I Am Not the Dragonborn

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I am not The Dragonborn, whatever that is. I mean I saw a dragon, after I’d gotten sick and was too weak to run during some Imperial ambush, getting bound up with some Stormcloaks and sent to the headsman, and that dragon spooked the executioner, and thus saved my life, so you can call me the Dragonlover, but definitely not -born.

I only mention it because after we’d escaped Helgen, this real gabber named Rolof insisted I go meet his sister in River Run, his demeanor hinting at some grand adventure awaiting…
Please. What kind of man just offers up his kin to a stranger like that unless he’s got a hidden agenda, usually assault and robbery. Well I’m no milk drinker, Stormcloak, and I got other things to do.

Let me start over. My name is Syren, and I came to Skyrim for one reason, revenge.

I was born in Daggerfall and I’m a Breton, or at least half-Breton, but in a way arriving in Skyrim brings me full circle. The other half of my lineage I don’t know, but I’ll find out when I meet him, this man I have to kill.

What I do know is that my mother was travelling through Hjaalmarch with her betrothed, Thom Beylwick, on their way to Highrock, where his family had just purchased a large estate. They were in a caravan carrying several dignitaries, and one night their camp was held up by a band of thieves known as the Silver Skulls.

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My mother and Thom were separated in the fighting, and she was taken and raped, before Thom found her again and rescued her from death. He had incurred a deep wound of his own however, and soon died of blood loss and infection as they hobbled towards the nearest safety.

Mother made it to Highrock, all swollen with this terrible thing growing inside of her belly, and if it had been a boy, I think she would have killed it right then, right in its first wailing moments, like that rapist had passed right through her, and just strangled it…

But it wasn’t a boy, it was me, and I didn’t cry, and I looked like her. They say I smiled at her, and she sort of smiled back, and it would be the last time she did so.

Mother was beautiful, which is why Thom took a dip down the social ladder to be with her, but she was also delicate, and her beauty had made her life, up until that fateful carriage ride, an easy one. She just couldn’t cope with the turn in her fortunes, and though The Beylwicks graciously kept us on, she couldn’t look at them without tearing up, and they couldn’t look at me without betraying intense disgust. They felt that I should have been “vetted” before birth, but the High Septon had gotten wind of Mother’s plight, and used it as a grand show of forgiveness and compassion, he was real holy, that one.

She continued to drift away, until finally, one dull gray afternoon, she stepped off her balcony, 300 paces down to the Sea. I saw, though she was unaware, and I found the note too, and took it before anyone else arrived. It thanked the Beylwicks for their kindness and their son, and it thanked the High Septon for me, that I was the best possible result of what happened, but the loss of control, the utter powerlessness she felt …was so intense, she could never really love again, never get too close to me, and thus life was not worth living, so she quit.

I guess I was 7 or 8 at the time, my nameday was never anything anyone wanted to remember, so everyone forgot it. I kept to my room and the tutor came and the Septon came and that was my life. The Septon came every other day, and then started coming a few nights, and he would stay late and make me play games. They felt wrong, yes, and if you’re uncomfortable, good, so was I. But there’s a point to me telling this so fuck you if you can’t handle it. After a particularly uncomfortable game, followed by a particularly pointed threat about keeping quiet, I thought that maybe I would like the game better if I played it with kids my own age, and then I would like it more and the Septon wouldn’t be so angry when I cried. So that’s exactly what I did, I showed my step-cousins how to play bedroom, and some guests heard us, and they alerted the Beylwicks, who were ashamed, and of course it was my fault, my doing, and it was the evil that begot me manifesting itself, and so the grown-ups decided that I needed to be closer to the gods, and it would be best if I moved to the temple under the care of the High Septon.

At the temple there were other kids, orphans and unwanteds, and it became pretty clear that we all knew the games, and we all hated the games. Unfortunately for me, it seemed I was still his favorite, probably because I had come from a wealthy place and was still clean. Anyway, one day another girl, she was older and starting to develop her woman parts, she came back early from the Septon’s chambers with extra tears in her eyes, and she told me that next time I was in there I should just grab the shears he kept in the room (he told people that he was inviting us in to cut our hair and offer the locks to the gods to bring us good fortune) and cut him everywhere that he liked to touch with. So I did, I cut it right off. And while he howled and he screamed I wrapped my little fingers around those shears and I stabbed him, and I stabbed him again, and again and again, and it. felt. great.

