Fort High Rock, Angi’s Camp: Reawakening, Azura, Red trail, Desperate dash, Bad news, No news, Another oath, Beautiful story.
I am in the dark. No sound. Not even the hint of light. No sense of body. No smell. Oblivion.
A voice! Calling me. It is familiar. Musical. Pleading.
That was not just spoken. That is a memory. No it is not that voice. Not the voice of my beloved.
I am still in the dark. Try opening your eyes idiot! Ouch. Like coming out of a dark cave into bright sunshine. I think I will close them again.
“DRAGONBORN. WE NEED YOU!”
OK. OK. Everybody needs the Dragonborn. Do this, kill that. “PROMISE ME!” OK. OK. I promise. Cross my heart and hope to die and all that. Now leave me alone!
“RIGMOR NEEDS YOU!”
She does? Why? I failed her! I am not her guardian any more. I am dead. Somebody else will have to help her.
“AWAKEN! I COMMAND YOU!”
Wow, talk about bossy! Is it my wife? Am I married? Better not tell her about Rigmor.
OW! Where the fuck did those pains come from? My neck! My abdomen feels like…like…like somebody stabbed me. Bastard! What did I do to deserve being stabbed? Oh, maybe my wife found out about Rigmor!
“Dragonborn, please listen. It is Azura. I have tried so hard and am tired. Please!”
Always a sucker for a damsel in distress aren’t you Wulf! WULF! That’s me! Renowned champion of damsels in distress. Let’s see that this one wants. At least she is not my bossy wife.
With that I slowly re-entered this place. The place where I am supposed to be if alive. Not that other place I was. That is for the dead. No wonder it was so boring.
I opened my eyes. It still hurt but focus was returning.
I moved my limbs. They felt like rubber. Like when you lean on your arm for too long and then you can’t move it properly and you drop your mead because your hand is rubbery too.
I tried to sit up. Almost…no. Try again. Come on Wulf, you can do it!
Yes! CHAMPION! Look at me lady in distress. Sitting up and ready to kick arse!
I looked over to where the lady in distress is supposed to be. Wow lady! Eat more! You look skinny! Why are you glowing? That is unfair when I have a hangover. What is that shiny thing?
Sword! It is a sword. It is Rigmor’s sword. She wouldn’t leave that lying around. She must be near. Oh no, so is my wife! I had better warn her!
I tried to yell and the pain was excruciating!
I remembered why.
I remembered my beloved telling me what I had been waiting to hear.
“I love you!”
Then some bastard. A Thalmor! They are all bastards. Shot me in the neck.
Then they got Rigmor and stabbed me and….
RIGMOR! I am so sorry. My promise. So very sorry.
“At last my Guardian. Approach Azura’s Bane so I can join with you.”
Azura! A God! She will know what to do.
I staggered to my feet and approached the sword.
Then I knew I was alive. I had watched and heard Rigmor talk to Azura. I thought Rigmor was hearing the words. Not just words. Azura was in my head. Making me understand. It was not pleasant. It brought me to full consciousness in a second.
“She is alive. There is a very important reason they need her unarmed but I cannot sense why. A very powerful force is obscuring my powers. I am still weak from shielding you from the cold, you were near death, but now alive. I will need to regain my strength to know where they have taken her, and why.”
How long have I been… in the cold?
“Three days you slumbered in the twilight of existence. You helped thwart the Forces of Evil and have restored the essence of my heart. So I restored your heart Guardian, for I will need to call on your services again very soon. My children in this realm are in danger, the Entity must be stopped.”
“I can sense its rage, its fury. The entity wants justice, it wants revenge. It wants transformation to be whole again, complete. If it is successful in entering this realm, it will become unstoppable. A frenzied violent revenge that can only be quenched with the blood of mortals. All will die, Tamriel is to be cleansed.”
And the New Order?
“They still need to establish themselves, but they now have almost completed a portal to Oblivion. It will need to be destroyed before the Entity can pass transformed into this realm. Make sure the evidence you have gained is made available to those that need it. Until I regain my strength, the Forces of Evil must be undermined at every step.”
