This great hall has massive carvings on the walls. They seem to depict important scenes. Perhaps this is the Hall of Stories mentioned in the journal.
The hall deadends in a wall with more carvings. There are three rings with a central circle, each with a different animal. Below that is another bigger circle with three holes radiating from what appears to be a dragon claw. I reach into my pack and rummage to find the golden claw. This must be what the carvings on the bottom mean. I must match the pictures on each ring in order to open it.
While I am rummaging, my hand falls on some food. My stomach reacts ferociously to this with a wild growling. I haven't even had time to think about being hungry until now, but this room looks safe enough to stop until we have rested for a few minutes and eaten some provisions.
Stew and wine fortify my stomach, and the rest fortifies my resolve to continue on.
I turn the great rings until they match the pictures on the claw, then insert the tips of the claw into the holes below. There is a grating noise that will surely raise any dead beyond and a billow of dust that nearly chokes me.
The carved wall sinks into the floor. Beyond this door, there are stairs leading up. I step into a cavern, and bats flutter past my head, disturbed by my intrusion.
This cavern is quite breathtaking. There is a dim glow from the ceiling, and a dais with a large curved wall behind it. As I approach the wall I hear chanting, and see a blue-white magical light coming from one spot on the wall. I feel drawn to this. It is irresistible, and I stagger forward until my vision blurs to black and the chanting and sizzling of the magic blots out everything else. My mind is filled with a resounding tone FUS! What this means I am not sure, but it feels potent and right inside my head.
As I spin around still dazzled by this incredible occurrence, I notice a large sarcophagus. The lid flies off and I can tell that this drauger is more powerful than the ones we have seen to this point.
The drauger opens its mouth, and lets forth a blast wave of some kind that staggers Jenassa.
She kneels on the ground a moment catching her breath.
She returns to the fight, until another blast rips from the draugers lips.
Fighting against the powerful blast she makes the killing blow.
On the body of the drauger is a stone tablet with intricate carving on it. The top looks like it might be a map of some sort, and the back has many symbols that resemble the ones on the curved wall.
This must be the dragon stone that Farengar has asked me to retrieve.
I find a spell tome in the large chest next to the sarcophagus. It is a destruction spell, and will fetch a nice price.
I wonder what else this cavern might be hiding. I move around the curved "word wall" carefully in case I am hit by another trance. I unlock the chest I find there.
I am hoping that we are nearing the end of this adventure. I am growing weary, and it must be very late by now. I think fondly of the Inn in Riverwood.
Up the stairs from the dais is a pedestal with a handle on it. This seems to be a dead end. I throw caution to the wind and twist the handle.
A secret passageway opens to my left, an enormous block of what I thought was the cave wall drops out of sight.
The tunnel from the secret door leads to an alter with a chest next to it, a cave opening to the left of the alter.
I see what looks like light from outside spilling from the cave mouth. We have emerged from the tomb!
We gaze down from our high perch, and we look to have come out on top of the mountain. We make our way carefully but quickly.
Keeping the river to my right, I travel East and spy a cabin. I make a mental note to check it out later. Right now I am exhausted.
I find a crevice that allows me to drop down to the river. I wade through it, fighting the current, but making it to the other side. I see the glowing lights of Riverwood in the distance. I feel my spirits soar!
I drag myself through the Inn's door. I cannot find the innkeeper! The bartender refuses to let the room. I must speak to Delphine.
I decide to go back out despite the lateness of the hour, and deliver the claw to its owner.
The door to the merchant's store is still open, so I go in. There is Lucan standing at the ready behind his counter.
I slump against the counter and tell him I have found his claw. I produce it from my pack and he yells and laughs with excitement. He examines it and comments on how much smaller it appears than what he remembers. He places it in an obvious place of prominence on the counter.
He tells me that he will never forget what I have done for his family. He passes a coin purse across to me, heavy with gold.
I trudge back to the Inn. Delphine is still not there. We decide to have a little more to eat while we wait. I listlessly spoon the stew and sip my mead. I am getting a sinking feeling that Delphine must be out for the night.
Well, if I must sit up all night anyway, we might as well make use of our time. Even though I am tired to my very bones I point myself down the road to Whiterun.
