The trip on the airship started off with talking until later on when it quieted down. Twilight was reading a book to pass the time while Dash finally stopped complaining about being able to get to their destination faster by flying on her own. It was rather peaceful for a while.
That was peaceful until the pilot told them that they were arriving to an undiscovered landmass. Twilight was quick to start making notes on the landmass while the rest of the 6 pressed their hands and faces against the window to get a good look at it. They passed over the landmass and discovered that there were multiple regions. They went over a city in the center region and the citizens stopped what they were doing and watched the airship pass over with awe.
The citizens were humans and the girls awed at how they were real. Humans were believed to be a myth but here they are in all their glory... somewhat. The airship continued until it crossed over an ash covered land. The Mane 6 saw some dark skinned people on the ash cover ground and were amazed at how they didn't seem to mind the ash at all.
Finally the airship began to descend into a small forest clearing that borders the ashland. "Alright, this as far as I can take you. Sorry I couldn't go any further but the airship's main tank is almost empty and I'll have to use the reserve to get back. Anyway, I hope you 6 can stop this dragon," Pilot said while exiting his seat and opening the door for the Mane 6.
Once they had their bags and were off the airship, it took off and headed back in the direction of Equestria. When it was out of sight, Twilight pulled out the tracking orb Celestia gave her and to follow the direction it was showing. Eventually they ended up on a path with a bunch of blue clothed soldiers. One of them was dressed in a unique fur trimmed cloak. They all stared at each other for a few minutes in awkward silence. Then Pinkie was going to break the silence by singing a hello song but was interrupted when a bunch of differently dressed soldiers suddenly appeared out of nowhere.
They attacked the blue soldiers and killed some of them while tackling the man with the fur trimmed cloak and gagging him. Some of the blue soldiers were tied up alongside with the gagged man. The other soldiers turned their attention to the Mane 6 who all watched in shock but soon snapped out of it and tried to run, only to all be tackled by the attacking soldiers and knocking them out.
All Twilight could do before she blacked out was watch her friends go unconscious.
The first thing Twilight heard was the sound of hooves hitting the ground and wheels rolling across the stone path. Her vision slowly returned and she looked around. The cart she was in was cramped because two of her friends were sitting between her and the gagged man and between a blue soldier and some other person. The friends that were joining her were Fluttershy and Rarity. They were coming to as well.
The cart in front of them had the rest of their friends who were also waking up. The blonde haired soldier looked and saw that the three in his cart were awake. "Hey, how's all your heads?"
Twilight answered the question for all of them, "A splitting headache from being knocked out but that's it."
"That's good at least. You and your friends got caught crossing the border, right into that Imperial ambush. Just like me and that thief over there," soldier said pointing to man on the other side of Fluttershy.
"Damn you Stormcloaks... Skyrim was fine until you came along! The Empire was nice and lazy. If they hadn't been looking for you, I'd have stolen that horse and been halfway to Hammerfell," the man replied irritated and looks at Twilight and her friends. "You three, we shouldn't be here. It's these Stormcloaks the Empire wants."
"Were all brothers and sisters in binds now."
"Shut up back there," the soldier driving the cart said.
The thief looked to the gagged man and said, "What's wrong with him, huh?"
The blonde soldier, now known as a stormcloak, spoke angrily to the thief, "Watch your tongue! You're speaking to Ulfric Stormcloak, the true High King."
The thief looked back at the man, now known as Ulfric, "Ulfric? Jarl of Windhelm? You're the leader of the rebellion... if they've captured you... oh gods, where are they taking us?"
"I don't know where we're going, but Sovngarde awaits," the stormcloak answered.
"This can't be happening! This isn't happening!"
They all stayed silent, while the thief freaked out, as the carts kept going down the path. A few minutes later, they arrived at gate to a small town. The gates opened as the carts got closer and the stormcloak turned back to the thief and asked, "Hey, what village are you from horse-thief?"
"Why do you care?" the thief retorted.
"A Nord's last thoughts should be of home." The Stormcloak's words rang through the three mares' ears as they thought back to Equestria. Whatever was going to happen, they knew they could overcome it.
Their thoughts were interrupted when the thief spoke, "Rorikstead. I'm from Rorikstead." Thinking of his home seemed to calm him down but not for long.
