the mill, she said to wish you luck; and to take good care of Daisy."
Revak eyed his horse with a raised brow, "Daisy?"
"It's her flower of choice apparently."
With that all three mounted their horses and headed up the North road. They stayed together until they reached a crossroad. At that point Ralof and Sigrid waved as they continued East, leaving Revak moving Northwest to Whiterun.
In the distance he could see the towers of Dragonsreach hovering over the small hold of Whiterun. A half dozen farms littered the outside walls; one of the windmills was buzzing wildly in the afternoon wind. It had taken a few hours to reach the city, but he would still have plenty of time to see the Jarl if he kept moving at this pace. Urging Daisy forward he headed towards the city at a brisk, steady pace.
He left Daisy at the stables, then made the hike to the front gates. Two guards stood watch. As Revak approached the gates one stepped forward to receive him, "Halt! The city is closed to visitors," the guard said. His voice was muffled from beneath his helm yet it was still easy to notice his thick Nord accent, "What is your business in Whiterun?"
Revak lifted his hands to show he was not a danger, "I'm coming bearing news from Helgen."
"Helgen?" his voice seemed shocked.
Revak nodded slowly, "I need to speak to your Jarl as soon as possible."
"Understood," the guard said as he stepped back, "come and deliver your message, the Jarl will want to speak with you."
Upon entering the hold Revak was assaulted by the sights and smells of the busy city. Compared to Riverwood, Whiterun was buzzing hive of activity. Revak followed the guard as he weaved through the crowd as he headed uphill toward the large palace on top of the hill. The large palace was a familiar site. Dragonsreach had been a mark on Skyrim's skyline for centuries. It was comforting for Revak to see something that was once so familiar.
Revak stayed close to the guard that was guiding him to the palace, "Is it true?" the guard asked as they made their way to the upper quarter, "that Helgen was destroyed by a dragon? A real dragon?"
Revak nodded solemly, "Yes."
The guard stopped and turned to Revak, "By the gods," he said shaking his head, "how are we supposed to defend ourselves against dragons?"
"We'll find a way to fight them."
The guard started walking again, "I hope so, bandits I can handle, but dragons?" he shook his head.
They were both silent as they scaled the steps to the entrance to Dragonsreach. Once they reached the heavy wooden doors, the guard stopped, "The Jarl is inside," he said stepping off the the side, "the Jarl will probably want to talk to you straightaway."
The guard banged on the heavy oak doors and they swung open. The inside of Dragonsreach was spectacular. It was known that it was one of the oldest palaces in Skyrim, but it also was the only one that was meant to house a captive dragon. A large banquet hall greeted him, two long tables surrounded a great hearth. The tables were bare for now, but during celebrations and special dinners the tables would be filled with dishes from all over Skyrim.
As Revak neared the throne he could not help but notice the Jarl seemed to be in deep conversation with his steward. A dunmer in heavy armor stood at the Jarl's side, her hand was resting atop her sword's hilt. She took notice of Revakkaal, with a scowl she drew her blade and approached Revak, her blade aimed at his heart, "What is the meaning of this interuption?" her accent was the thick accent of Morrowind, "Jarl Balgruuf is not receiving any visitors."
Revak held his hands up to show he meant no harm, "I've come from Riverwood," his voice was calm and steady, "I was at Helgen when it was attacked."
"Well," she said, eyeing him, "that explains why the guards let you in," she sheathed her blade,
"Come on then, the Jarl will want to handle this personally," she turned and took her place at the Jarl's right hand side. Now the Jarl seemed to notice him, he looked at Revak, he seemed to be taking him in. The Jarl was a middle aged man, a light haired nord, dressed in finery and wearing the crown of Whiterun, a simple golden circlet.
The Jarl leaned back in his throne, "So, you were at Helgen? You saw this dragon with your own eyes?"
"Yes, Jarl," Revak said, his voice low, "A black dragon attacked Helgen. The Imperials guarding it never stood a chance. As far as I know, no one else escaped." He wasn't going to mention Ralof, he wasn't sure about Balgruuf's alignment when it came to the Civil War.
The Jarl shook his head and leaned forward, resting his head on his folded hands, "By Ysmir, Irileth was right," he said softly. He turned to his Steward, a skinny, balding Imperial man, "What do you say now Proventius? Shall we continue to trust in the strength of our walls? Against a dragon?"
The dark elf, Irileth was her name Revak guessed, stepped forward, her hand ever on her blade, "My Lord, we should send troops to Riverwood at once. It's in the most immediate danger," she paused, "if that dragon is lurking in the mountains..."
Immediately the Steward began to argue, something about someone taking it as an offensive, but then the Jarl stood, his fists clenched in rage, "Enough!" he shouted, "I'll not stand idly by while a dragon burns my hold and slaughters my people!" He collected himself and turned to his housecarl, "Irileth send a detachment to Riverwood at once."
"Yes my Jarl," the dark elf said evenly. She bowed to the Jarl, then left the hall, not before looking over Revak first.
The Steward was left fuming, "If you'll excuse me, I must return to my duties," he mumbled, beaten.
The Jarl returned to his thrown and sat, rubbing his eyes in frustration, "That would be best." The Steward left with a bow, leaving Revak alone in front of the Jarl. Revak was contemplating whether he should take his leave as well, when the Jarl sat up in his chair. He looked old for his age, Revak noticed. The Jarl sighed, "I sometimes question the competency of my steward."
Revak smiled, "Sometimes you need to have incompetents around to remind yourself how great you are."
Balgruuf returned the smile, "Well done, you sought me out, on your own initiative. You've done Whiterun a service, and I won't forget it."
"It was my honor, my lord."
"There is another thing you can do for me," the Jarl said as he stood. "Suitable for someone of your talents, perhaps?
Revak raised his eyebrows, "Yes?"
He motioned for Revak to follow, "Come let's go find Farengar, my court wizard. He's been looking to a matters related to these dragons and... rumors of dragons."
Revak followed the Jarl into a side room. It wasn't a large room, but it was cluttered with books, roots, plants, and numerous alchemical and other magical equipment. In the far corner a man stood at a desk, dressed in deep blue robes, hood up, he seemed to be mashing some sort of root with a mortar and pestle.
The Jarl cleared his throat and the robed man almost jumped out of his skin, he dropped the mortar, spilling a fine orange dust that when it made contact with the rug, immediately set it afire. Panicking the robed man grabbed a pitcher of water and doused the flames, coughing from the smoke.
It looked like the Jarl was trying his best not to laugh, "Farengar," he half chuckled, "I think I found someone who can help you with your," he paused, " uh, dragon project." He pushed Revak forward, "Go ahead and fill him in with all the details.
Farengar brushed off the front of his robes, "So the Jarl thinks you can be of use to me?" he said, his voice sounded confused. By the sound of his accent, Revak assumed that the man must be a Breton. Farengar shook his head as if clearing out cob webs, "Oh yes," he smiled, "he must be referring into the dragons." He began to pace about the room, "Yes I could use someone to fetch something for me."
Revak crossed his arms, "'Fetch'?"
"Well, when I say 'fetch', I really mean delve into a dangerous ruin in search of an ancient stone that may or may not actually be there."
"And this has to do with the dragons, how?"
Farengar seemed to ignore Revak's question, "You see, when the stories of dragon's began to circulate, many dismissed them as mere fantasies, rumors, Impossibilities. But I began to search for information about dragons – where had they gone all those years ago? And where were they coming from?"
Revak was beginning to get a little impatient, "Once again, what does this have to do with our current dragon problem?"
Farengar stopped pacing, "I, ah, learned of a certain stone tablet said to be held in Bleak Falls Barrow- a 'Dragonstone', said to contain the locations of dragon burial sites."
Farengar held up his hand. He headed toward a large pile of books and retrieved a map from the top. He opened it, and laid it on the table in front of the others, he pointed to the mountains West of Whiterun, "Go to Bleak Falls Barrow and retrieve the Dragonstone, find this tablet, no doubt interred in the central chamber- and bring it to me," he smiled, "Simplicity itself."
The Jarl stepped forward, "Succeed that this, and Whiterun will be in your debt."
Bleak Falls Barrow? If Revak wanted to venture into a ruin, this definitely wouldn't be one that he would be eager to go into. Bleak Falls Barrow was ancient even when he was last on Tamriel. It was named after a village that resided on top of the mountain during the time of the Dragon Wars. Bleak Falls was a village of dragon worshipers. The entire village was wiped out by a group of Dragonborn that supposedly Shouted the very walls down. Revak doubted that any Nord, even a Dragonborn could Shout a wall down. The Barrow remained a memory of those that died in the fight to take down the Dragon Priest and his worshipers. It was widely known that undead and numerous other dangerous creatures stalked the halls. It was so widely known that people started calling the Barrow 'City Under the Mountain'. It would be suicide to walk into the undead city.
Revak shook his head, "I have no equipment, and I would be entering a haunted crypt, alone, in search of something that most likely isn't even there anymore."
Farengar held up a finger, "I never said, 'most likely isn't there'. I said, 'may or may not be there'.
Revak gave him a look, "There's a difference?"
The Jarl stepped forward and laid a hand on Revak's shoulder, "I will supply you and any companions with armor and weapons for the journey."
Revak stared at the map. Taking risks was a necessity, but so was being cautious. Going with a partner was always a step better than going alone, at any rate. "Companions?" he asked, "Would you have any suggestions?"
Balgruuf thought for a moment, "We have a guard who is set for a promotion, sadly though her captain has informed me that she is anxious.
That a job as a guard is too dull, that she wants to seek adventure. Lydia's her name. She may wish to go with you, " he stepped back, " but that is all I can offer."
"Where can I find this Lydia?"
"Just ask the guards on your way out, they'd know more than I would," Balgruuf shrugged. Then he met eyes with Revak, "Will you do this?"
I might not find another way to figure out how to get to Alduin, "Yes."
The Jarl clapped Revak on the back, "Ha! I knew there was a spine in you!" He reached into his coat and handed Revak a heavy sack, "That," he said pointing to the bag in Revak's hand, "should be more than enough to buy you some armor, as well as a night or two at the Bannered Mare to rest."
"Thank you Jarl," he said, bowing slightly to the Jarl. He turned to Farengar, "I will return should I survive the Barrow; hopefully with your Dragonstone."
He tied the bag to his belt and left, asking the guard if he knew where he could find Lydia. The best guess the guard could make was that she would be at the Bannerd Mare. He thanked the guard and began to descend the steps from Dragonsreach.
Asking a few locals he made his way to the Bannered Mare, he found the inn in the center of town near the market. He went in, looking to rent his room for the night. He stepped inside. The common room was already occupied, a bard stood playing a lute, though no one seemed to be listening, a man in heavy armor sat in the corner with a woman in heavy armor, he was seemed to be complaining, as Revak walked by he heard something about how "Security in Whiterun is terrible."
Revak made his way to the innkeep, he found her standing behind the bar, cleaning a mug and scowling at the bard. She didn't seem to notice Revak. Revak cleared his throat, she smiled, "Oh, hello dear, pull up a seat. What can I get for you?"
"How much for a room?" Revak asked as he took a seat at the bar.
"Ten gold for the night," she said inspecting the mug, "Fifty for the week."
"No need I only plan to stay the night."
"Just ten gold then," she smiled as Revak reached into his coin purse and payed her the gold, "It's yours for the day, just up the stairs, and it's on the right."
"Thanks," he smiled, and stood. With a nod he left the inn and made his way to the Skyforge. The old forge was up hill and sat just beneath Dragonreach. Revak smiled to himself when he had found it was still there. The great eagle's wings spread over the forge, and a grisled old Nord tended the flames, "Hello?"
The old Nord turned, "Ah, sorry, I didn't see you there." He offered a soot covered hand, "My names Eorlund Gray-Mane, I tend the Skyforge."
"My name's Revakkaal," Revak said, holding out his hand, Eorlund took it,
"I'm looking for some armor, I'm doing a job for the Jarl."
"Heavy or light armor?"
"I have something that might suit you," he reached underneath the table and lifted heavy iron armor onto the table. The armor landed with a clunk,
"Fine iron armor, with nord style steel gauntlets and iron boots, bonded shield, steel sword, and a iron helm if you like."
Revak inspected the armor, it was of good quality, "How much?"
Eorlund smiled, "Don't pay yet. If you're doing a job for Balgruuf, you survive, you pay."
Revak raised his brow, "Risky business."
"Risky, but if you finish your job, get your name out?"
Revak smiled, "A way of getting your name out there."
"Just don't get yourself killed," Eorlund smirked.
"Thank you," Revak said as he tested the armor's size, it was almost perfect. He adjusted the straps on the bonded armor, it was slightly loose, but it would work fine. "I'll try not to die."
"That's all I ask kid."
He felt whole wearing armor again, the familiar clink and weight he found comforting. He left the Skyforge, shield at his side and a sword on his hip. He stood underneath the white tree in the square, and was about to return to the inn, when he heard a man shouting to his right, "Talos the mighty! Talos the unerring! Talos the unassailable! To you we give our praise! And deserve our praise you do, for we are one!" Well, that is interesting, he saw a small man in a black robe standing underneath a statue. Revak did a double take, the statue wasn't him. It was a statue of Ysmir. The Nords had always made that mistake after he'd ascended, Ysmir was, after all, his liason to Skyrim during his time with the Empire, they often confused him for Talos. Of course if one knew how Talos really looked like they'd know he never word a beard, nor fought with two handed weapons.
This little man though had a big voice, it rang though the courtyard, shrill and loud, "Ere you ascended and the Eight became Nine, you walked among us, mighty Talos! Not as god, but as Man! But you were once man! Aye! And as man you said, "Let me show you the power of Talos Stormcrown, born of the North, where my breath is long winter! I breathe now, in royalty, and reshape this land that is mine. I do this for you, red Legions, for I love you!'"
I never said that, Revak thought, did I? No I didn't. 'long winter'? What did that even mean? "Aye! Love! Love! Even as man great Talos cherishes us, for he saw in each of us the future of Skyrim! The future of Tamriel! And there it is friends! The ugly and truth. We are children of man. Talos is the true god of man; Ascended from flesh, to rule the realm of spirit!
The very idea is inconceivable to our Elven overlords! Sharing the heavens with us? With man? Ha! They can barely tolerate our presence on Nirn! Today they take away your faith, but tomorrow? What then? Do the elves take your homes? You businesses? Your children? Your very lives? And what does the Empire do? Nothing! Nay, worse than nothing! The Imperial Machine enforces the will of the Thalmor! Against it's own people! So rise up! Rise up children of the Empire! Rise up Stormcloaks! Embrace the word of mighty Talos, he who is both man and Divine!" Revak nodded, it touched him that this priest would even dare preach of him, especially with the chance that an emissary of the Empire may overhear. He left a heafty donation, and made his way back to the inn.
It was crowded when he arrived. A large group had assembled at the bar, and they seemed to be cheering someone on. Revak stayed back and watched. He saw a young nord woman with dark hair standing in a fighting position opposite a large Imperial in heavy chain mail. Her smile was mischievious as the oaf of an Imperial lunged at her, but it set him off balance, she dodged he fell forward. The crowd laughed, enraging the drunken Imperial further, he charged her again, this time Revak didn't even see what had happened. One moment she was about to be mowed down, the next her opponent was lying on his back in a daze. She was about to stike him where he lay, but then she stepped away, leaving money on the bar she went to the back corner and took a seat.
Revak joined her in the back corner, she was sipping on ail and nursing a split lip. She stared at Revak, but gave up when she realized he wasn't leaving, "Good fight," he said as he ordered a mead, "where'd you learn how to fight?" She didn't even look at him, "Let's get to the point then? I'm doing some work for the Jarl, he's asked me personally," he said, eyeing her for any changes in demeanor, "He's asked me to to into Bleak Falls Barrow and retrienve something. I leave tomorrow. I'm looking for someone to back me up."
She still didn't make eye contact, "So you're looking for someone to charge in first."
"Not really," he said, taken aback, "I just need someone to watch my back. It'd be easier as a group."
"What's in it for me?" she asked, taking a drink.
"Let's see," Revak scratched his chin in a humorous fashion, "A chance to get out of Whiterun and make a name for yourself for one, for two you might just help me defeat this dragon problem Skyrim's been having lately."
She finally looked at him, "You?" she smirked, "Fighting dragons?"
"Yes," he said with a smile, "I survived one dragon attack, I might as well try my luck again."
"You were at Helgen?"
He nodded now serious, "It can't happen again, not to Whiterun, not anywhere."
She was silent for a moment, "Yes."
Bleak Falls Barrow
Early the next morning Revak put on his new armor and went to meet Lydia near the Whiterun stables. Revak had briefed her on his task the night previous. Like him, she'd already donned her armor. The Jarl had arranged transport for them, at least to the base of the mountain. When she saw Revak coming down the hill she jumped into the carriage bed and waited for him. He joined her, and then the driver began down the path toward the mountains in the distance. The mountain was about a half day's journey away.
The rode in silence as the sun rose. It had been an hour before Lydia broke the silence, "Who are you?" she asked, half shouting over the sound of the wheels.
"My name's-" Revak began.
"I know your name," she interrupted.
"I'm Revakkaal," Revak said shortly, "I'm from Cyrodill."
She looked at him, "What kind of name is that?"
Revak shrugged, "I don't know, some sort of lost, deep, meaningful language I suppose. It's not like I chose it." Her scowl grew, "What kind of name is 'Lydia'?"
