Friday, March 31, 2017

Skyrim Day 064 - The Reluctant Dragon

19 Frostfall, 4E201
Fort Dawnguard

I got as good a sleep at Dawnstar as my late arrival earlier this morning allowed me, but when I visited Silus the man appeared to have not slept at all.

Worry mixed with fatigue marked his face and he lifted the flagon containing his breakfast up in salute when entered, after announcing myself of course. He sighed and took a swig of whatever he was drinking, then laughed ruefully about what a failure he had been. I pointed out that it would have been a greater failure to succumb to Mehrune Dagon's murderous wishes, though privately I wondered how he would have killed me. He brightened up a bit at this and some of his former enthusiasm came back, inviting me to gaze upon the pieces he magically locked away.
I was not any more impressed seeing the pieces together than I did when they were apart. Curiously, the pommel stone was missing from the display, but I did not bring that up. I tested the display case and found it to be securely fastened with no obvious mechanism for a lockpick, so I suspect the case will remain sealed so long as Silus continues to maintain the enchantment.

That anyone interested in the Razor would be just as interested in eliminating him was a point I felt was a mercy to not inform him of. His life is no doubt measured in weeks from today, but it is difficult for me to feel sympathy for a admirer of the Mythic Dawn.

Pending for quite some time now is my report to Isran, the leader of the Dawnguard. My delivery of Serana to his vampire family was likely not going to be good news to him, but I do not recall having much choice in the matter. Being in Dawnstar meant quite a journey ahead of me if I was to arrive at Fort Dawnguard before nightfall.

Naturally this meant I would suffer no end to obstacles along the road.
The first was an Orsimer on the road just outside of the city, well-armed with mace and a sour wit as most of her kind are. I was making no attempt to hide myself, yet she intentionally changed her path to walk right up to me, stopping less than a foot away, a grave mistake.

She sneered and demanded that a "milk-drinker" such as myself should make way for our betters (presumably her) and told me to cry home to my mother while I did so. Such arrogance always deserves to be paid back twice over, after all, I have not seen her fighting any Dragons. 

One uses the advantages given to her. She was standing close enough to me that I could smell the ale on her breath, which was close enough for me to suddenly sink my ebony dagger into her side. She sprang back, drawing her mace and shield from behind her back as she did so. It was smoothly done and she was obviously an accomplished warrior, but a little consideration on the road is always appreciated. Skilled though she might have been, the handicap of already bleeding to death was a bit much to overcome. I was able to slide behind her as I dodged an overhead swing and thrust my blade just under the arm, killing her instantly. Fortunately my dagger was unharmed.

Some minutes down the road later a ragged-looking man jumped out of the bushes and demanded my money. Then he actually took a look at his quarry: a blood-spattered armed Khajiit. He slunk back into the bushes, though I was careful to ensure he was not following me.

Amusingly I had an identical account on a small bridge much further down the road just outside of Windhelm. This time it was an Argonian dressed in the leathers of the Imperial Legion. He demanded my money or my life, but I pointed out trying to acquire either from me would end with his body floating in the frigid waters below. He took the hint and I watched him run down the road to the city, but to both of our surprise a Sabre Cat leaped out of the trees and right on to the unfortunate thief. He was dead before I reached him. The Sabre Cat joined him soon after.

Windhelm is an imposing-looking city and the most heavily fortified in Skyrim. It is little wonder Ulfric Stormcloak feels secure in his rebellion, but I suspect a determined effort would bring the city underneath Imperial rule. It is one thing to have great walls, it is another to garrison them, and I have never seen more than a handful of guardsmen in any of the cities I have so far visited.

The stinking springs between Windhelm and Morthal were unavoidable, but I will certainly take a rotten scent if it comes with heat rather than the cold which infects most of Skyrim. I, however, was not the only creature with a preference for Skyrim's rare warmth.
I heard its roaring before I saw it, but not long before. Though it sounded far away it suddenly swept between the rocks, roaring its challenge and scattering the hardy goats that called the springs home. I expected the Dragon to make directly for me as his brethren usually do, but this one flew over me and towards a nearby giant's encampment, blasting the mammoths as it went by.
This, of course, angered the mammoths and their giant keeper, who immediately turned on the culprit: me. The mammoths lumbered towards me, the giant started to shamble over, and the Dragon continued to roar and assault everything with its icy breath.

