Shepard sat in the cart pondering. The sun had been shining not moments ago, just above the east horizon. He knew he hadnt fallen asleep, and the days here were definitely not that short. Perhaps the quick travel time was the result of some other temporal disturbance that this world experienced.
Alright, Dovahkiin, Bjorlam said, pulling on the reigns to slow the horse to a halt. This is as far as I go.
Shepard looked ahead. He could see a castle-like structure a ways ahead. And smoke was billowing out from it.
Thank you, Bjorlam the Dragonborn said, disgusted. He obviously wanted to get closer.
The group hopped out of the cart, readying their weapons. They were about to march towards the city when the cart exploded behind them, tossing Bjorlam a ways away.
Thane rushed to the injured cart driver. Hes fine, he informed Shepard.
Dragon! Dovahkiin shouted, readying his sword.
Shepard looked up. Sure enough, a massive dragon circled overhead, blue-black scales glinting in the moonlight. But something was
wrong. Along its gut were man-sized cavities. It appeared that metal had been woven among the skin. Shepard thought he saw wires and tubes winding across the creatures belly.
That could mean only one thing.
That things a husk! Shepard shouted.
What? the Dovahkiin yelled back, casting a firebolt at the dragon.
Before Shepard could finish, the dragon roared and a brilliant red laser fired from its mouth, cutting a deep trench between the commander and the Dragonborn.
Right, one of those things! the Dovahkiin responded. Ill handle it.
He walked towards the city. The dragon was obviously more interested in the Nord than any of the aliens with him. Shepard and his team hanged back and watched as the Dovahkiin continued marching towards Solitudes walls. The dragon circled around, and dove in front of the fortress, leveling itself with the terrain and speeding towards the Dovahkiin.
Do you think hes crazy? Garrus asked Shepard.
The commander nodded silently.
The Dragonborn kept walking, slowing his gait slightly as the dragon approached. He watched as the dragons mouth opened, and a red glow began radiating from the beasts mouth.
Hes dead, Garrus said flatly.
The Dovahkiin smiled as the beam neared its firing stage.
Then, he shouted.
Fus ro Dah!
A wave of force exploded from the Dovahkiins mouth, slamming into the dragon and throwing it towards the wall. The creature collided with the stone edifice, causing a tower to collapse on it. The Dragonborn watched as the powerful beast finally stopped twitching beneath the bricks.
All right, he said, smiling. Lets save a city.
Tali rubbed her wrist across her visor, reflexively trying to wipe sweat off her brow.
She had been working for hours trying to get the mass effect core reconnected to the conduit that carried power to the main engines. Mordin had offered some assistance earlier, but he had to go study the effects of something called Frostbite Venom.
The quarian engineer sighed. Repairing a ship by ones self was not easy. It was not impossible, but the sheer magnitude of the job along with the sheer loneliness could take a toll on the progression of the job.
She wished that Adams from the old Normandy was here. She even wished that Donnely or Gabby were on the ship. They might have been able to help.
She wished that damned geth hadnt run off again.
Tali was truly beginning to lose all faith in Shepards choice of letting the geth on the ship. She had already regretted recommending Shepard to bring it aboard when they found it on that derelict Reaper, but that was merely because she wanted to study it.
Granted, it did repair the leaks to the drive core before it had disappeared, but that didnt stop Talis anger at the thing from growing any hotter.
Legion leaned over the book it had on the table. This method of visual data retrieval was
inefficient, to say the least. He finished scanning the page, still trying to figure out what exactly a female lizard creature polishing a nobles spear had to do with magic. Perhaps it was looking in the wrong area?
You done? an Orc sitting in a chair behind a desk asked in disgruntled voice.
We are still searching for adequate data.
The Orc shook its head. What exactly are you looking for? he inquired.
We wish to learn more about the phenomena you refer to as magic, the geth responded.
What kind of magic.
There are types of magic?
The Orc sighed angrily. Where have you been living for the last thousand years? There are a few, yes. Conjuration, restoration, illusion, alteration, and, of course, destruction.
The geth pondered for a moment, trying to decide what it wished to look into first.
Retrieve us a file on destruction, then, it finally said.
Hmm, dont have any files, but Im sure I can dig up a few old tomes. The Orc got up and walked to a large bookcase. He then carefully removed several old volumes from the case and put them on the table the geth was standing next to. There you go.
Thank you, the geth said. It opened a tome entitled Sparks. The language was something even the geths complex translation programs could grasp. But strangely, as it read every word, it could feel some sort of power filling its limbs. Suddenly, after finishing the tomes last word, the book disintegrated before the geths eye.
