Whiterun, Orphan Rock, Temple of Kynareth, Eldergleam Sanctuary: Latest news, Assassin trio, New Divine Task, Sickly tree, Old hags, Mysterious child, Rude Breton, Sap needed, Angry animals, Beauty, Miracle of prayer, A better solution.
Several days ago “The Pull” had directed me to Whiterun.
At 7:00AM I left Breezehome with Lydia and Meeko to find out what the Divine Task was.
I had given up hiding and disguising myself. If The Divine need me they can damn well look after me. I am not ignoring my importance to the future or my responsibilities. I am just sick of giving up on all I love and missing out on life. The Divine took my childhood and youth and memories. I was letting them take away my new life. Not any more!
There have been new assassination attempts as a result. I have enjoyed them! My ability to sense danger is now finely honed. I have recognised assassins and killed them before Meeko warns me. It has turned into a game between him and me.
I still do not stay in place long but rotate between my many places of interest. I have had a lot of work to do as Arch Mage as well as keep up my bard work. Now the taverns hire Wulf the Dragonborn and I spend almost as much time telling tales of my adventures as I do singing.
I have also spent a lot more time at Dragons Keep. I even teach history classes when I can. How ironic a man with no history teaches it!
There are still many things I have done As Champion of The Divine that will remain hidden till my journals are published. Urag has told me Dexion and him now have a core group of trustworthy scholars making plans.
The real stories of Wulf, his companions and their deeds, are now as popular, if not more popular, than the smutty stories.
I have been a guest of High Queen Elisif a few times since her coronation. She has no trouble trusting me with news from across the border. The recent events have shocked both of us.
Since Emperor Mede II’s body was never found the Elder Council were reluctant to declare him dead. There was no clear line of succession and they had several meetings trying to find and agree upon a new leader for Tamriel. In the meantime the men appointed by Mede remained in charge of their portfolios. It was working out quite well till a few weeks ago.
A robber baron, a highwayman, a thief, removed the interim government and has declared himself Emperor by right of combat. We still do not who he killed to make such a claim but the Elder Council seem to accept his legitimacy. He and his wife now sit upon the Ruby Throne and, despite not being of noble blood, he is now our Emperor. He had many thousands of highly skilled bandits under his command that he plans to make into members of the Imperial Legion. New buildings and walls are going up on the official border crossing. Being a bandit he knew of all the unauthorized ways into and out of Cyrodiil and has them blocked and guarded.
Two weeks later and we still do not know what he wants to call himself! For the moment his is just called The Emperor.
I have no idea on how those events will impact Rigmor, Countess of Bruma and the most important person in my personal universe.
The Pull directed me to Danica Pure-Spring, a Nord Priestess of Kynareth and head of the Temple in Whiterun. She was sitting eating her breakfast as she does every morning under the ancient tree called Gildergreen.
Just as I was about to greet her I drew my sword and cut down an assassin dressed as a Whiterun guard. I turned and cut down two more as they ran at me with weapons drawn and shouting the usual Stormcloak crap.
Danica is a trained healer but did not even bother seeing if they were alive. She delicately stepped around them whilst continuing to eat her breakfast.
Real guards finally arrived and I told them what happened. As they removed the bodies and cleaned up the mess I approached Danica once again.
“Why do idiots keep supporting that dead Thalmor puppet?”
I have no idea but at least they attack me now exclusively. They have not dared again kill guards defending buildings.
“I have a feeling you want me for something important.”
Well, I am hoping you can tell me what help you need. The Divine have instructed me to talk to you.
“I heard how you recently helped my colleagues from the Temples of Dibella and Mara. It seems every Divine wants your services lately!”
And what of Kynareth? I already helped re-establish the Trials of Kyne. Do you know what else I can help her with?
“I am sure you know the story of the Gildergreen. How it was planted as a seedling in the early years of Whiterun. Disciples of Kynareth could sense something holy in it, and travelled far to hear the winds of the goddess in its branches. They built the temple. Not as many pilgrims these days since the tree, as you can see, seems to be a dead lump of wood.”
(The Gildergreen has no leaves, buds, bark or any visible signs it was still a living tree.)
“A big dead tree isn’t very inspiring if you’re coming to worship the divine of wind and rains. Kynareth gives life, and we need a living tree to be her symbol.”
Is there something we can do to restore it?