She looked like she was really trying not to slap him, "It was my grandmother's name, thank you very much, Revkal."
"I know what it is," she said curtly. "So who are you that the Jarl sends you on special missions."
Again Revak shrugged, "No idea, maybe just I was in the right place at the right time, that or that I survived Helgen."
They were quiet for a time, and then Lydia looked at him, "What happened there, at Helgen?"
"It was-" Revak shook his head. "One second I'm in line to get my head chopped off, the next I'm running away because a dragon is burning down the village."
She raised an eyebrow, "'To get your head chopped off'? You're a criminal?"
"Then why were you going to be executed?"
Revak sighed, More and more lies, at least I seem to be good at it, "I was traveling from Bruma to Skyrim, but I walked into an ambush meant for a group of Stormcloaks, I was nearby, the Imperials thought I was a Stormcloak, next thing I know an axe is threatening to make me a bit shorter."
They sat silent for the rest of the ride, when they reached the bottom of the mountain the driver left them alone. As they climbed they snacked on a few dry biscuits that the inn keep had given Revak before he left. It was a long and tiring climb; luckily an ancient path still existed for them to follow as they ascended into the sky. Underneath his armor Revak's skin itched, not because it was uncomfortable, it was a familiar feeling before a battle; at least to Revak. He'd felt the same way during the sack of Sancre Tor all those years ago.
The higher they climbed the colder it became; though it didn't seem to bother Lydia at all. Soon the grass was replaced by a decent blanket of snow, and the trees were no longer green. They knew they were close when the reached the point that there were no trees at all. It was then that Revak secured his bonded iron shield to his arm, he advised Lydia to do the same, the ruin was known to be a lure for bandits; Revak didn't want to be taken unawares.
Four hours had passed before they were in front of the Barrow. It was a beautiful, yet terrible, sight. Dozens of stairs led up to a pavilion that was covered with great black arches. The ground was scorched from the many campfires of adventurers that had attempted to conquer the ruin and purge it of its undead and treasures. Looking back at Lydia, Revak donned his horned helm drew his blade. Lydia drew her blade as well, and they cautiously began to climb the steps. It was cold now, and for some reason in the lee of the ruin it felt even colder. Revak's breath was white as it escaped from under his helmet.
They reached the entrance with no trouble, but they found the doors ajar, "Bandits," Revak breathed. Lydia nodded. Revak rolled his shoulders, "Divines, grant us safe passage, and should we perish, Arkay lead us to Sovngarde," he prayed softly. He held his breath as they entered the Barrow.
The entrance was almost cave-like, the ruin having been buried much deeper into the mountain. Revak was staring at the sheer size of the cavern, when he heard Lydia call his name, "Look here," she said. She'd found the only source of light, a small fire was still burning, surrounded by a host of corpses.
The kills were fresh, a mix of draugr and what most likely were a few foolish
bandits who'd thought to warm up before entering the ruin.
"This is wrong," Revak growled as he scanned the carnage.
"What do you mean?"
"If something killed the bandits, it'd still be walking around," he explained, "but there's nothing here, a bandit survived."
Lydia stared at the door to her left, the one that lead further into the ruin, "And he went inside."
Revak stepped over a dead bandit, "Might as well follow."
Lydia gave him a small smile, she grabbed an unlit torch and lit it using the dying campfire, "Agreed," she said as the torch caught. Revak was grateful for the light as they descended into the ruin; it was total darkness inside.
They'd made it one level down, one of most likely many. Revak caught Lydia give a shiver as they made it into the next level.
"What's wrong?" he asked her.
"The walls," she said, reaching out and touching the stone wall, which Revak just noticed was covered in white goo, "Webs," she cursed,” frostbite spiders. I hate those things."
Revak tried not to laugh, "Then show them how much you hate them when we run into them." Then he froze. He'd sworn he'd heard something. He motioned to silence. He didn't hear just a noise, it was a voice.
Revak tilted his head toward the sound of the noise, Over there. Lydia nodded. They made their way down the hall toward the voice; it seemed to be talking to itself. They followed the hall into a large chamber coated in white slime, egg sacks and large webbing that hung from the ceiling. Across the room there was an Argonian that had been woven into a web, trapped midair, "Damn eight legged bugs," he was cursing. Then he saw Revak and Lydia across the room, "HEY!" he screamed as if they hadn't seen them across the room. “Get me out! Hurry, before they come back!”
Revak almost wanted to ask, Before what comes back?, but he was answered before he even had a chance to answer. A wave of spiders descended upon them, screeching as they landed and launched attacks. Revak assumed a defensive position, his shield side in front as the first few of the spiders attacked him, the first two collided with his shield and Revak knocked them back with ease. One shot a stream of webbing at his head, Revak ducked, but as he did a spider took the opportunity to climb onto is back.
“GET OFF!” Revak shouted as he threw himself backwards and into the wall, smashing the spider that still clung to his armor. Revak repeated to slam himself into the wall until he heard a satisfying screech and the weight fell off his back. Quickly, Revak slashed at a spider in front of him, slicing off half its legs, it was screeching as it crawled away on its remaining limbs. Catching his breath he saw Lydia in the middle of the room, fending off five spiders at once as she wielded her sword in one hand and a torch in the other.
With a roar Revak charged the group, quickly dispatching two of the spiders, while Lydia had set another two on fire. The final spider backed away, but Revak chopped it in half before it could run away.
Revak shook the blood from his blade, spattering the wall with a pattern of blood. He dropped his shield and felt his head and the back of his neck making sure there was no blood or bite marks, “Are you okay?” he asked Lydia, who was busy setting the egg sacks on fire.
“I’m fine,” she said. She pointed at the Argonian still trapped in the webs, “What about him? Should we leave him there?”
“I can hear you, you know!” the Argonian shouted.
Revak shook his head, “No, leaving him here is wrong, who knows how many of those things are down here.” He walked over the Argonian. He was of a decent height and wearing leather armor. The green tint to his scales told Revak that he was a younger Argonian.
“I’m going to free you,” Revak said as he drew the dagger he kept sheathed at his belt, “and you’re going to leave this place and not come back.”
“Yes, yes,” the Argonian pleaded, “just let me out of here!” Revak began cutting away at the webbing, it was a task, but in a few minutes the Argonian was free. Revak took a step back as the Argonian stood and brushed himself off, “Thank you stranger,” next thing he knew the Argonian had a dagger in his hand, “too bad I have to kill you now.”
“Fool of a lizard,” Revak heard Lydia curse.
Revak stood tall, “Really? We just cut down a bunch of spiders that you couldn’t even defend yourself against, and you dare to threaten us?”
The Argonian shrugged, “It’s just business.”
Revak sighed, and then he used his open hand to punch the Argonian in the stomach, followed by a hilt to the wrist holding the dagger. The Argonian’s blade fell to the ground. Before the Argonian could retaliate Revak had grabbed him by the neck and lifted him off the ground. He held the Argonian there for a few seconds, “I’m going to let you down,” Revak said slowly, “and you’re going to leave, or next time, I won’t be so nice.”
The Argonian whimpered. Revak lowered him to the ground. Scrambling the Argonian got to his feet and sprinted to the exit. Revak turned and picked up his shield from where he’d dropped it, “I would have just killed him.” Lydia commented.
Revak shook his head, “He was nothing but a fool; that shouldn’t be a death sentence.” He rolled his shoulders, “Come on, let’s get this Dragonstone and let’s get out of here.”
They left the spider nest and then found themselves in a long hall. Along the walls were intricate carvings, “What is this?” Lydia asked as she laid a gauntleted hand on the carvings.
“Histories, this one of Bleak Falls Barrow,” Revak said softly. Revak studied them in vain; most of the carvings had degraded over time and were almost indistinguishable. At the end of the hall Revak saw a large door. It was still sealed, meaning that no one had made it to the actual ruin before.
“How do we get through that?”
Revak smiled. He reached inside and pulled out a folded parchment from his pouch. On it were three pictures that matched the pictures on the doors combination, “The court wizard gave me this, it should work” he said as he approached the door, “otherwise if we get back to Whiterun I’ll throw him off Dragonsreach myself.
Revak entered the code, and then there was a slow loud clank coming from the other side of the door. The door began to move slowly spinning and disappearing into the floor. Dust billowed up, causing the both of them to cough. As the dust settled they found themselves facing the rest of the long hall.
As they walked Revak kept his blade ready and his shield up. Lydia covered his back, her torch lighting the hall and making the walls dance with their own shadows. The walls were lined with multiple little hubs, each containing a standing draugr. None of them were moving now, but they stayed as quiet as possible lest they wake the sleeping dead.
They followed the hall into a small chamber. An altar sat in the middle, and door on the opposite side of the room lead to yet another hall and beyond. Slowly, they made their way across the room. Revak froze when he heard a soft click coming from behind him; he turned and saw Lydia’s face had turned white. Then he heard a growling coming from the hall they’d just passed. Lydia turned and now Revak could see a silhouette in the frame of the hall.
“Muk,” he cursed as he guarded Lydia’s side. The draugr carried an axe and charged blindly with it. Revak caught it with his shield, and, spinning knocked the weapon back. He then slashed the draugr, opening its chest. The beast slowed, and then Revak dislodged its head from its body.
Two more draugr came from the hall. Luckily for Revak and Lydia the hall acted like a sort of fatal funnel, preventing both draugr from attacking at once. Lydia set ones' arm ablaze with the torch before removing its head. The next one Revak bashed with his shield and then cut almost cleanly in half.
“Thanks,” Lydia murmured.
Revak smiled, “You get my back, I get yours right?” She returned his smile.
They followed the next tunnel which happened to lead to the central chamber. A waterfall could be heard across the large cavern like chamber, stairs lead to a large wall and altar that loomed above. If this Dragonstone is anywhere, Revak thought, it’s there. Lydia followed him as he climbed the stairs. There was a pedestal, a sarcophagus, and of course a large curved wall with some sort of carvings. Curious, Revak approached the wall. The language written on it definitely wasn't Common. The language of the dragon’s covered the wall. Most of it was unrecognizable to Revak, except for three words Revak recognized as a Shout he once knew very well.
Fus ro dah, Revak thought. Unrelenting Force, the Shout that was said to tear down walls and siege entire cities; of course the words for that particular Shout were here. Revak remembered that each Shout consisted of three words in the language of the dragons. Revak murmured the words to himself, but to no effect; nothing happened.
“I bet the tablet you’re looking for is in here,” Lydia said behind him. Revak turned, she was pointing to the sarcophagus. It makes sense, he thought.
Revak dropped his shield and sheathed his blade, and then he pushed as hard as he could against the top of the sarcophagus. Heavy as it was it took Revak some time in getting it off. A few minutes later the top slid across and landed on the ground on the opposite side with a thud. Once the dust cleared a heavily decorated draugr was revealed inside, underneath its crossed hands was a stone tabled covered in the dragon language.
Carefully, Revak removed the tablet. As soon as it cleared the area of the body Revak heard a loud growl, and the very air seemed to still, “Lydia?” Revak said softly.
“Can you hold this?” Revak said holding out the tablet. Lydia nodded and took the tablet as the draugr lord rose from the tomb.
It was larger than the other draugr they’d run into. It stood and drew a large battle axe that was black and wicked. Revak picked up his shield and drew his blade, “Akatosh guide me,” he whispered.
The draugr didn’t charge instead it seemed to puff its chest. No! Revak said to himself, he was about to tell Lydia to back away when the draugr opened his mouth and Shouted, “RO DAH!”
Lydia screamed as she flew backwards and landed on her back. Revak stumbled as he was knocked off balance, kept on his feet only because he saw the Shout coming. The draugr lord then charged his blade high above its head. Revak caught it on his shield as it came down. The strike was so powerful it dented the shield; bruising Revak’s arm. Cursing, Revak jumped aside as the draugr attacked again, missing Revak by inches.
Revak swung at the monsters' legs, striking its calf. It growled in anger and swung again, and again Revak dodged this time slashing at its other leg as he did so. The draugr staggered and Revak took the opening to slash at its throat. Its head severed from its body and it fell to the ground and started to turn to dust.
Gasping for breath Revak threw his damaged shield down in frustration. He jogged to Lydia and helped her up; “Are you all right?” she nodded, still clutching the stone.
Grabbing Lydia’s hand with his uninjured arm he led her up the stairs and to the secondary exit. They found themselves outside again, the bitter cold greeting them. Happy to find that they were much lower on the mountain than the entrance had been.
Two hours later they had made their way to the base of the mountain where they found the carriage had returned. Revak greeted the driver and helped Lydia board. He couldn’t wait to get back to Whiterun.
It was nearly midnight by the time they arrived at Whiterun. Revak and Lydia thanked the driver as they entered the citys' main gate. The streets were quiet as most of its' citizens had already went to sleep for the night. Only the tavern seemed to still be alive; it glowed in the night as its patrons drank the night away. Tired and cold, they made their way to Dragonsreach. Revak now clutching the Dragonstone.
The ascended the steps, nodding to the guard as they entered the palace. Revak had thought that he would have to wake the wizard, but as they neared the door he noticed light coming from the room, and hushed voices. Revak held up his hand, motioning for Lydia to stop, and listened to the soft voices coming from the wizards working quarters.
"You see? The terminology clearly is First Era, or even earlier. I'm convinced this is a copy of a much older text. Perhaps dating to just after the Dragon War," the wizards voice said excitedly. "If so, I could use this to cross reference the names with much later texts."
"Good," said another voice, a woman's, "I'm glad you're making progress. My employers are anxious to have some tangible answers."
"Oh have no fear," Revak could almost imagine Farengar shaking in excitement, "the Jarl himself has finally taken interest. So I'm now able to devote most of my time to this research."
"Time is running Farengar, don't forget," the woman's voice said sternly. "This isn't some theoretical question. Dragons have come back."
"Yes, yes, don't worry," Farengar said more calmly. "Although the chance to see a living dragon up close would be tremendously valuable..." Farengar trailed off then seemed to have caught himself, "Now, let me show you something else I have-"
"We have a visitor," the woman said quickly, stopping Farengar mid sentence. Blast, how did she know we were here? Sighing Revak walked in, a faux smile on his face.
"Hmm?" Farengar mumbled, then he saw Revak. He stared for a moment before recognizing him, "Ah yes! The Jarl's new protegé? Back from Bleak Falls Barrow? You didn't die, it seems," he said smiling.
Revak returned the smile, "No, it seems I didn't." Revak held the stone out, "I believe you wanted this?" Revak laid the stone gently on the table in front of Farengar.
Farengar smiled widely when he saw the stone, "Ah! The Dragonstone of Bleak Falls Barrow! Seems you are a cut above the usual brutes the Jarl sends my way," Revak made note not to take that personal.
"My... associate here will be pleased to see your handiwork. She discovered it's location, by means she has so far declined to share with me," Farengar gave a slight glare to the woman.
Revak wasn't going to wait for her to introduce herself, "I'm sorry," he said politely, "I believe we haven't met?"
She didn't look up from the stone, "No, I don't believe we have."
Farengar cleared his throat, he turned to the woman, "So your information was correct after all. And we have our friend here to thank for recovering it," he nodded to Revak.
She looked at Revak, and raised her brows, seemingly noticing him for the first time, "You went into Bleak Falls Barrow? And got that? Nice work."
Revak smiled, "Thanks, and Lydia here is to thank as well."
The woman smiled, "You too, Lydia." Lydia bowed, staying silent.
The woman returned to Farengar, "Just send me copies and-"
She was interrupted by Irileth who was literally sprinting into the room, "Farengar!" All of them were silent, "Farengar," she said breathing, as a small group of guards followed her in.
"What's going on, Irileth?" Lydia asked, her face concerned.
"Farengar, you need to come at once. A dragon's been sighted nearby!" she said quickly.
All of them stood there, shocked, "What?" Revak said, almost not believing that Alduin would attack so soon after Helgen.
"A dragon! How exciting! Where was it seen? What was it doing?" Farengar said excitedly, nearly jumping up and down where he stood.
Irileth must have picked up on this, "I'd take this a bit more seriously if I were you," she said shaking her head. "If a dragon decides to attack Whiterun I don't know if we can stop it."
Revak took a few steps forward, "There has to be a way," he said with a hint of a growl, "everything dies."
"Then you'd better come with us."
Revak smiled, "Wouldn't have it any other way."
Revak thought he caught a hint of a smile on Irileth's stern face, "Come on then, the Jarl will speak with us first."
With a nod Revak followed, Farengar and Lydia in tow. The found the Jarl in his personal quarters, he was already speaking with a guard, "So Irileth tells me you came from the western watchtower?" he asked the guard calmly.
The guard was obviously shaken, he nodded since words were obviously failing him. The three of us gathered in the doorway. Irileth made her way inside, and laid her hand softly on the guards shoulder. The guard jumped at her touch, she slowly moved in front of him and kneeled down, "Tell him what you told me," she said softly, "About the dragon."
He nodded slowly and took a deep breath, "We saw it coming from the south," he shook where he sat. "It was fast... faster than anything I'd ever seen."
"What did it do?" the Jarl asked quickly, "Is it attacking the watchtower?"
The guard continued to shake his head, "No, my lord. It was just circling overhead when I left. I never ran so fast in my life," he shook even more, he leaned forward, his head resting on his hands, "I thought it would have come after me for sure."
