Chapter 46: Sacrifices Were Made

Take it from the Dragonborn — fighting a dragon in the dead of night isn’t the easiest thing in the world.  Attempting to track a dark shape against the night sky is bad enough, but when the best view you have of that dark shape happens to coincide with it incinerating your face — well, let’s just say that it’s not an ideal combat situation.

It’s fortunate that I didn’t have to dip into my stock of healing potions during our encounter with the werewolf, because after the dragon sets me on fire multiple times, I’m guzzling down several vials.  In the meantime, Jenassa keeps a steady eye on its flight against the starry sky, but for such a massive creature, it’s annoyingly difficult to hit.  Between the two of us we loose a veritable volley in its direction, but only a couple of our arrows manage to find their mark.  At this rate it’s going to take all night to down this damned lizard — if it doesn’t cremate us first.

Why didn't the Greybeards teach me a useful Shout, like Drop Anvil Dragon?
Why didn’t the Greybeards teach me a useful Shout, like Drop Anvil Head?

Suddenly the dragon veers away from us, distracted by something off in the distance.  Soon it lands on the ground and breathes fire at some other victim.  While I’m grateful for the reprieve, the dragon is now well out of bowshot range, which means we have to close the distance if we want to stay in the fight.  Keeping a firm grip on our weapons, Jenassa and I start cautiously heading in that direction.

Good job, dragon. That tree will never bother you again.
Good job, dragon. That tree will never bother you again.

As we approach, the dragon takes off into the air again, and we resume shooting.  Some of our arrows manage to pierce its hide, and it screams in pain as it plummets down in a rather hard landing.  By now it’s severely wounded, and from the extent of its injuries it appears to be permanently grounded.

With a roar of fury, it turns and attacks a random creature, and this time we can see that its new target is a sabre cat.  I direct a silent prayer of thanks to Kynareth that our enemies have decided to wreak havoc on each other instead of joining forces against us.

Never thought I'd be grateful to a furry murder machine.
Never thought I’d be so grateful to a feline murder machine.

Jenassa and I keep up our barrage as the two creatures continue their duel to the death.  Amazingly, the dragon collapses first.  Jenassa redirects her fire to finish off the sabre cat, and I lower my bow to approach the corpse just as it spontaneously combusts.  Ribbons of light pour out of the burning remains and envelop me in a shimmering aura of ancient magic, as once again I absorb a dragon’s soul.

Y'know, I'm starting to like this. Feels all warm and tingly.
Ooh, feels all warm and tingly.

Pulling out my hunting knife, I start harvesting some of the remaining useful components.   By the time I finish, dawn is just starting to break over the horizon — and my wife and I pause for a few moments in silence as the first rays of the sun illuminate the bones of our fallen enemy.

Dawn over dragon.
Dragon in dawnlight.

Turning back, Jenassa and I retrace our steps.  Now that the morning sun is providing us with light, we search among the trees and long grass to see what the dragon was attacking when it first veered away.

It takes a few minutes before we discover a pair of unfortunate corpses lying on the slope of a rocky ridge.  While they were undoubtedly vigilant, it seems that in their ardent zeal they only found their own demise.  Regardless, they became allies of a sort in our battle against the dragon, and our victory might not have happened without their help.  Because of this, as the radiant dawn rises over their remains, Jenassa and I take a moment to pay our respects before we strip them of all their stuff.

Rest in peace my friend, and don't worry -- we'll make sure your valuables don't go to waste.
Rest in peace my friend, and don’t worry — we’ll make sure your valuables don’t go to waste.

As we’re loading up our backpacks, I notice that I’m still carrying Nettlebane from our encounter at Orphan Rock, as well as the ice wolf pelt from Sylgja’s house for the Companions.  Since we’re reasonably close to Whiterun, we decide to travel there and deliver these items to Danica and Aela respectively.   I’m also worn out from all the recent excitement, so having a bite to eat and taking a nap at the Bannered Mare sounds like a really good idea.

Returning to Whiterun.
A fine morning.