The geth paused for a moment. It then turned to the Orc and said We are sorry, but we appear to have destroyed the data.
The Orc looked up from a book. Oh, dont bother. Spell tomes have a habit of doing that once theyve been read.
Legion turned back to the ashes of the former spell tome. It wondered how the book could tell it was being read. When it could find no explanation, it opened another tome and began reading.
Shepard cleaved down a long eared husk that had been attacking him with two large swords. The creature screeched loudly before finally dying.
Where are we going? Shepard shouted to the Dragonborn.
The Dovahkiin yanked its sword out of the gut of a Nord husk. To the Blue Palace. We need to find Jarl Elisif and get her out of here!
Shepard whirled around, bringing his sword across the neck of another husk. He didnt recognize the race, but it had dull green skin and axes for hands.
Blood and a blue black liquid oozed from the wound in the creatures neck. It looked up at Shepard, and roared, rushing the commander and flailing its axes. Shepard dodged the attack and opened a gash along its back. The husk screeched, and then smacked the commanders sword from his hand. Shepard, startled by the sudden disarming, stumbled backwards. The husk was about to land a series of finishing blows when a crossbow bolt thucked itself deep in the husks skull.
The creature finally collapsed, dead. Shepard looked in the direction of where the bolt had come, and saw Garrus loading another round into his bow.
Thanks, he shouted to the turian.
You owe me, Garrus said.
Shepard retrieved his sword and rushed another husk that was on the attack. He speared the reaper creature, cutting it in half.
A loud screech sounded from a rooftop. Shepard, Dovahkiin, and Garrus turned in the direction of the sound.
On the rooftop stood a new kind of husk. It had extremely long, pointed ears and dull gold skin. Long, purple-glowing wires ran along its form. It had obviously been created from a female creature, judging by its features. Its hands had been converted into long claws.
What in Oblivion is that? Dovahkiin cursed.
The elf-husk screeched again. It raised its hand, and a massive jet of flame flew straight at commander Shepard.
Shepard raised his arms to protect his face, but the fire never reached him. He opened his eyes, and found Thane holding up a biotic barrier that was preventing the flames advancement.
Ill handle it, the drell said coldly. When the flames stopped, Thane used his biotics to yank the elf-husk off the rooftop. The creature hit the ground, but was immediately back on its feet, a golden energy field circling around it.
Thane threw his knife into the creatures heart, hitting it dead on. He sprinted at the husk, jumped, and grabbed the knifes hilt, wrenching the weapon across the husks chest. The creature screeched and died. Thane tore his knife out and began to walk away. But before he was even two steps from the corpse, it exploded into an inferno, collapsing the drells barriers and throwing him across the ground.
Thane! Shepard shouted.
The drell slowly got up, coughing and wiping blood from his nose. Im fine, Shepard, he said.
You sure? the commander asked.
The drell produced a small, red phial from his pocket. He opened the small bottle and drank the contents. Immediately, his wounds were healed. Yes, Im sure.
Shepard! the Dovahkiin shouted. This way!
The group sprinted through the streets of Solitude, heading for the Blue Palace. The bastion was located across a massive bridge that rose over Solitudes harbor, giving the structure an excellent defensive position but only allowing a single route out for its occupants.
Luckily, the guards, however inept they were, were doing a decent job of keeping the husks away from the palaces entrance.
Just before the group reached the bridge, a massive thanix laser descended from on high, decimating the guards and courtyard of the palace. A dragon husk then landed on the bridge directly in front of the Dovahkiin. Before anyone in the party could react, the dragon reared on its hind legs. The cavities on its underside exploded, casting black goo along the bridge. From the disgusting substance, several husks emerged wielding swords and shields.
Okay, that was unexpected, Garrus stated.
The dragon took to the air, and the husks charged the group. Garrus quickly downed one with his bow, while Thane tore one apart with a biotic warp field. Shepard immediately tore at one with his sword, and the Dovahkiin shouted the remaining three to pieces with his Thuum.
That was too easy, the Dovahkiin spat.
As if on command, two more dragons flew over, perching themselves on the Palaces roof. They roared, and shot more of the black substance across the bridge courtyard. Several more husks emerged. These were more of the Berserker kind, with pointed ears and axes for hands.
The Dragon husks began firing their mouth-mounted beam weaponry, hailing the bridge with explosions.
Everyone inside! the Dragonborn shouted. Now!
Shepard and his two squadmates rushed to the door, wrenching it open and sprinting inside. The Dovahkiin followed. When he was inside, he used his Unrelenting Force shout to bring down a balcony, crushing several Berserker husks and blocking the entrance.
The inside of the palace was a mess. Evidently, husks had already infiltrated the Jarls home and decimated the place.
