The battle between Alduin and Matthias did rage for the better part of an hour. Even with the aid of the dragon Paarthurnax and the power of the Dragonrend shout, it was a close thing. But such was the battle that Alduin, apparently feeling fear for the first time in years, did flee rather than continue the battle...
Me: He's buggered off.
Paarthurnax: So he has. And I doubt he will be so bold as to attack either of us directly again.
Me: Any idea where he might go to hide?
Paarthurnax: There are many places... it is impossible to say. It would be better to question one of his followers...
Me: Ha! Just capture a dragon and ask them? Even with the Dragonrend, I doubt they'd be in much mood to talk.
Paarthurnax: Indeed. But in times of old, there was a place built where Man did capture Dov.
Me: No doubt hidden away in some dark, zombie infested hole in the ground.
Paarthurnax: Ah, no. Indeed, the men of Skyrim did build one of their greatest cities around it. It is the hall of Dragonsreach, in the city you call Whiterun.
Me: The Jarl's palace was once a dragon trap?
Paarthurnax: Indeed. Go to him and secure the hall and then I shall teach you of a way to summon one of Alduin's minions to you. I believe that is our best chance of success.
Me: The Jarl of Whiterun might not think so.
Paarthurnax: Hmm... yes. But your su'um is strong. I do not doubt you can convince him of the need.
Me: Thanks for the vote of confidence.
LATER THAT NIGHT...
Me: Wakey, wakey, Jarl Balgruuf.
Jarl Balgruuf The Greater: Mmmpf? My Thane?
Me: Sorry to wake you, Jarl. But it was very important.
Jarl Balgruuf The Greater: Did my guards let you in here?
Me: Uh... they didn't stop me.
Jarl Balgruuf The Greater: Umph. Well, I am awake now... what was it that was so important it required you coming into my chambers in the middle of the night and waking me?
Me: I need you to help me trap a dragon in your palace.
Jarl Balgruuf The Greater: I must have misheard you. I thought you asked me to help trap a dragon in my palace.
Me: I did.
Jarl Balgruuf The Greater: ... this had better be a dream, Thane Matthias.
Me: It will be a nightmare if you don't let me try this! Look. I have it on good authority that in ancient times, your palace was a great dragon trap...
Jarl Balgruuf The Greater: Hnnn... that would explain the chandelier on my back porch that looks like a dragon-sized stockade.
Me: So I may attempt to summon a dragon here and trap it, in order to question it? You know I wouldn't ask unless it was absolutely neccesary.
Jarl Balgruuf The Greater: Of course. You've saved my city once already and I owe you a great deal...
Me: ... buuuuuuuuut?
Jarl Balgruuf The Greater: General Tullius and Jarl Ulfric are both watching me. I have yet to take a side in the war between the Stormcloaks and the Imperial supporters. If they were to see a dragon being lured into my palace, they might take it as a sign of support for their enemy and attack the city.
Me: That's idiotic.
Jarl Balgruuf The Greater: So is their war. Regardless, I want some assurance that they won't attack my city while you're in the middle of trying to lure a dragon into it. I can cope with a dragon or an invading army in my city, but not both!
Me: So... just so we're clear... I need to go negotiate a peace settlement between two factions that violently hate each other before you will let me use your palace as a dragon trap.
Jarl Balgruuf The Greater: That's what I'm asking, yes.
Me: ... Right! Arrange for World Peace. I'll see what I can do.
Jarl Balgruuf The Greater: You might try asking the Greybeards if they'd help. I'm sure they're just as eager to deal with the dragons as you are.
Me: That's a thought...
ONE DAY LATER...
Arngeir: No, no, no. Absolutely not!
Me: Oh come on!
Arngeir: I'm sorry, Dragonborn, but it is strictly out of the question.
Me: Look, I don't think the Jarl is being unreasonable...
Arngeir: And even if you could use his palace as a lure, how do you plan to get a dragon there? Hmmm?
Me: I'll worry about capturing a dragon. I need your help to stop the war.
Arngeir: You misunderstand our authority. The Greybeards have never involved themselves in political affairs.
Me: And you wouldn't be now. I just want you to loan your monastery out as a neutral meeting place for the two factions. Everyone knows that you don't get involved in this sort of thing. That will make them believe everything is on the up and up.
Arngeir: I still don't like the idea of men of war coming to this place of peace and quiet contemplation.
Me: Quiet, except of course, when you are shouting words in the language of creatures that are the embodiment of evil and destruction.
Arngeir: Except then, yes.
Me: Look... you know I wouldn't ask for this if it wasn't absolutely necessary. But the Jarl won't let me use his palace as a dragon trap unless I negotiate a peace treaty. And I need to use his palace as a dragon trap so we can capture a dragon so they can tell me where Alduin is hiding.
Arngeir: This is all to destroy Alduin?
Arngeir: And Paarthurnax is okay with it?
Me: It's his plan!
Arngeir: Oh, very well. I suppose we can bear the weight of the outside world for a time.
Me: Glad to hear it. Now I just need to sell the faction leaders on the idea...
