Tiber Septim Hotel, The Imperial Palace, Private Rooms: Squeaky clean, Spy discussion, Big hairy one, Balin’s back, Slimy swamp time, Leyawiin lout, Bobby’s bullshit, Rigmor’s fury, A cunning plan, Bloodsuckers absence, Escorted by Shortarse, A wonderful meal.
The water for the bath arrived on time but Rigmor was still fast asleep. I asked the maids to bring some more buckets in 30 minutes time as Countess Rigmor was sleeping off a headache and I did not want to wake her yet. One of them asked how my coccyx was and I told her it took all night but it is no longer stiff.
I had a quick bath and was fully dressed by the time the fresh water arrived. The maids looked at the dirty bath water and reluctantly changed it over. Like it was full of barbarian germs or something! One whispered to the other how Countess Rigmor should know better than to hire a Nord savage and how dare he dirty one of the hotels baths like that! The other one said she heard I drink the Countesses pee. They both gave me a death stare as they marched out with buckets in hand.
I walked into our sleeping and dining area and Rigmor was sitting on the bed. She said, “Dragonborn please sit for a minute.”
OK but a quick chat and then you better start getting ready. You bath water has just arrived. I stole the first lot while you were sleeping.
I sat on the bed next to her and she asked, “What is going to become of us?”
No use guessing. We will just have to do what we have always done and deal with it!
“What if they send me away?”
I’ll come and get you as fast as I can. Then they will regret playing politics with us as we put things right.
“And if they don’t send me away? What if I can go home?”
Then we have a fantastic ride back to Bruma with no fear or uncertainty about your secret or our love. You will first have to break it off with Bobby and then soon after we confess our love. I think most of them knew about our time in Skyrim anyway.
“What! What makes you say that?”
Sorella knew and she was a little girl of eight or nine. Not about the night in the tent but about our feelings. If she could figure it your mother certainly would have. Your heart was broken Rigmor. That is not the same as loosing contact with a friendly Guardian. You confessed it all to Cerys, and yes she did give me a good talking to when I first arrived and told me she knew. Please do not get mad at her for that. She was looking out for her friend.
“I bet Cerys gave you a good earful. And you are her Arch Mage!”
You would have been proud of her.
“As for Sorella, she loves me dearly and I her. We are like sisters. She is pretty smart for the child of bandits.”
“Yes, I think she gave subtle hints that she knew even when we were altogether in Skyrim.”
No more hiding our love! I want everybody to see and know how lucky I am. If anybody still thinks I am not good enough they can stand in front of us and tell us to our faces. We can then laugh at their stupidity. The Daughter of Azura and Wulf, Dragonborn and Champion of The Divine. A love envied by the Gods themselves and others think they know better?
“I love you so much Dragonborn.”
The Gods know how much I love you! I will use my Thu’um and shout it from the Throat of the World so all can hear how much! Not for single second have I ever stopped loving you. What you said last night was so beautiful, so eloquent and so true. ‘I need you to be me.’
“I missed you so much!”
I know and I am so sorry I could not be there.
“What do we do know?”
We carry on as planned. Play their game and sign the decree.
“Yeah, what will be will be.”
Come on Milady before your bath water gets cold. I have some quick things I want to agree to before we go. Guardian stuff.
“You just want to watch because of the pervert you are!”
You are sitting next to me naked. On a bed we broke after you attacked me and forced yourself on me. It is not I who is the pervert! Even Dibella would have turned her face away at such behaviour!
(Rigmor laughed as we walked hand in hand to the bath.)
I sat on the floor and said to Rigmor, “Although we want to confess our love the worst thing we could do is announce it accidentally to those playing the game.”
“Dragonborn, do you think they could use it to hurt us? Use it to hurt Bruma?”
Unless we are careful how and when we announce it we could make an enemy of Leyawiin. Others who had potential marriage candidates such as Chorrol could also get upset if they think their son was ditched in favour of a Nord Barbarian.
“So you are saying we have to act as Countess and bodyguard and no signs of affection to be shown?”
If they know who I am then they would be suspicious if we were not the closest of friends. They would know of the heroic battles we fought together and that we survived great danger together. We are going to have to be the friendliest we can without physical contact, moon eyes or you ripping my clothes off again. When in our ‘private’ quarters we have to be extra diligent on the words we use and no-matter what, no inappropriate touching or kissing.
“Do you think they listen in on the private quarters of guests?”
No doubt at all. Can you imagine a spy reporting to the spymaster after listening to us last night?
“Oh my! Do you think they would have to write down all the sound effects Dragonborn?”
Squeek, squeek… grunt… oooo… ahhh…. Not in the ear you perv…. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!
I was treated to a minute or so of Rigmor trying to control her guffaws. Then she stopped for a second and tried to tell me to wait downstairs before snorting a sort of, “Go!” and pointing to the door while making a walking gesture with her fingers.
