Straag Rod: Book 1, Part 1, Chapter XXXIX


    Äelberon heard his ankle snap and felt an instant surge of pain when he landed roughly upon the dragon’s back.                   


    It was not the first time he had felt pain in the battlefield. Bet had broken his arm. Aye, when that Daedric axe struck his shield, he and he alone felt and heard the tiny fracture, the rough grind of bone as his shield-arm reeled from the blow, felt the radiating agony.  He was Altmer, however, feeling pain then, when his people faced certain annihilation, was not allowed and it was not allowed now. No more would die tonight. No more, he swore his private oath with a set jaw, save the dragon and himself. He knew what the shot would entail and Äelberon had made his peace. 


    And may Auri-El bestow His grace upon the beings of Nirn, just as He did when Bet struck his blow so many years ago. When Dagon made the skies ignite, hiding the true light of Aetherius from the Sundered Children, severing their one visual connection to an earlier time, to an earlier way. 


    The dragon began to bring its neck up, feeling the impact of his landing. He had so little time and Äelberon adjusted to its movements, starting his run up the dragon’s neck, aiming Niniik. His armored boots made alien clicking noises on the hardened bone that formed the beast’s ridges, scales, and spines. The firmness of that back, the sheer expanse of it; it was larger than any Deadroth he had climbed and in the battle for Crystal-Like-Law, he had climbed many such beasts.  Just as with the Deadra, he was heading for the back of the neck, the bolt had to strike there, where he assumed the skull joined with the spine, creating a soft spot. A bolt would penetrate into the brain. It was all theory, of course, he was not certain dragons had brains or if his bolt would even penetrate.


    Did they? Have brains? Atronachs did not possess such things, being creatures of pure magic, but dragons? Yes, they made words; they, therefore, should have brains. Sentient beings made words. He wondered what else they knew. Scamp’s Blood! Why was he thinking on this now? One more step, he could see the neck begin to turn, his window was closing.  Fire, Old Mer, and may Auri-El take us both… both, he and the dragon. Äelberon released the crossbow’s trigger, refusing to exhale this time. 


    Why did he pray for the dragon? Everything was so slow, he thought while he watched the bolt, seeing the flames begin to build in the dragon’s maw. They are His children too… that is why. Auri-El Time Dragon. He made them in His image. 


    The bolt exploded in a shower of lavender-purple sparks and lightning streaks, enveloping both Dragon and Mer in its blast while the remaining guards dove for cover, ignoring broken limbs and the taste of blood. A guard covered Irileth with his body, his natural resistance bearing the brunt of the explosion. 


    Äelberon could not restrain the cry that escaped his lips when painful waves of electricity moved through his body, the rain only enhancing their potency. It felt as it felt when Tyranus struck him with his shock magicks. Like thousands of sticking daggers and Äelberon’s heart pounded like thunder in his chest. The smell of electricity now competed with the smell of sulfur. The dragon seemed to cry out too. Words again, like it had uttered earlier, but now a cry so desperate that Äelberon could not help an overwhelming pity for the beast. It made words, it was sentient. It felt too. The cry was one of great pain, and not just the physical kind. He knew what such cries were like. 


    There was no time to think, however, for the explosion then tore him away from the dragon and Äelberon felt nothing under his feet, tossed by the blast like a rag-doll. He would die now. 


    Äelberon was in the air for what seemed like forever and he knew that his mind was playing tricks on him, distorting time. It slowed down, or his mind sped up, he was not sure which. He could feel his mind flood with… with… everything, everything all at once; learning how to use a bow with his mother, fishing with his father, eating meals at their home by the Sea, smiling, laughing, home. Images, smells, feelings… he loved them so. 


    Vampires. Vingalmo… he would live. He had failed his parents. 


    His Shield-Siblings would die werewolves. He had failed them too. Sorry, sorrow… Krosis… I have failed.  Zu’u lost funt. Words, words from his lips. Words he didn’t understand. Had he spoken them before? So familiar… 


    Strange images then bombarded his dazed mind as he continued to fly through the air. No more memories of home. Darker images. Äelberon saw many pairs of eyes upon him, eyes within eyes, and the redness of blood everywhere, the burning of fire, deafening roars, and glistening scales against the flame. A giant eagle against his back, made of cold stone, yet also of molten rock.  Churning, molten rock. He screamed when claws dug into his chest, the pain unlike anything he had ever experienced in his life. Like moving sands, the images then shifted. His mind still playing tricks, the shock magicks were killing him. 


