Turdas, 15th Rain’s Hand, 4E 203

Temple of Dibella, Karthwasten, Broken Tower: Sister trouble, Death sentence, Damn disguise, Divine Task revealed, Little girl kidnapped, Rescue, Goodbye Daddy, Hello new life, A blessing and a gift.

“The Pull” directed me to the Temple of Dibella in Markarth. So for several nights I have been Eorgi the World-Weary, renowned bard and traveller with songs and stories to warm your heart, make you cry, fall in love, fall over laughing and yearn for home.

The Silver-Blood Inn was one of my favourite establishments to play and the audience was always appreciative.

This morning I woke up with a crick in my back. What they find comfortable about these stone beds is beyond me.

I had some breakfast and headed for the Temple of Dibella. I arrived there at about 8:30AM.

Sister Senna came over before I was even a few feet in the door. She was not the one The Pull was directing me to. At the far end were some doors that led to my meeting.

The Temple of Dibella has an unfair reputation amongst men who believe their priestesses are glorified prostitutes and often turn up with lust in their heart and a bulge in their pants. So I was not surprised of the hostility Senna displayed.

“The sisters are communing with Dibella. They can’t be disturbed. You’ll have to come back another time.”

It is urgent I speak to one of them.

“I am sure it is. The Red Light District is a few blocks over.”

I am not here for that. I am Wulf, Dragonborn and Champion of The Divine. I have been instructed to come here urgently by The Divine themselves.

“Sure you are? After all those stories written about Wulf and his Dibella trained dog don’t you think I would recognise his perverted face! That last story about him teaching the priestesses here a new trick each night was entertaining but does not help our reputation. If you do not want Dibella’s blessing from me then be gone and take your misplaced lust with you!”

I need to see someone beyond that door!

“So let me get this straight. The Divine sent you on a holy mission but you don’t even know who you are supposed to talk to. What is next, a holy orgy to save the world?”

You will look silly later.

“To go beyond that door is punishable by death. Understand?”

I don’t think Dibella would allow that.

“Oh, I forgot, you are on a holy mission. Probably on first name basis with Dibella. Do not go through that door!”

Will you try and stop me because I would hate casting paralysis on you.

“That is probably the only way you get women to listen to your drivel for more than a minute!”

 Ouch!

“I will not stop you. Women here have been hurt trying that. However, those beyond the door will take care of you without mercy or fear.”

If they all have faces like yours I will probably freeze in place.

“Heathen!”

Hagraven!

I must have stunned her with that witty comeback as she just stood with her arms crossed and stared at me.

I could feel her beady eyes bore holes in my back as I walked confidently to the doors at the far end and opened them. Or tried to. I tugged on them expecting them to open so I could manly walk through them. They were locked. Sister Senna laughed.

I reached into my tunic and retrieved my lock picks.

“A thief. What a surprise!”

I quickly picked the lock and entered the forbidden.

“The Pull” directed me to a woman sitting and addressing some others.

I walked towards her.

“And just what do you think you’re doing?”

I am Wulf, Dragonborn and Champion of The Divine, I have been sent by them to you on a holy mission.

“Normally I would laugh at you and have you executed. That is the punishment for males who dare enter this inner sanctum. Lucky for you I will ignore your blasphemous lie and give you a chance to redeem yourself in the Gods’ eyes.”

Okay, it is not important if you believe me or not. Maybe this ‘chance’ is my holy mission, my Divine Task.

“The ceremony you so rudely interrupted was the Exalted Protocol of the Dibellan Sybil. I don’t expect you know what that means.”

I assume you are Mother Hamel? As a matter of fact I do know what you were doing. You have asked Dibella for assistance in finding a new Sybil. A new oracle or spokesperson for Dibella. Sorry on the recent loss of the last Sybil. Where can I find the young girl chosen as her replacement?

(I had thought reading about obscure temple rituals was a waste of time. The look on Mother Hamel’s face was worth every boring hour of it and proved me wrong!)

“What is Dibella’s command?”

All good Empire children learn the Ten Commands of the nine Divines. Dibella’s is ‘Open your heart to the noble secrets of art and love. Treasure the gifts of friendship. Seek joy and inspiration in the mysteries of love.’

“If I was a Pilgrim of the Nine Divines, where would I start my journey?”

The Chapel of Dibella in Anvil.

“Name the two holy relics of Dibella.”

Dibella created The Helm of the Crusader for Pelinal Whitestrake. The Brush of True Paint contains Dibella’s hair but I don’t think she made it.

