AN: Before we get started I want to give a big thank you to Blood-Hawk-531 for being my new beta-reader. Thanks, Blood-Hawk. Okay now that's done on with the story.
"This is Alduin's wall?" Delphine asked skeptically.
"No, this is the entrance to it," Lerna responded, "Bradas refused to go any farther."
"Wretched oath-breaker." Delphine hissed venomously.
Esbern turned to her, opening his mouth as if he was about to say something, before he seemed to change his mind turned back to look at the staircase. "I do believe this is Sky Haven Temple."
"Really?" Delphine inquired.
"You want to enlighten the rest of us as to what that is?" Lerna asked, faint irritation underpinning her otherwise neutral tone.
"Sky Haven Temple was the first Blade stronghold in the Empire, built during the reign of Reman Cyrodiil himself." Esbern explained. "The location had been lost for centuries until now. This is a monumental discovery!"
Delphine motioned at the stairs. "Lead the way, Lerna. As Dragonborn, you should be the first one inside."
"Fine by me." Lerna replied. She quickly cast an allied light spell and started up the stairs, toward the large double doors marking the entrance. Delphine and Esbern followed directly behind, with Lydia bringing up the rear.
When she got to the top of the stairs, the very first thing she noticed was that one of the walls was covered with intricate carvings. These carvings, however, were vastly different from others she'd seen in Skyrim's many ruins.
"Shor's bones!" Esbern exclaimed, awestruck. "Alduin's wall, so well preserved. I've never seen a finer example of early Second Era Akaviri sculptural relief."
"Dear gods, please don't let him give another lecture…" Lydia groaned softly, too quietly for anyone other than Lerna to hear. The Daedra princess couldn't help but smirk.
Luckily, the man in question was devoting all his attention to the wall and none to his companions.
"The Akaviri were excellent masons-" Esbern began pontificating.
Lydia sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose between two fingers.
"Esbern!" Delphine snapped, cutting him off before he could really get going. "We're here because we need information, not an art history lesson."
"Yes, yes," Esbern grumbled, moving to examine the wall more closely.
"Thank the gods." Lydia muttered.
"You're welcome," Lerna said with a small smile. "But your thanks really should go to Delphine."
Both the other women turned and looked at her with eerie synchronicity.
"What?" she asked. "The Daedra Lords are gods, you know; we may be a different pantheon than the ones most people in Tamriel worship, and certainly we have different domains, but that doesn't change the fact that we are technically gods in our own right."
"Ahem," Esbern cleared his throat loudly. "If you ladies will join me over here, I think you should see this."
They gathered around Esbern.
"Now, there is Alduin," Esbern began, pointing out the carving of a massive dragon, "This panel goes all the way back to the Merethic Era, when Alduin and the dragon cult ruled over Skyrim. At first, there was a just rule – perhaps a bit harsh, but fair. However, as time passed, Alduin and the cult were… corrupted, for lack of a better word. They became cruel – crueler than mere words can properly express."
Esbern led them onward to the next panel. "Here, humans rebelled against their tyrannical overlords, in the legendary Dragon War."
Again, he moved on. "Now, we come to the centerpiece of the wall, Alduin's defeat. Here the great Nord Tongues, masters of the Voice, are arrayed against him."
"Does it show how they defeated him?" Delphine asked eagerly.
"That's why we came here...isn't it?" Delphine added after a very brief pause
"Patience, my dear Blade sister," Esbern chided gently, sounding like a parent scolding an overexcited child, "The Akaviri were not a straight-forward people; they couched everything in allegory and mythic symbolism." Esbern then pointed to one small section of the centerpiece. "This here, coming out of the mouths of the Nord heroes, is the Akaviri symbol for Shout...but it doesn't give any way to know what shout was used."
"Of course not, that would make things far too easy." Lerna interjected, voice dripping with sarcasm.
"You're saying that they used a Shout to defeat Alduin?" Delphine asked skeptically, "You're sure?"
"Absolutely," Esbern responded, nodding enthusiastically. "Most likely something extremely specific to dragons, possibly even specific to Alduin himself."
