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The wind blew, causing the trees on the hills to shuffle. The tall oaks cast long shadows in the snow under the moonlight, reminding the old hermit of his home. He paced around in the tower, thinking, wondering, searching for the answer of yet another question. On the back of his mind, he was aware he had gone mad. He knew, the moment he had set foot on this accursed place, that he would never be back, but he had pushed the growing feeling of dread away, looking for a way to return to where he belonged.
Of course, everything was so new, so different, other questions arose, and he looked for answer to those too. Question after question after question, until he forgot what exactly he was looking for. He was happy, too, and would have gladly perished in that foreign land, blissful unaware of whom he was or how had he gotten there, everything forgotten as he indulged to his curiosity. But then he met him.
It was just another day on the decayed tower - outpost, he reminded himself. He had liked the place the moment he laid his eyes upon it. It was broken, ripped and moldy. Clearly, no one had lived there for ages. It reminded him of...well, of something. Whatever that something was, it made him want to live there. So he moved in, and took care of the insides, and there he made his garden. Over the years, he also collected knowledge in the shape of multiple compendiums and books, and slowly but surely, he finally settled down. He did not, however, mend the tower on the outside. Not only it might call undesired attention, he also liked the ruin-ish feel of the place. It just felt right that way.
He had been tending to his garden when he saw him approach. He was a young man, his face pale and angular, brown eyes slightly slanted. A cloth strip was tied over his brown hair, covering his eyebrows and ears. He saw the youngster inspect the tower in awe, his eyes drifting from the road to the tower to the garden and finally, to the hermit himself. The elder felt the boy scrutinizing him, searching for any sign he might be dangerous. Growing impatient, he spoke up.
"Well, are you going to help me finish these peas or not? There's a meal in it for you if you do."
The boy had hesitated, then offered his name. "I'm Bergan…Bergan, son of Garrow."
It was a lie and the hermit could tell, but decided not to push it, nonetheless. To each their own secrets. "Tenga, son of Ingvar", he had replied, not completely aware of what that meant.
They worked in silence, and, after it was done, "Bergan" followed him inside. Tenga had lit the fire and made them dinner. At one moment, his companion had seemed startled, but Tenga simply ignored it. They had talked, and the elder had asked the boy about the answer. At one moment, Tenga knew, he had drifted away in his own thoughts, and the other had left silently.
But that stranger had awakened something in the old hermit. That night, he dreamt. He saw a city, whose center was a tall tower; he saw a building, its stairs skirted by two pillars that held purple flames, its grids etched with an eyelike symbol. He saw a statue of what had to be a dragon, albeit a strange one – instead of four, it had only two legs, its front members fusing with its wings.
He woke up, his heart racing, his breath irregular. And, most of all, his mind was in a daze, because suddenly, he remembered. He remembered everything. He remembered his youth in his homeland, his long, hard studies on magic, the nights spent on the university until he could call himself a "mage". He remembered his deep fascination towards the gods and their chosen ones, in special the great dragon, and how that took him to the cold north, up a thousand steps up into the sky, to seek the wisdom of the Tongues.
He remembered how with pride he reached the top, as the ancient hero-god once had. He recalled how he had met the cloaked hermits and how after an arduous trial, he had been allowed to join them in their quest for knowledge. He felt once again the satisfaction of mastering each word, each sentence. Force, Balance, Push. Fire, Inferno, Sun. Frost, Cold, Freeze.
He had progressed, too, onto the hardest, more abstract ones. After a while, he learnt to change flesh into ice - Ice, Flesh, Statue, and even how to calm the fiercest beasts, with the power from the gods themselves – Kyne, Peace, Trust. He also learnt to kill. Of course, he could do it with fire or frost, but it was nothing like the sheer power of destruction behind those three words - Kill, Leech, Suffer. Even time itself was no longer beyond reach – Time, Sand, Eternity. By the time he had mastered every word known by his veterans, his face had acquired wrinkles and his beard had grown long and grey, matching his new title.
That was also when he turned towards the prophecy. It had always been there, but the way of the voice had given him a deeper understanding.
When misrule takes its place at the eight corners of the world...When the Brass Tower walks and Time is reshaped...When the thrice-blessed fail and the Red Tower trembles...When the Dragonborn Ruler loses his throne, and the White Tower falls...When the Snow Tower lies sundered, kingless, bleeding...The World-Eater wakes, and the Wheel turns upon the Last Dragonborn...
The prophecy bothered him, even in his sleep. He knew the four first events had already gone past, and the fifth couldn't be far, since the Emperor had exchanged the worship of their hero-god for peace. It was an attempt to harmony that would only delay the war, and, as such, it was not hard to imagine the meaning of the fifth line. The people of the north would be divided and rebel; they would spill their own blood.
