First Emissary Elenwen,
It is my understanding that Third Emissary Rulindil has been searching for information regarding the recent resurgence of dragons, as well as their possible connection to this “Dragonborn” who emerged during the attack on Whiterun’s Western Watchtower. While I am certain that he is making great progress towards that end, I would like to contribute some of my own findings. My position at the College of Winterhold has granted me access to its Arcanaeum, which has a great deal of information regarding the folklore of the local Nords, and as such I’ve taken the liberty of perusing its collection for anything relevant to Thalmor interests. It is one of these findings, regarding a group of beings known as “Shezarrines” that I wish to relay to you, as I believe it to be of particular importance to Thalmor interests in Skyrim.
To put it simply, the Shezarrines are beings who have some connection with each other and the demon Lorkhan. Beyond that, very little is known. Theories suggest that the Shezarrines are either champions sent by Lorkhan, or an incarnation of unholy deity himself. Their exact nature and purpose are a mystery, and even identifying one with any certainty is all but impossible, and by some accounts even dangerous. Suspected Shezarrines include Pelinal Whitestrake, who massacred the ancient Ayleids, Talos, the false god responsible for the destruction of the previous Aldmeri Dominion, and Hans the Fox, who joined Ysgramor’s abominable legion in the genocide of the Snow Elves. As you can see, the Shezarrines assume Lorkhan’s ancient role as a bloodthirsty warlord bent on seeing the destruction of Elvenkind.
Also among the list of Shezarrines is a being known as Ysmir, Dragon of the North, a name that was given to Tiber Septim and Wulfharth (both Shezarrines), as well as, if recent events are to be believed, the present day Dragonborn, suggesting that he might be a Shezarrine as well. While I put little stock in old Nordic beliefs and superstitions, it would not be unreasonable to think that this Dragonborn might believe himself to be a new Shezarrine and use his powers against us. The last thing our operations in Skyrim need is a barbaric Nord wielding an ancient power that we cannot match. He’s certainly proven useful in taking on the dragon threat, I’ll grant him that, but we are more than strong enough to eliminate the dragons on our own. If need be, I’ll find the power to destroy both the dragons and the Dragonborn myself.
Ancano, College of Winterhold Advisor
So Nebula and I had an interesting discovery when we realized that we had been working on separate Shezarrine builds for months. Initially, we thought about combining the two into one, but we ultimately decided to instead present our different interpretations of the Shezarrine. So, this guy here is my take on a true Nord, a Nord’s Nord, the Nordiest of the Nords; you get the idea. He follows old and ancient traditions that the Nords themselves have forgotten. Unlike the Nords of today, he worships the Nordic Pantheon of old as it existed before the Nine Divines were introduced and both respects and uses the clever craft of magic. In particular, he’s skilled in the Destruction, Restoration, and Alteration schools. However, he does not trust many of the spells in the Conjuration and Illusion schools; the former because beings from Oblivion have no place on Tamriel and Necromancy is a foul evil, the latter because using magic to manipulate minds is morally wrong. Of course, like any good Nord, he’s highly skilled with arms and armor, and thus uses a pair of war axes and a suit of heavy armor in battle. While this build does uses content from Dragonborn, it’s perfectly playable without it, and I’ll make note of what to do should you lack the DLC.
One Handed: Melee combat can be performed with either one or two war axes; the Shezarrine is skilled with both. Perkwise, you should focus on Armsman, Fighting Stance, and the dual-wielding perks, but you should ultimately get everything except the sword and mace perks. Your Nordic blood gives you a +5 boost to this skill, and Seeker of Might will increase your axe damage by 10%.
Destruction: Frostbite, Ice Spike/Storm, and Icy Spear used for the Shezarrine’s ranged offense. Frost Runes/Walls provide a way to damage/slow advancing enemies, while Frost/Whirlwind Cloak augments melee combat. Perkwise, focus on working your way up to Expert Destruction and getting both ranks of Augmented Frost. Later on you can grab Rune Master, Destruction Dual Casting, Impact, and Deep Freeze.