From The Saga of Matthias The Bather, Written By Sven
And so it was that Matthias did meet with Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak and General Tullius of the Imperial Army. Using the good name of the Greybeards and the threat of Alduin's return, he convinced the two parties to meet and negotiate a peace until the threat of the dragons could be dealt with. And so it was that, a week later, the leaders of the Imperial Army in Skyrim and The Stormcloak Rebels did meet at the fortress at High Hrothgar. But they were not alone...
Arngeir: So, you've done it. The men of violence are gathered here, in these halls whose very stones are dedicated to peace.
Me: Perfect place to discuss words to bring about peace, then.
Arngeir: Hmmph. I suppose. But explain one thing to me, Dragonborn.
Arngeir: Why did you invite The Blades?
Me: ... what?! I never-
Delphine: - never would dream of returning to this place of wickedness without his most loyal servants, I think you were about to say, Dragonborn?
Arngeir: Wickedness?! You're one to talk! Meddler!
Me: Okay, okay. I didn't invite you all here to start another war.
Arngeir: You didn't invite them period!
Me: Be that as it may, this is a place of peace dedicated to peace... so I'm told...
Me: So for the sake of peace, let us put aside our differences for the moment.
Arngeir: Very well, Dragonborn. But be warned even my patience is being tested...
Esbern: And be warned that we will have to reconsider our offering you aid unless we have an accounting shortly.
Me: Yes, yes, yes. Let's sort out the civil war first, okay?
Me: Right. I would like to thank you all for coming and... what in the name of the Nine Divines is SHE doing here?
Elenwen: As the Aldmeri Dominion's duly appointed Ambassador to Skyrim...
Me: Can we all agree that nobody gives a damn what the Thamlor have to say?
Jarl Ulfric: Aye!
Jarl Balgruuf : Aye!
General Tullius: Well, now as equal partners in-
Me: 4-1 against. Clear off, Elenwen.
Elenwen: Well! You shall regret this insult!
Me: Oh, that wasn't an insult. You want an insult? We can do insults.
Elenwen: I wash my hands of this whole affair!
Me: Which brings me to our first order of business: Are we all agreed that High Elves are stupid and smell bad?
Jarl Ulfric: Aye!
Jarl Balgruuf : Aye!
General Tullius: Well, I'm not certain that we can say...
Me: 4-1 in favor. The resolution passes.
SEVERAL HOURS LATER...
Me: And finally, it is agreed that both the party of the first part and the party of the second part will leave the party of the third part (that's Whiterun) alone and respect their neutrality, until such time as the threat of the party of the ninth part( The World-Eater Alduin) is settled by awesome party a.k.a. me?
General Tullius: And that the parking of horse-carts in Whiterun shall be parallel, rather than diagonal?
Me: ... yes?
General Tullius: Aye.
Jarl Ulfric: Aye!
Jarl Balgruuf : Aye!
Me: 5-0 in favor of. The motion is approved. Everyone sign on the lines here. And... we're done. Jarl Balgruuf, if you would give word for the trap to be prepared upon your return to Whiterun?
Jarl Balgruuf : With pleasure Thane Matthias.
Me: General? Jarl Ulfric? If you would let your soldiers have a much needed vacation while I try and save us all?
Jarl Ulfric: Of course, Dragonborn. I thank you for your wisdom.
General Tullius: Indeed. I too shall stand by the agreement.
Me: Good. Now, I think that sums up everything.
Esbern: Not so fast, Dragonborn. We must still have an accounting.
Me: Ah. Yes?
Delphine: It has come to our attention that you've still been seeking the assistance of the Greybeards.
Me: Well, they DID agree to let us hold this peace conference here.
Esbern: And it has also come to our attention that their leader is an ancient dragon named Paarthurnax.
Me: Okay. I'm kinda curious how you just now figured this all out but - no. Wait. I'm not. Would you two please get to the point?
Delphine: The point, Dragonborn, is that Paarthurnax was Alduin's second in command. In ancient times he enslaved and killed thousands. The point is that he has dodged justice for thousands of years. The point is that you are the leader of an ancient line of dragonslayers and you are allowing a dragon to help you!
Me: Yes, I am. Paarthurnax has seen the error of his ways and is helping me to make amends for his past misdeeds. I never would have learned about needing an Elder Scroll if it wasn't for him. I would never have learned the Dragonrend shout if not for him. He stood by my side and fought Alduin when nobody else was there. And I never would have come up with this plan to capture another dragon to learn where Alduin is hiding without him.
Esbern: Even slaying Alduin personally would not enough to make up for his misdeeds. And unless you slay him, we will not help you further.
Me: Remind me again how you were helping me before?
Delphine: Do not jest with us, Dragoborn. Either you will slay this dragon or you shall never hear from us again.
Me: Hmmm... kill the dragon who is helping me save the world or lose the servants who don't do anything, save find new ways for me to nearly get killed? Dragon or servants.? Dragon or servants?
Esbern: Well? What do you say?
Me: Enjoy your lives after Paarthurnax and I save the world!