As they entered the town, a long, black haired Imperial soldier spoke to a man on a horse who wore a set of unique looking armor that had a gold pattern going from bottom to top and ending with a symbol. He was seemed to be talking to a group of yellow skinned people. The middle one looked to have a black outline around her eyes and noticeable cheekbones. What the soldier said scare Twilight and her friends. "General Tullius sir! The headsman is waiting."
Tullius responded, "Good, let's get this over with."
The thief was freaking out when he heard about the headsman. "Shor, Mara, Dibella, Kynareth, Akatosh! Divines, please help me!"
The Stormcloak looked at Tullius. "Look at him! General Tullius, the military general. And it looks like the Thalmor are with him. Damn elves, I bet they had something to do with this." The soldier then notices where they are and couldn't help but crack a small smile. "This is Helgen... I used to be sweet on a girl here. I wonder if Velod is still making that mead with juniper berries mixed in." The man stayed silent for a bit before speaking again, "Funny, when I was a boy Imperial walls and towers used to make me feel so safe." He turned to them. "Where are you three from?"
Twilight answered, "Ponyville."
"Strange name but I won't judge. You and your friends being here is strange enough."
The wagons passed a house with a boy and his father watching. "Who are they, pa? Where are they going and what are those things in the wagons?"
The father looked at the ponies in the wagons but didn't say anything about it. He started usher his son inside. "You need to go inside, little cub."
The boy looked at his father puzzled. "Why? I want to watch the soldiers!"
"Inside the house, now."
"Yes pa..." the boy said sadly as he went inside his house with his father following him.
A more high ranking soldier walked up and ordered for the prisoners to be taken out of the carts.
Finally the carts came to a stop near a wall. The thief was confused and a bit fearful. "Why are we stopping?"
"What do you think? End of the line," the Stormcloak said as he stood up, the rest of them following suit. "We shouldn't keep the gods waiting for us." The girls gulped, knowing what he meant. They all prayed to Celestia that they would make it out.
They all stood, despite the lack of space, and proceeded to get off the cart. Fluttershy almost fell when she jumped down in fear. Twilight looked over at her other three friends as they were unloaded with the prisoners on their cart. As they were all getting off, the thief cried out, "No! Wait! We're not rebels!"
The Stormcloak growled at him. "Face your death with some courage, thief."
"You've got to tell them we weren't with you! This is a mistake!"
The Imperial captain looked over the prisoners before addressing them, "Step towards the block when we call you name, one at a time!"
The Stormcloak grumbled, "Empire loves their damned lists."
The soldier, that spoke to the general, started to call names, "Ulfric Stormcloak, Jarl of Windhelm." Ulfric began to walk to the block while the blonde soldier said it has been an honor. The Imperial soldier continued. "Ralof of Riverwood." The blonde soldier walks up and takes his place next to fellow Stormcloak. "Lokir of Rorikstead."
The thief began to panick. "No! I'm not a rebel! You can't do this!" He began to run off as the Imperial captain yelled at him to stop. The thief just kept running and said, "You're not going to kill me!" The captain yelled out to the archers who all took aim and fired at the thief. One of the archers managed to hit him and he went down.
"Anyone else feel like running?" the captain asked with a stern glare at the rest of the prisoners.
The soldier with the list looked at Twilight and her friends quizzically. "Wait... You three. Step forward." The three ponies did as they were told. "Who... What are you all?"
Fluttershy was shaking uncontrollably and Rarity tried to comfort as best she could, so Twilight answered, "I'm Princess Twilight Sparkle, the yellow pegasus is Fluttershy, and the white unicorn is Rarity." She looked to the rest of her friends who were waiting by the other prisoners and listed their names. "The rainbow maned pegasus is Rainbow Dash, the orange earth pony is Applejack, and the pink earth pony is Pinkie Pie. We're ponies and we came from Equestria in search of a dragon that attacked our home."
The Imperial soldier looked at her like she was crazy. "Dragons don't exist. Even if they did, there are no dragons here. Captain, what should we do? They're not on the list."
"Forget the list. They go straight to the block."
"You heard me. Forget the list."
The soldier sighed. "By your orders, Captain." He turns to them. "I'm sorry. We'll try to take your remains back to where you came from. Follow the captain, prisoners."