Heavy Armor: A suit of heavy armor is the primary means by which the Shezarrine reduces damage from incoming attacks. Perkwise, focus on Juggernaut, Well Fitted, and Conditioning, but you’ll ultimately want to max out the tree. Choosing the Lord Stone will increase your armor rating by an additional 50 points, while completing Unfathomable Depths will boost your heavy armor effectiveness by 25%, and Seeker of Might another 10%.
Alteration: Flesh spells further augment physical defense, while the Atronach and magic resistance perks, combined with the Lord Stone bonus, bolster magical defense. Completing the Book of Love will also boost your Magic Resistance by another 15%. Alteration magic also provides several options (Ash Shell, Ash Rune, and Paralyze) for disabling your enemies. Perk this out at your leisure, but ultimately you should have everything except Alteration Dual Casting, Master Alteration, and Mage Armor.
Restoration: Healing magic is the means by which the Shezarrine recovers from wounds, while wards shield him from enemy spells. Fun fact of the day: wards complete negate shouts, taking the sting out of those pesky Draugr Deathlords. Completing Frostflow Abyss will boost the effectiveness of healing magic by 10%. Perkwise, focus on getting Adept Restoration, Respite, and Regeneration. Later on, add in Recovery, Avoid Death, and Ward Absorb.
Smithing: The Shezarrine ensures that his axes are sharp and armor tough. Completing Unfathomable Depths increases Smithing effectiveness by 15% in addition to the Heavy Armor bonus, and Seeker of Might gives an additional 10% effectiveness. Perkwise, all you need is Advanced Armors (doubles the improvement of your armor), Dwarven Smithing (doubles the improvement of your weapons, and lets you create/improve Dwarven Bows for easier smithing leveling) and Arcane Blacksmith (enables you to temper your armor). As with One-Handed, being a Nord gives a +5 boost to this skill.
You'll have 60 perks once the build is completed.
Honed Draugr War Axes: These weapons improve go well with the Ancient Nord look, for obvious reasons, and as such are the ideal weapons for the Shezarrine. Leave them unenchanted for use with Elemental Fury.
Ahzidal’s Helm of Vision: Conjuration isn’t in use, but this helmet, combined with Rune Master, will let you cast Frost/Ash Runes at an absurd range, shutting down opponents well before they reach you. That being said, it does increase their already expensive magicka cost by 25%, so it won’t be as useful until the Shezarrine has a significant amount of Magicka under his belt.
Amulet of Talos: Stacking this necklace with the Blessing of Talos and, when necessary, Dragon Aspect is the method by which the Shezarrine reduces cooldown time on shouts. Easiest one to find (if you have the Dawnguard DLC) is on top of the northern tower of Fort Dawnguard next to a copy of The Talos Mistake. Otherwise, you have a chance of finding one at Radiant Raiment or on the corpses of your fallen Stormcloak comrades. Drinking a Restoration potion before putting the amulet on will increase its effectiveness.
Ahzidal’s Armor of Retribution: A chance to paralyze your attacker without any effort on your part is great. Combine that with the Reflect Blows perk and Frost/Whirlwind Cloak and enemies attempting to fight you at close range might get more than they bargained for.
Ahzidal’s Gauntlets of Warding: Honestly, the reduced ward effectiveness is hardly a loss; the Shezarrine has good defense against magic regardless (70% Magic Resistance, 30% Spell Absorption, and 50% Frost Resistance come endgame). With the gauntlets and the Ward Absorb perk though, you’ll absorb 75% of the magicka from incoming spells, the highest absorption rate possible.
Ahzidal’s Ring of Arcana: Ignite certainly is a deadly little spell, but for this build, we’re ignoring it in favor of Freeze. Slowing opponents down for 15 seconds lets you run circles around them in melee combat, and it’s very cost-effective as well. If you don’t have the Dragonborn DLC, use a generic ring with a suitable enchantment instead.
Ahzidal’s Boots of Waterwalking: As cool as waterwalking is, it’s rarely useful in combat. However, these boots complete the look of the Shezarrine, grant the Matching Set bonus when worn with the rest of the gear, and improve off of Steel Smithing like the rest of the equipment, so on they go.
