It is one thing to read about dragons and another to meet them.

by Claudio Serena

When I was a child my parents told me stories of noble dragons, ready to give their heart to those who needed it and to defend the kingdom from the forces of evil, but they were wrong. The dragons, the real ones, are like those from the ancient legends, cruel, intelligent beings who take pleasure in chaos and destruction.

On one thing, however, the stories I read as a child were right, and sometimes the heart of a dragon is given to a hero. I am the Arisen, and while in my chest beats the heart of a monster, mine beats under its scales.

I, Krubal, and the two mercenaries who are following us, have been chasing Grigori for four months before we could find him on the top of Tainted Mountain. The journey to get here from Gran Soren was long, difficult, some comrades are no longer with us, and we also are weak and tired near the end.
The two mercenaries are attracting the attention of the giant dragon while I climb into the ruins of the Greatwall to find a ballista with which to pierce my heart, beating in the chest of the monster.
I do not know if this will kill both of us or if I wil be released from my curse, but it is the only way to restore peace in the country and save the people of earth from destruction, so I grit my teeth again, catch my breath, aim at the chest covered scales and let the arrow fly.


In those few seconds that it takes the arrow to find its target, think about how many times, in other lives and other worlds, I faced a dragon.

I was 16 the first time I’ve had to deal with a dragon. In those days I called myself Evilkiller and the Beast I was looking for was known as Thaxll’ssillyia, a terrible shadow dragon standing guard over the temple of Amaunator, hidden in the Umar Hills, beyond the desert of Calimshan.
A wise man told me to look for a wardstone, to conceal myself and my companions from the prying eyes of the dragon, but leaving such a monstrosity free to fly the skies of Faerun would have made my nights sleepless for the rest of my life.


That first battle taught me the first important thing to know when you face a dragon: united we don’t always win.
We were six when we came to the temple, but only two were able to escape, the others killed by the breath of the dragon.

Once I escaped Calimshan and the Shade Lord, Duncan found me at Ostagar and recruited me into the Gray Wardens, an order of warriors devoted to prevent the Blight from destroying Ferelden and the entire Thedas.
Unfortunately, Duncan did not live to face the High Dragon at the top of the mountain near lake Calenhad or Flemeth in the Korcari Wilds, but it was nonetheless his dagger that gave the final blow to both and killed the Archdemon, putting off the Blight for a few more hundred years.


None of us expected dragons to still be alive after 400 years since they were believed to be extinct. Defeating them was not an easy task, but the Maker had not forgotten his children and thanks to the knowledge passed down from my previous life in the Forgotten Realms I can be here today to tell you of their fiery breath.

Each battle leaves wounds and scars that persist even in other worlds and other lives, and the death of my companions left the biggest mark. I decided to continue my adventures alone.

My journey as the Chosen One began in chains. The imperial guards had me arrested and taken to Helgen, a small outpost in the south of Skyrim, for my beheading. My head was already on the chopping block, ready for the executioner, when one of Alduin’s servants attacked the garrison, looking for food. Ulfric, the rebel leader who was about to be executed alongside me, saved me and helped me escape. From there, I was able to get to Whiterun and warn the Jarl of the imminent attack of the dragons, but it was only when I got to the Bleak Falls Barrow that I found I was the Dovakhiin, born from the Blood of the Dragon, the only one able to thwart the prophecy of the wall of Alduin.


I chased Alduin and its lackeys for months, looking for clues to their hideout and for weapons that could hit and pierce the scales of a semi-god of destruction, only to find out that the most effective weapon was already inside of me: my voice. It was my shout that forced Alduin to land on the border between this world and the next, giving my sword the opportunity to hit where a dragon is unprotected: its stomach.

But the life of a Chosen One is full of tough decisions and choices that cannot be postponed, and so here I am, on the Greatwall, with an arrow flying through the ruins towards Grigori’s chest, my last effort before my deserved rest, accompanied by a trusted friend who will not leave my side even though this means certain death.

I’m sure of one thing, though: even if the man in me just wants to have a quiet life, a voice guides me to new deeds and I know that the hunt is not over yet: the dragon that almost killed King Foltest during the siege of La Valette’s castle is still alive and rumor has it it’s hiding in the Northern Kingdoms.


Claudio Serena

In his 30s hasn’t stopped playing, both on the radio and at home, with dice and joypad. Talks about videogames, tells fantasy stories and spends the rest of his time on Tumblr or Reddit. He’s been living in Milan for 10 years and wouldn’t go back for anything.