I pass a mercenary on the road. He says that there has been some trouble nearby, but he seems reluctant to tell me what it is. I am too tired to care, so I bid him a polite farewell and continue.
By the time I reach the Inn, my feet feel like they are encased in iron blocks. Each step is agony. With as few words as possible, I rent my room again and fall into a deep sleep as soon as my head touches the pillow.
When I finally wake, I eat a hearty breakfast. I wonder if this day will prove as exciting (and exhausting) as the last.
I make the rounds of the local merchants, lightening my pack and increasing my coin by a significant margin.
There are several enchanted items that I secured in the ancient tomb, and I recall seeing an enchanting table in Farengar's workroom.
I hurry up to Dragonsreach, not stopping to chat with anyone. Today has already had a late start, and I must make up for lost time.
Farengar is consulting with a mysteriously hooded figure that looks vaguely familiar to me. I can't quite place her. They are discussing a text that Farengar claims dates back to just after the Dragon War. The hooded woman seems pleased with his progress on his research, mentioning how anxious her employers are to have solid answers. Farengar assures her that he now has much more time to pursue this line of research now that the Jarl has taken an interest. The mystery woman reminds Farengar that this is not merely an academic pursuit, dragons really have returned. He impatiently brushes aside her warning, wishing that he could actually see a dragon up close. He goes on to say that he has found out something else that might be of particular interest to her employers. She interrupts his digression, indicating my arrival. He seems surprised that I have not only survived the Barrow, but that I have retrieved the stone. He says that the hooded woman will be pleased that I have found it as well. Apparently, she was the one that knew where to find the dragon stone. Farengar seems a bit put out that she will not reveal how she knew where to look.
He turns to the mystery woman mentioning that her information was indeed correct, and that I was the one that recovered the stone.
She turns to me and seems begrudgingly impressed that I went into the Barrow and got the stone. Irileth bursts into the workshop and exclaims that a dragon is attacking nearby. During the commotion the mysterious woman slips away. I race behind Irileth and Farengar up the stairs to where the Jarl is waiting for the news brought by an out of breath guard.
The guard gasps out that the dragon was coming from the South, and it is faster than anything that he has ever seen. The Jarl asks the guard if the dragon was attacking the watchtower. The guard replies that it was not attacking when he left, it was just circling endlessly in the sky. As soon as the dragon was spotted the guard ran all the way to Dragonsreach. The Jarl reassures the guard that he did well, and deserves some food and rest down in the kitchens.
The Jarl turns deadly serious as the guard steps out of site, and instructs Irileth to gather some men to head out to the watchtower. She responds that she has already ordered her men to meet her by the main gate. The Jarl relaxes a fraction, and with a softer tone tells Irileth not to fail him.
The Jarl turns to me and says that he must call on me again, and asks me to join Irileth and her men to fight the dragon. He believes that my survival of the attack on Helgen gives me an advantage when it comes to dragons, as no one else has even seen one for centuries. He goes on to say that he has not forgotten the service that I have performed for his Hold. He gives me a gift from his personal armory.
Farengar wants to come with us, no doubt to get a closer look at a real dragon. The Jarl denies his request, however, saying that he needs someone to stay behind and think through strategies.
I follow Irileth to the main gates, where a small group of guards has gathered. She explains to them about the dragon attacking the nearby watchtower. The men seem taken aback, and even a bit pessimistic. But Irileth knows just what to say to them, and impresses on them the importance of their mission. This is to save Whiterun, this is to save their families, this is for glory!
We leave the safety of the Hold and make for the imperiled watchtower.
From a distance we see smoke rising from the direction of the watchtower. We do not see the dragon, but the closer we get the easier it is to see the damage it has caused. Flames jump from the dry grasses and brush that span the base of the tower. Rubble piles to the left and right. Smoke obscures our vision, and chokes our breath.
We spread out looking for survivors, trying to get a better picture of what happened here. As I enter the tower itself one of the guards tries to shove me back outside, insisting that I leave. He says that the dragon is still around and that none of us are safe here. He mentions witnessing the horrible deaths of two fellow guards not long ago. While he is finishing his admonition, the sound of giant beating wings, and roars come from above. The dragon is back.