    Coiled golden-scaled serpents with their slender blades drawn, many of them, kneeling. He then heard his own lips speak words… “I am Cyrodiil, come.” 


    The serpents then faded and in their stead was a young Dunmer She-Elf in the dimness of evening candlelight, lying naked in a luxurious bed under silken sheets. Her soft red hair spilling onto his white-haired chest, the smell of sex lingering in the air, the feel of her smooth, supple skin against his wrinkles, his coarse white hairs.  Wrinkles?  His body was not yet infirm; the hair on his chest was not white. What? He kissed her forehead and he felt his heart ache. It was not to be... Duty, devotion to duty took precedence, but she was beautiful, so very beautiful. But… not as beautiful... no never as beautiful, and Äelberon’s mind wandered a final time as he struck a stone column with considerable force, Niniik flying from his hand. 


    There was nothing now, nothing except her, her pale face against the night sky, ivory against black. Maira silta va athel umba… rielle, rielle Aye, Auri-El was merciful to him in Äelberon’s last moments of life. His final image before death was indeed her beautiful face. The face had that helped him endure… the loneliness, the exile, the grief, everything. For two hundred years. He loved her. He loved her and he would never see her again, well never see her ever, for he had never actually seen her, at least not in the flesh. Only in the private recesses of his mind where no other was allowed to venture, the image for him alone. So beautiful, so enchanting. And now he was Aetherius-bound. Was she perhaps there? 




    More pain let Äelberon know that he hit the ground with a heavy thud, cracked ribs perhaps, a bruised back definitely, the chainmail protecting and hurting him at the same time. His body still twitching from the shock magicks, his eyes glazing over, and the image of the dying dragon rearing its head towards the weeping, churning skies eclipsed the image of her. 




    Äelberon did not care about the dragon. He wanted the last thing he saw before he died to be her, not a damn dragon, and he willed it so, using his last bit of consciousness, the last bit of his will.  His will! His choice! He deserved as much for his service and with some effort, he focused. Time was so slow, the God of Time, Auri-El Time Dragon made it difficult with his manipulations, his distortions of His element, but Äelberon’s struggle was rewarded, his heavy-lidded eyes again finding her image in his mind. The sensual curve of her lips, the slightly stubborn line of her jaw, the intense fire in her eyes. Äelberon’s lips formed a tiny smile as he lay in the mud and he heard his own husky whisper in the rain, laced with desire. He wanted to hold her, feel her lips against his in a kiss. And he told her; finally, he told her what he always wanted to tell her, feeling the stir of rising passion.  “Ebonnayne, ebonnayne aure… a tan… tan… a tandenni… Zu'u hind Zu'u vust lost lokaal hi ko laas.” 


    The fahliil then let his eyes close, just as Mirmulnir closed his, but the dragon had heard the words escape the lir’s lips, whispered privately. He was already feeling connected to the lir, their memories intermingling, mixing. It was part of it, the end, at least for Mirmulnir, to surrender, to relinquish the knowledge. The lir didn’t quite understand, not yet. It had been so long for him, so long since he had felt… another, the cruelty of Bormah’s will keenly evident in the lir’s ignorance. The sea, the lir loved the sea and Mirmulnir’s nostrils were suddenly filled with the phantom scents of orange blossoms, the salty sea air and… fish. The lir liked fish! Mirmulnir had always preferred goat, it was why he remained in the Reach. He saw clear blue waters and a sandy coast dotted with cragged cliffs and windswept trees; beautiful in a rugged way, like the cliffs that he once called home. Mirmulnir then saw the skies burn and a mighty tower of crystal and glass, from a time when Lir and Dovah could coexist. But last of all, Mirmulnir saw her face, pale against the midnight sky and he felt the lir’s pain, the longing sadness. The yearning. A life unfulfilled. The fahliil were prone to melancholy, just as the Dovah were and Mirmulnir at last understood why Alduin had sought him out.  Nii kovon tol faal Bormah su'um faal sil kotin fahliil. 


    Alduin had lied to him. It was never about Numinex. The lir, Alduin was testing the Lir, Mirmulnir thought as his life ebbed. His life, ebbing. Dying… Viir. Was he or was he not?  


    Dovahkiin. Rok lost, Mirmulnir thought dully as his body began to surrender. The lir would live. The lir would steal from him. Ruth hi Alduin. Ruth hi…  Mirmulnir then sneered cruelly, a final silent curse against Alduin. 