It’s turning out to be a beautiful day, and Jenassa and I enjoy a pleasant trip to Whiterun in the brilliant sunshine.  As we reach the city, I guide my horse directly into the stable right outside the city gates.   Frost gives a little inquisitive nicker when I dismount, so I reach into one of the saddlebags for an apple as a treat for him.  Behind me, I can hear Jenassa catch up to us — and as I’m digging around in the saddlebags, I have an idea to treat my wife as well.

Who's a good horsie? Yes you are!
Who’s a good horsie? Yes you are!

With a combination of animal bones and some of the items I recovered from both the dragon and the werewolf, I decide to craft a better weapon for Jenassa.  I haven’t worked much with these materials before, so admittedly it looks a little rough around the edges — but what it lacks in style, it definitely makes up in function.   She’s unsure about the new weapon at first, but then she tests the edge and takes a few swings, and finally flashes me a wide smile as she removes one of her blades to make room for it on her belt.

My beloved wife's idea of a personalized Valentine.
My beloved wife’s idea of a personal Valentine.

Entering the city, we sell off our extra loot, and then make our way to the Temple of Kynareth.  As we enter the temple, the morning sun is streaming into the main room from several windows, flooding the space with light.  Danica is providing comfort and healing to the sick when we arrive, but upon seeing us, she reacts with somewhat unflattering surprise.

Look, don't make me beat you up again when I've just done you a favour.
Look, don’t make me beat you up again.

I try to hand over Nettlebane, but Danica shies away from it as if it’s a snake, saying that she really doesn’t want to touch anything that’s been used to sacrifice nature spirits.  Then she asks if I’d be willing to make a journey to the Eldergleam, the mother tree that was the source of the nearly dead tree just outside the temple.  She tells me where to find the Eldergleam, explaining that I’m to remove some of the sap by using Nettlebane to cut into the parent tree, then return to Whiterun so that she can use the sap to revive the dried-up tree outside.

I glance at Jenassa, who shrugs and reminds me that we need to head in that direction anyway, in order to deliver the satchel to Sylgja’s parents at Darkwater Crossing.  Fair enough.  I accept the new assignment, but no sooner have I agreed to Danica’s request than I’m approached by someone else.

Do you always listen to other people's conversations?
Do you always listen in on other people’s conversations?  Rude much?  

He introduces himself as a disciple of Kynareth, and asks if he can accompany us on our journey to the Eldergleam.  I’m not exactly enthusiastic about this idea, but I’m also unwilling to incur the possible displeasure of a Divine, especially Kynareth.  So I agree to let him travel with us.

After we leave the temple, we head across the village green to Jorrvaskr.  As I enter the doors of the mead hall, Aela spots me right away and immediately heads over to us.

Wait, are you coming on to me, Aela? Must be the new outfit.
Wait, Aela… are you coming on to me?  It’s the new outfit, isn’t it?

I reach into my pack and hand over the ice wolf pelt.  Aela thanks me and offers a new assignment, explaining that the Companions have recently made a deal with some traders who are looking for cave bear pelts.  I’m slightly hesitant as cave bears are no joke, but since she only needs three pelts, I decide to accept.  I’d rather deal with cave bears than a dragon — and besides, I can probably buy a couple of pelts off the local hunters.

More than two, less than four. Got it. (Five is right out.)
More than two, less than four. Got it. (Five is right out.)

By now I’m feeling pretty tired, which comes as no surprise considering we’ve stayed up all night hunting down a werewolf and fighting a dragon.  We head to the Bannered Mare, where I order us a hot meal and rent a room for Jenassa and myself.  It’s not even noon yet, so hopefully our new companion will forgive the delay and grant us a few hours of rest — and if he doesn’t, that’s too bad.  Even the Dragonborn needs sleep.  I’m sure Kynareth won’t mind.

Sorry Maurice -- I have an immediate appointment with a bed. I'm sure you can amuse yourself.
Sorry Maurice — we have an immediate appointment with a nice soft bed.  Go chop wood for Hulda or something.

 

Travel Map 27. Shaded area approximate location of dragon fight.
Travel Map 27.  Shaded section indicates approximate combat area of dragon fight.

 

One thought on “Chapter 46: Sacrifices Were Made

  1. Some people call me the Rift cow-herd, some call me the bandit of love.
    Well, some people call me Maurice, ’cause I speak, ’bout a big tree in a grove.

    Liked by 1 person

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