Fredas, 19th Heartfire, 4E 201

Solitude, Thalmor Embassy, Dragon Bridge: Civil war resumed, Alduin again, Ugly dragon, New spell, Beheading, Malborn, Embassy, Rescued prisoner, Dossiers, Escape.

We were up fairly early and managed to leave Whiterun just after dawn. We would go to Solitude via Rorikstead and Dragon Bridge.

Just past the Western Watch Tower was an abandoned fort that had been taken over by bandits. This was one of the problems of the ongoing civil war. There were not enough troops on patrol to find and eliminate these pockets of bandits.

The bandits attacked us as we rode past. They paid for their stupidity. I am happy to be Skyrim’s constabulary till regular patrols resume.

A bit further up the road some Imperial and Stromcloak troops were facing off. One soldier said something insulting, which I did not quite hear, and that was enough for them to commence killing each other. This has to stop!

In the distance a dragon arose. It was Alduin! Lydia also spotted him and spurred her horse towards the killer of her beloved Bjorn.

As we got closer we saw another dragon arise from its burial mound.

Lydia screamed in frustration as Alduin once again flew away. I told her to help deal with the new dragon and keep focused.

The dragon flew over some giants then landed to attack them. I used a spell I had recently learned and summoned two Dragon Priests. They are ghosts of the human generals who supported dragons during the Dragon War. They possessed formidable Destruction Magic abilities.

This was one very ugly dragon! Meeko took it on face to face whilst Lydia fired her bow and the Dragon Priest joined me with lightening and ice spears. I noticed the giants running away. Not as stupid as some people think!

The Dragon Priests proved valuable in this encounter. Their Ice Spears tore into the dragon and helped us bring it down.

I eventually finished it off with a few slices to its throat. Did I mention it was ugly?

A kahjiit merchant and her bodyguard had joined us late in the fight. She was fearless and stood transfixed as I absorbed the Dovah’s soul. It name was Vuljotnaak and its return to Nirn lasted barely ten minutes.

I turned to Lydia and reminded her of my oath. If Alduin ever stopped being a coward we would avenge Bjorn. She was grim faced as we mounted our horses and continued on.

Rorikstead was a quaint town with children running around and fields of crops. Maybe a bit rural for Rigmor. She would probably have called it cute.

Not far out of Rorikstead we found a dead merchant and guards. The bandits were hiding and attacked us and died for their efforts.   

Just as I thought the bandit problem could not get any worse we encountered a recently made bridge above the road and palisades either side. At least six archers were visible and of course some loudmouth demanded a toll. Another load of scum removed thanks to your friendly neighbourhood Dragonborn.

A little further on was a Thalmor patrol. I had no hesitation cutting them down and Lydia was keen to join in. I think after befriending Rigmor she hated them almost as much as me.

We road through Dragon Bridge and Solitude came into view a while later. I went into some bushes and emerged in the latest formal attire and blond wig. Lydia laughed till she was out of breath. No fashion sense that woman!

I left Dogmeat, Meeko and Lydia at the stables. They were to wait for Delphine and tell her I had arrived and entered Solitude.

As I walked to the main gates of Solitude I did have the feeling I had been here before. That was not the case with many other places I had seen or passed through since my awakening.

When I entered the gates I found a crowd gathered around to watch a beheading. A guard had apparently opened the gates to let Ulfric escaped after he murdered King Torygg. He claimed it was not a murder and that Ulfric beat Torygg in fair combat. I joined in with the booing. Ulfric used the Thu’um. The king had never fought in a battle and had a fraction of the martial skills of Ulfric. Ulfric pretended to be his friend so he could be close enough to issue the challenge. A challenge that was illegal under Empire laws. It was murder and this disgrace in front of me failed in his duty and let that traitor through the gates. I was happy to watch his head being removed. I doubt Sovngarde will be his destination.

After that bit of merriment I entered The Winking Skeever and saw Malborn sitting at a table.

I walked up and said a mutual friend sent me. The little shit looked me up and down as if his appraisal was something I would value knowing. He talked to me like I was dirt and said he hopes she knows what she is doing. I looked him in the eyes and said, “I am Wulf, Dragonborn and Champion of The Divines. Guardian General of the combined armies that defeated the Thalmor invasion force outside Whiterun. I just happened to have recently returned from Oblivion where I faced a God and survived. I have killed hundreds of Thalmor recently. You and everybody you meet for the rest of your life owe their existence to me. Good enough?”

I know he had suffered at the hands of the Thalmor. I would have thought he would be courteous to those willing to take a stand against them. He just blinked at what I said and then continued in a more respectful manner.

I gave him the equipment I needed to be smuggled into the embassy and wished him luck. He left the inn struggling with the weight of the sack he carried. I waited five minutes and then left.

I made my way to the stables and met Delphine and told her I was ready to go. She had booked a carriage that was waiting for me. I told her if it was part 10PM when I left the embassy that I would stay overnight in Dragons Bridge and meet her in Riverwood tomorrow. Delphine approved of my outfit and looked sternly at Lydia who had started giggling again.