Rarity nearly fainted as well as Fluttershy, Applejack and Rainbow Dash were shouting at the soldiers about how they can't do that, and Pinkie's hair went straight and dull, to the confusion of the soldiers. All Twilight could do was do as she was told. She was panicking and trying to think of a plan to escape.
As they were all doing this, Tullius walked up to Ulfric and talked to him. They didn't hear what he said but they did hear the distant roar. The Imperial soldier that had the list looked in the sky. "What was that?"
Tullius looked up at the sky as well but found nothing. "It's nothing. Carry on."
The captain responded, "Yes, General Tullius!" The captain looks at the priestess. "Give them their last rights."
The priestess standing next to the captain nodded and began to recite, "As we commend your souls to Aetherius, blessings of the 8 divines upon you-"
The priestess was interrupted by one of the Stormcloak prisoners. "For the love of Talos, shut up and let's get this over with." He marched forward bravely and stood before the block.
The priestess hesitated for a bit than said, "As you wish."
The Stormcloak got on his knees. "Come on! I haven't got all morning!" The captain makes him kneel and the Stormcloak looks up at the headsman with a fierce glare. "My ancestors are smiling at me, Imperials. Can you say the same?"
The headsman only response was lifting up his axe. It gleamed in the sunlight. The ponies closed their eyes to not watch what is about to happen. The axe came down. The ponies cringed when they heard the sickening crunch as the axe went through the Stormcloak's neck, separating his head from his body and into the basket that sat on the other side of the block.
This caused people to start yelling out. "You Imperial bastards!"
"Death to the Stormcloaks!"
Ralof looked at the Stormcloak's headless body as it was pushed out of the way. "As fearless in death as he was in life."
"Next the purple one!"
Twilight paled when she heard that. Then the same roar from before was heard again except louder. The Imperial soldier from before looked up again. "There it is again... did you hear that?"
"I said. Next. Prisoner."
"To the block prisoner. Nice and easy." One of the soldiers said.
Twilight complied, not wanting to end up like the thief. She kneeled down onto the block and the headsman began to raise his axe. Then out of nowhere, a dragon flew into view and landed on the tower behind the headsman. The force of the landing knocking the headsman down. All Twilight had to do was look into those red eyes to know who was attacking.
Alduin shouted and meteors began to fall from the sky. Twilight stumbled when getting up from the block and spotted her friends and Ralof heading to a nearby watchtower. She ran into the tower as Ralof closed the door. He turned to Ulfric and asked, "Jarl Ulfric, what is that thing? Could the legends be true?"
"Legends don't burn down villages," Ulfric answered.
Alduin roared loudly.
"We need to move, now!" Ralof yelled. He led the Mane 6 up the tower and came to a dead end with a Stormcloak. The Stormcloak was about to say something, but Alduin broke down the wall and used the fire breath shout. The Stormcloak didn't survive. Ralof looked out the newly made hole and saw that the inn beside the tower is within jumping distance. "You six need to jump. You'll be able to get to the in from here. Don't worry about me. I'll find another way around."
Twilight nodded and turned to her friends to say, "Come on girls," and jumped through the hole and into the inn. Dash had to jump while carrying Fluttershy, who was too scared to jump. Once everyone had jumped into the inn, they made their way out of it and ran into the same Imperial soldier that had the list.
He noticed them and yelled, "Come on prisoners! You want to live, follow me!" They complied and followed him. They came across some people and the same kid from before. He ran away from the dragon as it landed and narrowly escaped being roasted alive. They then were behind a building near one of the walls of Helgen. Alduin landed on the left of the building and on the wall. He used his fire breath shout again before flying off again.
Finally the Mane 6 and the Imperial soldier made it to the keep and met up with Ralof. The Imperial became angry. "Ralof, you coward. How can you run from this?"
Ralof snorted and answered, "Because I'd rather live another day than by a dragon. We won't be able to kill it, so the only other option is to get out of here."
"Forget it. I hope that dragon kills you and every other Stormcloak here. Come on prisoners, follow me."
"If any of you actually want to live, I suggest that you all follow me." With all that said, Ralof and the soldier ran to different areas of the keep. Twilight, Rainbow, and Applejack went with Ralof and Fluttershy, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie went with the soldier.
