Shinbira: Journal of a Survivor, Chapter 26

  •         Author's note: contains violence

    Last Seed 22nd: Whiterun

    A bloody dragon, again?! Just when I thought things were starting to go my way for once!

    Irileth has rushed into Farengar's study, shouting "You need to come at once; a dragon's been spotted near the Western Watchtower: let's go!" and dragged us all upstairs. Even in all the excitement I notice that Delphine - if that's who she is - has not joined us: that conversation will have to wait for another time then...

    The Jarl is in intense conversation with a young, and very frightened, city guard. 

    " was fast," the guard is saying, "faster than anything I've ever seen! It wasn't attacking when I saw it, just circling the Watchtower. So I ran here, as fast as I could, faster than I've ever run before in my life! I thought it would catch me!"

    "Good work, son" the Jarl replies, patting the exhausted man on the back, despite the mud and grime. "You should go to the barracks for some food and rest: you've earned it."

    "Thank you my Lord" the guard says as he turns to leave, walking slowly and stiffly.

    Stepping forward Irileth earnestly informs the Jarl "I've already ordered my men to gather at the main gate."

    "Good. Don't fail me!" the Jarl tells her.

    Jarl Balgruuf is clearly in command here: decisive, authoritative, thinking clearly and quickly.

    Turning now to me - me?! - he says: "There's no time to waste here, my friend; I need your help again. I want you to go with Irileth and help her fight this dragon! You survived Helgen, so you have more experience with dragons than anyone else here."

    So I'm the Resident Dragon Expert here now? Maybe I should ask for a salary?Yes - I survived Helgen: by running away, not by fighting the cursed thing! 

    I can't say any of this, of course. Although couched in polite language I can recognise that what Jarl Balgruuf wants me to do is not a request.

    Gods, I hate being told what to do, even by a Jarl! A Nord Jarl!

    "But I haven't forgotten the service you did for me in retrieving the Dragonstone for Farengar," the Jarl continues. "As a token of my esteem I have instructed Avenicii that you are now permitted to buy property here, and please: accept this gift from my personal armoury."

    An enchanted helmet.  Well it's better than a clothes-iron. And a house! Maybe a salary could come later...

    Farengar now interjects: "I should really come along: I would very much like to see this dragon."

    Yes, send Farengar! He knows more about dragons than anyone! And he can probably zap it or something!

    "No." The Jarl replies, firmly. "I can't risk both of you..."

    Oh, so I'm your trusty Dragon Expert, but I'm expendable? Thanks very much...

    "...and," he continues, "I need you here to work on ways of stopping these dragons."

    "As you command, my Lord", Farengar replies, and slopes off.


    So it's done. Irileth, Faendal and I are suddenly running: out of the Palace and down the steps and their rushing streams, past the raving fanatic of Talos, past the big dying tree. Through the market, past the Inn and the shops, dodging squabbling children then finally stopping outside the barracks before the gate. 

    There Irileth gives a rousing speech to the group of guards she's assembled. 

    " want this monster to reach your City? Remember Helgen! Do you want it to burn your Whiterun, your houses, your shops, your Inn? The Palace? What about your wives, your husbands, your brothers and sisters, your fathers, your mothers - your Mead?! Should we allow that?"

    "NO! KILL IT! SLAY THE BEAST!"the madly enthused troup shouts back.

    "SO LET'S GO KILL US A DRAGON!!" Irileth bellows. 


    And they're off! Running as fast as they can, and we follow. I think about sneaking off and hoping no-one will notice, then think again. I suspect someone will. And Faendal the Upright, glued to my back, would probably snitch on me anyway.  

    They do like to fight, these Nords! Mind you, so does my Dunmer sister Irileth. And me! Just not against dragons. On we run...

    I wonder what sort of house I can buy here? How much will it cost? Have I got enough Septims? Is there anything more I could sell? The Jarl's magic hat! Would he notice? Would he mind? Maybe I could learn how to make some fancier potions, then sell them? Or kill some goats and make armour out of their tanned hides? No - there must be some real rich people here, who are as careless as that lying farmer! Yeah! And what about Milly? Would she like my house? Ah, Milly: her lovely shoes, her dainty little feet, her hair, her smile, her laugh, her pale slender neck, her bare shoulders. her..."