The Jarl smiled and offered the guard his arm, the guard took it and stood, albeit shakily, "Good work, son. We'll take it from here. Head down to the barracks for some food and rest. You've earned it," The guard nodded and took his leave.
The four of them all stood in silence, the Jarl stared at Irileth, "Don't fail me."
Iritleth stood tall, "I won't, my lord."
The Jarl turned to Revak, "I would like you to join Irileth at the watchtower," he said. Then he pointed to some armor laid out on the table, "New armor I had made for you for your return to Whiterun from your quest, it seems fitting that you wear it into this battle."
Revak nodded, he wasn't going to turn down better armor, "Thank you my lord." Immediately Revak removed his damaged iron armor and replaced it with fine steel. It was fitted perfectly, Revak assumed it was made by Eorlund. It took a short time for Revak to don the new armor, then he joined Irileth and Lydia at the main gate.
"You don't have to come," Revak said to Lydia as he accepted a new shield from a guard.
"Ha," Lydia scoffed, "and let you take all the glory?"
Revak laughed as they began to move out. The watchtower was relatively close to the city. They could see it in the distance. Only the sounsd of armored footsteps could be heard in the darkness of the night. As they got closer to the tower it became more and more apparent that the dragon had already attacked. The smell of burned grass, flesh, and wood greeted them. They could see the glows of the fires still burning surrounding the tower. The group paused for a moment, taking in the scene, Irileth turned to her soldiers, "Search for survivors!" she commanded.
The guards scattered, looking for any who may have survived the attack. Revak made his way to the tower entrance, and then jumped back as a sword nearly cleaved him in two. A man dressed in Whiterun's colors guarded the door, waving his sword wildly. Revak grabbed the man's arm and steadied him, "Calm yourself," Revak said, looking into the man's eyes.
It took a moment, but he soon stopped shaking enough to speak, by this time Irileth and Lydia had joined them, "It's still here!" the guard gasped, "It's going to come back!"
"The dragon?" Irileth cursed. "What do you mean it's still here-"
"DRAGON!" they heard a guard scream behind them. All three of them turned, and sure enough in the distance a large dark shaped was coming, and fast.
Revak drew his blade, "ARCHERS!" Irileth cried and she herself drew her bow, Lydia had her bow as well.
The dragon came in for a first attack, fire streaming from it's maw. It burned two guards where they stood, and for good measure the beast grabbed another in his jaws and crushed him with a sickening sound; dropping the guards' mangled body on the ground near his comrades. Then it turned and flew out of range again, gaining distance to come again for another strike.
Between the screams and the sounds of the fire it was impossible to hear oneself speak, let alone think. Revak turned to Irileth, shouting to make sure he was heard, "We need to get it to land," he said pointing at the dragon for emphasis, "or we'll never take it down!" She nodded that she understood him. Their arrows were only bouncing off the dragon's scales.
Revak watched as the dragon turned and came back for it's second attack. Revak was furious, he could do no damage to it where he stood. The tower, he thought, if it won't come to me, I'll go to it. Without a second thought Revak turned to the tower, ignoring Lydia's protests. He raced up the steps until he reached the roof. He watched as the dragon flew out of range again.
He needed to get his attention, Akatosh guide me, he thought as he raised his blade high above his head, making himself a target, "COME AND GET ME, WORM!" he shouted as the dragon grew near, the dragon roared so loud that Revak's ears began to ring. As it grew near the dragon opened his mouth and let loose a stream of flame directed at Revak. Revak dodged, but only barely as he got his shield up. The dragon's fire was too intense and it burnt the shield, making the metal burn and the wood crack. Cursing Revak threw his shield down. The dragon must have decided that Revak wasn't a worthy enough target, it turned and came back for a fourth charge, this time turning around the tower and going once again for the guards firing arrows below.
My chance, Revak thought as he charged the edge of the tower, and carefully timing he leaped over the edge with a savage cry. His sword over his head he plummeted onto the dragon's back The dragon roared in protest as the Nord crashed onto its back. Revak struggled to steady himself one handed as the dragon flew erratically trying to throw him off, he heard the dragon speaking underneath it's roars, "Niid! Dannick joor! Hin niis krii ann dovah!"
Revak had no idea what the beast was screaming, but he assumed that it was something that he didn't want to happen, "Not today worm!" he cried as he lifted his blade and sunk it into the dragon's wing.
"Niid!" the beast seemed to scream as blood poured from it's wing. It lost control, spinning and crashing into the tower before dive bombing toward the ground head first. It was all Revak could do to hold on as the beast crashed, parting through the earth like water. Finally, the dragon stopped, but Revak could still feel it breathing, It's stunned, he thought. He stood and half walked, half crawled to the dragon's head; at this point it seemed to have noticed Revak's intent. It began thrashing and twisting it's head back and forth in an attempt to throw Revak off. Revak held with all his strength.
He grabbed the beasts horn and hefted himself into a more steady position. Lifting his sword once again he aimed for a soft point between the end of the dragons' skull. The beast roared in pain as Revak buried his blade deep in the dragons' skull, and soon the dragon moved no more.
Panting, Revak let himself fall to the ground, a welcome rest, but rest would have to wait. He stood, his muscles screaming in protest, and he took in the site of the dead beast before him; a dragon that had been killed by his hand. He heard the others gathering behind him, their heavy footfalls announcing their arrival. Revak looked into the dragons' open and ungazing eye, but once he did he felt a strange sensation. He gasped as he felt a rush of energy enter his body, not only energy, but memories.
Skyrim as seen from above, a name... Mirmulnir, "Alligiance-Strong-Hunt", sent to scout and destroy the city of Whiterun and it's Dragonsreach trap. Words, so many words, an entire existence in language.
Fus Ro Dah.
Force, Balance, Push.
The power of the dragon, the unrelenting force of the Shout. The power of the Dovahkiin who was reborn.
O O O O O O O O O
Lydia watched as Revakkaal leapt from the watchtower and onto the dragon's back. She stood, frozen, her bow still notched and ready to fire, but she held back, fearing she'd strike the man riding on the dragon's back. The dragon tried to throw him off, twisting and turning in the air so violently that she was sure that Revak would be sent to his death, but he held on. She heard a great roar as a trail of deep red blood poured from the beast's wing and it began to crash back to earth.
The beast tore the earth apart when it landed, and Revak wasted no time in scurrying to the beasts head and sinking his blade into its' neck. Lydias' heart seemed to stop as Revak fell from the dragon and onto the ground. She nearly sprinted to him, but she breathed a sigh of relief when he stood and stared at the dragon.
Suddenly, a bright yellow light formed around both the dragon and Revakkaal. Then white, then orange, colored lights spiraled around the both of them. The dead dragon's eyes glowed and so did Revak's with a deep gold color, then, after a few minutes it was dark again, but gold mist slowly rose from Revak's body; like a steam made of gold. Slowly, Lydia and the guards made their way towards Revak, their swords still drawn and ready to encounter whatever had just happened to the man that was supposed to be their friend.
One of the guards fell to his knees, his eyes tearing, "He's a Dragonborn!" the man cried. The others froze at the word, so did Lydia. Dragonborn? She thought they can't be. But then she looked back, the way he killed the dragon, like he knew what he was doing, the lights, those eyes. Dragonborn? The warriors of the old legends?
Another guard fell to his knees, "The Dragonborn have returned to Skyrim!" Revak still stood with his back to them, his glittering energy still coming off of him.
That's when she realized. He knew. That's when she remembered that old song, the one that talked of the Dragonborn returning, she sang softly, "Our hero, our hero, claims a warriors heart..."
The guard that had first fallen to his feet heard and continued the song his voice deep and loud, "I tell you, I tell you the Dragonborn comes!"
The second guard joined, then a third, then all of them were singing,
With a Voice wielding power of the ancient Nord art
Believe, believe, the Dragonborn comes
It's an end to the evil of all Skyrim's foes
Beware, beware, the Dragonborn comes
For the darkness has passed and the legend yet grows
They all stopped when Revak turned, his eyes still bright and his head bowed, and then chills crawled down Lydia's back as Revak sung, his voice so deep, so low and now so powerful, "You'll know, you'll know, the Dragonborn's come," he sang, finishing the song a wicked yet friendly smile on his face.
Then as if reading everyone's minds Revak raised his head and stared at the stars, breathed in deeply, and then he Shouted, his voice echoing off the mountains, and a huge stream of energy blasting into the sky and making the very ground rumble, "FUS RO DAH!"
High Hrothgar's Calling
When it was over Revak had to fight the urge to fall forward. His muscles screamed in agony from the impact of landing on the dragon's back, but inside Revak was elated. He had Shouted! His Voice had returned, and he'd killed a dragon!
The Dragon War had ended before Talos was even born. He never had a chance to fell a dragon. Instead he learned his Shouts through the Greybeards, and, through them, their leader Paarthurnax. He stood listening to his first Shout as it echoed amongst the mountains; a smile radiating from him.
The others had begun cheering, all except for Lydia. She stood in front of Revak frozen where she stood. Irileth calmed her guards, threatening double shifts for those who weren't eager to stop their cheering, “Enough,” the dark elf said, as she took a place beside Revak so that she could address her guards more directly, “we've got work to do.” She sighed, “Hadvir?”
One of the guards stepped forward, “Yes m'am?”
“Return to Whiterun, I want a triple of guards here within the hour,” she said darkly, “we need to clean up this mess.” The guard raised his fist to his chest in a salute then ran back toward the city.
Revak's smile disappeared, only now did he notice the carnage that the dragon had left in its wake. Only one of the original guards stationed at the tower had survived, and of the twelve that arrived with Irileth five hadn't made it. Revak was grateful that their souls would surely be welcomed in Sovngarde, but then Revak's heart sank. They may never reach the Hall of Heroes. Alduin could snatch their souls before they reach the fabled Hall.
Revak turned to Irileth, “Let us gather the fallen and see them to rest.” Irileth nodded solemnly, then began commanding the remaining soldiers to begin gathering the bodies of the dead. Revak felt rather than saw Lydia's eyes staring at him, he stepped toward her and attempted to put a hand on her shoulder, but she shied away, “Are you all right?” Revak said with concern. She didn't answer. With a sigh Revak left her and was about to help the others carry the bodies.
“You knew,” he heard Lydia's voice behind him.
Revak turned, “Sorry?”
She stepped toward him now, pointing at Revak, “You knew you were Dragonborn.”
“That's ridiculous,” Revak said with a sigh, “you should rest, we haven't slept in days, and after all this you must be exhausted.”
“Excuse me?” she said in offense. She shook her head, “You knew.”
Revak started walking toward a guard who was having a hard time lifting one of the fallen, “This is hardly the time.” Revak grabbed the feet of the body while the guard lifted the upper body, they carried it over to the others where Irileth was having the guards line the fallen in a row. Revak closed the fallen guard's eyes, “Find peace in Sovngarde brother,” Revak said, Avoid the wings of the worm and find the gilded Hall, he said silently. He felt Lydia still standing behind him, “We will speak another time, for now let us finish here and respect the honored dead.” She still stared at him, he smiled, “Don't make me Shout.”
They worked until the sun was rising over the mountains. Overnight a wagon had arrived from the city, they gathered the dead and lead a march back to Whiterun, a triple acting as a honor guard to see the fallen to the Hall of the Dead. Lydia and Revak were at the tail end of the small guard. Even so, once they made it through the gates it became apparent that the entire hold had heard of the events of the night as the citizens lined the road leading to the Hall of the Dead. As Revak passed he caught the sound of hushed voices and the sight of eyes darting away from him. Revak had hoped he would be able to leave the city quietly in the night, but apparently the word of a Dragonborn spread faster than even a dragon could fly.
The local priest of Arkay dressed in black robes greeted the guard as they arrived at the Hall, as the dead were carried underground the priest's arms were raised and his mouth moved, repeating ancient prayers to lead the souls of the dead warriors to Sovngarde. Once all the dead were delivered the citizens and guards departed, save for the families of the fallen who grieved outside the gates of the Hall of the Dead.
Revak watched the mourning for a moment, then, his heart heavy, he turned right and headed down the road toward the great white tree, and near it, the statue that represented Talos. With a sigh he stretched, his muscles screaming in protest. He walked to the stream and looked at his own reflection and did a double take. This was the first time he'd really gotten a chance to see himself. He looked as he had when he was a young man. His blond hair cropped short, his eyes deep blue, his features were fair and defined, at least for a Nord, even though he was covered in dirt and muck. Stubble had already started to grow on his face making his face look a little rough. Revak removed his guantlets and used the cool water to rinse the dirt and blood from his arms, neck and face.
Revak sat on the bench in front of the statue. It was early in the morning and the preacher hadn't began yet; in fact he was no where in sight. He stared at himself. Well, not really himself, but what the Nords invisioned him as. Anywhere you go in the Empire they have a different vision of Talos, or a different name. The Nords called him Talos or Ysmir, the Imperials know him as Tiber Septim, there are even a few who might recognize him as Wulf. The statue of Ysmir before him showed a strong Nord with a large beard and wearing a winged helm.
Revak leaned forward and rested his head in his hands. The fatigue of recent events now consuming him. How many had died all ready from Alduin's rage? First Helgen, and now the watchtower. How many would it be in the end? He kept returning to the tower, if he'd killed Mirmulnir, for he now understood that to be the dragon's name, earlier would more guards have survived? Even one more? And now Lydia suspected him, of what he wasn't even sure. She suspected that he knew he was Dragonborn already, which is true, but he's also so much more than that. Did he dare trust telling any mortals? He shivered even though the word hadn't been said aloud. It felt wrong calling them mortals; wasn't he one of them at one point? He didn't even know the extent of this body's power. So far he'd been able to Shout, but it was not as powerful as he'd hoped, nor was it as powerful a Shout as the ones that he had summoned in his previous life. As of yet he hasn't displayed any sort of godly power; at least he hadn't made something float in the air.
He jumped slightly as he felt a rain drop on his neck, then another, within a few minutes a steady downpour began, Revak stood, thinking to find shelter when suddenly it stopped, but the sky was still black with clouds. He heard thunder boom causing the ground to shake slightly, then he heard a voice, no not one voice but many, voice that seemed to be coming from the sky itself, a voice saying one word clear and strong, “DOVAHKIIN!”
So, he thought as he turned and searched for the great mountain, the tallest mountain in Skyrim and, atop it, High Hrothgar. So the Greybeards finally have called me?
Revak remembered an era ago when he was first called to High Hrothgar. Revak rolled his shoulders and sighed. Everything seemed to be falling into place; the attack on Helgen, the dragon at the watchtower, and now the Greybeards were aware of his presence. It was like a machine that had been thrown into motion, and there was no stopping it.
He shook his head and turned from the town was coming to life. The citizens had already begun their day. He rubbed the back of his neck, his head pounding from lack of sleep and over exertion. He nearly jumped when he heard his name from behind him. He turned to see a guard. Revak remembered him as Hadvir, the one Irileth had sent back to the city earlier.
Revak gave a soft smile, "I guess that'd be me then?"
"The Jarl has requested your presence," Hadvir said shortly.
Revak's smile disappeared from his face, "Very well then." He followed the guard to the palace. When he arrived he found the Jarl, Irileth, and a man in heavy armor in a heated discussion with the steward. The steward held up his hand and approached Revak, "Good, you're finally here. The Jarl has been waiting for you."
The Jarl continued speaking with the armored man, "You heard the summons. What else could it mean?" He shook his head in reverence, "The Greybeards..." he stopped when he noticed Revak standing there.
The man in armor stepped forward, his eyes on Revak, "We were just talking about you. My name's Hrongar, brother needs a word with you."
Silence, then the Jarl sat down, "So," he began, never taking his eyes off Revak, "what happened at the watch tower, was the dragon there?"
"I think you already know, my Jarl," Revak said stiffly.
"When we arrived at the watchtower we found it already had been attacked by the dragon. The beast returned a few moments later," Revak paused, "It was destroyed and the watchtower was saved."
Bulgraaf nodded in awe, "I knew I could count on Irileth, but there must be more than that."
Revak hesitated as he formed the words, "I'm Dragonborn."
The Jarl's eyes grew wide, "Dragonborn? What do you know about the Dragonborn?"
"Enough it seems," Revak said steadily.
"So it's true," the Jarl said as he shook his head, "I can't believe it. Can you shout?" Revak nodded.
"By the gods," Hrongar said, shaken, "a Dragonborn!"
The steward stepped forward, shaking his head, "Hrongar, calm yourself: What does any of this Nord nonsense have to do with our friend here?"
"Excuse me?" Revak almost growled, "As a Nord I think this 'Nord nonsense' has quite a lot to do with me, Imperial" Shocked the steward closed his mouth and said no more. Good, Revak thought, I've had enough of this sorry man for a lifetime.
Balgruuf could hardly hold back his smile, "It's all right, Avenicci, but I think we Nords hold our own traditions and history a little more important than an Imperial would. I think its best you return to your quarters." The steward nodded and backed away. Inside, Revak smiled, he could almost see the Imperial's tale hanging between his legs in defeat.
The three Nords were silent, it was Revak who spoke first, "The Greybeards have called me to their mountain. I cannot refuse their summons."
The Jarl stared at Revak, "I know, Dragonborn, I know. I envy you, you know. To climb the seven thousand steps again," he paused, lost in thought, "I made the pilgrimage once, did you know that?"
"No, my lord, I didn't."
