The Bannered Mare, Cyrodiil Border Crossing, Bruma Castle: Preparations, Smelly reunion, Paperwork, Ride to border, Lame, Goodbyes, Bureaucracy, Scum eliminated, Finally there, More scum eliminated, Less smelly reunion, Endless discussions, Vow to Cerys.
If today is when I cross the border it will be 3 years and 140 days after Rigmor did.
I believe it will be for two reasons. “The Pull” directed me to The Bannered Mare several days ago. Yesterday a courier delivered a letter from Tendril Sethri asking me to meet him at a particular corner table in that tavern this very morning.
Since Talos’ message I have put everything in motion I had planned over the last few years. Here is a summary without the boring details.
- Serana made permanent headmistress of Dragonfall Castle.
- Lydia made permanent headmistress Dragons Keep.
- My other companions given permanent full time positions to rotate between the two campuses.
- My wills deposited with Falk Firebeard.
- Funding from each hold to run the schools guaranteed by Royal Decree.
- I will cross the border as Arch-Mage in case the rank helps. To be handed to Tolfdir later.
I had decided not to mention the possibility I will not be returning. It was just going to be another foreign Divine Task, like Miraak in Solitude, so no need for anybody to worry.
When I mentioned to High Queen Elisif that I would soon be travelling to Cyrodiil she asked me who was sponsoring my visit. I was confused as you used to just ride up the guards and state your business in Cyrodiil. She told me the border is now strictly policed and you need an official pass, She also said the new laws passed by Emperor Ariel Sethius meant your sponsor is responsible as well as you for any crimes committed.
When I said I had no sponsor she asked where I was visiting. When I mentioned the Countess of Bruma she came up with a solution.
She made a Royal Envoy and gave me a message from High Queen Elisif to Countess Rigmor of Bruma. As an envoy I had a pass sponsored by her. Diplomatic immunity safeguarded me, and therefore her, from most crimes.
One thing I had not counted on was an official promotion to General and a wonderful set of armour to go with it. I will take my normal armour in case there are times being an Imperial General is hazardous to my health.
High Queen Elisif and General Tullius insisted I take the rank across the border with me if I am to be an envoy. I had been acting general during the New Order invasion and have been a Legate for years so it was not a huge step up.
The letter for Rigmor is just waffle. This is all in aid of getting me where I need to go.
I have also legally registered a new family name for myself. I am now General Wulf Gudbrand, envoy for High Queen Elisif of Skyrim. Gudbrand is an ancient Nord word meaning “sword of the divine”.
Lydia and Meeko will be my companions for the ride to Cyrodiil. My envoy pass does not include them. They stayed in Breezehome whilst I went to talk to Sethri.
I reached The Bannered Mare just before 8:00AM and entered.
I headed for the corner table Sethri insisted on and sat down. The Pull was changing direction then weakening which mean Sethri was headed my way.
He sat next to me, The Pull vanished and he said, “Greetings Dragonborn. Got a letter ‘ere for ya. Special delivery.”
Tendril Sethri. Thief, disciple, messenger, mage, landlord and now courier. It has been awhile. Good to see you.
“Heheh, too long Dragonborn, too long. I’d say by a whisker, four years.”
That is a very long whisker. Three years and 140 days since I said goodbye to you at your farm.
“Been countin’ Dragonborn?”
You might say that. What is the message Sethri?
“For your eyes only. Straight from Bruma. I don’t suppose you’ve heard what’s been going on in Cyrodiil these last couple of years?”
Let me guess. A Robber Baron won the seat of Emperor by right of combat. He calls himself Emperor Ariel Sethius and has turned his bandits into the New Imperial Army. He wiped out Leyawiin for daring to question his authority. He kicked the Thalmor out and declared a new concordat. He has also refused re-entry of the Elder Council who went into hiding when Mede vanished. Rigmor declared Bruma an Independent city on the advice of Malesam.
“How’d you know all that?”
I have dinner at least once a month with High Queen Elisif. I am officially a Hero of Solitude as well as its Thane. I also brought a message back from Sovngarde for her from High King Torygg and we are good friends. She recently made me her envoy. I have not been sitting on my arse all this time Sethri.
“Have you heard from young Rigmor?”
No. If she wrote me letters they would have got lost somewhere. Ask Lady Azura, she will tell you why. Is this letter from her?
“Not this one. I do know Rigmor tried to write.”
As I said, they would have got lost somewhere. Lady Azura and I had a good discussion about this a while ago.
“You spoke to Lady Azura? I forgot you are her Champion. Anyway, the letters never got returned. Maybe they are buried at the Border Post. Worth asking while you are there.”
“You have to go there anyway, to acquire the pass from the official. That is why they sent me. You better read this.”
Tendril passed me a letter which read,
You must have heard of the recent events in Cyrodiil. Although some stability has returned, freedom has not. We must speak in private and certain names have been omitted in this correspondence but I am sure you know to whom I am referring. She did try to write to you but got no reply. She gave up on ever seeing you again. I don’t think she ever got over losing you. But she is fine and well and has moved on. You know her, never one to sit still. Always looking for trouble if it doesn’t find her first. And trouble has found her. Of course she just waves it off and talks tough. I do realise you have moved on with your life but I have no choice but to contact you for help.
We fear she is in grave danger Dragonborn.
Please come visit us at our residence so we can talk further. Show the border guards the official pass.
Sigunn of Bruma.”
I will tell you this Sethri so you know how serious this is. I knew I was going to Cyrodiil soon because Talos, and Rigmor in a roundabout way, told me. Whatever crap she has gotten herself into caught the attention of my Gods.
“I have not heard much. With the border locked down it is near impossible to get anything through. You can’t just rush to her rescue Dragonborn. You must get the official border pass to enter Cyrodiil. If anyone tells you otherwise or offers a way over for coin, be wary of them, very wary.”
I have a diplomatic pass from the Queen. I am her envoy to Bruma.
“Of course you do. Why aren’t I surprised? This must be like a blast from the past right?”
Have you seen Rigmor lately? Do you know how she is getting on?
“Hahah, ah, yer well… All will be revealed Dragonborn, all will be revealed.”
“I’m sure it’s nothing you can’t handle. Must be important seein’ as you ain’t had contact with anyone from back then in a few.”
As I said Sethri, important enough to concern The Divine.
“Just keep your weapon in your pocket and try not to whip it out. You’ll be fine.”
You’re joking right?
“Cyrodiil ain’t like ‘ere. They’s all civilised. Got a big thing about it apparently. But something ain’t right. I can feel it in my water like. There was nothing civilized about what I saw crossing the border.”
What did you see Sethri?
“Just make sure you keep a cool head. You’ll see.”
More gobblygook! So… tell me what you have been up to since I last saw you?
“Oh, bit of this, bit of that. Still livin’ at the ol’ farmhouse on the lake. I tried renting one of the rooms to make a bit of coin but they don’t stay long. I dunno why…
(Sethri let out one of his trademark liquid farts.)
