Stay here, Arrow. Don't want you getting all corpsified.
The tower was in even more ruins than it had been before, fire everywhere. Screams and moans of dying men met my ears and I rushed in to see if there were any survivors.
Then, through the smoke, I saw it. The tip of a dragon's wing.
I drew my bow back, putting all my heart into each of my shots. I tried not to let fear cloud my judgement, but I'll freely admit my heart was pounding. The very roar of the beast froze the men in their tracks, and the dragon gobbled down the nearest soldier, horrid crunching noises coming from its mouth, blood seeping through its teeth and dripping onto the cold ground.
I shot arrow after arrow, and the guards all around me peppered it with the hardy arrows of Whiterun.
Dovahkiin? The heck was--
With a loud whooshing noise, the dragon's corpse went up in flames, and magic rushed out of it, straight towards me. I tried to backpedal, but was unable to escape it, as if it had me rooted to the ground. I closed my eyes, yelling at the incredible rush of energy and fullness in my heart as the light poured into and around my body.
The light stream stopped, and only a dried skeleton of a dragon lay in front of me. I breathed in and out heavily, feeling as though the very soul of the dragon had entered me.
To my left, the Whiterun soldiers stood, whispering amongst themselves as I stayed kneeling on the ground, sweat rolling off my body.
Finally, one soldier stepped forward. "I...I can't believe it. You're....Dragonborn!"
I was still trying to catch my breath, and I hesitated in my words. "Dragonborn? What...what do you mean?"
The guard looked back at his comrades, then at me again. "In the very oldest tales, back from when there were still dragons in Skyrim, the Dragonborn would slay dragons and steal their power." He looked at the dead dragon's skeleton. "That's...that's what you did, isn't it? Absorbed that dragon's power?"
I shook my head, standing up shakily. "I don't know what happened to me."
The guard stepped backwards. "There's one way to find out. Try to Shout...that would prove it. According to the legends, only Dragonborn can Shout without learning how to, the way dragons do."
I wasn't sure what to do, but as I turned to face away from the group, I felt a stirring deep in my soul, and I opened my mouth to Shout.
With the noise, Irileth came over to see what was going on, and some of the men filled her in. She sneered at the dead dragon. "I don't need some mystical Dragonborn. Someone who can put down a dragon is more than enough for me."
We're all doomed if these guys think I'm about to "save the world."
I decided to head back to the Jarl and claim some sort of hazard pay for that dragon kill.
On the way across the plains, I heard the very sky itself rumble, and I looked up as Arrow reared slightly, scared.
What in all of Skyrim was that?
Reaching the Jarl's palace, I headed inside, murmurs and whispers of the strange noise a few moments ago littering the conversations.
The Jarl stood from his chair the moment he saw me. "You heard the summons. What else could it be? The Greybeards..."
"Greybeards?" I questioned, kneeling before him.
"What happened at the watchtower? Was the dragon there?"
"He was there, and the watchtower was destroyed, but me and the men were able to bring the dragon down."
The Jarl laughed once, relief spilling out. "I knew I could count on you and Irileth. But there must be more to it than that."
I hesitated a moment before continuing, not really sure how to put it. "Well, when the dragon died, I absorbed some sort of power from it. I think I might be something called the Dragonborn, at least, that's what everyone was saying."
"Dragonborn?" The Jarl sat up straighter. "What do you know about the Dragonborn?"
"That's....that's just what the men called me."
The Jarl's voice lowered in awe. "So it's true. The Greybeards really were summoning you."
"Who are these Greybeards?" I looked up at him.
"Masters of the Way of the Voice. They live in seclusion high on the slopes of the Throat of the World."
"Well...what would they want with me? I'm merely a hunter."
The Jarl shrugged. "The Dragonborn is said to be uniquely gifted in the Voice--the ability to focus your vital essence into a Thu'um, or Shout. If you really are Dragonborn, they can teach you how to focus your powers."
Avenicci at my left spoke up. "Did you hear the thundering sounds on your return to Whiterun?"
I nodded. "I think everyone heard that."
"That was the voice of the Greybeards, summoning you to High Hrothgar. What do they want with you, I wonder."
The Jarl held up a hand. "That's the Greybeard's business, not ours." He looked at me seriously. "Whatever happened when you killed that dragon, it revealed something in you, and the Greybeards heard it. If they think you are Dragonborn, who are we to argue? You'd better get going though, you don't want to ignore the summons of the Greybeards. It is a tremendous honor."
I stood up to go, and he continued talking, so I stopped. "I envy you, you know. To climb the seven thousand steps again...I made that pilgrimage once."
The Jarl ignored the shock on my face. "You've done a great service for me and my city, Dragonborn. By my right as Jarl, I name you Thane of Whiterun. It's the greatest honor that's within my power to grant."
I guess being Thane could come in handy.
"In addition, I will also be assigning a personal housecarl, Lydia.
And there she is.
Well...I feel weird being responsible for another person's life. I don't have a great record for this.
But here, have my helmet, and let's go.
Tomorrow, I'll have to climb seven thousand steps, and I need all the rest I can get.
Part 23 ----- Part 25