Pinkie, Rarity, and Fluttershy were breathing heavily as the Imperial soldier locked the door behind them. "Is everyone alright?" he asked.
The only reply he got was nods from them. "Well, it looks like we won't be going out there anytime soon. I'm sorry about what happened earlier. I was going to tell the captain that your friend was royalty but she didn't listen. My name is Hadvar. One of you check that chest over there. It might have some armor and a sword in it. As for the rest of you, look around for anything you can use, such as any other armor and weapons if there is any."
They nodded and started to look around. Rarity checked the chest he mentioned and found some Imperial armor and a iron sword. She looked back at Hadvar who was watching her and gave him a look that said 'do you mind?' He understood why she gave him that look and turned around.
Rarity changed into the armor and tied the sword sheathe to her side. She took the sword out of the chest and put it in the sheathe. When Rarity was about to close the chest, she noticed a key lying at the bottom. She picked it up to inspect it.
Hadvar had turned around when he heard the sound of a sword being sheathed and saw Rarity inspecting the key. "That's the keep key. I wouldn't be surprised if you found it in there. That is the warden's chest after all." He turned to look at the rest of them. Fluttershy is wearing only a helmet she found in one of the chest while Pinkie somehow found a lute. Hadvar questioned why but her answer confused him.
Her answer was, "Because that's what the author expects from me silly."
Rarity said not to question it and he didn't. Mainly because there was a dragon outside destroying the town outside. Once they found all that they found was useful, they carried on. The hallway they went down wasn't at all long and before they knew it, they were at a gate with a pull chain. On the other side was Twilight, Rainbow, and AJ. With them is Ralof and he just finished fighting an Imperial soldier. On the ground were two other soldiers, one of them being the captain from before.
Hadvar drew his sword, pulled the chain next to the gate and charged at Ralof. Rainbow noticed this and quickly got in front of Hadvar and tackled him to the ground. They tussled a bit before he got the upperhand. "This is what you get for going with the traitors," Hadvar said as he raised his fist, but only to be stopped by Ralof who kicked him off of Rainbow.
Hadvar and Ralof had their weapons ready to strike each other when Rarity and Twilight got between them. "What are you doing?!" they both exclaimed.
"Because killing each other won't solve anything with a dragon outside destroying everything," Twilight explained, annoyed.
Ralof and Hadvar looked at each other with a glare before sheathing their weapons but kept their hands on the hilts just in case the other tried something. They both looked at Twilight, waiting for her to speak.
When she was sure that they wouldn't try anything, she let out a sigh and said, "This is Ponyville all over again, but with more death and destruction." She took a moment to think. "Alright, we need to find a way out of here."
"Follow me. I've been in the keep a few times to know where to go. I believe I remember a cave system that's underneath the place. We usually have guards down there but I don't know if they're still down there," Hadvar said as he took the key Rarity found and unlocked the bar door on that was across from where they came in.
The group traveled down a staircase and came across a large hallway. To the left was a door. They were about to walk past the door when the ceiling caved in, nearly crushing them. "That was close!" Ralof exclaimed.
Hadvar pointed at the door and said, "Through here, this room should go around the rubble."
When they entered a group of Stormcloaks were in the room. They were talking while one of them was prying the top of a barrel open. Ralof said he would convince them to let them by. Luckily they let them all through, with some hesitation because of Hadvar, and gave them some potions from the barrel as well.
They continued down further and ran into a torture room. Inside, the torturer and his assistant were gathering some items together. They noticed the group and were about to draw their weapons on the Stormcloak when Hadvar stopped them and explained what was going on. While the torturer thought it was all absurd, he let them all pass anyway.
More Imperials were in the way but allowed them to pass through after Hadvar explained everything. They continued until they across some frostbite spiders, which were quickly dispatched of, and a sleeping bear that they snuck past.
They finally reached the end of the cave and exited. Ralof looked up and quietly yelled, "Get down!" They all complied and not long after, the dragon flew over them and was gone after flying past a mountain with a ruin on it. "Okay, that was close. Come on, we should all head to Riverwood. It's not that far."
No one objected. They began to walk to Riverwood in silence.