The Jarl smiled, "Go to High Hrothgar, Dragonborn, and see the Greybeards. But first," he stood, and drew the silver sword at his belt, "kneel."
Revakkaal knelt before the Jarl and bowed his head as the Jarl stood before him with his blade at his side, "You've done a great service for my city, Dragonborn," he then laid his sword on Revak's shoulder, "By my right, as Jarl of Whiterun, I name you, Revakkaal," he moved the blade to Revak's other shoulder, "Thane of Whiterun. You may stand, my Thane."
Revak nodded, "Thank you, my Jarl."
Balgruuf smiled, "It is the greatest honor I can give you. Also," he then reached into his robes, and offered a small silver key to Revak. Revak took it and studied it; it was obviously a house key. "There is a home available here in the city. I'd like you to have it. It's called Breezehome. You'll find it furnished and ready for you."
"Thank you, my Jarl," Revak said as he pocketed the key and smiled, "it is a generous gift, truly, thank you."
"I have also taken the liberty to appoint you a housecarl."
"Housecarl, my lord?"
"Yes," Balgruuf nodded, "I've appointed Lydia as your personal housecarl. She will guard your home and yourself if the need arise."
"Again thank you, my Jarl," Revak bowed.
The Jarl smiled, "Go, rest and prepare for your journey to the Greybeards. May the Divines guard you, Dragonborn." Revak smiled, If you only knew.
Hrongar bowed to Revak, "It was an honor meeting you, Dragonborn."
With another bow Revak made his exit. He made his way to his new home, though he was not eager to arrive. It was most likely that Lydia was there already. He did not want to approach her so soon after she'd questioned him. Part of him wished that he could have chosen his own housecarl. Instead he turned and made his way to the Bannered Mare.
The tavern was fairly crowded despite the early hour. As he made his way to the counter he accidentally bumped into someone, spilling their drink across their front. "Xuth," the deep gray Argonian cursed as he began to brush off the liquid from his leather armor.
"Sorry," Revak said, "I didn't see you there."
The Argonian was busy drying off his armor, "Ah it'sss no trouble stranger. I-" the Argonian stopped, his jaw nearly dropping at the sight of Revak, "You! You're the one everyone's talking about!"
Revak raised his brow, "I'm sorry?"
The Argonian smiled and held out his scaled hand, "You're the one that killed the dragon!" Revak shook his hand half halfheartedly, "To kill a dragon!" the Argonian continued, "Who knew such a thing could be done!"
Revak smiled and nodded, "And now that we know they can be defeated."
Revak left the Argonian and made his way to the bar. He never made it, instead a gauntleted fist collided with his skull. He was knocked back. His eyes searched for the source of the blow, and he saw Lydia in front of him. She was still in her armor. Her fist still hanging in the air. Revak straightened himself. He felt a new cut on his face from her gauntlet. He wiped the fresh blood from his cut on his nose and stared at her, "Nice hit," he said as he inspected his blood on his hand, "I never saw it coming. Although I don't think you should treat your Thane in such a way."
With two long strides she closed the gap between them. Her face was inches away from his and her eyes were brown and fierce. Lydia poked Revak hard in the chest with her index finger, "You knew," she said, accenting both words with sharp pokes to Revak's chest. A crowd had gathered around them, silent witnesses to Lydia's rage.
Revak gently pushed her away, only to, once again, be stuck in the nose. Revak gingerly touched his nose, confirming it wasn't broken, "I'm sorry," he said softly to her so that only she could hear, "but once again this isn't the time, or place."
"When will it be," she scoffed, "my Thane?" she said, adding venom to the last word.
Revak shook his head, "Follow, then," he said as he turned toward the door. The heavy footfalls behind him told him that she was, indeed, following.
In silence they made their way to Breezehome. Along the way Revak was trying to think of a way to explain himself to Lydia without giving away too much information. At the same time, though, he wished for someone to confide in, someone who knew who he was and what his mission was. He gave a mental sigh as they turned the corner, with Lydia now leading the way. Revak followed while still deep in thought, I can't do this alone, but can I trust her. Would she even believe me? He thought as they neared a large house just off the street, She is sworn to my service, and she is honorable. She would keep any secret, whether it be that I'm a god, or that I'm a madman. In that moment, he decided to confide in her everything. If she believed him then she would most likely follow him into Oblivion itself. If she didn't believe him she would most likely think her Thane is a madman.
Hmm, he thought, but what if I don't have to tell her the whole truth? He could simply say he was sent by the gods, not that he was one. What if he was sent by Talos? And not that he was Talos. It might just work, "Thane?" he heard her say as she opened the door.
"Sorry," he said, shaking himself free from thought. He entered the home, muttering thanks as he entered. The house was nice, but it was nothing glorious. At the entrance a fire was already glowing brightly in the hearth. In the back there was a closet, kitchen and dining area. Upstairs was the living quarters with a master bedroom for him and a smaller room for Lydia.
With a sigh and a roll of his shoulders he entered the dining area. He began to remove the more limiting pieces of armor, his helmet, gauntlets, and sword belt he laid on the table. He breathed deeply once he was free of the extra weight and joined Lydia at the hearth. He motioned for her to sit, but she remained standing. He grabbed the fire iron and started adjusting the logs. They stood in silence, the only sound being the cracks of the fire.
After a time Lydia broke the silence, "Who are you?"
Revak's focused on the fire, "Would you like the short or long version?"
"I want the truth."
Grinding his teeth, Revak began, "My name is Revakkaal, but I'm not exactly from Cyrodiil." he watched her closely for any reaction. "But I am Dragonborn," he explained, "and I've known this for a very long time."
Lydia's stare was unwavering, "Who are you?"
Revak sighed, "I can't exactly tell you."
She scowled, "What?"
"What I can tell you," he said as he took a step back, "is that I'm here to save Skyrim, no," he corrected himself, "not just Skyrim... I'm here to save all of Nirn from a threat that only a Dragonborn can prevent." Lydia stood silent as stone as he continued, "I'm here to stop the end of the world."
With Friends Like These
Revak could see his breath in the chill of the early morning. He took one last look at Whiterun as he spurred his horse down the road. Lydia had denied his offer to travel to High Hrothgar. It saddened him that she did not wish to go, but he understood her reasons.
She thought he was a mad man.
It was disheartening that the first person he 'told' did not believe him. He laughed to himself, what if he'd told her the entire truth? And so, Lydia remained in Breezehome. True, it hurt him, but he had a mission. And Revak couldn't afford to stray from it.
He watched as the towers of Dragonsreach faded away behind him. He would head to Riverwood and then Ivaarstead. From Ivaarstead he would climb the Seven Thousand Steps. He kept his horse at a good speed and would reach Riverwood within a few hours. He enjoyed the traveling. It was a chance to clear his thoughts and to enjoy the nature of Skyrim.
He saw the walls of Riverwood as he crested over a hill. He gave a smile as he saw the small mill town, its people already finishing their work days and enjoying a brilliant afternoon. He crossed the bridge and led his horse into the town. He noticed that Whiterun guards patrolled the walls and the town. They nodded as he passed. He dismounted and tied his horse to the rail at the inn.
He noticed a little girl sitting on the inn's porch. Revak thought for a moment, trying to remember her name. He smiled and gave a little wave. The girl gave a gasp and ran into the inn. Strange, Revak thought as he watched the door slam behind her. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the key that Gerdur had given him, wondering if there was any news of Ralof and whether or not he'd made it to Windhelm safely.
As he walked the streets he felt watched. The villagers gave him evil looks and refused to talk to him.
Revak made his way to the mill, but was shocked to find, not Hod working the mill, but a young man. "Hello," Revak said loudly so that he could be heard over the sound of the mill.
The young man stopped his work and looked at Revak, the blood drained from his face as he did so. The man collected himself and scowled, "What do you want?" he said curtly.
"I'm looking for Gerdur? Or Hod?" Revak said politely a smile still on his face.
"Is this some sort of sick joke?" the man shouted.
"I'm sorry," Revak said as he stepped away from the young Nord, "but I don't think I understand?"
The man stared at him, "What in Oblivion are you doing back here? Have you no respect?" He was shouting now, his hand resting on the dagger at his belt. Revak started backing away, but the man was closing the gap.
"Look," Revak said, trying to calm the man, "I have no idea what's going on here. What's your name? What's happened?"
"Sven," he said shaking his head to calm himself, "you have no idea, do you?"
"Hence why I asked what happened!"
"Follow me," Sven said, brushing roughly against Revak as he passed by.
Revak followed as Sven lead him down the main road. He turned right and down the lane that Revak remembered lead to Gerdur and Hod's home.
The house was soon in sight, but something was wrong. Revak saw that the door had been boarded up and a sign nailed to it. Revak approached the door as Sven stood behind him silently.
Revak ripped the paper off the door, his scowl growing as he read:
The following citizens have been arrested and their property seized by the Empire:
Gerdur of Riverwood
Hod of Riverwood
For the crime of treason against the Empire in Skyrim.
In the name of his grace, Titus Mede II…
It continued with a further list of crimes, including conspiring against the Empire and providing shelter to known criminals. It was signed by General Tullius. Revak threw the paper down in fury. He clenched his fits at his sides in an attempt to control his anger. "When did this happen?" Revak growled.
"Two days ago," Sven said from behind him. "You didn't know?"
Revak shook his head, "Of course not, I've been in Whiterun."
"They came in the middle of the night," Sven explained. "Hod tried to fight against them, but Gerdur stopped him. They took them away."
"What about the boy?" Revak said as he turned to face Sven.
"Sent to an orphanage," he said, "in Riften, I hear."
This was not the Empire Revak knew. This was not the Empire he made. His Empire didn't steal people away in the dark of night. His Empire didn't take children from their parents and cart them away never to been seen again. It was sickening, disgusting. To Revak, it was no wonder that the Stormcloaks were rebelling. Part of him wanted to hunt these Imperials down; he wanted to free his friends, and to get their boy back. Revak breathed deeply, No, he thought. I can't let this slow me down. I have to stop Alduin. The war can wait.
Sven soon left him. Revak reached into his pocket and removed the iron key that Gerdur had given him. He closed his fist around the key and kneeled, "Akatosh," he prayed softly, "guide them, for me." Shaking his head he stood and started making his way back to the inn. He saw a long string of leather hanging on the fence. Revak took the leather; pulling out the key he threaded it onto the leather. He tied it around his neck, a reminder of the sacrifice his friends had made.
Emotionally and physically drained from the day he was eager for some rest.
Inside the Sleeping Giant Inn, an Argonian sipped at his mead, not really drinking it, but not really wanting to look suspicious either. He watched the tavern's patrons as they drank, sang, and all together acted like idiots. How long until he gets here? He asks himself. The Nords paid him no attention; they were more focused with their ale. He was getting nervous that he wouldn't show, until he heard the sound of the door opening and felt a cold breeze come in.
In walked a tall, strong looking Nord in steel armor. He had very short blonde hair and deep blue eyes. He looked tired and road weary. Perfect. He also took note of the steel sword at the Nord's hip. The Nord made his way to the inn keep, requested a room, paid the keep, and then took to his room. The Argonian sipped his drink with a smirk; everything was falling neatly into place. He liked this very much.
The Argonian retired to the room he'd rented earlier that day, leaving the villagers to their late night antics. He placed his drink on his bedside table. Then he sat down cross legged on the floor to meditate on what he was about to do.
Deep into the night, the Argonian 'woke' himself from his meditation. It's time, he thought as he stood, stretched, and donned his leather armor. His armor was boiled black and red leather, and enchanted to ensure he would succeed. He never failed anyways, but it never hurt to be cautious.
Slowly, he made his way to the door, ever careful to avoid the squeaky boards. He opened the door slowly so that it wouldn't creak. The inn was empty, the dying embers of the hearth were the last lights left in the room. He snuck across the hall to the Nord's room. He made no sound as he moved, thanks to years of training and practice. Gently, he started picking the lock. It was simple, only three tumblers. The lock clicked and the Argonian swung the door open.
Inside, the Nord lay in a deep sleep amongst furs and blankets. His armor lay on the dresser across the room, along with his blade. Perfect. He drew his blade, a wicked looking piece made of ebony. He crept to the Nord's bedside, "The Dread Father comes to claim his property," the Argonian whispered as he raised his blade high in the air.
NO! At the last second the Nord awoke, his eyes wild with fear, he attempted to dodge the Argonian's blade making it miss its mark. Instead of stabbing the heart the blade dug into the Nord's belly. The Nord gasped in pain, his mouth trying to form words, but his strength had not yet failed him. With one hand he pushed the Argonian away. Nice try, the Argonian thought as he stalked closer to the now kneeling Nord. He drew his dagger high.
Intense, searing pain.
He looked down and saw the tip of a thin blade coming from his chest.
Revak waited for the final strike to come. Instead he heard a sickening sound. He looked up and saw the assassin, a green skinned argonian, holding his blade high in the air. The assassin had a look of terror on his face as he looked and saw a blade protruding from his chest. The blade drew away, leaving a gaping hole. The Argonian assassin fell to the floor with a solid thud.
Behind the argonian, stood a woman in leathers and wielding a very familiar sword. He recognized her as Farengar's client.
She was wielding the signature weapon of the Blades.
A Plan In Motion
He became aware of the pain in his belly first. It felt like his insides were on fire. With a groan he opened his eyes and sat up, trying to ignore the increase in pain as he moved. His vision was blurry at first, but, slowly, his eyes adjusted to the light. It took his fuzzy brain a moment to realize he was in a different room. The room was warm, but he felt a slight chill on his bare chest from the sweat making contact with the open air. He looked down and saw that his wound had been dressed. He felt stomach sick.
Everything was slowly returning to him, the abduction of Ralof's family, the assassin, and Farengar's client. That sword, he thought as he threw his feet over the side, it was an Akaviri katana. He knew it for sure. He'd seen those dozens of times. He had used them before. The Akaviri katana was the signature weapon of the Blades, the once dragon hunters, and personal guards to the Emperor. They were sworn to follow and protect the Dragonborn. Once the Oblivion Crisis hit, the Blades were paramount to the salvation of Tamriel from the invasion of the daedra from Oblivion.
The last Dragonborn emperor died at the end of the Third Era. The Blades had no emperor to serve, and thus were cast aside, nothing but relics of a time now gone. Either this woman had a relic and was unaware of its origins, or she was in contact with the Blades. If that was true she probably was one. If the Blades still existed they would be honor bound to help him.
He stood. His legs felt weak from lack of use. How long was I unconscious, he thought, more importantly, who treated me? The empty, sour feeling in his stomach and the stiffness of his muscles was a familiar feeling. Poison, he thought with a sigh, the damn assassin's blade was poisoned.
He should have figured that earlier.
He spotted a mug on the stand next to the bed. Greedy with thirst he reached for it, his thirst now all but unbearable, "I wouldn't do that if I were you," he heard a woman's voice say from behind him, "you'll regret it when you feel like your insides are going to explode."
Smiling, Revak took a small sip. The water wasn't cool, but refreshing nonetheless. Sadly, he put the still full mug down on the stand. He turned and saw the woman who had saved him standing in the doorway. Her leathers were gone, replaced by civilian clothes, and she only had a steel dagger at her side. "You speak from experience?" he asked, not taking his eyes off her. She was a Breton; he could tell that much by her height, and her light hair and eyes. She was older, if Revak were to guess he would say in her fifties, but she was obviously in good shape.
"Something like that," she said with a smirk. She closed the door behind her, "You and I need to talk."
Revak nodded, "We do," he said as he made his way, slowly, to the table where there was a wicked looking ebony dagger and a folded note. Curious, Revak opened the note, revealing a large black hand printed on it. The Black Hand, he thought as he folded the note, I should have known that it was the Dark Brotherhood. "The Dark Brotherhood," he said setting the note down and picking up the ebony blade gently. It was a fine blade, something that the Brotherhood would have used back in their prime, "I forgot about them."
The woman took the dagger from him, "Well, it's going to be hard to forget about them from now on." She put the dagger down, "They aren't going to forget this, and they don't give up on hits." She looked at him, "They are going to hunt you until you die."
"Not unless I run into them first," he said with a smile as he turned back toward the bed and sat down, wincing from the pain.
"You don't seriously expect to challenge the Dark Brotherhood?"
"No," Revak laughed, "but if I run into them, I'll remember this." She smiled.
"So," he said, "do I get to learn the name of the person who probably saved my life?"
"Probably?" she raised her brow.
"Well," Revak shrugged, "he might have missed, you never know."
"No, I guess not."
She smiled, "My name is Delphine."
"Well then," he said, offering his hand, "Delphine, I thank you." She took his hand; Revak smiled at the strength of her grip. "So, that was an interesting blade you used last night."
"I saved you life and you're interested in swords?"
Revak stood, "You know who I am," she said nothing. "You know what I am?" Nothing. "I know what you are."
She crossed her arms, "Do you?"
"I do, Blade."
Revak took a step toward her, "It's been a long time since you were called that, wasn't it? After all, weren't the Blades undone?"
Delphine's eyes grew wide, "How do you know?"
"Your sword," he said calmly. "The Akaviri katana, it's not very common," he explained.
"You weren't just saving an innocent man; you were saving me for a reason, why?"
She sighed, "Because I've heard the rumors. You're Dragonborn?"
Revak nodded, "I am."
"Follow me," she said as she walked to the wardrobe in the corner.