Oh, I can think of a few reasons…
“Hehehehe! As it ‘appens, I’m going on a kind of pilgrimage to Winterhold. To the shrine of my mistress, Azura. There’s a pretty young thing there ‘as took a bit of a shine to me. Aranea ‘er name is… so I’ll be taking my leave and seeing how far I can get my feet under the table with miss Lenith and try warming ‘er up a bit. With a bit of luck I’m ‘opin’ to coax her down from the mountain and into me little ol’ farm.”
You will have a long wait to see Aranea at the shrine. She goes on the last two days of each month. The rest of the time she lives at Dragons Keep helping look after 80 orphans at our school. As for being young, Aranea attended that shrine since it was built in 4E10. So she is more than 200 years of age. She helped me recover and repair your mistress’s star. We became quite close after that. She no longer gets visions from Lady Azura as your mistress wanted her to have a normal life after centuries of service. She helps children who suffer from foresight. I am sure she will not sick our guardian dragon onto you for courting.
“Alright then… my part in this is done and I have a date with destiny. So until next time Dragonborn.”
Well good luck with Aranea. I mean that. And it is good to see you again Sethri. Say hello to Lady Azura for me.
“Likewise Dragonborn, likewise. It was good to see you again my friend.”
Sethri got up and left the inn. I sat contemplating what danger Rigmor might be in. After a few minutes I gave up. Might as well go find out first hand.
I collected Meeko and Lydia and we set out for the border at about 10:30AM.
We arrived at the border at around quarter past one. We stopped short as Dogmeat had developed a limp. I checked him and it was nothing major, just a sprain. I gave him a pat and told him Lydia would walk him to the nearest stable to get looked at. I have no idea if he understood me!
I knelt down and gave Meeko a huge hug and extended scratch behind each ear. He in turn slobbered my face till it was sore.
I stood up and Lydia said, “You are afraid you might not come back.”
I think Rigmor and I are going to be in terrible danger. More than anything we have faced before. I did not want people worrying or wanting to do extended goodbyes.
“I understand my Thane. I have seen with my own eyes what you and Rigmor are capable of together. Just kick the bad guy in the goolies and come home to the children. I might be their headmistress but you are their inspiration.”
They love you too Lydia.
“As for Rigmor. You know I spent some good quality girlie time with her. I know how much she loved you. That sort of love can last for eternity. Three and a bit years is nothing. Trust me on this.”
I better go. If I can’t get a horse it is a very long walk to Bruma.
They watched me for a while then turned for home. Lydia lead Dogmeat at not much more than walking pace.
As I got close to the check point I was spotted by four “Border Guards”. Their leader said, “Hey, here’s another one. What a beauty.”
When I got closer he approached, “Looking to cross the border friend. The price is 100 gold.”
Look at my insignia. I do believe a General outranks a gutter rat by quite a bit. Stand aside.
He wisely moved away and I climbed the steps of the “Provincial Border Post”.
I entered to witness an argument between husband and wife. Always good entertainment!
- Stultus: Sarmenti my dear, I’m trying my best. Hopefully I can get a new appointment somewhere else in the Empire.
- Sarmenti: Well your best is not good enough. We have been stuck out her for nearly two years! How much longer do I have to put up with those beasts outside?
- Stultus: Everything is going to be just fine.
- Sarmenti: The way they look at me! It is only a matter of time… what are you going to do about it. I am in fear of my life…
Stultus finally noticed me and walked to a desk and sat. He asked, “Are you in need of assistance?”
(I sat opposite him.)
I already have this diplomatic pass but I believe another was left for me on behalf of the Countess of Bruma.
“Yes, Captain Grimbold of the Bruma garrison informed us you would probably be coming. Nobody gets into Cyrodiil without an official pass. Can I ask why you need two.”
A simple mistake. The Countess did not realise I have a diplomatic one. I would hate to leave hers here. It wouldn’t be gentlemanly.
(Stultus handed me the pass. It was standard legal jargon and outlined that if I used that pass, any crimes committed could result in Rigmor and her family being execution.)
“The Emperor is very serious about immigration control and is quite ruthless in his implementation of zero tolerance. To not be in possession of an official document can be, how shall we say… fatal.”
The Border Guards your wife was worried about. They offered to open the gate for coin.
“Those… guards are nothing more than criminal scum and people traffickers. They would wave you through for coin knowing how it would end… like it had for so many others… those poor souls.”
Want me to take care of them?
“Let’s just say I have seen them letting whole families through the gates. Men, women and even children. All hoping for a new life only to end up bloody frozen rags in the snow. It is quite sad. They are actually meant to be here to turn away economic migrants and protect me as a diplomatic service.”
Who kills the unarmed migrants?
“The New Imperial border guards are, shall we say, more robust in their duties. Hence the pass.”
So ex-bandits, most of who were born outside of Cyrodiil, kill unarmed civilians in the name of the Emperor. Stendarr’s Commandment says, ‘Be kind and generous to the people of Tamriel. Protect the weak, heal the sick, and give to the needy.’ The Nine Command, ‘Above all else, be good to one another.” They will soon face the wrath of The Divine.
(The beast was stirring. I might let him loose later.)
“Cyrodiil is a civilized province. Acts of aggression against any citizen are met with extreme prejudice. In some cases entire families can be held responsible for the actions of one. As you now officially represent the…”
Stop. I represent the High Queen of Skyrim. Even if I did represent the house of Bruma I am acting as a General of the Imperial Army. Last time I looked the Emperor can’t order Imperial troops to slaughter unarmed civilians. You put down in your ledger I used the Queen’s pass, not House Bruma’s. There is nothing civilized about the slaughter of unarmed innocents. It is against the teachings of The Nine.
“Of course you can defend yourself and people do carry weapons in case of the odd renegade or wild animal. You will find those… inconveniences virtually eradicated apart from the border regions, so please act accordingly to the law.”
Renegade problems on the border. Somebody should do something about that.
(Stultus nodded his head slightly. Even minor border officials play the games of Cyrodiil.)
“Do you require any further assistance before you leave?”
Do you have letters from the Countess of Bruma that were not delivered to me?
One moment please and I will have a look.
(Stultus returned with two letters.)
Here is one dated mid 202 and another dated late 203.
The mid 202 letter read,
It is so weird being back in Bruma again. I was trying to figure out how long it had been since… well, since me and mom were taken from our home. Must be about five years but it seems like a lifetime. Things are totally so different now but Bruma is just how I remembered it.
Life within the keep is taking a bit of getting used to. The Great Hall is really intimidating and freaks me out but I am trying so hard to meet the demands expected of me as a countess. Yeah right! Did you know Malesam is here? He is such a total ass. ‘It is my duty to protect the descendants of blah blah blah” and is always totally in my face. At least Cerys has my back. We have become quite close lately and I don’t know what I would do without her. She is so cool!
There is an old guy here called Freathof, a scholar. He used to tutor the late countess’ daughter and now tutors me. Don’t laugh but he is teaching me etiquette and how to be more lady like. Haha, whatever, like ‘Countess Rigmor of Bruma.’
I still think of you and miss you so much. I know I was way too clingy. I hope that isn’t why you haven’t come to see me already. I didn’t mean those things I said and I hope you don’t hold that against me and come visit me soon. I would really like that.
