CHAPTER 7: YES, I AM A DRAGONSLAYER
In which our hero is truly, truly brave.
Previous: Chapter 6, Dropout
As I enter the town of Whiterun yet again, the commander of the guard tells me that he is the commander of the guard yet again, a guard tells me about his knee problems yet again, a rich bastard smarms at me yet again, a beggar asks me for money yet again... aah, nostalgia. The good things never change, do they? The only new thing that happened on my path through town was a little girl bullying a little boy, and a pair of nords taunting an old woman because her son died. I'm no friend of the stormcloaks, you know, racist sexist assholes that they are, but these Battle-Born guys aren't exactly increasing my estimation for those that support the empire, either. The old woman takes me aside and tells me to meet her in her house later. Normally I'd make some sort of sexual innuendo joke at this point, but she honestly seems upset about her missing and presumed dead son, so I go ahead and pencil her in on my to-do list. I'd help out now, lady, but my job isn't People-Finder, it's Courier. I'll just get this rock to Farengar and be right back, okay?
Farengar seems excited to see the stone. He's arrogant, like a lot of nords here, but not as bad as some... he's actually coming off as a guy who's trying hard to convince the world that he's smarter than he is. It's not so much an arrogance as it is a crippling lack of self esteem, finger-based electricity notwithstanding. Anyway, before he can pay me, the homicidal dunmer comes running in and tells him that there's a dragon attacking the city. I'm about to make my excuses and slip out to find a good hole to crawl into... after all, the last time I was involved in a dragon attack it overran a fully-equipped Imperial citadel full of mages and archers and warriors of all kinds.
Before I can leg it, though, the dark elf tells me to follow her, and she gives me a look that says if I don't I'll be chopped up into small pieces. So I head upstairs to dick around while people talk at great length with each other about how a dragon is attacking and how we need to do something about it now, so why don't we form a committee to investigate the feasibility of perhaps looking into coming up with a five-point action plan outlining our efforts at maybe fighting back or something? By Diagna, these nords do tend to talk an issue to death before doing anything. Anyway, it turns out the dragon isn't attacking the city, it's attacking a watchtower down the road. The Jarl tells us that we need to go kill the dragon and that information is more important than killing the dragon, and that we are not to risk our lives, but to go out there and kill the dragon anyway... I'm not sure if I'm the one who is confused, or if it's the Jarl. He sends me with the guards and the crazy dark elf, because I've got experience fighting dragons... no, actually, I don't, I've got experience running away from dragons and hiding in caves. Anyway, I'm sure that I'll be fine in the company of one dunmer and her half-dozen guardsmen, even if the Jarl is holding back magical assistance in the form of the court wizard.
Still, it's not like I'm given a choice in the matter. I'll make a big show of following the dark elf until I actually see a dragon, and then I'll scamper. We leave the city, head down the road, and get to the watchtower, which is on fire, because of course stone burns, why wouldn't stone burn? There are some corpses around, but NO DRAGON. Phew! Yeah, fellows, it's lucky for that dragon it ran off. Why, I would have REALLY let it have it, you know? We all start congratulating ourselves on a job well done, when the dragon, which has a really fucked-up sense of humor, comes flying back from behind a mountain.
It's an ice-breathing dragon, this one, so I have no idea how it set the tower on fire. I rushed out with all the other guardsmen to join the fight, swinging my hammer, grabbed a bow off a dead guy and shot arrows into the dragon over and over, committing many daring acts of heroism and valor, and the dragon dropped at my feet, killed stone dead through my battle prowess. Irileth and the guards hoisted me onto their shoulders and headed back to town, where the grateful populace gathered around me, tossing flowers and offering to name their children after me. I was named the high king of Skyrim and lived the rest of my days in peace and plenty, dying at a ripe old age, surrounded by my loving great grandchildren, and never again did I have to fight a dragon.
At this point, someone shakes me by the arm. A guard looks down at me where I am cowering in the remains of the tower, eyes closed and ears covered, and tells me that it's over, they killed the dragon, I can come out now and find a clean pair of trews. Everyone's gathered around the corpse of the dragon, staring silently in awe at the great flying lizard. I step up, and apparently somebody sets the corpse on fire, because it burns RIGHT up, leaving only bones. At the same time, I feel invaded by a magical force I cannot describe, that enters my inner mind and very soul, flooding my being with power. A short while later, a guardsman comes BACK into the ruined tower and pulls me out of my hiding place yet again, chastising me for sucking my thumb like a small child. Whatever, dude, you didn't just get magically infested with dragon leftovers. The guard tells me to shout, and that DOES sound like a good idea. Scream therapy, you know? I'll just let out all my frustration, fear, and surprise. After screaming at the sky for a few minutes, I really do feel a little better. Irileth tells me to get back to Whiterun and report to the Jarl, so I unsteadily wobble my way back there, flinching at every rabbit that crosses my path, drawing my sword whenever I see a butterfly, and cowering in terror as birds fly by overhead, their shadows on the ground far too reminiscent of recent events. I'm also hallucinating, because when I get to the gates of Whiterun, the ground itself starts to shake and I hear voices. I need a therapist.
The Jarl asks me what happened, and I state, full of conviction, that I killed a dragon and deserve a reward. Yep, that's me, a dragonslayer. Nobody else helped. Irilith and the other guards aren't here to contradict my version of events, so... gimme a reward and let me get the FUCK out of Dodge, okay? The Jarl rewards me generously with a handsome helping of exposition, this guy LOVES to talk. He jumps into a long-winded monologue about some group of monks that live up on a mountain somewhere and how I need to go see them. If this is about my need for therapy, dude, I hear you. I'll head right over there if they can help me forget about the recent past. After about half an hour listening to this dude ramble, he gives me an enchanted great axe and names me Thane of Whiterun. The axe is even better than my warhammer, so I swap it out. On my way out the door, I run into a nord woman who apparently was so impressed with my story about my dragonslaying prowess that she has dedicated her life to serving me. Sure, lady, sure. That's nice. I pat her on the head and tell her to run along. My next stop is High Hrothgar, where the Grey-bearded Psychatrists live.
Actually, come to think about it, my next stop is a tavern where I will get absolutely shitfaced, hopefully my heartrate will wind down a bit with some alcohol fuzzing my nerves.