Diamond Ridge Complex, Fort High Rock: Another bear, Black taint, Miners freed, Friends to help, Siguun Rigmor reunited, Tilar’s best, Solemn promise, Those three words, Ambush, Rigmor taken, Death.
I am writing this journal entry near midnight on Loredas, 6th Heartfire, 4E 201.
I have been “dead” for three days. This is what I remember
It did not take long to find the cave entrance.
We left the horses untethered. We did not know if we could come back this way to gather them. Rigmor was positive that Ren could find his way back to Angi’s. I just hoped Dogmeat would follow. There was nothing to eat in the vicinity so they would not wait forever for our return.
I asked Rigmor if she was ready. She did not sound confident with her reply. I asked her to stick close and not to wander. I wanted her to promise to focus on the task. I finally got that promise.
The “Daughter of Azura” and I entered the cave.
First thing we encountered was a fairly large bear blocking our way. Rigmor asked me to wait and she then approached it. The bear ran at her with a mighty roar and she did not flinch. Within inches of her face it stopped and its demeanour changed. Rigmor told it we meant no harm and were its friends. It turned around, went back to its nest and fell asleep.
Rigmor has no idea how she does it.
When we entered the cavern past the bear we could smell and feel something Rigmor described as a black taint covering everything. It was similar to the taint in the mine on the way to Fort Black.
Just like that mine we encountered hordes of skeever and spiders. Just like in that mine, I wiped most of them out with chain lightening.
After several caverns we came to the entrance of the mine. It was blocked by three ice trolls. One fireball later there were zero trolls.
Upon entering it the first person we encountered was a slave.
I assured him we were not there to harm him. He asked if we were there to rescue them. I told him we were looking for a specific slave, a woman from Bruma, and asked if he had seen her.
When he asked, “You mean Sigunn?” Rigmor gave a loud gasp. It was the first evidence that somebody had seen her alive in four years.
I told him that is who we are looking for. He said a slave master took her away two days ago. That she is most likely in the fort above the mine. He said we will have to go through the forge and then the dungeons to get to it
I looked at Rigmor. She was starting to realise how much we still have to face to even get to the fort. We had to get moving again soon!
The slave warned us that black arts were at work and the route would be heavily guarded. He said to stop the evil work being done we would need to destroy the forge.
I asked how many slaves there are. He said not many as they had been worked to death. He pleaded us for our help. I told him that when we leave he is to gather the slaves and leave via the caverns we had just cleared.
I told Rigmor we can make it. That it will be a bit harder as I could not use Shouts or spells that might hurt slaves as well as guards. She looked determined so on we went.
We fought our way through several mine caverns. There were many guards. Instead of allowing them to surround us we would let them know we were there and fall back into narrow tunnels. That meant we only had to face a couple at a time and we slaughtered them as they came. I was relieved when we finally made it to the dungeons without harming a slave and had killed every single guard.
Just as we were gathering ourselves to enter the dungeons a familiar voice called out, “Wait Rigmor, Guardian…” We turned to see Baa’Ren-Dar, Casius and Yngol approaching.
Rigmor ran to Baa’Ren-Dar and gave him a quick hug.
I asked him what he was doing here. He told me Tendril Sethri had come to him and asked for help. Baa’Ren-Dar brought along Casius and Yngol as he knew he could trust them.
According to Yngol they found us by following the trail of bodies, or parts thereof.
I had misjudged Tendril! He was a thief and slimy sneak but he was our thief and slimy sneak.
I thanked them all in turn and said we are heading into the dungeons and then the forge.
There were many pitched battles through the dungeons and forge. I could now use my spells and Shouts. This allowed the other four to rush in after the initial chaos I caused and overwhelm the defenders. Baa’Ren-Dar was an excellent marksman! He was firing so many shots he had to keep looting bodies to get more arrows. That old khajiit continues to surprise me.
Finally we reached the holding cells. There was a pitched battle where the last of the defenders fought desperately for their lives.