It is times like these that my aversion to destruction magic is sorely pressed. But I cannot bring myself to use it, no matter the circumstances. Arrows fly, spells flash as the dragon flies around our heads. It lands on a guard and squashes a guard flat, breathing his fire in a scorching blast at anything that moves. I am having flash backs of Helgen, but I try to keep those thoughts at bay. I need to concentrate on supporting the fighters. I fumble with my pack and rip the cork out of a magika potion, I gulp it down in one splash. The dragon has taken enough combined damage that it can no longer fly. As the guards surround the wounded beast, I hear in a growling gravely voice " Dovahkiin! NO!". The dragon goes limp with death.
Something odd is happening to the skin of the dead dragon. It is like a kindling fire. There is a rushing of wind and light, and I absorb some kind of power from the dragon!
I feel the word from the magical wall in the depths of the Barrow well up within me. I open my mouth and out comes a blasting wave of sound that is so powerful I can actually see it with my eyes. One of the remaining guards rushes up to me in awe. He calls me a Dragonborn. I ask him what that means. He tells me that in old Nord tales, from when there were still dragons in the world, the Dragonborn would slay the dragons and steal their power. He says that is what I must have done, and the powerful blast from my throat was a "shout". The other guards start discussing this new topic with enthusiasm. One asks Irileth what she makes of it all. Irileth seems less inclined to believe anything mystical is going on. She would rather revel in our victory over the dragon. She tells me that I should go back to the Jarl and tell him what has happened, while she stays and oversees the clean up mission at the watchtower.
I make haste back to the Keep. As I am reaching the stables, the ground trembles, and a word echoes off the surrounding mountains – DOVAHKIIN! What was that? No time to worry about it now, it seems to be over, whatever it was.
I head through the main gates. There are two strangely dressed Redguard men arguing with a guard. The guard is quite upset with them. They seem to be looking for someone, but the guard is having none of it. He says that "after what happened" they are lucky he doesn't throw them in jail. The men angrily assert that they will not give up so easily. One of them see me listening, and calls out. He says that they will pay well for information they want. I ask who they are looking for. He tells me they seek a Redguard woman, who might be going under an assumed name. They are willing to pay for any information leading them to her. He mentions that they will be waiting in a place called Rorikstead.
I ask why they are looking for her. He is evasive, telling me that it is none of my concern. All I need to know is that they are willing to pay.
I feel uneasy about the strangers, but I need to get to the Jarl.
The Jarl and his brother are talking animatedly when I walk up to the dais. The Jarl turns to me and asks what happened at the watchtower. I tell him about the destruction of the tower, and our defeat of the dragon. He seems relieved, and praises Irileth. But this doesn't seem to wholly satisfy him. I tell him that when the dragon died, I absorbed some kind of power from it. His eyes open wide, and he gasps that "the Greybeards" really were summoning me. I am puzzled by this. I ask him about the Greybeards. He tells me that they are masters of the "way of the Voice". They can be found at the "Throat of the World". I still do not really understand what he is talking about. I ask what the Greybeards can want with me. He goes on to talk about something called a "Thu'um" or shout. That sounds a lot like what the guard at the watchtower said to me. The Jarl says that the Greybeards can teach me about my "gift". The Jarl's brother mentions the booming sound I heard as I came back to Whiterun after the dragon battle. He says that this was the Greybeards summoning me to High Hrothgar, their Keep on the mountian. The Greybeards have not done anything like that for centuries, since Tiber Septim's time. Provetius (the Jarl's steward) seems skeptical about the Greybeards interest in me. He acknowledges that I may be talented, but doubts that I am a Dragonborn. This makes the Jarl's brother snarl, indicating that Proventus doesn't know what he is talking about. The Jarl admonishes his brother, Hrongar, not to be too hard on his steward. While Proventus appologizes for any disrespect, he still doesn't see what the Greybeards could possibly want with me. The Jarl tells him that is not really their business. He turns to me and tells me that to be summoned is a great honor, and I cannot refuse to go and see the Greybeards. He bestows upon me a title for my service to the Hold, I am now a Thane. He also grants me a "housecarl" Lydia. He presents me with a two-handed ax to serve as my badge of office.
I will have to absorb all of that later. Right now, I need to borrow Farengar's enchanting table. My true calling has always been magic, the very reason I am here in Skyrim, so far from my homeland is to find the fabled College.
