"GOL HAH!" stormed the Traitor.
The mind bending waves rushed over Vahlok's golden mask, lapping against him ineffectually. All of the men behind him, however, fell to the ground, only to rise back up against their Konahrik with weapons drawn. Without turning around to face them, he raised his left hand and unleashed a terrible gout of fire, silencing them all at once.
"Impressive, young priest. But you do know that I am a dov, correct? Your religion holds me to be a god."
"If wretched elves can kill Shor, I can kill you."
The two men raised their swords. In his other hand, Miraak held an unholy staff, and in his power throat he held earth-shattering Shouts. Vahlok's spell hand contained a defensive ward that he prayed to Jhunal would hold.
Six years earlier
Vahlok stood before the World Eater, naked, with his hands bound. The air in Bromjunaar was frigid as an ice wraith's bite, and it stood to devour Vahlok's flesh. Nahkriin in his ebony mask pushed Vahlok to his knees, which were instantly numbed by the fresh snow.
"This is the blasphemer who killed-"
"SILENCE!" roared Odahviing. While the other Men and Dov exhaled steam from their hot lungs into the lifeless air, the red dragon's breaths were followed by puffs of fire. He stared at Nahkriin with disgust.
"You are none to speak of this matter, joor."
Nahkriin stared blankly behind his mask, but backed off from Vahlok.
"This is the joor who defeated a dov, correct?" queried the World-Eater.
"There must have been other traitors beside him, Firstborn," stated Odahviing, "for no joor could slay a dov. I recommend we tear his flesh apart until he reveals who the collaborators are."
Alduin turned to Paarthurnax.
"Nahkriin, what of the eyewitnesses you gathered?" asked the grey dragon.
"They were, as mighty Odahviing believes, heretics. They claimed that Maarkriinax had slain several other dovah, that he had devoured Jarl Hakon the Greater as his two children watched, that he had declared Winterhold his own."
Alduin looked upon Vahlok, who gazed with reverence at the World-Eater, literally praying that he may be spared.
"You slew a dov to protect my Junaar, my kingdom?"
"Unbind his hands," instructed Alduin. Nahkriin cut the ropes with his dagger, and Vahlok threw up a fire cloak to save himself from the cold. Servants set his steel mask on the ground before him, carved with ebony and quicksilver.
"What happened to the children of the jarl?" asked Alduin.
"Maarkriinax put out Hakon the Younger's eye when the boy tried to free his father from the dov's jaws," Vahlok testified, "and I saved the boy's life when the dragon tried to kill him as well. He goes now to meet the Shouting Priest of Solstheim Hold."
Alduin looked northeast, then back to Vahlok.
"Men who shout like dragons, men who kill dragons, men looking for answers. You were right to save the boy, joor, because Maarkriinax defied my will. But it may be that we will have to kill that boy, or others, nonetheless. I do not want Keizaal, Skyrim, to know that joor can kill dov, for the fickle hearts of mortal beings may turn against us in light of that knowledge. You will be imprisoned in Skuldafn under the care of Nahkriin, so that your kind should not set their gaze on the one who killed a god. KROSIS!"
Vahlok saw his mask explode, and a lighter alloyed mask appeared before another dragon priest.
"Krosis, you will replace Vahlok as the priest over Winterhold. This council is adjourned. Vahlok… stay."
Paarthurnax was the first to leave, with Odahviing and Nahkriin staring on at Vahlok for a short while before departing under the World-Eater's orders.
"Little joor, you acted as a hero. You helped to preserve my Junaar. And yet you were paraded naked through frozen streets, stripped of your title, and imprisoned. Gods do not apologize. But if my dov continue to beat down your kind as they do, and if your kind rebel against it, I may find reason to give you the highest title your kind can have, so that together we may preserve the peace."
"What title is that?"
Alduin's gaze took on an unexpected rage, that the mortal Vahlok would dare ask him that question. And yet, he Shouted into Vahlok's mind a florid vision of a figure leading both men and dov, towering in his courage behind a gold-tusked mask.