Sundas, 18th Morning Star, 4E 202

Breezehome, Dragons Keep, Rangvald, Dragons Bridge: What monster is that?, Swap lady for dog, Meeko’s new trick, Dusty tomb, Skulduggery, Dragon priest, Dagger retrieved, Minotaur thingie.

We were all up and about earlier than I had planned.

When I came downstairs I could see Lydia was busy preparing breakfast. She loves cooking and had little chance to do much after we moved to Dragons Keep.

Celestine was sitting in front of the fire. I sat in the other chair. She looked very tired. I waited to see if she wanted to talk. After a few minutes she looked at me and said,

“Wulf, can I talk to you about yesterday?”

Of course Celestine. I thought you might want to and you know I always make myself available.

“Up to now the cruelty of other’s had been mostly academic. I had read and heard enough to know such behaviour exists. Some of the things the children told me are horrific but I could never visualise it in my mind. I have spent my life learning how to heal and protect. The thought of deliberately inflicting pain and injury on a defenceless captive is so opposite it is incomprehensible to me. Yesterday I saw it and then suddenly the academic memories of the children became real nightmares.”

I am so sorry. I should have left you at the College. I didn’t need you to help retrieve those damn books.

“Did you know what we would be facing? Expelled mages who dabbled in necromancy was all we knew. Dragonborn you are, omnipotent you are not.”

I didn’t think it through enough. I am responsible for those tears you shed.

“Lydia, is he always this stupid?”

(I looked at Lydia and she just nodded and smiled at Celestine. They are ganging up on me!)

“Did you hurt the children you have helped rescue from the darkness? Did you wield the tools of torture used on those poor souls? You are not responsible for the evil deeds that upset me so. In a way I am grateful for the opportunity to see it first-hand.”

Huh?

“It will make me a better healer. It is sometimes hard to show empathy when something foreign to you is described just in words. Now I fully understand what the children have seen and experienced. Even some of the guards have been damaged by experiencing and/or viewing the type of evil we saw. I can now help more because I understand more.”

The Ritual Chamber? Your response there was one of horror!

“I have seen you kill on other field trips. You do it quickly and without pleasure and never a hint of evil. When I heard that laugh it sounded like the foulest beast I could imagine. When we burst into the chamber and I saw it had come from your mouth I also saw a mirror of myself. I had just spent the last half an hour killing with rarely used destruction spells and enjoying it. Each necromancer that screamed when I burnt with fire or disintegrated with lightening made me feel righteous and good. Did I have the pleasure of death and inflicting pain apparent on my face like I saw on yours?”

Oh Celestine. You are not like my “inner beast”! Revenge should feel good. It helps relieve the pain felt when faced with the reality of how loved ones or even total strangers had been victimised and hurt. If you did not feel some qualms after the deed is done you would be heading down a dark path.

 “You said we saw the real you. I do not believe that!”

The only person I have ever spoken to about this is Rigmor. She understood. She has her own inner beast.

“You have never sat down with Lydia and talked about this? We have seen it in action. We have a chance to understand but not if you bottle it up and avoid sharing what you experience.”

(Lydia piped up. “My Thane, please tell us what it all means.”)

I am the Champion of The Divines. They need me to complete tasks as their tool on Nirn. I am mortal. I prefer mercy over slaughter. That may lead to those who need to die being allowed to live. I have no doubt all those I have killed deserved their death. If I make a wrong “mortal” decision the plans of The Divines may be compromised. I would have failed their task which could be detrimental to all. “The beast” removes the chance of a wrong decision. It knows who must die and no trickery hidden amongst the cries of mercy shall stop it. Great anger gives it a chance to surface. It is not mindless. It has all my skills. I know exactly what it has done. Sometimes it is a relief to attribute piles of corpses and rivers of blood to something other than Wulf.

“You sometimes stop it taking over don’t you?”

Nearly every time I can feel it surfacing I block it. I do not trust it. I do not know what would happen if it made a wrong decision. If it killed unfairly I would be destroyed.

“It is not the real you. It is not the man who not long before allowed a thieving mage a chance for redemption. It is not the man that stopped the Civil War with minimal carnage by putting himself at greater risk. It is not the man who sits amongst the children with his eyes closed and smiles at their laughter.  It is not the man who walked into that chamber with the intention of hearing out “The Caller” before deciding her fate. You said Rigmor has her own inner beast. So do we all. Yours is more terrible for the tools it has at its disposal. I bet you can’t call it at will can you?”

No, sometimes I wish I could so I did not have to feel regret for what I have done.

“Isn’t that proof that what sits opposite me is the real you. I am not the women who felt good killing with fire and lightening. You just finished telling me that! You say Rigmor has an inner beast. I assume she had more cause than most to seek revenge and did what was required. Is her inner beast what you see with those eyes that adore her? I have never known another who weighs each death as carefully as you.”

The beast enjoys the suffering of its enemies. It is part of me. Its feelings are part of me.

“YOU ARE NOT A STUPID MAN!”

(Lydia giggled and asked if Celestine was sure of that.)

“OK, you are usually not as stupid as this!”

Um, thanks?

“We can sit here talking in circles till we get dizzy. Listen to your own advice! Believe it like you ask others to!”

Your probably right.

“Aaargh…..I give up. I have something to ask.”

Please, ask away.

“I would like to go back to Dragons Keep as soon as possible. I need to return to doing what I am meant to do. I need to see goodness again.”

It is on the way to where we need to go so I have no issues. Even if it was hours or days out of our way I would escort you there.

“Thank you Wulf.”

Thank you Celestine. I have listened to what you said.

I do not know if all that will make me feel better about having the thing in me. Perhaps I am not supposed to.