    Vos dii sil kos faal sil tol bex faal skuld do vahrukt, vos mok dahmaan… pah. 

    Faal Rod straag, Alduin, faal rod straag ahrk hi fen gahvon ko oblaan do pah truk. 

    Faal gein wo fen dahmaan. Faal vorey neh drey. 



    She vanished and Äelberon knew then that he lived. He could feel his body again, the strange sensations of earlier passing, reality returning. He was again dead inside, the passion fleeting, a bitter illusion. The feelings only in his imagination ever since... since.   That last time they... black robes, gold thread... he quickly blocked that terrible memory with a mournful sigh.  Even if she was flesh, there was no way now… stop, enough, he commanded his mind. 


    He could still feel pain, however, and Äelberon gasped, letting the smoke-tinged air fill his lungs, the horrid stench permeating his nose.  The angle of his impact had saved his life; straight on to the column, his back absorbing most of the blow, well-protected by his plated cuirass. If he had landed at an angle, his back would have been broken and he would have died. Many Blessings upon you as you journey the Dreamsleeve, Tyranus, Witchblade of Cyrodiil, for you have saved me yet again. The healing aura also saved him. He was injured, though it was not as severe as he anticipated, the shock magicks painful and draining his mana, but not fatal. He would live. 


    Äelberon opened his eyes wearily and felt the heavy rain upon his face. He stared for a moment at the stormy sky, blinking rapidly when the raindrops struck his bloodshot eyes. He could feel his right ankle throb mercilessly, pulsing against his boot. It was definitely broken. He coughed and swallowed the cold rainwater that fell in his mouth. Even it tasted of sulfur. His thoughts returned to the dragon. Was it dead?  He needed to see it. 


    With a low groan, he slowly turned his body to lay on his right side, gingerly moving his left foot to not come in contact with his broken ankle. It was all the moving he could muster and lying down in the mud, Äelberon surveyed the scene. Irileth lived, he noted with a sigh of relief.  She was surrounded by the remaining guards who were making an effort to bring her to her feet, despite their own injuries. She was injured too.  All of them were. Broken limbs, bruised bodies. He saw the blood coming from Irileth’s mouth. They needed Danica desperately. Did the city see the fight? Did they know? Were they sending help?  Where was the boy, Honthjolf? Spared, he hoped, safe in the Watchtower. His swollen eyes then focused on the dragon. The smoke still steamed from its nostrils, but its great green eyes were closed. The scales no longer shining with the same luster that they had in life. 


    Honthjolf emerged from the smoldering tower and immediately saw the Elf lying in the mud, his body facing the dragon.  A strange crackling noise began emanating from the beast, like flames dancing in a campfire but louder, much louder. He turned quickly to the other guards, about to speak, but they were helping the Housecarl to her feet, struggling with their own injuries. Damn it, was he the only one able to walk? Honthjolf began to hurry towards the Companion, the noise growing louder as he approached, deafening. 


    What Honthjolf saw next brought him to his knees, his eyes widening in shock.  It was ingrained in every Nord’s heart, a verse taught to them while they still clung to their mother’s skirts, reminding them of a more ancient time, reminding them of the end of all things. “The World-Eater wakes, and the Wheel turns upon the Last Dragonborn.” Honthjolf murmured aloud, the tears welling in his eyes. The Last… 


    “What’s this?” Questioned Irileth, ignoring the pain in her ribs when she saw the dragon’s body begin to burn. Her remaining men only gawked at her, the surprise clearly written in their faces, and Irileth responded with her typical caution. She would not lose any more men. “Everyone, step away from it, do not go near it.” She gasped the order, clutching her right side. 


    They began to back away from the fallen beast, all except the kneeling Honthjolf and Äelberon, who still lay upon the saturated ground, oblivious to the wet and cold. He watched the dragon as it burst into flame, seeing the streams of golden light radiate from the beast. Like the light that emanates from a true child of Aetherius, one who is not tainted by mortality; the divine light, golden and so pure, full of energy, full of life. The streams of light traveled about the ruins, the light penetrating even through the heavy rain, and then they came towards him. He weakly reached out his gauntleted hand, curious, wanting to touch. He was surrounded by such light, and then he felt something. He could not describe it, a force, like a wind, entered his body. Images then formed in his mind. More dragons, of mountain goats in the Reach, the sting of a slender blade cutting deep into his left arm, the smell of sulfur, the burn of eyes into his own, two red eyes that he knew. 

    The very eyes he saw at Helgen. 


