The Imperial couple hid behind rocks, praying to the Divines the flying monstrosity didn’t see them and roast them alive as it made its multiple flyovers above the watchtower. The beating of its powerful wings fanned the flames of what it had already ignited, flaming ash blowing across the field. They watched the guards from Whiterun try to fight the dragon, but they feared it was all in vain.
The Khajiit traders had their goods and their tents packed and were quickly headed to the east of Whiterun when the word came about a dragon being seen headed towards this area. They saw the beast circling overhead, they could see the smoke rising from the area of the watchtower. Bandits they could handle. Wild animals were one thing. The civil war between the rebels and the Empire they withstood. But this talk of dragons and then seeing them, that was something that they wanted no part of.
The guards fired arrow after arrow toward the dragon, praying to whatever deity that they prayed to that their arrows found their marks. They had already watched as two of their brothers in arms were snatched up in the sharp maws of the creature. Now they saw Irileth and another contingency of soldiers rushing to join the fight. They tried to warn them but suddenly the dragon was on top of them again. The guards feared this was their last day alive.
Meliandra swore as she saw the giant best rising above the watchtower. “Fuck me,” she said through clenched teeth. “Damn thing haunts my dreams and now I get to play with its ugly ass cousin. And all I want is to get the fuck out of here and back to Riften.”
The air got hot around her as the dragon breathed fire beside her. She found herself cursing the day she met Balgruuf more and more and vowed that she would find a way to make him pay for this. She looked in the sky as the dragon flew overhead again. Shaking her head, she growled, “I will not die this day, dragon!”
Vorstag held his shield up against the blast of heat from the dragon. “Mel!” he shouted through the roar of the noise around him. He saw her aiming an arrow toward the flying beast. He looked for the best spot that he could cover her from, and, finding none, ran to her side, determined to protect this woman.
The dragon watched the people below run like scared little skeevers; his laugh erupted forth as a blast of flame. They scattered every which way as he toyed with them. Every so often he’d land and let them strike him with their puny swords; he looked forward to tasting one and every once in a while, he’d snatch one up in his jaws. How he relished the sound of their bones crumbling as he snapped his mouth shut on their bodies, and the taste of the blood of these creatures, it was so rich with the variety of foods they ate. He dove again, intent on snatching up another when he saw the raven-haired female of the species. Something about her whet his appetite. He wanted her.
Meliandra drew her swords as she stared down the dragon as it hovered just paces away from her. It spoke a dialect she wasn’t familiar with, yet a part of her felt like she should know it. She saw Vorstag rushing toward her, his bow drawn, an arrow nocked and ready. Guards were converging on this flying beast, their arrows soaring through the air. Slowly the creature touched the ground.
The throng of the fighters rushed forward to strike the dragon; Meliandra looked for an opening to strike the creature. She felt braver than she probably should, but her adrenaline moved her right now.
Vorstag could not believe what he was seeing. One moment Meliandra was striking the dragon from its side, the net thing he knew she had sheathed one of her swords, grabbed the side of its head and leaped upon the neck. While the beast shook its head violently in an effort to dislodge its unwelcome rider. He watched as she slashed at the beast’s head from above.
“By the Nine, Mel!” he breathed. “How the hell am I supposed to protect your ass up there?”
The guards watched in amazement as the Breton thrust her sword through the beast’s eye, spraying them all in ocular fluid. The dragon’s pain shook the ground, but the woman held on, continuing her assault. Blood sprayed everywhere as she drove her sword into the side of the creature’s head, a death spasm rolling through it’d dying body.
He realized too late what was happening. He felt his life quickly slipping away while his soul was being ripped from his body. He had been prepared for anything, anything but this. His body shuddered again as he cried out, “Dovahkiin! No!” Then he ceased to be.
She jumped off the beast, bathed in its blood. She went to take a step when suddenly a wave of vertigo hit; she fell to her knees, clutching her head. She felt an intense pounding in her head, a vibration that grew louder and louder, drowning out the sounds of the birds and all those around her in a deafening drum.
“Mel!” Vorstag shouted as he sprinted toward her. Fear gripped him as he prepared to find his friend close to death if not already dead. For the first time in a long time he felt like he had a place to be, that he wasn’t just some sell-sword. He did not want to lose this chance to be a part of something again.
A guard watched in amazement as a visible red haze lifted from the corpse. “What in the name of the Divines?” It hung above the body for a moment and it seemed like the world around them came to an abrupt halt, as if the very next breath was dependent on this very moment.
Vorstag came to a sudden stop when the haze moved beyond the dragon and drifted toward Meliandra. The air around them grew dry and hot. The haze grew brighter as it began to swirl around the Breton. He began to watch not in fear, but in amazement and wonder, somehow knowing that what he was witnessing was something of vast importance. He just didn’t know what.
