Journal of Anya Fire-Heart – Sundas, 17th of Last Seed, 4th Era, Year 201
When I regained consciousness I was on a rickety cart being pulled by a brown horse. My head hurt like I had spent the night before downing ten full mugs of mead. The driver was Imperial and I was still bound. Across from me was blond Stormcloak Soldier looking grim. Next to him and near the back of the cart was a man clad much like myself. Next to me was a big burly man clad in furs, he had a gag over his mouth. I shook my head to try to clear the cobwebs.
“Hey, you’re finally awake.”
It was the blond Stormcloak. He then told me he knew some of what had happened and why I was still captive. The man next to him chimed in with a curse for the Stormcloaks as they had been the cause of him not being able to steal a horse and escape to Hammerfell. The discussion then turned to the man next to me. Turns out he was Ulfric Stormcloak himself. This led to the thief speculating then that our fate might not be good then. The blond Stormcloak seemed to confirm this with:
“I don’t know where we’re going, but Sovngarde awaits.”
The thief and the blond talked back and forth while I suddenly became aware of the implications for me. What was the penalty for crossing the border illegally? Am I to be executed simply because I am on the same cart with a thief and some Stormcloak soldiers?
As I gazed ahead I could see a town coming into view through the mountains and trees. The guard said something to the lead Imperial about the headsman was waiting. The lead soldier was General Tullius and he seemed glad to be getting this over with which caused me more concern. The blond drew my attention to the Thalmor while the thief invoked the divines. The blond then informed us all we were in Helgen. The cart rolled through town and I noticed some local citizens had come out to see the spectacle. This included a young boy who seemed disappointed that he would be able to watch the soldiers when his father ordered him inside. The carts rode up to a wall and stopped as the blond noted it was the end of the line.
We exited the cart at a Imperial captain’s command. She was clad in steel imperial armor and one of the imperial soldiers (named Hadvar) began to call roll. Ulfric Stormcloak went first and then the blond who I now could name Ralof of Riverwood. The thief – one Lokir of Rorikstead – had been objecting strongly to being numbered with the Stormcloaks for execution suddenly bolted when his name was called. The Captain ordered the archers to shoot him down which they did. Hadvar then looked at me and asked me to come forward. He asked my name. When I told him he seemed puzzled and informed the Captain I wasn’t on the list. She informed him that I was still destined for the block. It was as I feared, there is no justice under the Empire.
We went forward to the executioners block. As General Tullius addressed Ulfric I heard for the first time a roar echo through the mountains. During last rites, the Stormcloak next to me objected to the term “Eight Divines” by the priestess with “For the love of Talos” and them promptly volunteered to be executed first which was quickly done. May Sovngarde embrace him. Then the Captain called for me next and that’s when we heard the roar again, but closer.
I then walked calmly to the block. If this was to be my fate so be it. I felt the Captain’s foot in my back as she shoved me on the block. I was looking up at the executioner as he readied his axe and then I saw it – The Dragon. It was big and black and as it landed behind he headsmen on the castle tower it sent a wave of force that caused the headsmen to stagger. Then the Dragon ‘spoke’ and the air went into storm. A storm of force, fire and rocks falling from the sky. A second word form the dragon force me off the block and onto the ground. I felt strange like some burning fire was awakened inside me. My vision blurred slightly. Then I heard a human voice.
“Come’on kinsman, get up. The gods won’t give us another chance.”
It was Ralof. I staggered to my feet and stumbled after him all the while the fiery rocks fell around me. I felt strange and my vision was still blurry. We ran into a tower and there were several other Stormcloaks already there and Ulfric as well. My vision started to clear and I felt less strange but something still feels like it has awakened inside me even now. Ralof said something to Ulfric about legends being true.
“Legends don’t burn down villages,” Ulfric grimly replied.
There was no real way out of the tower but to go up. I followed Ralof up the stairs and about halfway up another Stormcloak soldier was asking for help to clear the rubble. I was about to ask for someone to cut my binds when the Dragon’s head smashed through the wall crushing the soldier and then he let forth a blast of fire from his mouth into the tower. How many weapons can this dragon invoke? The blast of heat blew back my hair and almost knocked me off my feet. Then as quick as it had happened, the dragon was gone into the sky.
Ralof stepped to the platform where the hole the dragon had made was. He talked to me but all I could make out in my state of mind was ‘jump into the inn and keep going’. I reached the hole and looked out over the scene. The dragon was still circling, there were flames and smoke everywhere. Helgen was burning. I looked down and saw the inn Ralof was talking about. The roof has been ton away near the tower so one could jump into it. Bound as I was, I jumped and landed in the inn’s second story and kept running. At the other end I found a hole in the floor to the first story and dropped down. As I exited the inn through a hole in the wall I say Hadvar trying to get a boy to leave his wounded father to follow him. I watched in horror as the dragon landed near the boy’s father and burned him. I ducked behind some rubble and Hadvar but Hadvar spotted me. He suggested that if I wanted to stay alive I should follow him.
After giving charge of the boy to another man, Hadvar took off to join the defense and I followed wishing for the tenth time that someone would have taken the time to cut my bonds. As we entered a narrow space between two burning buildings, the dragon landed on one of them almost on top of us. It burned an Imperial soldier to death and then looked at me for a second. I know it sounds strange but it looked puzzled about me and then flew off. We continued onward through smashed building until we found General Tullius who was trying to organize a defense of sorts against the dragon. He yelled at Hadvar to get to the keep and Hadvar yelled at me to follow him. We rounded a bend and found ourselves outside Helgen Keep.
Ralof had also made his way there and Hadvar and Ralof had unfriendly words but I was mesmerized as I watched the dragon swoop down and take an imperial soldier in his claws and then fly into the air. Once he was high into the air the dragon let the soldier go and the man plummeted to his death. I heard him scream and then watched as his body slammed into the stones outside the keep a mere ten feet away from me blood splattering everywhere. I stood stunned and then heard both Ralof and Hadvar cry for me to follow them. I hesitated briefly but because I had a new desire to be under cover and Ralof was both a Stormcloak and the doors he was running to were closest to me I followed him. I would take my chances with the rebels. I ran toward Ralof and pushed the door open with my shoulder and fell into Helgen Keep.