Have to go now as they are calling me to the hall to sort out some dog and chicken thing. A local dispute as is part of my duties.
Don’t leave it too long Dragonborn, it has been too long already. Love always, Rigmor.”
(My heart sank. She acted if I had never explained why I would be stuck in Skyrim. She thought I could just hop over for a chat and a cup of tea whenever I wanted. She felt like I had abandoned her. She was hurt and started blaming herself for the words at the border. Words I had deliberately provoked. I had kicked the puppy and now was reaping the reward. I opened the other letter with absolute dread. )
Thanks for blanking my last letter, if you can’t be bothered to come down to see me then at least write back. How hard is that?
You are not going to believe this but the crap has totally hit the fan over here in Cyrodiil. Some badass bandit king has taken the Citadel. I have been advised by Freathof and Malesam to declare Bruma a free city. They totally burned and trashed Leyawiiin and the nobles are all bummed out calling for a peace treaty as I write.
If you come over the border be careful. The whole of Cyrodiil is pretty much in a state of anarchy. Everyone’s running around like headless chickens. It is actually quite invigorating and I’m loving it. Malesam had to sit down due to heart palpitations. He was like ”oh oh oh”. I totally cried laughing! Oh poor Cerys.
I would feel a lot safer if you were around.
How is the dragon thing going? We don’t get much news out here but rumour is you saved the world again right?
Dragonborn, when are you going to come and save me? You said you was going to come get me. Are you letting me go? I’ll understand if that’s what you want but you need to let me know. I am in a kind of limbo here with nowhere to turn. If I don’t hear from you after you get this letter I’ll know where we stand.
I want you to know I will never forget you and will always love you.
(Oh Rigmor, I never once said I would come and get you. I promised to never let you go and I haven’t. I can’t. I never will.)
These letters are years old! She thinks I ignored them. Why were they not returned?
“There’s been a lot of change over these last few years. We received a lot of undelivered correspondence dating back years when we set up this border post. You must remember the last letter was sent during a most unsettling time. The good news is Cyrodiil is experiencing growth and stability under the new administration. More so after the expulsion of the Thalmor and the possible restoration of The Nine throughout the Empire. I am sure your stay will be most pleasant and enlightening.”
Restoration of The Nine is hollow if you do not even obey their Ten Commandments. What is the next step?
“Are you ready to continue?”
In a minute or so. I have some Border Guards to kill.
“Ahem, I think I have forgotten something out back. Would you excuse me for one moment?”
I exited the building and was greeted by the leader mouthing off, “Well well well, look who’s back. No pass uh? Well for you the price had just doubled to 200 gold. Hahahahahah!”
(I got up real close to the clown.)
I just came out here to kill you. I hate leaving trash behind when I leave a place.
“Hahahahaha. You’ve got some balls talking to us like that friend. My advice is to turn around and walk away while you still can. After all, a man’s gotta make a livin.”
I see no men. Just cowards who prey on innocent unarmed civilians. Sending women and children to their deaths. Must make you feel real tough.
“Well he ain’t moving fellas. Some folks don’t wanna listen to good advice.”
(As expected they did the usual bandit surround and intimidate the victim routine. I have not met a dumber bunch since that lot in Riverwood when I first met Baa’Ren-Dar. Now the scary name calling!)
“Maybe he’s got shit in his ears.”
“Or maybe he is just stupid.”
(I let the beast loose. It used the Thu’um to announce their doom.)
OR MAYBE I AM THE DRAGONBORN AND YOU ARE THE DUMBEST FUCKS IN TAMRIEL!
Recognition then fear crossed their faces. It laughed and started the slaughter with Unrelenting Force.
It took seconds to cut them down. Their leader cried out, “No! Please…” before his head was removed.
His body slumped to join the other dead slime.
His head was still rolling down the hill when it cleaned “The Sword” on his uniform and went inside to finish the paperwork. I recovered control as I walked through the door.
I approached Stultus and announced so his wife could here, “They are dead. Sarmenti was right to fear them. Animals who can send women and children to their slaughter for a few coins would have no hesitation raping her and killing you!”
“Well the, um, thank you for removing that danger.”
Who says whatever lowlife replacements they send would not be worse. This is not an assignment for your best troops.
“What do we do?”
My horse became lame just before I arrived. Do you have one I can buy?
“Yes, but the border guards…”
How much for the horse?
(Sarmenti was quicker at the game than Stultus. She gave me a price that would have brought the best Solitude White. I took out my gem bag and spilled out some that were worth twice the price Sarmenti quoted. I thrust them into Stultus’ hand.)
Deal. What is its name and where is it?
“J… just outside the door and his name is Boy. About the guards…”
If I was smart I would burn this place, especially the ledgers. I would probably check the lost mail etcetera for any goods that might be stolen by bandits and take them for safe keeping. Of course with the ledgers burnt nobody would know what was stolen by the baddies. The authorities would think the poor couple who worked here had been killed by the nasty people who slaughtered the Border Guards and stole stuff. I would then head as fast as I could for Dragons Keep near Whiterun. I would speak to Lydia the Headmistress and ask if she knows of any jobs available. I would not forget to mention that Wulf sent me. I would do that as soon as possible especially since somebody is about to do something about the renegades on the border.
“Thank you. Keep your passes safe and with you at all times if you wish to avoid violence and cross between provinces.”
I left the building and inspected Boy. He was young and sturdy. Good stock. I called him by his name and gave him a scratch here and there. He looked at me with intelligence and gave an appreciative whinny. I hope Dogmeat is okay. Boy looks like being my mount for some time.
I felt a bit of symmetry. On the day I met Rigmor for the first time I killed a bunch of idiots trying to muscle coin out of me. I then ended up with Dogmeat as my trusty horse and companion as I travelled all over Skyrim. Today as I go to meet Rigmor once more I killed some idiots trying to muscle coin out of me. I also got a new horse.
I put my saddlebags on Boy and mounted. It was about 4:30PM when I headed for the border.
I passed the camp and I half expected to see an ancient Colovian General waving to me.
There it is. The gate that has given me more nightmares than all the evil monstrosities I have faced combined.
My first impression of New Imperials was not good. Their equipment was new but shoddily maintained. The single rank and file soldier was staring at the landscape rather than keeping an eye on a potential enemy. These were dressed up bandits and an insult to the uniform.
The ‘officer’ approached and said, “Halt. The borders are closed. What business do you have here?”
Shouldn’t you be standing to attention and saluting a General and holding that position till I ask you to speak?
(That flustered the idiot. He finally stood to attention and held a rather sloppy salute.)
At ease soldier. What did you ask?
“Umm… The borders are closed. What business do you have here?”
My business and that of every other individual that passes through is none of your damn business.
“D… Do you have a pass?”
D… Do you have a pass what?
(I could see his head crease with thought till his buddy whispered, ‘Sir…ya gotta say sir!’)
“Oh. Um… Do you have a pass, Sir?”
Yes. Here it is.
(I gave him the diplomatic pass. His eyes lit up when he saw who issued it.)
