I glance down frozen steps to where Lydia is following me painfully slowly. The ascent up the 7,000 steps has been long and treacherous. Further down while at it’s base, in Ivarstead, the path and the mountain had looked beautiful. Who knew where the perfect, white snow stopped and the billowing clouds began.
The villagers had revealed little of the Grey Beards but I had offered to carry the supplies to the top of the mountain to save one of the locals the effort, such is my character. The pilgrims on the road should have amused me, having been born an Orc I didn’t fully understand this worship of the old men living at the top of this mountain. But something in the air, in the feeling of the dragon soul coursing through my veins, made me accept their pilgrimage as both just and reasonable.
My Huscarl, Lydia, had insisted on accompanying me up the steps, and I was glad for the company. Twice we were attacked by lone frost wolves and once by a Frostbite spider and we put them down with ease. My mace and the fire I wielded coupled with her two-handed battleaxe was more than these creatures could handle.
Soon however the climb itself began to take it’s toll. While I felt invigorated and energetic even as the cold dropped below freezing and the steps became covered in thicker and thicker films of ice, Lydia soon lagged behind and I had to wait for here every time the steps levelled out. Normally I wouldn’t have minded, but with every step up the mountain the very air itself had seemed to be singing my destiny out to the world. I was desperate to find out more and finally understand what it meant to be Dovahkiin. Or whether I even was this mythical being.
While down in the plains of Whiterun my armour usually kept me covered in a film of sweat, here in the cold blizzard, the gale plucking at my very bones, the plate armour felt as cold as the snow I was walking on. Lydia managed to reach the step I was on. We were close now, I could feel it in my soul.
I placed a comforting hand on her shoulder and she grinned up at me. When I asked how she was she merely shrugged and responded with “I am sworn to carry your burdens.” The Nords are a tough people before anything else. I had the fire of my magic and the strength of a dragon to keep me warm, she just had iron will and spirit.
We turned off into the blizzard. The snow and wind battering down on us, urging us to turn back and stop tempting fate at the roof of the world. Every step threatened to take us hurtling down to the rocks below. I had to say though, the fall would certainly present some of the most spectacular views before you were crushed to oblivion at the bottom.
A bestial roar sounded up ahead. I tensed and raised my Orcish mace in alarm. That didn’t sound like any wolf I’d ever encountered. Ahead a figure appeared through the mist of the blizzard. Tall and wide with massive ape like arms. Suddenly a frost troll bounded into view, using it’s arm to swing itself forward towards us.
“By Talos” I mutter in shock as Lydia too draws her axe.
And then we launch ourselves at it. Hammer and axe smash repeatedly into the creature’s thick hide. It stumbles around stupidly, swinging it’s great arms like clubs. With effort and concentration it is easy to avoid the blows, even while watching ones footing on the ice. Fire leaps from my hand and engulfs the creature which roars in pain. It suddenly catches Lydia one, two no three blows in the chest as I swing at it with all my might. I crush the stupid beast’s skull with my mace. The crunch was particularly satisfying.
Lydia stands there clutching at her stomach, she doesn’t appear too badly wounded thankfully but I approach her anyway. She shrugs off my concern with a muttered “Just a few ribs my Thane, it will heal.”
I decide that the best option for us now is to reach the monastery with all haste. We trudge through the snow and wind trying to pick up the pace to reach the top.
Then, all of a sudden, there it is. Not a monastery, a castle built out of dark grey rock. Built among the snow and ice that must have been here since the dawn of time. I drop the supplies into the offering chest at the foot of the doors while never taking my eyes off the towering structure.
If my look is awe struck, Lydia’s is positively reverent. Here I will learn the way of the Thu’um. Here I will prove myself as Dragonborn. Here I WILL find my destiny.
With a deep breath and a lingering look at the steps and the world, I push open the door and step inside to meet my future.
With strength an honour our hero progresses through the world of Skyrim! Will he survive? Find out in our next adventure with Seb!