“What is the name of your dog?”

It is not Dicko, it is Meeko. And he is not trained in the Dibellan arts. I and my housecarl are not sex maniacs perverting stable boys and conducting erotic classes with your priestesses.

“Why do you not look like all the drawings and paintings I have seen?”

I have attracted many enemies doing my Divine Tasks. So I can move around Skyrim more freely and more importantly, to protect those I am in contact with, I change my appearance on a regular basis.

“Name the… “

NO! I AM THE DRAGONBORN!

(A small amount of Thu’um but undeniably the power of the Voice.)

“I… I am sorry. I should be rejoicing the Nine have sent you to escort our new Sybil.”

No need to apologise. I know what you and your sisters have to endure. I know there are more sexually oriented temples but they teach the art of making love, not the lustful and ultimately selfish thrills that most citizens pursue. I know many forget that love, all forms of love, is part of the beauty that surrounds us and is taught by your disciples. Architecture, paintings, sculptures, the human form are all loved by Dibella and therefore her priestesses. You have suffered the loss of one you loved dearly and are also without your direct connection to your God. Tell me where the new Sybil is.

“Karthwasten.”

What do I tell her parents? It would be hard to just hand over a young daughter.

“If they are true to the Divines they know it is a great honour for the family. Their daughter will never know hardship and the goddess blesses them with great bounty.”

I understand why you want this kept secret. Hence your threat when I entered. No Divine would accept the killing of a mortal simply for trespass.

“No, it is not something Priestesses of love and beauty would do.  I am sure Sister Senna told you we can make men regret their impertinence.”

Please, spare me the details.

“We prefer not to announce that the Sybil had died until we can introduce the new one. People like to know that we’re connected to the goddess.”

I will return with her soon.

With that I left the forbidden area and entered the main temple.

Sister Senna approached looking embarrassed and said,

“So, you are him. I apologise.”

Don’t worry. I am not angry. A good orgy always makes me relaxed.

I left the Temple and headed for my room at the inn. I changed into my normal armour and met Lydia and Iona out the front. Lydia asked,

“Where are we headed my thane?”

Karthwasten. We are to pick up a little girl and bring her back to the Temple.

“Seems a bit simple for a task given by The Divine.”

It could be just that. A favour for Dibella. However, I have become a bit cynical lately so expect a bit more danger than just babysitting an oracle.

We gathered our horses from the stables and headed for Karthwasten.

Apart from a small band of Forsworn it was an uneventful ride.

The town seemed deserted. Everybody was in the mines I assumed.

I approached the only person I saw.

“Hello stranger. I am Ainethach, owner of the mines here, can I help you?

Well met Ainethach. I am Wulf and am here on behalf of the Markarth Temple of Dibella. Are there any young girls in this village?

(I am glad I had two female housecarls with me. A single male or group of males asking might not have received a civil reply to such a question.)

Only one and you will want to speak to her father Enmon. He should be exiting the mine for lunch any minute.

Almost on cue a stream of miners exited the mine. I approached them and asked to speak to the miner called Enmon.

A miner approached me. He had a tribal face tattoo. They are not uncommon in the reach.

“I am Enmon.”

Hello Enmon. My name is Wulf. I believe you are the father of a young girl?

“Dammit man, are you here to taunt us?”

I beg your pardon?”

“Our daughter, Fjotra, was taken from here. The Forsworn descended and… they didn’t touch anything else. Just our little girl.”

I am so sorry. We will get her back for you. Where did they take her?

“It was the Forsworn from Broken Tower. They have never been much trouble before. What’s it to you? Why would you be asking about her?”

I am the Dragonborn. Mother Hamel from the Temple of Dibella in Markarth sent me to fetch Fjotra. She is the Sybil of Dibella.

“She… really? Well, that’s I… I wouldn’t have dreamed. Of course, we need her in Markarth. I’ll come with you.”

The Forsworn are fine warriors. It is too dangerous. You should stay here. I will bring Fjotra here on the way to Markarth so you know she is OK.

“You’re… probably right. Just hurry please. Who knows what those things are doing to her.”

We quickly gathered our horses and set off. I knew where Broken Tower was. The Forsworn in it were a danger to all traffic passing by. It would not be a disservice to the Reach if we cleared it out.

Lydia rode up beside me and asked,

“What would the Forsworn want with Fjotra? Would they know who she is?”

