As Natasha made her way back to Whiterun, she thought about becoming a mother. Her decision to adopt Lucia was impulsive, but it provided her with a deeper sense of purpose than she’d ever experienced before. She always believed she would be a mother one day, but she thought that day wouldn’t come until she fell in love and got married. Nevertheless, she found herself daydreaming about cooking dinner for the two of them, and sitting with Lucia at a little table in a house that was their own.
Despite her pleasant reverie, she remained alert and ready to fight if necessary. The threat she faced that night was nothing like the typical ferocious wolves or desperate thugs–a shrouded man emerged from the shadows and viciously stabbed her before she could draw her swords. The assassin’s blade sliced through several layers of leather and pierced her abdomen. A surge of adrenaline prevented her from feeling any pain; Natasha became a whirlwind of swords and butchered her attacker before she could consciously process what had happened. As she crouched down to inspect the body, pain from her wound flooded her mind. She applied pressure with one hand to slow her blood loss, and patted down her assailant with the other.
Tucked inside the would-be killer’s light armour was a folded piece of paper. Her bloody hands left stains on the note when she opened it and read, “As instructed, you are to eliminate Natasha by any means necessary. The Black Sacrament has been performed–somebody wants this poor fool dead. We’ve already received payment for the contract. Failure is not an option. Astrid.” Natasha kept the handwritten letter for herself.
“Who would hire an assassin to murder me?” she asked herself while tending to her injury. The Imperials were likely candidates because they intended to execute her, but any enemies of her new friends would also have reasons to want her dead. She believed the only safe thing to do was to keep the encounter and the letter a carefully guarded secret.
Early the next day, Natasha returned to Dragonsreach to bring the stone tablet to the court wizard, Farengar. He was slightly less impatient with her when she gave him the tablet. “Just as I hoped,” he exclaimed and jumped up from his cluttered desk. “It’s a map of dragon burial mounds.” He went to his map of Skyrim and began pondering it.
“A dragon has been spotted nearby!” a woman shouted just outside of Farengar’s study. “Come quickly, both of you!” The woman was a Dark Elf named Irileth.
All three of them ran into the main hall and saw the Jarl questioning a guard, who claimed to have witnessed the dragon himself. “Irileth, send extra men to the Western Watchtower,” the Jarl said before turning to Natasha. “It seems we need your help again. You were at Helgen–you know more about handling dragons than any of us.”
Rather than protest and give in to fear, Natasha agreed to help defend Whiterun from the dragon. In that moment, the only thing she thought about was protecting Lucia. She rushed outside with Irileth, and followed behind her as Irileth gathered several guards. The group sprinted from the fortress city to the nearby watchtower. Parts of the tower were still burning when they arrived, and the only survivor of the attack called to them as they drew near, “I think the beast is coming back around!”
As if on cue, a large white dragon swooped down from the clouds. The guards began firing arrows at the dragon, and it landed right in front of Natasha with a ground shaking thud. It roared and bathed her in flames. She hacked at both sides of its head until it escaped into the air and flew around the other side of the tower.
The other fighters scrambled to take higher positions, but Natasha prepared for the beast to attack on the ground again. She intuitively understood the dragon’s behaviour. Everyone else was out of position when it came down the second time. Natasha dodged its flames and took the opportunity to jump up onto the dragon’s bloodied head.
The dragon jerked its head around, trying to throw her off. She hit it repeatedly with her swords, and finally drove one blade into the dragon’s skull. It let out a defeated groan as it slumped down and took its last breath.
Natasha jumped to the ground and could scarcely believe that she just killed a dragon! There was no time to think about her daring accomplishment though, because the dragon’s body evaporated in flames until its soul was exposed and she absorbed it into herself. “I can’t believe it,” one of the guards said when he reached her side, “you’re Dragonborn!”
“What are you talking about?” she asked, thinking he was crazed from fear.
“In the old legends from the times when dragons lived in Skyrim, the Dragonborn would slay dragons and steal their power.” He explained as best as he could, “According to the old stories, only the Dragonborn can shout like a dragon–in the language of dragons–without any prior training… Try it. Shout at me.”
Natasha closed her eyes and visualized the writing carved in the wall of the old tomb she was exploring the night before. She could only remember part of it, but she turned to face the guard squarely and shouted at him. Her voice hit him with enough power to push him back a couple steps. The guards began arguing amongst themselves while Irileth approached her. “I don’t know about this Dragonborn business, but you killed that dragon and now we know they can be killed! That’s more than enough for me.”
The guards were annoyed and said foreigners wouldn’t understand. The situation could have become heated, but it was disrupted by a sudden, thunderous shout from the top of the nearby mountain. In that moment, everyone except Natasha believed she was the Dragonborn.
When they returned to Dragonsreach, Jarl Balgruuf was thrilled. He praised her for killing the dragon, and said, “I proudly bestow on you the title Thane of Whiterun, and name Lydia as your housecarl.”
“Speaking of titles, our new Thane is the Dragonborn.” Irileth went on and told the Jarl the whole story about the dragon and the shouting.
Finally, the Jarl informed her that the shout from the mountain came from a group of monks–called the Greybeards–who live at the top of the “Throat of the World,” the highest mountain in Skyrim. He said their shout was a summons, and to be summoned by the Greybeards was a great honour.
After learning how she could reach the monastery, Natasha sat down and introduced herself to Lydia. “Jarl Balgruuf said you’re my housecarl, but what does that even mean?” she asked.
Lydia replied, “I am your sword and your shield. I’m sworn to protect you and your property.”
“Would you protect my daughter?”
“I will serve you as you please, and protect all that is yours.”
“Oh, that’s fantastic! I wasn’t sure what I would do once I actually buy a home for us.” She decided not to reveal the assassination contract just yet. Lydia advised her not to purchase the house in Whiterun, and told her to see the Jarl in the Hold to the south, just beyond Helgen. The suggestion felt right to Natasha, and she believed it would help Lucia begin to heal by leaving a place that held such bad memories.
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