"So what you're saying is that they used the dragons' own power to defeat them…" Lydia surmised.
"Yes, this is where the ancient blades recorded everything they knew of Alduin and his return."
Delphine swore and then she turned to Lerna. "Have you heard of such a thing? A shout that could knock a dragon out of the sky?"
"No-" Lerna began, but Delphine cut her off almost immediately.
"Ask Talos, he'll probably know." Delphine urged.
"I don't think he'll be allowed to tell me anything." Lerna responded shaking her head as she did so "I already asked Talos if he could teach me to shout, and Akatosh responded by throwing a lightning bolt at him. I'll ask the Graybeards, first; they probably know and they'll be allowed to tell me."
"Why would Talos not be allowed to tell you?" Delphine asked.
"Because Akatosh is very strict about the Aedra not getting involved in the mortal realm," Lerna responded, "Akatosh believes that if it is at all possible for mortals to do something on their own, then the gods should not interfere. That's one of the good things about being a Daedra: I don't have to abide by Akatosh and his stupid rules, and I can meddle as much as I want to.
"So, I'll go ask the Graybeards about this mysterious Shout. It's more than likely they'll know, and they can tell me without having a grumpy time god smite them."
"Okay," Delphine agreed, looking mutinous. "I was hoping to avoid having to involve them in this, but it seems we have little choice."
"What do you have against the Graybeards?" Lerna asked curiously.
"If those lazy lay-abouts had their way, you'd do nothing but sit on that mountaintop and talk to the sky all day," Delphine said darkly, "Or whatever it is they do in their temple. They're so afraid of power that they won't use it, and they think that no one else should either. I mean, think about it: have they done anything to try and stop the civil war, or done anything at all about Alduin? No, they haven't because they're afraid. They're afraid of you and the power you wield. There is no reason to be afraid. Do you think Tiber Septim would have founded the empire if he only listened to the Graybeards and done what they wanted him to?"
"Whoa, settle down Delphine." Lerna interjected, putting up her hands in a motion of surrender, "You're being too hard on them. For starters, you're overestimating their strength; you do know that there are only four of them right? Plus, they aren't trained to fight - I'm not even sure they know a sword's blade from its pommel. Even if they wanted to learn to fight, it takes years, which is time that Skyrim doesn't have. Secondly, they aren't alone; most of Tamriel fears my kind and our power." She paused uncertainly for a moment, before continuing, "If the people knew what I truly am, they would all be scared of me."
"I know what you are and I'm not afraid of you." Delphine replied.
"Neither am I." Lydia added.
"That's because both of you know me personally. Most of Tamriel's people don't, and they never will. I may be immortal and theoretically have all the time in the world but I will never be able to introduce myself to every single person and show them that I'm not a monster the way that they think most Daedra are." Lerna responded, "Besides, you both did fear me, at first. Delphine, you assumed I was insane and stabbed me in the heart, and I saw fear in your eyes when I revived."
"I'd like you to watch someone you just killed seemingly come back from the dead and see how you handle it." Delphine countered acidly.
"Same here." Lydia added.
"I can guarantee that I wouldn't faint, unlike somebody I could mention." Lerna said, eyeing Lydia significantly. "Anyway, the Graybeards do have a point. Power such as the Voice can corrupt quite easily; I've seen it happen multiple times, myself. As for Talos, he didn't unify Tamriel alone. I don't think he could've founded any empire at all, if he hadn't managed to get an army behind him."
Delphine huffed, but said nothing.
"Anyway, you don't have to worry about me; I am not afraid of my power… Even though I don't fully understand it." Lerna assured the surly Blade.
"Good," Delphine responded, "Remember, you are the Dragonborn and the only one who can defeat Alduin; don't let the Greybeards or anyone else turn you away from your destiny."
"No one can turn me away from my destiny Delphine." Lerna said. "I make my own. Now, I'm going to go see Arngeir about this shout. You coming, Lydia?"
"Of course, my Thane." Lydia replied.
"Good thing they've already let you into their little cult," Delphine said softly, "Not likely they'd help me or Esbern if we came calling." Her voice grew louder then, as she added, "Esbern and I will look around Sky Haven Temple and see if the ancient Blades left anything else here for us; it's a better hideout than I could have hoped for."
