Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Genjo the Dragonslayer

22nd Last Seed, 4E 201

Faendal, Bosmer

Dear Faendal,

When you receive this letter, only a day will have passed since I last spoke with you. I wanted to apologize to you for declining your offer to accompany me to Whiterun. I really could have used your bow by my side today - and what a day I've had. You are my closest companion in Skyrim and so I wanted you to hear this from me before you hear it from anyone else. Late this afternoon, I was asked by the Jarl of Whiterun to assist in defeating a dragon which was attacking a western tower. Using my wits and your extensive training in archery, I was able to slay the monster. I was not alone, of course. The Jarl's housecarl was with me and a small detachment of city guards. They were key in distracting and wearing the beast down, but when it came to the last moments of life and death, it was certainly I who slayed the thing. The guards whisper that I am ... a Dragonborn. The term is unfamiliar to me, but apparently it is of great significance among the Nords. No doubt you will come to hear of this in the coming days and I wanted you to hear from me first. Please pass on my story to Camilla, too. She is another great friend to me and this will give you an ample reason to talk to her, no?

Lucan proudly displaying his claw.
After we returned the Golden Claw to the Riverwood Trader, I last saw you as I was leaving Riverwood to come to Whiterun and speak with the Jarl Balgruuf the Greater. No doubt the detachment of soldiers he has sent to Riverwood to reinforce you against further dragon attacks has already arrived ahead of this letter.We parted ways on the bridge as I had decided I needed some time alone to reflect on the events of our adventure. I'm sure you recall during our two large encounters I was not only able to summon a spectral wolf to my aid, but later shoot flames from my fingertips into the open arms of the undead overlord. You may have guessed by my reaction, but neither of these things did I expect. I wanted to spend some time alone in the wilderness seeing if I could harness these abilities without the accompanying near-death experience.

Ghost-Wolf 1; Real-Wolf 0

I found a quiet spot along the river and spent several hours in meditation. I decided to focus on the summoning spell rather than divide my efforts. After much meditating and trying to recreate the thoughts, feelings and actions I went through - I was able to summon the wolf with moderate success! I wanted to continue to work on the fire spell, but I had wasted a lot of time already and decided it was better to get to Whiterun.

Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize killing creatures minding their own business was my civic duty...
I saw my first giant and gave him a wide berth. He seemed to be contemplating his existence farther downstream. I'm not sure how hostile these things are, but this one seemed pretty harmless. Still, after I'd left him behind I heard the sounds of battle and when I discovered the scene I was chastised by a painted woman for my cowardice. Apparently the giant had been killed by a group called the Companions? This Aela told me if I was worth my weight as a warrior I would not have fled the giant, but instead tested my skills against it. I'm not sure I agreed with her, but I am curious about the Companions. She told me to inquire at Jororvaskr in Whiterun.

Lunch in the Wind District

At the time, I thought this would be the height of adventure today. I approached Whiterun with news of Helgen and was allowed entry. I thought I'd spend the day exploring the city, buying and selling what goods were available. I overheard the local blacksmith saying she was overworked and thought I could maybe lend a hand if I had time. I hoped I could begin my life in Skyrim here as a trader and merchant. I hoped there would be no more need for rushing into dungeons to recover stolen artifacts. I was quite content for a simpler life, but that is not how things turned out, I must say.

When I met with the Jarl of Whiterun, everything changed. You remember that carved stone we found in Bleak Falls Barrow? That Draugr Overlord clutched it as it attempted to destroy us. I'm sure you remember. That stone is apparently a Dragonstone that the Jarl and his court wizard, Farengar, had been hoping to recover. I'm not sure of its significance, but Farengar was delighted to see that I had it in my position and had assumed it was buried deep in the barrow. He'd been trying to think of a way to get it out of there without actually risking his own neck. What a wizard, eh? Anyway, I can only think that it was fate that brought me to Jarl Balgruuf on this day with the Dragonstone in hand. The guards and soldiers of Whiterun would now have me believe it is because I am a creature of destiny, that I am a Dragonborn.

You want me to do what now?
I wanted to ask Farengar about summoning when he was done telling me how monumental this Dragonstone would prove in their study of the dragons and their return to Skyrim, but our conversation was interrupted by the urgent news from the Dunmer housecarl, Irileth sent us up to the war room to meet with Jarl  Balgruuf yet again that day. A guard had come from the western tower with news that it was under attack from a dragon. Irileth was quickly dispatched. Farengar was sent to study to the Dragonstone I'd brought, and the Jarl pleaded with me to assist Irileth. He explained that I was the only one among them who had seen a dragon before and so I was the most knowledgeable in all of Whiterun on their movements and abilities. It goes without saying that I did not feel like an expert on dragons at the time, but the Jarl was right in saying I had more experience than any others.

Genjo, the Hunter

I thought briefly my encounter with Aela on the way into the city, who told me that if I were a true warrior I would have sought to test myself. I knew without much more thought that I would help however I could. Jarl Balgruuf provided me with a suit of leather armor in my size which was greatly appreciated. I changed into my armor, and gripped the ancient Nord bow we recovered in the Bleak Falls Barrow and rushed after Irileth to help brief the guard and repel this dragon. The people of Whiterun were depending on us.

The Long Run to the Tower
The run out to the western tower was exhilarating. I was scared beyond belief. I don't remember what words of encouragement were said. I don't remember what info I provided on the movements and habits of the dragon of Helgen. All I remember is feeling alive. I was about to face this most powerful of foes. I was about to prove my worth as a warrior.