“OK. All seems in order. Open the gate.”
(As the gate started to swing open he handed back my pass.)
“I am required to remind you of our laws about violence Sir.”
Yes I know. No chopping anybody to pieces unless they attack me first. You Cyrodiil people are so barbaric!
When the gates were fully open I rode across the border into Cyrodiil.
The place I have been yearning to get to for three years and one hundred and forty days.
A soon as I entered Cyrodiil I noticed a large area covered in blood. A killing ground.
As I dismounted and knelt down to inspect the stain a mounted New Imperial Captain addressed me, “Move along quickly. There is nothing her that concerns you.”
(I walked up to him and stared him in the face.)
You pretend soldiers have no idea of protocol. I could bust you down to private for insubordination. Now shut the hell up whilst I inspect you and your troops handy work.
(I walked over to a pile of bodies. Men, women and several children. By the disarray and tearing of the clothes I could tell some women and one little girl had been raped. Some New Empire troops were carefully searching the corpses for any valuable trinkets they may have missed. The beast wanted out and once again I let it. This time it did not feel like talking. It walked so it was uphill a bit and could see any troops approaching. That also mean they would be fighting uphill. Then it got the ball rolling with Unrelenting Force.)
That killed the officer, his horse and several troops behind him. The others came rushing to their doom. It cut them down with a fury not seen in a long time.
When I finally regained control there was not a soul alive. I inspected the body of the officer from the other side of the gate and removed his ledger. I burnt it to a crisp with magicka. There was no evidence it was me. No ledgers to say who had crossed into Cyrodiil. Besides, it must have been the same large group of bandits that killed everybody at the Provincial Border Post before torching it. There was a growing plume of smoke coming from that direction. Good on you Sarmenti and Stultus!
I mounted Boy and continued my ride with a sense of satisfaction for a job well done.
Bruma soon came into view. Since awakening I often get a feeling I have visited a place sometime before that. I did not get that sense with Bruma.
When I got to the main gate I dismounted and approached one of the guards. I was not sure if I could ride within the city. He said, “Can I help you friend?”
I have a pass
“Haha, no need for that here friend.”
I am here to see the Countess.
“Go through the gate, turn right and follow the road to the blacksmith. There is a stable there if you need one. Go up the stone steps and the keep will be in front of you. You can’t miss it. Welcome to Bruma.”
I mounted Boy and followed the instructions given. I was soon at the main entrance of the Castle. The Bruma garrison troops were a direct contrast to the New Imperials. Their equipment was well made and well serviced. Guard duty was taken seriously with them scanning the crowds and individuals for trouble. I did not expect them to salute or use Imperial protocols. They were not Imperial soldiers and unlike the guards in Skyrim, did not concern themselves with Imperial ranks.
I approached the entrance and the guard on the left issued a challenge, “Halt. What is your business here?”
I am here to speak with the Countess.
“You’ll be lucky. She is never here. You are better off checking out the Tap&Tack.”
(The guard on the right recognised me.)
(I approached him.)
It has been some time since I was called that soldier.
“I was with you at the Battle of Whiterun, Casius’ Legion. I was wounded in battle Sir.”
Those were dark times. You have my greatest respect.
“Aye General, it was an honour and a privilege to serve under you. As my friend say, milady Rigmor is not within.”
I assume with Rigmor absent Lady Sigunn is acting Countess. Is she in attendance?
“Aye, she is in parley with some V.I.P from the Capital. Pass General.”
I entered was must be The Great Hall as mentioned in Rigmor’s letter. Up ahead through an archway was the Throne Room. Guarding the entrance to that room were two sword maidens.
Even from this distance the bearing and dignity of Sigunn was obvious. To her right was Malesam. To her left was an elderly gentleman who I assumed was Freathof.
Sigunn was in parley with a short gentlemen impeccably dressed and bookended by two large cowled guardians.
Sigunn was school teacher once. I have witnessed it at my schools. Good teachers have the ability to control unruly students with a single stare or glower. They can use a tone of voice almost Thu’um like in its power to make the bravest child cower. She was using all those skills in her current conversation of which I caught the tail end of.
- Blackwell: The Emperor would like to know… no… he demands to know why the Countess has not made the time to attend? As you can see by my own presence here today, it is absolutely imperative that she does.
- Sigunn: I am very sorry Lord Chancellor. I will make sure the Countess learns of the urgency to attend.
- Blackwell: One might think the Countess is avoiding her duties to the Empire. One might think lady Sigunn has become the Countess in waiting… while her daughter…
(Lucky Sigunn stopped this Blackwell fellow from uttering some slander against Rigmor. I would have hated to spill his blood on that exquisite outfit he was wearing.)
- Sigunn: Enough! Lord Chancellor, mind your tone… and manners. Please inform the Emperor the Countess will be forthcoming. I shall personally make sure she attends as soon as possible.
- Blackwell: Please do, I would hate to have to find and escort her to the Palace myself. I think you understand the gravity of this needless situation only too well. You have one week from today to comply. Good day Lady Sigunn.
As Blackwell was leaving the Throne Room I was entering. We met eye to eye and in a split second he had seen me, evaluated me and dismissed me from his mind. I had never felt so inconsequential since awakening.
As the next audience with Sigunn was starting Cerys approached me. I said, “Cerys. I am so pleased to see you again.”
“Do not be surprised. Malesam and I have an obligation to protect and serve the descendants of Morgan of Winterhold. That is why we are here.”
As Arch Mage I am well aware of why you are here. I could say I have come to check on how it is going but in fact I have come at Sigunn’s request.
(Cerys’ eyes widened at that news. Surely that fact would have been fed to Malesam by his mistress, Boethia. Perhaps he just didn’t think his adopted daughter Cerys should know who her employer was.)
“I apologise Arch Mage. Lady Sigunn is in parley. Please follow me and we can wait in the Cabinet Room.”
(I followed Cerys into the Cabinet Room and wondered what happened to the other half of her mage uniform.)
No need to apologise or to call me Arch Mage. I am a stickler for some protocol, such as standing here and waiting till Lady Sigunn gives us permission to sit. Other protocol such as addressing me with one of my various titles is silly. I would like it if you just call me Dragonborn like everybody else. It is a title given by Lord Akatosh and one I cherish.
“Thank you. Dragonborn it is then.”
Soon Sigunn came gliding up the corridor. It is hard to believe this impressive lady spent many years as a slave to the Thalmor. She is now in her element I think. She greeted me with enthusiasm, “Dragonborn! So glad to see you again. How many years has it been?”
Almost three and a half Lady Sigunn. Sethri gave me your letter and I got here as soon as I could.
“She did write you. But we never got a reply or returned letter.”
(I have to dodge around what my and Rigmor’s relationship actually was. Even in these enlightened times there are primitive and outdated values put on female chastity by some societies.)
I never received them Sigunn. I have just retrieved them from the dead mail pile at the border post. The chaos of all that has happened within Cyrodiil is to blame. I am so sorry she needed a word or two from me and I could not give them to her. How is she?
