PART 1 "Awakening The Dragonborn"
The steady strong voice of a Nord woman distinguish enthusiastically only for a few words before blending back in the chaos once more. "It is impossible to believe. Did you hear?". He answered nodding and gesturing intensely to her.
The news were brisk fresh. A hundred rumbles all at once by disrupted citizens who suddenly lost their everyday order, their daily routine, in order to be present at this unexpected occurrence were swapping from one to another until they acquire the answer none of them had.
Looking at them abstractly seemed like a dance fest. For sure the air had that celebrating smell on. The shop keepers transfered their business outside the doors in order to stay updated as well, and were widely rewarded from their purposeful thinking. Confused customers are spending customers, as one of them humored to the meat hunter, they might hand a little extra than the correct price. History was probably in it's making that moment, and all Belathor care to speak about was his business.
The leaders of the Stormcloaks fell dead in raid! Could this be true? And if yes, what better could this mean? Or would it be for worse? With the death of the Nord Jarl, Skyrim was automatically handed to the hands of the Imperials. Hands that failed once before defending their own land, Cyrodiil, from the Aldmeri dominion and their weapons clang on the floor where they finally surrender on their knees, their emperor Tidus Mede II pulling a fine line with his trembling quill on the peace concordat.
Thinking about it, the Imperials had no authority over Skyrim. They were completely powerless. As long as they were under the Thalmor, then the Thalmor would gain control of them soon. And these merciless elves certainly did not have the best intentions in mind.
There was a chill in the air of the dark times were ahead. Maybe Jarl Ulfric Stormcloack was the one who sensed it first one morning, he climbed at the top of his palace and gazed out in silence at the snow where Nords had known only as their home (maybe his eye caught something unusual) and suddenly realized that they were not alone anymore. The elves were threatening to disturb their sacred grounds, ban their god, and captivate yet another race. To take it. Take over everything!
However this time they weren't going to just pass a continent over to them, no. When every single Nord was facing down dead and the race extinct, only then they would have their victory. Skyrim was not just a river rock flowing with the stream, Skyrim was the rarest of the gems glued upon Tamriel hard like a wolf flee. As long as the kept rising and the sun kept falling this land belonged to the Nords. The elves -and their Imperial puppets with them- could just go suck on the tit of a different civilisation!
Jarl Ulfric just fought to protect his grounds, savagely though he may be, from these unworthy to hold a sword in their hands Imperials. While he believed that the ban of Talos worship would drive all of his kind with his side, a few sided with the empire against him. Were these people now regretting or celebrating the defeat of the Stormcloaks, was a wonder.
Those thought were not Adynn's herself. They were scattered thoughts spoken out loud by political suckers or angry drunks which then became hers. The Stormcloak fans with the legion fans were on a fiery debate at the towns square of who's side is right. It was more intense than ever before thanks to Nord mead custom. And those who didn't possess some type of skill to protect themselves, should a group brawl outbreak, stayed clear far from it speaking in more civilized manners under the old tree.
But there was one who wasn't in neither one of those places, as she was in neither one side of the war. Adynn, the Dunmer. The dark elf with no past, no home, no memories, no knowledge, just a stranger who got trapped passing though Skyrim. She was sitting inside the shadows close enough to observe the conversations but not being dragged into one, for the main reason that she didn't know much about the war. Only that the Nords were trying to repel the Imperials because the Imperials agreed to ban the worship of Talos. The other bits about the Thalmor, the White Gold Concordat and so on were only heard as names. She did not dare asking for explanations.
Her fear of her grayish skin, her pointed ears, her scarlet eyes, her missing pupils kept her at great distance from speaking creatures. She was afraid that they will see the Thalmor in her face when in truth she was not them. Because some people unfortunately think all of them elves alike. But a Dunmer, just because she has same elf basics, does not side mean she is with Altmer. And if the Dunmer in general have shown to favor the empire, then this is because the Nords treat them like plague. So they go were there's more advantage.
Today however she broke her safety measures. The bench on which she was sitting was very visible by anyone looking especially for her and her skin was not dark enough to stay hidden in the shadows. In fact, her skin was a little too dark for the stone color of the bench. Any other day she would stand out but not today.
Adynn tap her heels nervously praying to Sithis (a god she forgot all about but never forgot his name) she'd just go unobserved until the end. She was amazed by how long her presence had gone unnoticed by Whiterun's residents. If a warrior, Nord, nobleman was stranger to them, then a dark elf should in best of circumstances be chased out of town with torches and arrows. Normally. The cold skinned children of Skyrim did not get too well with the flaming hand of her race. Then the dark robes leave little room to doubt of the fire inferno the single snap of her wrists could bring.
