As Samuel pushed open the doors to Whiterun, he heard a shout come from the Throat of the World.
"DOVAHKIIN!" said the voice.
When the word was shouted, the whole of Skyrim shook. Dust fell from every building. Small children fell over. Samuel looked at the Throat of the World. An avalanche was falling from the mountaintop. Once the shaking stopped and the avalanche was over, Samuel went to Dragonsreach. The Jarl and other city officials in the palace had also felt the shout.
The steward, Proventus Avenicci, stood by the doors. "Good, you're here. The Jarl's been waiting for you."
Jarl Balgruff was talking to his younger brother, Hrongar. "You heard the summons, what else could it mean?"
He stopped when he saw Samuel. "So, what happened at the watchtower? Was the dragon there?"
"Yeah, the watchtower was destroyed, but we killed the dragon," said Samuel.
"I knew I could count on you and Irileth! But there must be more to it than that..."
"It turns I'm something called the 'Dragonborn'"
"Dragonborn?" asked Jarl Balgruff. "What do you know about the Dragonborn?"
"When the dragon died, I absorbed some kind of power from it," said Samuel.
Jarl Balgruff looked amazed. "So it's true...the Greybeards really were summoning you..."
"The Greybeards?" asked Samuel.
"Masters of the Way of the Voice. They live in seclusion high on the slopes of the Throat of the World."
"What do these Greybeards want with me?"
"The Dragonborn is said to be uniquely gifted in the Way of the Voice--the ability to focus your vital essence into a Thu'um, or Shout. If you really are Dragonborn, the Greybeards can teach you how to use your gift."
Hrongar cut in. "Didn't you hear that thundering sound as you returned to Whiterun? That was the Greybeards, summoning you to High Hrothgar. Such a thing has not happened in...centuries, at least. Not since Tiber Septim was called when he was still Talos Stormcrown of Skyrim."
The steward sighed. "Hrongar, calm yourself. What does any of this Nord nonsense have to do with our friend here? Capable as he may be, I don't see any signs of him being this, 'Dragonborn'."
Hrongar pulled an axe off his back. "Nord nonsense?! Why you puffed-up, ignorant...These are our sacred traditions that go back to the founding of the First Empire!"
Jarl Balgruff stood up. "Hrongar! Don't be so hard on Avenicci."
"I meant no disrespect, of course," smiled Proventus. "It's just that...what do these Greybeards want with him?"
Jarl Balgruff sat back down. "That's the Greybeard's business, not ours. Whatever happened when you killed that dragon, it revealed something in you, and the Greybeards heard it. If they think you're Dragonborn, who are we to argue? You'd better get to High Hrothgar immediately. There's no refusing the summons of the Greybeards. It's a tremendous honor. I envy you, you know. To climb the 7,000 Steps again...I made the pilgrimage once, did you know that? High Hrothgar is a very peaceful place. Very...disconnected from the troubles of this world. I wonder if the Greybeards even know what's going on down here. They haven't seemed to care before. No matter. Go to High Hrothgar. Learn what the Greybeards can teach you."
Samuel began to walk away. "Wait," said the Jarl.
"You've done a great service to me and my city, Dragonborn. By my right as Jarl, I name you Thane of Whiterun. It's the greatest honor that's within my power to grant. I give you this blade as your new badge of office. I'll also notify the guards of your new title. Wouldn't want them to think you're part of the common rabble, now would we? We are honored to have you as Thane of our city, Dragonborn."
Jarl Balgruff handed Samuel a sword about one and a half meters long. Samuel tied it to his waist and bowed before walking out of the palace.
Samuel once again hired a carriage to take him to the start of the stairs, at the village of Ivarstead. The stairs wound around the mountain, climbing into the sky. It would be a long climb. He sighed, and started walking. The trip was mostly uneventful, save for a few wolves. Near the top, he saw a four-foot tall creature with white fur: a Frost Troll. He pulled out his sword and charged toward the beast, and sliced and hacked and chopped until most of the fur was red. He smiled triumphantly. The smile disappeared when the red started to dissipate, and the troll stood up.
Samuel shot a flame spell at the troll and its fur blazed with marshmallow roasting inferno. It scrambled away, unfortunately near the edge of the mountain. Samuel shouted FUS! and it plummeted off the side.