Eventually they all fell and I could look into the cells.
There she was. It could not be anybody else but Sigunn. That was confirmed when Rigmor spotted her and ran to the cell door calling her name
I quickly searched some bodies and found a set of keys. By this time Sigunn was at the cell door holding her daughter’s hands though the bars. I had to ask Rigmor to stand back as the door needed room to open. She reluctantly let go of her mother and stepped back. I tried several keys before the lock clicked and I could swing the door open.
Then a reunion four years in the making occurred and everybody cried at the sight. That includes Yngol who looked away when it got too much for the big Nord.
It was sad to cut the reunion short but we were still in great danger.
Baa’Ren-Dar urged us to get a move on before the Thalmor regrouped. Casius and Yngol would accompany Baa’Ren-Dar out of the complex taking Siguun with them. They would destroy the forge on the way out by knocking down some supporting pillars. That would bring the ceiling down on top on the evil machinery.
Siguun wanted Rigmor to come but she explained she couldn’t.
I told Siguun that Tilar was probably in the fort above and that Rigmor and I must try and bring an end to him and the plans of the New Order.
Siguun pleaded with me to look after her and to be careful.
The others headed back the way we had come. Rigmor watched till her mother could be seen no longer. She looked at me then headed towards the fort’s entrance. I sighed and followed when all I really wanted to do was hold her. Just let her enjoy the fact Siguun was saved for a few minutes more. Let her cry on my shoulder if she needed. We both knew we could not delay for even that brief time. I had my duty. She had her destiny.
As I was preparing to open the door and burst into the keep I looked at Rigmor. She looked terrified!
I asked her if she is OK. She told me she was scared. I told her the truth, I was scared too.
She apologised for being scared even though I was as well! I told her not to be. That two is better than one. I reiterated my warning at the entrance to the caves. Stick together. Focus.
I told Rigmor how much of an honour it had been fighting by her side.
We exchanged what could have been our final farewells. Without once saying those three fucking words!
Rigmor said, “This will always remind me of who I am, whence I came, and I will never forget you, never. You have a special place in my heart.”
I replied, “And you in mine. It is almost over.”
“Thank you Dragonborn for being here for me. Let’s go do this.”
We hugged and I found it comforting just to hold her for that brief time.
We entered the fort and were met by Tilar and his elite guard in their impenetrable armour.
Tilar put on his pompous arsehole routine. No doubt to be followed by a lot of running away.
He sprouted his usual bullshit culminating in his trademark threat to put our heads on spikes.
Rigmor told him his plans for the New Order were finished. That he caused all this misery and death for nothing.
He went full Thalmor on us. Telling us how they will take their rightful place above us lesser beings. Then he insulted Baa’Ren-Dar!
Tilar had great faith in his elite soldiers and their pretty new armour. Thinking Rigmor was still using her family sword he called it a toothpick. I was going to remind him that toothpick had killed hundreds of Thalmor recently. I did not get a chance.
Rigmor introduced him to “Azura’s Bane” and read the runes for him,
“I am the Goddess, Azura Mother of the Rose, Queen of the Night Sky, The Dusk and Dawn. Behold Rigmor of Bruma, Protector of the Pure of Heart, Daughter of a Mother’s Love. I am the Bane of Azura, The Poisoned Chalice of Woe, Vanquisher of the Forces of Evil. Behold Rigmor of Bruma, Child of the Twilight, The Chosen Champion of Azura.”
Rigmor then showed a confidence that was far beyond what I expected. She had entered this room scared a few minutes ago. Now she told Tilar what was about to happen and it was impressive!
“I am Rigmor of Bruma, and you shall know thy bane, you shall know whence thy tears came.”
“TALOS WILLS IT!”
Tilar did it again. He ordered his lackeys to kill us why he ran away like the coward he is.