“To the east of here is a hidden grove where the Eldergleam resides. It’s the oldest living thing in Skyrim. Maybe all of Tamriel. Our tree here in the city was grown from a cutting of that tree. You can still feel the glory of the mother tree through it.”
Yes, even its name is an echo. Can the Eldergleam help revive the Gildergreen?
“The Eldergleam is very old. They say it was a seedling when the first men were arriving from Atmora, thousands of years ago. The sap is precious. It can restore barren fields or bring life to rocks.”
Can it restore a dead tree?
“I’ve thought about that… Trees like this never really die. They only slumber. I think if we had some of the sap from the parent tree we could wake up its child. But even if you could get to the Eldergleam, you couldn’t tap it. Not with any normal metal.”
Is there a way to do it?
“Eldergleam is older than metal, from a time before men or elves. To even affect it, you have to tap into the old magic. You’ll have to deal with the Hagravens. I’ve heard about a weapon they’ve made for sacrificing Spriggans. It’s called “Nettlebane.” The hags terrify me, or I would have gone after it myself.”
They are ugly, evil creatures who sold their souls to Daedric Lords for the magic and foresight they possess. I have dealt with many and they pose no real danger to me and my companions. We will get Nettlebane and return. Can you mark their whereabouts on my map?
(I handed Danica my map and pencil and she marked a place called Orphan Rock.)
“Your spirit is strong. Kynareth’s winds will guide your path. It’s held in a Hagraven nest called Orphan Rock.”
Lydia and Meeko followed me out to the stables where we collected our horses and headed for Orphan Rock. Lydia commented,
“That was slick work with the Stormcloaks this morning. It looked like they waited for all three to be together before attacking you!”
The numbers did not help them. They were poor warriors. Now they are dead. Let’s go kill some ugly old ladies.
Meeko barked enthusiastically at that prospect!
Just past Helgen I stopped and told my companions we would do a bit of mountain climbing and come from a direction the Hagraven would not be expecting.
Skyrim horses have this uncanny mountain climbing ability. It is like they are part mountain goat.
We caught the Hagravens and their attendant witches completely by surprise. We cut them down till only one Hagraven was left. It was already staggering with ice spears penetrating its body. Who was casting spells?
I quickly charged the last Hagraven and cut her down. When I searched the body I found Nettlebane.
I returned to the centre of the camp and there was a little girl warming herself and having a drink by the fire!
“Oh hi! Thanks for helping me kill my jailers! My name is Morgan.”
Glad to meet you Morgan. I am called Wulf. That is Lydia and the one trying to sneak up on your companion is Meeko. That is the smallest Khajiit I have ever seen!
(Morgan sat down and it is then I noticed she had, of all things, a broom on her back.)
“That is a cat you silly. Her name is Shadow. She cast most of the spells. I am not strong enough in magic yet for some of them. Don’t set Meeko on fire Shadow. Not all dogs are evil.”
Your cat casts spell?
“I don’t think she is really a cat. My mother called her my guardian.”
Where are your mother and father?
“Father was killed fighting those elves outside of Whiterun. These people killed my Mother. They wanted me. I think they were going to kill me eventually. I was waiting for my chance to escape.”
I am so sorry about your parents. Did these evil things hurt you?
“No and they underestimated me. Shadow kept hidden. She doesn’t go invisible. She just goes somewhere and comes back again. They thought I was just a child who had not yet learned her magic. They did not even tie me up. But even with Shadow I would not have beaten them. Thank you again for helping me.”
Is there other family we can take you to?
“No. They are all scared of me. They stopped visiting or even talking to my parents soon after I was born. I don’t know why. I have never done anything evil except for eating a sweet-roll too close to supper once. Mother knew because I usually eat all my stew and I couldn’t.”
You are different which is good, not scary. What a boring world it would be if we were all the same! Even though magic is all around them many people fear it. We have a place where you can grow up with other children and never be treated differently or be scared.
“Mother told me about it in case something happened to her. Dragons Keep. I told her I would remember but it has too many people. I am not used to so many people.”
We have another place called Dragonfall Castle. There are never many children there and it is very big. You can find places to be alone if you need to be. We have some teachers there who can help you learn your magic. One day you might like to go to the bigger school. Does that sound good?
“Mother never said anything about that place?”
