Riften, Skyrim Wilderness, Temple of Mara: Another Dovah, Ghostly love, Message of truth.
As planned we were up, fed and ready to leave Riften just after 7:00AM.
I saw a Khajiit Caravan was visiting and headed towards it. I always sell them gems at slightly lower than usual prices so they maximise their profits. Only after some good squabbling and heartfelt claims from both sides of, “Are you mad!” and “You are trying to rob me!”.
Unfortunately my bartering session would have to wait. A rather rude Dovah by the name of Krifviirar was feeling suicidal and swooped down and knocked a lot of people over with Unrelenting Force. I managed to draw my sword and hit him with Dragonrend.
He flew over Riften and landed on the far side. At least he has not decided to fight within the walls. Even this early in the morning there would be civilian casualties if he did.
Some people say sailors are the most inventive and prolific users of profanity. Those people have never heard an angry Khajiit! An angry Khajiit sailor would probably make people faint with their vulgarity!
After a couple of minutes Krifviirar returned. He was chasing down some poor huntsmen trying to get back to Riften for a mead and meal.
He was hit simultaneously with Dragonrend and three powerful lightning bolts from myself, Serana and Christine.
I decided to run in and distract him from the hunters. A whack across the snout with “The Sword” did the trick.
The hunters and Khajiit and guards hit him with arrow after arrow. Serana and Celestine continued with lightening. I hacked away like he was a tree that needed felling.
Krifviirar quickly succumbed and I absorbed his soul. Two dragons in two days after months without a single attack. I wonder if they were failed converts of Paarthurnax? Tried his stupid religion and decided it was not for them. Stupid or not, they would be alive if they followed it.
I helped the Khajiit mood by lowering my prices even more in a grand display of overacted bartering. We eventually set out more than an hour after we had exited the gates.
Serana was using her undead horse again. She likes it speed and endurance so had sold her recently purchased live horse. Since the Emperor ‘vanished’ there had been an increased Imperial army presence in Skyrim. Platoon sized patrols were taking out their anger on bandits and Forsworn.
We approached the shrine Mara’s amulet had led us to. We could see a female spirit searching for something.
I approached her and asked,
What are you doing?
“My name is Ruki. I’m searching for my Fenrig. He was marching with Gjukar’s men. They say they were wiped out here. I turned over every body and I can’t find him. Please help me look. He has a bright red beard and hair.”
That battle was hundreds of years ago.
“Are you a fool? Look at the bodies around you. Even if you’re blind you can surely smell the blood. Come, help me search for Fenrig.”
Through the amulet of Mara I could suddenly sense the whereabouts of Fenrig. We tethered the horses and walked in the indicated direction.
We had to fend off several types of wild animal who thought we looked tasty before we spotted Fenrig in the distance.
As we got closer I could see he was in a culvert. I don’t think the fort in the distance was there during his time but the hills were. Not a good defensive position if the enemy had many competent archers.
I approached him and said,
Fenrig, your wife is looking for you.
“Ruki? Where is she?”
West from here. Just over the plains.
“We’re expected to fight there tomorrow. Gjukar elected to camp here for the night. I don’t like it though.”
I agree. It is a bad place for hiding or defending.
“Our fires are visible for miles and we are in a low valley. We are sitting ducks.”
Let me take you to Ruki. She has been searching for you.
“If she’s come this far from home, it must be important. Lead on. I just need to report back to camp by sunrise.”
We escorted Fenrig’s spirit to Ruki. When he saw her he ran and so did we. I knew, as with the previous two encounters, that we needed to see and hear their discussion.
- Ruki: “Fenrig! You’re alive!”
- Fenrig: “Of course I am. What brings you here?”
- Ruki: “I had heard that Gjukar’s men were wiped out. I came to find you.”
- (They both started floating upwards.)
- Fenrig: “But that battle isn’t expected until tomorrow… Ruki, what’s going on?”
- Ruki: “I’m so confused. What’s happening?”
- (Higher and higher they rose.)
- Fenrig: “It doesn’t matter. I’m here. We’re together now. And we will be forever.”
- (They eventually vanished.)