In adversative emotions of fear and spunk together, and always prepared for the worst, Adynn crossed the crowd heading straight for the Inn located down the stairs on the brawling level of things. She began whispering random words as she cut into the crowd pretending to be a delirious researcher. It would definitely draw bigger attention but for the moment it provided her with some kind of comfort.
Bannered Mere was build slightly higher that the rest of the shops in the district. The purpose of going in it was to find some privacy but instead she was greeted by an even worse piling inside. Blushed! A beautiful Redguard female rushed into Adynn with her shoulder to open way and didn't turn to apologize.
Redguards were the native of the desert far from Skyrim, called Hammerfell. She'd never forget the image of that place. How badly she wanted to see it with her own eyes.
She had only seen Redguards by far (tossing anchors, tightening ropes, sweeping the decks, unloading crates), at the docks in Solitude, waiting hidden in the green in danger of being captured as scout or thief, but Redguards have always drawn her attention and she couldn't pull her eyes from one whenever she spot it. Their foreign brown, crisped bodies in combination to their hardy build and those curved swords of theirs, the scimitars, promised a worthy battle to anyone who loved a fight. Even the word Redguard was glorious!
She sighed and search around with her eyes for a private corner where she could relieve her weight on. There was a cozy little spot next to the stairs. Adynn speed quickly to it. The sweeper was drawn to the movement turning his head on her.
"Hello." she smiled friendly to him trying to suffocate that urge to release a bolt snake in his widened Breton eyes. He was the other kind of racist. One who will associate you with Necromancer just because your ancestors were.
He quickly looked down to cover his discomfort. "I just take care of the dusting and cleaning in here. If you are looking for a good bed, Hulda is the one you should talk to."
"I see." Adynn felt like thrashing her tongue our to the eyes of this poor stressed fool. Just by the fashion he swang the broom hysterically she could almost taste his fear in the air. From what she could remember, she was the one changing directions to the sound of a man calling her out. When did that change? You're making progress Adynn, she told herself.
Yet not everything was to blame in her race. There was a wide shift on people's behavior when she wear a dark brotherhood robe than when she dressed civilly. So where it all end to is that she was to be blamed in the end, for wearing that Fortify Conjuration robes, not being a Dunmer. Like she had been told before "You Dunmer love to be the victims. That's why you're so comfortable inside your Windhelm slums after all."
What is so scary about her robe? The green skeleton pastern on her chest? Everyone could kill her with a simple dagger anytime. It's not like she was wearing dragon scaled underneath -that would show. It'd be amusing now if she sneaked behind the scardy dust cleaner whispering" Fus...RoDah! But better if not. It was too crowded. Getting the Dovakhiin title above her already burdened reputation had always been something she avoided.
People loved their legends too much to allow one elf ruin it for them. Two Dovakhiins? Two Dragonborns? Here a simple Jarl died and Whiterun's resident went out of their minds. Just think all the fuss that would be created if their legend were twice actualized. This can't happen. The prophecy speak of a great hero and so on...Adynn was no doubt the last to make dragon slayer material. Let the lizard, Hyidd, have all the credits. A house and a good shop was all Adynn dreamed for her future. First thing after collecting those 5,000 gold would be...
"The bastard of Windhelm is not yet dead." shortly whispered a feminine voice in her ear. Adynn jerked her head surprised and saw a person walking away nervously from her. Her clothes were a set like Adynn's of hooded robes but in kinder colors than hers. The shade of robe healers or apprentice mages are used to wearing.
Without delay she abandon her silent cover by the stairs and following the hasty stranger. She chased her through another room where a group of thugs shout and chuckled around the cooking pit and climbed up the stairs in the back. Strangely the entire upper floor was deserted.
The mysterious person guided Adynn to a -hopefully- rented bedroom (since she had the keys matching to it) and ordered her to close behind. Once Adynn made sure no one was lurking in the shadows she closed. But the woman was not easily convinced. "You will have this bed" she said neutrally while gutting the end table from it's contents on the bed. Her voice was an Imperial one's though more shapeless and colorless than usual. "Sleep or wait until I am fully convinced we're alone and then we shall speak. Any questions?".
Adynn watched her back without a respond causing the woman to turn around. "I said, any questions?"
Adynn nodded. She asked her if she had got the wrong person and glued to it she asked what was this all about. The woman catch up with a: "Good. Keep them then. I'll tell you everything you want to know when you wake up." And with that she left her.
