Praise Yah from Mundus, ye dragons and all deeps
Fire and hail: snow and vapors; stormy wind fulfilling his word:
Mountains and all hills; fruitful trees and all cedars:
Beasts and all cattle; creeping things and flying fowl:
Kings of Nirn and all peoples; princes and all the judges of Nirn:
Both young men and maidens; old men and children:
Let them praise the name of Yah; for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the stars…
-The Book of Yah, Songs of the Kings*
To most mortals viewing them, the stars looked like tears in velvet, letting light stream in from the magic realm of absent gods. That the stars were thinking beings was incomprehensible, and that their God was still present was even more so. They spun in their slow orbits, singing a song which only their creator could understand, a song which fell silent on the deafened worlds in their care. Whenever a distant star introduced a new melody, astrologically-minded mages took note of its brightening, hoping it to be a sign. When the song was especially strong, waves of color streaked through Nirn's northern skies, attributed to an influx of magic or an illusion of the mind. Otherwise mortals had no evidence of their rich inner workings. Only the dragons had any inkling, but the stars had long ceased speaking to them.
Alduin, the black dragon who mortals called the "World Eater," knew well that change was in the air. Upon his return, the most distant stars began flaring in earnest, farther than elf or human eyes could see, and the aurora's colors shifted in patterns he had seen before. He knew precisely what it meant; a Thu'um was spreading through the heavens, from outside space and time, its result already decreed. At one time, such signs had filled him with hope. Now, he hoped for nothing, save to slake his hunger.
The Thu'um struck the upper atmosphere like a crack of thunder and swept through the valley as a gust of wind. The mountains echoed the word, and the grasses and trees whispered in answer. From deep in the valley, a herd of mammoths trumpeted, and the birds fell completely still. The whole countryside listened to the word, absorbing its meaning, save the two-legged races who were too deaf to hear.
The Thu'um reached Alduin's mountain last, sweeping over it like a warm gust of spring wind. A new dragon had just been named, announced in the manner all dragons used to be. This dragon's name was dangerous, a direct threat against his rightful dominion. Alduin stretched his blackened wings and roared a challenge in answer.
*Adapted from Psalms 148, King James Version.