“She’s fine, you know Rigmor, when we first arrived it took some time to get used to our new lives. She didn’t take too well to living here in the keep. Our old house is now her apartment. I have been left to attend to the more mundane courtly duties… with the help of Court Adviser Malesam and Master Freathof.”
(Malesam started to greet me so I turned to him.)
“Ah! Guardian, alive and well. I am so pleased to make your acquaintance one again.”
Malesam, have the payments from the College been arriving and are they sufficient?
“Along with the stipend I get for being Court Adviser they are more than sufficient. But don’t go reducing them because I said that. Cerys has been developing an expensive taste in shoes.”
I take it you have settled in well.
“I seem to have a preference for cold wintry places. We feel right at home her don’t we Cerys.”
Let me apologise for my previous treatment of you Malesam. I am not comfortable with your choice of Goddess but over the years I have learned there are many reasons an individual choose their God or Gods. I have been lecturing many others on how you must judge on deeds, not species or religious beliefs. I was hypocritical in not following my own advice.
“Yes, I understand that you were driven by concern for Rigmor. Water under the bridge. Please let me introduce you to Master Freathof, scholar and Court Mage to the Countess.”
(I turned to greet the elderly scholar.)
“I have heard so much about you Guardian. It is good to finally meet you at last.”
And I am certainly glad to meet you Freathof. I consider myself a bit of a scholar. I look forward to long arguments over nothing much.
(Before the smiling Freathof could reply Sigunn spoke to all.)
“Come, let us sit. Help yourself to refreshments.”
(I sat with Sigunn to the left, Malesam in front with Cerys behind and Freathof to the right.)
Sigunn started the proceedings, “Is everybody comfortable? Good. I suppose you have questions Dragonborn?”
Lady Sigunn, can you please tell me what this is all about? And who is Blackwell?
“Pfft! Martin Blackwell is Lord Chancellor to the Emperor.”
Malesam added, “A very dangerous man Guardian. He heads a very secretive and powerful spy network. He is former Lord Chancellor to Titus Mede II and now does the bidding of the new… dynasty.”
So he supports this usurper?
“His loyalties lie in the sworn oath to protect and serve the Imperial Throne, no matter what behind rests upon it. He became bitter after failing to find Titus Mede II. He left a rather long and bloody trail behind him. He blames the Dark Brotherhood and utterly crushed the underground ring here in Cyrodiil.”
He is right about the Dark Brotherhood and I know the assassin. They made many attempts on my life. I swore to destroy them in Skyrim after they poisoned me when I was on my way to lead the defence of Whiterun. I eventually wiped them out except for one. His name is Cicero and he was happy I had killed his colleagues. They were accepting any contract regardless and that offended their God, Sithis. The contract to kill Mede existed before I slaughtered them. Cicero fulfilled the contract and left me a message so I would know it was him.
“I doubt anybody knew of that poisoning. You hid it well Guardian. I doubt that information about Cicero would have stopped Blackwell’s orgy of torture and execution. He is cruel and devious and we have good cause to fear him.”
I am guessing I am here because of Rigmor’s bloodline and you fear somebody like Blackwell finding out. I came to the conclusion a long time ago that it could be dangerous. Why is this of such concern right now? Mede was her security while alive but he has been gone for many months and this Sethius fellow has been ‘Emperor’ for quite a while. Why have I been summoned here at this moment?
Sigunn told me, “Before he can be crowned, The Emperor needs Rigmor to sign the Noble Decree.”
Malesam continued, “Yes, our “Bandit King” is to bestow upon himself the title of Titus Mede… the third. Rigmor is yet to sign in but to do so she would have to enter the nest of vipers. I cannot be sure… whether they know of Rigmor’s true ancestry. If they do she would be considered a pretender to the Imperial Throne.”
Freathof said, “Sethius is a common bandit. Although very powerful he is no noble. As far as we know Titus Mede II left no living heir. As the noble houses of Cyrodiil bickered and argued Sethius took the throne by right of combat. Titus Mede I did the same when he took the throne from Thules 200 years ago. Rigmor’s ancestral link to Titus Mede I puts her in grave danger if Sethius was to find out.”
Sigunn added, “If all she had to do was sign this document, so be it. But we cannot let her go alone. However much I hate what has happened to Cyrodiil, this… this Bandit King becoming Emperor by right of combat we cannot change that and don’t want to. When the war happened, Sethius sent envoys, we told him Bruma was a free city, we wanted no trouble. I didn’t want a repeat of what happened to… Leyawiin.”
Malesam then said, “Leyawiin was virtually raised to the ground. Half the populace put to the sword in a shining example of the ruthlessness of our new liege. All the nobles, including ourselves, took the chance of amnesty. We laid down our arms and signed the “White-Gold Settlement” of the year 4E 203. We were left as a free city only until recently. Sethius now wants us to sign the “Noble Decree’ as well. Apparently he needs it to legally become part of the Mede dynasty. Bruma is after all part of Cyrodiil and the Empire.”
I have a feeling that will not be enough. Are you sure the signature of a Count or Countess of a free city is legally acceptable?
“I had not thought of that Guardian. It is an interesting legal technicality. I will try and research the answer and let you know.”
Tell me more about Sethius. I am unsure how it can be a ‘right by combat’ if there was no sitting Emperor. Titus Mede I and Thules is not the same.
Freathof said, “He was always causing problems in Cyrodiil. After the disappearance of Titus Mede II his bandit army grew so big, not even the legions could contain it.”
Malesam added, “His army would attack and plunder at will. The Imperial Court, in absence of the Emperor, sent for General Quintus Vitalis of the Northern Army. By the time Quintus arrived it was all but over. Sethius had marched into the Imperial City with 5000 men. Quintus couldn’t cross the bridge.”
Freathof finished the tale, “The Imperial Court surrendered the City. Quintus was sent with the Northern Legion to the Hammerfell Border to protect Anvil. Effectively stopping Redguard Nomad Bandits from the Brena River area. You see guardian, now there is peace in Cyrodiil. What was destroyed is being rebuilt. There are no raids and attacks on the counties any more. The bandit army became over night the New Imperial Army. Our only concern is Rigmor’s welfare.”
Sigunn looked at me worriedly and said, “Your reputation goes before you Dragonborn. Everyone knows of the defeat of the New Order and Alduin. But by her nobility, Rigmor is now caught up in this ridiculous power play. We just want her to sign the document and return home. But as Jonte says, if they know, she might not return at all. We cannot risk the chance that they do.”
I understand now why you called for my help. I will do everything in my power to escort Rigmor safely to the Palace and back home again. Where is she?
“If only I knew… I’ll let Jonte fill you in on the current situation with my daughter. I must apologise Dragonborn. I am very tired and must retire.”
Please Lady Sigunn. I have some very important things that need to be said. You must here me out before I go looking for Rigmor.
I don’t think any of you understand what being Dragonborn really means. I am going to tell you things not to boast but so you comprehend what danger we are in. Freathof, do you know why Dragonborn are placed on Nirn?
“To be a mortal representative on Nirm for the Divines. To do their bidding. It is all hypothetical mind you.”
