Skyrim Wilderness, Blacklight Tower, Homestead Farm, Cyrodiil Border: More orcs, Tower Assault, Borrowed Sword, Swift justice, Empty farm, Kicked puppy, Insanity?
This journal entry was written just after 3PM 17th Heartfire.
After leaving Casius’ camp I had fewer troops and we were travelling on the main roads of Skyrim.
That made our progress swifter and after a few hours we were looking to cross the ice fields of the far North East of Skyrim.
We still had tiled roads to follow but they were mostly covered by ice and snow.
The Imperial Sergeants were much younger and fitter than the “Sons of Talos”. The veterans were a proud lot and maintained my pace without complaint. That earned admiration from the Imperials.
We did not travel in any sort of formation like the Imperial troops were used to. This was deliberate on my part. If I had called for straight lines and precision they would have all done it and done it well. I wanted it to be informal so the young and the old could mingle and talk. The younger Imperials listened to tales of the battles and campaigns the veterans had been in. All of them under Ragnar’s command. They were told how the concordat had left Hammerfell to the mercy of Dominion forces. How Ragnar ended the massacres he was accused of. There were dozens of stories that demonstrated why Ragnar was so revered by these men.
As I had hoped Rigmor often drifted back to listen to a story and learn more about her father. Yngol and Cassius were also highly respected and mentioned often.
Not once did any of them say Ragnar was fighting for the right to worship Talos!
One of the Sergeants rode up to Rigmor and told her most Imperial soldiers know these stories because the real history of her father and his men is taught during training. That the false versions and accusations of the Thalmor are ignored within Imperial rank and file. Rigmor thanked him and I could see tears of pride in her eyes.
Even though they knew the stories the Imperial troops wanted to hear them from the soldiers who were there. It was no longer just written history. It was tangible and real and the veterans were proud of what they had accomplished.
I was trying to keep my mind on the task ahead. I doubted there would be enough New Order troops left to give us much trouble.
The Orcs were clever. They waited till Rigmor, Lydia and I were a fair distance away. Then they emerged from well concealed hidey holes and attacked the centre of the long line of troops.
These Orcs were well above average and started taking a high toll, especially amongst the veterans.
When the skirmish was finished I sat on my horse and told everybody that I would provide some gold to repatriate the deceased. Carriages were arranged at Windhelm to take the deceased “Sons of Talos” there and the deceased Sergeants to Solitude. I told them was no way we would leave such fine warriors to rot alongside mercenary scum. I asked for one soldier from each unit to remain and guard the fallen from predators. One veteran who had been cut badly said he would do it solo. I handed him a goodly sum and we continued on our way.
As we grew closer to the tower I could see Rigmor starting to tense up. She rode Ren up beside Dogmeat and just stared in the direction she thought Blacklight Tower might be. I moved closer and grabbed her hand till she looked at me. I told her this part of the nightmare will soon be over. That she will never have to worry about Tilar showing his ugly head in her life again. She just nodded.
The docks came into view. There was a boat moored but no sign of activity. I turned to Rigmor and told her the rat was cornered. She looked terrified.
When Blacklight Tower came into view it looked perfect for Tilar’s last stand. Dark, foreboding with dim light emanating from some windows.
The last of his minions were gathered including a large number of the Orc mercenaries. More “Sons of Talos” were about to die. Not really knowing why Rigmor needed to pursue this man but willing to die for her anyway. The Imperial Sergeants had been ordered to help the Guardian General. Now their main concern was protecting their new shield brothers, the Sons of Talos.
Everybody charged but me. I could see that reinforcements would arrive through a doorway in a small tower. Every time a body was silhouetted against it I fed them a fireball.
As the fighting at the foot of the stairs was dwindling down I yelled for Rigmor, Lydia and Meeko to follow behind me. My dog looked more red than white.
We were greeted by a very narrow causeway leading to the main tower. They are never a good defensive position. Approaching troops were easily dismissed with fireball and “Unrelenting Force” shouts. My beast decided to make an appearance and join the merriment. It enjoyed the screams of the burning and the falling.
We arrived at the foot of wide stairs leading to the tower entrance. A handful of Tilar’s elite guard attacked. They died quickly.
I told Rigmor to stay close then we charged into the tower with hate filling our hearts. I killed with a ferocity that paled everything else I had experienced before.
I was stunned when I realised the source of my beast’s rage. It was not the horror and injustice the New Order had inflicted on Rigmor and her family. It was the fact their actions led to me signing up as Guardian. That led to me falling in love with Rigmor. Their finding of the family heirlooms led to Rigmor’s heritage being discovered. That soon they would be gone and my next step was to hurt Rigmor.