We were all stunned. Such love is a thing of pure unadulterated beauty. The commitment. The combining of souls. We did not feel like talking. Words escaped us.
We mounted our horses and rode silently back to Riften.
It was close to 10PM by the time we reached the Temple.
Dinya was in her usual place in front of Mara’s shrine.
Before I got to say a ward she said.
“Wulf. Yes I know who you are and I know you helped Fenrig and Ruki. You have earned Mara’s blessing.”
Dinya, where is all the flowery gobblygook?
“Yes, I am sorry about that. We use what you call ‘gobblygook’ to make it all seem more mystical than what it is. People take the tasks given with more reverence and wonder.”
So how do you know I am Wulf?
“Your prayer to Mara last night. I am supposed to give you her message without emotion but I cannot do that. I am a voice of a God, one of many for Goddess Mara, but I am, like you, a mortal.”
“Mara says the love, the connection, you and Rigmor share is as strong as she has ever experienced. However, distance and absence can wear down the memories of what you had. You both have and will experience things where you need that connection and it is not there.
As mortals we crave for that love, that connection and if the one we had is not there we may accept something of lesser quality. Think of a starving person. They care not for the quality of the food available. It is food.
Rigmor is also in the situation of being a viable marriage candidate. You kept your affection for each other secret from others. Even if you had not, there will be pressure for her to choose a partner for political reasons, not love. It will be drummed into her that it is her duty. A price to pay for the privileges of rank. She is strong willed enough to insist on some choice amongst those presented. Sometimes such marriages create love. Mostly they create contempt.
Talos told you the Gods need you and Rigmor to be in proximity once more. As lovers once again is preferable but that is not guaranteed. There are too many paths influenced by mortal free will to predict what your relationship will be.
If she prayed for Mara’s help she could answer but you know why Rigmor will not do so. Another God is in Rigmor’s heart and mind. A God dear to her for many reasons but saving your life is paramount amongst them.
Mara can’t send anybody to speak to and help Rigmor on your behalf. You know why Akatosh has forbidden such. The same reason even a letter can’t be exchanged between you. She is left to wonder if you have abandoned the sacred vow you made to each other.
You and Rigmor deserve to be together. Your current duties and destinies do not allow it. You are one soul separated by distance and responsibilities. Every mortal on Nirn owes their lives to this dedication. This sacrifice of love.
Mara says the three tasks you have performed for her can teach you what you need to know. She will not dictate the lessons. You must think and learn them yourself. She said history will help with the last.
That is all she had to say to you Dragonborn.”
I was not expecting comfort but I was equally unprepared for such an honest assessment. I will never accept a lesser love. The vow was sacred. I told Rigmor why I could not cross the border. I still have no idea when I can. Almost two years ago I watched her go. Each day increases the chance I become a fond memory and an embarrassment when I do see her again.
Our sacrifice is no greater than that of Fenrig and Ruki. Fenrig did his duty as a soldier and was separated from his soulmate. It is something mortals have done since the beginning of time.
We are not special.
“Mara wishes it could be different. Bless you Wulf.”
I quickly left the temple and headed for Honeyside. Serana and Celestine hurried to catch up.
Once inside Serana approached me.
“Wulf… I do not know what it is to experience such love. Maybe one day I will be fortunate to do so.”
Everybody deserves to experience such a thing.
“I was keen to ask about becoming a Priestess of Mara but it will have to wait.”
“I do not know if I could ever be strong enough to obey a God at the expense of my own comfort. I have done it once before and it was not ideal. I have also seen what it has cost you. Perhaps in time I will see differently.”
I understand. If you don’t mind I need to be alone to think.
“Of course. Celestine and I might go wander the streets of Riften for a while. I feel like a bit of nostalgia.”
My companions left and Honeyside was silent except for the crackling fire. I wrote this journal entry and sat staring at the flames.
I know not what time I fell asleep.
I know it was in the chair in front of the fire with my journal on a page devoid of writing. On it were the red flowers I followed when Rigmor left a trail. Pressed and preserved. They were a desperate plea for help by Rigmor. She needed the man who seconds before had vowed never to let her go.
I will never let Rigmor go.
Even if I have to choose between her and The Divine.