"Girls, come over here," Esbern said. While they'd been talking, he'd continued examining the wall.
They moved over to Esbern "What is it?" Lerna asked
"This panel, it's the prophecy that brought the Akaviri to Tamriel in the first place, searching for a Dragonborn. The Akaviri – the Blades – are here; you can tell them by their distinctive long swords. Their mission finally fulfilled, as the last Dragonborn fights with Alduin at the end of time."
Lerna bent down to examine one of the figures more closely..."is that supposed to be me?" she asked
"Most likely, it's hard to tell for sure, but it looks like it could be; small, female…" Esbern said.
Stepping away from Alduin's Wall, Lerna motioned Lydia closer, then teleported the pair of them to High Hrothgar. Both of them shivered for a moment at the rapid temperature change.
They found Arngeir praying in front of one of the altars inside the temple. "Greetings, Dovahkiin," he said, turning to them, "Your training is proceeding well."
"Thank you," Lerna replied, "I came here because I need to learn the shout that was used to defeat Alduin-"
Arngeir stood up quickly. "Where did you learn of that?" he demanded loudly, "With whom have you been speaking about this?"
Lerna blinked; she hadn't been expecting this kind of reaction.
"It was recorded on Alduin's Wall." Lerna said simply.
"The Blades," Arngeir said contemptuously, "Of course; they specialize in meddling in matters they barely understand. Their reckless arrogance knows no bounds. They have always sought to turn the Dragonborn from the path of wisdom. Have you learned nothing from us, Dragonborn? Would you simply be a tool in the hands of the Blades to be used for their own purposes?"
"The Blades want to stop Alduin from destroying the world; don't you?" Lerna asked.
"What I want is irrelevant," Arngeir responded hotly, "This shout was used once before wasn't it and yet here we are again. Have you considered that Alduin was not meant to be defeated? Those who overthrew him in ancient days only postponed the day of reckoning; they did not stop it. If the world is meant to end, so be it; let it end and be reborn."
"Have you forgotten that Talos told me to stop Alduin and he told you to help me?" Lerna shot back, "I thought you said that you would not defy him. What changed?"
"That is not what I heard; Talos said only that the next Dragonborn would be a Daedra and that we should treat her the same as we would any other Dragonborn, which we have done." Arngeir responded.
"Are you calling me a liar?" Lerna asked angrily.
"No, but the will of the gods is hard to interpret. I don't think that you heard what you think you heard; the gods would not have steered you away from the path of wisdom." Arngeir said.
"Fine; if you want to sit on this rock and wait until Alduin rips you apart, then you do that. I'll find out how to defeat him without your help." Lerna turned away from the old man.
"Sheogorath!" Arngeir shouted, "Daedra or not, if you continue on this road, it WILL destroy you. I urge you now, return to the path of wisdom before it is too late!"
"I am a Daedra, as you just said, Arngeir. I can't be killed!" Lerna pointed out.
"One does not have to kill something in order to destroy it; there are worse things than death, something an immortal like yourself should know even better than I. Besides, your companion is mortal, so will you not lead her to her death in this foolishness?"
"According to you, she is doomed anyway. I won't let this world be destroyed without a fight; I don't know or care what the gods have planned. I make my own destiny and I choose to save this world rather than sit back and hope for it to be reborn." Lerna then turned and began walking away with Lydia following close behind her.
Then, another one of the Greybeards came up to Arngeir and spoke to him in the dragon tongue. The only words that Lerna understood were Dovahkiin and Paarthurnax, the name of the Greybeards' leader.
"Dragonborn," Arngeir called out as loud as he dared.
If Lerna hadn't been a Daedra, she wouldn't have been able to hear him. She looked over her shoulder and said, "What?"
He came over to her. "Forgive me... I was intemperate."
Lerna raised a skeptical eyebrow.
"I allowed my emotions to cloud my judgment, but Master Einarth has reminded me of my duty. The decision of whether or not to help you is not mine to make."
"You seem to really hate this shout, so why did you learn it?" Lerna asked.
