Helgen Omens: The Elf Perspective
The ashen skinned elf groggily rubbed his eyes as he silently retorted that, no, he had not in fact, been awake.
Least not until the man beside him woke him up. The elf looked around, taking in their surroundings. They were riding on the back of a wagon, hands bound.
The early morning fog was just beginning to clear off. Beside him in the wagon rear were two nords in like garb, a third nord, who seemed to be conversing with the first, and an badly bruised and unconscious orc.
“So we are in Skyrim I take it?” The elf piped up.
“That we are, elf.” Replied the first nord.
“The names Jonathan.” The elf replied. “Or just Jon.”
“Mine’s Ralof.” The nord replied. “Though I don’t there isn’t much point in such formalities. Whatever comes ahead, Sovengarde awaits.”
“Well, its not so bad. I completed the first leg of my journey now.” Jon replied with a grim laugh.
“Shut up back there.” came a belligerent cry of the wagon driver, and silence ensued until at last a settlement came into view.
As they past through the gates, Ralof recognized it as Helgen, and began to reminisce about the town.
Jon on the other hand, took the time to silently curse his own foolishness. He knew vaguely of the conflict plaguing the province, but he had already managed to get caught up in it. He had blindly stumbled into the middle of an ambush, and now had mistakenly been labeled as rebel and was likely being sent to his death.
His parents would be sorely disappointed, he thought, that he had let himself be caught so easily. So he too was disappointed with himself. He had thought himself ready to go out into the world, but it certainly appeared otherwise. As he contemplated this, the cart finally came to a stop, and the prisoners were ushered off.
“This ones not on the list, captain.” came the voice of an assistant beside this Imperial captain.
“Just get his name and send him to the block too.” Replied the captain.
“By your orders.” The assistant replied. “Now, who are you?”
“The name is Jonathan Elliott Rubius.” Jon answered with a grin.
“Jonathan being my given name, after my grandfather; Elliott being a name of my own choosing; and Rubius being a nickname,”
he paused to stroke his blonde beard, drawing his finger around it until it pointed to the long hair on his forehead.
“given to me in reference to this hair.”
Jon stuck out his bound hands to shake, but the captain would have none of it, and ordered him to be sent off with the rest.
“Quite the temper on that one. It is a shame she’s the one in charge.” Jon mentioned quietly to the assistant as he escorted him to the main group.
The assistant didn’t reply, but rather stared knowingly at Jon for a few seconds before returning to the captain’s side. The first prisoner was called up to the block. Jon thought about how impatient his nord brethren were: impatient for freedom, with their war, and now impatient for death as the nord rebel silenced the priestess’ last rites to expedite his certain end. With the first prisoner’s head cleanly separated, the next prisoner was called. With a sigh, Jon moved to the block.
“What a depressing way to go. So much left undone.”
Jon laughed grimly as he lowered his head.
“I suppose that can’t be helped. Fate is fickle indeed.”
As the executioner’s axe rose high, Jon saw something something completely unexpected. From around the mountain and out of myth, came a great beast of smoke and flame borne on massive wings of black. In short, a dragon. Landing on the roof above him, the dragon spoke words foreign to the dark elf.
The intent of the words, if not the meaning, was clear enough, and the skies above vomited stone and fire, as if a portal to Oblivion itself had opened. With the entire town now in chaos, Jon saw his chance. He grasped the rope binding his wrists with one hand, and tapped into the affinity for flame magic he inherited from his father, incinerating the bonds. Glancing up he followed the other prisoners as they made their way into a nearby tower.
“Fate is fickle indeed.” Jon repeated under his breath.
The Dunmer turned to see Ralof conversing with Ulfric, the leader of the rebels. Ulfric began issuing out orders to his followers, as they armed themselves with whatever they could.
Jon figured his best chance of survival was sticking with these men, even if just until they escaped. They could hear the dragon outside, tearing up the tower alongside everything else. Jon readied up alongside the others, and with a collective deep breath the men in the tower threw open the door and charged outside. The hellstorm outside had only worsened, and under the hail of meteors the escapees scattered. Jon found himself running next to Ralof, who gestured to him.
“We might be safe inside that keep.” He shouted, pointing to the stone structure not far from them.
The two made their way into the keep and at last sat down in exhaustion.
“You don’t think there is much reason for such formalities, eh Ralof?” Jon spoke with a gasping chuckle. “We may just get out of this yet”
“I am not sure how the appearance of a dragon could ever be considered an improvement on a situation, and yet now there is a slim chance of getting out alive.” Ralof replied as he stood up again.
“But only a slim one.” Jon responded as the entire structure shook.
“By the nine, I would take that any day.”
As they spoke, Ralof found the body a fellow rebel who had made it into the keep before succumbing to his wounds. Seeing that the armor wouldn’t serve the dead at all, he suggested Jon wear it.
As the ashen elf put on some proper armor, he heard voices from behind them. It sounded like another pair of survivors, trying to make there way out of the city.
He turned around to face them as they entered into the room.
“Hold on now, we just want to…” came the voice of one of the strangers, but it twisted from calm and explicative to one of rage. “Ralof? You damn traitor.”
Jon saw the situation going south fast, and stepped in to intervene.
“Correct me if I am wrong, but you didn’t seem too terribly interested in the prospect of a battle? Our chances of getting out alive are broadened if we cooperate. I am not particularly well informed about the civil war, and the two of you seem to have some personal history, but no matter how you look at it, I think a dragon rates higher on the immediate priorities. Do you have any problems with that?”