    Nothing in his mind made sense for a few seconds, the new images jumbled together with his own while he stared, still transfixed by the streams of light.  Fus… force. Fus means force, he thought absently. How did he know this? 


    Äelberon’s eyes found the beast again and they narrowed at the changed image. The dragon was now a pile of bones, the beautiful lights gone, leaving only the darkness and the rain. What trickery was this? He stared in awe. What can render a dragon’s body to mere bones? No magicks could do this! He saw Honthjolf kneeling a short distance away; he had also been bathed by the light. Why was the Nord weeping? The dragon was clearly dead, he furrowed his eyebrows, no cause to weep over it. On the contrary, ‘twas time to celebrate, and he made a feeble attempt to get up, but his arms only trembled under his weight and he sank into the mud again. He tried again, and met with the same results, his head throbbing from his losing battle with his body. He groaned, he was going to feel it tomorrow. Or was it today already? He would celebrate after a few days’ rest, he thought with a wry chortle, but then stopped. 


    He was such a fool, still so numb and slow from the shock magicks, that he did not understand the magic behind the dragon turning into a pile of bones until now. Gods, it had happened! Honthjolf! He was the Dragonborn!   


    Äelberon was wrong. It was not the Blade and for some strange reason he was glad on that.



    Honthjolf saw the Elf attempt to rise, and he remembered himself, though his heart was still in his throat and tears still streaked his soot-covered cheeks. He got up quickly and approached the Altmer that lay in the mud, the rain still making everything so difficult. It was as if Kyne herself wept.  By Ysmir, what would he even say? The Elf looked terrible, the silver armor was black in places, his snow bear cloak tattered and burned. He was covered in mud and soaked to the bone. Honthjolf held his breath and knelt next to the Elf, now brutally aware of the pain in his own body, the soreness. The Elf looked up at Honthjolf with profoundly bloodshot eyes, the face covered with abrasions, bruises, and soot. He smelled of sulfur and lightning. But despite this, Honthjolf could detect the faintest of smiles. The expression was one of relief and he attempted speech.  


    “The dragon is dead.” A hoarse croak, but Honthjolf understood. 


    “Yes, my friend, and you killed it.” Honthjolf replied.


    The Elf clasped his forearm with surprising strength and the two warriors locked eyes. “Help me up… friend? I do not wish—“ 


    He wanted to stand and Honthjolf understood. Friend, yes, he would allow this Elf to be his friend, regretting his treatment of him earlier. He almost turned this Mer away from Whiterun on that night. What would have happened if he had given in to his prejudice? After this? Yes, friends and Honthjolf clasped the forearm in return, ignoring the pain in his wrist as they locked arms firmly, the Nord way.  “Say no more, friend. I will help you—“ 


    “Äelberon,” the Altmer interrupted, clearing his throat, “my name, it is Äelberon… of Dusk.” 




    “A city by the Sea… by the clear, blue sea with floating gardens and the smell of honey in the air…” He stopped when he saw Honthjolf furrow his brow, those warm brown eyes not understanding. And he stopped, because his city by the Sea was no longer thus.  “But I am babbling on. I tend to do this when I am tired… very tired. We will speak of this another time.”  He caught himself chuckling, which only made the Nord more puzzled.  “Better first to help me up, Honthjolf, or the mud will never yield me.” 


    Honthjolf smiled while he threw his weight towards Äelberon and then backwards, hoisting him upright with a grunt. Shor’s Bones! Easily 15,000 angaids, maybe more with the armor. Old Elf was right though, another few minutes and it would have taken a company of Whiterun guards to pry him from the thickening mud. He remembered when old Helga, the Grey-Man’s cow, got stuck in the mud once after some heavy spring rains. Damn cow was nearly impossible to move and the she rewarded his good deed with a sound kick to the arse.  Had to sleep face down for a week! Stupid cow. 


    Äelberon bit his lip, suppressing a cry when he tried to put weight on his right foot. “Honthjolf, I cannot bear weight on it now.” 


    “I have you, friend,” replied Honthjolf, offering his shoulder to lean upon. “Let’s get over to the others.”  It was a start; get the Dragonborn away from the mud and moving towards the Housecarl and the others. It was Bjar and Eris underneath all that mud. They were pretty new, from the outskirts. Morgen was still in Whiterun, at the gates probably. She would be devastated to hear about Throki. They needed Bjorlam. How were they going to get to Bjorlam? Äelberon broke Honthjolf’s chain of thought, more of his voice returning. 