Adynn was far too anxious to do as the woman said so she only lay down and closed her eyes. Several times she began feeding suspicion towards this and almost run out on her chance three times, but the "Redguard" curiosity got each time the best of her. Thus she began a long conversation with her logical side trying to provide the comfort she lacked in order to sleep. If the woman wanted to kill her, that side told her, then she'd surely have done it by now. It was a perfect set- feast cold blooded murderer. Crowd, noise, commotion and that rebel's death would surely come to cover the insignificant murder of a simple (and kind of threatening on top) Dunmer.
In fact, during such uproar, she could even serve Adynn's body to the customers without risking big, then walk off clean of every suspicion. A mature Imperial female in healers outfit. Who would suspect? The more Adynn thought from a killers perspective the less the odds the weird woman was her assassin. Eventually she slipped in a comma-like sleep.
"Oh, good. You are alive." someone said hostilely as soon as Adynn flicked open her eyelids.
Adynn scanned around her blurry vision from sleeping until locating a woman sitting on a chair by her head. Immediately her head loaded with memories of the past day and she jumped up to the edge of the bed keeping the fur close to her body. "Why did you bring me here? Tell me." she hissed.
"Patience my elf, and keep your voice down."
Adynn ignored the patience elf nonsense fro the other and spoke directly. After all she wasn't the one to be so desperate as to seek help from a stranger. She could behave as she wanted. "What do you know?" she asked her equally loud and eagerly like the last question. The woman held a disturbing long silence to admire Mikael's singing before satisfying Adynn's eagerness. The shadows on the down half of her face emerged and perished her mouth in her hood as they danced in the candle light. She was grinning slightly.
We drink to our youth, to the days come and gone for the age of agression is just about done. We'll drive out the Stormcloaks and restore what we own. With our blood and our steel we'll take back our home...
She finally choose to terminate the dark ritual silence and speak. "Hm, yes. The age of aggression. Mikael is good isn't he?"
Adynn stopped frowning and relaxed. "Yeah. Yeah, Mikael is good." she agreed patiently. No good would come out being so snappy with the lady. She was there with the purpose of telling her about something and in time she would. All that was asked from her was to endure and wait. So Adynn listened. The woman sang the next verse along with the young bard. She handled her voice pretty well for a novice which actually meant she had sang in not just once before.
"Down with Ulfric, the killer of kings. In the day of your death we'll drink and we'll sing." Slowly her voice faded back letting Mikael's echo take over from there. And she looked at Adynn. "The Imperial have gathered downstairs drinking the ale like water. They sent them in many coveys throughout the various towns all day- I see them from outside the walls. Poor Mikael. This is the fifth time they requested this song. When he refused the first time they drew a sword on his neck."
"Is the Jarl dead?" asked Adynn shortly. Whatever game the woman was trying to pull Adynn in, Adynn was in no mood to play it. She wanted her answers now. Mikael's bullied bard life was not of her interest, neither discussing what poor service the legion guards did to Whiterun. She came here about the Windhelm bastard, that would be Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak all she knew, and that was the only thing she aimed to talk about. Because she wanted to know what did the woman seek out from her. But the answer came ambiguous. Ulfric, was as dead as their decisions. Damned priests! And what does that supposed to mean?
"It means we have to decide that my mer friend."
The woman nodded slowly, apprehending the intensity of her tone as disbelief.
"No, I don't get it woman...what's you name."
"Do you have the Jarl, to kill the Jarl-Nancuria...?" suddenly her name seemed to bother her for a while and paused. "Is he dead? Alive? Wait...we have to decide? We decide on what when he is dead?"
Nancuria found Adynn's sentence amusing. "You Dunmer have funny temper. What I meant was, the Jarl is not dead yet. Ulfric Stormcloak is still alive with me- or rather, with us."
What us? Who were they, the others, them? It sounded mystifying and evil. Where were the others? How did they have the Jarl? Were they Stormcloaks as well? Did they start spreading rumors of his death?
"If you are patient I'll tell you all about it later but not here. We must head quickly to my camp in the plains, out of here, where we can have undoubted privacy. Sister Yorland know about it as well. It's up to us to decide whether we should incarnate Mikael's song or return the king to it's-"
Adynn stopped Nancuria with a frustrating sigh. "Stop for a while just..." she rubbed her forehead for a long time "...just why bring me here to tell me all that, of all the adventurers out there. I don't know anything about the civil war, and I haven't got any interest to know what goes on it, and you must be making mistake. Why are you telling me about this?"
"Because you have the voice" she answered naturally Nancuria like this was something everyday, ordinary news everyone knew.
"The v- the v..." stutter Adynn. She felt like the woman was testing her and suddenly she frowned, insulted. "No I don't. What voice, what are you talking about?"
"The Dragon voice Adynn."