Needless to say, you’ll want to complete Unearthed as soon as possible. Until then, use a pair of Ancient Nord War Axes along with a set of Ancient Nord Armor (easy way to get it early is by looting the corpses of the Dragon Cultists in Forelhost) and a generic ring with a suitable enchantment. If you lack the Dragonborn DLC, you’ll be using the Ancient Nord Armor for the rest of the game. Unlike Ahzidal’s Armor, it improves off of Daedric rather than Steel Smithing and doesn’t require Arcane Blacksmith, so while you’re still capable of hitting the armor cap without Daedric Smithing, you may still want to perk accordingly. Alternatively, if you hate the look of Ancient Nord Armor, Dukaan with a set of Nordic Carved makes for a nice look. Regardless of your armor choices, consider picking up the White Phial; one of its effects boosts your One-Handed damage by 50%.
The Shezarrine embraces his role as Dragonborn, and as such, tries to learn as many dragon shouts as he can. In fact, he has the opportunity to pick up every quest-locked word in the game, with the sole exception of the word for Disarm in Snow Veil Sanctum, and even that can be obtained via the dungeon backdoor glitch. As such, I ended up using a ton of shouts (and some other powers) which are listed below:
Elemental Fury: A brutally effective shout when paired with your War Axes. It’ll see plenty of use in melee combat.
Slow Time: Against distant opponents, using this shout will allow you to hammer your enemies with tons of Frost spells. At close range, you can use it to dance around your foes.
Cyclone/Dismay/Ice Form: All effective crowd control shouts to use.
Call of Valor: Summoning a hero from Sovngarde is both roleplay-friendly and combat-effective. Unfortunately, it’s affected by the Spell Absorption bug, and absorbing it still gives you the cooldown timer anyway, so I’d avoid using this shout after gaining the Atronach perk.
Become Ethereal: This shout has lots of uses. Negating falling damage, traps, or powerful ranged attacks, using a stamina-free power attack, or simply catching a breather are all made possible by it.
Bend Will: Yes, controlling dragons is cool and all, but it’s the second word of the shout that really shines. As Ponty pointed out in his Prodigy build, it can be used to enslave large groups of humanoids without having the three word cooldown.
Dragon Aspect: This shout provides a whole host of augmentations useful to the Shezarrine, but in particular, the 20% cooldown reduction provided by the third word allows you to get a lot more mileage out of your shouts.
Frost Breath: Deals damage that increases with Augmented Frost and slows enemies down. What’s not to like?
Dragonrend: Hitting dragons midflight with frost spells is tricky, and you obviously can’t hit them with your war axes while they’re flying, so grounding them is your best option.
Kyne’s Peace: The Shezarrine worships Kyne, so I got this shout for roleplay reasons. It’s also nice at lower levels when certain animals (Snowy Sabre Cats come to mind) can easily kill you.
Unrelenting Force: Since you can’t bash while dual-wielding, the first word of this shout provides an easy means to stagger opponents, while all three words make for an effective crowd control option. Dragonborn Force augments this shout nicely, as does Force Without Effort, which, combined with Tower of Strength, boosts stagger reduction up to the maximum possible of 75%.
Black Book Abilities: In addition to the aforementioned Dragonborn Force and Seeker of Might, I recommend Mora’s Boon, Scholar’s Insight, and Bardic Knowledge.
Battlecry: Your racial power will be very useful in a pinch to give yourself some breathing room to heal, or to pelt fleeing enemies with Frost spells. Think of it as a buffed up version of Dismay.
The Shezarrine very much acts like a true Nord. In fact, whenever you’re stumped on how roleplay him appropriately, ask yourself: What would Shor do? As for actual tips, here are some general ones. First, never flee combat. As practically every generic bandit in the game likes to say, “True Nords never back down!” Take a swig of mead whenever you stop by the local inn, and request the bard to play a nice Nordic ballad. Thirdly, whenever you run into Thalmor on the road, kill them. They are to the Shezarrine as Ayleids were to Pelinal Whitestrake, Snow Elves to Hans the Fox, you get the idea. As far as other mer go, you don’t have to kill them on sight, but deal with them only on an as-needed basis, and when you do, act as rude and condescending as possible. Same goes for the beast races and Empire supporters. On the other hand, you’ll want to help out your fellow Nords as much as possible. I actually ended up becoming thane of all nine holds simply because I was doing quests for so many Nords. Speaking of which, seeing as Skyrim’s the Nordic homeland, you’ll have plenty of roleplay-appropriate quests to do. Here are some suggestions:
Main Quest: Fulfill your destiny as Dragonborn by slaying Alduin.
