I almost never swift travel in Skyrim. The option, whilst convenient, I also view as self-defeating. Part of my enjoyment of the game comes from the very world itself – why would I wish to miss out on that? Also there are so many little surprises one can come across – including various sites that are not marked on the map – when one travels. Sometimes these are real “wow” moments, and this weekend I had one such moment.
I was travelling westward from Whiterun, north of the mountain range that divides Whiterun Hold from Falkreath Hold. I was near the eastern side, and then I saw it. What appeared to be a dragon, circling a spot. I veered slightly off course to head towards it, and realised the dragon kept hovering around what looked like a dragon mound. I realised I had come across Alduin in the process of raising a dragon.
Of course, I am far along in the main quest I have seen the scripted encounter at Kynaesgrove where he does this, but this was random and unexpected. I watched as Alduin raised this dragon, flesh returning to the skeleton, and then flew off leaving him to face me. A battle made all the more exciting by the pair of giants that got involved in the action. For a while it was a very interesting three-way fight, but the dragon ended up hurting the giants more than me. This allowed me to quickly remove them from the field, and the concentrate on the revived creature before dispatching him once and for all.
If I were to use one word to describe the experience I would say “thrilling”. All games need to have such moments if they wish to keep us going at them for hours on end – and Skyrim often supplies.