"I haven't learned it." Arngeir explained, "The shout is called Dragonrend, but its words of power are not known to us-"
"I thought you knew all words of power," Lerna cut him off.
"Not Dragonrend," Arngeir said firmly. "Dragonrend has no place in the Way of the Voice."
"Why not? It's a Shout, isn't it?" Lerna pressed.
"Yes, it is a Shout - the first Shout created by humans. It was created by those who had lived under the unimaginable cruelty of Alduin's Dragon Cult. Their whole lives were consumed with hatred for all dragons and they poured all that anger and hatred into this Shout. When you learn a Shout, you take it into your very being; in essence you become the Shout. Therefore, in order to learn and use this Shout, you will be taking this evil into yourself."
On an emotional level, that thought terrified Lerna, but the logical part of her mind said not to let it get to her. The Graybeards tended to over-dramatize things.
"So if the Shout is lost, how do I learn it?" Lerna asked softly, more to herself than to Arngeir.
He responded anyway. "The only one who can answer that question is Paarthurnax, if he so chooses."
"So does this mean I finally get to meet the famous Paarthurnax?" Lerna inquired. "Who exactly is he, anyway?"
"He is our leader, master of our order, and he surpasses all of us in his mastery of the Way of the Voice."
"If he is one of you, how come I haven't met him already?" Lerna asked, frowning; she didn't like it when people kept secrets from her.
"He lives in seclusion at the very top of the mountain. He speaks to us only rarely and never to outsiders. Being allowed to see him is a very great privilege."
Lerna didn't like the sound of Paarthurnax; he sounded like an arrogant, self-centered, and possibly misanthropic jerk to her.
Really, why would you live at the very top of the highest mountain in the world, unless you thought that you were better than everyone else? Lerna began to wonder if he kept the other Greybeards around merely to boost his ego.
"Oh sure, I get to trudge up another cold and snowy mountain; lucky me." Lerna muttered sarcastically.
"Uh, my Thane," Lydia said, "With all due respect, if you don't like cold and snow… You're in the wrong place. Skyrim has a lot of both."
"It's not really the cold and snow that bother me." Lerna responded, "It's that mountain-climbing is a pain in the ass, and the cold and snow only serve to make it worse."
"It's not that simple," Arngeir said, "Only those whose Voice is strong can find the path to the Throat of the World. Come, we will teach you a Shout to open the way to Paarthurnax."
Intrigued, Lerna followed the Graybeards outside, although she was highly annoyed by how slow they moved.
Eventually, they made it to the top of a staircase.
"The path to Paarthurnax is through this gate," Arngeir intoned solemnly, "We will show you how to open the way."
Gate? Lerna thought. That didn't look like any gate that she had ever seen.
Arngeir Shouted three words, "LOK VAH KOOR!" With each word he Shouted, dragon-runes carved themselves into the ground before him. Lerna stepped on them one by one, and with a small light show, the words were assimilated into her mind.
"I will grant you my understanding of the Clear Skies Shout," Arngeir said, "This is your final gift from us, Dragonborn; use it well." Then he bowed slightly and a stream of light, much like a dragon soul, flew from him into her. Suddenly, she understood.
"Clear Skies will blow away the mist," Arngeir told her, "But only for a time. The path to Paarthurnax is treacherous, and not to be embarked upon lightly. Keep moving, stay focused on your goal, and you will reach the summit."
Lerna rolled her eyes. She had climbed plenty of mountains before; she knew what she was doing and didn't need a lecture. She walked to the 'gate' and Shouted, "LOK VAH KOOR!" As Arngeir had said it would, it blew away the mist. Lerna took a step and immediately sank up to her knees, well almost her knee in snow. Ugh, this is really going to suck.
After about five minutes Lerna realized something and exclaimed, "Wait a minute, this is stupid. Why am I climbing when I could be floating? Lydia, hop on my back."
Lydia looked at her, confused.
Lerna levitated slightly off the ground, and then descended again. "We'll get to the top much faster if I float with you on my back, rather than having to trudge through all this."
Lydia nodded and climbed onto her Thane's back. As Lerna suspected, they made much better time going over the snow rather than through it, and before too much longer they reached the summit.
