Status: Ongoing...


Friendly Fire

The sudden clash of metal sent morning black birds soaring noisily from the trees. The eruption of nature muffled the brief struggle, but nothing would hide the blood on the snow. The wind stirred up a vortex of powdered white along the road, and for a moment Roar could barely see the retreating Stormcloak captive.

Through the hammering of his heart, the young Nord could hear the whistling of the wind. Just barely could Roar feel the sting of the cold, his blood still like liquid fire warmed him to the core. He had a lingering tingle of arousal which accompanied the rush of adrenaline, causing him to shiver in aching delight.

Roar took his time surveying the damage he had caused. He always savored moments like these, and made a point to reflect on the time his head rested upon the bloodied chopping block. Roar Varian was born in Cyrodiil. His family lived in the wilderness near Bruma, hunting the land and occasionally traveling south for supplies. Roar knew it was dangerous, they all did, but the Empire never was a large problem for them. He knew the Legionnaires stationed in Skyrim were hardened from war, but Roar did not foresee crossing the border would end in a beheading. He did not need much convincing to take sides with the rebels.

The thought of what had happened next made Roar stomach sick. His feeling of triumph faded. The dragon, Alduin, had saved his life but ultimately changed it. Roar could feel a rumble in his belly as he thought the words, and taste the power on his tongue. One utterance and he could send someone off a cliff, or burn them alive. He was the Dovahkiin, a mortal born with the blood of dragons, and it was his inherent duty to defeat Alduin to prevent the End Times…

It couldn’t happen. Roar wasn’t cut out to be a hero. He scarcely believed that he, a Cyrodiil born Nord with a talent for procuring, could or should be gifted with such power. He witnessed his own power, shouted the words many times and triumphed over his enemies, and he still wakes in the morning believing it all to be some bad dream. All Roar wanted to do was fight a war and get rich in the process, not save the world by taking on the gods.

After taking the pilgrimage to High Hrothgar Roar avoided his duties as Dovahkiin. He was expected to kill the son of Akatosh, to shout him from the sky and crack open his skull. The Greybeards had named Roar ‘Ysmir, Dragon of the North’, a name once carried by Talos himself. It should have felt like an honor, but all Roar could feel was a great and terrible weight settle in his stomach. He didn’t feel any more powerful than what he did when detained at the Skyrim border, despite the words of power rumbling restlessly in the back of his throat.

The distant calls of wolves pulled Roar out of his thoughts. The young Nord looked over his shoulder into the squalling snow. He could see the wolves stalking through the trees behind him, none of them brave enough to venture forth while he still stood amongst their prize. The wolves of the Reach weren’t as aggressive as he was used to, but their taste for human meat was unquestionable. It was time to move on.

The wind and snow seemed to die out as the sun went down over the distant hills. After more than five hours of traveling it became painfully obvious that Whiterun was still far out of reach. With no sign of shelter in the immediate area Roar was forced to continue onward as the sun’s light took one final lick across the Reach before burying it in shadow.

Fortune was on his side however. Just as he was deciding to bunk down behind a cold looking boulder the flicker of a campfire caught his attention. There was only one light, and no shadows passing in front of it to show a great amount of activity. If he was lucky, the camp belonged to a passing Khajiit caravan. He knew the Khajiit traders well enough to comfortably ask for a spot beside their fire. It would also give him a chance to unload some unnecessary gear.

If he was unlucky, a band of Forsworn scouts outside their domain was about to have their camp invaded.

Roar left the main road. The light of the campfire leaked through a random gathering of trees. The misplaced giants were thin and sparsely covered with needles. They seemed to gather around the fire, branches looked to heave and shift under the moving shadows, fighting for the warmth and unaware of the Nord weaving around their trunks. Roar never stopped moving until the heat of the fire touched his face.

Just beyond two twisted trees he could see one person, a dunmer woman, who sat cross-legged in front of the campfire. She tuned the strings of a lute while her eyes, void of the characteristic crimson irises of her race, stared into the flames. The darkness in her eyes ate the light of the fire, resembling two inescapable voids. Roar suddenly felt ill.

“Like moth, you seek the fire.” She plucked a string on the lute, the note panged emphasis on her words. “Or, is it like dragon? Hm?” Roar nearly stepped back when she turned her head toward him. She saw the stir in him and laughed. “The Dovahkiin is safe around this fire. Dovahkiin was right to follow it.”

