I woke that next morning with a sense of purpose. I needed to get to Whiterun and tell him what I knew as a survivor of Helgen. I stretched, ate a solid breakfast and then Faendal and I headed out onto the road to Whiterun. The weather crisp and clear and we crossed the bridge near Riverwood. The road wound around the mountain to the left and we ran into a wolf as we neared the falls. I dispatched him with my sword after blocking with my shield. I have to admit Faendal’s arrow in the beast’s side probably helped as well.
Once we got past the falls I saw Whiterun on its hill for the first time. I have lived in the Imperial City but Whiterun has a charm all its own. Dragonsreach sits like an eagle perched on top of roost. We headed down the switchbacks to the plains and then followed the road to the gates of Whiterun. I saw some Imperial soldiers escorting a prisoner and hoped they were not looking for escapees from Helgen. Then again, how many did escape from Helgen to look for? I also saw some warriors fighting a Giant in a farmer’s field but I decided they were handling it on heir own so I moved on passed the Whiterun Stables.
That’s when I saw the khajiit Caravan. I ran up and talked to he leader named Ri’saad, I had a pleasant discussion with him about his homeland and why he was trading in Skyrim. His answer was actually pretty sound economically. High risk means higher reward. Couldn’t fault him for that. I continued on and when we reached the main gate I told the guard who stopped us that I had news from Helgen. He said I could go in but that the guard was watching me.
Given this situation I decided it would be wise to head directly to Dragonsreach. Once I moved through the marketplace and up the first set of stairs however, I spotted a priestess sitting next to the Gildergreen. I had of course heard of the Gildergreen but it didn’t look anything like I had heard as it had no leaves and looked dead. The priestess turned out to be Danica Pure-Spring, the priestess of Kynareth. My conversation with her revealed that the Gildergreen had been struck by lightning and because of its current condition the pilgrims had all but stopped coming. She explained to me that she believed if she could get a hold of some sap from the parent of Gildergreen, the Eldergleem, it might wake up its child. The problem was the Eldergleem could not be tapped by metal and so the only weapon that would work was a dagger called Nettlebane. It was in the possession of a hagraven at Orphan Rock. I agreed to retrieve it, I sensed at that time this was part of my pilgrimage.
I ignored the priest of Talos who was preaching nonsense. I must admit I hate the notion of people being overly religious. I know, strange for a former priest, but I believe in balance in serving the divines. The Civil War in Skyrim was a classic case of over zealotry for Talos at the expense of the other eight at times by the Stormcloaks. On the other hand the war had also created a vacuum in removing Talos so perhaps the Nine themselves fostered a way to keep the balance despite our imbalance. In any case, I moved up the stairs to the Jarl’s Palace.
Dragonsreach is impressive with is high ceiling and dragon skull over the throne. Jarl Balgruuf was an older man at the time I met him but still sound and known for his temper. I moved forward with caution as I was not sure how I was going to be received having not be summoned. I wold find out that Jarls as a general rule were far more accepting of visitors than rulers were in Cyrodiil. I was however stopped by the Jarl’s housecarl Irileth a dark elf female. Once I told her I had information about Helgen she let me through to see the Jarl.
Jarl Balgruuf was very pleased to hear my report and he ordered some troops to protect Riverwood. He spoke to me privately afterward and told me that I had done Whiterun a service and he would not forget it. He then asked if I would consider another task, I accepted and then he took me to see his Court Wizard.
Farengar Secret-Fire was slightly arrogant. Not so much that you wanted to kill him for it but that he was irritating like a rash. He was devoted to his research which was dragons. After instructed by the Jarl to tell me all he knew he told me that he might have a key to understanding the dragon crisis. He had learned of a Dragonstone in Bleak Falls Barrow that was a map of dragon burial sites. He felt this could help understand why the dragon were returning. After a conversation with him I knew about the Dragon War and other factors that had once been the stuff of legends but now were being considered more likely to be history than legend, I felt I was prepared. I also purchased some spells from him and did some work enchanting, well disenchanting some items.
Honestly, it was at this point I realized I had probably stepped right in it, but I was determined to make a better life in Skyrim. I would both settle and wander its mountains, plains and forests. I would not return to the priesthood. That life was over for me as I embraced the new life of being and adventurer and explorer. Bleak Falls Barrow would be my new start.
Looking back at it now, I suppose people might call it a case for fate, but I don’t think so. It was more my choices meeting a hidden opportunity. I suppose the divines could have chosen the first person who accepted Farengar’s quest as easily as me. I have never been one for fate in my theology and I don’t think my becoming Dragonborn changes that. It is simply part of who I was meeting the opportunity to be something more and me embracing it once I discovered both.