    “Regarding the dragon, I think it was more of a cooperative effort, Honthjolf, we all killed it. And you, Honthjolf, you absorbed its soul in accordance with Nord tradition.” 


    Those words stopped Honthjolf in his tracks and Nord faced Altmer. “No, Äelberon, you killed it.”  The Altmer narrowed his eyes and Honthjolf was taken aback. He thought it was him? No, the young Nord shook his head. He saw what he saw. 


    “Confounded, boy! I think you knocked your head upon the tower floor when you fell. Did you not see the entire force shooting at the beast, working together to bring it down? We all helped bring this beast down.” 


    “Aye, we brought down, that I don’t deny, but no, we didn’t kill it. You did.” 


    Äelberon shook his head and winced from the pain, a big mistake. “No, I cannot take all the credit for this. I refuse. And furthermore, you, friend, you were bathed by its light. Verily, you absorbed the soul. I prayed for this and He has answered. Auri-El be praised for the mercy he has again shown the beings of Nirn in their time of need.” 


    Ysmir’s Beard, he didn’t know, thought Honthjolf.  “You don’t understand.” Was all Honthjolf could manage. Then the Elf got how all Elves get, well, how Honthjolf imagined they got when they feel they are in the right. 


    “Oh, I know my Nord history. I studied your culture in earnest when I knew I was bound for Skyrim. I know the significance that dragons play, the war that your people fought against them. That little verse, do they not teach it still? ‘The World-Eater wakes, and the Wheel turns upon the Last Dragonborn’...” 


    “Yes, they still teach it, friend.” A firm pat on Honthjolf’s shoulder. The Elf thought the argument won. 


    “Well then, we should celebrate, Honthjolf, for it is indeed you. You are this mighty thing! I cannot imagine a more deserving young man. You have more than proven yourself…” 


    “No, I have not. I am not who you think I am.” He could not stop the tears now, that the Elf would think him so worthy?


    The Altmer dismissed Honthjolf’s pensive look with a wave of his hand. “Oh, come now, boy, do not argue with an Old Mer, especially one who was nearly blown to bits. Those bolts are powerful things, eh? The soul was absorbed, the dragon is dead. Let us rejoice and find Bjorlam to cart us all to the Temple, share our good fortune, bury the dead—“ The Altmer stopped himself and grew somber. “The dead, I am so sorry, if I had perhaps been—“ On that, he had failed miserably. 


    Honthjolf could not help himself. "The soul was absorbed, yes, but not by me.” 


    Äelberon groaned in exasperation. Why was the boy being so bloody daft? “Honthjolf, what is it? What is wrong? I am not understanding. Who? If not you? One of the other guards? The dragon is dead; surely it was one of…” Äelberon shook his head slowly, stopping himself, his own words draining him, and he was too tired to continue the argument. The Nord was not making any sense as the lad guided him towards Irileth and the remaining guards. A dragon was dead yet they were not smiling. They were staring. 


    At him. 


    Why were they staring at him? Their eyes, their eyes were upon him and his chest began to hurt. An ache, not broken ribs. It just ached, heavy. 


    Honthjolf then stopped, unable to contain his thoughts any further. The look on his friends’ faces only confirmed what he knew to be the truth. Bjar and Eris had seen exactly what he had seen. Äelberon of Dusk, the Altmer, his friend, needed to know.  The Nord clasped Äelberon’s broad shoulders and held him at arm’s length, facing him, locking his own eyes with the Elf’s.  “I saw it with my own eyes, friend, and… I still don’t believe it.” Honthjolf began, his mind still struggling with the realization, with what it meant. Bjar nodded an encouragement, holding his broken arm, and Honthjolf, a Whiterun guard and a Nord found the words. Said the words. Said them aloud. “You’re… you’re Dragonborn.” 


    Dragonborn? What do you mean?” The Old Elf grumbled. Äelberon’s eyebrows furrowed. This was impossible, Elves are not Dragonborn. Men are.  Honthjolf was confused. He did hit his head hard. “This is impossible! You need to make haste. Let us away to the Temple, Honthjolf. There are injured. The Guards, Irileth, you, myself. I think you need your head examined.” Äelberon’s eyes drifted anxiously from Honthjolf to the other guards and Irileth. He regarded them, watching their eyes. They made no effort to move. They kept staring at him. It was unnerving. “The lot of you, to the Temple.” He attempted to order, crossing his arms over his chest. 