Not more than a few seconds after they arrived, a dragon descended from the sky with alarming suddenness. Lydia quickly hopped off Lerna's back and drew her sword. Lerna drew her own weapons in the same moment.
The dragon approached the pair and rumbled, "Drem Yol Lok. Greetings, Sheogorath and companion, whose name I regretfully do not know."
"Lydia," she said after a moment's awkward pause.
The dragon nodded sagely, the image enhanced by his visibly weathered, aged appearance. "I am Paarthurnax. Talos has told me a great deal about you. It's a pleasure to finally meet you face to face."
"You know who I am?" Lerna asked, surprised.
"Of course," Paarthurnax said, "I sensed your power the moment you entered High Hrothgar. The unique blend of Daedra and joor I knew could only belong to one person, namely the Madgod Sheogorath, also known as Lerna Maston, and not least as Talos' lover."
"You know about that?" Lerna asked somewhat taken aback.
Paarthurnax laughed. It was a strange sight to both Lerna and Lydia. "Of course, it was common knowledge among those of the vozahlaas - the immortals - who knew Talos that you and he desired each other as mates. Sanguine even started a betting pool on how long it take for the two of you to admit it to each other."
"Lydia, remind me to wring Sanguine's neck the next time I see him." Lerna growled, "Just until he turns blue."
Lydia nodded and put away her sword. Lerna put her weapons away as well. She doubted that waving weapons in Paarthurnax's face would be a good way of persuading him to help stop Alduin.
"Anyway, I assume this is not a social visit. What brings you to my strunmah, my mountain?" Paarthurnax inquired.
"I wasn't expecting you to be a dragon," Lerna said. Paarthurnax had just thrown all her expectations about him out the window.
"I am as my father made me, as are you... Dovahkiin." Paarthurnax responded.
"Uh, no I'm not. I was born a human, and now I am a Daedra... Mostly." Lerna protested.
"True, but few joorre - few mortals - would have survived such a transition... It takes a rare mortal indeed to be able to ascend to immortality. Akatosh made you with the potential to change, and you have succeeded. However, that is not what I meant; you have the Dovah sil, the soul of a dragon, and therefore you are Dovah in spirit, where it truly counts." Paarthurnax said, "Now then, tell me why you are here. Why do you intrude on my meditation?"
"Alduin has returned, I need to learn the Dragonrend shout in order to stop him." Lerna said.
"Drem. Patience. There are certain formalities that must be observed at the first meeting of two dovah. By long tradition, the elder speaks first. Hear my Thu'um, feel it in your bones, match it if you are truly Dovahkiin! YOL TOOR SHUL!" With that, he then breathed fire all over Lerna, but the flames did not hurt her.
It was then that Lerna noticed a word wall nearby. She went over to it and with a flare of light, learned the word there. Yol.
"A gift, Dovahkiin: Yol - fire. Understand fire as the dov do."
Similarly to when the Graybeards had taught her Shouts, a stream of light flowed from Paarthurnax into her, and the meaning of Yol burned itself into her mind.
"Now then, show me what you can do. Greet me, not as Breton or Daedra but as Dovah." Paarthurnax ordered.
"Okay, you asked for it." Lerna replied and then she Shouted,
"YOL!" A long gout of flame erupted from her mouth and swept over Paarthurnax.
"Ah, yes!" he said happily. "Sossedov los mul. The dragon blood runs strong in you. It is rare that I have the pleasure of speaking with one of my own kind. Usually it is Talos; he is kind enough to come and visit me on occasion. However, I know that you have not come for a tinvaak with an olddovah; you seek your weapon against Alduin."
"The Graybeards didn't want me to come at all." Lerna told him.
Paarthurnax hummed and then said, "Yes, they are very protective of me. Bahlaan fahdonne. However, I know it will disappoint you to hear this, but I do not know the Thu'um that you seek. Krosis, it cannot be known to me. Your kind, joorre - mortals - created it as a weapon against the dov, the dragons. Our hadrimme - our minds - cannot even comprehend its meaning."