We have only had it for a few months. It will eventually be another school like Dragons Keep but for fewer children. It is very pretty and has a lot of guards to keep you safe. Do you like reading?
“It is my favourite thing!”
The library there is much bigger than the one at Dragons Keep. You could grow old just sitting there reading!
“I would like that. How do I get there?”
You ride pillion with Lydia and we will take you to a nice lady called Danica. She is a priestess in the Temple of Kynareth. She will look after you while I do a favour for her. OK?
“I can’t wait to tell Danica how you killed the Hagraven. She can tell Kynareth who will be so happy they can’t hurt her Spriggans again!”
(Not many people know Kynareth created Spriggans to protect nature. This child was a mystery. Another one we have rescued from the dark.)
Before we go, why do you carry a broom?
“Oh, it looks like a broom and I can sweep with it. It also shoots fireballs from one end. I can also make it vanish like this… “
(Morgan clicked her fingers and the broom was gone. We have rescued all sorts of children since we started the school. Morgan is at the top for the most unique list.)
Morgan climbed onto Lydia’s horse. Shadow looked up at her and meowed. Morgan waved goodbye and Shadow opened a portal and walked through it. I could sense it was a portal to somewhere in Oblivion. Shadow was a Daedra of some sort? Morgan and her guardian is something to puzzle over later.
We arrived in Whiterun and headed straight for the Temple.
When we entered Danica was in a heated discussion with a rather rude Breton.
- Maurice: What is it… what has happened to the Gildergreen? I have travelled long to worship beneath its branches.
- Danica: It was taken by a lightning strike. Wish I had time to deal with it, but it’s hard enough with all these sick people and we still have wounded from the war.
- Maurice: Please, don’t just let it stay like this. It’s disgraceful.
- Danica: I really don’t have time to deal with you right now. Please just let me get back to my work.
- Maurice: But this is supposed to be your work.
The Breton moved away in a huff and I approached Danica.
“So, have you gotten Nettlebane back from those filthy Hagravens yet?”
Yes we have.
“You will need to go to Eldergleam Sanctuary and use Nettlebane to retrieve some of its sap. Do you know where the sanctuary is?”
Yes, I have passed by it before and can find it again.
(Danica noticed Morgan who was trying to hide behind Lydia. She got down lower so she was at eye height to her.)
- Danica: Hello little one. Are you Wulf’s daughter?
- Morgan: No, I am an orphan that Wulf found at Orphan Rock. I think that is quite funny.
- Danica: Yes it is. Lucky he didn’t have to go to Angry Giant Rock!
- Morgan: That was very funny as well. I thought priestesses are supposed to be all strict and talk weird? Like, “Oh my, can you smell the gift of nature?’ when they fart.
- Danica: Some do talk weird. Priestesses of Mara especially!
- Morgan: Wulf said you can look after me while he does you a favour. Then I can tell you how they killed the nasty things that were hurting Kynareth’s Spriggans and you can tell the goddess.
- Danica: Of course I can look after you. Do you like sweet-rolls?
- Morgan: Yum! Do you like cats?
- Danica: They are not as yummy as sweet-rolls.
- Morgan: You are a funny lady. Can you show me how you use magic to help these poorly people?
- Danica: Of course. Come with me.
Morgan walked off hand in hand with Danica. The rude Breton came up to me.
“Was I correct in hearing that you were travelling to the grove of the Eldergleam?”
Who are you and why do you ask?
“I am Maurice Jondrelle, a traveller. A pilgrim if you wish. I follow the voice of Kynareth wherever it can be heard. I’ve dreamed of seeing Eldergleam for years. Might I travel alongside you? I promise not to get in the way.”
I am Wulf, the lady is Lydia and the dirt with dog attached is Meeko. We have to cross the marshlands and will undoubtedly have to fight beasts of various kinds.
“Everybody knows you Dragonborn! I am a solo traveller who has been to every province of Tamriel. I can use a sword.”
In that case you are welcome to join us.
With that we set off for Eldergleam Sanctuary.
A pack of wolves, a couple of sabre cats and a huge bear all objected to us as we crossed the swampy, smelly plain to Eldergleam Sanctuary. Maurice proved to be a competent swordsman.
We entered and it did not seem like much at first.
Then we were in the main cavern and it was one of the most glorious sights. Rigmor would love it.
We made our way to the Eldergleam along a winding path. A huge root blocked the way.