Their Shaman, especially the Hagraven oracles they have, might have detected Fjotra the same way the Priestesses in the Temple did. Since they got here so quickly and the death of the Sybil has not been announced they were not actively looking for her but just stumbled on the information via whatever Gods they worship, probably Hircine.

I don’t think she is in danger of being killed. The Forsworn are Daedric worshippers. The Hagraven they revere gave up beauty and love for the powers the Daedra could give them. In every Forsworn cave or camp I have visited there are desecrated Divine altars. They do this in the hope of reducing Aedra powers on Nirn. To reduce Dibella’s influence on Nirn they keep her spokesperson, her Oracle, the Sybil, away from her worshippers. They would not kill her as another will just be found. They will keep her and probably invent new horrific rituals around her.

“Then let us hurry my Thane. That sounds worse than death.”

We dismounted and hitched our horses not far from Broken Tower. The Forsworn have excellent watchmen and we were soon spotted as we approached.

We peppered them with arrows…

… and entered their domain.

There were many Forsworn warriors and they fought with fanaticism bordering on madness.

After some prolonged fighting we finally made our way to the roof. There was a tower isolated from the rest of the building. Fjotra was most likely in there.

I killed the lone guard and we entered.

We could see a prison cell and a Briarheart guarding it. They are the elite warriors and spell casters of the Forsworn. Some consider them as undead since their heart is ripped out and replaced by a briar. In front of him was a lightening rune.

I used the Cyclone Shout to set off the rune and smash the Briarheart against the roof.

We all rushed in and dispatched him quickly.

There was a desecrated Shrine of Dibella. The bones and blood would have been innocent travellers passing by the damned place.

In a cell was a little girl. I had a flashback of another little girl in a cell and Rigmor screaming for me to get her out. Sorella was her name. I often wonder how she and Yngol and Angi are doing.

I opened the cell using a key I had found on the Briarheart.

“Are you one of them? Please don’t hurt me.”

(I got down onto my knees so I was eye height with Fjotra.)

We will not hurt you I promise. I am Wulf and that lady is Iona and that lady is Lydia. Is your name Fjotra?

“Yes. Did my Daddy send you here? The bad men did not hurt him did they?”

You Daddy told me where you were. He is safe. I am here to take you to the Temple of Dibella in Markarth. You are a very special little girl. Do you know why?

“The bad people. They said I was touched by the Gods.”

Like me, a Divine has chosen you for something special. You are the Sybil of Dibella.

“I’ve heard stories about the wonders of the great Temple in Markarth. I never dreamed that I would even get to see it. I am honoured to be called for this duty. Please lead on.”

(There was something old and wise speaking through Fjotra. She was still a little girl for now.)

Would you like to visit your Mum and Dad on the way. They might not get to see you for a little while.

“Oh yes please! Mummy is staying with friends because she was so sad I was taken. I can see Daddy though. they must have been so worried and they might be sad I am going away again.”

 I stood and held my hand out. Fjotra held it tight as we made our way out of the den of evil.

When we got to the horses I told Fjotra she would be riding double with Lydia.

  • Fjotra: Wulf said I am riding double with you.
  • Lydia: That is because his tummy sticks out too far and you would not be able to fit on his horse.
  • Fjotra: I am sorry for your loss.
  • Lydia: Thank you. It still hurts.
  • Fjotra: That is the sacrifice us mortals make to have something the Gods envy.
  • Lydia: Have you always been this perceptive.
  • Fjotra: I do not know what perceptive is. If you mean weird and can tell things about people just by being near them. Not so much till yesterday. I woke up smarterer? Is that a word?
  • Lydia: It is now.
  • Fjotra: I hope you find another like Bjorn one day. He would want that.
  • Lydia: I know. He told me in Sovngarde.

They chatted endlessly all the way to Karthwasten.

We arrived in town without any encounters. Fjotra jumped off Lydia’s horse and headed straight for the mine.

“This way. Daddy will still be chipping away.”

We entered the mine and Fjotra led us through the maze of tunnels to her father. As soon as she saw him she ran up and gave him such a squeeze he was turning blue before she let go.

  • Enmon: “Fjotra, dear. Did they hurt you?”
  • Fjotra: “Of course not. My spirit remains strong.”
  • Enmon: “My little girl. Always strong. Do you know where you have to go?”
  • Fjotra: “I’m to go to the temple in Markarth. I… I’ll have to leave you and mother.”
  • Enmon: “It’s our honour to have you there. This man is going to take you to Markarth. Are you ready?”
  • Fjotra: “Of course.”
  • Enmon: I will ride and tell Mummy the good news. We will visit soon.
  • Fjotra: Tell Mummy I love her and this will make no difference to who we are. We are family now and forever.