"Wait a minute, first you said I was a Daedra, then you said I was a dovah and now you are saying that I am a mortal...I can't be all three, which is it?" Lerna interjected, frustrated.
"Really, you say that you cannot be all three?" Paarthurnax replied mildly, "That is precisely what you are. You are a Breton and therefore mortal, Sheogorath and therefore a Daedra, and Dovahkiin, therefore dovah. In truth it is your embodiment of all three of those that is your zoklot mulaag –your greatest strength – as you have most of the advantages of each and few of their limitations."
"Huh?" was Lerna's brilliant reply.
Paarthurnax laughed again. "Unlike the Deyra Thurre – the Daedra Lords - you may come and go from Tamriel as you please. Unlike the Dov, you are able to walk the other planes of existence with equal ease, never having to worry about what will happen if you linger too long." Seeing the confusion on Lerna's face, Paarthurnax elaborated, "Tamriel is the native land of the dov... We cannot be too long away from it without losing part of ourselves. Lastly, unlike the joorre, you can travel back and forth from Mundus to Aetherius freely and at will, not only upon death."
Lerna didn't really understand what he was talking about, but so far the more he had talked on that subject, the more confused she got, so she decided to drop it.
"So how can I learn the Shout then?" Lerna asked.
"Drem, all in good time... For aan vohzahlaas you are awfully hasty, just like Talos; always on the move, that one. First, a question for you: why do you want to learn this Thu'um?"
"I like this world. I don't want it to end." Lerna said
"Pruzah, as good a reason as any. There are many who feel as you do, though not all." Lerna nodded in agreement. Despite the fact that she was the princess of madness, even she didn't understand the sort of crazy people who wanted the world to end.
"Some would say that all things must end, so that the next can come to pass. Perhaps this world is simply the egg of the next. Lein vokiin? Would you stop the next world from being born?"
"Your scenario is purely hypothetical; it's just as possible that when this world is destroyed there won't be another one. It could mean the end of everything. I am not willing to stand back and simply let this world be destroyed, not on the basis that something MIGHT be coming. I will protect this world; the next will have to fend for itself." That and she was certain that Alduin would not make the end of the world quick and painless... A lot of people would suffer unspeakably horribly, and she didn't want that to happen.
"Paaz," Paarthurnax said "A fair answer. Ro fus; maybe you only balance the forces that work to hasten the end of this world."
Lerna rolled her eyes; she really didn't like these kinds of philosophical discussions. There was no way at all to know whose ideas were right and whose ideas were wrong. She much preferred facts and clear cases of correct versus incorrect; that was one of the main reasons she liked mathematics. Two plus two would always equal four and only four - clear, direct, and simple.
While Lerna had been rolling her eyes, Paarthurnax continued, "Even we who ride the currents of time cannot see past Time's end. Wuldsetiid los tahrodiis. Those who try to hasten the end may delay it, and those who seek to delay the end may bring it closer; ah, but you have indulged my weakness for speech long enough. Krosis. Now, I will answer your question."
Finally, Lerna thought. Getting answers out of Paarthurnax was even harder than getting them out of Hermaeus Mora. Mora at least made it clear right up front what he wanted in exchange for the knowledge you sought, and he didn't go off on unnecessary tangents... However, his price was almost always more than Lerna was willing to pay, so she rarely spoke to him. Lerna suspected that he did that deliberately so he wouldn't have to share any of his knowledge.
"Do you know why I live here at the peak of Monahven, what you name the Throat of the World?"
Lerna didn't understand what that had to do with anything but instead of asking she guessed, "Because mortals and dragons don't get along normally; plus, dragons like mountains, so a remote mountaintop that no one ever goes to is a great place for a dragon to live?"
"Geh, both those things are true, but few now remember that this is the very spot where Alduin was defeated by the ancient Tongues. Vahrukt unslaad... Perhaps none but me now remember how he was defeated."
"Talos said that they used an Elder Scroll to cast him adrift on the sands of time, but Alduin's wall recorded that they used a Shout to defeat him... So now I am confused."