What happened to my friends, Casius and Yngol?
“They feared you dead and have returned to their units to prepare for the worst.”
What happened to the others, Baa’Ren-Dar , Siguun?
“They are safe, but they are lost as to what to do next. They are hiding at the mountain camp of the Huntress for safety. I sense a deep sadness Guardian, you must go to them and tell them the Daughter of Azura lives.”
Thank you Azura, I will do as you ask.
“Go quickly my Guardian, take Azura’s Bane, you are now its chosen keeper. I will send a messenger when the time comes. Go, your friends are waiting.”
That is a verbose record of my slow reawakening and discussion with Azura. All is etched in my memory. The fever talk, delirium, is often found with gravely ill people. They would deny it. They can’t remember it. Lucky for them. I mistook Azura for my wife? Now I have put it in my journal.
My thoughts on what Azura had to say?
Pure manipulation! I will discuss it in a later journal entry as I am tired and need to finish this one.
I was devastated. How could this happen?
I failed as her Guardian.
Did I fail the promise? On reflection I have not. I would never let you go Rigmor. You are part of me and I am part of you. I will find you. I will kill those who have hurt you. I will tell you those three words. We will be whole again.
I have to get to Angi’s. Baa’Ren-Dar is there. Azura might not know what is going on by he will. He knows everything. If not him then Tendril. No, not him. If Azura knew he would and she doesn’t so he won’t.
So all I had to do was get out of the collapsed fort, get to Angi’s, talk to Baa’Ren-Dar and get Rigmor back.
I looked around and the evidence of Rigmor was there. The best soldiers the New Order had. Motionless on the floor where she gave them swift death with the sword I now carry.
Then it hit me. That slimy fucking shit set us up. He sacrificed his own men to do it. I bet he witnessed how quickly Rigmor killed the first lot of soldiers. He knew the two of us together could slaughter dozens of them and he did not have dozens. When I was out of the room he sent four more to what he knew was certain doom. We both felt relaxed that his best fell well short. Our guard was lessened. He may not have expected her breakdown. I can imagine the bastard gloating at her fear of him. He certainly would not have expected the desperate plea for my promise. He was probably ready to signal the sniper but then the icing on the cake. A confession of love for the person about to be assassinated. How delighted he must have been at that. How he must be whispering that in her ear.
The rage, the beast, it wanted out. No I promised it, there is nothing here for you. But later, oh yes, we will have fun together you and I.
How to get out? Tilar must have had a way or maybe they are still trapped in here. Ready to use Rigmor as a hostage. Azura said she was alive for an important reason.
Stop it Wulf! Concentrate on what you know. Stop speculating.
OK! I promise, focus, pfftt! Whatever.
I wandered around seeing if I could see tracks, yep, dozens of them.
Let us just try a door and see how far we get.
Did I find it weird talking to myself? No, I did it because I would be saying these things if Rigmor was by my side. Let me keep pretending she is.
Then I saw it. A red mountain flower. Could it have just fallen from Rigmor when they were carrying her like a sack over a shoulder or dragging her by her arms. I would say they had her over their shoulder. She is important for some reason. Perhaps handing over damaged goods would not do well for Tilar’s next promotion prospects?
FOCUS! You promised!
The flower was close to a doorway. So I went through it and found another also next to a doorway.
Rigmor dropped these. In the state of absolute terror she was in she still thought her Dragonborn would save her. She left a trail so I could.
What is this crying? This sobbing like a child scolded? Yes they are the flowers she picked at the lookout. That special day you fucked up with your selfish internal struggles. Feel guilty later. Cry later. Get on with it Guardian!
I found three more. The last was next to a ladder. I climbed it and was outside.
It was a tricky climb down but I managed it without plummeting to my death. Or another three days in Oblivion.
I eventually found myself on familiar ground. I tried whistling for Dogmeat. No luck.
I summoned Blaze. I asked him if he missed me. I was not surprised to see a total lack of interest.
I made my way to the North West Camp in the hope the horses might be there. It was on the route home anyway. No luck there either. I hope they find their way home. Rigmor loves Ren. She will want to see him when I bring her home.