The other girl was the first to get there, and she had to wrestle me away from him. Suddenly aware, I could hear the footsteps coming, heavy, grown up footsteps. I ran. They chased. But the other girl saved me, calling out to them for help, that he might live – he wouldn’t.

And so I found myself hiding in the sewers of Daggerfall, the most wanted 10 year old in all of Tamriel, the murderous, whoring child of a psychotic debutante and a ruthless bandit.

The longer I went unhanded, the wilder the stories got, until, in some tellings, I became a young daedra, able to vanish into black vapor at will, with only the scent of charcoal to alert anyone of my presence. I loved those stories, and I hoped and prayed that some powers like that might come true, for it sure was tough scraping hard bread away from the skeevers after living in the Beylwick mansion and the high chapel my whole life. Eventually I was able to turn tricks down in Old Town, but when I was 13, Madame Gisel started to notice my resemblance to a certain dead noble with a wanted daughter, and told me to leave Highrock all together.

So I tried passage on a ship bound for Vivek, and it was too expensive, but with enough dirt on my face and keeping my hair short, I managed to hire aboard two days later as a watch boy in the crows keep, and we set sail from Daggerfall. Sure enough, two weeks into the journey and the first mate climbs up to check on “his boy.” So he finds out I’m not, and then he gets upset because now I’m a girl and I know that he came up for a boy and he’s not like that and never was before and it must have been because I was giving him the eye so now he’s gonna take me up on that and it’ll be our little secret or he’ll tell everyone and I’ll be real busy up there. And that’s when he fell out of the crows keep with my help and broke his neck on the main deck. No one else bothered me.

We pull in to Vivek one month after setting out, and I’m begging for dry, solid land, but the first thing I spot on the docks is Imperial soldiers, and as we start unloading, word comes aboard that no one is to leave, they need to check the goods for a girl stowed away, the one who murdered a High Septon, stabbed him with his own prick. I had to give it to Madame Gisel, she always knew how to work a gold piece both ways. It’s dark by the time they get through everything, but then I see one of the sailors whisper to the legion captain, and he suddenly looks at me with interest. I duck out of sight and quietly drop overboard, then swim under the docks, three ships over to a tri-master pulling its ropes from the harbor.

I didn’t fool anybody about anything pulling up onto a deck sopping wet with Imperial soldiers scouring the docks for a… somebody, but the captain of this ship wore a peacock feather in his cap and had a kick in his step, and in fact i noticed the whole crew seemed a bit off, but there were a few women among them at least and it certainly would be better than going back to the gallows in Daggerfall. Captain took one look from me to the legion captain, who’s angry and blustering about, and laughed a deep and satisfied laugh. The crew welcomed me aboard, and that’s how I got started as a Skooma smuggler.

For 5 years I sailed with the crew of the Wandering Eye, and they were the best years of my life.

…Though to be fair, the bar wasn’t set all that high. What I mean is, storms knocked us about, Imperial spies ratted on us causing us to flee in the night, or bad weather or through a blockade, crewmates died in dice games and bad deals and from disease and drug use, but a kinship existed that was like nothing I’d ever experienced, and we looked out for each other, and when I went to bed at night, no one got under the covers who I didn’t want to be there.

Except that last part got me in trouble. Of course I didn’t know it, but I was a magnet for people with bad intentions, and in this case those intentions were usually about sleeping around. You’d think any couple that forms a relationship on a boat called the Wandering Eye would be more open minded about monogamy, but in fact the opposite was true. I was real easy back then because I figured any sacred value that my goods came with had worn off long ago, and one particular night I’m fooling around with the captain when Elsei, his girl and first mate, walks in and catches us. She played it cool for a few weeks while we ran down to the Summer Isles, but when we went to make the return drop in the Imperial City, Elsei said she was sick and asked me to take her place with the captain. As soon as we arrived, the city guards had us ambushed. We fought back but were grossly outnumbered, and I hadn’t had much combat experience. They took me with embarrassing ease, but Captain put up such a fight that for a moment it seemed like he was going to best them all and carve out a path, so they put three arrows in him and he died, but not before giving me one more of his smiles, like we were in on a joke about his wounds. That was when I realized I had been in love with him since the moment he rescued me, and why Elsei’s jealousy ran much deeper than I thought.