Curious, Revak followed and watched as Delphine opened the door, pushed aside the clothes and pulled a hidden lever. Suddenly, the back wall of the wardrobe slid to the left, revealing a stone staircase going to a hidden basement. Delphine went down the stairs, Revak following slowly but surely behind her. It took a moment for Revak's eyes to adjust to the lack of light. Once adjusted he saw a table in the center of the room, covered with maps and books, a chest in the corner, a book shelf and an alchemist table along the back wall. Along the wall to the right was a weapon rack, containing three Akaviri katanas.
"Very nice," he said once he was finished taking in his surroundings.
"I'm sure you understand the need for secrecy."
He nodded, "Of course. So, Delphine, who are you really?"
She leaned on the table and sighed, "One of the last of the Blades. How much do you know of them?"
"More than I should," he said as he moved slowly to the table. "They were - are - an ancient order, meant to protect and serve the Dragonborn. In the beginning they were dragon hunters and joined the Dragonborn to hunt dragons. Later, they were guardians to the Dragonborn Emperors. After the Oblivion Crisis, and after the death of Martin Septim, they were left without a clear purpose."
Delphine nodded solemnly, "Ever since we've been fighting where we're needed. I fought against the Aldmeri Dominion in the Great Dominion destroyed us. The Thalmor hunted us down, killing each member of the Blades they could find. They've been hunting the Blades ever since, now only myself and Esbern remain."
Delphine paused and shook her head, "We questioned them. We stood for what he Empire truly is, what it was meant to be, and we suffered for it."
"And what is that?" Revak asked, curious as to what her response would be.
"A union of Tamriel under one banner, a union of peace and brotherhood, ruled by the Dragonborn descended from Tiber Septim himself."
She nodded, "That was the biggest blow to the Blades. Removing Talos from the Divines? Not only had the Empire turned into a bastardized version of itself, but it abandoned it's most holy and iconic man that ever lived. It's founder! For our sake, I hope Talos finds mercy to those that still worship him, even in secret."
He does, Revak thought, "I agree."
She looked at him, determination in her eyes, "You truly are Dragonborn?" Revak nodded. "I've been tracking your progress since Bleak Falls Barrow," she said, "You've never been to the Greybeards. Instead you learned to Shout from the dragon at the watchtower."
She pointed out numerous points she'd marked along the map, "These are dragon burial sites," she began. "The fact that the dragons are returning isn't merely by chance. Something is bringing them back. What that is I don't-"
"I do," Revak interrupted. Delphine stared at him, "Alduin has returned."
"Alduin," she said slowly, "I recognize the name..."
"Alduin the World Eater, End Bringer, First Born of Akatosh," Revak said with a scowl, "he is the opposite of Akatosh; as Akatosh creates, Alduin was to destroy. According to legends, Alduin had forsaken his ancient role to bring the end of the world, and instead he wanted to control it. So the Nords of old, the Dragonborn, supposedly defeated him."
"But if he was defeated, how can he be back?"
"It said they 'defeated' him, not that they destroyed him. How can you destroy a god?"
Delphine frowned, "If this is true... what are we to do?"
"It is no mere coincidence that I, a Dragonborn, appeared just as the dragons return to Skyrim."
Delphine looked confused, "What do you mean?"
"I was sent by the Divines to stop Alduin, at all costs."
"Sent by the Divines? So what, they brought you back to life?"
"In a way. You don't need to believe me now, I'm sure it will make itself more obvious in time, but you and I have the same goal; to stop these dragons," he paused, taking in her reaction.
"Agreed," she said finally, "we must stop these dragons, whatever they are planning, whether it's this Alduin, or just a crazed act of nature." Revak held back a sigh of relief. He was worried that this would go the same way as it had with Lydia; instead Delphine asked no further questions, just left the posibility hanging in the air. "In any case," she pointed at a mark on her map, "Kynesgrove, I believe this is our next dragon. If we can catch them as they come back..."
Revak smiled, "It might save some lives."
"Exactly," Delphine said, "and if you really are Dragonborn, this is your chance to prove it to me."
It made sense that she would be skeptical, "Of course." Revak touched his bandages, "How long until I will be able to fight?"
She shook her head, "I'm not sure, let's go back upstairs and see how it's healing. The poison that was on the blade was a nasty concoction."
Going back up the stairs was more difficult that descending. Revak had to use Delphine as a crutch in order to get back up them. The room was spinning by the time they made it back to the bed. Carefully, Delphine removed the bandages. Revak winced as the fabric brushed against the wound. Once the bandages were removed Revak could see the injury for the first time. He had been stabbed in the left side of his belly. It was a long wound that was deep at the point of impact, then slid toward his side, leaving a long and ugly gash. He knew instantly that he would scar from the cut, "How long has it been?"
"Two days, you were lucky he missed your internal organs," Delphine said, reaching for fresh bandages. "It has healed well for how long it's been, the poison probably slowed the healing somewhat," she said as she began rewraping his injury.
Revak nodded, "I figured as much. I should be fine in maybe a few days."
"Five at least; we'll see, but we need to get to Kynesgrove, if you aren't well enough by then..."
"I'll travel injured," Revak smiled, "I'll make it."
She returned his smile as she finished wrapping his bandages.
Finally, Revak had a plan.
Filler chapter as well as good 'ol character development.
Remember to review or message me with criticism or suggestions! They make me a better writer!
Shout out to Knotted, and their fanfiction on fanfiction.net called "Dragonsong" who's Dragonborn is also named 'Revak'! Great minds think alike! Check out their fanfiction!
Phantom Sky Hunt
Kynesgrove turned out to be nothing more than a small mining village just South of Windhelm. It was literally nothing more than a mine, inn, and abandoned lumber mill. Revak scratched absentmindedly at his armor where he knew the scar from the assassin hid underneath. Under Revak's insistence, he and Delphine had traveled a mere three days after Revak had awoken after the Dark Brotherhood blade attempted to gut him like a fish. He had kept the wicked ebony blade and carried it with him, a reminder that if he were to ever run in to another member of the Brotherhood that he would return it.
They traveled in full armor, and constantly on their guard. Regularly, Delphine would look over her shoulder, as if fearing to find another assassin trailing behind them. She was under the constant fear that the Thalmor were hunting her still. Revak tried to comfort her by reminding her that she was no longer alone; she reminded him that he was Dragonborn, and that if anyone knew his whereabouts, it'd be the Thalmor.
Despite being weighed down by armor and injury they traveled quickly, only stopping to water their horses and to sleep in short shifts. As they passed under the great mountain that lead to the Throat of the World Revak hung his head. He knew he was defying the Greybeards by not climbing the Seven Thousand steps now, but he had a mission, and stopping the dragons, any dragon, was more important that meeting with old men on mountains.
As they traveled Delphine told him of her life; her battles in the First War, the multiple attempts on her life (she once killed an entire Thalmor assassination team.), and how she was trying to keep the traditions of the Blades alive. Each night and morning she prayed to the gods, to Talos specifically. In fact, Revak noticed that she would grasp her amulet of Talos as if to remind herself that it was still there. He couldn't help but smile as he stole glances of her doing this, but she quickly would hide the amulet under her armor, safe from the world and from his eyes.
His nights were becoming sleepless. Memories of his life long lived were bleeding into his dreams. His dreams were of battles long since forgotten. One night he had dreamed of the battle of Sancre Tor; the bloody battle between the Bretons, Nords, and Imperials that had given him his Empire. He saw the faces of the men and women that he'd killed as he lead his army beneath the keep. His days were spent in silence, meditating on the images of the night before.
One day they saw an lonely shrine on the road. The stone relic was crushed, and the name of the god it was for had been removed by a rough hand, but that only made it more obvious that it was a shrine to Talos. "Dragonborn, do you worship the gods?" Delphine had asked him.
"Of course," Revak had curtly responded as they rode.
"I'm sorry," she said, "I just never notice you praying or even mentioning them."
Revak shook his head, "I do, but I guess I've been... out of practice of late."
"Do you worship Talos?" she asked, her hand on her chest where Revak knew her amulet lay beneath.
"Yes," he said slowly, "in a way." That was the last he would speak of it.
It was late in the afternoon when they finally saw the Braidwood Inn. It was late fall in Skyrim. The sun hid behind a thick layer of clouds, and still sweat soaked their horses, threatening to freeze. Revak's mood rose as he saw the inn, for it meant food, shelter from the cold, and a chance for sleep. He dreamed of a fire, a cup of ale, and a warm meal.
Sadly that would remain a dream.
A farmer was running down the road, catching the attention of a Stormcloak patrol. Delphine and Revak followed the patrol as they intercepted the farmer. The Stormcloak stopped the poor man, "Trouble?" he asked.
The farmer stopped, catching his breath, "A dragon!" he gasped, "a huge black dragon!"
Revak spurred his mare forward, "Where?"
"Up the hill, by the old mound!"
Revak put on his horned helm, "Delphine, take the patrolman and get reinforcements," he drew his Akaviri Katana, "I'll go to the burial mound."
He was about to turn to run of up the path when Delphine called to him, "Dragonborn!" Revak stopped, and looked at the Blade. Her eyes spoke of fear and concern, "Fight well." Revak smiled and turned, his horse going full speed up the sparse dirt road.
Delphine watched sadly as the Dragonborn disappeared from sight. Her horse sense fear and grew restless, prancing about where it stood, "You," she said to the farmer, "find somewhere safe," the farmer nodded and ran off toward the fields. "Stormcloak," she said to the soldier, who had an almost comical look of confusion on his face, "is there a post nearby?" He nodded and lead her down the road.
There was a small tower near the end of the town. It was a crumbling relic of the old Empire, but the Stormcloaks were like roaches. They would take cover and use whatever supplies they could muster, and if using abandoned Imperial outposts was necessary they would certainly make due.
"Captain!" the Stormcloak patrol called as he neared the outpost. An old soldier in a bearskin cloak stepped from the tower, followed by two more Stormcloak soldiers.
"What is the meaning of this? Who is this" the old bear asked.
The patrol stopped running, breathing heavily, Delphine spoke for him, "Reinforcements are needed in the village," she said, sitting tall in the saddle.
"Who are you?"
Delphine frowned, "It doesn't matter who I am," she said, "what matters is that there's a dragon at the burial mound and a man has gone to fight it alone."
The bear cursed, "Then he is a fool."
Delphine drew her sword, rage fueling her words, "He is the Dragonborn!" she yelled, her sword eager at her side, "show some respect!"
The bear stared at her for a moment, "Dinalla," he said to the young Stormcloak woman beside him, "get my horse."
As Revak crested the hill he saw the great black dragon circling the ancient mound. The darkness that he felt in his heart at the sight of it confirmed that it was Alduin.
A black cloud was spinning from the mound as Alduin hovered and chanted in the Dragon Language. The worm either did not notice him, or it paid him no attention. Revak's horse began to fret, refusing to continue toward the black beast. He dismounted, taking his steel shield once his metal boots hit the fresh powder of snow below. His horse fled, screaming as it sped back down the path.
Sword and shield in hand, Revak marched toward the mound, "DRAGON!" he shouted at the beast. The dragon made sound that was a mix between a growl and a roar as it hovered above the mound; Revak could almost imagine the beast laughing at him.
The dragon stared at Revak, his burning red eyes flared, "Dovahkiin," the World Eater said, his voice made the world grow cold and dark and made a chill run down Revak's spine, "Daar Lein los dii." He breathed a white mist into the black cloud.
The ground shook. Revak struggled to stay on his feet. From the dragon mound a skeletal dragon burst forth, spraying rocks and dirt in its wake. A bright light came from the dragon, blinding Revak. He cursed and put up his shield, not knowing what would happen while he was indisposed. The light dispersed. Revak lowered his shield.
The skeletal dragon had become flesh. Its scales were white as the new snow, and they sparkled like ice in the morning light; beautiful and dangerous. The beast crawled from its former resting place and Shouted to the heavens, "FRO KRAH DIIN!" a blast of ice blue frost streamed into the air. Frost breath, Revak remembered. The white dragon dipped its head in respect to Alduin, "Alduin, thuri! Boaan tiid vokriiha suleyksejun kruziik."
Alduin roared in response, "Sahloknir, krii daar jor!" Revak didn't need to speak the Dragon Language to know that the Worm had commanded the white dragon to kill him. The white dragon, Sahloknir Revak guessed, turned toward him as Alduin flew away, roaring as he fled. Revak held up his shield and waited for the dragon to make its first move. Revak's heart was beating wildly in his chest. He had no tower to jump from this time, and no plan.
The dragon stepped toward him, baring its teeth as it spoke, "I am Sahloknir! Hear my Voice and despair!" He Shouted a stream of ice at Revak, who barely managed dodged in time.
"You will die, dragon!" Revak called as he returned to his feet, his shield still held high.
Sahloknir hummed, "My Lord Alduin requires your death. I am happy to oblige him, " he said as he breathed another spray of frost, just missing Revak, "Hiding will not save you mortal!"
Revak charged, dodging Sahloknir's elemental breath by inches, but managing to bash the white dragon in the snout, "You mortals have grown arrogant while I slept!"
"Perhaps you are the one who's grown arrogant?" Revak said as he rushed back, dodging the dragon's claws. He felt the power of the dragon's blood flowing within him, "FUS RO DAH!" he Shouted. The dragon was buffeted backwards, using his wings to keep his balance.
"Your Voice is strong Dovahkiin," he released a blast of flame, forcing Revak back even further. Fire and ice? Revak cursed as he charged again, shield above his head he dived as another stream of flame flew over him, heating his shield and scalding his shield arm. He managed to slash at the beast's throat. He broke through it's scales and the dragon roared in pain. Revak was nearly crushed as the dragon took to the skies, blood trailing behind it like a comet's tail.
Revak screamed in defiance as the dragon dived at him, roaring as it fell from the heavens. The dragon crashed, parting the ground like water as it fell. Revak was knocked away. He felt his breath knocked out of him as he hit the ground. He lay there, gasping for breath. He slowly stood, the world spinning around him. The dragon stood, but was obviously hurt. It moved slowly and did not bother to speak to Revak again.
Revak half limped half marched to the dragon, who bared its teeth and growled, "I am Talos Stormcrown," the dragon stared, at a loss for words, "in the name of the
Divines I WILL DESTROY YOU!" he charged, sword high and shield low, ready to die, but also ready to kill the beast before him. His flesh began to glow gold, the blessing of a god made flesh. For the first time since he arrived in Skyrim... Revak was Talos once more.
Sahloknir tried to crunch the Dragonborn in his jaws, but the swift Dragonborn sidestepped him. The dragon was blinded by Talos' aura. The white worm was left wide open, and Talos took the opportunity. He stabbed the beast in the eye, once, twice, three times. Sahloknir roared in pain and despair as the blade sunk deep into his eye, and deep into it's brain. The dragon collapsed, shuddered once, then moved no more.
Revak stood, frozen in time as the soul of the dragon joined his. A bright gold and white stream enveloped him, giving him the power and knowledge of the felled dragon. When it was over Revak stood, burned, damaged, and tired. He stepped away from the dead dragon, taking in the sight.
He saw Delphine and the Stormcloaks coming up from behind him. He smiled when she stopped, frozen in awe. "Do you believe I am Dragonborn now?" he laughed.
A/N: So this chapter new things, folks, new things. It's one of those 'in between' chapters, but trust me I am VERY excited for the next few chapters. I hope you are too. I promise longer chapters from here on out, as well as more characters. I will also try to update more.
The Next Step
Bardak the Bold
The Nord stood over the body of a white dragon. His horned helm cast a shadow that obscured his face from view, and his steel armor was painted with blood and grime. The warrior's sword was sheathed deep inside the eye of the beast. But that was not why Bardak the Bold and his ragtag company of six Stormcloaks was frozen where they stood. Bardak was stunned because he had just witnessed the warrior take in something from the dragon. He had heard the legends, every true born Nord had; the legends of the Dragonborn. It was a tale told to young children before they went to bed, something only adults would dream of. It was often told that the Nords of old, the descendants of the First Men, had learned to take in the power of the dragons they killed, and use it against them. They fought for freedom and glory. One of them even became a Divine. They were the pride of the Nord race, and, until now, Bardic thought they were only legends.
This man was Dragonborn.
Without a word Bardak drew his ax. It was an ancient weapon that had been in his family for generations; passed down from father to son. He fell to his knees, laying his weapon on the fresh snow before him. This was an act of respect to some, and an act of fealty to others. His Stormcloaks followed, for they too, knew what they had just been witness to.
The Dragonborn removed his sword from the beast's skull. Black blood coated the blade from tip to hilt. He thrust the still bloodied blade into the snow covered ground. Using both hands he removed his helm, allowing Bardak to see his face for the first time. The old Stormcloak captain was surprised to see how young he was. The Dragonborn's brow gleamed with perspiration, and his face and short blonde hair were caked with mud, soot, and blood.
Bardak held his breath as the warrior, the Dragonborn he reminded himself, march towards him. Bardak lowered his bear skin hood as the Dragonborn knelt in front of him. He met Bardak's old brown eyes with the Dragonborn's deep midnight blue ones. "Why do you kneel, Stormcloak?" he asked softly.
Bardak dipped his head, breaking eye contact, "Because I am a true Nord, and you are a Dragonborn of legends."
The Dragonborn stood slowly, and offered Bardak his hand. Confused and in awe, Bardak took it, and they stood, together, "Stand," the Dragonborn said, "this legend been written yet."