I estimated it was about 3:30 in the afternoon. I could make it to Angi’s if I pushed blaze and maybe did some cross country.
I had an interesting encounter with some of Miraak’s goons. They had a new being with them. It had arms and tentacles and a vagina, yes I said a vagina, in the middle of its stomach. It seems to float above the ground and made weird clicking sounds. It died just as easy as the goons.
An inept khajiit leapt out of some bushes in a clumsy attempt to stab me with his knife. I lopped his head off. I searched him for a clue as to who he was. I found an assassination order signed by a person called Astrid. I wonder how many of these assassins I have rode past unmolested on Dogmeat. I turned to Blaze and told him this was his fault. Same lack of care shown. Astrid and I will have a little talk if we ever cross paths.
Slaughtered a couple of Thalmor patrols. I was very disappointed there were so few.
As I approached the outskirts of Falkreath I swear I saw Dogmeat running away from somebody or something. I would have liked to follow but he was travelling at a good pace and it might have taken a while to catch up. If I was certain it was him I might have considered it. As it was I decided to continue to Angi’s.
I saw the “Keep Out” sign and the targets. If I was with Rigmor this would be a joyful view as she anticipated finally sitting down and talking with her mother. As it was I was terrified that returning without her might be traumatic for Sigunn. At least I could tell her she still lives.
Sorella was the first to spot me. She ran excitedly to tell the others that “They’re back!”
Poor kid! Rigmor is a bit of a hero and big sister to her. Sorry, only I’m back.
I unsummoned Blaze. None of them had seen him before but there was no reaction to a horse on fire or a vanishing horse. They were so intent on watching me and waiting for what I had to say.
Baa’Ren-Dar said they thought me dead or captured.
Sigunn immediately wanted to know what happened to Rigmor.
I was tired mentally and physically. I made a mistake. I said she didn’t make it.
Sigunn said, “Oh no!” Angi said, “Oh my!” Sorella said she hated me and ran into the cabin crying.
I quickly told them Rigmor was still alive. Angi went off to tell Sorella and try and calm her down.
Sigunn wanted to know how I knew Rigmor was still alive. I told her she was taken by the New Order. That they needed her unharmed.
Sigunn did not understand and I do not blame her. All I could tell her is some very powerful forces are at play. That we must wait and that is all I know for now.
Sigunn was relieved Rigmor was still alive and went to help calm Sorella.
I told Baa’Ren-Dar we need to have a private talk. He walked into Rigmor’s tent and sat on his favourite carpet. I sat in my “Guard’s Chair” as I had come to think of it. Meeko came to see what the fuss was. Nothing exciting so he left the tent.
I reiterated to Baa’Ren-Dar the powerful forces are at play. That there is an entity that seeks to enter the mortal realm.
Baa’Ren-Dar asked who told me this. I was not surprised he showed no reaction to me state Azura, a Divine, told me these things.
He asked who the entity is. I told him it hasn’t revealed itself yet. I was going to tell him but he already guessed. The entity can’t cross over till a new order, the New Order, has been established in Tamriel.
Baa’Ren-Dar is a constant source of surprise.
He sounded very worried and wanted to know what was going on. I handed him the evidence I found.
He spent a couple of minutes reading the documents and looked up with concern clearly etched across his face.
He exclaimed Tamriel is in grave danger and he must travel to Cyrodiil at once with the documents. He asked if I would stay and protect the girls till he returned.
I need to find Rigmor. I need to find her now. I can’t sit by babysitting. I knew I had no choice.
I gave him my word I would protect them with my life. He hoped it did not come to that and wished the Gods favoured us as well.
I swore another oath, “I swear by the Gods, I will find Rigmor and bring her home!”
He said he hopes I do, for all their sakes, indicating those in the cabin.
I wished him good luck and good speed and watched him ride away.
I went inside and asked Sigunn how Sorella was. She told me she was asleep and will be fine. Not to worry about her.
