Katarina Liore: Foreword, by Reyda the Arcane

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    The return of the dragons in the Fourth Era is accepted as historical fact, despite the persistent, vehement denial of some. Indeed, all primary sources from circa 4E 201 have made some reference to the dragons' return. Of course, tied inextricably to the creatures' return is the Last Dragonborn, a celebrated historical figure who rose to prominence in Skyrim at around the time of the dragons' return.


    Many feats are attributed to the Last Dragonborn. Regarding the dragons, this person is said to have ended their reign of tyranny by denying their ability to rise from the dead – an extraordinary claim on both the parts of the Dragons and the Last Dragonborn. A disaster that wracked Winterhold is said to have been stopped by this extraordinary figure. On Solstheim, one of the Skaal's tales that dates roughly to the time of the Last Dragonborn mentions a Skaal-friend, possessed of the Dragonborn's Shouting ability, who ended a Daedric threat led by an ancient named Miraak. The latest edition of Songs of Skyrim indicates that the Tale of the Tongues, a highly popular verse of the Dragonborn's triumph over the Nordic foe Alduin, was written around the time of the Last Dragonborn's life by a bard named Lisette, who is said to have known the Last Dragonborn personally. Tales of Skyrim's insurrection, led by Ulfric Stormcloak, Jarl of Windhelm, suggest that the Last Dragonborn executed the man personally.


    Partially fueling the prevalent Nordic fascination with this figure is evidence of the Last Dragonborn's life that is found throughout Skyrim, though of this extraordinary person's early life, almost no information exists. In the archives of the Imperial Legion in Solitude at Castle Dour are files of promotions, commendations, and dispatch notes. At Dragonsreach are records of the members of Whiterun's court, including one very notable Thane of Whiterun, appointed to the position in 4E 201. Old registers of apprentices and graduates honoris causa at the College of Winterhold mention this figure by name, and a jewelled gold diadem, said to have been enchanted by Arch-Mage Shalidor himself and gleaming brightly despite not having left its display case for hundreds of years, is said to have been found by the Dragonborn in the ancient city of Labyrinthian. The historical registers of the Dawnguard in their fortress near Riften allude to the Last Dragonborn's assistance in many important operations, despite not being an official member. A single enchanted war axe in the old Orcish style, on prominent display at Whiterun, is said to have belonged to the Last Dragonborn. The same is said of a single enchanted sword in the old Elven style in Solitude. The most valued possession of a prominent Khajiiti family of mages is a staff that they claim was willed to their forefather by the Last Dragonborn. And one of the Greybeards' former trainees claims that the Last Dragonborn's body is entombed atop the Throat of the World.


    All of these sources only mention the Last Dragonborn in passing by name (when the source is written at all), but it is enough to corroborate the two primary sources used by scholars studying the life of this historical figure. One, the memoirs of a Dunmer Priest of Mara by the name of Erandur, said to be one of the closest confidantes of the Last Dragonborn. And two, a journal in the possession of the Arcanaeum at the College of Winterhold, said to have been written by the Last Dragonborn and chronicling the historical figure's travels through Skyrim.


    This book is a translation of that journal, carried out over many months at the College of Winterhold. Although excellently cared for by the College, the paper and ink used to write the journal was not meant to age, and great care had to be taken in handling the document. The translation has already existed for some years, with copies circling among academic circles, but this is the first time that it is made available to the general public.


    It therefore brings me great pleasure to present to you an account of the life of the Last Dragonborn, a direct translation of the figure's historical journal. Where necessary, I have includes annotations that explain further the events in the journal. But the writing of the Last Dragonborn is remarkably complete, lacking only a description of herself, which I take now from Erandur's memoirs:


    "I had the undeserved honour of knowing Katarina Liore, the Last Dragonborn. She was an Imperial, shorter than even the average Breton girl. Slim, too; she didn't have the Nordic War-Maiden's curves that she's usually depicted with. But obviously in good shape, even when I met her – she'd been travelling through the snow after being shipwrecked. Easily recognisable hair the colour of midnight, always pulled up into a single small ponytail. That caused her a lot of trouble during the Civil War. And eyes like the midday sky.”


    She was determined and eager, but most of all, she was loyal. Loyal to her friends, loyal to her Legion, loyal to her people. And there was that spark of fate in her. The Nords call it doom-driven. I do not know how apt that is, but I saw that spark even when I met her, and something compelled me to ask her assistance that day. Even clad only in rough clothing and armed only with a woodcutter's axe and her spells, she was very capable. I regret asking her help, sometimes. She was this small, shivering mess, didn't look anything like the fighter I learned that she was. But I will never regret what happened after.”


    This book, then, holds the story of the Last Dragonborn, crowned with the Stormcrown and called Ysmir, Dragon of the North. Of Katarina Liore, a short Imperial girl with swords that spit fire, hands that spit lightning, and a Voice that commanded time itself. A ranking officer of the Imperial Legion, despite not being old enough to enlist. Scholar, honoris causa, of the College of Winterhold; an honourary member of the Dawnguard; and Thane of Whiterun. And yet, despite being mantled with such a heavy destiny at a young age, a girl, only human, who was often conflicted about what she had done. With human feelings of grief, guilt, infatuation, gratitude, and even sometimes vengeance. Possessed of a wry humour that shines through her writing occasionally. An extraordinary person, who lived in an extraordinary time, and accomplished not just extraordinary, but miraculous feats.


    Reyda the Arcane

    Scholar of History


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3 Comments   |   DeltaFox and 1 other like this.
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  June 26, 2017
    This reads really well and you have such powerful lines.
    She was this small, shivering mess, didn't look anything like the fighter I learned that she was. But I will never regret what happened after.”

    What   happened...  more
  • DeltaFox
    DeltaFox   ·  June 3, 2017
    Looks great! :)
    Reminds me of those war journals that are made into a book after the war.
    • soly
      Looks great! :)
      Reminds me of those war journals that are made into a book after the war.
        ·  June 3, 2017
      Thank you! That's more or less exactly the feel I'm trying to capture. Except, well, it's not quite a journal *yet*, that will come next chapter... which I may not post for a while because Follow Me Follow You is calling me...