Samuel climbed the steps a little farther until he saw a huge black castle: High Hrothgar. He walked up to the solid black doors of the monastery. The whole building was black, and the few windows that did exist were next to impossible to see through. Our Imperial adventurer walked inside. The monastery was nearly as cold as it was outside, perhaps two degrees warmer. An old man in grey robes was kneeling at an altar.
"So," said the man, and stood up. "A Dragonborn appears, at this moment, at the turning of the age."
Three other Greybeards walked into the room.
"I'm answering your summons," said Samuel.
"We will see if you truly have the gift. Show us, Dragonborn. Let us taste of your voice."
Samuel closed his eyes.
The four men staggered backward. "Dragonborn," said the Greybeard who greeted him. "It is you. Welcome to High Hrothgar. I am Master Arngeir. I speak for the Greybeards. Now tell me, Dragonborn, why have you come here?"
"I'm answering your summons, Master."
"We are honored to welcome a Dragonborn to High Hrothgar. We will do our best to teach you how to use your gift in fulfillment of your destiny," said Arngeir.
"What is my destiny?" asked Samuel.
"That is for you to discover. We can show you the Way, but not your destination."
Samuel nodded. "I'm ready to learn."
Arngeir smiled. "You have shown that you are Dragonborn. You have the inborn gift. But do you have the discipline and temperament to follow the path laid out for you? That remains to be seen. Without training, you have already taken the first steps toward projecting your Voice into a Thu'um, or Shout. Now, let us see if you are willing and able to learn. When you Shout, you speak in the language of dragons. Thus, your Dragon Blood gives you an inborn ability to learn Words of Power. As you master each word, your Shout will become progressively stronger. Master Einarth will now teach you 'Ro', the second Word in Unrelenting Force. 'Ro' means 'balance' in the dragon tounge. Combine it with Fus, 'Force', to focus your Thu'um more sharply."
Master Einarth stepped forward and whispered "Ro." Fiery runs appeared in the floor. A light rushed like a wind out of them into Samuel.
"You learn a new Thu'um like a master," said Arngeir. "You truly do have the gift. But learning a Word of Power is only the first step. You must unlock its meaning through constant practice in order to use it as a Shout. Well, that is how the rest of us learn Shouts. As Dragonborn, you can absorb a slain dragon's knowledge and life directly. As part of your initiation, Master Einarth will allow you to tap into his understanding of 'Ro'."
Einarth spread his arms and light rushed out him into Samuel as well.
"Now let us see how quickly you can master your new Thu'um. Use your Unrelenting Force Shout to strike the targets as Master Borri summons them," said Arngeir.
Borri stepped forward. "Fiik...Lo Sah!"
A blue portal appeared and a ghostly hooded figure stepped out.
FUS...RO! shouted Samuel. The ghost dropped to his knees and disappeared. This repeated three more times.
"Impressive," mused Arngeir. "Your Thu'um is precise. You show great promise, Dragonborn. We will perform your next trial in the courtyard. Follow Master Borri."
Samuel followed Borri down the hall until they came upon a door similar to the entrance. Borri pushed it open and went outside, Samuel following close behind. Behind, Arngeir and the other Greybeards walked outside.
"We will now see how you learn a completely new Shout. Master Wulfgar will demonstrate Whirlwind Sprint. Then it will be your turn." He nodded his head at Borri. "Master Borri."
Borri shouted at an iron gate about ten meters away. "Bex!" The gate swung open.
Wulfgar faced the gate. "Wuld...Nah Kest!
He shot forward as if he was fired from a gun. He passed through the gate seconds before it closed.
"Now it is your turn," said Arngeir. "Stand next to me. Master Borri will open the gate. Use your Whirlwind Sprint shout to pass through before it closes."
"Bex!" shouted Borri.
"Wuld...Nah Kest!" shouted Samuel.
His vision blurred. His stomach churned. He didn't think his bread and ale would stay down for much longer. The air rushed past him, chilling him to the bone."
He stopped. The gate was behind him, closed shut.
"Your quick mastery of a new Thu'um is...astonishing. I'd heard the stories of the abilities of the Dragonborn, but to see it for myself..."
"I...thought it was this easy for everyone," said Samuel.
Arngeir chuckled. "No...indeed not. But beware that your skill does not outstrip your wisdom. You are now ready for your last trial. Retrieve the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller, our founder, from his tomb in the ancient tomb of Ustengrav. Remain true to the Way of the Voice, and you will return."