They say fear lives on the left side. It was a silly saying but it seemed to be backed up by bits of tales and stories. A man hit in the head too many times will start to fear things coming from the left. A man who is afraid to fight might hold his weapon in his left hand by mistake. Then there were the stories of the warriors that others most feared to face, who held their weapons in their left hand on purpose.

Drag thought about that as he opened his eyes and looked at the others on the cart. His left eye could see just as well as his right, which wasn't saying much since both were swollen. It was odd but as much as Drag began to think that he did not like the cold or the snow he also knew the frigid air was what finally allowed him to open his eyes. His mouth was gagged with night soil rags from the taste of it. He couldn't use magic with his hands bound and no way to speak. He had a pain in his side and there was a scratchy feeling in his chest every time he took a breath. Drag had come to Skyrim to learn to be a healer and help people and now it looked liked he would die here without ever being able to save anyone. In fact, on balance, he'd actually done damage since his presence had gotten poor Helga killed.

"You're the leader of the rebellion." said one of the others in shock as he now realized the gravity of the situation he was in. Drag looked over at the man in question. Fancy steel armor and a large frame, he was still reduced to near helplessness by being bound and gagged.

"General Tullius, Sir! The headsman is waiting."

"Good. Let's get this over with."

"Shore, Mara, Dibella, Kynereth, Akatosh … Divines, please help me!" prayed the thief in earnest. Drag let out a chuckle to hear the names of the gods and then immediately regretted it as a very sharp pain in his side pierced him with very movement of air either in or out. Akatosh was not going to help them. Of all the divines, Akatosh was the one that Drag thought might actually not exist at all. Kynereth seemed real enough but was always more concerned about the welfare of trees than people. Shore was the god that everyone agreed was either on vacation or dead. Even Talos really might just have been a man who died and his rise to godhood a misguided way of honoring the achievements of the man.

That wasn't to say that Drag agreed with the Thalmor. He hated the traitorous high elves as much if not more than anyone else but if they were right about something then Drag was going to be intellectually honest about it. Tiber Septem died and that was the last anyone ever heard of him. Maybe he was a god but even if so, he's been pretty stingy with his power and as far as Drag could see, had never lifted a finger to help anyone.

But Akatosh. Drag was sure that Akatosh wasn't an absentee god or an apathetic god or even a dead god. Akatosh was a non existent god. Not only that, Akatosh was a "never having ever existed god". No wonder the other gods never helped. They were all angered by mortals lifting up a creature that never was as the king of the pantheon. Akatosh was the chief deity worshiped in his home as a child and Drag eventually had to reconcile the fact that Akatosh was a dragon and dragons did not really exist. It was ridiculous. A flying lizard, come on. If dragons were real then they'd be covered in feathers, right? Once you boiled down the stories of dragons as tales about naked chickens they really stopped being scary.

"This is Helgen. I used to be sweet on a girl from here." said the soldier. As he did so Drag caught the gaze of some girl looking at him. Maybe she would same him. It was a long shot but it could happen. Ok, not really. He was going to die here in this hick town he'd never heard of. Then Camena would use his body as target practice and would probably take skin from his back to make a latrine seat cover for herself. What had he ever seen in her?

The cart came to a stop and very peacefully and orderly the prisoners got out and lined up. Their names were called and they went without resistance to the area by the central tower where a very big man with a very big axe was waiting to chop off all their heads.

"I'm not a rebel. You can't do this." said the thief as he bolted down the main road towards the gate.

"Archers" shouted Camena. For just a brief moment Drag thought she was talking to him but she wasn't. The thief's body was struck and then he fell lifeless sideways into the nearly frozen dirt. "Anyone else feel like running?" Camena asked as a legionnaire took the rags out of Drag's mouth.

"Yeah, me." Drag wasn't running and wasn't in any condition to run as he already felt his body succumbing to febris. But he wanted to say something to protest his treatment even if it might mean that rag going back into his mouth.