So he did what he did best: sought an answer. He realized it could only be found in one place, one of the ancient scrolls, and hence, that's where he would look. Their master advised against it; " The Kel already said what it had to. It'll say no more." Despite the warnings, Tenga went. He dived deep into the ancient ruins, but while he was there, something went wrong. He never reached the scroll; he stepped into some sort of trap, and he was just…gone.
He was in an amazing world of colors and twilight.
He was amidst a great maze, twisting walls everywhere.
He was in a humongous library, the shelves progressing into infinity.
He wished he'd stop there. But he didn't. He went through other places - barren wastelands, seas of lava, vast forests… and just when he thought he couldn't take it anymore, it stopped, and he was… here.
Not in the tower, of course, but in Alagaesia. At first, he thought himself to be still in the realms of Oblivion, for he had landed next to the horrid mountains that made up Helgrind; the black towers cast an aura of evil so great, he had only seen before in the realms of daedra and other foul beings. Right now, he didn't know about daedra, but the beings inhabiting the tower were certainly foul.
That's when he began his quest to go back home, and that's also when he began to learn about this strange new world. It wasn't in Oblivion, he could tell. His best guess was that he had fallen into another realm of Mundus, although he hadn't even known there were such other worlds. It only brought more intriguing doubts to his mind.
Perhaps it was the prospect of a whole new universe, perhaps it was an aftereffect of the long path through realms no mortal should have to step on, or perhaps it was just the fact that he was so far from home; one way or the other, the second he set foot on Alagaesia, Tenga was also irreversibly mad. It began slowly, but, in the end, the insanity seeped all of his memories.
He had some eventual breakthroughs; For instance, after hearing the king owned a dragon, he set out to see it. Unexplainably, he infiltrated into the city, through the guard and into the throne room to see it, and unnoticed by even the king, he laid eyes upon the black dragon, and he found it…odd. Tenga had never seen a dragon before, but that was not how they were supposed to look like. That dragon was different from…from… Forcing his mind to the point it ached, he managed to extract a single word. Martin.
Of course, that made no sense at all. The dragon was different from Martin? He didn't even know any Martin, did he? Shrugging it off, Tenga just turned back, his curiosity temporally satiated, and went off to look for another answer. That was not the only time he felt he should remember something. Once, he heard about elves in the woods to the north. He knew elves, didn't he? He was positive he had seen them before.
Now, in this brief moment of sanity caused by the visit of the boy, he found ironic that, through questioning everything, he had never wondered about his own past. He had never questioned himself. He knew why the boy had set off this reaction – he was the long awaited hero. He also knew the boy would not be enough. Maybe he could, with a lucky strike, end it all, but Tenga wouldn't let it to luck's hands. No, he had to do something, before the gripping madness took him over again. And he knew exactly what words were to be said.
The Dovahkiin sipped on his mead. He was sitting in a bench in Jorrvaskr, getting a well-earned rest after a long, demanding day. Strapped to his belt lay his trusty sword, Dawnbreaker, and in his back rested a simple banded iron shield. He wore plain studded armor but no helmet, leaving his long black hair free and wild. In front of him sat his friend and shield-sister, Aela.
"The moon's full tonight, Aela. Have you devised anything special?"
She gave him a glare that would rival Alduin's, and he answered with a sheepish grin.
"Some bandits have set camp in Silent Moons once more. I thought I'd give them a visit. I'd invite you, but you do not seem to enjoy the hunt as much as I do."
There it was. He knew he shouldn't have asked. He sighed and lowered his voice in a whisper.
"Aela, we've talked about that! I can't be a dragon and a werewolf at the same time. It's just too much! You wouldn't want me going berserk around because I can't manage two blood lusting beasts inside of me, would you? "
"I can't see how it would make any difference; wolf blood or not, you always act as a man-beast – a were-mammoth, If I might add."
"A what now?"
"A were-mammoth. Loud, clumsy, grumpy, and, most importantly, I can herd you like a giant does to their pets."
He scowled, then stuck out his tongue at her.
"I just hope you are not taking advantage of my absence to revel with that leech."
"Her name is Serana, Aela, and honestly, you ought to stop being so pettily jealous."
"I am most definitely not jealous! As a friend, I am simply concerned about the company you keep."
He couldn't help it; he burst out laughing.
"You mean it is okay if I consort with dragons, but prating with Serana is utterly unacceptable?"
"That is precisely what I mean."
Rolling his eyes, he responds to the matter at hand.
"No, I am not meeting with my companion Serana. All I have schemed for tonight is sound sleep."
She narrowed her eyes, as if in disbelief, then nodded and got up.
"Night's falling. I should move on. Fare thee well, Harbringer."
"Fare thee well and good hunting, Aela."
