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You are not the Dragonborn
by Ben Freund
25.11.11

The Belgian artist Rene Magritte has a valuable lesson to share with us all about the nature of video games: "Ceci n'est pas une pipe", or "This is not a pipe".

We see a pipe in the painting, but there's no pipe there. We see a picture of a pipe, but we cannot use it to inhale stimulants or clout our incompetent servants on the ear when they bring us the wrong brand of inhalable stimulants. Dammit, Jeeves, I only smoke Big League Chew, I don't care if the local tobacconist doesn't carry it or that it's actually children's gum in the shape of tobacco!

Likewise, when we play a video game, we aren't the hero. Take any of the Grand Theft Auto games, for example. Tommy Vercetti, Carl Johnson and Niko Bellic are men who exude a quiet confidence that commands respect from the lowest of criminal scum to the highest echelons of political power. But when you or I control them, these men are lunatics who blow stoplights by weaving between lanes of traffic at 80 miles per hour, not because they're being hotly pursued by Johnny Law, but because that stoplight is between them and a food cart that will allow them to eat 20 hot dogs in a row in order to vomit in front of my wife for her delight and disgust.

I have decided to bridge the gap between the simulated worlds that our characters inhabit and the certifiably insane ways in which we, the players, behave when we 'live' in them. I have chosen the ancient and noble art of fan fiction to aid me in this task.

Here, then, is a saga of Skyrim, featuring the words and deeds of the Dragonborn as he truly lived. And, indeed, as you truly play him.

The Miracle of the Sudden Cheese

From the Saga of the Dragonborn


Hark, and listen, for I tell you truly a tale of magic and miracle. Bright was the day and blue was the sky, when the strong-hearted Dragonborn came upon the modest village.

Blessings of Akatosh surely smiled upon Yngsir, Daughter of Yngsir, that day, for the Great Hero himself came unto her own home, and did grimly endeavour to conquer the stout lock that barred his entry, so great was his desire to make witness to the miracle to come.

"Damn," swore the Hero, and "Crap" was his oath, as a score of lockpicks shattered at the touch of his mighty fingers, as had so many foes fallen before his blade.

Fortune favoured the brave, as ever, for the hour of the day turned from 7:59 to 8:00, and lo, the stubborn lock relented and gave way at his touch, for this was the time of Many Locks Suddenly Opening, for reasons man may not know and the gods may not divulge.

The hoarfrost riming his beard gave way to the heat of the hearth, creating a mighty puddle, a cold-slick ocean of drips that would verily be a pain in the ass for Yngsir, Daughter of Yngsir, to clean.

Straight-faced and ruddy of hue, Yngsir, Daughter of Yngsir, greeted her honoured guest warmly, and boldly did she bear witness as the Dragonborn bravely ignored her and did honorably rifle through her possessions and spend many a minute flipping through her books.

But these shameful books pleased him not, and he spake aloud, saying in words of thunder: "Lame, no skill point upgrades."

Then did Yngsir, Daughter of Yngsir, feel a desire stirring within her to sit in a chair in another room, there to stare at the wall with great intensity and at great length, a pastime beloved of all peoples of Skyrim, for reasons man may not know and the gods may not divulge.

Strange sounds did she hear, a thumping and clattering as of chests being opened and middens being raided, but she stirred not, for such was her great love for staring at walls.

In time, she rose to find the Dragonborn, Great Hero of Our Age, standing before her, and he spake aloud, saying in words like the clash of glaciers, "You can keep this junk, it's too heavy to carry."

Then did Yngsir, Daughter of Yngsir, witness a great miracle, for lo, the Dragonborn suddenly emitted from his body a great bounty: weapons forged of iron, armour of leather and hide, many bottles of wine and a wheel of cheese most tempting to look upon.

Wherefrom did these things come, that they should appear as if from thin air in front of the Dragonborn and clatter to the ground in such disarray? So wondered Yngsir, Daughter of Yngsir, and so too did she wonder, 'Why do these miraculous goods look so familiar, like unto the goods I had carefully arranged upon mine shelves and in mine dresser?' Truly, it was a mystery, the reason of which man may not know and the gods may not divulge.

Yngsir, Daughter of Yngsir, known as Grimglare for her steely disposition, then gave birth to a smile for the first time in many years. For truly, the Dragonborn was as great a doer of deeds and bringer of wonders as the tales had told. Here, at last, was the man who would deliver her people from suffering.

"By the way," uttered the Great Hero, in words that rumbled like a herd of mammoths, "I accidentally killed your husband outside. I stealthed up and stabbed him with a mace because I thought he was a bandit."

"But it turns out he wasn't," sang the Dragonborn in words that roared like a great fall of water, "See you later."

- So ends the Saga of the Dragonborn's Miracle -

Have you enjoyed my tale? If so, perhaps I will share the story of the Dragonborn's Feast of Lightning. The Great Hero of Our Age was at the edge of death, when in the blink of an eye, the Dragonborn ate a score of foodstuffs, returning him to full hale hearth and heartiness from whence to deliver a killing blow to his astounded opponent.

"Ten cabbages and more have I eaten in the space of a moment's breath," spake he, "I cannot be defeated."

But that is a tale for another time.

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- Ben Freund

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