Monday, October 13, 2014

Part 25: Lessons of Old

Today, we're heading out to Ivarstead, where the start of the 7,000 step climb is. We've a good journey ahead of us, so keep up Lydia. No, I don't have a horse for you, deal.

Some bandits give us the jump at the large watchtower, and Lydia seems to be a pretty good shot with a bow. I dig through the pockets, and come up with only a small amount of gold, but they do have health potions in their base, which is a welcome addition to my pack.

What a stupid man.

After a while of travelling, we come across a man who is laying on the side of the road. I hop down off of Arrow and lean down to him.

"Are you ok?"

He winced, holding his side. "Bandits attacked and raided my cart. Can you help me?"

I looked around. "What can I do for you?"

"My camp is nearby in the ruins of Nilheim. Get me there safely, and you'll be rewarded."

I nod, helping him up. We travel only a short way off a side road, and I wonder why he needed the help at all for such a short distance.

"Wait here, I'll be back with your reward." The man ran off and I stood by Arrow, smoothing out his mane. Lydia stretched nearby, sighing.

Suddenly, the men in the camp ran at us with weapons drawn! I quickly drew my axe and defended myself, Lydia yelling at me to watch out. I spun to the side, narrowly avoiding a sword blow to the head.

The man we had escorted up the mountain was shooting arrows towards me and Lydia, but thankfully, he was a horrible shot, and I was able to run right up on him.

After the battle, I searched a few nearby chests and took some gold coins. After all, they were bandits, and I can donate this to a temple for good use.

Ivarstead came into view and I sighed in relief as I trotted Arrow over the stone bridge. I stable him in a nearby closed off farmland, and go and speak with the locals, trying to learn more about the Greybeards.

They aren't entirely helpful, mainly talking about how everyone only comes to Ivarstead to get to High Hrothgar.

Level up and skill pick time!

I rent a room for Lydia and me and we both fall asleep quickly.

I awoke early the next morning, and as I went to cross the bridge towards the mountain steps, I overheard a conversation about a delivery. I'm good at deliveries, so I hop off Arrow to speak with the man.

"What sort of goods are you delivering today?" I ask.

The man, named Klimmek I heard from his friend calling him that, shrugged. "Mostly food supplies like dried fish and salted meats; you know, things that keep fresh a long time. The Greybeards tend to not get out much, if you get my meaning."

"I could deliver the supplies for you," I offered. "I'm heading there right now, and it wouldn't be any trouble."

Klimmek brightened. "Really? That would be kind of you, my old legs aren't what they used to be." He handed me a bag. "At the top of the mountain there is an empty chest they always have us put the supplies in. Do that, and I'll give you a little something for my appreciation."

I take the bag from him and nod. "No problem, I'll be glad to help you out."

And with that, we were on our way.

The mountain path started fairly easy, sloping gently up. I decided to leave Arrow at the bottom of the steps though, as I didn't want to expose the poor horse to the danger of the pathways. Plus, I was worried he might misstep and fall to his death.

Walking up, Lydia following behind, I came across strange pedestals with writing on them.

Looks like they told some sort of history.

I came across another man who was praying at the alter, and I tried not to bother him as I read the next tablet.

Emblem II

Men were born and spread over the face of

The Dragons presided over the crawling masses

Men were weak then, and had no Voice

A snowstorm started kicking into high gear and I was attacked by a huge sabre cat. I managed to shove it down the mountain though, effectively killing it.

Goat, what are you doing way up here?

Emblem III

The fledgling spirits of Men were strong in Old

Unafraid to war with Dragons and their Voices

But the Dragons only shouted them down and
broke their hearts

Emblem IV

Kyne called on Paarthurnax, who pitied Man

Together they taught Men to use the Voice

Then Dragon War raged, Dragon against Tongue

I paused, looking at this. Kyne had helped with the Voice? Maybe that's why I felt such a connection with nature and with Kynareth.

I rub my arms, shivering slightly. I am feeling not-so-warm now.

Emblem V

Man prevailed, shouting Alduin out of the world

Proving for all that their Voice too was strong

Although their sacrifices were many-fold

Emblem VI

With roaring Tongues, the Sky-Children conquer

Founding the First Empire with Sword and Voice

Whilst the Dragons withdrew from this World

Emblem VII

The Tongues at Red Mountain went away humbled

Jurgen Windcaller began His Seven Year

To understand how Strong Voices could fail

Emblem VIII

Jurgen Windcaller chose silence and returned

The 17 disputants could not shout Him down

Jurgen the Calm built His home on the Throat of
the World

Emblem IX

For years all silent, the Greybeards spoke one name

Tiber Septim, stripling then, was summoned to Hrothgar

They blessed and named him Dohvakiin

Emblem X

The Voice is worship

Follow the Inner path

Speak only in True Need

I squinted through the snow, seeing a large structure form in front of me.

This had to be it! High Hrothgar!

I quickly put the supplies in the nearby chest and scrambled up the steps towards the front door. With a heavy push, the door opened and we hurried inside to get out of the whirling snowstorm.

When I turned around, I saw old men in robes approaching us, and I took a deep breath, stepping forward.