    N’chow, Irileth, make them make sense. Tell them to stop gawking at me. We cannot delay.” She only stared at him and he could see that she was unsteady on her feet, trying to process the events herself, her body language tense. “This is insanity. I am not this. It was one of you. I saw the lights.” 


    Honthjolf was undaunted, he needed to know. He squeezed the Elf’s shoulders, again bringing those red-orange eyes to his. Shor’s Bones, they did burn, they burned like dragon’s fire. “In the very oldest tales, back from when there still were dragons in Skyrim, the Dragonborn would slay dragons and steal their power. That’s what you did, isn’t it? Absorbed that dragon’s power?” 


    “What the Oblivion are you saying, Honthjolf? Absorb what? What power? This is madness! I am not a Nord!” That was almost screamed and Äelberon was starting to get angry, why was Honthjolf looking at him like that? He did not absorb anything.  He stared hard at the Nord, his red-orange eyes beginning to blaze, to well with tears of frustration, his skin flushing with heat despite the bitter, bitter cold of the rain.  It flushed like it was touched by yol.  Fire… “I do not know what happened to me. I shot the beast and was thrown by the explosion of the bolt. Then the dragon burned and I saw lights, and felt—“ 


    He hesitated. He felt… something. No! NO! It was Honthjolf.  It had to be. It needed to be. Äelberon suddenly turned away from Honthjolf, unable to lie to the boy. He could not bear false witness. He had felt something. “I felt…” 


    “What did you feel?” Pressed Honthjolf. 


    “You were also surrounded by the light, Honthjolf. I saw, I was there too!” Äelberon snarled back. “It is you!” 


    The Nord’s grip tightened on Äelberon’s shoulders. “No, friend, no. It is not me.  It can’t be. Think on what you’re saying! I was in the Watchtower, by your orders. You did this to save me.  I was inside and the others were nowhere near the dragon’s body. Yet the soul was still absorbed. Only you were close enough, only you. What I saw as I emerged brought me to my knees, so grand a thing it was.  The lights, as you described it, came inside you.  Inside you, not me. The soul is a part of you now. You absorbed it.” 


    For a moment or two the Elf did not seem to draw breath and there was only the sound of rain. When he spoke again, the voice was weary, weary and profoundly sad. As if what he was was some sort of terrible curse. “No, it cannot be. I… no, not me.” 


    Doom Drum. You are the Doom Drum personified. The Beast of Lorkhan. Lorkhan, the trickster god, the defiler, the destroyer, the sunderer. The prior Dragonborn released the Numidium, bringing such darkness to his People. Dragonborns bring death! No… 


    Honthjolf watched the Elf’s uncertain eyes.  They were shifting and wide, as if he were trying to piece together everything that was said.  This brave Elf had led them through such a vicious battle against a dragon. He barked orders from the tower like a general and was the one who came up with the plan of attack. Yet now, he could see that the Elf was searching, digging into his past. Trying to understand what was happening. “I do not know what happened to me.” Äelberon finally conceded, his voice barely a whisper.  His head throbbed so. 


    “There is only one way to find out, friend. Try to Shout…” 


    “Shout? The Voice? I do not know this.” Äelberon shook his head,  his anger returning. Lashing out was easier than accepting. No, the trail would grow cold. He needed to finish, he needed to not fail them. They had waited long enough for vengeance. There could be no more delay. That was why he was in Skyrim, to kill Vingalmo. He was drawn to the North for that purpose, not for this, not for dragons.  


    “According to the old legends,” Explained Honthjolf, “only the Dragonborn can Shout without training, the way the dragons do.” 


    Äelberon stared at the Nord, his mind racing. The memories came flooding back. The tricks played by his mind when he was flung by the blast. The serpents kneeling, no, that was not a memory. No. That was from the Remanada, a lost volume from Crystal-Like-Law, when the Tscaesci acknowledged Reman Cyrodiil as Dragonborn. And the Dunmer queen he felt sleeping next to him was Barenziah. That was from a book too, The Real Barenziah. She slept with Tiber Septim, became pregnant with his child. No, his mind was only playing tricks on him, making him think that what he read were his memories. They were most certainly not. They were just books. He remembered everything he ever read, everything


    The first memory, however, was not from a book. It was from his childhood. The night terrors that plagued his early years, his young mind unable to process the grotesque images, the blood and gore, the violence. His dreams always had monsters. Dark monsters with eyes within eyes. That could not be explained.  Well, yes it could. It was his damn imagination, or he was a seer-mage, like Rynandor was and he dreamt of the dragons before they returned. Yes, yes, that was it. He was a seer-mage, doomed to a life of foresight, doomed to know the future. A grim future where dragons would rule again, but no, he absorbed nothing. Nothing. No, it was Honthjolf. Honthjolf absorbed the soul. He was Nord. Koor, Koor means Summer… Okriim, eagle… How did he know all of this? His heart could not stop pounding in his chest… 


    “Dragonborn? Are you alright?” 