The Blades: Find three new members for Delphine to train; then take them out on a dragon hunt and help Esbern with his research on dragons. Later on, you can kill Paarthurnax if you deem it necessary.
The Stormcloaks: Liberate Skyrim from Imperial rule and throw off the yoke of Elven oppression.
The Companions: Ascend to the esteemed rank of Harbinger; then cure yourself, Vilkas, and Farkas of Lycanthropy.
The College of Winterhold: Develop your magical skills, and rid the college of Thalmor influence.
Destroy the Dark Brotherhood: Shor demands the blood of Grelod for her transgressions. If such an act were to culminate in the destruction of the Dark Brotherhood, so much the better.
The Dawnguard: Save Tamriel from the threat of the Volkihar.
Dragonborn Main Quest: Reluctantly ally yourself with Hermaeus Mora in order to save the Skaal; then help them however you can. If you’re comfortable with taking on more of the power of a Daedric Prince, find the remaining Black Books and the Oghma Infinium as well.
Retaking Thirsk: Bring a bottle of Ashfire Mead to Elmus and then help Bujold the Unworthy reclaim the mead hall, but tell no lies. Once that is done, find supplies to help the residents.
Tel Mithryn: Though you hold no love for the Dunmer, Neloth is a valuable ally and can teach you much about magic.
Return to Grace: Give Greta Roggvir’s Amulet of Talos to convince her to return to the temple.
Kyne’s Sacred Trials: Show your reverence to Kyne by hunting the guardian beasts of Skyrim.
The Blessings of Nature: Obtain an Eldergleam Sapling to help Kyne’s influence grow.
The Book of Love: Act in accordance with Mara’s wishes as you spread her love throughout Skyrim.
Kill Elenwen: Not a true quest, but Elenwen loses her essential status after you defeat Alduin, so you can kill her by re-entering the Thalmor Embassy via horse and then working your way back towards the party room, using the Wooden Plate Glitch to get past any locked doors.
Thane of the Nine Holds: Considering how helping out the Nords of Skyrim is an important part of the roleplay, thaneship lends itself nicely to the Shezarrine.
Nordic Barrow Quests: The Shezarrine is very much interested in the Ancient Nords of old, and as such explores their tombs whenever possible.
First of all, stat spread notes. I recommend a 2/2/1 ratio. All three stats are relatively important, but Stamina can be restored back with Respite easily enough and Secret of Strength/Bardic Knowledge help alleviate Stamina concerns. By now, you probably have a pretty good grasp on how combat works with this build. Against distant opponents, use rune or missile spells and any crowd control shouts you have, or alternatively, close the distance yourself with Become Ethereal or Whirlwind Sprint. Your war axes should serve you well in melee combat, though you’ll occasionally want to switch to a healing, ward, or even a paralysis spell in the off-hand. Finally and perhaps most importantly, make heavy use of your shouts; your cooldown time isn’t terribly long so you can afford to make heavy use of them. To conclude, here are some tactics I developed with the Shezarrine. Make use of them as you see fit.
Frozen Fear: Hit an enemy with Dismay (or Battlecry), but as they turn to flee, hit them with Freeze. They’ll be running away at half speed, so you can attack them at your leisure. Note that both Battlecry and Dismay last for thirty seconds while Freeze’s slow effect lasts for only fifteen, so you’ll need to cast it again if the enemy isn’t dead already.
Aspect of Shor: Once a day, unleash your true power as Dovahkiin as you allow the presence of Shor to overtake you. In other words, use Dragon Aspect, Secret of Strength, Elemental Fury, your Dual Honed Draugr War Axes, and the White Phial. You'll turn into an unstoppable force in melee combat, worthy of being the avatar of a god.