Every New Order goon I killed was closer to ending Rigmor’s nightmare and starting my own.
It did not take long for us slaughter the last of the defenders.
Tilar was waiting on the tower roof for his sentence to be carried out. There was a door between us and him.
I turned to talk to Rigmor and found her sitting on the floor. She was pale and shivering. I asked her if she was OK. She could not voluntarily face her nightmare. Every other encounter with Tilar was not her choice. Walking through that door voluntarily required bravery she could not summon. This young woman who had shown nothing but courage was cowered by the presence of this animal.
I told Rigmor I fully understood and asked if I could borrow her sword. She handed me Morganna and pleaded with me to end it. To make sure he doesn’t get away. I gave her my solemn promise it would end here and now.
I told Lydia and Meeko to block the other doorway and not let any of the Imperials or Sons of Talos into the room. I told Lydia to tell them it was an order of both Rigmor and Guardian General.
I took a look at Rigmor and my inner beast retreated. The savage violence I was going to inflict on Tilar was an act of love. The last present I could give my beloved.
I opened the door and closed it. Nothing but silence. I climbed some stairs and then a ladder.
There it was. The monster of Rigmor’s nightmares. This thing in front of me found it amusing to whip a child to within an inch of her life. It and its compatriots were scared of a skinny teenage girl. They were petrified of the vengeful relentless killer she had become.
I hefted Morganna and got an idea of her balance. I did not want to mess this up. I had a special punishment in mind for it.
I let it talk. It might have given me a clue to the following. How can the beauty Rigmor has shown me exist in the same world as the vile blackness in front of me?
I announced its sentence, “Prepare to die.”
It went on to blame everybody and everything else for its failures. It then asked, “Who exactly are you?”
I am Wulf, Dragonborn and Champion of The Divines. I am Guardian General. Fancy titles for sure. The one I like the most is Guardian of Rigmor.
“Aaah yes, Rigmor, and I might say what an excellent job you have done to ensure her safety. You really must be commended. If I had known what an insufferable thorn in my side she would be, I would have ended it back in Haven. However I do regret having her flogged. It’s one of the things I am not too proud of about myself. It was a mistake. Yes, and if I could go back I would rectify it in an instant…I would have had her hanged instead. The ungrateful, worthless, wretched little…..NO!”
Morganna flashed. Its blood covered Morganna’s blade and my face and fountained feet into the air. Like time was slowed I watched its head slowly arc and rotate. Its eyes were wide as it viewed its own body start to fall to its knees. Its head hit the floor and bounced. Its eyes were still open as it witnessed its body fall forward. I stuck my face between it and its body and smiled. Its eyes closed and it was no more.
Silence except for the drip, drip, drip of blood falling off Morganna and onto the cold stone.
I walked up to its body and searched. I removed a letter and opened it.
It was a letter to its wife Sharon. It was formulaic “I died for a good cause. Don’t forget me. Love forever.” If I rifled through the pockets of all the corpses from today, whether it be Stormcloak, Son of Talos, Imperial, New Order soldier, Bosmer and even Orc Mercenary I would find such a letter on most.
I wonder if its wife knew of its hobby. Did she watch Rigmor flogged and get a buzz and laugh? I rolled the letter into a ball and filled its still open mouth with it.
I ripped the fancy and expensive cloak from its body and tore it in two. One half I used to clean its blood off Morganna. The other to clean my face and spots from my armour.
I returned to Rigmor and found her standing with apprehension on her face.
I walked up to her and said “It’s done.”
Relief replaced apprehension. She quietly said, “At last. It is finally over.’
Rigmor asked, “Can I go home now?”
I told her she can but first we need to go to the farmhouse and prepare.
On the way to get our horses I saw many more of those who accompanied us had lost their lives in the battle at the base of the steps. There was a young Imperial Sergeant sitting and weeping whilst cradling the head of a dead Son of Talos. I stopped and asked him if he knew the old man. Only since the battle for Whiterun. Mere hours ago. He couldn’t understand why he hurt so much over a friend he had only just met. I told him there are no rules governing friendship and love that say how long you need to know somebody to develop those feelings. I told him to honour his friend by being the type of soldier he was.
I pulled over another couple of soldiers and gave them my last ever order as Guardian General. They were to take the coin I gave them and arrange the same deal as earlier. Hire carriages to transport the dead and not leave them here to rot.
I was very good at picking Rigmor’s moods. I knew it was going to be a quiet ride as she worked through all that has happened. Some of the soldiers insisted on escorting us to the farmhouse.