I made sure Lydia knew what to do. She was to take Dogmeat with her and wait for me on the road that led to the embassy. She was under strict instructions not to approach or enter the embassy. She said, “Yes my pretty boy, I mean Thane.”

I then boarded the carriage to the sound of both ladies laughing.

When we arrived at the embassy I disembarked the carriage and was greeted by a Redguard merchant. He congratulated me for coming by carriage and being fashionably late.

After showing the guards our invitations we both made our way into the embassy.

Elenwen ignored the Redguard and made a beeline for me. She welcomed the Guardian General and hoped I would enjoy the night’s entertainment. I replied, “Guardian General no longer. I am simply Wulf, Dragonborn and former Guardian to Rigmor Sigunnsdottir who is now the Countess of Bruma. You remember her don’t you? Daughter of Ragnar our revered war hero. The same skinny teenage girl who single handily slaughtered every single person in your Bruma embassy. She knew that place well. She spent fun times there as a young girl being flogged to within an inch of her life by your brave men. I am sure that was a misunderstanding and you knew nothing about the New Order. It would have been easy for them to remain undetected from one of the most comprehensive and competent spy networks in Tamriel.”

Elenwen looked at me as if she had stepped in something unpleasant and I was it. I had no concerns making the most powerful Thalmor in Skyrim hate me. We were in public and any confrontation would fill the news sheets for days to come with questions asked.

Malborn then got Elenwen’s attention asking about some expensive wine and I took the opportunity join the guests.

I sort of knew who some were but had not met any before except Jarl Balgruuf the Greater. I needed somebody to help with a diversion and saw the Redguard merchant sitting by himself. In case things go wrong I preferred to try him than the Jarl.

I walked up and introduced myself as Wulf. His name was Razelan and after a bit of a chat it was apparent his opinion of the Thalmor was not high. To do business in Skyrim he was paying exorbitant import duty than made his profits minimal. This “duty” was not  going into Empire coffers. It was basically protection money to the Thalmor as they could replace him with other Hammerfall merchants desperate for any business. I asked him why he did not have a drink. Apparently he had a reputation for causing trouble at previous gatherings when a little merry.

I offered to get him one and made my way to the waitress. I got a very expensive Colovian Brandy and took it back to Razelan.

He was very appreciative and asked if there is anything he can do to repay my generosity. I asked if he wouldn’t mind making a bit of a destration. He was more than happy to oblige.

Razelan stood in the middle of the guests and called for every ones attention. He then managed to insult his host and every guest in seconds. As the Thalmor bouncers moved in to remove him from the premises Maleson and I snuck into the back room.

We made our way to a storage room where my armour and weapons were stored. I equipped myself and was ready to tour the rest of the embassy.

I was not going to play sneak. I hate playing sneak! I just walked into the “forbidden” area and proceeded to slaughter the handful of Thalmor I encountered. I checked all the cupboards, safes and chests in all the rooms and found nothing of interest. I then made my way into the courtyard.

There were approximately a dozen guards but not clustered together.  By keeping mobile and using lightning bolts it was fairly easy to kill hem all in a couple of minutes with minimum noise. There was a single building which I knew was Elenwen’s personal quarters and dungeon.

I entered the building and saw a guard with his back to me. I only meant to slit his throat but “The Sword” decapitated him. I heard a turncoat reporting to some senior Thalmor officer. I rushed him and hacked him down and the officer in mere seconds as the beast threatened to emerge. Scum!

The only thing of use in the officer’s quarters was a report to Elenwen.

The Thalmor had nothing to do with the dragons returning! They had a prisoner in the dungeon on whom he was planning to do an intestine uncoil as torture. Not a pleasant thing and requires an expert torturer to carry out and keep the victim alive. It was a death sentence eventually as infection was almost guaranteed. They were to keep him alive and in abject misery for two days before Elenwen visited for the last questioning. Looked like I was in time to rescue him intact.

The dossier on Delphine showed her to be an impressive opponent and capable warrior. Hr action before an during the Great War made her a hated adversary and the Thalmor were putting a lot of effort into finding her.

The other dossier was about Ulfric Stormcloak and its contents were disturbing. I will discuss its contents later.

There was no other Thalmor intelligence on the dragons so I decided to visit the dungeons and rescue the mystery prisoner.

I entered the dungeon and could see a man shackled in one of the cells. As I made my way to release him a single guards attacked and was despatched.

The prisoner first thought I was there to interrogate him. I assured him I was there to release him and undid his shackles. His name was Etienne and the Thalmor had basically kidnapped him from the streets of Riften. They kept asking him about the location of an elderly gentlemen but he did not know who they were talking about. I told him I was going to have a look around. He told me there was a trapdoor that he heard the guards say led to a cave system and outside. As I looked around Etienne retrieved his weapons from a chest.