“How do you know who I am?” Roar asked, finding his voice. He did not move from his place within the trees. The Dunmer woman spoke oddly, her voice and tone not hardened like others he had met of her people. Her sentences were incomplete and almost childlike. Was she simple? He had come across similar people before, their minds taken by the excessive use of skooma.

“Everyone in Whiterun Hold knows who Dovahkiin is.” A grin spread her dark face and she gestured to the fire. “Sit, Dovahkiin. Windelin has been looking for you for long time. She is very eager to speak with you.”

“Windelin isn’t a Dunmer name.” Roar pointed out. He decided to take his chances. Not all simple-minded folk were violent, and she looked far too healthy physically to be addicted to Skooma or in need of quick gold. Now that he had gotten past her eyes, he could see that she was young, possibly younger than what he was. Her skin was dark with an undertone of violet, and free of scars or telltale tattoos. Her hair was braided away from her face, and fell into dozens of smaller black plaits over her shoulders, each one decorated with unidentifiable accessories. She didn’t look sickly, and was without the scabbed lips and shallow cheeks of the addicts.

“Nords do not have family names, only names of clan. If they did, the choice wouldn’t be ‘Varian’.” Came the curt reply. Roar caught the smirk she gave him as he sat opposite of her, deciding it better to keep his distance.

“You know my name too?” he shouldn’t have been surprised. “Why have you been looking for me?” he watched Windelin cover the lute in deerskin, her attention only turning back to him when she had completed her task.

“Windelin understands Dovahkiin’s plight. She’s come to help you.”

It took Roar a moment to digest her words. He couldn’t help but laugh at the idea. “The Dovahkiin doesn’t need help from Windelin.” He said, mocking her openly. “The Dovahkiin already has a plan. And Windelin isn’t part of it.”

“Dovahkiin uses Windelin’s fire…”

“And for that the Dovahkiin is very thankful.” Roar assured her. “I’m not sure who you are elf, or why you got it into your head to seek me out. I’ve been called the Dovahkiin, but I’m not the one meant to stop the dragons. I’m only a man, I cannot kill gods.”

Windelin sighed, but much to Roar’s dismay she persisted. “You can speak words of power. You make the ground shake with your voice—that is the blood of your dragon kin. Only one man, one Dovahkiin, will be born to destroy the World-Eater.” She leaned forward, nearly into the fire as she continued. “You. Dovahkiin. Windelin has seen you dismiss duty. You fight a war for a King you are yet to meet…for a Hold you have not visited. Whe—“

“I fight for the Stormcloaks because they have the right to this land, and the right to worship Talos.” Roar defended himself coldly. “The Empire was to take my head, and almost did, because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. They didn’t give me a trail…there was no justice!”

“When dragons open their eyes civil war will be reduced to insignificance. Stormcloaks…Imperials…all the banners will burn, and the Dovahkiin will be left to save a dying world instead of a thriving one.” Windelin replied calmly. “Dovahkiin cannot hide…best for Dovahkiin to embrace.”

Roar didn’t want to hear any more and waved his hand to Windelin in a dismissing manner. “I don’t want to discuss this with you. I’ve made my decision.” In truth her words had put a crack in his reasoning, one that was filling with ice and expanding the more he thought about it. Roar was young and stubborn, admitting the doubts she cast upon him would be a sign of weakness and uncertainty. He didn’t want to give her the satisfaction of knowing the stress she just caused him. “If you don’t mind…I’m done talking. I’ve been walking all day.”

He settled down on his side and turned his back to her and the fire. Roar was thankful she did not attempt any more conversation with him after that, nor did she try to drive him off from the camp. He silently wondered how many out there were like her, seeking him out to try and force him into a battle he couldn’t win. Overshadowing those worries was the idea Windelin had planted. What if there was no one else who could stop this? If he was the only hope man and mer kind had… what was he to do?

Windelin watched Roar wrestle with himself in silence. She smiled broadly and let her dark gaze drop back to the flames. 'Master will be pleased with Windelin,' she thought proudly, barely able to keep her excitement contained. 'Dovahkiin was easy to find.'

The night went on and Windelin continued to watch the fire, and the Nord beyond it. When the fire finally died out the forest around them shifted and groaned; the trees faded out of existence with the wisps of smoke.