    "Shinbira! Where are you going? We're here!"

    "What? Where? Oh, right, Faendal. Yes, dragon: good. Where are we?"

    Get yourself together,Shinbira! 

    Irileth is addressing the guards again, whio have been joined by another group from the tower. They tell us that the dragon did attack but has now disappeared. This time Irileth's speech is practical: she issues instructions and orders, assigns us tasks and positions in readiness for the dragon's return. I'm hoping it's got bored with us and has found something more interesting to do! 

    I run off to do - whatever it is I'm supposed to do. 

    And suddenly - there it is. That great winged demon, that other-worldly cry - those flames!

    A lesser Mer, a weak Mer, would be frightened. I am not afraid!

    I am also not stupid. I am a Survivor. I think about running: in the chaos of a dragon attack I'm sure I could get away with it!

    Suddenly, swooping with astonishing speed it breathes its fire over two of the guards - and leaves only smouldering, smoking corpses. I start running. It breathes its breath of fiery death at me, and I just manage to jump sideways, out of the way. My hair, my leather armour, my hand are burnt. But I yet live!

    Now, I run. I run as fast I can, maybe faster than I ever have.  

    I run - towards the dragon. My bloodlust is up. I can feel the spirits of my ancestors rising within me, angry, hating this beast, wanting - needing - revenge; this monster who hurts me, who burns me, who burns us! 

    I run at it. But it's too fast! It flies off again at great speed; I lose sight of the thing! 

    I hear it, that great deep sound of the dragon's attack - almost like speech. Looking around desparately I see another spout of flame hurtling downwards, consuming everything it touches. I run to it, again.

    I am fast, but before I get even half way again it is gone. I haven't even been able to draw my sword! The fury within me grows hotter.

    "Fight the beast, Shinbira! Fight it!" Faendal cries.

    "I am trying, Faendal! What do you want me to do: spit at it?!"

    "Shinbira!" he shouts at me, in both exasperation and exhortation, "Brother! Remember your training: take your bow!"

    Oh, that. Well I suppose it had to come in useful sometime

    I take my bow and shoot an arrow. I miss. The dragon is far away again.

    This is hopeless! 

    The words of Tullius in Helgen return to my ears, as if to haunt me: "How do you fight a dragon?!" 

    The spirits within do not agree! We will fight this dragon! We will find a way!

    Here, in the city of Whiterun, we ("we"?) were ready. In Helgen they were not: dragons were thought to be extinct. Here - we - are many; in Helgen they were few. And 'we' have defenses: towers and battlements, and we are organised.

    As if in answer to my thoughts a great volley of arrows flies out from within the tower towards the dragon as it goes to make its next attack, briefly colouring grey a little patch of the bright blue sky. I can hear the mighty swish as the arrows fly through the air. 

    They miss.

    But not by much, and not all of them!

    The dragon seems enraged, and charges at the archers.

    "AGAIN! AGAIN!" that sultry, dark voice commands.

    A sudden flash of Dunmeri pride rises from within, as if carried on the voices of my kin from throughout the ages.   

    Another volley: and this one hits! The dragon cries out, and flies off! Not before it sends a great wall of flame into the tower where the archers were. The stone of the tower burns!

    Wounded, enraged, with great dollops of dark blood dripping through its scales, the dragon swoops back around for another attack. Every time it attacks we are fewer. How long can we survive? Without our archers how can we hurt it again?

    It is flying straight at me! Is this to be my end? To be rescued from the Executioner's Axe by a dragon's attack only to then be killed by it? Has it returned to correct its mistake, to finish its work? I ready myself: maybe I can lure it close enough so that I can throw my knife, or even shoot an arrow at it - maybe even into greatsword range?

    I run behind a stone battlement, and then I see him. 

    Crouched underneath an overhanging and smouldering lump of stone, hidden, waiting, a great glowing arrow cocked and ready in his bow.


    We exchange glances. I rush out at the beast, waving my arms. It sees me, and comes at me as I move back around behind the battlement.

    Then with a speed I didn't know he possessed Faendal jumps out, shoots the arrow at the beast, and hits true. The metal embeds itself in its eye, pus and ordure ooze out of the destroyed socket and the dragon roars in pain! 

    The mighty beast collapses to the ground: finally we have weakened it!