Jarl Elisif! the Dragonborn shouted.
Elisif, dammit! he shouted again.
Were down here! a booming voice sounded.
Dovahkiin ran to a pile of rubble. Shepard and his teammates helped clear away the debris. Underneath was Falk Firebeard, the Jarls steward.
Thank you, Dovahkiin, the steward exclaimed. Elisif was able to reach the harbor along with her housecarl. I was trying to retrieve her husbands old warhorn, but then the roof caved in.
What happened here? Shepard asked.
We were attacked, Falk responded.
We couldnt tell, the Dovahkiin chided.
Falk shook his head. No. The dragons came later. Someone in the Castle Dour had smuggled some of those
those creatures into the city. They opened the gates and slaughtered most of the guards before we even knew what hit us.
Shepard inquired, Do you have any idea who did this?
Falk sighed in distress. No.
Dovahkiin thought for a moment. I might have an idea, though. Falk, get out of here. Were going to visit some old friends.
The Steward nodded and rushed towards a secondary entrance.
Where are we going? Shepard asked.
Youll see, the Dragonborn responded. But first we need to
Dovahkiin! a voice boomed.
The group turned around and watched as the back wall of the palace was destroyed. As the dust settled, another dragon stood. This one was different than the others, though. It was covered in rigid plates, and its curved horns and black skin seemed oddly familiar.
Shepard recognized the dragon. It was the one the Normandy had hit during its descent.
Alduin, the Dragonborn spat.
Yes, Dovahkiin, Alduin hissed. We never did finish that fight did we. No
we didnt. Why was that again. He turned his gaze towards Shepard. Oh, right. Thats why. This vulok kiin decided to hit me with his ship!
Alduin shouted, hitting the commander with a strong wave of force.
Dovahkiin put himself between the dragon and Shepard. Listen, you oversized newt. This war is between you and me.
Oh, but you see, my colleague wishes the human dead, Alduin stated, a grin crossing his teeth. But if you want a fight, then let the tournament begin. Fus ro Dah!
Dovahkiin was thrown into the wall, but he immediately recovered and rushed towards Alduin. He retrieved a bow from his back, and drew an arrow on it. He let go of the bow, sending the arrow at Alduins head.
The dragon ducked. This time, Alduin sent out another shout that caused stones to hail down from on high. The Dovahkiin dodged them, but Shepard and company, inexperienced in combat with the World Eater, dove into cover behind an overturned stone table.
The Dragonborn fired another arrow, this one poisoned with the venom of a frostbite spider. The arrow imbedded itself within Alduins chest, but the dragon simply laughed.
Alduin opened his mouth and roared. The sound was quickly followed by a powerful laser beam. The Dovahkiin narrowly avoided the attack.
Come on, Dovahkiin, you cant run forever! the dragon taunted.
The Dovahkiin ran up a staircase and onto a balcony, narrowly avoiding one of Alduins lunges in the process. He then looped his bow over his shoulder and unsheathed his sword. He jumped from the balcony, flying through the air and landing on Alduins back. The dragon tried desperately to shake off the Nord, but he had a good grip on one of the dragons armored plates. He raised his sword, and brought it down in the gap between two plates.
Alduin shrieked in pain as the Dovahkiin cut open his back. Blood and a strange, blue-black fluid fell to the ground. The Dragon jumped into the air and slammed the Dovahkiin against the ceiling, loosening his grip and causing him to fall off. The Dragonborn hit the ground, hard. Within seconds, though, he was using a restoration spell to heal himself.
He spat out some blood. Is that all youve got? he taunted.
Alduin landed on the rocky outcropping just outside the palace. Is this all Ive got? he laughed. Im just getting started.
Shepard watched as the dragon opened his mouth. The sound of a reaper emitted from the gap, followed by an immensely powerful beam of plasma. The stream collided with the north end of the palace, and the dragon swept it across the wall, cutting through the building and causing the ceiling to collapse.
When it was done, Alduin could not see anything moving inside. He smiled. He hadnt even shown off all of his improvements yet. It was a pity the Dovahkiin would never see them.
The dragon flew to the center of the city, perching himself on top of a ruined tower. He spread his wings.
My legion! he called to the dragons flying around the city. We have won this battle! The Dovahkiin has fallen! No longer is our dominance threatened by any mortal!
The other dragons roared in triumph. Alduin smiled.
Return home! Return to Skuldafn and retrieve your reward!
The dragons let out one final bellow of victory before flying away. Alduin watched as their forms eventually disappeared over the horizon. Once the last of his kin was out of sight, he took flight, heading north into the Sea of Ghosts. He needed to report to Vulokdrog.