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Diary of a Dragonborn Chapter 47: Control Weather is a 7th Level Spell

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CHAPTER 47: Control Weather is a 7th Level Spell
Wherein our hero encounters a goat that can Shout, apparently.
Previous: Chapter 46: Sky Haven Temple


Well, now I know how to defeat Alduin. I guess? I have to shout at him, but I'm pretty sure other people have done that before and it hasn't helped. I mean, they defeated Alduin once before, right? So how exactly is my doing it again supposed to help? He'll just be back in a few thousand years. So basically what I'm doing is not solving the problem, but just pushing it off onto some folks in the future. I'm okay with that, honestly. I'm sure by then we'll have jetpacks and flying cars and can take him on his own ground, or lack thereof, as the case may be. So I'm off to High Hrothgar again, a place I swore I'd never return to except for that couple of times I returned there anyway. I blame that on my drinking problem - if I hadn't been so drunk, I wouldn't have consumed all that skooma and misunderstood what "High" Hrothgar meant.


Arngeir stoically welcomes me with his usual stoic stoicism, which shows a crack when I tell him I want to (gasp!) kill a dragon. The poor guy is way out of touch with modern events, because he doesn't know that I have killed dozens of the fuckers by this point. He takes the news that I want to learn a shout as some kind of blasphemy, even though his whole purpose in life is supposedly dedicated to teaching me shouts. The other greybeards graybeards bearded gentlemen agree, and he has an immediate change of heart. I'm not sure what they shouted at him, but judging from his manner it was probably something like "do your goddamn job rookie or we'll blow you off the cliff." He tells me that he doesn't know the shout in question, which reinforces the "rookie" concept... and now that I think about it, he has never actually taught me a shout, it's been the other dudes to this point. My guess is he isn't really an official part of the group, but they let him stick around because he's the only one who can actually speak out loud without knocking holes in the walls.


At any rate, he directs me to the top of the mountain to speak with their leader, who by this point I'm certain is a dragon, judging by his name. I suppose it makes sense for humans to be ignorant of the Dragonrend shout but a dragon actually does oh no wait it doesn't make sense at all. After teaching me the three words of the shout (once again, Arngeir just sits back while someone else does all the work), I can suddenly change the weather at will, which to this point I've been doing solely with the "fw 81a" console shout. I proceed to use my newfound power to shout at a raging blizzard that is somehow localized to just the only place you can get past, which is pretty damn convenient. The snow goes away, and I resume climbing the mountain.


This pattern continues a couple more times on the way up. I encounter a few creatures, such as a goat, a troll, and an ice wraith, begging the question of how the hell they got past the barrier, which naturally leads to the answer that they can use the Clear Skies shout too. I've never actually heard a troll shouting, much less a goat, but the logic seems sound to me, which shouldn't be a surprise considering that I've just eaten a dozen mushrooms of unknown provenance and effect. Psilocybin is a wonderful thing, no?


Once I reach the top, a dragon touches down. This must be Paarthurnax, which in the dragon language translates to "Deus-Ex-Machina." He insists that I breathe fire at him, which would normally start a fight, but he actually seems quite pleased that I've burned a few scales off his hide. I feel sorry for the guy, he's been up here alone for so long he'll take even hostile acts as overtures of friendship. He tells me that he doesn't know the shout I need, but if I find an elder scroll I can learn it. This is starting to feel like a big byzantine bureaucratic mess, and I'm sure that normally I'd be shunted off to someone else who'd just push me off on someone else again and again for weeks, but haha fools, I'm one step ahead of the game this time. I've already got the elder scroll. Gotcha, suckers!


Paarthurnax urges me to read the scroll. I'm a little leery of doing so, considering that the last time I did I ended up with a splitting headache and a bunch of vampires randomly showed up and attacked me, but I've got no choice, so I head on over to the "time wound" which is actually pretty damn hard to find in a raging blizzard. But find it I eventually do, and whip out my scroll and stare at it for a minute.


Unlike last time, when all that happened was a vaguely map-like image appeared before me, this time I'm actually transported back in time to the last time Alduin was around. Dragons are circling overhead, Nords are fighting them on the ground, and it's all very dramatic. I only wish I could move around, but no, I'm stuck watching a momentous event happen without any ability to affect anything, or even look at it from an alternate angle.


It doesn't matter, though, because... nothing much happens. A couple of Nords spout some lines somebody got out of the "guide to writing oldey-timey heroic dialogue" book, and then Alduin shows up and starts an absolutely ludicrous fight. The Nords and the dragon respectively whack and bite at each other for a while, one of the Nords goes down, and I guess it must have been a pretty tense fight for them, but just watching as a third party, it looks more like a bunch of LARPers pretend-thwacking each other. Eventually the group's wizard uses an elder scroll to send Alduin forward to my time, and I regret even more not being able to move around and smack the guy upside the head for making it all my problem.


Still, I guess I learned something from the experience. I'm not sure what, exactly, because I could swear I didn't hear anyone shout anything important at Alduin, but it must have happened because my personal movie ends and I'm thrust back into the real world, just in time for Alduin to show up, which is yet more convenient fucking timing right there. Paarthurnax buggers off, the coward, and I'm forced to keep shouting at Alduin. I gather that this Dragonrend shout is supposed to make a dragon land and become easy prey for my axe, but all it does to Alduin is cause him to circle around a bit. The few times he does land, the effects of the shout wear off almost immediately, and he takes off again. It isn't a tough fight or anything, but it does last for nearly a whole day, because the folks who programmed in the effects of the shout apparently didn't do any beta testing before pushing the game out the door Alduin is just too powerful for the shout to really harm him much.


Eventually, though, the dragon does go down. Or, at least, he should. What really happens is that he lands, I take his last bit of health, and then he becomes curiously immune to any further damage. Which is a real goddamn cop-out, and just lazy storywriting, but I can't complain because my constant bitching about the story makes Stenvar sad. Alduin taunts me for a bit, then flies off.


Next: Chapter 48: This Is No Yoking Matter
Start at Chapter 1


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I'm really not fond of the fact that Alduin suddenly becomes immortal here. It just feels lazy to me. The writing and justification for this is much better than some parts of the game (cough college of winterhold quest cough), but it still isn't great, and in any case only really makes sense much later, which is lazy storytelling itself. Now I've been guilty many times of lazy writing (just read my blog, you'll see it all over the place), but I can't say I've ever done anything quite so egregious. The thought keeps me warm at night with a vague sense of unearned, arrogant superiority.


Another thing: Time Wound? As a name, it's fine... a little hackneyed, but not terribly so. My problem is that the Time Wound was first caused by reading an elder scroll there. So what do I do? Go back to the same place and read an elder scroll again. Wouldn't that just double the damage? I mean, imagine if you're a stabbing victim, and you go to a doctor, and the doctor's course of treatment is to... stab you in the same place. Sounds a little Monty Python-esque to me.

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I do agree that Alduin should have at least fucking staggered here, if not got nutpunched to a downed animation before fucking magick'ing to Sovengarde, but sadly noone got that idea.

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