She exited through one of the side doors of the building. Sighing, he finished his mead, the honeyed taste clinging to his tongue. Deciding he needed some air, he raised and stepped out of the building and into the cool air of Whiterun.
The hermit focused his thoughts and emotions to fuel his Thu'um. It was not an easy task, especially considering the particular words he was about to utter. Forcing his mind to recall memories that were already beginning to vanished, he thought about the first word. The boy, whose name he had later found out to be Eragon, had good intentions, but Tenga knew that might not be enough. He was, after all, just a boy, and they needed something else, something he was still to become. They needed a hero. Closing his eyes, Tenga shouted the first word.
Dovahkiin was looking upon the city, his arms rested on the short wall in front of Jorrvask, when a sudden wave of nausea took over him. Feeling dizzy, he clung to the stone in front of him. Perhaps he had eaten something foul, causing the sickness. He dismissed that when his head started to pound.
Had there been something in his mead? It had happened before. Would he perhaps wake in a cell yet again? Or would he not wake at all this time? Groaning, he tried to walk towards the nearby building.
The first word was out, leaving a familiar feeling of emptiness in the hermit. He couldn't give himself a break; immediately, he focused on the second word. He didn't know who would come, but whoever did wouldn't be stranded in this world like he had. No, whoever came would only stay until his task was completed. Whether it was a task for destruction or hope, whether the One would favor the king or the rebels, was not Tenga's choice to make. He was just the summoner; the choices would belong not to him but to the champion. The second word came harder than the first, as he knew it would.
He knew he was in trouble when he heard it. The song. It sung to him and no one else, and he could feel it more than he could actually hear it. When the song came, his very soul followed the rhythm. And when it came, it usually meant trouble. Dovahkiin heard the song whenever a dragon was nearby – or rather, he had noticed, a hostile dragon. He hadn't heard it when he approached Paarthurnax, which led to the – rather comic – occasion of him being sneaked upon by a dragon. He didn't hear it when he summoned Odahviing or Durnehviir either. He did hear it, and that had been unusual, when he fought Lord Harkon.
It was not always the same song, though the meaning behind it was the same, but the one he heard now was different from the usual. It was similar, if not the same, to the one he had heard in Sovngarde – less of a song, more like a chant. The sickness grew and the ground felt unstable behind his feet. He leaned forward to recover his balance, only to realize that it wasn't just the ground that was unstable – the very air felt inconstant and unreal.
What in Oblivion - ?
The emptiness grew to the point of almost madness, and Tenga knew he had to be quick. Without hesitating, he called forth the third and last word. The choosen one had to be someone special; more than just a hero, more than just a champion, what Alagaesia needed was a legend. He took a deep breath before forcing out the last word.
The song was so loud now he couldn't hear anything else. The world spun around him, and when the ground simply vanished under his feet, he didn't have time to scream.
He felt as if falling - in every direction.
Realms passed by his eyes so fast he didn't have time to take them in. He stood, crossing through dimensions, impossible visions one after another, until, with a loud thud, he hit the ground.
The ground-breaking emptiness took over Tenga and, for a moment, everything whent black. When he opened his eyes, they laid upon a leaf – its delicate webbings were the first thing Tenga saw. They were so exquisite, so beautiful, it made him wonder what made them such. He noticed a weird feeling in his chest – a heart ache of sorts. Frowning, he touched the area, looking for a wound, but found nothing.
A voice screamed in the back of his mind, and he almost remembered something. Almost. But then his attention was diverted back to the leaf and its webbings. He wondered yet again why they were that way. Smiling, he took the leaf and went off to look for an answer to his newest question.
Slowly, ever so slowly, Dovahkiin rose to a sitting position and opened his eyes. He took in his surroundings. He was in vast grassland. Here or there, he could see a few trees, mostly oaks, on top of many short hills. A few hours of walking away, he saw what he assumed to be a village. Where was he? The vegetation didn't look like it belonged in Skyrim. Perhaps Cyrodiil?
His heart told him otherwise. It did not feel like Cyrodill, or anywhere in Tamriel, for that matter. Something was wrong, something... – he raised his head up to the sky and his heart skipped a beat. Up there, in the middle of completely unknown stars, rested one lonely moon. Only one.
By the Nine, what have I gotten myself into this time?
And there you have it. About this story:
I took it as a challenge from...well, someone. I can't quite remember. If you're the one who put it up in one of your stories, please let me know.
Also, feel free to correct my grammar and spelling. In fact, please do correct my grammar and spelling. I'm not native, so I might make a feel slips. Asides
from that, any suggestion, regarding anything from sentence structuring to the actual plot is welcome.
It's my first story, too, so constructive criticism would be nice. Heck, even flames would be nice.
Thanks for reading!