When she first released me from my slumber in Dimhollow Cavern, I had no idea that this Dunmer was anything special. As she helped me find my mother and destroy that shell that was once my father, however, she became extremely special to me. She became the most loyal friend I’ve ever had.
But then I discovered how special she was to my home, Skyrim, as well.
It was when we were returning to her home in Whiterun, Breezehome. The Imperial woman who was smithing outside Warmaiden’s started chatting her up. The Imperial called her “friend”, but something else. “Dovahkiin.” I’ve heard of that before. I stayed silent until we entered her home. “Dovahkiin? What was that about?” I asked her as she started to unload different ores and ingots into a cupboard by her fire.
“Ah, yes, well…” She didn’t really seem to know how to say it. “I’m the Dovahkiin. The Dragonborn.”
“You…? You’re…not a Nord, though.” I vaguely remembered the legend. I had always thought the person to save the land of the Nords from dragons would be…well…a Nord.
“Nope, I’m not. Glad you noticed.” She went into a side room near the stairs to put away nirnroots. I followed.
“So you’re…the dragonborn. And you never told me?” I must have sounded a bit hurt, for she turned to me, her brow furrowed over her white eyes.
“We had other things on our minds. Making sure your father didn’t fulfill a dangerous prophecy was more important at the time.”
“I jest, Silva.” But as my mind tried to wrap itself around the fact that my new friend was the dragonborn, her real name, Silva, almost had no meaning anymore.
We traveled across Skyrim to Riften and went into her other home, Honeyside. “How many homes do you have?” I asked, watching her unload the enchanted weapons and armor she collected on her travels into trunks and wardrobes, organizing them.
“A few,” she answered modestly. She was modest, wasn’t she? She wasn’t one to brag about anything. Not all the gargoyles and vampires I’d seen her slaughter, so why would she brag about being the fabled dragonborn?
“Hail, thane!” came a grating voice was behind me. I whisked around, my elven dagger ready.
“Serana, relax, it’s my housecarl, Iona,” the Dunmer laughed. Iona looked at me, uneasy. I heard her heartbeat quicken and I felt saliva build up in my mouth. Iona nodded at me and sat by the fire, grabbing for a bottle of mead.
“Are you hungry?”
I turned to see Silva holding out a bottle of human blood to me. I took it and drank it slowly, thanking her between gulps. She was always so thoughtful, caring, anticipant of my needs. My lips turned up into a smile. “You know, I didn’t see a housecarl at your home in Whiterun,” I said to her.
She faced me and shifted, looking uncomfortable. “Yes, well…Lydia once accompanied me to a cave full of necromancers,” she said. My smile faded as I saw where this was going. “Since then,” she continued, “I typically don’t bring anyone else with me. It’s too risky.”
“And why me?” I asked.
“You’re different. You’re stronger, for obvious reasons. You can hold your own. I trust that you won’t fall at the hands of anyone.”
“Except maybe you.”
“And I’d never even consider it.” My smile came back.
We were on our way to Markarth. We met a young Breton woman, hysterical. The Forsworn had taken her Markius into a cave. The woman herself was bleeding from the gut, her skirt ripped from the base up to the waist. I looked at the face of my friend to see it had hardened in a way I hadn’t seen since she slayed my father. She kneeled next to the woman and gave her another skirt and healed her wounds, telling her, “Which way?” The woman pointed, and we were off.
“But the woman,” I said, chasing after her.
“She’ll be fine,” she snapped at me.
And just like that, she helped someone. No matter what pressing matter was going on in her life at the moment, she put it on hold to help others. Though we had no other pressing matters at the moment, I could tell by the way she reacted that that was the case with this one.
We found the cave. She cracked skulls while I shot ice spikes into the savages. We found the head of the group, standing over the bleeding Markius, staff in hand, ready to strike. Without hesitation, she shouted, “YOL-TOOR-SHUL!” and a blaze overtook the man. He didn’t even take a step before he fell down dead. I had seen her use the power of the shouts before, but never with so much concentration; the other times were just to hinder the enemy so she could get the final blow. Even in the fight against Father, she focused her attention on using Auriel’s Bow. And I’d never seen her use that shout with full power. The way she commanded it was breathtaking.
I watched as she healed the Breton man and picked his unconscious body up. She nodded toward the entrance and we carried him back to his weeping woman. She grabbed and clutched his body, sobbing in relief. We helped the couple back to Markarth where they came from. Once she was sure they were okay, she became the humble, soft-spoken, sarcastic friend of mine again.
As we walked through Markarth to her other other home (“Really??” I asked her. She just smiled and shrugged at me as a reply.), the guards and residents called her “Dovahkiin”, making me feel almost silly for ever calling her anything but. “You know, Dovahkiin really fits you,” I told her as she enchanted glass swords in Vlindrel Hall.
“It’s quite formal,” she said cryptically.
“You mean you don’t want me to call you that?”
“I think…Silva is fine.” I smiled and watched her unbroken concentration. Yeah, Silva is fine.