He felt it every time a dragon was felled. The feeling could not be explained, but it was like loss and celebration all at once.

But this day…was different.

This day, the same feeling came and went. And seconds later…another feeling arrived. A feeling that he’d not felt in…too long.

Arngeir looked to his brethren. So they had all felt it…

They communed in the centre hall of High Hrothgar – did not exchange words. Merely glances. The Greybeards moved to exit their monastery to send out their request to the world.

As they stood near the peak of the Throat of the World, they faced outward. Towards the four corners of Skyrim. In a singular voice, they spoke.


And the world trembled.

It was time. The Dragonborn had come.

As the days passed, Arngeir’s pacing in the hall of High Hrothgar became more frantic. The Dovahkiin had not yet responded to the call of the Greybeards.

This was unheard of.

No one refused the call.

The looks from his brethren reminded him that they would come. There were always challenges along the way. And they would feel if the Dovahkiin had passed from this world – so at the least of it all, the one they summoned still lived.

Still, Arngeir worried. There had not been a Dragonborn for so long. What if no one understood the call?

He returned to his quarters…meditation would help to put his mind at ease. He sat and waited. Thought of nothing. Hours passed.

Then suddenly, there came the sound of the main door of the monastery opening…its echo reverberating through the massive corridors.

He breathed deeply…unsure of what to expect when his eyes would fall upon their saviour.

He made his way back to the hall, where he came upon two figures. The first he saw, a man…hooded, stood off to the side. He eyed the man, who did not look up to meet his gaze.

The second was much smaller…also hooded. A woman. She stepped forward into a column of light that fell into the centre of the room. Removing her hood, he could see her more clearly. Her hair, matted with frozen drops of perspiration of a long journey and blown about by the winds that plagued the mountain, fell to her shoulders. Dark markings surrounded her eyes. She was certainly Breton…a mage perhaps? Yes, a mage, he thought as his eyes fell upon the staff she carried.

The Dovahkiin was a mage…

She must have been the Dragonborn…no other would dare enter the hall – save for her companion, whose presence could be excused…for the journey she made was truly difficult.

“We believe you to be Dragonborn,” he said as he stepped forward toward her.

She did not respond. Nor move.

“You will have acquired the gift of the voice. The voice of the dragon’s tongue. And we wish for you to demonstrate this new talent to us.”

She moved to open her mouth, but Arngeir raised a finger to her.

“You may wish for your friend to leave you for some time. He may not be prepared for any of this,” he advised.

She turned to face the man and without a word, he nodded and turned to walk away. They remained still and silent until the last echo of the large door faded away.

“Now,” he began, “what is your name, Breton?”


“Marieka. We are the Greybeards. As you have responded to our summons, we can only assume that you believe yourself to be Dovahkiin,” he stated.

She nodded. He sighed. She did not look the part. She looked more thief than mage. More child than woman. This was their saviour?

“We have summoned the Dovahkiin to confirm that what we felt less than a fortnight ago was correct. That someone absorbed the soul of a dragon that was slain near Whiterun. To confirm that the Dragonborn has at last returned to us. And to teach them,” he said.

She again did not speak.

“Do you have no questions?” he asked.

She shook her head.

“Then let us see if you are indeed the one we have summoned,” he said. “You may speak directly to us, if you can. We cannot be harmed by the Thu’um.”

He could see her breathe in deeply. Her hands dangled at her side until she balled them up into fists to prepare. She had learned one word in the dragon’s tongue.

“Fus,” she whispered.

The one word was enough.

The force of her whisper was enough to throw back the fabric of the clothes that the four Greybeards wore. To knock items from shelves. To shake the building itself.

“Ah yes,” Arngeir said. “Dovahkiin.”

She stepped backward. She was uncertain that she had the ability – she had never attempted to speak the word she had gained knowledge of since the dragon had been slain outside of Whiterun. And the Greybeards had confirmed who she was – Dragonborn.

“Come, Marieka,” he said. “You and I have much to discuss.”

Arngeir and his brethren spent several hours with Marieka, teaching her the Way of the Voice…evaluating her abilities. As the time passed, his fears that she was not a suitable candidate for the shouts faded away. They were replaced by faith in her ability to learn quickly…to adapt…to perhaps even one day single-handedly take down a dragon. She did not look like much, but there was a strength within her that one could only discover over time.

Perhaps this could be an asset to her – for who would ever see this young Breton as the Dovahkiin?

She would be safer that way. Her anonymity would be beneficial.

But it was time for her to leave them.

A final test for the Dragonborn. She would travel to Ustengrav…burial place of Jurgen Windcaller. She would retrieve the Horn of the man who founded the Greybeards. And when she returned, Arngeir would bestow upon her a powerful gift – the final word to her shout. She would learn it and use it well in her battles.

He had every faith now in the woman who stood before him. She arrived; nervous, yet refused to back down. Her stubbornness would serve her well. It would turn the tide for her.

He had sent Wulfgar to silently retrieve Marieka’s companion from where he had since come inside to wait while they trained and evaluated her. As he approached her, he looked at her…hopeful. She smiled warmly at him before turning to nod to the Greybeards that stood observing her.

Arngeir dared to allow a smile to grace his own lips as she left. The mission he had sent her on would be dangerous. Yet he had absolutely no doubt that this would not be the last he would look upon the woman. Not the last, by far.

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