"Who … are you?" asked some nord in the legion. Drag didn't answer. What would be the point? Instead he let his lips form the words and he said the incantation as quietly as he could. Even with his hands bound he could feel the healing magic start to take effect. His temperature was coming down and the broken bones in his side were mending back into place. Of course it would all do him little good when the axe man finally severed his head from his body but it would help him at least be comfortable until the end. It was a huge relief to not have the feeling of a rib going into your lung and finally be able to take a deep breath again even if it was of icy air.

"Captain. What should we do? He's not on the list."

Camena looked at the nord and then turned back at Drag. With as much spite and venom as she could put into her words she responded. "Forget the list. He goes to the block."

"By your orders Captain." The nord didn't seem happy about it and this was his way of letting her know he was following orders but he didn't exactly agree with them.

The general didn't care for anyone else in the group, just the big nord who was the leader of the rebellion. Camena's eyes were locked on Drag as he took his place in the group of condemned men. He had a feeling that this meant he would either be first or last. If you thought about it logically, Ulfric should be first in order to prevent him any chance of escape but then again they might want to make him watch all him men die before finally killing him. But Camena didn't care about any of that. She wanted Drag dead. At that moment Drag knew he'd be first.

"Give them their last rites." barked Camena to the priestess.

"As we commend your souls …" began the holy woman.

"For the love of Talos shut up." interrupted one of the captured soldiers. He waltzed up to the block without showing any sign of fear. Drag was going to tell him let her go on. Drag would sort of like her to take a long time even if he didn't believe in the gods. By all means, if it extended the minutes he'd be allowed to live in this world beyond the reach of the gods then let the woman continue. Of course he wasn't so sure about the ability of the gods to harm him after he died but he wasn't so sure.

"Come on. I haven't got all morning." taunted the nord as Camena granted his wish put her foot to his back and pushed him down into position. "My ancestors are smiling at me, Imperials. Can you say the same?" Drag thought that no, he could not say the same. In fact he could imagine the huge faces of disappointment on his father and grandfather's faces if they were still alive. Drag was no good at being a farmer, no good at being a soldier, no good at being a healer, and he was now going to have his head cut off for the crime of standing up a girl. Sure it happened to be their wedding day and it sounds really bad to stand up a girl on your wedding day to her but in his defense he would point out that he never agreed to marry her. She was forcing him into it against his will and that combined with her present behavior made him feel he was perfectly in the right to run for the hills at the first available opportunity.

The axe came down and the there was one less living nord in the world.

"Next, the renegade from Cyrodiil."

Drag looked around. He wondered who that could be. Maybe he'd live a few minutes more after all. Maybe he'd be last.

"I said next prisoner." yelled Camena in his direction.

"To the block prisoner. Nice and easy." assisted the nord soldier.

Drag was shocked that they were talking about him. Renegade? He never was a renegade. It was slander. It was libel. He felt a blade at his back and he was pushed to the block. Pick someone else Drag wished. You have the wrong guy. No. No.

They had his head down on the block next to the other guy's severed head and a thought occurred to Drag that he was facing his left. Fear lives on the left they say. Then again, so does the heart. Well, for humans at least. Elves, Orcs, and Bretons had things built differently in their bodies. Now that Drag really thought about it, which was an odd thing to think about in your last moments of life, the human heart was actually in the center and not on the left at all. It was just the piping that made it feel like it was on the left. When people put their hand on their left breast they weren't putting it on their heart at all but just on some tubing.

The headsman raised the axe far into the air. It was heavy enough that all he really had to do was loose his grip on it and it would likely give Camena her desired result. Drag breathed in what he thought would be his last breath and then … A huge black dragon fell out of the sky and started attacking everyone.

Now dragons did not exist. Drag had been certain from the time he was at least ten that dragons and by extension Akatosh did not exist. Yet there he was on his butt looking up at a dragon bring down white hot rocks from the sky, and generally killing everyone.