The four elite guard converged on Rigmor. The Thalmor did that yesterday as well. They attacked her and left me as if I was invisible. I was glad because I got to see the best swordsmanship I have seen Rigmor perform. “Azuru”s Bane” was a blur of motion as Rigmor cut down the Thalmor’s elite troops in their “impenetrable” armour is seconds. I was in complete awe!
I walked up to one of the dead Thalmor and hit him with “The Sword”. I was glad to see it could cut the armour as well but what Rigmor and her new sword just did was like reaping wheat.
I walked up to her and asked if she was alright. She said she was
I warned Rigmor to stay alert and focused and stay close to me when we entered the caves. I did the same just before we entered this room. No I left her in a room by herself! What made me do that? Why did I do that?
In hindsight I think the fact she took down those guards with such ease made me overconfident.
I told her to stay whilst I looked for Tilar. Rigmor said she would look for evidence.
After walking up several flights of stair I found Tilar’s journal and a letter from a higher ranked Thalmor sitting on a table.
The journal had an entry to his wife Sharon. It was a rant about how he was unfairly done by. How everything that went wrong was not his fault. He showed grudging respect for both Rigmor and I. He then claimed he would have to be more tactful to separate Rigmor and I. How he would drag her in chains to Alinor just like her father. How he would enjoy her execution. He ranted about how the New Order would destroy the memory of Talos. How they would erect shrine to him. How he will become a God.
This from the coward who has run away from Rigmor and I three times now.
The letter pointed out what a complete failure Tilar had been. It also announced that Phase Three of their plans was now brought forward and he is to prepare to command the Northern Invasion Force. How “The Entity” was getting a bit restless. The best bit was when it reminded Tilar he could not even take care of one little girl.
I was gloating over this emasculation of Tilar when I hear Rigmor cry out for my help.
I ran down the stairs as quick as I could. It would only have taken me seconds to get to her. When I did she was just lopping off the head of her last attacker. More of the New Order’s best troops in their super armour reduced to bloody corpses in seconds!
Then it was Northwatch Keep all over again.
She asked if I got to Tilar. I shook my head.
Rigmor moved away and started to sob. Her body shook and my heart broke.
She deserves better than this!
After a few seconds I had to get her attention. We needed to leave.
Then the promise.
“Dragonborn, promise me..promise me, you’ll never let me go.” she pleaded with fear in her voice.
I knew I couldn’t. That my life was not my own. That any promise would be empty.
I told her, “Rigmor, I can’t…”
She pleaded again, “Please!”
I hesitated. Duty vs Love doing battle in my head and heart.
Rigmor begged, “Promise me!”
I made up my mind. No matter what, she was going to be my first priority from this point on and fuck The Divines!
I said, with all the sincerity, love and commitment I could, “I PROMISE!”
The she told me what my soul needed to hear. What would make me complete. What would give me the strength to face any task The Divines gave me.
“I love you.”
I was about to tell her the same when an arrow hit me in the neck.
Instead of uttering those three precious words I fell to my knees gurgling and losing focus and helpless for the first time since I awakened.
Rigmor was fixated on the blood and reached out for me. I could see the Thalmor bastards approaching from behind her and could do nothing but fall face first onto the hard, cold floor.
Tilar yelled, “Quickly, get the girl!!”
My poor Rigmor, her nightmare returns and I could do nothing.
She yelled a pitiful, “No!”
Then a pleading, “Dragonborn help!”
Tilar ordered some of his men to grab “Azura’s Bane”.
“Yes! Touch it and see what happens!” were some of my last coherent thoughts.
The whole building started to shake. My mind grasped for a reason. I remembered they were going to collapse the cavern onto the forge.
Tilar panicked and told them to leave the sword and kill me instead.
One more desperate plea from my beloved, beautiful Rigmor, “HELP ME!”
I felt and heard the swords enter and leave my body. Each one accompanied by all-encompassing agony. Each one a death sentence. One..Two..Three..
A pitiful cry of, ”Mercy!”….