It is not hypothetical. The one title amongst the many given me that describes what and who I am is this, I am Wulf, Dragonborn and Champion of The Divine. Akatosh blessed me with the blood and soul of a Dragon so I can use the powers of the Thu’um and other Divine gifts. The Divine set me tasks that I have no choice but to perform. To refuse to do so would, in many cases, doom the mortal on Nirn to death or slavery. If I had crossed into Cyrodiil earlier than today we would all have been doomed. Do you understand that? No matter how much I wished to come and be with Rigmor and help during these years I could not.
Sigunn said, “Oh Dragonborn. If only Rigmor knew she might have been more accepting of your absence.”
I told her Lady Sigunn. I think with all the changes she has endured and the chaos that has been Cyrodiil lately she simply put that fact to the side. She needed her Guardian and he would not come. I would not blame her if she hated me no matter the extenuating circumstances.
Freathof asked, “We know of Alduin and the New Order. How come we have not heard of any other of your exploits?”
You are a Mage and a scholar. You know that many things in history are hidden or modified. There are huge chunks of our past deliberately kept from us for political or religious reasons. There is a third reason. The average citizen would find it hard to function if they knew how often their lives or freedom is endangered. Lady Sigunn said I am known for Alduin and stopping the New Order. How many people know the New Oder planned to bring Malacath back as a vengeful God? Know that the only mortals that would have survived would have been them. When we defeated them at Whiterun we did not save just Skyrim or Tamriel. We saved Nirn!
Malesam asked, “Members of the Mage College know you saved Nirn when you dealt with the Eye of Magus. That is how you became Arch Mage. Was that a Divine Task?”
Yes, that was a Divine Task. I have defeated another Dragonborn who was going to conquer Nirn by controlling people’s minds and using a slave Dragon army. I prevented the Sun from being permanently darkened to weaken Akatosh’s influence among other reasons. I prevented Queen Potema from being resurrected and using undead armies to conquer Tamriel. They were among the many Divine Tasks I have undertaken. Some are simple like helping people with their love life after they prayed to Lady Mara. Others were to thwart plans of Daedric Lords that affected smaller populations.
Freathof exclaimed, “All of this needs to be told! To be preserved!”
Yes Freathof and I have put plans into place to endure they are. I will discuss them with you another time. I was sent to meet Baa’Ren-Dar as the start of a Divine Task. Before Sigunn sent me her summons I knew there was another Divine Task that would involve Rigmor and Cyrodiil. I have known that since the day I sent Rigmor crying and fleeing across the border. It is why I had to be so cruel to her. One day the world will know the whole story and they will weep for her. I know because Talos told me. I also know it is the most dangerous thing they have asked me to do. The Divine sent me to meet Sethri as the start of the task. As with them all, I will not know what their major concern is till I stumble upon it. Like I was unaware of the Malacath plan until it was almost too late to stop.
Sigunn asked, “And how do you think this involves Rigmor?”
I was told Rigmor and I working together is crucial to ending the task as The Divine wish it to end. We simply have to figure it out as we go. Since Talos told me how dangerous it is I can only assume it involves more than armies and arguments over a crown.
Malesam exclaimed, ”My mistress has not warned me of such danger!”
Boethia is blind compared to Lord Akatosh, the master of time. He sees all possibilities from the beginning to the end of time. All Daedric Lords but one can only react when they sense a “ripple in the void.” Azura is different. She has mortal seers that help her see a bit further into the future than the other sixteen. I have grown quite fond of Azura which I would have said is blasphemy once.
Sigunn asked, “What else do you need to tell us Dragonborn?”
I trust everybody here, even our resident Daedric worshipper. So I am going to tell you something that few people know. As Dragonborn I was set some tasks by the Greybeards. Upon completing those tasks they bestowed upon me the same titles they gave Tiber Septim. According to those ancient and revered Masters of the Tongue, I also have a rightful claim to the Ruby Throne.
Freathof exclaimed, “So when you escort Rigmor into that vipers nest there will be two pretenders to the throne standing side by side!”
Yes but unless somebody knows Dragonborn history better than I there is zero chance of knowing my right to claim. There is always the danger of a Daedric Lord whispering in somebodies ear. Hermaeus Mora is the one I am certain knows this fact and we do not get along after he murdered a good man for no reason. If I survive this I have promised him I will destroy his shrine which is in the mountains near here. One last thing if you don’t mind Lady Sigunn and you can retire.
“Yes, of course Dragonborn.”
I did not cross the border using the House of Bruma pass. I crossed it using a diplomatic pass issued by High Queen Elisif of Skyrim. I am officially Wulf Gudbrand, Royal Envoy of High Queen Elisif the Fair on a diplomatic mission to the Countess of Bruma. I had arranged this pass well before I knew of yours Lady Sigunn. It is lucky I had it otherwise I would have endangered you all by my actions this morning.
“I think you had better explain yourself Dragonborn!”
Sethri had seen what I saw and it visibly upset him He warned me before I crossed the border but it is impossible for me to allow such injustice to continue. Freathof just painted an idealistic picture of a happy and prosperous Cyrodiil. I am afraid to say it is rotted to the core with pure evil leaking from its pores. Your Emperor has ordered New Empire troops to slaughter every single person who crosses the border without a proper pass. On the Skyrim side there were border guards who would open the gates to anybody who could not get an official pass but could pay good coin. On the Cyrodiil side you had New Imperial troops who happily slaughtered and raped these defenceless civilians and pocketed any valuables they had. I saw piles of bodies. They not only raped the women but the children as well. I slaughtered every border guard and New Imperial. I destroyed the ledger on this side of the border. The husband and wife who worked at the outpost destroyed it and its ledgers then fled to my Keep. I would have done this even if I only had your pass Sigunn. As Dragonborn I sometimes have the rage of a dragon. The injustice I saw woke that rage. There is nothing I can do to stop it till it gets what it wants. In this case revenge for those poor people. I would never consciously endanger Rigmor. You must believe me Sigunn.
“I know you wouldn’t Dragonborn. What do you think Rigmor would have done if she saw the same? You did what my own Daughter would have done and Ragnar for that matter. Act first and work out the consequences later. With that eerily accurate description of Rigmor I will now retire. Rest well tonight Dragonborn knowing I have full confidence in you.”
We waited for Sigunn to exit the room before continuing. It also gave me a chance to wipe the tears from my eyes.
I had to prompt Malesam who was deep in his own thoughts, “Hello Malesam. Where about of the only Countess in Tamriel who can chop you in half with a single swing of her sword?
“Ahh yes, the errant Countess. Rigmor is a law unto herself. I had hoped she might someday take responsibility for her new found position but it is not going to be anytime soon is it, really, I’m afraid.”
Rigmor lost almost four years of her youth. She never had the chance to do the teenage years. What was Cerys like between the ages of fourteen and eighteen? Don’t answer that. I can see by Cerys’ red cheeks and her furtive looking for somewhere to hide that she was a normal teen transitioning from child to adult. Before Rigmor has had the chance to perhaps enjoy some vestiges of those formative years she is thrust into this world of murky politics, homicidal Emperors and soul crushing responsibilities. Perhaps some understanding by those around her would be more effective than scolding her like a naughty child!