    Seeing this the remaining guards give a great cry and rush at the monster.

    Charging, shouting, waving their weapons they run at it, each eager to deliver the final blow.

    "WAIT!" that beautiful Dunmer voice again commands. "IT ISN'T FINISHED YET!"

    As if in answer the beast breathes out again: the men and women in the group's vanguard collapse, screaming: rolling on the ground, engulfed in all-consuming flames.

    Two bold guards try to take advantage and counter-attack, thinking the dragon distracted. They reach the beast, and go to strike! Just as their weapons are about to hit it attacks with its mighty claws: one it swats away as if he was an annoying insect, the other is taken up, placed in the monster's huge jaws and his body snapped in two as if a mere twig.

    We remaining few are more cautious now.

    Shouting, waving their arms, and all the while keeping a safe distance the guards try to engage the wounded beast. Little groups advance in attack but are forced back. Faendal and a few surviving archers shoot their arrows in the hope of another critical hit. The dragon however is now wary, and dodges or swats away their missiles.   

    The guards and the dragon continue in stalemate: advance, retreat, attack, defend. How strange that the fire and thunder, the violence and brutality of the battle has now become this: a quiet, tense stand-off. 

    I'm still in my hiding place behind the battlements, on the dragon's blind side. It hasn't seen me!

    The ardour within me again rises. Yes! I edge my way around the battlement, moving as slowly and as quietly as I am able. I crouch as low as I can, avoiding every twig that snaps, every cinder that crackles. Time seems to stand still, my journey could well last an eternity. The soft noises of the battle's cut and thrust continue; the noise of the spirits within rises.


    I continue my short but slow journey.

    The clamour within rises. NO: PATIENCE!

    My heartbeat quickens as my feet move ever more slowly, all the while moving me closer to my goal. I round the battlement and I see the dragon again! Guards are rushing at it, weapons drawn, then quickly jumping back before the flames reach them. Arrows ping at the beast and are swatted away, as another group approaches in attack, narrowly avoiding the great claws.

    And so they dance, and so I move: unseen, unheard.

    Staying on the monster's blind side I leave the stone ramparts behind and slowly approach. It's great tail is ahead, swishing in agony and anger. I must be careful!

    Nearly there. BE STILL! WE ARE CLOSE!

    The great beast is mere feet away. I can smell its blood and feel its heat. As slowly and deliberately as I can I take my enchanted greatsword, grasping it tightly in readiness. Tensing my thighs, every muscle straining, every thought focussed, the rage within me rises to a crescendo, filling me, burning my sul. With a great leap I propel myself at the dragon, twisting my body and throwing my arms and shoulders backwards. My sul screams. I thrust the sword down as hard as I can. It hits, and hard: all my might is in it, and it buries itself deep into the dragon's spine. RELEASE! My sul burns, anger of the ages fills my mind, the passionate rage unbearable! It must out! RELEASE! I open my mouth and scream, such a scream as never I have before uttered: the beast of fire burns with our rage, and it breathes no more.

    As I fall to the ground I hear a Nord voice proclaiming in exultation: "You did it! You killed the dragon!". Darkness engulfs me.

    Don't forget: 'If you like it then you oughtta put a 'click' on it'...

    And if you don't please tell me why, or how else will I get better? Also if you do!


    Table of Contents


  • Idesto
    Idesto   ·  July 26, 2015
    Yes, its worrying isn't it? But don't worry: the hate is still there. Ultimately Shin loves a good fight, even though he didn't want be there at first.
    Thanks,  I enjoyed writing that, although I think it could have been a lot better. I like stickin...  more
  • Exuro
    Exuro   ·  July 26, 2015
    Oh no! Those charming Nords are wearing down Shin's defenses, he said we. I like the tactics and the description of his sul.
    Caught a typo at the end:
    ...unbearable! It must [come?] out!
  • Idesto
    Idesto   ·  July 19, 2015
    Thanks, both of you. It was fun to write!
    Chapter 74 eh? I'll try to keep that in mind when I reach it. :)
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  July 17, 2015
    Nice dragon fight. The part where he wonders about Milly reminds me of one of my chapters. Ch 74 Lover's nest. You'll see why when you get to read it.
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  July 17, 2015
    Shinbira, the badass. 
    That was fun.