They would eat and stay for free that night at the Braidwood Inn. The inn keep was very gracious to the Dragonborn for slaying the white dragon. He even swore he would name his next son after him. The Dragonborn smiled and said he was honored, but that 'Revak' was an ugly name. Nonetheless the Inn was small. Its spread was sparse as the crop had been small that year, and so much of their inventory depended on the generosity of traveling merchants, which were, according to the keep, "Growing more and more skittish" as more and more sightings of dragons were being reported.
The entire population of Kynesgrove attended their little victory get together, all twelve of them, plus the Stormcloaks who had arrived with the captain Delphine had nicknamed in her head 'the Old Bear'. In truth, this Old Bear was only a few years older than herself. The cook served a thin but filling venison stew with carrots and cabbage. The soup was served hot, but by the time that the villagers let Delphine and the Dragonborn stop telling stories and eat it had grown cold. Delphine smiled when she spied the Dragonborn whispering to his stew, which was suddenly steaming. She guessed that it was probably improper use of the Voice, but she ignored it and passed him her bowl as well.
Where the Inn was lacking in food they were rich in alcohol, and soon the residents of Kynesgrove were laughing louder, tipping their drinks, and the Stormcloaks were comparing battle scars. The Dragonborn, Delphine noticed, politely refused drink, but he still laughed amongst the men, and was asked multiple times to spin them the story of how he'd defeated the dragon back at the Whiterun Western watchtower.
The women were swooning over the young Dragonborn. Delphine was sure that one who was particularly deep in her cups had actually proposed to him. But Delphine was impressed with the Dragonborn. He knew how to handle himself. He was always polite and courteous, and he always seemed know exactly what to say. He knew how to work a crowd. Only once one of the residents picked up a lute and started a very off key rendition of "Ragnar the Red" did the Dragonborn pull Delphine aside, "I think it's time we leave these folks to their festivities," he said just loud enough for her to hear. "Let's go up to my room, we need to talk."
Delphine nodded, "That we do," she agreed. She followed him up the stairs to the room he rented at the end of the hall. It was a simple room, inhabited by only a bet and trunk. The Dragonborn's armor rested on his trunk, cleaned and shined to perfection. He shut the door behind her, muffling yet another rendition of "Ragnar the Red".
"These small village folk know how to celebrate," he smiled.
"With Skyrim how it is," she shook her head, "you learn to celebrate whenever you can."
"I think we should split up," he said suddenly. Delphine was taken completely off guard. Her mouth sat agape, and she was about to ask what in Oblivion he was talking about when he put up a hand, "We know that Alduin is bringing back the dragons, but I can't just fight these dragons every blasted time he brings one back." He shook his head and continued, "For all we know he is raising another dragon as we speak. We were lucky this time, that's all. We need to stop this at it's source; Alduin."
Delphine scowled, she wasn't liking this, "And what are you suggesting, O wise Dragonborn?"
Now it was his turn to scowl, "Stop it, Delphine, you know that I wouldn't suggest anything without thinking it through. I need to go to the Greybeards. They're the only ones who might have any information on what to do with Alduin, or how the ancient Dragonborn stopped him before. But we also need to stop the dragons so they don't kill half the population of Skyrim before I can stop Alduin."
She looked at him, wondering whether or not the world had been cursed with a mad Dragonborn, "And how exactly am I supposed to fight dragons?"
He laughed, "I don't even know how I do it."
"You mentioned another Blade before."
"Esbern. He and I are constantly being hunted by the Thalmor. He went into hiding years ago. I haven't seen him or heard from him since," but she doesn't mean that she hadn't been looking.
The Dragonborn thought for a moment, "Then if anyone has any idea where he is, it's them. Find a way, Delphine, I know you have some plan. I leave for Ivaarstead on first light."
At that the conversation was over as he opened the door for her, "I'll find a way to contact you if I figure anything out."
He had to admit, he was nervous about going off alone. He had grown used to the Blade's company, but he was positive that she could handle the task he set out for her. Returning the Blades to their ancient roles as dragon hunters he thought was the best plan they could follow. He did not sleep well, knowing that she wouldn't be happy when she awoke at dawn and found his room empty. After a few hours of fitful sleep he woke, donned his armor, and slowly moved down the hallway. When he reached the tavern floor he found it empty. Even the inn keep was gone, Revak took the opportunity to take some supplies from the cupboard. He felt bad for taking the supplies, and even leaving a few coins behind, he knew, wasn't worth the price of the food.
His horse was still tacked from the day before. He mounted and rode South towards Ivaarstead.
It took almost three days to reach Ivaarstead. The town was larger than Kynesgrove, but compared to Whiterun it was tiny. He rode into the town, feeling the eyes of the villagers as he passed. They did not bother to speak to him. They were so used to pilgrims coming to the town before climbing the Seven Thousand Steps. He was tired and road weary, and decided to stay a night at the inn before Vilemyr Inn, Revak found, was better equipped to handle travellers than the Braidswood had been. He greeted the inn keep, ordered a meat pie, and sat in front of the hearth. He listened as a golden haired bard played her lute softly in the corner.
The morning was cold and the sky was overcast when Revak crossed the bridge and began his ascent up the Seven Thousand Steps to High Hrothgar, and to the Greybeards. The Seven Thousand Steps were, at their heart, a pilgrimage for any who wished to find something; whether it be something about themselves or some sort of spiritual fulfillment. Along the climb there were small shrines, with etchings that told the tale of the Greybeards and how they were founded. He passed the first etching, stopping to read the first words of the pilgrimage.
Before the birth of man, the Dragons ruled all of Mundus
Their word was the Voice, and they spoke only for True Needs
For the Voice could blot out the sky and flood the land
He meditated on the first words. He thought of a world where dragons ruled. He began to climb. The steps were worn with time and use. He kept a steady pace, controlling his breathing, for he knew the higher he climbed the harder it would be to climb. A half hour later he found himself at the second etching.
Men were born and spread over the face of Mundus
The Dragon's presided over the crawling masses
Men were weak then, and had no voice
Before the Dragonborn then, he thought as he read the last line. That was a time when the Nords had worshiped the dragons, thinking them gods. He stared up the path, closing his cloak tight around him. He followed a small group of mountain goats. Soon he passed the third etching, then the fourth, all telling the story on how the Nords rebelled against their dragon overlords with the help of the Dragonborn. The higher he climbed the thinner the air became, and he soon found himself breathing heavily and growing more tired. He knew he was almost there when he saw a very familiar statue that hadn't been there the last time he'd climbed the steps so very long ago.
Underneath the statue of Talos he read the etching:
For years all silent, the Greybeards spoke one name
Tiber Septim, stripling then, was summoned to Hrothgar
They blessed and named him Dovahkiin
He smiled at his old name. He remembered his first trip up the mountain well, for it was almost his last. Partway up he'd been attacked by a frost troll. It had the element of surprise, and the help of a snowstorm. It wasn't that he couldn't easily defeat the troll, it was the fact that while fighting it, he almost stepped off the mountain because he was unable to see the ground below him.
He continued on until he could see the home of the Greybeards, High Hrothgar. It stood ancient and grim looking in the shadow of the mountain, which still loomed just above it. He walked the worn steps, the last of the journey. He reached for the great doors, finding them unlocked, and entered.
She swore that if she saw the Dragonborn again she'd be sure to have a few strong words with him. Instead she followed his lead and left Kynesgrove, heading North to Windhelm. She had a plan. She had set the seeds in Kynesgrove before she'd left. Sending couriers this way and that, trying to contact the right people. If anyone knew where Esbern was, it was the Thalmor. So it would be the Thalmor that would lead her straight to him.
Windhelm was a completely different city than Whiterun. It was the center of the Stormcloak rebellion, and the war had clearly taken the toll on the ancient city. It's stone alleys and streets were guarded by Stormcloak soldiers, and their numbers were in full force. The city was as cold as its stone, and it's people were colder still. Dark Elves were restricted to the city's Grey Quarter, and Argonians and Khajiit to the docks outside the city. It was the Nordic race that was prominent within the city.
Wrapping her cloak around her she entered the tavern, ignoring the bartender she went upstairs and found a table in the darkest corner of the room. She gazed at the table, and there, carved into the side was a symbol; a circle within a diamond. She sat there, waiting for the contact to show himself. She was nervous he wouldn't show when she heard a voice behind her, "Are you looking for a professional?"
The man sat down, he was dressed in black leather and hood, "Tell me what you need done, sweetheart, the Guild is at your service."
A/N: More frequent updates, as promised.
Old Men on Mountains
Cato smiled lightly as the Thalmor guard blocked his path, "Why, of course," he said politely as he handed the High Elf the invitation scroll. Cato knew that the invitation was a forgery, but he was confident in his associate's skills. He wouldn't have been here if he'd thought otherwise.
The Imperial watched calmly as the Thalmor guard read the scroll. The Altmer nodded, "Welcome to the Embassy, Thane. It is an honor to have you here." Cato smiled. He was indeed a Thane - that part was true, but he was positive that the Thane of Riften, a rebel city, wasn't on the guest list for this party. The guard stepped aside, and Cato nodded to him politely as he passed.
The party room was of a good size, but packed with dignitaries; rich merchants, Thanes, Jarls, and stewards all. Immediately, Cato counted the number of exits. He had entered the party easily enough, but he knew that it would be in escaping that the real challenge would begin. He had dressed to impress, dressed in a black doublet with red trim, and his short black hair was neatly combed. He scanned the crowd, looking for his 'partner in crime', a wood elf by the name of Malborn. He spotted him behind the bar, tending to thirsty patrons.
Cato began to walk to the bar when he was blocked by a well dressed High Elf woman. She smiled politely at him, and he returned the smile, "Welcome!" she said, a little too enthusiastically. Ambassador Elenwen, and she's suspicious, Cato realized.
"It is an honor to be here, my lady Ambassador!" he said taking a bow. I've got her now, she didn't expect me to recognize her.
"Thank you, forgive me, I seem to have forgotten your name," she said politely, with a hint of malice beneath.
Now for the hook, "Of course, my lady, I am, after all, new to the court. We met during the funeral in Solitude recently? You may not remember me, we spoke only briefly, and I never told you my name. And I'm sure the funeral of the Emperor's cousin took precedence over meeting a minor Thane." Now she either 'remembers' me or doesn't. It'd be rude to forget someone, after all.
"Ah, of course, forgive an old woman."
Cato smiled sweetly, "No forgiveness needed, Lady Ambassador. I am enjoying your party; it is quite the get together."
She nodded, "That it is," she paused as someone called her name; some lord Cato assumed. "Forgive me, but let us speak again later?"
Cato nodded, "Indeed, I think I shall converse with the other guests." He watched as she left to speak with a very grumpy looking Nord. That, he thought, was close.
He made his way to the bar. The Bosmer greeted him, "Good evening, my lord, would you like refreshment?"
Of course everything was scripted before the party. Smiling, Cato gave his next line, "Do you have any Colovian wines?" Now he knows I am me, and not an imposter. One of the drawbacks of the Guild, everyone wore hoods. Last time he and Malborn met he had been wearing his hood.
"Of course, my lord," Malborn said, reaching under the bar and pulling out a red wine, "Cyrodillic red, as sweet as summer wine." Everything's ready.
"A taste then, my friend," he watched as Malborn poured a small amount of the wine into a glass. Cato took the glass gently in his hands, swirling the wine, and tasted it. It was sweet, and free of a bitter aftertaste. He would have enjoyed the bottle, if it hadn't been for the circumstances. He finished the rest of the glass, "A fine wine, bar keep." The guards are watching us, I need a distraction.
Malborn nodded, "I have never tried it. It is much too sweet for my tastes, my lord." I don't know.
Damn it, Cato thought as he handed Malborn the empty wine glass. Just then he heard a shuffling out on the main floor, followed by the sound of someone clearing their throat loudly. He turned and saw a very drunk Nord stumbling to the middle of the room. He had the attention of all the dignitaries, including the Thalmor guards. Raising his already empty bottle the Nord smiled, "Attention everyone!" he said, slurring each word, "Could I have your attention please! I propose a toast, to Elenwen!" He teetered forward dangerously before continuing, "Our Mistress! I speak figuratively of course. Nothing could be more unlikely than that someone would want her in their bed," he laughed a little too loudly. "Although... most of you are already in bed with her!"
At that point the guards swept in, grabbing the drunk by the arms. But the drunk paid no attention, and he continued his speech. Cato did not bother to listen to the rest, even as amusing as it was. He slipped into the shadows and behind the bar. Malborn joined him, shutting the door and whispering urgently, "What luck! That will keep the guards busy for a few minutes."
Cato nodded, "Where is the equipment I gave you?" he asked.
"In the back," the Bosmer whispered, "but we must keep quiet." Cato nodded again and followed as Malborn led him to a back room.
The kitchen was empty save for the Khajiit cook. She scowled when she saw Cato, "What is this Malborn?" she growled, "Guests ain't suppose to be in the kitchens. You'll get us all fired."
Malborn turned, "This guest is feeling ill. Probably because of your foul cooking."
She growled again, "He still ain't suppose to be here."
Cato smiled and stepped toward her, placing two Septims on the table with an audible clink, "I hope this helps for your trouble."
The greedy Khajiit took the coins, "I didn't see nothin'," she said, and continued her work.
Malborn hurried Cato into the next room and shut and locked the door, "You shouldn't have bothered," he said curtly, "she'll just spend it on skooma."
"If it buys her silence," Cato muttered, "my conscience is clear."
Malborn pointed to a chest in the corner, "Your things are there." Without hesitation Cato removed his gear from the chest. Quickly, he buckled his black sword to his belt, put on his black leather bracers, and strung his black bow and put it and the quiver on his back. Lastly, he donned his black Nightingale hood and mask, obscuring his identity in case he was found. He was a Nightingale of course; he would never work without it. "Good luck, Guild Master," Malborn said respectfully.
"I don't need luck," Cato laughed, his smirk hidden by his mask, "I have skill."
Revak held his breath as he entered the citadel that was High Hrothgar. The place was dark and lit only by a few dim candles. His eyes struggled to make sense of the shadows that crept around him and along the walls. Old ghosts, he thought. His footsteps echoed as the sound of his heavy footfalls bounced against the ancient stone walls. It was all familiar, yet still so strange. He found himself stopping in the center of the room, feeling unseen eyes gazing upon him.
"We feared you would not come," said a calm voice in front of him, so close that Revak started at the sound of it. A figure stepped forward, and an old man dressed in grey robes appeared, then another, and another, and soon Revak found himself by a circle of Greybeards.
Revak dipped his head, "My name is Revakkaal. I have come to answer your summons, and to speak with you," he said respectfully.
"And speak we shall we have much to discuss," said the first Greybeard. "I am Master Arngeir, and I speak for the Greybeards. You have an interesting name, Revakkaal. "
"It is an honor to speak with you then, Master. And thank you."
Arngeir smiled, "We summoned you because we heard your Voice. We have not heard a new Voice in so long, not since Tiber Septim himself! It is true then, that you possess the gift?"
"Yes, Master, I am Dragonborn," Revak said, standing tall.
"We shall see. If you can survive against the Unbridled Voice of the Greybeards, you shall be named Dovahkiin."
"Dovahkiin!" the other Greybeards whispered, causing the floor to shake slightly, and, somewhere high above them, a bell rang out once.
"I am ready."
Arngeir nodded, "Then let us begin my Brothers!" he said to the other four monks. They closed around Revak.
It began as a whisper, but slowly the chant became louder and louder. The world shook around Revak, but he stood tall, resisting the urge to cover his hears. They were so loud that he couldn't understand the words they were saying. The Greybeards spoke faster and the noise became louder. Revak stumbled, fearing his head would explode from the pain and sheer volume of the chant that surrounded him like an unrelenting force. He fell to one knee, panting.
The chant continued to rise in volume, and by this point his whole body was shaking. But then, it was silence. Revak stood slowly, expecting the Greybeards were done with their chant, but when he looked at the monks they were still speaking. Their eyes grew wide when he saw he was no longer affected.
This hadn't happened before. Last time he had visited he'd been forced to hear the entire chant. As Tiber Septim he'd survived, but only barely. He didn't feel weakened now, though. In fact he felt a familiar power. He gazed at his hands and found familiar warmth; a golden light surrounded him, blocking the combined Voice of the Greybeards. He knew it well, for it was his Divine Aura, the same he had as he walked Sovngarde as one of the Nine. The very same that had shown itself in his fight against Sahloknir. His skin felt feverish and hot with power. Sparks of electricity cracked as his strength rose.
The Greybeards finished their chant, their eyes flickering nervously toward Arngeir, who only stared in awe. Revak could swear that tears forming in his eyes. Their faces were lit from his golden glow, four of the monks knelt before him, murmuring "Dovahkiin". Arngeir remained standing, "What is your name, Dragonborn?"
Revak was silent for a moment. He felt the sheer power within him; the power of a god made flesh, "Revakkaal," he said, surprised to find that his voice was much lower, but different, as if he were not one person, but two.
Arngeir was shaking where he stood, "Your true name, Dragonborn."
Revak smiled, "Talos Stormcrown."
Immediately, Arngeir fell to his knees, tears flowing down his face freely, "Hail Tiber Septim!" he said, taking in the sight of the god of men, "Hail Talos!" he cried. The others joined him, the world shaking as they spoke.
"Werid kos Talos revak kendov, drog se jul!"