“Well put Guardian. Whatever she does away from here she does seem happy when she graces us with her presence. Of late she has been spending her time between the Tap&Tack Alehouse and the Roxy Inn. The latter is a mile South this side of Lake Rumare.”
If she has moved on as she says in the letters I never received then I hope she has found what she was looking for.
“If she does frequent Bruma she abodes at her apartment behind the cathedral fifth house along from the inn in the lower quarter. Or the Tap&Tack. You might try there first. Ask about, she keeps unruly company and of late has been in the company of Count Leyawiin’s son, Robere de Medalius.”
Who is Robere de Medalius?
“After the sacking of Leyawiin and the murder of the Count and his family, Sethius placed one of his trusted henchmen in the count of Leyawiin’s place. Robere is his son. Sigunn and I tried to advise Rigmor he was not of noble character. We had hoped to match her with the Count of Chorrol’s son.”
You sit there and tell me you objected to somebody who pleases Rigmor because he is not a real noble. That is so not Rigmor. She would not give a flying fuck if somebody was noble or not!
“Guardian, as long as she’s happy, or as happy as can be considering her traumatic past, we are happy too.”
Is he looking after her?
“However you feel, or felt for Rigmor and I know you became close, you were after all her Guardian, time moves on.”
Cerys has been watching this discussion with interest and looked alarmed at that last comment. She knew. If Rigmor had confessed to Lydia about our status as lovers I have no doubt Cerys has also been told. She was worried I was going to explode or give away Rigmor’s unnecessary secret. I restrained myself to a simple admonition, “Malesam. If you dare tell me to move on once more in relation to Rigmor I will shove my fist down your throat. Understand?”
“I meant no harm Guardian. It was a poor choice of words. Whilst my throat is still fist free there is another matter. Ariel Sethius is a weak Emperor. He is not the true power behind the throne.”
“If it were a simple case of escorting Rigmor to the Imperial Court to simply sign the document I would have sent an escort from the Bruma garrison which would have sufficed. As you know, as a disciple of my beloved mistress, I have certain privileges and insight. There is indeed a real concern Rigmor would be in danger at the court.”
Boethia felt a ripple but she is only guessing what it is. Please do not credit powers to your “beloved mistress” that she does not have. Ripples in the void are caused by nodes in the timelines. Points where a single decision can cause one lot of timelines to become no longer possible or far more remote. Boethia knows some important decision is about to be made. She can’t see beyond the node to know what that decision might involve. Azura often has an idea because of her seers. Lord Akatosh knows and has a desired but not guaranteed outcome. We are manipulated so our free will makes decisions favourable to his preferred outcome. That is the fundamental truth of our existence.
“That may be so Guardian. I am in no position of knowledge to argue destiny with one who lives it. We believe Rigmor is in danger because there is evidence Sethius’ wife is a Daughter of Coldharbour.”
If so she has my sympathy. She was raped by Molag Bal. Not all volunteer for the “privilege”. Not all survive the experience. Those who do become Daughters of Coldharbour.
Freathof had been quiet for a long time. I had almost forgotten him when he spoke up, “Rumours are she is 300 years old, yet her skin maintains a likeness akin to that of porcelain.”
Malesam continued, “We believe she is behind Sethius’ rise through the bandit ranks and ultimately responsible for the usurpation of the Imperial Throne.”
Good skin care is not hard evidence for vampirism. Either are unsubstantiated rumours.
“My mistress thinks she is. As far as we know she is never seen in daylight at all.”
You mistress would know nothing about Mrs Sethius unless she was a Boethia devotee like yourself. If she was then she could not be a vampire. Molag Bal would be her Daedric Lord as he is for every single vampire that exists. If your mistress had such powers of observation then she could spy on her and tell us if she sucked. As for not being seen in daylight. I have travelled with a Daughter of Coldharbour for many days and she moved around freely during daylight hours. Not convincing evidence so far. However, I might have found proof. Have children been disappearing here in Cyrodiil?
Freathof answered, “There used to be many years ago. But it stopped all of a sudden after the… catastrophe…”
Malesam encouraged the suddenly sad and frail looking scholar to continue, “Continue Freathof, it is alright, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Freathof was the tutor to the former Countess of Bruma Guardian. He can explain the terrible manner in how the position became available.”
Freathof summoned his courage and continued with a subdued voice, “For many years I had served the former Count and Countess of Bruma and schooled their only child, a daughter. I taught her the ways of nobility etiquette and mathematics. The Countess had lost her husband in a riding accident. Then… I can’t bring myself to say her name… one night, Sofia just disappeared. Oh how we searched. I never gave up… but as the weeks turned into months the poor Countess became withdrawn. She lost the will to live… and died of a broken heart.”
I put my hand on his shoulder, “I am so sorry. It is obvious you loved them all and to lose them in such circumstances is tragic beyond words.”
“When milady Rigmor arrived, she told me all about what had befallen her in Skyrim. How you had rescued Sorella. How a similar thing that happened to Sofia happened to Sorella. That she too had bad dreams, heard voices calling her… Oh how I wish I had taken more notice of the poor child… You rescued Sorella after an encounter with a coven of witch-devils… and… and that they believed that the flesh of… restored their youth.”
It did them no good when my companions and I slaughtered all of them. There are many forms of vampirism. The Daughter of Coldharbour I travelled with was of the Volkihar Clan. One of the most ancient of all and the most powerful. Her name is Serana and she and her clan never age. Drinking blood is all that is needed to freeze the ageing process. As far I could tell Serana’s father was almost 1000 years old and looked to be in his early 40’s. When I told Serana of the consumption of children by the Bloodlet Throne vampires she was furious. They were an abomination shunned by all other vampire clans. If we had not already wiped them out Serana would have travelled there and done it herself. Those vampires were weak and nowhere the strength of the Volkihar Clan. I should know because my companions and I wiped out both.
Freathof quietly asked, “You said you might have found proof?”
Yes. When searching the building I found a note. I can recite it from memory if you wish.
“I never learned that trick when training as a mage. Pity. Please tell us what it said.”
‘To the Master of Bloodlet Throne.
Word is your coven had been discovered by a vengeful Redguard. Be wary if strangers and keep the wolves loose. They will at least warn you of any impeding danger. Do not underestimate this woman, a mother of one of the ‘lost’ brought to our table.
She has on her person a cursed bow and a ring of protection. Do not touch these items. The ring will cause any vampire who wears it to descend into madness. The bow is fused with the bones and ash of our brothers and sisters. To touch it brings annihilation.
We are now many. Sects are beginning to flourish in all of Tamriel. I don’t need to impress on you the importance of maintaining absolute secrecy in our activities.
I do not believe in coincidences. You said Sethius is a common bandit name. That maybe so but I find the odds of that name randomly appearing in a known coven of vampires and being the surname of a suspected vampire are too high.
“I agree. The fact that our children stopped disappearing about the time that coven was destroyed is also beyond coincidence.”
