Took the Knight Alyssa for her tests next, starting with the forsworn just outside my new base. We then moved on to colder regions where she handled multiple draugr deathlords just fine and survived an ancient dragon - however this winged beast got away! Checked in with Esbern who thought he had a lead where it may have gone so I left Alyssa there (her finishers on the overlords were impressive) and took her friend Rayna instead, who had already previously proven her skills. Once we reached the spot, Mjoll was there too and so was... Athis!? How many times did I have to kill this soon-to-be-draugr!?
No time to worry about that though as we came under attack by the -wrong- dragon. This one was just an elder one and we slaughtered it just fine. I then asked Athis about his state and he was very dismissive, continously walking away so I used this as a good test of Rayna's skills - telling her to duel the freak dunmer while Mjoll and I just stood back and watched. It was a long fight but Athis was just outclassed and once again was run through. Mjoll then promised to find whoever did this (I assume whoever brought Athis to back life, again). Hopefully this time he stays dead as a courier came by to deliver his inheritance?
After leaving Rayna at the Temple, I took the brash knight Cutter next as he was getting bored in Solitude. For as much as I dislike him he still proved himself, managing to help me clear an unfinished dwemer ruin (despite his fear of such places), defeating a wisp mother on his own, and surviving a big mammoth and two troll combo. Having passed, I sent him off to the temple too and took the lizardman archer Anu next. After surviving an easy frost dragon and a few bandits I decided to revisit the Dawnstar sanctuary to make sure the brotherhood (that is down to one little girl and a corpse) was in check. Sure enough when I got there I found they had recruited a new male initiate! Figured this would be a good test of Anu's skills and got him to duel the new guy in a knife fight. This time, the fight was not in my favour though - and the lizardman was gutted from navel to neck before falling lifelessly to the ground. Just as the initiate breathed a sigh of relief I appeared from the shadows and slit his throat.
Returned to Solitude where Njada wanted to give me some tips on blocking. After that I brought Alle the high elf for her trials next. Esbern had found another dragon to slay, and my little band had also researched a second one to be hunted down deep underground! After warming up on an easy Blood Dragon (where Mjoll was late to arrive on the scene) we descended into Blackreach to hunt Vulthyrol. I needed to get close enough to yell at the giant "sun" which meant a quick covert run through the Silent City via the tunnels, silently sniping the patrolling falmer. Eventually I did manage to summon the dragon, and Alle was too hasty in charging it as a shadow master and his pet dwarven centurion arrived on the scene. The dragon was caned quickly but then while I handled the giant centurion, I lost track of Alle and her pursuing falmer. Eventually I found her corpse behind some buildings with the shadowmaster doing some obscene things to her face. After extracting revenge it was time to get out of there.