Chapter Two Part One
Having made the long journey to Solitude Se’rith and Brelyna were disappointed to have been told by a Legate Rikke at Castle Dour that General Tulius was at a place called Helgen overseeing the execution of a most important prisoner. Helgen! Wasn’t that the place mentioned in that deranged woman’s journal that also had a reference to a dragon? In consideration of Se’rith’s position as Archmage, Rikke offered Legion transportation to Helgen. It would take them nearly a day and a half to walk there so Se’rith graciously accepted. It took half the time to get to Helgen, when they got there they found a smoking ruin. Scorch marks were all over the place and stone walls were cracked and broken in many areas. Towers had their battlements torn off while burnt and mangles corpses lay all over. In some cases these corpses had been fused to the armour they had been wearing by some super heated fire. Large prints dotted the earth and what looked like claw marks scored the walls. Of General Tulius there was no sign. There appeared to be no survivors though trackers of the Legion escort found tracks leading from a cave to the south of Helgen leading North towards Riverwood. Se’rith instructed her escort that she had business in Riverwood and would try to find out what had happened here. She instructed the Optio leading the escort to report back to Rikke at Solitude that she would be visiting Jarl Balgruuf at Whiterun and talk to his court mage Farengar Secret Fire to tap into his knowledge of dragon lore. She politely declined the offer of further escort.
They took the road out of the northern gate and made good time to Riverwood. The sun had started to wane as they made the small picturesque village. They found it in a state of pandemonium. Several villagers were in a state claiming they had seen a dragon fly overhead heading North a few hours ago. One lady, Gerdur, was adamant in what she saw. She was extremely worried about the safety of Riverwood and would send a plea to the Jarl at Whiterun to send a detachment of guards to help protect Riverwood as they had no wall or no armed force to protect the populace. Se’rith made a mental note to raise it with the Jarl. She bade Riverwood farewell and followed the reddening sky to Whiterun.
Whiterun was bathed in the most glorious sunset tinting the sky red and crimson, the perfect backdrop to the glorious mountains of Skyrim. She ascended the stairs to the Dragonreach, her ears full of the worried conversations of the populace full of tales of dragons and fire from the sky!
The Jarl was in deep counsel with his Housecarl and his Steward. Indeed the Dunmer Housecarl drew her sword upon Se’rith’s arrival. Yet when the word that news from Helgen was on her lips she was put immediately in front of the Jarl. She reported all she had seen at Helgen and brought the pleas of Riverwood to his ears. After some opposition from his Housecarl the Jarl ordered that a detachment be sent to safeguard Riverwood as he would not have his people living under threat. A hooded mage then approached and greeted the new Archmage warmly, at this the Jarl stood up and shook Se’rith’s hand. She was the first Archmage to have visited Whiterun for a generation. He took her presence as a sign that the College would lend its aid to Skyrim.
As the pleasantries finished Farengar requested that Se’rith join her in his study. He was eager for news of the College and Se’rith retold her adventures in Labyrinthian and her fight against Ancano and the Thalmor, she kept the presence of the Psijics secret however. She produced the stone that she had found at Bleak Falls Barrow and the Farengar’s eyes literally shone like gold. He called it a Dragonstone and the characters carved in it were in draconic, the ancient language of the dragons. Dragons talking! Even Brelyna raised a sceptical eyebrow. All this talk about dragons was making Se’rith very nervous. Dragons were creatures of legend and myth, of children’s stories. They were not flesh and blood but what she had seen at Helgen and what Farengar was telling her made them seem all too real. She would delve into the College’s archives upon her return to see what she could find. The guard that suddenly burst into the main throne room with shouts of dragon would make that trip the archives moot.
A dragon, a real dragon not one from the pages from a child’s book, was breathing fire and killing guards at the Western Watch Tower. Jarl Balgruuf himself was willing to lead the charge roaring at the top of his voice to kill the beast burning his hold. His Housecarl intervened and calmer heads prevailed. A small group of guards led by the Housecarl, Irileth would meet the dragon and kill it. Se’rith and Brelyna offered their assistance knowing that their magical abilities would be needed to bring the beast down. Irileth accepted graciously yet many of the gathered Nords were suspicious, old prejudices die hard even in the face of adversity. They left through the main gate and headed West, the pillars of black smoke marking the location and the fate of the tower. It was aflame when they reached it, charred bodies of Whiterun guards, some only recognisable by their yellow livery, dotted its entrance. Weapons in hand these men had gone to Svongarde fighting with steel in hand!
An alien roar filled the sky as a grey skinned beast flew over the tower, its wings casting evil shadows over the gathered men and women. It breathed a long cone of fire as it strafed the guards, they dived to either side as the brush caught fire. The heat was intense but nothing was as majestic, as terrifying as the beast circling above them , legend made flesh. It landed with a tremendous noise, the earth trembling. It targetted a guard which it then immolated with its fire. Se’rith was paralysed with fear. What could a mere elf do against such a beast? Yet she could see the arrows peppering its flank, its dark blood seeping from the wounds. She could hear its roar as Nord steel bit into its flesh. The roars moved her out of her stupor. She called forth her lightning and watched it score deep, scorched gouges on its wings and its side. It let loose another cone of fire and lashed with its tail sending another Whiterun flying through the air.
It saddened her heart when they brought it down. Her bolts had blackened its side. Irileth’s blade had cut deep in many areas. Brelyna’s fire bolts had burnt through the membrane of its wings. Arrows peppered its snout, one leg was bent over at an almost impossible angle. Yet she could not forget the horror the beast brought with it. The destruction it had wrought, the destruction at Helgen…Then the questions in her mind. Where had it come from? Was it alone? Was it a harbinger of doom? Questions she did not have the answers for. Questions that only got deeper when the corpse decomposed in front of their eyes. Its flesh fell from its majestic bones as a wind built up from nowhere. Ethereal voices assailed Se’rith’s ears as the wind whipped up to a frenzy Se’rith standing at the eye of the storm…