"So...a Dragonborn appears; at this moment in the turning of the age." One of the robed men spoke, his voice strong and with no hesitation. "My name is Arngeir. Why have you come here?"

I blinked. "You summoned me, didn't you? I want to find out what it means to be this so-called Dragonborn, and why you think I am one, and why I should care." I frowned, folding my arms across my chest.

Arngeir nodded slowly. "We are here to guide you in that pursuit, just as the Greybeards have sought to guide those of the Dragon Blood that came before you. So, show us of your gift."

I looked around at the other men, and they nodded. I raised an eyebrow. "Show you My Shout?"

"Yes, Dragonborn."

I turned away from them and set my feet firmly on the ground, bracing myself. I felt the deep magic within me rise up and I Shouted, the loud cry echoing around the large chamber. The Greybeards all murmured their surprise at it, and Arngeir folded his hands into his huge sleeves, smiling.

"So, it is you. Welcome to High Hrothgar." He motioned to the rest of them. "I speak for all the Greybeards. We will guide you in your destiny."

"D-destiny?" I stammer, looking around at them in disbelief. "This power I have, what can it be used for, other than to fight? How could you possibly know what my destiny is?"

Arngeir shook his head. "We do not know it. That is for you to discover. We can show you the Way, but not your destination."

I rubbed my eyes. "That really doesn't make any sense. How can you guide me in my destiny if you don't know what it is? I control my own destiny, Greybeard." I grit my teeth, angry.

"You have shown that you are Dragonborn. You have the inborn gift." He lowered his voice, a hint of a laugh underneath his next words. "But, do you have the discipline and temperament to follow the path laid out before you? That remains to be seen."

I blinked, slightly offended. "Look, you don't even know who I am. How do you know I won't use such a gift for evil, or personal gain?"

"We cannot know. We can merely guide you on the correct usage of your Shout, and then hope that you follow the old teachings. Without training, you have already taken the first steps towards projecting your voice into a Thu'um, or Shout. Let us see if you are able to learn more."

I narrowed my eyes. "Fine. What do you want to teach me?"

"When you Shout," Arngeir began, his voice becoming authoritative in tone. "you speak in the language of dragons. Thus, your Dragon Blood gives you an inborn ability to learn Words of Power. All Shouts are made up of three Words of Power. As you master each Word, your Shout will become progressively stronger

Arngeir stepped to the side, pointing to one of the other men waiting nearby. "Master Einarth will now teach you 'Ro', the second Word in Unrelenting Force, what you were able to show us before. Ro means 'balance' in the dragon tongue. Combine it with 'Fus'--force--to focus your Thu'um more sharply."

Master Einarth walked up into the middle of the room and a word appeared in fiery lettering. I stared at it a moment, and then felt a rush of knowledge, similar to the one I felt before go through me. I felt like I had know the word all along.

Arngeir stepped back. "You learn a new word like a truly do have the gift."

"Could I have possibly been faking before this?" I pointed out to him.

"No, I suppose not. But learning a Word of Power is only the first must unlock its meaning through constant practice in order to us it in a Shout. At least, that is how the rest of us use Shouts. As Dragonborn, you can absorb a slain dragon's life force and knowledge directly, like what you did with the dragon at the watchtower. Let us see how quickly you can master your new Thu'um."

I followed the group outside, and I told Lydia to stay indoors.

Wish I could stay indoors too.

Another word appeared in front of me, and I looked at it, feeling the familiar knowledge pervading my mind.

Arngeir patted my shoulder fondly. "Your quick mastery of a new Thu'um is...astonishing. I'd heard the stories of the abilities of Dragonborn, but to see it for myself..."

"What am I to do with this gift? I don't even know how I do it, it just happens."

Arngeir shook his head at my questions. "You were given this gift by the gods for a reason. It is up to you to figure out how best to use it."

After the lessons, I meditated in the halls to Kynareth, hoping that I would be led down a proper path. I knew that I wanted to find revenge for my wife, and I felt that using this power for that would go against what the gods had intended for me. So, I would stick to regular means, and only use it in self-defense.

Finally, Lydia and I set out back down to Ivarstead. It was an easier journey going down, for sure.

I met back up with Klimmek and let him know that I had delivered the supplies. He gave me a fair reward of gold, and I was very pleased by that.

Suddenly, two men in strange masks came up on me, and after confirming that yes, I was the one they called Dragonborn, started attacking me! I didn't have much of a problem dispatching them, as one of the guards helped me out.

Great, just great. I've got a hit out on me. See, this is what happens when you get involved in things greater than yourself. You get killed. Or even worse--maimed.

I stuffed the note in my pack, hoping to be able to ignore it, but just in case I ever made it to Solstheim, I would be wary.

One long day later, I made it back to Whiterun, exhausted. I needed to speak with the Jarl in the morning to talk with him about the message and the axe.

Lydia, you were useful, but I need to let you go. I work better on your own, and I really don't want to be responsible for your life. Go be housecarl to someone else.

After she left, I fell into a restful sleep, ready for this day to be over with.

Part 24 ----- Part 26

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