Did the disappearance of the children coincided with the rise of the Bandit King?
“Yes. Sofia was the last. I fear I must retire. Recalling this terrible event has taken its toll.”
Good night Freathof. May The Nine grant you some peace from these terrible events.
I turned to Malesam and said, “He is almost a broken man. I sensed some affection when he mentioned Rigmor by name.”
“Oh no doubt at all Guardian. Rigmor’s arrival saved him. They get along very well indeed and she I rather fond of him. She rarely speaks to me though. Or her mother when she comes to the Castle. She thinks we meddle too much in her life. She will hover, confide in Freathof.”
I will give you a big clue with what goes on in Rigmor’s head. Both her and I are victims of destiny. The first time I met Baa’Ren-Daa he said she had a destiny and that was probably Azura whispering in his ear. She may even feed him visions like she does for other devout followers. It is a terrible feeling when you know your life has been mapped out by the Gods themselves. Azura even told Rigmor she had planned a lot of events that occurred in her life. I am absolutely certain The Divine or Azura wanted Ragnar arrested and Rigmor and Sigunn imprisoned. Those terrible events leading to a desired outcome in the future. We both agreed it is no use fighting destiny but we can make it more palatable. To help cope with destiny Rigmor likes the freedom to make her own choices. To exercise that which is unique to mortals, free will. A set routine, get up at a set time, wear a particular style of clothing, hold court for some many hours, only associate with people of a certain class, follow strict rules of etiquette etcetera. These things take away the free will. They feel like destiny and therefore Rigmor will rebel against them. I hope you understand what I am trying to say. It will help with dealing with her.
“That is something I have never thought about. It must be a burden.”
Rigmor will come around eventually. Drummed into her from a young age is a strong sense of responsibility and duty. She will eventually knuckle down and become a true Countess but with Rigmor flare.
“There must be more to this dark set of events Guardian. Something that is eluding us. To have such powers of the calling. It all ties into my suspicions but Sethius is not an uncommon name. We could of course be completely and utterly wrong.”
This is no different than other Divine Tasks I have been given. Sometimes it can be at the closing stages of a task before I realise what it is! Freathof is a mathematician. He could tell you the astronomical odds that all we have discussed is coincidental. There is one question that might give us the clues if we answer it. If all has gone quiet on the child abduction, where did the vampires go and why stop now?
“I’ll have to conduct some investigations. Hammerfell would be a good starting point. After all a Brood Mother must have a brood and fledglings cannot help to make a lot of noise. I would advise you rest for tonight and start your search for Rigmor early tomorrow.”
I agree. I am exhausted plus I do not feel like wandering around in unfamiliar territory without backup in the middle of the night.
“If there are more sinister reasons to what is behind the Imperial Throne it certainly won’t be anything to do with an errant “know it all” but we can’t take the chance they know of her ancestry.”
I have done enough of these to know your assumption is wrong. There is every chance Rigmor will be mixed up with the sinister reasons. We will just have to play it by ear. You did the right thing sending for me. It is urgent I find her and give her my protection.
“Cerys will show you to your room. I bid you goodnight.”
I got up and stretched bit then approached Cerys who said, “Follow me Dragonborn.”
I followed Cerys and we soon came to my private sleeping quarters.
We were alone without probing ears so I asked, “Cerys, can you tell me what has been going on with Rigmor?”
“You know her as well as I do.”
This situation with Robere?
“Why does he concern you?”
Cerys, I still love her!
“Dragonborn, it has been a long time and people move on. She did try to write and it was hard for her to let you go. She depended on you.”
And you know what happened. You know the letters were not my fault. You know why I could never come. You know if I followed my heart and gave into the temptation that haunted me every single day for three and a half years we would all be dead or enslaved. You said she has let me go. We made solemn vows that would never happen no matter what.
“She loved you with all her heart. But now she is happy again and is finding her own way, however that may be. If you really love her, really in your heart, you will accept her as she is now.”
Do not question how much I love her. Gods themselves have told me how beautiful our love is. Azura, Boethia, Talos, Dibella and Mara all revelled in it purity and strength.
“Rigmor told me she was intimate with you, but you must let her go, and Gods forbid if you tell anyone. You must never tell anyone, not Malesam, Sigunn, no-one.”
Why would I tell anybody what is none of their damn business? How archaic! I bet Robere has bedded dozens of women. Even unwilling ones when he was a stealing, murdering bandit. I bet he can boast of his conquests and it does not affect his value as a marriage prospect. Are you telling me that Rigmor with a broken maidenhead suddenly becomes worthless on the Cyrodiil breeding stock market? How about the old fashioned concept of marrying for love, warts and all?
“It doesn’t work that way any more. She is nobility and…She is with Bobby now.”
Tell me about Bobby. Do you like him? Do you trust him with Rigmor’s affection?
“Yes, Robere… he really is a nice charming man. He tries, although she can be… a handful. He is good for her. He cares for her. It is going to be hard for her when she sees you again.. Please don’t ruin it.”
If only you knew how much our love meant to us. I would never ruin her happiness. I risked all for her. Went to Oblivion and confronted a God face to face as close as you are now. It was our love that allowed me to do that. The prospect of us renewing that love is what has enabled me to do such things over and over again. Each Divine Task completed brought me closer to that reunion. I denied myself intimacy. I never broke our vow. I want you to understand something so you can tell others why if it happens.
“If it helps you come to terms with things then go ahead Dragonborn.”
I swear on The Divines that I would never stand in the way of Rigmor’s happiness. I would never hurt Bobby if that is who she chooses. However, if she rejects the vows we made and loves another I will become a shadow of what I am. I will need to stay as I can’t leave her without her Guardian and without completing my Divine Task. I will do so as an empty husk. I will be Tamriel’s deadliest killing machine without a soul, ambition or mercy. I will be terrible to behold but Malesam and the others will want me around. I will need to do this to avoid the Dragon Rage within me turning on what has caused me such pain. I would rip ‘Bobby’ to pieces and anybody, I mean anybody, who tried to stop me. I will sacrifice my very mind to allow Rigmor to be happy. I am capable of doing this. Do you understand the commitment I just made?
Please remind me again of how to find your friend.
“Go to the Tap&Tack and speak to Colin the barkeep. If there are any rumours to be had he is the one to talk to. Failing that here is the key to Rigmor’s apartment. If she’s not there you might find some clues as to where she is.”
Goodnight Cerys. Do not fear for Rigmor’s happiness or safety.
“Goodnight Dragonborn .”
When Cerys closed the door behind her I suddenly felt the loneliest I have ever been since my awakening. No laughter of children, no panting of a white fleabag and no muffled sounds of those I know love me. I was in a foreign land surrounded by those who regard me as handy tool to use when something needs fixing.
It would be easy to blank my mind. Just leave the primitive impulses to protect Rigmor and kill whatever she points me to.
I sat and wrote this journal entry.
I then lay on the bed and willed sleep to come but it would not.
I would find Rigmor tomorrow. She will probably be with Robere. How do I cope? I do not know but I must try. I must not hurt her again. I went insane last time I did.