Paarthurnax hummed again "In a way, both are true, but Alduin was not truly defeated; otherwise, you would not be here today, seeking to defeat him. The Nords of those days used Dragonrend to cripple Alduin, but this was not enough. Ok mulaag los unslaad. As Talos told you, it was the Kel, the elder scroll that they used to...cast him adrift on the currents of time."
"What IS an Elder Scroll?" Lerna asked... She'd asked that question multiple times and still didn't really understand them. Not even after having written one herself. Every divine being was required to write an elder scroll, even those who, like Lerna, had not been born immortal but became such later. Akatosh had combined his power with hers so that she would be able to see all the possible events and write them down (coincidentally that was the only time she had ever met Akatosh). Weirdly, Lerna had gotten the impression that she was writing about events that had already happened, yet at the same time they had not yet transpired. It was similar to the paradox that supposedly the scrolls had always existed, and yet in a sense, they did not exist until each Divine and Daedra sat with Akatosh and wrote them down. Annoyingly, she also couldn't remember a single bit of what she had written down, no matter how hard she wracked her brain. Perhaps Paarthurnax would be able to help shed some light on it... It wouldn't hurt to try, would it?
Paarthurnax hummed yet again; he seemed to like doing that. "How to explain in your tongue… The dov have words for such things that joorre do not. It is an artifact from outside of time. It does not exist but has always existed. Wahlaan naal rahhe. They are... Fragments of creation. The Kelle, the Elder Scrolls as you name them, have often been used for prophecy. Yes, your prophecy comes from an Elder Scroll, but this is only a small part of their power. Zofaas suleyk."
"So the ancient Nords sent Alduin forward in time," Lerna concluded.
"Not intentionally. Some hoped that he would be gone forever, forever lost. Meyye. I knew better. Tiid bo amativ; time flows ever onwards. One day he would resurface. Which is why I have lived here for thousands of mortal years. I knew where he would emerge, but not when."
"Ok, so how does this help me?" Lerna asked
"Tiid kren. Time was... Shattered here because of what the ancient Nords did to Alduin. If you brought that Kel, that Elder Scroll back here, to the Tiid-Ahraan - the Time-Wound… With the Elder Scroll that was used to break Time, you might be able to cast yourself back to the other end of the break."
Lerna was intrigued; that sounded very interesting.
"You could learn Dragonrend from those who created it."
That would be very cool, but there was one problem. "Do you know where the Elder Scroll is?"
"Krosis, niid. No." Paarthurnax said, heavily.
Of course not, Lerna thought. Why did I even bother to ask?
"I know little of what has passed below in the long years that I have lived here. You are likely better informed than I."
Great, Lerna thought. So, we've got the blind leading the blind now.
"Someone at the College of Winterhold might know." Lerna said to herself. She knew that the Mages' Guild had occasionally studied Elder Scrolls, so why not the College too? Just then it hit Lerna that she had no idea what had happened to the guild since she'd left for Oblivion.
"Trust your instincts, Dovahkiin." Paarthurnax encouraged, "Your blood will show you the way."
"All right; I will see you later, Paarthurnax." Lerna said. With that, she grabbed Lydia by the shoulder and teleported the both of them to Whiterun.
AN: That's it for this chapter, and just a heads up the poll will be closed after Season Unending so there are only a few more chapters left before it's shut down, so if you want to vote and you haven't yet, you might want to hurry and do it.
Editor's Note: Blood-Hawk-531 here. Just so all of you know; in case you are confused by the Dovahzul (Dragon language), most of it is sourced from the website , a fansite dedicated to expanding the dragon language into a fully functional constructed language.
Guest: Interesting idea
Drow 79: No, it is not too late as per my note above so your vote still counts. Balgruuf was my favorite jarl too...not really sure why
Luna Sanguine: Ohh, now that would be interesting wouldn't it
VulpineSnow: Normally I am in the same boat as you...but with Lerna, she does have the option of teleporting them all to someplace outside Markarth. She can get the Forsworn out of prison without there being a massacre so there is that option.
Trojan Prince: Funny suggestion, not sure that she knows what a Kanga Line is but that doesn't matter. I do have something planned that is going to make Elenwen an unhappy girl coming up but I will think about adding your idea as well.