I get permission from the court mage to use the table, and disenchant several of the items I picked up in the Barrow. I am sure that these will come in handy later.
I turn back to Farengar eager to buy a few more spell tomes from him. I purchase, Bound Sword (allows me to summon a blade to my hand), Candlelight (creates an illumination for a time that hangs above my head) , Magelight (allows me to throw a ball of light that will hang where it lands for a given time), Fear (causes weaker willed creatures to flee in fear), and Turn Lesser Undead (causes weaker necromantic abominations to flee in fear).
Once I have committed the spells to memory, I ask Ferengar if he is the only wizard in Whiterun. He says that he believes that he is the only wizard, even though there are others that practice magic, a priest and priestess for example. This reminds him of a task he needs done, bringing some frost salts to the Alchemist in town, Arcadia. I agree to do this for him and put the salts in my pack.
I long to head out immediately to the mage's college, but I have promised several people in town that I will help them with their problems. I feel honor-bound to do those things before I depart on my personal quest. I know that the Jarl told me I must seek the Greybeards immediately, and I may do so eventually, but the encounters with the word wall, the dragon power, the shouting, and possibly being this "dragonborn" are a little much for me to process right now. I need to think my actions through carefully.
As I reach the exit, I am approached by an armored woman. She tells me that she has been appointed as my housecarl. This must be Lydia. I ask her what my new title "Thane" means. She tells me that "a Thane is someone recognized by the Jarl, his guards, and the people, as someone of great importance in the city, often a hero." I ask her what a housecarl does. She tells me that she is sworn to my service, protecting me and everything I own with her life. I ask her to join our group, but she looks at Jenassa uneasily and tells me that I already have someone following me, so she will wait for me here until she is needed.
Jenassa has been a faithful companion, and has well earned her fee. But she is still a mercenary. I would never be totally comfortable entrusting my life in her hands when she could be bought for more than I can pay. Lydia is sworn to protect me as her Thane. She seems to be a straightforward woman, with tight ties to her honor. Logic tells me that she will be a more trustworthy companion, willing to see me through thick and thin.
I turn to Jenassa and thank her, but explain that I will no longer require her services. She takes this quite well, her glittering eyes moving over me. She tells me if I need her again I know where to find her.
Now that I have no follower, Lydia is more than happy to accompany me.
I head back to the Inn, it is dark outside, and after the dragon fight I am tired again. The apothecary does not seem to be open as I go by. I keep going to the Inn. I sit on a stool at the bar and start to eat some dinner. Hulda calls out for one of her workers, Saadia, to come quickly. Saadia, a Redguard woman, runs from a back room and approaches me with an enthusiastic smile on her face. She tells me how good it is to see me, and then holds out a clothes iron and shoves it into my hand. She tells me that she really wants me to have it. I am a little perplexed, but I thank her. She walks away.
An Imperial patron of the Inn ( I think I recognize her from one of the stalls in the market square) raises her voice at a beggar that has wandered in. She tells him that no one will want to buy anything with his stench clogging their noses. He grumbles that people should remember to be charitable to those less fortunate. I turn on my stool, and hand the beggar a coin. He thanks me and shuffles off.
I turn to Hulda and strike up a conversation. I ask her if she has any local gossip, and she mentions the Shrine of Azura. It was build by the dark elves when they fled Morrowind, and it is a sight to see. We continue to talk about rumors and gossip. She tells me that the great dead tree that I noticed when I first arrived in town is called the Gildergreen. The townspeople are expecting Danica, a priestess of Kynareth, to do something about it, though Hulda doesn't know what that would be. Hulda leans into me and tells me that there is a rumor about a woman in Riften that can completely change your face. She seems disbelieveing. Hulda also tells me that the Companions, in Jorrvaskr, are recruiting new people. I remember hearing a thing or two about the Companions since I have been in town. Hulda is a varitable font of knowledge. We continue talking. We start talking about work to be had around town, and she hands me a bounty notice. The Jarl has put a price on the head of the bandit leader located in Valtheim Keep for harrassing, robbing, and attacking citizens and visitors. Huda's attention turns to another customer, so I decide to go up to my room.