    “Do not call me thus. I am not Nord. No.” The tortured eyes found Honthjolf’s again. No, it was quite plain to Honthjolf that the Elf was not alright. “Besides, shout what?” The Elf argued, “Words? What words? I do not speak the language. Zu'u dreh ni tinvaak tinvok!” His great eyes suddenly widened, his voice catching when he uttered the speech, the denial no longer able to help him.  He gasped, as if his breath was leaving him, or, coming to him. Like emerging from the water after a long dive. “Zu’u dreh ni tinvaak tinvok…” He repeated, finally understanding. “I do not speak the language…” 


    Yes he did. He always did. He had always known it. Always… 


    There were no dragons in Summerset, nothing to indicate what he was. Just strange words uttered by a child with an overactive imagination. Words that when screamed, made his people cringe in fear, uncomfortable. No, he was not this. No. Äelberon then remembered part of his last conversation with Calianwe on the eleventh of First Seed, the year of the Vampire Symposium. 


    “Would it surprise you, Anwe, if I said I was drawn to it? Drawn to the north. I even lived high in the frozen Jerrals to escape the Thalmor near the end of the Void Nights, finding a quiet peace in those jagged peaks. And yet, I’ve never been to Skyrim. The only province I’ve not seen. I feel like I’ve almost been avoiding it...” 


    Now he knew why. You cannot escape your fate… 


    Honthjolf broke his hold on him and stepped away from the now trembling Altmer, giving him the space he would need. By Ysmir, he was speaking the language like Nords speak the common tongue! The Elf could barely stand, yet stand he did, in the pouring rain. “Just say whatever comes to mind.” Honthjolf pressed, overcome with emotion. 


    There was one alive. That he would be alive at the same time. That he would know one in the flesh. He did not care that it was not a Nord. Akatosh gave his gift to whomever he deemed worthy. It was not Honthjolf’s place to question a god. It was the end times, Alduin had returned. He was a threat to all of Nirn, not just Skyrim. Akatosh had chosen His Champion, and he had, in Honthjolf’s eyes, chosen well. He hoped others would feel the same, but he knew his People.


    Äelberon slowly shifted his position, his ankle screaming in protest and he faced the dragon’s skeleton. It was dead, its fires about the Watchtower ruins finally steaming, dying in the rain, no longer fed by the great life force that it possessed. When Dagon finally left, his fires died too, leaving only sky, leaving only the soothing coolness of the breeze and the darkness of night, the glittering of thousands of jeweled stars.  His mind wandered to those days when the skies burned. When life seemed destroyed. Then he remembered the day when he did not allow this to happen to his People, a day when he stood alone against the Son of Coldharbour and spoke, his sword raised in defiance. And, for the first time in his life, Äelberon remembered the words he uttered when he slew Bet. His lips moving slightly as he recited them under his breath. “Zu'u los Kendaar-Sonaak do Auri-El, Kul do Krahstaaz… Zu'u los Ok Nahkriin ahrk Ok Uld. Zu'u Los Ok Aaz ahrk Ok Kun… Ko dii haal Zu'u gevild Ok Fen. Ko Ok Stahdim Faan, Zu'u nu fustir Hi wah hin Bormahro Suleyksejun…" 


    The realization hit him as he began to translate the text. He knew exactly what he had said. “I am Knight-Priest of Auri-El, Son of Coldharbour! I am His Vengeance and His Might! I am His Mercy and His Light! In my hand I hold His Will. In His Holy Name, I now banish You to your Father's Realm… your father’s realm… father.”  The last word was but a gasp. It was then, after two hundred forty-three years of life, that Äelberon of Dusk finally found his true voice, releasing it into the storm, letting it roll across the tundra like thunder. 






    He was surprised at first that it was not Yol, the word he learned first, that issued from his mouth, but instead the word from Bleak Falls Barrow. It made no sense, but the bones and rocks shuddered violently, the force sending smaller fragments scattering away from the remaining warriors. Would yol come next? Were there more words? Why some words have this effect and others no? What did yol do? 


    He knew the answer to that already. 