"Come on. The gods won't give us another chance." called a rebel out to him. Drag got to his feet as rock flew threw the air and narrowly missed taking his head off. Drag looked around for the way to run and there on the ground was the headsman.

His mask had come off but based on his garb it was him all right. He was the man who was to be Drag's murderer, and the killer of twenty more men that day and there he was on the ground immobilized by fear. They say fear lives on the left and at that moment Drag realized the man was immobilized by something else as well; pain.

Drag dropped to his knees. He'd heard of this, when a man was so much in fear that the fear could take you and you die. The headsman had his right hand over his left breast and his face contorted in pain. The fear was taking him. He wasn't going to die from wounds but simply fear.

The way the mind works can be funny at times. When you don't know what you're doing you seem to waste a lot of time but there are times when everything seems to come together mentally. Little hints and distant memories seem to gel in the brain and then there are moments of insight. The headsman was grabbing at his left because he was dying of fear. The heart was thought to be on the left but that's not really true. … His heart has stopped.

Drag felt his own heart beat in his chest. With his hands bound he didn't have a lot of options for feeling his heartbeat but for his neck. Yes, he could feel his blood pulsing through. He reached down to the headsman and did not feel anything on his neck. The man's heart had stopped.

"Ok, healer, what do you do?" Drag asked himself. Hearts work by squeezing. He couldn't very well reach into the man's chest and squeeze his blood for him but maybe if he pushed really hard in just the right place it would help. It was a shame that most places were so reliant on magic for healing, no matter how convenient it was. In situations like this, an able bodied person like Drag could help even if he wasn't particularly magically gifted if anyone cared to study and apply this sort of physical medicine. It was all potions and magic but what about when you couldn't get that?

Drag pushed on the headsman's chest and tried to match the rhythm of his own heart. He couldn't tell if he was making a difference or not and the headsman lost consciousness. Drag was prepared to stay and try to help the man to the very end if he could. If he could just get his blood going long enough for the fear to leave him then maybe he'd be ok. How long would that be? Just a little too long to avoid the sword being swung at Drag's head.

Drag had to give up being a healer at the moment and duck to avoid Camena.

"Draconis. You die."

"I told you over and over, that's not my name." replied Drag and he awkwardly ran through the chaos of the battle, with his hands still bound. The stormcloaks went into the southern tower so he ran that way. They might not be friends but they weren't likely to kill him on sight.

Drag got into the door and looked back. Camena was headed right for him. Drag ran up the steps with the intent of getting to the top of the tower but then, oraputide, the head of a dragon burst through the wall and started breathing fire onto some poor guy who was too dumb to get out of the way. The attack left the charred remains of the guy and a huge whole in the wall.

Drag heard Camena break past the stormcloaks downstairs. She was armed after all and they were not. She was heading up the stairs for Drag and he had no choice but to jump and hope he could make it inn with the burned roof. It was almost a comical little dance they did on the battlefield. The dragon would swoop down and burn up a body just as Drag ran by and then Camena would be right behind swinging her sword at him, oblivious to the fact that there was a seemingly indestructible enemy that was killing all her troops.

"Papa, get up. Papa." yelled a little boy as Drag hid from the crazy woman looking for him behind some rocks. Drag looked over his shoulder and saw the boy's father, who was injured, dragging himself along the ground to the relative safety of the slightly less out in the open position. Drag watched, helpless as the dragon came down and set fire to the man whose death he screamed out. The boy stood there crying and Drag couldn't hold in his emotions anymore. The dragon may have saved his life but it was no friend. Verpa. Cavum Asini. Drag wished he had a bow. That dragon had to die.

When he saw his chance Drag ran. He saw the gates of the town and made a bee line for them. Out of town and away from crazy Camena and the scelerose dragon. The gates … The gates … Drag felt his lungs pulling in all the air they could in order for him to keep up his pace. The gates, he was almost there. The gates, they were almost in reach. The gates … NO. They gates were locked. Why?