I gently touched the root with Nettlebane and it curled away as if in great pain. I felt guilty but we needed the sap.
I had to do that to another two roots before we reached the tree.
I was now in a dilemma. Just lightly touching the roots seemed to cause the Eldergleam pain. There was no visible sap leaking from the tree which meant I would have to create a wound. It seemed wrong and almost sacrilegious to do so. Maurice provided the solution.
“I can see you are hesitant to violate this marvel of Kynareth’s glory. I have a better idea if you would like to hear it?”
I honestly do not want to harm the Eldergleam. So I will be grateful for another way.
“Instead of repairing Gildergreen why not let the natural order prevail. That tree dies and we replace it with a sapling from the Eldergleam.”
That is an excellent idea Maurice! You are indeed a true follower of Kynareth. However, how do we get a sapling?
“I think I can convince Eldergleam to help us.”
(Maurice knelt and prayed in front of Eldergleam.)
(Then a sapling appeared out of nowhere.)
“The Eldergleam has blessed us with a sapling. You should take it to Whiterun. Danica will want to see that the true blessings of nature lie in renewal, not a slavish maintenance.”
That is amazing. Thank you for your help Maurice.
“It was my pleasure, friend. In a way, I envy you getting to carry such a direct sign of Kynareth’s graces.”
You can carry it back if you wish.
“I will stay here and bask in Eldergleam’s warmth a bit longer. Safe travels Wulf.”
I picked up the sapling and we left the sanctuary. I gently put it in one of my satchels and we headed back to Whiterun. We followed the route we used earlier so there were no encounters on the trip.
On arrival at Whiterun we immediately headed for the Temple once again. When Danica saw us she moved to us and said,
“Thank Kynareth you have been there and back safely. Except Maurice?”
He has stayed to enjoy the Sanctuary a while longer.
“Do you have the sap?”
We decided not to harm the Eldergleam to extract sap. Maurice prayed and via Kynareth’s grace the Eldergleam provided us with a sapling.
“I can’t run the Temple without the support of people who are inspired by the Gildergreen. How can this little tree bring new worshippers?”
Maurice said that renewal is far more important than maintenance.
“He is right of course. It can be hard to hear the wind and rain of Kynareth when they are overshadowed by the moans of the sick and injured.”
It is the natural cycle.
“Death feeds new life. I’m sure that given time this little sapling will grow into a new Gildergreen that will tower over Whiterun.”
I think Kynareth will surprise you with how quickly that twig will turn into a huge tree.
“That would be a wonder to behold!”
Where is Morgan? Had she been any trouble?
“She is deep asleep. I think you should leave her here overnight. The Temple has a way of helping heal deep wounds. Even the hole left by the death of one’s parents.”
Of course. She is a remarkable child but so are the dozens we have at the Keep and Castle.
“She asked many astute questions when watching me use restoration magic. She was also keen to learn the correct way to address Kynareth in prayer.”
I think the Hagraven killed her mother as they wanted Morgan for some dark ritual. I think she was destined to be sacrificed.
“She told me the same and was quite matter of fact about the prospect. Then she started sweeping the floor of the Temple with a broom that I did not see her get from the closet.”
Have you checked the ceiling for scorch marks?
“Beg your pardon?”
“I saw her later talking to a cat. No baby talk that children and animals partake in. A full blown conversation as if the cat was actually talking to her.”
Did the cat wander around the temple? Go near a shrine or altar?
“What a strange question but yes, it did. It brushed itself against one shrine and then wandered over to one of the sick. The patient reached out and stroked the animal and a smile broke out on her face. The first I have seen in the week she has been with us!”
Did Shadow, that is the cat’s name, stay with Morgan?
“It has a name? I thought it was just a stray. Yes, it is curled up with Morgan as she sleeps.”
Speaking of sleep my companions and I had better get something to eat and rest. I will come by to take Morgan to her new home tomorrow.
“Perhaps one day she might return as a trainee priestess. Thank you all again. May Kynareth’s blessings be bountiful.”
With that we left the temple and headed for Breezehome. Lydia was in her element cooking a meal for us and the place felt like a home again.
After the meal I wrote this journal entry and Lydia retired with Meeko at her heels.’
I know not what time I fell asleep.
I know I was full of awe with the beauty of the Eldergleam Sanctuary and the mind of another child rescued from darkness.