It was a very strange situation. The Giant and his mammoths gave the Dragon no notice as they unrelentingly tried to surround me and squash me flat. I was trying not to be flattened while also keeping an eye on the Dragon lest it also focus on me, but it crashed down on top of the Giant, crushing it as it finally turned on me.
My ebony blade served me well, scoring deep slashes on the beast's face and discouraging it from attacking me further...which is not what I actually wanted. Seeking less capable prey, it leaped back into the air and flew towards another Giant's encampment.
I rushed over, but not quickly enough to prevent the death of another Giant, crushed as well. Evidently enraged, one of the Giant's mammoths bellowed and rushed the Dragon. To my astonishment the mammoth swung a tush at the Dragon's head and actually caught it underneath the jaw. The Dragon reared back, blood gushing from the wound, and I thought the mammoth would certainly be killed.
The tusk must have pierced it's skull or spine, for the Dragon collapsed in a heap before the mammoth, who, having accomplished something no other mammoth has likely ever done before or will again, became immediately disinterested and wandered off to pick at some brush. The corpse burst into flames and the Dragon's soul, or whatever it actually is, streamed into my face as it always does.

What will become of the two groups of mammoths bereft of their masters?

The Dragon had come from the wall of words on a plateau known as 'Bonestrewn Crest'. It sat amid the springs and played host to a headache-inducing wall of ancient words and a handful of skeletons last I visited it. The place was still strewn with bones, mostly mammoth, but there were no skeletons climbing out of the earth this time. New to the little area was a stout-looking chest the Dragon must have claimed for its own.

My luck has been on quite a streak recently. The chest contained only two items: a pair of rusty iron gauntlets...and a two-handed ebony greatsword, a very valuable and rare arm! Though useless martially to me, I strapped it to my back anyway. It will make a fine decoration at one of my homes next time I visit.

Leaving the Crest I came upon a wrecked wagon and, curiously, the bodies of three Khajiit. The caravans do not use wagons nor horses. Their goods were more domestic than adventurous, carpets, cookware, things of that nature. Were they hoping to reside in Skyrim or just make a little money?
My destination this morning was Fort Dawnguard, but I stopped at Riften to deliver Ingun Black-Briar's alchemy ingredients. For the delivery of her nirnroot, nightshade, and deathbell she paid fifteen-hundred Septims, far more than the plants were worth. As I turned to leave she remarked that she felt I was owed more than "meaningless" coin and gave me a key to her private supply chest at 'Elgrim's Elixers' where she has been taking lessons. Personally, I preferred the meaningless coin.

It was well into the night when I finally stood before the largely unguarded battlements of Fort Dawnguard. A small battle was raging at the gate when I arrived between the small band of vigilantes and a group of Vampires, but it was over before I could take part.
As I predicted Isran was not at all happy to hear that I reunited a powerful Vampire clan with their long-sleeping daughter, the latter of which claimed to be carrying a genuine Elder Scroll on her back. He started to get angry that I apparently did nothing to stop them, but I pointed out that one Khajiit against a hall full of vampires would not have ended well for the Khajiit.

The delivery of Serana to her family, coupled with the attack against the Dawnguard, opened Isran's eyes to how precarious his situation was. Now he decided he needed more help, well after that should have been obvious. Was he summoning a band of soldiers? No, he had just two names to give me.

The first was 'Sorine Jurard', a Breton with an interest in the Dwemer. He could only tell me she was somewhere in the Reach, likely exploring a ruin as we were speaking. I would have to delve into the ruins myself until I found her, an unpleasant task I am not looking forward to.

The second name was 'Gunmar', a Nord whose specialty lay with the taming of beasts, trolls in particular, if such a thing is to be believed. Isran had no hint as to his whereabouts and helpfully suggested I start looking in Skyrim.

At least I am saving myself a few Septims tonight, as I have been given a small bunk inside the fortress. Whatever I do tomorrow will undoubtedly mean heading west, as I cannot possibly go any further east without leaving the province entirely and I doubt anyone in Morrowind remembers that a Khajiit was declared Nerevarine so long ago.

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