Adynn was a a loss. "How do you know? I never used my," she looked around and whisper "voice. I kept it secret from anyone." Apart from that time I shouted accidentally, she continued with her mind.
The woman's, Nancuria's, face structures harden stubbornly with Adynn's words. She got up and looked down proudly to the mer letting the impression she had suddenly grew taller somehow. "Adynn, a Dovakhiin is brought to this world for a purpose. Save us from our doom, Alduin's return. And you keep the weapon of our salvation hidden?". She came awkwardly closer to Adynn until their knees touched together and yelled a whisper like trying to shake her from a bad standing up dream. "Hiding it Adynn! You know the songs well. Are you going to wait for the end without doing anything? Is that the hero you are?"
Maybe her words were not so wrong but the way she scold at her like a baby furry Adynn.
"Shut up!" she yelled right back. "You know nothing Nancuria. Is that why you came here, to give me a hero lecture is it? Well guess what. Skyrim has already found a hero- and in case you missed that two, Alduin is already dead. He can shout, he can shout and he can kill pretty much anything that blocks his way. I am sure he can shout the mountains if a paved travel pleases his lordship. Why don't you tell that to him?". Adynn was about to cry for no better reason than letting her emotions to a complete stranger who didn't know her, so she looked down. Such an outburst would be the very first in her life. She should have seen in that alone the power Nancuria had over her.
What the woman did next was to surprise her even more. She took Adynn at her arms. Nancuria's knees bend offering a place for the dark elf to cry.
Stormcloaks were alive, Adynn was trembling in a foreigns hug, her dragonborn powers were revealed ensuring her life was due to be sacrificed for the sake of mankind and the save Skyrim, a place not even her homeland- what more was there?
The elf could feel like everything she ever lived for, fought for was sitting right next to her in bed and had just gotten up and walked out of the door. Then saw a dragon piercing the air. It was charging closer and closer to her with it's square jaw wide open. She opened her eyes to sent it away and looked at Nancuria. "Why did you come to me?" she pleaded softly.
"Because my fate is with you."
"It has to be. I am the only one who saw you speaking the dragon tongue. It's your fate Adynn, and I am going to be your guide- uh, key that unlocks that future if you will."
"Are you from the future?" she asked rather stupidly.
Nancuria snort in evident amusement. "No."
"Who are you then?"
"I am almost sixty years old and I am a master at restoration spells working in the temple on the sick. In addition I give training to anyone who wants to know about alchemy and healing spells and every often hold outside college duties- such as recruiting new members.I hope that satisfies your curiosity for the time being, because we're going to be a long road together whether you know everything or nothing about me."
"But you still haven't answered me why am I important in a world that already has one Hero."
"It's your fate Adynn. You must normally be pleased with it. Some men are born and die trying to give a reason to their existence. See not everyone is destined to have a purpose in here and that's what can break even the strongest. But you, you have come leave your ink in history for ever child. The fugitive from Morrowind. The hero of Skyrim." Her words no doubt sounded promising to Adynn but the life of a hero was always so differently told in tales than what it was in reality.
"But Nancuria, why now, if you knew all along about my voice?"
"Because now I was given the reason. Now that Hyidd is..." she paused unsure of how to continue this in a public in.
Hyidd the Argonian? The Dragonborn? "What about Hyidd" she said curious.
Nancuria sighed, not being able to resist to that question. "The Lizard is not different than the damn dragons that set entire villages on fire just because they can to. You'd say wearing their skins as trophy has made him in another man. His voice has caused troubled all across Skyrim."
If that was true...Adynn didn't want to think of the results.
"Adynn, I have to tell you something. I am afraid that in our desperation we may have done one of the biggest mistakes that may scar dark times ahead for Skyrim, even more of Tamriel. Our thrill, sadly, driven us all in blind faith and quick judgments. Even though the signs were right in front of us. We have failed to read the legends as they are. Hyidd was never to be fair and square savior we had been hoping for. You are the one." Adynn felt the room temperature dropping. "Hyidd is...he's slowly growing to be invincible."
She sat next to the girl and continued. Adynn saw worry gathering at the age lines around her mouth. "Not even Deadric lords are much to him anymore. Do you know what is going to happen if this hero suddenly turns against us?"
"I know." she nodded. It was something she had never thought before but never to actually happen.
"Exactly. If Hyidd is not stopped soon then Tamriel is doomed in the hands of that distorted 'hero', who could change any moment. And now that he is engaged to Stormcloak death, now is the time for you."
"So you're saying I am the actual hero who can stop him" concluded Adynn, irony tinting her voice.
Nancuria shook her head. "Yes, that."