There was another chest and inside was another dossier. It was about an elderly Blade called Esbern. He is an expert on dragons and had access to the huge archives of Cloud Ruler Temple. That was unfortunately destroyed when the Thalmor laid siege during the Great War. The Dominion wanted him as their own expertise was lacking and they hoped to use his. I was sure they did not intend to ask him politely.

Amusingly the Thalmor suspected The Blades might be responsible for the return of the dragons. Why would a group dedicated to wiping out dragons bring them back? Idiots!

The dossier said they had strong intelligence Esbern was hiding somewhere in Riften. It must have been his location they wanted to get out of Etienne.

Suddenly there was a commotion at the top of the stairs. Some Thalmor had discovered Maleson in a no go zone and had followed the dead body trail to the dungeon. They had him as a hostage and threatened to kill him of I did not surrender.

I think Maleson knew the chance of that happening was zero so kicked one guard in the testicles and head butted the other. This allowed him a head start and as he made his way downstairs I put myself between him and the pursuing guards. I killed one and Etienne dispatched the other.

A thank you from Maleson? No, all he did was whinge he will now be on the Thalmor most wanted list for the rest of his life.

I searched a guard and found the key to the trapdoor.

We entered the caves underneath and were met by a snow troll that was quickly despatched. After that it was clear and we emerged into a fairly dark night.

Maleson immediately ran off without another word. Etienne thanks me and started trotting off across country to Riften I assume.

I found Lydia, Meeko and the horses waiting for me a few minutes down the road as agreed. I told Lydia we would be spending the night in Dragon Bridge and we set off.

We came across another Thalmor patrol whom we happily despatched. I wonder what the Dominion soldiers thought when given patrol duty?

We arrived in Dragon Bridge, hitched the horses outside the Four Shields tavern and entered. I paid for two rooms and a good meal for the three of us.

We retired to our rooms and I sat down to reread the dossier on Ulfric. Here is the summary of my findings:

  • Ulfric was listed as an asset but now dormant
  • He came to the Dominion’s attention during their First War against the Empire. This indicates they expect to have another war with The Empire. Was the New ORde rit or is another planned?
  • He was taken prisoner during the campaign for the White-Gold tower.
  • They interrogated him, no mention of torture.
  • During interrogation they learned he was the son of the Jarl of Windhelm and immediately designated an asset.
  • Assets are not to be maimed or killed so interrogation had to proceed carefully.
  • His interrogator was Elenwen.
  • He gave vital information to Elenwen that could have compromised the defence of the Imperial City.
  • The Imperial City had already been captured by the time Ulfric’s interrogation was finished.
  • Elenwen made Ulfric believe his information had led to the cities capture.
  • They then allowed Ulfric to escape.
  • They later approached Ulfric and threated to expose him if he did not co-operate.
  • The Markarth Incident, where Ulfric ousted the Reachmen from Markarth, was orchestrated by the Thalmor.
  • The alleged atrocities supposedly committed by Ulfric are not mentioned in the dossier.
  • Ulfric became a hero to the citizens of Markarth and Skyrim in general.
  • The Dominion haven’t used Ulfric since.
  • When Ulfric was captured the Dominion intended to rescue him from Helgen. I can only assume casualties, such as General Tullius, would have been blamed on The Stormcloaks.
  • They wished to rescue him to prolong the civil war which is to their advantage as it drains Skyrim and Empire resources.
  • When Alduin attacked Skyrim the Dominion operatives still aided Ulfric in escaping the carnage. I remember I lost track of him early and he was not too disturbed about the appearance of a dragon. He seemed way too calm and in no hurry to escape. He knew his Thalmor mates would come and get him. The Thu’um I heard from him was just a decoy.
  • The Thalmor have no intention of letting the Stormcloaks win the civil war but are considering aiding Ulfric to prolong it.

There are plenty of historical sources, some questionable in accuracy, about the Markarth Incident so I will not cover it in this journal.

I now have a way to end the civil war with minimal casualties. When the time is right I will present this dossier to Ulfric’s lieutenants and see what they say about their illustrious leader being a Thalmor puppet. How they will react to their leader giving vital information to the enemy during the Great War. How he escaped Helgen with Thalmor aid whilst his fellow prisoners had to make their own way with only a small fraction surviving.

I will tell Ulfric he is a disgrace for using a pretend friendship to get close enough to King Torygg to issue the challenge.

I will tell Ulfric he is a coward for using the Thu’um against an already inferior opponent.

I will bring up the fact that Talos himself has not said to fight for him or his temples and the war is against his wishes.

I will tell them Talos himself told me as Champion of The Divines.

If Ulfric calls me a liar, which I hope he does, I will challenge him to a traditional test of arms with the winner being Talos’ chosen.

I will cut the head of the rebellion and make it impossible to continue with any conviction.

I will kill every Stormcloak who wishes to challenge me.

I will stop this damned war and stop brother killing brother, friend killing friend.

I swear this by The Divines.

I wrote this journal entry and retired to bed just after midnight. I do not know what time I fell asleep. I do know I looked forward to the day I killed that traitor.

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