Drag banged his head futilely against the wooden door. The Imperials had locked the doors to prevent anyone from escaping and now a dragon was attacking the town and everyone was going to die. All the people in this town. All the innocent people. The families. The children. And the Empire would never admit they made a mistake here. They would never admit that any one of their soldiers had ever erred. The Emperor would knowingly walk into a Dark Brotherhood trap and allow himself to be assassinated before that ever happened. They would never acknowledge just how corrupt they had become and maybe had always been.

Drag ran for the keep. It wasn't exactly his own idea. General Tullius had personally recommended it to him. As he ran he saw that belua who was chasing him on the other side of the dragon as it landed among the general to chomp away at the survivors.

In the keep Drag found himself among some ten or twelve stormcloaks.

"That thing was a dragon. No doubt." said one of them.

"I know. I saw." said another.

"Gunjar's dead."

"Then take his gear."

They all seemed to ignore Drag for the most part and he wondered why there were waiting here instead of pressing on. Then he had his answer. The two metal gates on either side were locked and the door only went back out into the unwinnable battle with the dragon.

A number of minutes passed and then Drag heard Camena's voice again. "Get this gate open. NOW!"

"Now look guys, we just want to talk." said the nord legionnaire. "We need help dealing with …"

"Death to the Empire." screamed a stormcloak and in less than a second of the gate coming down rebels and soldiers were coming to blows. Drag tried to hide under a table but Camena found him in the battle and was determined to end his life.

"End of the line for you, Vir Meus."

"Tace, blitea." he said to her as he avoided her swing and tried to put other people between himself and her.

"Vae Victus." she announced.

"Abi, Abi igitur. Fugite in Oblivion." he denounced her.

She finally got him cornered, inverted her sword stance, and brought her sword high above her head with the point of the sword aimed down at Drag. She brought it down but Drag was able to grab her wrist with his hands which were still bound. He expected her to stab him with the knife that would be in her other hand but instead she just punched at him, which still hurt. She must have lost her dagger in the battle.

"Donec mors. Or don't you remember. Donec mos nos separaverit."

"You crazy Delira. Let me go."

"Never! Nequando! If I can't have you..."

Drag did not want to die. He really did not want to die. It was a very strange thing because it seemed the gods did not want Drag to die either. In earlier days this was called being protected by prophecy. The gods that Drag was so sure would never help him decided to lend just a tiny hand to save his life.

Magic began to fill Drag's body. It began to fill him up so much that it even started bursting out of his eyes. He felt strength come into his arms and a calm confidence come over his mind.

"Ignis te perdat." he said and at that moment his words became real and fire lit from his hands, burning his binds, and setting Camena on fire. The fire spread from the wrist that was holding the sword to the sword itself and eventually covering her body.

She screamed in pain and horror as she burned. All the fighting around them stopped and everyone looked on in shock at this. Someone with a good head on their shoulders threw a cloak over her to put the fire out and when he uncovered her she was badly burned.

The rebels clearly had the upper hand in this space. The rebel who had been on the same cart as Drag put a sword out in a threatening manner.

"The key. Give me the key."

The imperial who had not been happy about his orders was there and offered it to the rebel.

"We're escaping Hadvar. You can't stop us this time."

"Fine. I hope that dragon takes you all to Sovngarde."

The rebels passed through the gate on the opposite side and Drag ducked his head and followed with them.

"Lock that gate. We don't want them following us."

A metal gate now separated the Imperials and the Rebels and Drag was on the rebel side.

Just as Drag was going down the stairs deeper into the keep he heard Hadvar call out "We need a healer. Someone go find a healer."

"But I'm supposed to be a healer" said Drag to himself. Shame filled him as he thought on the fact that he would not be the person to heal Camena of her wounds. He instead had been the one who caused them.