Suddenly the cacophony of drumming began to sort itself out and she began to hear one word over and over in her mind. “Fus.” The word flashed in front of her eyes. She had seen it on the wall when she got the Dragonstone. She saw it as it was written, in the ancient markings unknown to her, but she knew which one read ‘Fus’.
Suddenly her eyes flew open.
The dragon burst into flames, the sudden rush of heat causing everyone to raise their shields to block it as best they could. The grass ignited around the growing pyre, but soon put themselves out as quickly as they had appeared, leaving bits of bones and scale.
The guards stared as the haze grew stronger in intensity around the young Breton, frozen in awe at the sight that was unraveling before them.
It was a thousand voices screaming in her head as she heard conversations with dragons in what seemed like a time long ago while images of events long past flashed before her eyes. The vertigo returned with a ferocity as her mind was assailed with countless images and an untold amount of knowledge passed on from dragon to Breton.
Vorstag watched as Meliandra collapsed on the ground, bracing herself before she fell face first in the grass. She was visibly shaken and her face was aglow. Her eyes were wide
with excitement as she tried to stand up on shaky legs. He ran forward, grabbing a hold of her side to support her. “Steady, I got you,” he said as he held her. She looked at him with a quizzical look on her face. “You alright, Mel?”
She merely stared back at him.
One of the guards looked at her in amazement as he said, “I can’t believe it… You’re… Dragonborn.”
“Dragonborn?” she repeated. “What do you mean?”
Vorstag spoke up. “In the very oldest tales, back when there were still dragons in Skyrim, the Dragonborn would slay dragons and steal their power.”
The guard nodded then looked back at the Breton. “That’s what you did, isn’t it? Absorbed that dragon’s power?”
“I don’t know what happened.”
“There’s only one way to find out. Try to shout.” At her confused look, he continued on, saying, “According to the old legends, only the Dragonborn can Shout without training, the way the dragons do.”
Another guard approached and, overhearing, interrupted, “Dragonborn? What are you talking about?”
“That’s right!” came the voice of another guard. “My grandfather used to tell stories about the Dragonborn. Those born with the Dragon Blood in ‘em. Like old Tiber Septim himself.”
“I never heard of Tiber Septim killing any dragons,” quipped the other guard.
“There weren’t any dragons then, idiot. They’re just coming back now for the first time in… forever. But the old tales tell of the Dragonborn who could kill dragons and steal their power. You must be one!”
Irileth approached the group, staring at the Breton. “Hmph.” She looked at the men and continued. “Some of you would be better off keeping quiet than flapping your gums on matters you don’t know anything about.” She motioned to the corpse and said, “Here’s a dead dragon, and that’s something I definitely understand. Now we know we can kill them.” She looked back at the Breton. “but I don’t need some mythical Dragonborn. Someone who can put down a dragon is more than enough for me.”
“You wouldn’t understand, Housecarl. You ain’t a Nord.”
The Dunmer stared witheringly at the guard. “I’ve been all across Tamriel. I’ve seen plenty of things just as outlandish as this.” She got a stern tone to her voice. “I’d advise you all to trust in the strength of your sword arm over tales and legends.” She turned to the Breton. “You need to get back to Whiterun and report this to the jarl immediately.”
Meliandra watched the dark elf walk away. “I really don’t like her,” she grumbled.
The traveling Nord watched in awe at the sight before him at the Western Watchtower. He too knew the old stories of the Dragonborn, he knew the importance of what he was seeing. He followed from a distance the woman who took the dragon soul for a bit. It wasn’t long before he heard her Shout, toppling her companion. He knew he had to return home. Galmar wasn’t going to like that he was disobeying orders, but he was sure the jarl would be willing to overlook this. The Stormcloak scout hastily turned around and hurried back to Windhelm.
Meliandra helped Vorstag to his feet, an embarrassed look on her face. He looked at her and laughed. “I asked for it, didn’t I?” He stood there a moment, catching his breath. “I think my rib is bruised,” he chuckled. When he saw the healing glow upon her hands, he waved her off. “I’m fine, I’m fine. Save that magic for yourself. Nords don’t need magic, remember? Plus, it makes for a good story, being Shouted at by the Dragonborn and all that.”
“Don’t you dare breath a word of this to anyone!”
“What?” He looked at her, confused. “But, Mel, don’t you get how important this is? You’re the Dragonborn! You’re the only one who can make those things run in fear!”
“I don’t want anyone to know, damn it!” she snapped.
He reluctantly nodded his head. “Sure, whatever you say.” He looked down, not sure why she reacted this way, no explanations given, but the look in her eyes was enough to make him back off. “You’re the boss,” he said as he headed in the direction of Whiterun.