The trip was uneventful. We did see some mixed units of Imperial and Stormcloak troops patrolling together. I had no idea when the truce would finish and they could start killing each other again.
I saw Tendril sitting on his porch and told him the good news, “Tendril, we won the war!”
He already knew! He told both me and Rigmor he had presents for us. I went to the shed to collect mine. Rigmor and Tendril went into the farmhouse to collect hers.
Anura’s Bane was there and in one piece. I was wondering how they put it back together or was it a new one. I hoped it was the original as that contained parts of Rigmor’s story. Her mother’s ring. Her family sword. Casius’ mother’s necklace.
Goldbrand or replica of. Boethia’s famous katana. Not my type of weapon but will make a great trophy piece.
A fantastic Khajiit bow and matching arrows. Baa’Ren-Dar used one the same.
I approached Lydia and instructed her to pack up the camp and head to Breezehome. I told her that if Rigmor and I leave soon we will reach the Cyrodiil border just on dusk. I expected to be back in Whiterun early the next morning. She was going to say something and I stopped her. I told her it would work out. I headed into the farmhouse for the last time.
Tendril and Rigmor were sitting at the table and I joined them. I asked Tendril where everybody was. Baa’Ren-Dar was doing as he promised. He had taken Sigunn into Cyrodiil with him and was going to wait for Rigmor in the old family house.
Rigmor was excited that she would soon be sleeping in her old home. She told me Yngol had taken Angi and Sorella back into the mountains. She didn’t know they were a couple till just then but was excited for them. I then noticed she was wearing her old armour.
Tendril asked if I was now going to take Rigmor to Bruma now. I said yes and we had better leave soon so we get there with some sunlight left.
Rigmor excitedly walked up to Tendril, gave him a hug, which he did not expect, wished him the best and left to wait outside.
I thanked Tendril for everything and asked about Azura’s Bane and Rigmor’s armour. Apparently Jonte got access to the sites as a mage from the college. He found the armour and pieces of the sword and sent them to Tendril. He took the pieces of sword to a shrine and Azura repaired it.
I said goodbye to Tendril and left the farmhouse.
Rigmor was checking her saddlebags and talking excitedly to Ren. Telling him how they would soon be riding through the Great Forest and other exciting places.
I saw that Lydia and Meeko had already left. I asked Rigmor if she had a chance to say goodbye. She said she apologised to Lydia, and Meeko, for being a pain yesterday morning. That they laughed at some of the names they called each other and how Meeko had hid in the woodshed.
Rigmor looked puzzled. Lydia told Rigmor she knows how much I loved her. She told Rigmor that it was genuine and special and she should always remember that. Lydia had walked away and mounted her horse and left before Rigmor got to ask what that was all about.
I just shrugged my shoulders and said, “Lydia?” and that seemed to satisfy Rigmor.
Dogmeat was glad to see me and excited to be going for a ride. I pulled up beside Rigmor and Ren and asked her if she would tell me all about her favourite places in Cyrodiil as we rode along.
So we left the farm with Rigmor positively ecstatic at going home and her Guardian preparing to break her heart.
I simply do not remember much about the trip to the border at all. I remember that Rigmor did not stop listing places she was going to visit and why and if such and such a person was still there and her favourite food places etcetera.
It was normal the type of information I would have absorbed and remembered and treasured.
My downhill spiral was already starting. The paradox that immobilised me was forming in my mind.
I don’t remember what Rigmor was telling me and that hurts.
Before I was ready the border gate was visible.
We stopped at a small camp used as a rest stop and ironically there was a stump and a chair next to a fire. Rigmor made a beeline for the stump. I sat in the chair and stared at the ground.
The plan I had concocted was to let rage wake my inner beast and use it to buffer my emotions. It was the only way I could think of getting through this.
There was nothing for me to rage about. This was the best for Rigmor and that was undeniable. How could I get angry at giving her everything she had been wishing for. This will be me hurting her. Me breaking her heart. No buffer from the pain.
Here is how I kicked the puppy.
Rigmor had been watching me for several seconds as I battled my internal turmoil. Eventually she asked,
“Dragonborn. Is something wrong?”
(Gone was the excitement she had shown in the hours of our ride. She could already sense something was far from right. I forced myself to look into those beautiful brown eyes.)
Rigmor. There is something I need to tell you.
“Dragonborn, you already told me you love me. Yanno, lever let me go and all that.”
(You promised her you would never let her go! How can you let her go? You promised!)
Please listen Rigmor.
“Hey, I love you. If you want me to stay here with you then I’ll stay. OK? I can visit Mom anytime right? I can help you with whatever you need to do in Skyrim. Is that what you are trying to say?”