Lydia sighed as she stared at the flames of the hearth. How in Oblivion had she landed herself here? she wondered. Here she was, guarding an empty house for a mad Thane who was off chasing dragons and rumors of dragons. Does he really think himself sent by the gods? Or is it just the size of his ego?
Then again, she'd seen him fight that dragon at the Western Watchtower. She'd watched as he killed the dragon, and Shouted in victory. After that everyone claimed that he was Dragonborn. It seemed to be the only word on people's lips nowadays. Dragonborn this, Dragonborn that. The man had been gone for over a month and a half, and so far they had heard no more news of their precious 'Dragonborn'.
It was once thing to call the man Dragonborn, but it was something else when he claimed he was sent by the gods. She had a hard time swallowing that. Dragons were beasts to be slain, she didn't believe any of this nonsense about some evil dragon lord returning to rule the world, and that Revak was the solution and their only savior.
She was adding another log to the fire when she thought she heard a noise. She turned to the front door, and found a tall man in black and gold robes standing behind her. She drew her sword, cursing herself for not wearing her armor, "This home belongs to the Thane of Whiterun," she said strongly, "what business do you have here?"
The man lowered his hood, his appearance was Altmer, "In the name of the Dominion, in accordance with White Gold Concordat, you, Lydia of Whiterun, and Housecarl to the Thane of Whiterun, also known as 'Dragonborn', are hereby under arrest until further notice or until your hearing is concluded." The Elf stepped aside as two more appeared, these in golden heavy armor, and blades drawn.
Lydia scowled, "What is the meaning of this, Thalmor?"
The Altmer warriors stepped forward, "Will you come quietly?" one said beneath his helm.
"Never!" Lydia cried as she charged him. He blocked her attack easily with his sword. Lydia spun striking him in the leg and knocking him off balance just long enough so that she could bury her sword in his neck. He fell to the ground, gurgling on the floor as he choked on his own blood.
Blood streaming down her blade she attacked the second, but was frozen. She couldn't move. The first Thalmor stepped in front of her, blue magic gathered in his hands, a hold spell, she realized. The other Thalmor warrior struck her with his shield. She felt blood creeping down her face as the world became black.
Attn: So, I hope you enjoyed this chapter as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please be sure to review and tell me what you think about the new perspectives, and what you think of the new original character, Cato! On to chapter fifteen, "A Blade in the Dark"!
A Blade In the Dark
Pain was the first thing she was aware of. Her head felt like it was filled with lead and head throbbed where she'd been struck. Her muscles and joints were stiff. Slowly, Lydia opened her eyes, only to find she couldn't see. She panicked for a moment before realizing it was because the room was dark. She tried to raise her hand to feel the wound on her head, but struggled against restraints she couldn't see. "Oh, look, you're finally awake," a voice nearby said, its tone was sickeningly sweet.
Light blinded her as a torch was lit, and then she could see the face of the Alter that had spoken, his voice was light and cheerful, “Now I have some questions to ask you, if you don't mind?” She said nothing, so he continued, “I'm looking for your boss, the Dragonborn? Do you know where he is?”
“No.” It was the truth. It had been... she didn't even know how long it had been since he'd left for the mountain.
The Elf tsked, “Are you sure? He left and didn't tell you, his housecarl, where he was going?”
“I'll ask one more time, if you don't answer we will have to use other... methods. Where is the Dragonborn?!”
“I. Don't. Know.”
“Too bad, guards, get the fire rod.”
When she was finally dumped mercilessly on the cold stone floor of a cell he hated that fire rod with her entire being. Her body was burned and bruised. The guards, nor their rod, had been kind. The guards even more so. Shivering from the pain she managed to move slowly to lean against the wall. She would not cry. She was stronger than that. Even during their torture, even as the guards... had her... she did not cry out. She was a Nord. She'd show them what a true Nord was. What they could stand. That they would never give up.
She was startled as she heard a sound from the back corner of the cell, “Hello?” she managed to rasp. Soon a shape stood and walked slowly toward her and sat beside her. It was another Nord. He was tall and muscular, and dressed in the similar rags as she was; only his were more filthy. He had a strong face, light brown hair, blue eyes, and beard.
He looked at her kindly, “Are you all right?” he asked softly.
She laughed, even though it hurt, “I've had better days.”
He nodded, “Here,” he said, offering her something. She took it, noticing that it was a piece of stale bread, “Not exactly home cooking, but it's better than nothing.” She thanked him and took a bite.
He stared at the wall wistfully, “I don't know how long I've been here. My wife was here with me for a small time, but they took her away. I don't know where.
“Where are you from?”
“Whiterun,” she answered in between bites.
“I'm from Riverwood.”
She finished the last bit of the bread, “My name is Lydia.”
He offered her his hand, she shook it, “Good to meet you Lydia. I'm Hod.”
The Ratway smelled of dead things, piss, ****, and more piss. At least, that was Delphine's first impression of the meeting place. A week ago she'd been contacted by a foot pad of the Thieves Guild about her... job offer. They wanted to conduct a meeting with her, in the Riften Ratway of all places. She did not like this at all, but it had, after all, been her fault for hiring the Guild in the first place. But who else could infiltrate the Thalmor Embassy? She knew of no one they wouldn't already recognize, and it wasn't like she could just waltz in there. No, that would have to be the job of a thief for hire. Though the thought of hiring a Guild of footpads, cut purses, and criminals made the bile rise in her stomach. She knew she couldn't trust these people as far as she could throw them, even though she bet that was pretty far.
She was skittish, suspicious of every shadow and every dark place, and there were a lot of those in the Ratway. The location was the Guild's choice; it was common knowledge that the Ratway, Oblivion, that all of Riften was their turf. It was even rumored that they had their hands in the Jarl's pockets. So here she was, in the dark, piss smelling sewers beneath the city, waiting for some contact that she was half hoping wouldn't show. She stood in a small alcove near the entrance. Her hand rested nervously on the hilt of her sword.
She heard a sound in the darkness to her right, she drew her sword, and nervously swung, letting out a sigh when the metal tinged as it hit the stone wall. She cursed, then jumped when she heard a voice behind her, "Congratulations," a male voice said, "you managed to kill a particularly dangerous bit of masonry. You should be proud." A man stepped forward from the shadows. He was dressed from head to boots in a strange black armor. She tried to focus on him, but it was like the armor drew the shadows in, obscuring him from her sight. His face was concealed behind a hood and mask, causing his deep, smooth, voice to be muffled slightly. A black bow and a quiver of arrows rested on his back, and a sword and multiple daggers at his waist.
Frustrated she turned her blade around so that the tip resting mere inches away from his neck, "Watch or tongue or you might share the same fate as the wall," she cursed.
He raised his hands in mock surrender, "I truly fear for my life then, m'lady." Sighing she sheathed her blade, the sound echoed against the hollowed hall. Delphine couldn't see his face, but she knew he was smiling. Mockingly he bowed, "Greetings, you are awaiting a Guild contact I presume?" she nodded, "Then I am he."
She scowled, "Show your face then."
"That would be," he seemed to search for the word, it was hard to read his emotions when she couldn't see his face, "... unwise."
Her hand rested on her blade again, “It would be unwise not to.”
He chuckled, “You're quiet the charmer, Blade, but I think it would be safer if you didn't see my face. Know this, I am the one that completed your contract with the Guild. I know the information you sought, and only I know it. Kill me and the information disappears, and I doubt you would be able to retrieve it yourself if I were to be... incapacitated.”
Delphine let out a string of curses, “Fine, then. What news, then?”
She watched as he reached over and took a torch from the wall. He opened his hand and, muttering a word, lit it with magic. A magic user, then, she noted for later. The light from the torch made the shadows dance against the walls. The man gestured forward, “Walk with me, and talk with me.”
The started down the tunnel, Delphine following the stranger's lead. “The job was successful,” he began, but his voice was low, “mostly. We lost a good agent in the process. He wasn't a Guild member, but a useful tool and he will be difficult to replace.”
“I'm sorry to hear that.”
He paused, slightly, “Thank you, but he knew what he was getting into. Anyways,” he stopped at a crossroad. After a moments pause he continued down the left path, “We have the information, and then some. The Thalmor know very much of you. I apologize if my curiosity got the better of me; in that I read all I could. They know you are hiding in Skyrim, but I think you knew that already. They know your friend is too. They've been taking in prisoners, questioning and often torturing them for answers.”
Delphine let out a fresh string of curses. People were getting hurt, people who probably didn't even know anything about her whereabouts. “Recently, they got a break, a prisoner they captured from here in Riften let loose that a strange and very cautious old man by a certain name lives here, deep within the Ratway.” He stopped as they had reached a old wooden door with multiple locks. He raised his torch high, “I am escorting you to him.”
It made no sense, why would a Guild of hired cut purses help her so much, “Why not just tell me the information and leave?”
He paused in thought, “Because, you are not the only one who is unhappy with the Empire's current situation with the Thalmor and the Dominion,” he said slowly. “And I want to make sure you get there safely. The bowels of the Riften Ratway are more dangerous than any draugr infested ruin. If you want to get out of here alive, you'll need me with you.”
“Why? I can handle myself,” she protested.
He shook his hooded head, “They know me here. Trust me, at least for now. No harm will come to you in the Ratway whilst I am here. Believe me in that. No one here would dare lay a finger on me.” He pulled a ring of keys from his belt and began unlocking the door. Who was this man that he supposedly demanded so much respect? The door opened and Delphine followed the stranger inside. When the door closed behind them it slammed loudly, making her shudder. The stranger held his torch high. If it was possible the torch made the place seem even darker. He began to walk with purpose, his black boots splashing through the occasional puddle. In the shadows she felt eyes upon them, the eyes of the outrageously poor, the forgotten, the mad, the hermits, and maybe even ghosts. Her guide kept a brisk pace, moving so fast that Delphine struggled to keep up with his long strides.
They reached what seemed like an alcove. Her guide held up his hand to pause her. He waved his torch around wildly, “Voldrik!” he called, From the shadows crawled the smallest man Delphine had ever seen. He stood less than four feet tall, his head was bald, and one eye was bigger than the other. He waddled to the stranger, a smiled on his wicked little face revealed one sole tooth in the front,
“Nightingale,” the man rasped as he bowed, which seemed unnecessary for a man of his stature, “been a while.”
“That it has my friend,” the guide reached into his pack and pulled out not a coin purse, but a bag filled with bread, “here, I need some information, and I can pay, as you can see.”
The small man, Voldrik, was almost drooling at the sight of the bag, “What you need Nightingale? Information? Blood? Both?” There was that word again, Nightingale. She had heard the name before, in old legends. They were supposed to be demons of the night, sworn to the service of the daedra Nocturnal. Surely this stranger wasn't?
Her guide chuckled lightly, “Information will suffice.”
The little man nodded, “What needs tellin'?
“I'm looking for a man. There's probably others looking for him too. Has anyone other than me come by looking for someone?”
The dwarf nodded, “Yup, a whole troop of them. Was lookin' for that crazy old man that's hiding in one of the old holds. I sent them the other wayabouts.”
Delphine stepped forward, “How long ago?”
The dwarf looked up at her with a scowl, “I ain't talkin' to no lady.”
The 'Nightingale' turned to Delphine, “Sorry,” he turned back to the dwarf, “Voldric, she's a client. Be nice. Now, how long ago.”
The dwarf shrugged, “I sent them a long way back. Maybe ten minutes ago.”
“Muk,” Delphine cursed, “the Thalmor are here?”
“They already had the info, we're lucky we are here to intercept them,” the Nightingale said quickly. He turned to the dwarf, “Thank you, here, for your loyalty to the Guild,” he handed him the entire bag of bread.
The dwarf smiled a one toothed grin, “Thanks, this will feed quite a few bellies.” At that he waddled off back into the shadows.
Once he was gone the Nightingale turned to Delphine, “Let's move, we need to beat them to Esbern.” She nodded and followed as he resumed his brisk pace. She was amazed by how swiftly he navigated the dark passages. They moved and turned so many times she lost track. When she stopped it took a moment for her to realize that they were standing before a large reinforced wood door, “This is where he should be. Try getting him to open the door.”
She walked too the door, and pounded on it, but there was no answer. “Esbern!” she called, pounding again, “It's me, open the damned door.”
There was the sound of shuffling, then a familiar voice called out, “Go away you pointy eared bastards, or I'll roast you like a suckled pig!”
“Excuse me,” Delphine cursed, “you rotten old bag of wind open the bloody door, it's me!”
“YES!” she heard the Nightingale chuckle beside her, she wanted to smack him beside his hooded head.
“What in the name of Oblivion- How do I know it's you?”
“Open the door and maybe you'll recognize my boot up your ass!”
“Hold on, hold on,” the man on the other side murmured, exasperated, “I'm opening the door.” For three minutes they waited as they listened to numerous clicks, bangs, and the sounds of chains, as they waited for the doors to open. When the door finally stood open a hand grabbed Delphine and pulled her in; like a shadow the Guild man followed.
Delphine looked at her old friend's face. Age and a life of hiding hadn't treated him well. He'd lost his hair, and weighed much less than she remembered, but still, he was Esbern, the only other Blade left. She embraced him, “Esbern,” she said warmly.
“Delphine,” he said, then he held her at arm's length, “I thought I'd never see you again.”
Than Esbern looked at the Guild man who'd led her here, and his face turned white, “What in blazes is he doing with you!” he cried, pointing at the stranger.
“He's from the Thieves Guild,” Delphine explained, “he led me to you.”
Esbern shook his head, “Then he lied, he's not Guild.”
The stranger held up a hand, “I am a member of the Guild. In fact,” he explained, “I'm the Guildmaster.”
Delphine raised her brow, “You? The Guildmaster?”
He shrugged, “Who else to complete your little Embassy job but the best?”
Esbern looked at Delphine curiously, “Embassy job? No matter, I've seen his armor before, when the Thalmor hired the Dark Brotherhood to chase me in Whiterun. He's Dark Brotherhood!”
At that Delphine drew her blade with such speed that the stranger didn't have time to respond. This time her blade rested on his neck. She reached with her free hand and ripped off his hood; something she'd been wanting to do since she had meet him. He was young, she noticed. Not out of his thirties, with black hair and green eyes. He was smiling, a bright row of perfectly white teeth, “Dark Brotherhood?!” she yelled at him. He stood, his face unchanged and showing no emotion, “Explain yourself!”
He stared at her, “I am both. I am the Guildmaster of the Thieves Guild, but I am also the Listener of the Dark Brotherhood. I am also a Nightingale of Nocturnal.”
Delphine's sword pressed against his neck, drawing a small amount of blood, “You bastards attacked my friend.”
“The Dragonborn?” the man said nonchalantly, “I know. You managed to kill one of our better assassins that night.”
“You bastard,” she growled, “you set me up! Am I one of your little contracts? Is that why you wanted to lead me here?”
“A contract is a contract, we do not decide who we kill. We get a contract and we do the deed,” he said softly, “but no, I was here on Guild business.”
“Well, I don't care who's 'business' you were on,” she said sternly, “you're dead.” She drew back her sword to make the killing blow.
“WAIT!” he cried, “I can help you!”
She cursed herself, but she paused, “How?”
“There's still a contract out for your friend, the Dragonborn. I'm the Listener. I'm their leader. If I say the contract is null, then they won't pursue him, or you, since there's a contract out for you as well since you killed Azra'nir. Besides, if you kill me the Guild will be after you too. I will help you. I want to!”
“Why in the name of the Divines would you help us?”
His face grew dark, now she could see how he could be the leader of the Dark Brotherhood, “Because I hate the damn Thalmor as much as you do. I know you're a Blade, I know he's a Blade, and I know there's a Dragonborn. If anyone is going to stop those knife eared bastards it's you. I can help. I've got more gold than I know what to do with. I've got eyes and ears in every major hold in Skyrim; Riften, Windhelm, Whiterun, Markarth, Solitude, they're all in my pocket.”
“How can I trust you?!”
He dipped his head, “I didn't have a choice to join the Family. I had to. I accidentally killed a contract, it was join them or die. When the Night Mother started to talk to me and no one else I couldn't leave. She chose me.”
She lowered her sword, “Who are your gods, Imperial?”
He shook his head, “Once, the Divines, but I am sworn to Nocturnal, and maybe Sithis.”
“Swear by Nocturnal then,” Delphine ordered.
“I swear, by my honor as a Servant of Nocturnal, to help you in whatever way I can to stop the Thalmor, and help the Dragonborn. My name is Cato Aventus.”
Esbern nodded, “He swore, Delphine, let him go.”
Still cursing herself for not swinging she stepped away, “We need to move, they're in the Ratway.”
They opened the door and started walking through the tunnels,” There's a hidden entrance to the Cistern here somewhere, a ladder going up. We need to find it.”
That's when they heard the shouts, “They went this way!” one called.
“Damn it!” Delphine cursed.
Cato searched, “There!” he called, pointing to a small metal ladder. “That leads to the Guild! Make them seal the door behind you! Quick! Get up! If they question tell them...” he paused, “Tell them, tell Karliah or Brynjolf 'eyes open and walk with the Shadows' if they threaten you. Now GO!”
“What about you?!”
He turned to face the rest of the hall, “I'll hold them off. GO!”
She wasn't about to argue. Esbern started up the ladder, she followed. She caught a glimpse of Cato as he slipped into shadows. Then she heard the screams of the Thalmor men. She didn't know who to pity.