All was quiet at the western tower when we arrived, but it did not remain so for long. The dragon returned with a vengeance. My first instincts were to keep close to the tower. I could fire upon the monster and duck into the cover of shelter the stone provided. Irileth and the guards were another story. They encircled the perimeter and were able to confuse and distract the dragon by attacking it from all sides. The world was engulfed in chaos and dragonfire. I saw a man swallowed whole and another tossed like a ragdoll into the air with just a powerful shout from the dragon - a shout much like the draugr overlord used to toss me into the wall during our battle. I provided as much cover as I could from the entryway of the tower.

Genjo, the Tower Defender
The battle soon began to rage behind the tower and my options were to run out into the open or climb to the top - both options exposed me to that deadly breath of fire from the circling dragon. I chose to rush out into the open, firing upon the beast whenever it was still or dropped to the ground. I was invigorated by Irileth's display of heroics. She would truly make the Jarl and her people proud. As the dragon flew, she filled it with arrows. As the dragon crawled along the ground, shouting and breathing fire, she drew her sword and hacked at its rough hide. She was truly fearless and through her display I felt filled with determination.

Only one of us walks away from this showdown.
We made our final stand on the road leading to Whiterun. The dragon landed on the cobblestone to face off against Irileth. I saw him shout and her body get tossed nearly a hundred feet away. I rushed in from the dragon's left side raining arrows into his wing and neck. I did not know if any guards remained standing at the time, but it surely felt like all the rage of the dragon now turned upon me. I saw Irileth pick herself up and ready herself, but she was now far away. I never faltered and I never backed down. I poured arrow after arrow into the dragon's face as it crawled along the ground toward me. I felt it's hot breath as flames danced all around me. We nearly killed each other - in its final throws I was engulfed in flames and if not for the quick actions of a nearby guard, I would have perhaps been consumed by the fire.

As the flames were extinguished, however, I saw that I still stood and the dragon did not. Then another unexpected thing happened. The dragon began to melt and burn away - it's flesh and scales being consumed by some unearthly power and in the blink of an eye a powerful blast of energy filled my entire being. The guard says I absorbed the dragons power and urged me to test his theory. He urged me to use the word of power I learned in Bleak Falls Barrow - the one glowing upon the stone that only I could see. It burned in my mind and danced on my tongue. The word poured out of my mouth and with a powerful gust of energy the guard was pushed back several feet. It was then that he and his surviving troop proclaimed me a Dragonborn.

What is happening to it?
What is happening to me?

I do not understand how this could be, but I'm left with an uneasy feeling. If these claims are true, if I am the Dragonborn and absorbed the dragon's power, if destiny has brought me here to Whiterun to slay the dragon, could it also be true that I am personally the reason the dragons have returned? Have they come for me? Have I brought this horror to Skyrim? I do not know, but I have been summoned by the Greybeards to High Hrothgar. To Jarl Balgruuf this is all the evidence he needs to proclaim me Dragonborn. He says no one can refuse the summons and that if I am Dragonborn the Greybeards will help me understand my new powers over the Thu'um, the Dragon Shouts. Just yesterday I was astounded that I could summon wolves and flames, and today I am forced to accept that I may be even more powerful than a magical adept - I may have unlocked the power of dragons themselves. I do not know what to do, my friend.

Proclaimed Thane of Whiterun!
The Jarl of Whiterun was so thrilled that I defeated the dragon, he named me Thane of Whiterun and has permitted me to own property here. He gave me a Greatsword of Dismay as a symbol of my office and appointed me my own housecarl, named Lydia. I met with her briefly and she explained to me the great honor of being named Thane and that her duties as housecarl were more or less as a glorified bodyguard and attendant. Perhaps someday soon I can invite you to my home here in Whiterun, but I feel there is much I do not understand about myself and my new responsibilities as Thane or as Dragonborn.

I hope all is well in Riverwood and you and Camilla are well. Perhaps we will see each other again soon, or perhaps I will journey up the mountains to High Hrothgar. I do not yet know. Either way, I will try to write again soon.

Your friend,
- Genjo, the Dragonslayer

The OOC Corner - Reader's Poll & Author's Notes

This was truly not the adventure I planned, but it was quite the adventure. I had hoped I could speak with Farengar about Conjuration and instead he stole the Dragonstone from me and spawned Mirmulnir. I accidentally passed a threshold of no return and I briefly thought about how Genjo would react to this situation. I think he acted accordingly and as a player I really needed to pass this at some point in order for dragons to spawn in the wild. Playing it safe is only fun when the game is constantly thrusting you into dangerous situations you need to avoid or engage. So Mirmulnir needed to be defeated, but where Genjo goes from here is up to the readers.

Mods I'm running:
  • Arrowsmith v3b
  • Dynamic Merchants
  • Im's More Complex Needs
  • Camping
  • Realistic Lighting
  • Fixed Followers Lite
  • Realistic Thunder

I discarded "Craftable Arrows" for "Arrowsmith" which I think is slightly more realistic than the mod I was using before as it not only requires wood and metal, but feathers. I thought I may give it a try and haven't had a chance to explore it (no need for arrows) but it seemed slightly more complex (realistic) than the previous mod I was using to create arrows.

I added the "Fixed Followers" mod in order to keep my followers leveling with me and fixing some bugs and glitches that will make them more realistic in the long run rather than buggy and weak. I also added "Realistic Thunder" which mostly changes the sound files for rain and thunder but not much else. That's just a benefit for me as I love rain and thunderstorms so much.

Now on to the poll!

Should Genjo head to High Hrothgar to learn more about being Dragonborn?
Should Genjo stick around Whiterun and investigate the Companions?
Should Genjo learn more about his magical talent?