My sentence was to rot under the city, most likely die within a year from disease, malnutrition, and bad hygene. If not that, then from splinters and internal hemoraging from the broom poles the boss ladies would use to “assert themselves” over the other women in the cell. I didn’t think anything could get worse than the High Septon, and in a way it couldn’t, but “Lady” and her two bull-dyke companions were a real close second. At first, I was in Skooma withdrawal so bad that nobody went after me, and during that time I observed every trick that didn’t work and almost worked against the boss ladies. I realized that there’s one thing that none of the girls are trying, and it’s the exact thing I did with the Septon.

So when they came for me, I didn’t fight, which can also be a bad thing – they want it to be miserable one way or another, but means that Lady will handle you in private, and then make you cry. They closed the doors on us and she pressed my face against the wall, my hands bound before me, and I caught a glimpse of her power stick. It’s been used, it’s bloody, and if I let it inside of me, infection is certain. The fear boiled up like vomit, and from the smell in here I wasn’t the first. Lady could see it I guess, and laughed. She commended my ability to hold it and then produced a newer stick and told me that only if I was bad would I get the “death dick.” But I still didn’t want any dick, so as she approached my backside, I made my gamble: I rubbed my right foot over my left ankle like I couldn’t wait for it, and then slid the foot ever so slightly up her inner thigh. Her movements stopped cold and she informed me that she would after all be using the first option.

I double down on my gambit and slide my foot all the way up between her thighs, careful not to get too high lest I ruin everything by touching her there with my dirty foot. Again she made no move, and I knew either she wanted to see where this went, or my foot was about to be broken off. Lady tells me what a deadly mistake I’ve made, but the heat radiating down on my heel said otherwise. Real meekly, too quietly, I tell her I want to touch it, and now I’m feeling nautious again, only this time its from the memories coming back from when I had to say things like that to the Septon. Lady lets my foot drop. I hear her walk over to pick up the deadly dick. I’m okay with it because I’m not thinking about it, I’m thinking of my mother, and how she was a real lady, the kind who couldn’t handle this, how terrified she must have been, how shattering it was to be taken like this, what a wonderful mother she would have been if her soul had been left intact, the different daughter she would have raised, one not violated and trashed, one not getting wasted every night on a stinking smugglers’ ship, one not stealing a man’s heart only to see him killed for it, and one not fighting for her life in a dungeon against a power crazed lesbian jail boss.

In this moment I realize that the man who made us into this must pay, he must die, and if he is already dead, then every single one of his bandit friends will die for him.

But first:

Lady spins me around to face her, taps the deadly dick against my outer thigh, and warns me about trying to trick her and how it will get shoved til its coming out of my throat if I am. I jam my tongue into her repulsive mouth and my fingers find her down below. She is powerless and lost in the euphoria of finally nabbing a girl who wants her how she wants to be had. Soon we are on the floor and I am kissing her between the thighs, trying not to breathe, and taking lingering, sensual breaks. Lady is putty and I almost feel bad, but one more look at the deadly dick and I know she’s had this coming. I grab it in a beat and drive the jagged handle-end right through her navel. Pain and surprise well up in equal measure, pain eventually winning, and meanwhile I’m on her throat with two stinking hands and soon she’s done. When her goons come back, I’m wearing Lady’s ragged scarf (only for the moment and then I will burn it) and I let them take in the sight. Then I pull my weapon from her stomach and hold it out between them. I ask who is the one who will hold it for me and they both scramble for the job. When we step out, I let the rest of the girls know that there’s a new mother hen about, and as long as everyone works hard finding us a way out, I won’t ever break out their least favorite broom handle.

Six months later a group of us make a break for it, through an old sewer tunnel system, and find ourselves free women in Cyrodil. I break off and head north for Skyrim. It’s going good til Cheydinhal, where I pick up some flu going around while I’m trading the pelts and ingredients I’ve found out in the woods. I want to lay up there, but I overhear guards getting wind of our breakout, and know I need to keep moving. At the border I’m weak and shivering with fever, but I’ve made such a well hidden shelter that some loudmouth Stormcloaks from Skyrim camp right next to it without even knowing, and when the Imperials lay in on them, I only get caught because some horse thief stumbles over me trying to catch his stolen mare, spooked by the action.

So then the dragon saves me and yeah, that pretty much brings us up to the now, I’m standing in front of some farm, near Falkreath I think, looking to get a hot meal one way or another, and then its on to meet dad.