Bardak the Bold
Bardak breathed in deeply as he stepped through the great gates into Windhelm. He was home, finally home. The cold air, ancient stones, and the Stormcloak banners all warmed his bones. He had been raised here, he raised his children here, and now his grandchildren called the ancient home of the High Kings their home as well. He smiled for what seemed like the first time since he left.
Of course this wasn't the end of his tour of duty. He had fought many battles in his long lifetime, and he wasn't done yet. He laughed to himself, he probably wouldn't be until he finally died. If he were to die in the service of his would be king then he would die in battle, his forefather's ax in hand and a war cry in his throat. That was the way that Bardak the Bold would die. The only way he would accept his death. He was only here for a few days, to send news to his chosen king of what he had been witness to in Kynesgrove; a man who was Dragonborn. To think of it brought chills; a Dragonborn! The first in centuries and he had lived to see it!
He marched proudly into his city, his triple following him step for step. They were good and loyal soldiers, and he felt a sort of fatherly pride for each of them; especially for Danilla. She reminded him so much of his daughter. Just thinking of her brought tears to his eyes. Each night he dreamed of her. Each night he watched as she rode her white horse into battle, her war cry loud and strong... and the silence when it stopped. The silence that deafened him as she fell from her horse, a spear in her chest and her eyes wide in surprise. The silence that cursed his life as the Empire stole her from him. That silence that fueled his rage for the Empire and what it had become.
He made his way toward the ancient palace. When he reached the door of the kings he turned to his triple and dismissed them. They saluted then dispersed, probably to the tavern he'd wager. As he entered the great hall the Stormcloak guards saluted him, he returned the greeting and continued toward the throne. The long dining table was empty, as it was still early in the morning. Bardak had been here once for a dinner, and such a spread he had never seen before. Ulfric spared nothing when it came to the entertainment of his most decorated soldiers.
The rightful High King himself was seated at his throne at the end of the hall. Just like everything in the city the throne was stone, beside it on either side were large blue banners, decorated with the Stormcloak bear. Ulfric Stormcloak sat back in the chair, his hand raised to his chin in thought. He watched as Bardak approached. The old warrior knelt before the leader of the Stormcloaks, "My King," he said as he took to his knees.
"Rise, Bardak, I received word that you were coming," Ulfric said. His voice was deep, and his accent thick. Bardak stood, his head still bowed. Ulfric leaned forward, his interest peaked, "Tell me about this Dragonborn."
Even though, the fic is practically TES V, I really like your writing style! Good luck!
Attn: THIS THREAD IS OUTDATED. I WILL CONTINUE TO UPDATE NEW CHAPTERS BUT PREVIOUS CHAPTERS HAVE SINCE CHANGED. TO SEE NEW CHANGES PLEASE SEE THE LINK TO FANFICTION.NET IN THE ORIGINAL POST.
The Throat of the World
What is better - to be born good, or to overcome your evil nature through great effort? - Paarthurnax
Cato stared at the man in front of him, and at the Blade of Woe in his hand. Was he really going to do this? Kill the Emperor? The Emperor stood behind his desk chair onboard The Katariah. The old Imperial's hands gripped the chair with white knuckles. His head was bowed, ready to accept the death that awaited him at the hands of the Dark Brotherhood. Titus Mede II knew he had to die. He knew the Dark Brotherhood could never deny a contract; especially one that was this important, one that paid such a high bounty.
But he'd stopped Cato when he had entered. He asked not for his life, but for justice. He asked for a new contract. A contract to kill the man who made his original contract. "For the Empire," the Emperor had said. For he feared that the murderer came from within his own Elder Council.
Cato hated this man. He felt the mark of the Legion on his left arm. It felt like it was burning, a fresh reminder of what he lost. Furious, Cato removed his mask and hood, thus revealing his face to the Emperor. His hand gripped the Blade of Woe like it was his lifeline. "You are contracted for death, Emperor," he said slowly.
The Emperor looked at Cato with gentle eyes, like the eyes of a father scorned. "Yes, I must die. And you must deliver the blow. It is simply the way it is."
Cato scowled. He reached for his Nightingale gauntlet and removed it, revealing the mark of the Legion. "Former Prefect Aventus Cato, Third Calvary Commander," he said quickly, like it was practiced. "Not everything is simple," he hissed.
The Emperor was silent.
Cato scowled. "Then you recognize me."
The Emperor nodded solemnly. "I do. Words cannot express how sorry I am so sorry for your loss."
"A little late, your Highness," Cato growled.
"I did what I had to do for the Empire. If I hadn't signed that treaty we would have all been killed. I saved so many."
Cato closed the gap between them. "You betrayed more people than you ever saved."
Titus Mede II dipped his head. "I know. Talos preserve me, I know."
Cato stared. This emperor was just as much a prisoner to the Thalmor as his empire was. He didn't deserve the Void. But it was a contract. The man had to die. Cato raised his dagger, and plunged it into Emperor Titus Mede II's heart. When the Emperor was dead he lifted his body and laid it on his bed, folding his hands over his chest. Cato left his Amulet of Talos wrapped around the Emperors hand.
Cato had realized the flaw in the Dark Brotherhood. There is no honor in killing a man who is already dead. The Dark Brotherhood was nothing but a business, just like Astrid had taught him.
The Legion had taught him honor.
The Guild had taught him respect.
And now death was just a business deal.
It was in that moment that Cato decided that he would change the Dark Brotherhood. He would meld the old and the new. It would become a mix of Astrid's way and the traditional ways. He realized the Night Mother needed him more than he needed her. It was the Listener's turn to speak.
That was three years ago.
Cato was only vaguely aware that he was no longer in the Ratway Warrens. His body ached and his head was throbbing. He did not want to wake. He wanted to lay in this numbed stupor for the rest of time. Above all he wanted to sleep, and sleep he did. Cato fell in and out of fitul sleep awoken only by nightmares and when he felt someone forcing potions down his throat. He wanted to let go. That's when he heard a familiar voice.
Her voice anchored him. She kept him from falling into blackness. He reached for her. He dreamed of her in the Twilight Sepulchor. The glow of low torchlight angling her dark features. Her laugh, high bells that rang out in the night. The pain in her eyes when she saw Gallus' spirit failing. His unspoken love for her burned within him, warming him against the cold of death. He loved her, but she loved someone else, waiting for someone else; a dead man, a ghost.
When Cato woke he did so with a start and accidentally scared the poor healer who had been standing over him so much that the Breton dropped the potion he was mixing. The pale pink liquid burned through the sleeve of his robe, and he jumped as he frantically began brushing off the liquid with a rag before it could reach his skin. Cato watched with wide eyes, and the healer glared at him. Cato was too fuzzy to remember to apologize, or maybe he was just too frustrated. He wasn't sure. The Breton gave one last glare and left.
Cato paid no mind. His vision was reeling, and his head felt like it was three sizes to big. He touched his head, just to be sure, and found it to be perfectly normal. He wondered how he had gotten here. He'd been in the Warrens, fighting the Thalmor agents that had been hunting him and his clients. Had he taken a blow to the head? He didn't recall. He gave a mental shrug. He'd remember later. For now he would just deal with the basics. He was back at the guild. He recognized the room, plus he could hear the constant rush of water that indicated he was near the main Cistern. He knew that much, the basics.
He looked down at himself, someone, probably that healer, had removed his Nightingale armor. His chest was bare and his left wrist was bandaged. He tested his wrist and winced. Luck of Nocturnal my ass, he cursed.
His vision was still swirling when he heard a commotion outside. Within moments Brynjolf stood in the doorway. He smiled when he saw Cato was awake. "You," he chuckled, "took a mighty good blow to the head. We thought we'd lost you for a moment there, lad."
Cato smiled and tried to sit up. Then decided to stay down when he started seeing two of Brynjolf, "Nocturnal and Sithis were probably arguing too much over my soul to let me die already," he joked. "Did the others make it? The clients I was with?"
Brynjolf nodded. "For the most part," he explained, "Vex wasn't happy about it. Something about if we let in one set of strangers into the Guild vault we might as well sell tickets."
Cato raised a brow. He had no idea where the passage that he'd directed the Blades to let out. It let out in the vault apparently. "Depends on how much we would charge. Seal that entrance, and I don't want to hear a word about it. I'd rather it be forgotten," Cato ordered. "They were paying clients," he sighed. "Good paying clients. It wouldn't be polite to let them get killed."
"Aye," Brynjolf nodded, "but let's not make a habit of almost dying, huh?"
"I agree," Cato said with a fresh smile. "Are they still here?"
Brynjolf shook his head. "No," he explained, "they left right quick after we decided not to kill them."
"Did they say anything before they left?"
"Something about thanking you for your sacrifice or some noble skeever **** like that," Brynjolf said with a shrug. "But they left a note for you." He reached into his pack and pulled out a neatly folded piece of paper. Cato took it with his good hand and opened it. In a neat handwriting was a message from Delphine.
Thank you for your help. We left you a map of where we're going, if you were honest about wanting to help. We might have use for someone with your skill set.
Cato refolded the note and map and sat up, swinging his feet over the side of the bed. The world wasn't spinning as much and he didn't feel as nauseous. "One more thing," Brynjolf said as he turned toward the door.
"Your Family sent a message. You're to meet them at home."
Right, Cato thought.
It was mid month; time to speak with the Night Mother in Dawnstar.
It had taken a week for the Greybeards to start treating him normally. For the first few days every time they saw him they'd throw themselves on their knees and Shout 'Dovahkiin' or 'Dovah Do Faal Bron'. One of them, Master Bolli, had actually kissed his shoes once. It was kind of them to welcome him into High Hrothgar so energetically, but it was another thing when he sat up in bed one night to find offerings at his bedside. It took even longer to convince Arngeir to stop calling him Talos. But his time wasn't wasted dodging groveling monks. He studied the texts they offered him, teaching him new Shouts, and teaching him how to speak the Dragon Language. He was quite confident in his abilities to hold a very short conversation with a dragon, should that need ever arise. He had his doubts.
He was returned to the world when a courier arrived and delivered a letter. It was signed 'A Friend', but Revak had no doubt in his mind that it was from Delphine. It mentioned that they were fine, and that if he needed to find them a ruin called Karthspire was a good place to look. Arngeir was concerned that the Dragonborn was receiving messages, especially at High Hrothgar. He was even more concerned when Revak told him that this friend was a Blade.
"It concerns me that you would even associate with them," Arngeir argued at dinner.
"They are my Blades," Revak said sternly. "They are sworn to my service."
"And so are you sworn to theirs! They are violent and short sighted."
Revak scowled. "They are my sworn protectors, and have already saved me once in my time here."
"They would kill all dragons no matter what side they took. They treat them as nothing but beasts!" Arngeir stopped, collecting himself before continuing, "Not all dragons are hostile. We've protected Paarthurnax for centuries. You know that the Blades would call for his head."
"I know. Or do you not remember that I wanted him protected as well?"
"They would call it justice!"
Revak shook his head. "I need them, I need all of you," he said as he scanned the table and took in the expression of the monks around him. This is why he was here. Why a god had to return. For it would take the power of the Divines to make these old enemies come together for a common cause. "Greybeards don't fight wars. The Blades do. I need swords. I need soldiers." He stood, "If you will deny me this, then I will leave tonight."
The Greybeards stood, silent save for Arngeir, "No, holy Talos. We will not deny your wishes, only question them."
"Take me to Paarthurnax."
"As you wish," Arngeir had finally agreed.
Paarthurnax felt the world shake when Alduin returned to the world. It wasn't an earthquake. It was a shiver that shook all of Skyrim. Like the very mountains knew of the evil that had returned to the world. It was a black day, a black day indeed. The Tyrant had risen again.
If the world shuddered when Alduin returned, it sung when the Dragonborn Shouted for the first time. His Voice was carried all the way to the Throat of the World, and the wind and mountains joined in the chorus. It was a beautiful thing to behold. After thousands of years the silence was broken and the world sang once more.
When his Greybeards called the Dragonborn to High Hrothgar Paarthurnax waited patiently for the Dragonborn to speak with him. The ancient dragon was like a hatchling, itching with excitement he had not felt in a millenia. No one had spoken with him in hundreds of years. His friend, the Dragonborn Tiber Septim, the one who the mortals worship as Talos, was the last. He hadn't met this new Dragonborn yet, but Paarthurnax yearned to taste of his Voice.
It wasn't for some time that the mountain groaned as the Dragonborn's Shouts cleared the path to the Throat of the World. When he saw the man clear the summit he felt a sort of pride in his heart of hearts. He was young Nord, his hair short and light. The Nords, he thought, a blessed race to be sure. He was wearing heavy steel armor beneath a dark wool cloak that protected him from the chill in the mountain air.
With a short deep roar Paarthurnax jumped from his resting place and took to the air. He glided down smoothly until he landed in front of the Nord. The man stood as still as a mountain. His face was stone. He was many feet away from the Dragonborn, but even from this distance he felt it. The power of another dragon. He showed his many teeth in a dragon's smile,
"Drem Yol Lok. Greetings," he hummed.
"Drem yol lok, Paarthurnax," the Dragonborn said. Paarthurnax was impressed already by the Dragonborn's knowledge of his language.
"Who are you? What brings you to my strunmah..." he paused, remembering this mortal might not know all the words, " my mountain?"
"I think you already know, In," the Dragonborn said confidently.
"Vahzah... True, but first there are formalities to be observed. Traditions for the meeting of two dov." Paarthurnax raised his head and breathed in deeply. "By tradition it is the elder that speaks first." He turned, and rearing his head, "YOL TOOR SHUL!" he Shouted as a stream of fire erupted from his jaws. Paarthurnax chuckled, "Match it if you can, Dovahkiin."
"YOL TOOR SHUL!" he Shouted, and like the dragon a stream of fire was drawn forth from the Shout. It was strong and loud. His fire was hot and full of life.
But it was familiar. Like a scent that blows in the wind, but then is gone. But the last time he heard that Voice it was... "Daar nis kos. Zu lost hon hin Thu'um ingrah vod!This cannot be! I heard your Voice long ago!"
"I've returned, dov. My name in this life is Revak. My name in my past life was Talos, the Dragon of the North."
"Aam? You are alive?" Paarthurnax snorted, causing smoke to trail from his snout. A fitting name for a man-god. But more importantly Talos has returned? The mortal's gods must be desperate to send their god of war back to Mundus. This was unheard of.
"I've been sent to return to the world to stop Alduin," Revak-Talos explained.
Paarthurnax raised his head in acknowledgement, "My old friend, you seek a weapon against Alduin?"
"Yes, I wish to know how the old tongues stopped him."
"The words of that Thu'um, cannot be known to the Dovah," Paarthurnax said with a low growl.
"A Shout? They used a Shout to stop him?" Revak asked quickly.
"Geh aan Thu'um. They called it 'Dragonrend'. But as I said Dovahkiin, it cannot be known to me. My mind does not even grasp its concept." It chilled his blood just thinking about it.
"How can I learn it, then?"
"The ancient Nords used the Dragonrend Shout to cripple Alduin. But it was not was the Kel - The Elder Scroll. They used it to send him away on the currents of time. Tiid krent. Time was shattered here at the Throat of the World. If you brought a Kel back here, it would show you. Through the Time Wound..."
"I could see the other end of it," Revak finished. Revak bowed to Paarthurnax. "Stay safe Paarthurnax. I will return with an Elder Scroll. We will finish Alduin this time, my old friend."
He turned to leave, but stopped when he heard Paarthurnax speak, "It was good to see you again, Talos. Dahmaan. It brings back memories of times long past."
Revak smiled, "It was good to see you too. I head North. Watch the skies for me, Onik Fahdon. When Alduin is dead, you and I will have a nice conversation."
Paarthurnax hummed, "I look forward to that day, Dovahkiin."
Attn: Hmm, looks like Revak and Cato are both heading North.
If anyone is confused at this point here's clarification. There were 15 chapters. Now there's not. I combined many of them when I was going back over things. The story hasn't been changed very much. But there have been changes. Please note that. If anyone wants to go back and read the new perspectives starting in chapter 3 and onward, go ahead. It's mostly Lydia and Ralof (who will both be returning next chapter).
So, list of what's happening.
Revak is heading North to Winterhold to the College to seek the Elder Scroll. Cato is also heading North to Dawnstar to meet with the Night Mother as scheduled. Delphine and Esbern are making their way to Karthspire to find Sky Haven Temple (though they might not be able to get in). Lydia and Hod are in prison together, both taken prisoner by the Thalmor. Ulfric Stormcloak has learned of Revak from Bardak the Bold.
If you can guess what is going to happen, I applaud you.
List of Phrases in the Dragon Language as they appear:
Dovahkiin - (really?) Dragonborn
Dovah Do Faal Bron - Dragon of the North
Drem Yol Lok - Greetings (literally Peace-Fire-Sky)
strunmah - Mountain
In - Master
Vahzah - True
Dov - Dragon (Dovah = Dragon kind)
Yol Toor Shul- (Fire Breath Shout)
Daar nis kos! Zu lost hon hin Thu'um ingrah vod! - (rough) This cannot be! I heard that Voice long ago!
Aam? - Hmm? (Dragon version of being lost for words, like 'umm')
Thu'um - Shout
Geh aan Thu'um. - Yes, a Shout.
Kel - Elder Scroll
Tiid krent - Time Broken
Dahmaan - Remember
Onik Fahdon - Old Friend
Closing on request of the author.
Good luck with the rewrite/reposting!
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