Samuel dropped through a blue tunnel, different branches flowing in every direction, with names.
"Cloudharbor, Ashpit, Shivering Isles..." muttered Samuel, looking at all the Daedra's planes of Oblivion.
He looked up and saw his realm, Mundus, its entrance closed shut. The golden staff flew out of Samuel's grasp and fell into Evergloam, the Daedric princess Nocturnal's realm.
Below him, a large portal entrance labeled SOVNGARDE was open. Samuel fell in and all could see were the clouds. He fell through the clouds, getting soaked. The ground of Sovngarde was below him. A stone platform stood at the foot of a mountain, with stone steps and a trail leading away from it. Samuel's fall slowed and he gently landed on the platform.
Samuel looked at Sovngarde's landscape and saw that most of it was covered by a misty fog.
Samuel took a moment to regain his senses. He had just traveled into another dimension.
He walked down the steps to see the spirit of a Stormcloak soldier. He looked human and whole, but had a white glowing aura around him.
"Turn back, traveler! Terror awaits within the mist! Many have braved the shadowed vale but vain is all courage against the peril that guards the way."
"Who are you?" asked Samuel.
"Near Giant's Gap, in gloom before dawn, we marched, unsuspecting into the Imperial's trap. Then we stood and fought, our shield-wall defending until dawn's light. The Legion's ranks wavered. But I never knew if nights-end brought victory: a swift-flying arrow to Sovngarde carried me."
"Why are you talking in iambic pentameter?"
"Do not question the will of the gods."
"Alright, if the gods are obsessed with Shakespeare, whatever. What's with the mist?"
"I do not know, but none have passed through. Alduin, his hunger insatiable, hunts the lost souls snared within this shadowed valley. Can you lead the way to where Shor's hall waits, beckoning us to welcome long sought?"
"Don't you know? What drew you here? The Hall of Valor, where the greatest heroes spend eternity. I saw it fair when first I trod this long-sought path. The pain and fear vanished, dreamlike, and a vision beckoned. Shor's hall, shimmering across the clouded vale. But quenched was hope by the shrouding mist...my mind is darkened. I've lost the way and wander blindly. Hurry! Before Alduin your life devours bring word to Shor's hall of our hard fate!"
Samuel walked through the mist, using the Clear Skies Shout when he needed it. Near a small stream, a man in fine robes was wandering along the path. Samuel had seen enough paintings in Cyrodiil of him to know who was: High King Torygg of Skyrim, who was killed by Ulfric Stormcloak, starting the civil war.
"Hello," said Samuel.
"When Ulfric Stormcloak, with savage Shout, sent me here, my sole regret was fair Elisif, left forlorn and weeping. I faced him fearlessly, my fate inescapable, yet my honor is unstained...can Ulfric say the same?"
Samuel walked away. Why does everyone speak in Shakespearean? he thought.
The mist parted, and Samuel saw the greatest sight he had ever seen.
The Hall of Valor was huge, twice the size of Dragonsreach in Whiterun. It sat on a rock island in the middle of a huge cliff, a bridge made of whalebone led across the gap.
A huge man with armor covering only his legs stood before him, carrying an axe almost as big as Samuel. He turned to him.
"What brings you here, wayfarer grim, to wander here, in Sovngarde, souls-end, Shor's gift to the honored dead?"
"Who are you?" asked Samuel. He didn't add, why does everyone talk in iambic pentamter?
"I am Tsun, shield-thane to Shor. The Whalebone Bridge he bade me guard and winnow all the souls whose heroic end sent them here, to Shor's lofty hall where welcomed, well-earned celebration awaits those I judge fit to join that fellowship of honor. I ask again, what brings you here?"
"I'm here to defeat Alduin," said Samuel.
"A fateful errand. No few have chafed to face the Worm since first he set his soul-snare here at Sovngarde's threshold. But Shor's restrained our wrathful onslaught. Perhaps, deep-counselled, your doom he foresaw. Inside the Hall of Valor, you should go. But first--by what right do you deserve entry?"
"By right of birth. I am Dragonborn.
"Ah!" said Tsun. "It's been too long since I last faced a doom-driven hero of the dragon blood. But, living or dead, by decree of Shor, none my pass this perilous bridge 'till I judge them by the warrior's test."
Tsun gripped his mighty axe and swung at Samuel. He sidestepped and tripped Tsun with his sword handle. Samuel raised his blade above the god's chest.
"You fought well," he said, getting up, "Sheath your weapon. I find you worthy. It has been long since one of the living has entered here. May Shor's favor follow you and your errand."
Samuel sheathed his sword and crossed the bridge. The drop below was quite far. He didn't feel relaxed until he stood at the doors of the Hall of Valor. He pushed them open and stepped inside.
The main area was a long firepit with a spit above, a pig roasting. Two long tables stood on either side of the pit. Many heroes of Skyrim walked around, like Olaf One-Eye, who built Dragonsreach to capture the dragon Numinex. Jurgen Windcaller sat a table, drinking a pint. Ysgramor, founder of human civilization on Skyrim, and later all of Tamriel, walked over to him.
"Welcome, Dragonborn! Our door has stood empty since Alduin first set his soul-snare here. By Shor's command we sheathed our blades and ventured not the vale's dark mist. But three await your word to loose their fury upon the perilous foe. Gormlaith Golden-Hilt, glad-hearted in battle, Hakon One-Eye, the valiant, heavy-handed warrior, and Felldir the Old, far-seeking and grim," said the Nordic warrior.
Samuel walked over to the three heroes.
Gormlaith smiled. "At long last! Alduin's doom is now ours to seal. Just speak the word and with high hearts we'll hasten forth to smite the worm wherever he lurks!"
Felldir held up his hand. "Hold, comrades. Let us counsel take before battle is blindly joined. Alduin's mist is more than a snare: its shadowy gloom is his shield and cloak. But with four Voices joined, our valor combined, we can blast the mist and bring him to battle."
"Felldir speaks wisdom," said Hakon. "The World-Eater, coward, fears you, Dragonborn. We must drive away his mist, Shouting together, then unsheathe our blades in desperate battle with our black-winged foe."
The three heroes drew their weapons. "To battle, my friends!" shouted Gormlaith. "The fields will echo with the clamor of war, our wills undaunted!"