Sigunn looked pale and a bit underfed. Considering she had spent four years as a guest of our Thalmor friends she was in remarkable health. She looks a bit older than her 36 years but I am sure that will change with time as she adjusts to freedom again. There was strength in this woman. I could see bits and pieces of Rigmor in her mannerisms and movement. Sigunn had kept her refined voice and way of speech that marked her as a Cyrodill noble.
Sigunn sat on a chair in front of the fire. I asked if I could join her and she nodded.
I asked her how she is coping.
She thought she was OK but found it weird that just as they found each other, herself and Rigmor were separated again. She thought it a curse.
I did not tell her the truth. That it is not a curse. That it is The Divines playing with our lives.
Sigunn wanted to tell me a tale about Rigmor as a child. I listened intently and stored the story away. Something to remember when all things are dark. Just as Sigunn had done for four years!
Here it is as told to me.
“Rigmor was a good little girl, very bright, she wanted to be a schoolteacher one day, then a singer the next. I remember when she was about seven, Ragnar made her a doll, it was just dowling for arms and legs with a sackcloth dress and string hair, but her face lit up with the biggest smile. She wouldn’t go anywhere without it. She would rough and tumble with the boys, and fight in the snow. They would throw snowballs at the guards until they chased them off. One day the doll went missing, one of the boys told her the new Dark Elf girl had stolen it. I took Rigmor to their house, and the girl’s father apologised and gave back the doll. Rigmor saw the little girl was hiding behind her father crying. Rigmor handed the doll to the little Dark Elf girl and said, “Why don’t you keep it?” and ran home. Ragnar made her another one and the girls became inseparable.”
I told Sigunn that was a beautiful story. This huge warrior next to her was wiping copious tears from his eyes. She looked and I know a mother’s intuition told her all she needed to know about my feelings for Rigmor. She did not know the feelings were mutual.
Sigunn explained how such memories kept her alive. That she was alive so there was a chance Rigor was as well. That meant that one day they would be together again.
Sigunn explained how sometimes she just wanted to give up. Die and see her beloved Ragnar again.Then she would see that little girl trying on dresses, chasing boys.
Damn waterworks would not stop. If anybody should be crying it is Sigunn. Perhaps she has run out of tears.
She told me what happened when they came to arrest them. Sigunn tried to hold onto Rigmor who was crying. How they wrenched her from Sigunn and Rigmor was kicking and screaming. Sigunn could do nothing but reassure her. She told Rigmor everything would be alright and to go with them.
Sigunn stated with emphasis, “I wanted to die!”
She was grateful to Bar’Ren-Dar for saving Rigmor and was forever in his debt.
I told Sigmunn that Rigmor was a fighter and Ragnar had taught her well. That is what saved her.
Four years a slave gives you a lot of time to figure things out. Sigunn had.
Sigunn blamed the Gods. That they have cursed her family. Stolen and corrupted Rigmor’s innocence.
Then she wanted to know how Rigmor could have a normal life now.
I knew Rigmor’s destiny was not found in that damned diamond mine and fort. That The Divines manipulation of her life was not over.
I told Sigunn the truth. Something I know she had already figured out. Rigmor has never had and will never have any choice in the matter.
Sigunn asked with hope in her voice, “As long as they need her alive, that gives us hope, right?”
I emphatically stated two facts. Hoping they gave Sigunn comfort. I said, ‘I promised her that I would never let her go. I also swore to find her.”
This sweet woman who has suffered so much asked if I was tired.
I emphasised my determination, “I will find her Sigunn! Even if I must ride into hell itself to bring her home.”
I do not know if she believed me if these were the empty boasts of a failed guardian.
Sigunn suggested I might like to get some rest. Sleep in Rigmor’s bed till morning.
I thanked her and wished her good night.
I slowly walked to Rigmor’s tent and stared at her bed.
I then sat in my chair and wrote this journal.
I hung my head and fought back more useless tears. They will not get our Rigmor back to us. So many people love her. So many people will rely on me to fulfil my oath. And there is some task I have to complete for The Divines. If it becomes a choice of one or the other then I will aid these people and Rigmor. They are not just collateral damage. About time The Fucking Divines learnt that.
I do not know what time I fell asleep. I do know the empty bed next to me condemns the Gods in any mortal’s eyes.