"I am supposed to get up now and suddenly be enlightened about every step., creep behind this unbeatable man, somehow murder him and all that without losing my head in the end by his angry following?" she snorted amused "Alright. Sounds reasonable. Just tell me when."
"Stop pitying yourself Adynn."
"Pitying?" she snapped not believing this woman. The healer opened both her hands as to give surrender so Adynn could relax. How did she dare saying that to her when her job was so easy? Inform the dragonborn. Big deal! What if she was told to go on arms naked with a professional, fully armored, berserked orc combatant?
"Okay. Very well, your task is difficult. I understand that. But remember, impossible is always possible. Only cowards like to use this word. And besides, you won't be alone in all this. I know just what we have to do and from where to begin. First we will travel to the graybeards and express our concern for Hyidd and everything. Having listened some things about them, I believe they won't disagree. They will help you discover the importance of your Thumm, I mean you dragon shout, and unlock hidden powers."
"Graybeards. Whatever, just don't call me dragonborn." What in Sithis was Graybeard now and how did this priestess end up with all this information? She noted herself to ask about some things about her secret identity later.
Adynn started to believe this whole Ulfric thing was just a lie to get her to this scale of the conversation. She wouldn't be surprised if she saw a pack of wolves tarring apart his royal corpse on the way. Thinking about the certainty with which the woman pulled her into this room and easily lead her exactly where she wanted made Adynn again very mad. Oh, she just assumes she can just bring me in here and order me to move my hands as she pleases? Hah! We'll see about that.
Adynn got up and started stealing whatever was in the drawers. Everyone knew the silent sign of 'Let me recover for what I payed for and I'll be heading'. Seeing the woman getting so confused was so satisfying. Too bad sticking your tongue out is considered childish.
"Where are you going?" she asked.
"I am stealing this room, then I will leave for Riften first thing in the morning to find a descent man who will hire me. Hey, a coinpurse! Damn, it's empty."
Adynn didn't second look when closing the woman in the room behind her and left from Whiterun feeling proud for taking her by surprise. The guards at the gate gave her a funny look when they pushed the doors open but didn't say anything more than "What business does a small elf like you have outside the city walls at night?". She send them off easily by saying it's not of their concern to know of her destinations.
A few more steps down, right in front of the stables another guard pulled her at the side. He unmounted his horse and came in her face with a torch. This one was wearing the white color cloth on top of his mail and was carrying the shield of Winterhold. The triplet mountains. He must have had a tiring journey to get to Whiterun from Winterhold. "These are difficult times Skyrim's into elf. May I take you safely with my horse?"
You know well that her safety was not their top purpose for offering protection when they have their hands ready on their swords and are trying to blind you with the torch. She tried to avoid his offer politely. The guard handed her a torch for one gold Septim and let her go. "Travel safely" suggested the horseguard while walking past her. The carriage could be heard from the horses snorting walking away from her. Adynn didn't pay attention to him. She kept walking.
Till halfway her thoughts came to confrontations. She stood. Whiterun was still in sight when she turned to see it, like a dark cloud shaped on the night sky, without details. It looked rather small and breakable from far but she knew that it wasn't.
She began to visualize against her will the same place, how it would be the next time she'd see it. No one could tell. But the odds of not finding it here was as good as fifty to fifty (with Hyidd in mind). Hyidd was more a threat than a bless.
Everyone depended from her and what did she do? Took off. Only to satisfy her moody little outburst for a while. Head to Riften to be just one more of it's little roaches. Oh no...her stalker was right. She could neither fight and possibly lose her life for a greater purpose or just shrink and cry about watching everything collapse around before her eyes. She had something every adventurer would kill for. A destined path. A destination promised of danger, honor and a worthy death. She was the savior of everyone. She was the legend itself!
By abandoning her bags down Adynn symbolized the beginning of her new life but also a dead end to her old. With no money there was no Riften. Whoever found her belongings on the floor was one lucky friend. And she'd be happy to one day meet the fellow adventurer who would hold her blade of blaze in his/ her hand. So renewed Adynn walked back to Whiterun.
She hesitated for a second before pushing the door open. How could have the unexpected fleeing have struck the big woman?
Any kind of reaction would be understandable to Adynn but this. Nancuria was stoned at the same exact place where she had last seen her. Vacant, lifelessly eyeing to the door- could it be awaiting for her return? Adynn looked at her, expecting to her something like "I knew you'd come back." but Nancuria didn't even blink, she said nothing. Only nodded like she affirm to herself everything had worked as planned. Her prophecy had been confirmed.
"What now?" said Adynn after a while.
"Ulfric is waiting for you."
Adynn Rnyill, the Dunmer
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