Before Jon stood the orc from back on the wagon, and the assistant whom he had briefly conversed to lament the cruelty of his captain. Of the two of these, it was the assistant who answered. “No.”
“Good. Good!” Jon answered with a smile.
“Now, I am afraid you have me at a bit of a disadvantage. You seem to know Ralof here, and I have introduced myself just now. So how about yourselves?”
“I am Hadvar, and my friend here is…” The assistant began.
“Forgsmitt Ro-Trinius. Champion of Trinimac.” The orc continued.
“Trinimac, eh? There’s a name I haven’t heard in a while, don’t you Orsimer believe him to be reborn as Malacath or something?” Jon said in an attempt to break the ice.
“No.” Forgsmitt replied with a barely restrained anger. “That pretender is a blight on our history; I hold no love for him.”
“I suppose that makes two of us.” Jon replied. “Our people have always thought of him as a necessary trial in life to overcome.”
He could sense the orc didn’t think highly of him, but Jon figured that was just fine, so long as they could make it out in one piece.
Now unified, the group decided to push onward into the bowels of the keep. They encountered a pair of Imperials, who loosened their weapons at the sight of the escaped prisoners.
As soon as their weapons were drawn, Forgsmitt attacked and felled both of them, not giving Jon any chance to handle the situation through less violent means. Regardless, the searched the room for whatever help they could, and made their way onward. As they came to the next room, Hadvar explained it was a torture room. When they heard sounds of fighting coming from the room, Ralof and Forgsmitt rushed ahead.
“That pair will kill everyone if we don’t do anything about it.” Jon exclaimed to Hadvar.
“We need to cooperate if we want to survive against this dragon.”
“Agreed” Hadvar simply said.
With that the diplomatic half of the group took off sprinting to catch up. They entered the torture room to see two Stormcloak rebels and two Imperial Torturers, briefly halting their actions just for a moment to gawk at the odd pair that had entered the room, and then Jon and Hadvar after.
Forgsmitt and Ralof looked ready to attack, and the shock of the scene was beginning to wear off on the initial combatants. Jon knew he needed to act fast if he was to have any hop of gaining additional help.
“Wait… wait just a second.” Jon exclaimed breathlessly.
“What exactly are you doing?” The head torturer sneered quizzically.
“There is a dragon attacking above up top.” Hadvar tried to explain.
“A dragon? Please, don’t make up nonsense.” The torturer responded. “Certainly that noise is from a Stormcloak attack?”
Hadvar tried to convince the man to little avail. Jon silently observed the man, deciding he did not much care for the man, perhaps eve less than the captain who had ordered his death because she didn’t feel like properly judging his actions.
The man was arrogant and refused to listen to reason. He had his own justifications and stuck to those regardless of what evidence Hadvar provided to the contrary.
All of this this was shattered alongside the skull of the torturer by a cry from Forgsmitt as he brought the hammer down on the old man’s head.
Jon disliked the brutish manner of the orc before him, but for this time, he was pleased by the action of Forgsmitt.
Hadvar cried out in protest, but Jon silenced him with his own thoughts on the matter.
“No.” Jon spoke calmly.
“He was a condescending prick. There was nothing wrong with our Orsimer friend’s actions. You Imperial army is probably better off without him in any matter. Now let us continue onward before the dragon brings everything down.”
The remaining three, the two Stormcloaks and the assistant to the torturer, joined up with the group of escapees, expanding their band to seven.
A schism in the group members was quite clear. The words of one faction visibly aggravated the other. They held their peace for the time, but if they were allowed to continue, the mutual fear of the black beast above would be overcome by the differing principals of those below. Forgsmitt seemed rather oblivious, so as the only other neutral party, Jon took upon himself the responsibility of mediator.
“By the eight! Can we even get out this way?”
“By the nine, you mean.”
“Friends,” Jon spoke at last. “Silence, I think, would be the wisest choice. And look, a drawbridge ahead, it must go somewhere.”
They lowered the bridge, and began to cross over its wooden slats when tragedy struck. It started with another rumbling of the dragon above. Then there was a large crack above. Forgsmitt and Ralof had already crossed, and behind them were Jon and Hadvar, followed by by the latest three additions to their group.
Realizing what was happening, Jon lunged forward into Hadvar, pushing the two of them off of the bridge, as they turned around to see only one of the Stormcloaks peering through the wall of rubble that had just crushed what used to be the bridge. Jon turned to help the man, but the Stormcloak said he would make his way out the other side, and they should go on without him.
As they moved onward Forgsmitt cleared the local wildlife with help from Ralof. Some overgrown spiders that were apparently common to this harsh land, and a bear. None of them were a match for the brute and the rebel.
Finally, Jon felt a cool breeze pass through the stagnate air of the cave. He called the others to him, and they made their way to the bright light, erupting into a docile Skyrim morning. The sky was thick with clouds, but patches of blue were growing ever more present. Soon enough the dragon flew overhead, from behind, causing them to look back at the smoke and ruins of Helgen.
The sight forced the assertion that everything that had happened had not been some terrible dream, but the dragon was gone for now, and the sun before them was shining. The storm had passed, and they were in one piece. Jon smiled, not the self deprecating grin he wore as he lamented his fate, but one of actual joy.
“Fate is fickle indeed,” Jon repeated once again. “but not, I think, overtly cruel.”