Part 20 - Dragonsreach

The next morning Clark headed for Dragonsreach. He'd been meaning to talk to Farengar Secret-Fire, the court mage, about the dragons, and now was the perfect opportunity.

Half-way there, a guard came up to him and told him that Jarl Balgruuf wanted to see him. He was summoning all his Thanes to advise him on the latest dragon situation. So the heads of the Grey-Mane and Battle-Born clans would be there, too. Clark recalled that they rarely agreed on anything, so Jarl Balgruuf would be asking him to cast any deciding vote.

"Diablita?" There weren't many people you could confuse with the red-skinned, horned, tailed, and hooved woman talking to the Jarl. As far as Clark knew, she was the only example of her race, whatever that was.

"Clark? How are you still alive after all these years?"

Clark worried that now the Jarl would know how old he was, but it occurred to him that Balgruuf would have no idea how much time Diablita was talking about. He ignored her question and asked one of his own.

"What brought you to Skyrim? I thought you and Angeline had settled outside Chorrol."

"You know this woman?" Jarl Balgruuf interrupted.

"Oh, yes," Clark confirmed. "I knew her in Cyrodiil, before I came to Skyrim. Why has she come to your court today? Did you summon her?"

"No, she's the reason I brought all the rest of you here. She wants to use the old trap on the balcony to catch a dragon. I don't see how we can take that risk while the Civil War is still going on. As soon as either side sees we're busy with the dragon, they'll make a move."

"Perhaps I can persuade the Greybeards to host a peace conference," Diablita suggested. "Both sides respect the Greybeards, and regard them as neutral."

"Aye, Dragonborn, they do. But do you have enough influence with the Greybeards? I know that they summoned you to High Hrothgar after you helped Irileth slay the dragon at the watchtower, but I know little of what's happened since."

Did the Jarl really call her Dragonborn? Clark decided he needed a long chat with Diablita, as soon as possible.

Balgruuf wanted the Thanes' opinions on her idea. Clark's vote was for, and he was surprised that it was unanimous. Perhaps everyone did believe in the Greybeards' ability to pull this off. Of course, she'd have to convince General Tullius and Ulfric Stormcloak as well.

Well, they were both men, and Diablita had everything she needed to make a good first impression. Clark remembered the first time he'd met her and her sister, as they climbed out of his basement back in the Imperial City Waterfront. She hadn't changed much in the two hundred years since. Her chains and piercings were gold now, and of finer workmanship, but they were still just about all she wore.

When the meeting broke up, Clark and Diablita left together. He needed to find out how she'd become the Dragonborn that everyone had been talking about, ... and everything else that had happened in the last couple of centuries.

"I came to Skyrim to learn mage armour spells," she told him. "You know I don't like covering myself up, and I got tired of trying to adapt regular armour to suit me. When I heard about the magical alternative, I wanted to give it a try."

"When I crossed the border, I got caught up in an Imperial ambush that captured Ulfric Stormcloak. I guess they thought I was part of his group, because they hauled us all off to Helgen to be executed. That all got interrupted by a dragon attacking the town, and some of us got away, including Ulfric, Tullius and his Thalmor advisor, and a Nord called Ralof, who took me down to Riverwood with him. He stayed there, while I came here to warn the Jarl."

"When a second dragon was spotted near the watchtower, the Jarl sent me out with Irileth. I was the only one who'd even seen a dragon before, apart from the guard from the watchtower, so it made sense."

"We killed the dragon, and that was as much the Nords' doing as mine. I absorbed some kind of power from it, and learned to use the Unrelenting Force shout. I'd found the first word on a wall in Bleak Falls Barrow, but I didn't know how to use it before."

"That's when one of the men told me I was Dragonborn. Apparently learning Thu'ums is hard for normal people, and if you can just absorb them from dragons, it's special."

"So it has nothing to do with your horns, and looking a bit like one?" Clark asked.

"You haven't seen half of it," she responded, and cast a spell. Wings sprouted from her back. Leathery ones, that looked just like a dragons' wings.

"You couldn't do that before. Where did you get that from?"

"Nocturnal gave them to us." Diablita looked sad when she said that. "Angeline, my late half-sister, got some, too. We'd retrieved the Ring of Hircine for her, from a werewolf who was terrorising the Gold Coast, and she noticed me looking enviously at one of her Seducer Guards' wings. Or maybe Angeline doing the same. We agreed on a lot of things, after all."

"I wonder why Nocturnal didn't ask Minx and I to get the ring?" Clark asked.

"I think she said you were in Skyrim at the time. Something about a draugr in a cave, and Nightingales. It didn't make a lot of sense at the time, but then we didn't even know what draugr were back then."

"What happened to Angeline?" he asked.

"Died at a ripe old age, surrounded by her family. Our family, really, as it was always dubious who anybody's father was, so we shared. We settled at Weatherleah with the Jemane twins, and had our matching daughters. Born a few hours apart, just like their mothers. I have no idea which of the twins was Elys' father, and Angeline would have told you the same about her Emelie. Then Angeline had twin boys, who looked a lot like their fathers, except that their hair was as blond as their mother's."

"Since three of the four kids were hers, she tended to stay at home and look after them, while I went out adventuring on my own. And of course, she was a round-ear, and aging faster than I was. The Nords all call me an elf because of my pointed ears, and I seem to have their lifespan, too. I still don't know what I am, so Dragonborn is a good a term as any."

"Most of the children and grandchildren etc. were Angeline's, and there were a lot of twins in the mix. Elys and I were the odd ones out, even though we were always close to our respective siblings, the cousins and so on were more distant. I would take Elys with me on my dungeon-diving trips, and we'd be away from the farm for long periods."

"I think Elys went to High Rock some time before the war with the Aldmeri Dominion. I haven't heard from her in a long time. And Angeline's line are too numerous to track; they'd be all over the continent by now."

Diablita leaves for Solitude.

"Did you have your wings out when the dragon came to Helgen?" Clark asked. The thought had just struck him that the dragon might have seen them.

"Yes, I have to cast the spell again to retract them, and my hands were bound so I couldn't do that. And I wondered myself if that had anything to do with the dragon coming. But it seemed to be attacking everyone, and I wasn't getting any special attention, so I've discounted that idea."

"They might have got me extra attention from Ralof, but then so might a couple of other things. There was an Imperial soldier who wanted to help me escape, too, but I saw him guiding a child out of the town instead. I wonder where the kid ended up?"

They were almost at the door of Breezehome by this time, and Clark invited Diablita to stay. But she was intent on going to Solitude as quickly as possible. She had to persuade General Tullius to attend the peace conference. Once he'd agreed, she thought Ulfric would have no choice, or he'd be seen as the unreasonable one.

Clark wished her luck, and watched her leave through the main gate.