Friday, September 23, 2016

Skyrim Day 50 - Dragon Attack at Dragon Bridge

4 Frostfall, 4E201

Having dispensed with my unhappy housecarl, I felt an odd sense of liberty as I left Breezehome, which was completely at odds with my journal, full of promises and agreed-upon tasks I had yet to attend to.

It was just about dawn when I stepped outside, but the market of Whiterun was already awake and happily doing business.
An older woman by the name of 'Fralia Gray-Mane' complained that her son, Thorald, had been declared dead by everyone else, but she still believed he lived. She asked that I investigate his disappearance, but the Gray-Mane family is known to be strong supporters of the Stormcloak so I was not about to inconvenience myself for them.

One of the tasks I have in my journal is the investigation of Wolfskull Cave from Falk Firebeard of Solitude. I wrote down that rumors persisted that the cave, near Dragon Bridge, was "haunted". Falk Firebeard asked me to visit the cave to determine the nature of the haunting. Then I wrote "sevrl necromncrs, summon stppd, ask Potema".

I remember going to the cave near Dragon Bridge and thwarting some sort of summoning ritual there, but I do not remember anyone named Potema. I really should take better notes. Stopping a summoning sounded like what Falk may have expected of me, so I decided to re-visit Solitude and find out if anything else was required from me.

Between Whiterun and the northern road I passed a giant's camp, with three Mammoths wandering nearby.I gave them a wide berth and met up with the road leading to Solitude with no interruption. I passed a small patrol of Stormcloak soldiers, but they only glared at me as I passed, which is all the better for them.

As I approached Rorikstead I was puzzled by the lack of the noises one typically hears around a village: the bleating of animals, shouting of children, wives shouting to husbands toiling in the fields, those sorts of things. The village appeared to be utterly abandoned, not a single person was outside and I elected to pass through rather than determine if the residents were staying in their homes for some reason.

The reason revealed itself as I approached the bridge of Dragon Bridge.

A Dragon was attacking Dragon Bridge, perhaps insulted by the effigy mounted upon the actual bridge. As I sprinted for the relative safety of the town I kept watch on the creature, ready to dive into the river should its attention become focused on me. The Dragon, however, seemed to be content with flying about and roaring, occasionally incinerating a tree or two as it flew past the town. Frightening, but not terribly dangerous.

The villagers were nowhere to be seen, likely hiding inside their very flammable houses and businesses. Two guards, one from Solitude, the other wearing Imperial attire, were firing arrows at the Dragon as it flew past, but whether due to a lack of skill or simple fear, their arrows were wide of their rather large mark. I had just set a bolt into my crossbow when the Dragon decided it would rather land and kill us all.

The Imperial was the first victim, thrown against a stone wall by a blast of flame. Then the Dragon turned on me.
A bit more clear of mind than during my first encounter with a Dragon, I was struck on how much the creature resembled a turtle, which is not nearly as intimidating. Keeping that in mind while reassuring myself that I already fought one of their kind and won dispelled much of the fear and wonder I felt at Whiterun's ruined tower.

While the surviving Solitude guardsman ineffectually bounced arrows off of the Dragon's hide, I guessed that if I fought this much stronger enemy defensively I would suffer the same fate as the Imperial, so I instead stayed (nervously!) close to the beast, sometimes nearly under it.

Its breath tugged at nearly-forgotten memories of fighting around Red Mountain, but I did not have the time to reminisce. I was able to wound it about the wings and neck as it tried to crane its head around to bite me in half. After a few more strikes of my axe it became frustrated and lifted off the ground, flying off. The guard cheered, evidently thinking the Dragon had fled, but it swooped around, dove, and snatched the guard in its jaws, throwing the unfortunate man over the houses of Dragon Bridge, into the fields beyond.

It was Dragon versus Dragonborn now.

I managed to hit it with one crossbow bolt before it landed in front of me, but the buffeting caused by its wings kicked up a lot of dirt. As I shielded my eyes I lost my footing and fell, coming down right on the crossbow. I immediately jumped up before I became lunch, but the limb had been torn out of the stock, making the weapon useless.

We faced off in front of the bridge, but the Dragon was definitely weakened and not as quick as it was. Rather than take to the air it clumsily stalked about the ground, using the horns on its wings to steady itself. It was awkward to see and very slow. If I got close enough it snapped at me, but doing so exposed its neck as I dodged and the Dragon died after several blows nearly decapitated it.
I was not given long to admire my work, the corpse burst into flames after a few seconds and the smoke and ash was drawn into my nose and mouth again, no more pleasant an experience than the first time.  By the time I could breathe normally again the Dragon had been reduced to bones and sinew.
The townspeople refused to come out when I knocked on the doors, so I continued to Solitude. The giant charred skeleton in the middle of their village is their problem.

When I arrived at Solitude I went immediately to the blacksmith to purchase more bolts. Half-serious, I told the man there that I was shopping for something to take down a Dragon. He replied that he was out of those, but had a bow that fired rainbows and a quiver that dispensed beer. I bought my bolts and left without replying.

Ten Septims rented me a room at the inn, as usual. Tomorrow I will report back to Falk Firebeard and see about my reward for the original business at Dragon Bridge.

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