Once again, Borri couldn’t sleep. He wasn’t sure why but the urge to bring the dragonborn bairn to meet Master Parthunaax was stronger than it had ever been. Overwhelming. And so he got out of bed and went to the courtyard to meditate. The night was clear; even the storms protecting the Throat of the World seemed relatively mild. Looking past the stone archway leading up to the top of the mountain, he realized that he could clear the winds with a single “LOK.”
He stood up, shook the snow from his robe, and walked briskly back into High Hrothgar. In the nursery, the nursemaid stirred as Borri picked the child up, but she did not awaken. He wrapped the child around his chest the way she had taught him. He often walked around the courtyard with him strapped to his chest under his robe. And if the bairn fell asleep, he meditated, his mind falling into step with the rhythm of the child’s breathing. This one was special, and not simply because he was Luthien and Ulfric’s spawn. In his dreams he had seen the lad as a youth, as a man. But he could not discern their meaning. And he could not ask because to ask would bring down half the mountain.
Borri recalled the day that the Dragonborn and the High King brought their request to relinquish their child to the safety of High Hrothgar. Master Arngeir had not been pleased though he relented, eventually, on the condition that Hundr would never know of his parents. And then Hundr and his nurse arrived, accompanied by the Companion, the one with the darkened eyes. He had never seen eyes so full of sorrow as those of the warrior who looked upon the tiny baby before kissing his forehead and whispering good-bye.
But the Dragonborn and the Companion had since returned, and Arngeir allowed Luthein to see her son. Borri had not witnessed these private moments but he imaged that they were sweet. The Dragonborn’s soul was so burdened. Surely the touch, the tug of the little one’s fat fingers could bring her some solace.
His fellow Greybeards, Wulfgar and Einarth, had little interest in the baby and he understood that. Arngeir harbored deep concerns about the wee dovahkiin’s potential, about the power that could be unleashed from such a young creature. But for Borri, the arrival of the child tugged at that place in his heart that held his curiosity for the world outside of High Hrothgar and all its passions and pleasures. When the child grasped his finger for the first time, he felt content. And when the dreams began, they brought images of light and darkness, of valor and fear, of honor and betrayal.
Borri had hoped that Parthunaax, upon laying his eyes upon the wee dovahkiin, would know and would elucidate meaning of his dreams. Arngeir said that time, breath, and focus would bring Hundr to Parthunaax and that no exception should be made. Borri knew he was wrong but he dare not disagree because to disagree would bring down half the mountain.
The child snuggled into his chest as they made their way up the steps to the Throat of the World. The night was still clear and the storms were, indeed, unusually calm as if the old man and the child were expected. As if the path was being made safer for Borri’s purpose. Their journey took several hours and when they arrived, Master Parthunaax was not there. This was most unusual, but he was not concerned. He wandered by the Word Wall and as the sun began to rise, he found himself on the Time Wound. He wondered if Hundr could sense the void in that spot. If he did, he only yawned. Borri loved to see him yawn.
Borri felt what could only be described as a thickening of the void. A compression. It didn’t hurt but there was a distinctive change in the atmosphere. And Parthunaax was still not there. The child would need his milk soon. I guess I was wrong, thought Borri as he made his way back to High Hrothgar. This troubled him. The walk down was easy; the storms remained mild enough for a single word. However, as Borri cleared the last storm and stepped into the courtyard, the weather behind them resumed with its usual force. Borri shook his head and entered High Hrothgar. He unwrapped his robe and took the now smiling and babbling baby off his chest. He smiled and held the child up high over his head. Soon he would be too big and Borri would be too old for such play. Then, of course, he would teach the boy Wuld, the first word of Whirlwind Spirit
Master Arngeir was meditating in the open hallway. When he heard the child laugh he stood up suddenly as if startled by something. “Borri!” he bellowed, his astonishment echoing through the stone halls of High Hrothgar. “Where on Nirn did you find that baby?”
*Note from Erica: This is Elspeth’s first contribution to When Worlds Collide. If you have not yet read her work, I hope you’ll visit her over on her site and check out her story.