(Oh how I wish that had been an option. I had to do this without my wishes intruding. Without a hint of my love. I had to do this…)
I swore by The Divines that when this time came I would tell you..
“Dragonborn! What is it?”
On our way to the market in Riften you asked what business Jonte and I had discussed. You stated that Cerys was behaving weird. I lied to you about what we discussed. I made a decision that I did not want to make.
“Stop teasing! What decision?”
I learned more of your family history that day. I kept what I knew a secret from you. I made that decision as you were not well enough to handle the full story. I did not want to do it as I never wanted to deceive you. Now I must tell you as I swore to do.
“You are scaring me Dragonborn!”
Morgan of Winterhold was born out of wedlock. Her parents were Rigmor of Cyrodiil and…and Titus Mede I. You have royal blood of the Mede dynasty. Emperor Titus Mede II has recognised this. He has offered you the title “Countess of Bruma” and all its lands and chattels. You family name is to be restored. You can start to clear your father’s name. You and your mother will be surrounded by guards and soldiers sworn to protect you. You will be safe.
“This is a joke right?”
It’s no joke. Look at me Rigmor. IT IS THE TRUTH!
(Rigmor stood and moved away from the camp a little. I followed)
“Well I won’t go. I’ll stay her with you.”
This is your legacy. This is your destiny. It is a wonderful thing for your family. You have to go.
“But you’re coming with me right?”
Remember when I told you Dragonborn are placed on Nirn by The Divines to undertake task needing a mortal to perform.
“That night we…”
Yes, that night. I have to be where The Divines need me. I can’t disobey. I know I have to deal with the dragon problem in Skyrim. That is why I have to stay. That is why you have to go to Cyrodiil without me.
(The Divines had not yet given me this task. The Greybeards confirmed my presence in Skyrim at this point of history is a reaction to the dragons returning. The reason and purpose for their return is not yet known.)
“No! I won’t let you. I need you. I can’t do this on my own!”
(Please Rigmor. I can’t keep this up. This is ripping me apart. JUST GO!)
Yes you can. You must.
“No! I won’t do it Dragonborn. No!”
RIGMOR! You owe this to yourself. You owe this to your mother. You owe it to your father!
“What shall become of me? I can’t live without you now. Not after everything we’ve been through together. I love you!”
(Those three fucking words! How I wished to hear them. How I yearned for them. How I needed them. Now I dreaded them. Now I feared them. This had to end!)
Your future is in your hands now. Forge the life you so wanted and more than deserve!
“Stop it! You’re breaking my heart!”
(Oh Rigmor…I know. I have to. I can’t be you Guardian in this. I am the one to hurt you and I can’t protect you. I need to hurt you. It will make it easier for you to go. PLEASE GO!)
I’m so sorry.
“You’ll come back for me right? When you’re done here? Say you’ll come and get me!”
I can’t promise that Rigmor. It would be false. Another lie. You can do this. I know you can.
“I’ll try OK.”
Rigmor mounted Ben and headed for that accursed gate.
Several times she returned part way to curse me.
What she said is not important. They were the words of a woman whose soulmate just told her to go away. She was hurt. My plan worked. The puppy is leaving.
Her last words were too much.
“Dragonborn, I LOVE YOU!”
I collapsed in abject misery.
I looked up one last time as she rode through the gate.
You promised her you would never let her go!
But You swore on The Divines you would tell Rigmor her destiny
And so my mind spiralled into obsession with paradox.
There was a huge hole left with her departure. She had consumed 100% of my time and thoughts for 22 days.
22 days does not seem like much?
I only awakened 30 days ago!
What to fill that hole with?
I had nothing but could not leave it empty.
So those words filled it.
But you promised her you would never let her go!
But you also swore on The Divines you would tell Rigmor her destiny.
This was my mantra that sounded like insanity but was actually my only protection against it.
I stayed in the snow on my knees. Bent over and repeating the paradox over and over.
The cold finally registered in my brain. I got up and staggered over to the camp.
I used a bit of magicka to light the fire and observed dully as a dark shadow approached.
Oh, my horse.
After a while I dragged myself into the tent.
For the first time in 22 days I slept in something other than a chair.
For the first time in 22 days I had no idea what to do or where to go.
There is no beloved Rigmor to guard or escort or rescue or take on beautiful walks or share my body and soul with or lie to or deliberately hurt.
I knew I needed help to fill the hole.
Does she need me?
Who is there to protect her?
What if she is in the dark?
Calling for her Dragonborn.
I know not what time I fell asleep.
I know I was chanting,
But you promised her you would never let her go!
But you also swore on The Divines you would tell Rigmor her destiny.