Lydia created a wonderful breakfast and beamed when both Celestine and I gave it high praise.

We left Whiterun and headed for Dragons Keep just after 9:00AM.

Thalmor with another Talos worshipper.

We killed them and released the man. He just wanted to run back to his wife and children. I gave him a Talos amulet and he almost cried. I took all the gold and other valuables from the Thalmor and gave him those as well.

On we went without further issues and we arrived at Dragons Keep at about 11:00AM.

I escorted Celestine inside and gave her a hug goodbye. She told me to remember I am a good man.

When I displayed some scepticism she just stood and gave me the mothering look that works so well on the children.

Before I had a chance to leave with my tail between my legs Meeko came bounding up and demanded I take him. I had a choice, take him to chew up some bad people or return later to find expensive furniture chewed up instead. So along he came.

I stopped to watch two girls practising with wooden swords. One of them was using magic to create a physical shield when attacked. These children will never be helpless victims ever again.

Later on we turned a corner and came face to face with a Thalmor hit squad. When I searched the body of the Justiciar I did not find an order. It doesn’t matter. They attacked on site and that was all the proof I needed that they were still hunting me.

Sometimes I have trips like this. Everything that wants to kill me spreads itself along my route and takes their turn to attack and die. This time it was Stormcloaks too stupid to realise their cause was lost.

A bandit was in hiding and unfortunately for him Meeko sniffed him out. I was drawing my sword ready to aid him when Meeko attacked and the man screamed he was on fire. There were no visible flames. The bandit glowed as he burned internally and let the world know how much it hurt.

He fell to the ground and Meeko just watched as all movement and sound quickly faded from the doomed man.

I sat there stunned and so did Lydia. Meeko just lay waiting for us to keep going.

I have seen him occasionally glow when in a fight. I know he is no ordinary dog. He gets into fights and wins when he should have no chance. I have seen him bleed badly and have heeled him when near death so I know he is mortal. He understands everything, and I mean every single word, that we speak. He is smarter than 99% of the people I know. Is he a dog or something else? I do not know. I just know what I just saw was not something a “dog” can do.

We continued on and arrived at the ruins of Rangvald at around 4:00PM.

History says Rangvald was a thriving Nord settlement lead by a mighty chieftain called Otar. He had succumbed to the lure of the dragons and sided with them during the Dragon Wars. He became a Dragon Priest which made him deadly and without mercy. Two heroes were sent to kill him but could not. The managed to trap him and they still stand guard over his remains. Rangvald was then sealed and has remained so for thousands of years.

Tolfdir said the relic called “Kahvozein’s Fang” was interred within Rangvald. He said my dragon blood should allow me to pass through the doors sealed to others. He was right and we entered where no mortal had set foot since the Dragon Wars.

Why was I not surprised to find lit candles in a tomb where no mortal has been for millennia? I have no doubt we will find those hanging bottle of oil as well.

Not far in we found a book titled “The Secrets of Rangvald”. It tells of how Otar became a Dragon Priest. He was defeated in combat by two heroes called Saerek and Torsten. They could not kill him but they entombed him and still stand guard over him. The same story I already knew but this time the heroes were named. The book hinted we will need two keys to get to Otar.

The place was crawling with fairly power Draugr. They glowed red too when Meeko bit them.

We found a fancy sarcophagus. I had no doubt Otar was within and probably a bit angry after a couple of millennia. There were two skull shaped indents which indicated the two keys were some sort of skull. So that is what we searched for.

Found the first skull sitting on a pedestal. Down below it was a sarcophagus. I had no doubt that once I removed the skull one of the now undead heroes would attack.

That is exactly what happened.

I brought him down and a couple of other Draugr a Cyclone Shout.

When they got up I sent them flying with another.

Meeko leapt down finished them off with that glowing bite thing he now does.

A plaque on the sarcophagus told me this dead hero was Torsten.

A room with hanging oil thingies as I predicted. Next time I speak to Talos I will get him in a headlock till he tells me who the hell put these things in tombs and why.

Found the second skull also sitting on a pedestal.

Removed it and an angry Saerek appeared.

A very powerful lightning bolt finished him off.

We returned to the fancy sarcophagus.

I inserted a skull into its recess and there was lots of grinding and creaking as some of the seals holding Otar released.

I inserted the second skull and stood back.

Out popped Otar looking like he was stretching after a good night’s sleep.

“The Sword” had proved to be very efficient previously for sending Dragon Priest to their final resting spot. Otar did not last long. I retrieved his mask and cape that had interesting dweomer and would be added to the Dragons Keep collection.

Just past Otar a set of portcullis lifted allowing us access to a chest holding the relic we sought. We retrieved the dagger and exited Rangvald to find the night clear and bright the weather surprisingly mild for this time of the year.

We gathered the horses and made excellent time to Dragon Bridge. We arrive there around 11:00PM.

As we were tethering the horses one of the guards came up to talk to me. Meeko started growling and the guard attacked. Thanks to Meeko I had time to ensure his stomach met the pointy end of my sword and he died quickly.

How do they recruit these people? “Would you like to kill Wulf for us? Easy target! Forget about him killing Alduin and being Dragonborn and one of the deadliest warriors in history and that you will be doing this alone. What do you say?”

We started to take care of the horses again when there was a blood curdling scream and a cry of “Minotaur!” Since they had been extinct for millennia I thought that most unlikely. As we approached the commotion we saw a very Minotaur looking creature.

As mighty as it looked it was miniscule compared to the Minotaur of old. I have no idea what its breed was but it died under out combined strength.

We entered the Four Shields tavern and did our usual routine hiring rooms, eating dinner and retiring.

Meeko went with Lydia to her room and I settled down in mine to write this journal entry.

I know not what time I fell asleep.

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