    The dragon that died said Yol, Yol toor… shul, he remembered the words, and he cursed his nearly perfect memory, for the very fires of Oblivion spewed from its maw. Äelberon did not dare ponder what Alduin could do. He knew more than this beast did. Far more. And he despaired, from deep within his soul, he despaired, the hidden despair that only an Altmer can bear. There were no words from the others, the Nords and Irileth were silent, dumbfounded while the rain continued to pour heavily from the night sky. Like tears, luv


    Krosis meant sorrow… and sorry. Because regret and sorrow go hand in hand. He was sorry, sorry that it was him and not one of them. Äelberon could then feel those red eyes burning into his very soul, making his chest ache anew. He knew. Alduin knew. In Helgen! Alduin had called him Dovahkiin in Helgen! 


    “Dovahkiin, hin kah fen kos bonaar!”  Dovahkiin. Rok lost Dovahkiin. There was no escaping fate now. He had told this to Rynandor once, so long ago. 


    And Rynandor died.


    Dovahzul translations 

    Zu'u hind Zu'u vust lost lokaal hi ko laas.

    I wish I could have loved you in life.

    Nii kovon tol faal Bormah su'um faal sil kotin fahliil.

    It was fitting that the Father breathed the soul into an elf.

    Dovahkiin, hin kah fen kos bonaar!

    Dovahkiin, your pride will be humbled.


    Mirmulnir's Curse

    Vos dii sil kos faal sil tol bex faal skuld do vahrukt, vos mok dahmaan… pah.

    Faal Rod straag, Alduin, faal rod straag ahrk hi fen gahvon ko oblaan do pah truk.

    Faal gein wo fen dahmaan. Faal vorey neh drey.


    Let my soul be the soul that opens the gates of memory, letting him remember… everything.

    The wheel turns, Alduin, the wheel turns and you will yield in the end of all things.

    The one who will remember. The others never did.


    Note - the Altmeris will be translated later. I didn't translate the Dovahzul earlier either and his thoughts are just too private.  


    Straag Rod Book 1 ToC

    Chapter XXXVIII    Chapter XL


19 Comments   |   Paws likes this.
  • Paws
    Paws   ·  February 19, 2017
    Head-tusky! Beautiful and poignant imagery from start to finish, Aelberon being bowled over by the revelation was cleverly done. To be that which you were taught to hate must be hard, yet you got it across superbly. An Altmer Dragonborn - can there now ev...  more
  • Ebonslayer
    Ebonslayer   ·  November 25, 2015
    I agree with you on the Martin part but it's a "what if" so anything could happen.
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  November 25, 2015
    Okay, so you've read thing story from the beginning. Have any of Aelberon's actions even suggest that he would've taken the throne for himself. I'm 100% certain he'd help Martin.

    The other stuff is interesting to speculate on though. Interest...  more
  • Ebonslayer
    Ebonslayer   ·  November 25, 2015
    So many things are swarming through my brain right now. Would Aelberon try to claim the throne for himself or help Martin become Emperor. Would Aulduin have even revived if he did? I mean, it's prophesied that the Civil War will need to start to revive hi...  more
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  November 25, 2015
    Well, this chapter is a cluster f*** of feelings and what ifs so... 
    I actually did consider warping an older Aelberon, after the events of Skyrim, back in time to become the Hero Kvatch and then have him become Sheogorath so the two could meet at S...  more
  • Ebonslayer
    Ebonslayer   ·  November 25, 2015
    Here's a quick "what if" just to make things a little interesting.

    What if... Aelberon was the Hero of Kvatch and tried on the amulet in the sewers? How do you think it would affect the events in Oblivion and Skyrim as well as the mer himself?
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  November 7, 2015
    If Aelberon is anything, it's stubborn. 
  • Rhoth
    Rhoth   ·  November 7, 2015
    I guess Aelberon isn't dead after all.

    I particularly liked the fact that he was so convinced the Dragonborn was Honthjolf that he stubbornly wouldn't listen.
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  October 23, 2015
    Thanks for the like and the comment, Exuro. 
    The soul absorption was definitely a cluster f*** and I had a lot of fun with it. And Mirmulnir got a bit more humanity out of it as well. Hehe to curse Alduin. He was screwed over and he knows it. And th...  more
  • Exuro
    Exuro   ·  October 23, 2015
    lol, I like his reasoning for why dragons must have brains.

    The soul absorption was a great cluster f*** of timelines and people/dova. At first I thought the old guy with the dark elf was a peek into future Albee, although I suspect a certain ...  more