After finishing the Companions quests and being named Harbinger I decided to go back to the main quest line for a while.
By this point I had collected enough money and loot that I was able to buy Breezehome, the house in Whiterun. It is convinently located beside Warmaidens, the forge near the entrance to the city, so fast-traveling to Whiterun practically drops you next to it. I bought the house and a few upgrades (it’s really shabby looking inside without the upgrades) and dropped off the items I didn’t want to sell then got Lydia to start following me again and headed east from Whiterun.
The Way of the Voice
I was headed for High Hrothgar, the home of the Greybeards, which was located on the Throat of the World, the highest mountain in Skyrim. The nearest town to it was Ivarstead so I set my waypoint there and headed for it.
Along the river east of Whiterun there is a circle of stones containing the Ritual Stone which grants the ability to raise the dead to fight for you once per day. (There was a necromancer there too, but he died of an extreme case of sword wounds.) I had the Thief Stone at this point (+20% experience for shadow skills) so stayed with it.
Further past the Ritual Stone are the Valtheim Towers, a bridge between two towers over the river. There was a group of bandits holed up there who demanded a “toll” from me to pass. I attacked instead and killed the group of them with Lydia’s help.
Beyond there I made it to Ivarstead without further major incidents. There isn’t much in Ivarstead (there is a barrow with an amusing quest) so I started climbing the 7000 steps to High Hrothgar.
There are 10 shrines located along the way. If you stop at all 10 of them you get a blessing that prevents wild animals from attacking you for 24 hours.
The only real danger along the way is a frost troll. Kiting it around while shooting with arrows and letting Lydia attack it finally took it down.
Once at High Hrothgar I met with Amgeir, the leader of the Greybeards. Amgeir told me that as the “Dragonborn” I could learn to use “Shouts” or “Thuums”; words of power in the Dragon language. The Greybeards had devoted their lives to learning these words and powers but as the Dragonborn I could learn them easily and naturally.
I had already learned one word when I helped slay the dragon near Whiterun. Amgeir asked me to demonstrate. A shout, I learned, consisted of up to three words and I had only learned the first. The Greybeards taught me the second word of “Unrelenting Force” (which blasted foes away from me with its power) then taught me the first word of “Whirlwind Sprint” (which let me move quickly).
They then told me that I had one task remaining. I must travel to Ustengrav and retrieve the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller from within it.
The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller
Ustengrav is located in the marshes near Solitude. It took me a while to get there because I had a bit of trouble finding a path around the mountains. I first tried to go through the pass at Labryinthian but the frost trolls there turned out to be a bit much for me and Lydia to handle. I eventually found my way far to the west and then northward to Ustengrav.
Inside were the usual dragur and walking skeletons as well as a mix of mages; mostly necromancers. I eventually reached a point where I had to turn three stone obelisks to a proper orientation then run between them while a series of gates opened. At first I did not see how I would be able to do this in time, then I remembered the Whirlwind Sprint shout the Greybeards had taught me and rushed past them.
I eventually made my way to Jurgen Windcaller’s burial chamber, only to find the Horn I was searching for was gone! In its place was a note from “a friend” telling me to go to the town of Riverwood and rent the attic room in the inn there. Annoyed at the waste of my time, I exited the barrow and made my way back towards Riverwood.
There I asked for the attic room. The proprietor seemed to have no idea as to what I was talking about and his assistant told me to take one of the other rooms instead. I started to leave but something about her tone made me go into the room.
Once inside, the assistant closed the door and revealed herself to be the one who had left the note. It was a test, it seemed. She then handed me the Horn I had been searching for and asked me to follow her. She revealed a secret door hidden behind a cupboard and led me to a secret room underground.
There, she introduced herself as Delphine and told me that she was one of the last of the Blades; the elite group that had once protected the Emperor and who had been his eyes and ears throughout the Empire. They had also been almost completely wiped out during the war with the Aldmeri Dominion. She was one of the few remaining.
The Blades, it seemed, had been dragonslayers long before they became the Emperor’s guardians and spies and Delphine was worried about the return of the dragons. She said she could help me but first I had to prove to her that I was the Dragonborn by slaying a dragon.
From her studies she had determined that the next dragon to appear would do so near the town of Kynesgrove. She asked me to accompany her there. Not being able to come up with a good excuse to avoid it, I agreed.
The two of us quickly made our way through the night towards Kynesgrove. As we approached, we met several townsfolk fleeing the area. A dragon had been sighted! We headed for the mound.
As we arrived I saw a dragon hovering in the air above the burial mound. It looked to be the same one I had seen in Helgen. Several of the Kynesgrove guards were firing arrows at it but it ignored them and shouted something. The ground cracked and a skeletal dragon emerged from the mound, its flesh regrowing as I watched.
I didn’t give it time to reform and immediately drew my sword and attacked. The battle was surprisingly brief, probably because I attacked so quickly before it was completely revived. It fell and again I felt the surge of energy as its spirit flowed into me.
I looked around but the other dragon was gone. The guards seemed awestruck and one asked if I was the Dragonborn. Before I could answer, Delphine pulled me aside.
I was the Dragonborn, she said, and as a Blade she would help me. But she needed some time to determine if the return of the dragons was caused by the civil war or by the Aldemeri Dominion and to think about what our next move would be. She would be returning to the inn in Riverwood. When I was ready I should meet her there.
She disappered into the night and I turned to face the slain dragon, once again a skeleton. I debated following her but decided the political machinations she was discussing could wait.
Instead, I headed up the road towards Windhelm.