Mintrei’s Journal – Episode 5: Dragonborn

by bunnhop

21 Last Seed, Turdas

I started my morning with the usual–bread, meat, cheese, and fruits from the inn–but I had something different today: a healthy dose of fistfight with a Nord woman. Her name is Uthgerd, and she challenged me to a brawl as I was finishing my meal.

Although growing up with Cassia and Claudius–children of a proud Imperial veteran–gave me access to combat training back in the City, it was mostly with weapons–a steel sword and a bow and arrow–and not with my fists. Nevertheless, I did accept Uthgerd’s challenge, be it out of pure foolishness, sheer arrogance, or mere curiosity. Her first blow made me immediately regret my decision, and I started to think that I might fall within just a few seconds, but I actually had it in me. I still can’t believe it, I managed to defeat her! I do not know if she went easy on me because I am new to the city or if it was because I am female, just like her. I don’t think I have been away from home long enough to have been hardened to the point of overpowering a Nord warrior with my bare fists.

Uthgerd offered me her services, but I politely declined. I know I wouldn’t be a good traveling companion due to my tendency to stray from the path, take frequent detours, and be distracted by the smallest things. And if–or rather, when–I finally am not in need of her services, perhaps when I get to the College, what would our farewell look like? I didn’t even have it in me to say goodbye to my friends face-to-face. I wouldn’t want to share a bond with someone, only to have to leave them when I reach my destination.

Leaving the inn, I took a stroll out to the market. Watching people crowd around the stalls, haggling, engaging in lively banter–this has always been one of my pastimes in the City. Like at a party, I can’t immediately join in without first taking my time to observe the scene and notice which groups of people are more likely to be welcoming and warm.

When I was ready, and when the crowd dissipated, I introduced myself to the stall owners. One of them is an Imperial woman by the name of Carlotta Valentia. She cares for her child alone, and I adored her interactions with her lovely little daughter Mila. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I do find it easiest and most comfortable conversing with those who have been brought up in the Imperial Province. Regardless, Carlotta’s having trouble with the bard at the inn, and without hesitating, I offered to help her with it.

That same conceited Redguard was also at the market, harassing the hardworking merchants. I have had enough of his self-centered talk, but I know that I am a foreigner in these lands and my name bears no importance, so I know better than to give him an earful. If he is really an advisor to the Jarl, I have to keep my mouth shut–for now, at least.

I spoke to a few other residents of the city and even came across a Priest of Talos, preaching under the Ninth Divine’s shrine. Unlike my friends, I have always had respect for people’s religious beliefs and don’t mind who they worship–be it Divine or Daedra–but I do get annoyed when they try to stick it in your face.

Eventually, I knew it was time to pay the Jarl a visit. Dragonsreach is the name of his court and manor, lodged atop a hill. I was stopped by his bodyguard–known as “Housecarl” in this Province–a Dunmer named Irileth. I told her that I was sent by the Alvor from Riverwood to ask for help regarding the dragon attack, seeing as the town is in the same Hold, and thus under the protection of the Jarl. She seemed suspicious of me and wouldn’t want me to deliver the message straight to him, but he was magnanimous enough to let me approach.

The Jarl himself, named Balgruuf, seems fair in his dealings. The fact that he let me–a foreigner of no importance in these lands–speak freely is not something you usually hear about back home. I did not introduce myself as a Suliven, because my anonymity would not only provide me a chance to be seen as myself, instead of the bells and whistles that come with the name, but safety as well. With the rise of the Stormcloaks, who knows which Jarl sympathizes with their cause and unjustly views me as an enemy just because of my name and what it means in Cyrodiil?

Jarl Balgruuf sent me to his court wizard, Farengar, who needed my help obtaining an ancient Nord relic from Bleak Falls Barrow. He said that this “Dragonstone” is a map of all the dragon burial sites in Skyrim. Luckily, I have been to the location he mentioned, and took the stone tablet with me before leaving. He seemed thankful, and we talked a little about his craft. However, the conversation immediately turned sour–and he even had the gall to insult my intelligence–when I asked him about his political allegiance. I knew it was wrong to ask, but I sometimes get a little too curious.

After our talk, Irileth called for him, saying that she had just received reports of a dragon sighting nearby. I was sent by the Jarl to go with Irileth and some of the guards to defeat this dragon, but not before giving me a sword from his armory.

The walk from Dragonsreach down to the watchtower felt brief. Perhaps I was nervous, or perhaps I was sensing something else in play. The next thing I knew was me, doing my hardest to pierce through its scales. All the while I could hear it… speaking, in some unfamiliar language. And though I couldn’t understand it, it felt like… it was talking to me, taunting me.

And in its last breath it yelled out something that sounded like, “Dovahkiin? No!” Though I didn’t know what the first word meant, anyone could understand what the second conveyed. A pang of guilt resonated within me. Could the dragon have wanted something? Could we have talked to him to ask what he needed? No… He was attacking innocent civilians. His kin burnt homes and razed fields back in Helgen. He couldn’t have been innocent, could he?

As I was ruminating all this, I felt a surge of power enter my system. It came from the dragon I slew. And all of the sudden, the guards surrounded me. The expressions on their faces wasn’t just awe or admiration at what this little Bosmer could do with her steel. They were… in shock.

They started calling me “Dragonborn.” Perhaps they also saw the power surge–a strong gust of wind that came from the dragon and transferred into me. Did I just absorb the dragon’s… magic? Soul? Essence?

The only Dragonborns I knew of were the owners of the Ruby Throne–the Emperors. I may have been brought up in Cyrodiil, but I am not Imperial myself. Neither of my parents were. How could this be?

Dazed and confused, I walked back to the gates of Whiterun. On my way there, the ground suddenly rumbled, and I heard voices calling out the same word that the dragon uttered before it died: “Dovahkiin.” Were they dragons, angrily calling out to the one who slew their kin? Or does this word mean “Dragonborn” in an ancient tongue? Who are they and–if I were really a Dragonborn–what do they want with me?

Outside the city gates, I found the Khajiiti merchants I had passed on the way to the watchtower. They welcomed me into their encampment, and so I’ve decided to spend the night here. During our chats, they offered me a sip of their drink. It tasted quite sweet, which is how I like mine. Although my mind had been filled with questions, the drink has provided me with calmness and serenity. As I am writing this, I am starting to feel sleepy, but for reasons unknown, I feel… happy.

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