Enmon came up to me and shook my hand vigorously.

“Thank you for getting her back from the Forsworn. Dibella was smart to have sent you.”

We headed out to the horses and to Iona’s chagrin, Fjotra leapt onto hers. Iona was fairly awkward with the children at Dragons Keep. I think she thought they were made of egg shells or similar. She carefully climbed up and gently moved Fjotra till she was happy she was secure.

  • Fjotra: Dibella does not know much about Khajiit. They were made by another type of God.
  • Iona: Yes, Kharjo says Azura turned some Bosmer into Khajiit.
  • Fjotra: It is an unusual match. Your love is strong. How did such a love blossom?
  • Iona: Is there not an old proverb, ‘Opposites attract!’
  • Fjotra: Is there? I will remember that one. Why are you opposites? Not that boy/girl stuff. Me and cousin Harrbus figured all that out when he visited last month.

At that stage I felt I was eavesdropping and rode ahead whistling.

No encounters on the way to Markarth for which I was relieved.

We entered the Temple and Sister Senna was at the far end near the doors to the forbidden area. She bowed to Fjotra and pretended I was not there.

Mother Hamal stood still and watched us approach.

Mother Hamal. This is Fjotra, your new Sybil.

“I thank you Dragonborn, We all thank you.”

Thank The Divine. It is they who heeded your need.

“ You have earned a reward from Dibella. Prostrate yourself before her altar and she will give you  her Blessing. Also, if you come back in about an hour it would be fitting you are the first to talk to Fjotra in her role as Sybil.”

(Mother Hamal turned her attention to the child.)

“Hello Fjotra. I am Mother Hamal. Please come with me and we can begin your preparation. There is not much to learn. Dibella will guide you as she does us all.”

As Fjotra eagerly follows Mother Hamal we made our way into the main temple.

I knelt before Dibella’s altar.

I then scooped up some of the holy water into a mug and drunk deeply.

I felt a brief connection with The Divines then nothing. I do not know what the blessing does but am probably one of the few males ever to receive it.

Iona, Lydia and I went to the market and did some shopping just for the fun of it. We all purchased things we did not need but simply wanted. It is very therapeutic.

We returned to the temple and Fjotra was sitting in her chair of office.

“I formally welcome you Wulf, Champion of The Divine, to be the first to speak to Sybil. Fjotra is not gone but her name has been set aside.”

I do hope you still get to be a little girl sometimes!

“I will. I might even get to throw a good tantrum now and then! Keep everybody on their toes.”

So do you feel any different?

“All Mother Hamal and the other sisters did was call me Sybil, one after the other. After the last had finished I was suddenly aware of a voice not through my ears but my whole being, my soul. It also called me Sybil. Then I knew who it was. Dibella. Her compassion is great. Her love of mortals immense. Her wisdom infinite.”

I am glad I could help The Divine with this task.

“I have another reward for you. It is a message that had to be negotiated with Lord Akatosh. You must agree to this. I will tell you the message in its entirety without pause. You are to listen without interruption and no questions will be allowed or answered. As soon as I have finished I will nod my head and you will rise and leave the temple immediately. Do you agree to these terms?”

Yes. I swear.

“You will hear concerning things from Cyrodiil. Everybody around Rigmor loves her and is working hard to protect her. Very few people know of her Royal Blood. Keeping it secret is the key to her safety. She has good advisors but has a strong will and sense of independence. Her love for you has not faltered or lessoned. She knows why you have not come but the reality is no protection against her insecurities. You both pine for each other and that is regrettable.  The last and most important thing is this. The Divines may not be able to love like mortals but once they could. They remember. They cherish those memories. They cherish what you and Rigmor have. It is a thing of beauty. They wish it preserved but can’t guarantee. That is all.”

She nodded. I stood and walked out of the Temple numb. It will take some deep thinking to unravel how all of that fits into the puzzle that is my life.

Lydia and Iona went ahead and booked a room at the Inn for the night. When I entered I headed straight my room and donned my bardic outfit.

I performed a longer set than usual. Concentrating on the music relaxed my mind.

When I finished to generous applause I retired to my room and wrote this journal entry.

I know not what time I fell asleep.

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