I quickly went back into the bedroom and tidied up the strewn armour and clothing. Strong Déjà vu and it was no mystery, just a flashback to the floor of Rigmor’s apartment.
I picked up the porcelain statue that lost its head during the undressing ceremony. It was a popular depiction of Dibella. Proof even she was embarrassed!
I went downstairs to wait and the concierge asked, “Is you lady pleased with HER bath?”
Yes thanks. Everything is good. Nice place you got here.
“It’s been in the family for generations. After the Great War we had to change the name of the hotel to ‘Plaza Hotel’. We have since restored it back to the original with the arrival of the new Emperor. He has brought peace and prosperity to Cyrodiil.”
I bet you have not had a visitor from Skyrim for a while have you? Not somebody travelling with a noble like me but a normal family like Mum, Dad and Daughter over there. Ever wondered why?
“How would you… Hmmph… In case you are lost the basement is down those steps.”
I am a General of the REAL Imperial army as you can see. Since when do men of my rank work as a batman?
“Oh, my apologies… I thought… she did say…”
Yes, Milady Rigmor likes her little jokes. Just before we entered there was this strange Wood Elf outside who offered to be my batman and that is where she got the idea.
“What about all that noise last night? Did you really drop your armour and then trip over it and hurt your coccyx?”
She is so embarrassed about that! All that noise was me trying to squash a spider Milady saw on the floor. Not many people know she was traumatised a few years ago when her pet dog, Milkdrinker, was taken and eaten by a giant Frostbite Spider. The spider in our room was large and hairy! I make sure never to even say the word ‘spider’ in her presence.
“Oh, I can understand. I hate spiders as well. Did you really hurt your coccyx?”
That part was true but Milady worked on it all night and the swelling has gone down so it should be okay for another few hours.
“I should have recognised who you are and Balin even told me he saw you with Lady Rigmor.”
“Rumours are, Lady Rigmor has the Last Dragonborn as her Guardian. You must be him.”
So suddenly you are not looking down your nose at me? Too bad the maids are not here so I could tell them the same thing. Treat all others with respect from the poor to the Emperor until they give you cause not to. Nearly everybody in Bruma is a Nord including Milady Rigmor. Yet you were willing to believe I would drink her pee? Or is it only the ‘other’ Nords who are such barbaric people?
“Father used to say the same. I am so sorry. I can’t believe I did not recognise you. You have become a folk legend around here.”
Don’t fret and I usually leaving my lecturing till after midday.
“I can’t imagine what it must be like facing up to a Dragon… or Alduin. Is it true you entered Sovngarde? Balin says you even entered and Oblivion plane, twice… ”
(Very few people know the details of what I have done. I have been in an Oblivion plane more than twice. Azura placed me in a small pocket of Oblivion to save me. I entered her Star which was another part of Oblivion. Malacath’s Ashpit, Boethia’s Proving Ground, Hermaeus Mora’s Apocrypha and the Soul Cairn. The fact my pointed haired fan knows of two is impressive, and a worry!)
Balin told you all this?
“Yes and you are such a hero. It is amazing to meet you in person.”
What can you tell me about Balin?
“Haha, don’t worry, Balin is harmless. Everyone jokes about him and he makes us laugh… “
As a famous diplomat once said, ‘Speak the wrongs words and you can cause a nation to fall!’
“I’m sorry… what?”
Any more news or rumours whilst I age gracefully waiting for Milady to make an appearance?
“When Titus Med II mysteriously disappeared, the Lord Chancellor, Martin Blackwell believe the Dark Brotherhood was behind it. He smashed the Brotherhood in Cyrodiil and had all of them tortured to death in the most horrific ways imaginable. Some say, on a dark night, you can still hear their screams from the old Prison District.”
I have heard from a reliable source those screams are actually Blackwell as he shoves a new stick up his arse ready for another day of being grumpy. A lot of short people are like that.
“You could get in trouble for that sort of talk!”
No I can’t, ‘Diplomatic Immunity’. So what about those creepy rumours about Morag Sethius?
“Rumour has it she is over 300 years old and maintains her youth and beauty by drinking the blood of children. Although if anyone asks, you didn’t hear it from me right?”
I’ll just say Balin told me.
“Ooh, haha… Your Lady has arrived.”
I turned and there was my beloved in all her finery. She literally took my breath away! I gathered my wits and said, “Rigmor, you look stunning… I mean… um… Milady Rigmor, I am a lucky man to be seen in the presence of such beauty and grace. Much envy shall my task engender.”
“My Lord Dragonborn, would you kindly escort me to the ball?”
I did my beast courtly bow and said, “Milady Rigmor, it would be my pleasure, alas, I know not which way to go.”
“Come then my good man and make haste. We are running late.”
I shall faithfully follow Milady’s derrière. It will not leave my sight nor lead me astray.
We proceeded towards the door when the concierge said, “I hope your stay was pleasant and you will visit again soon. Your man told me what really happened last night. Do not be ashamed Lady Rigmor, I hate big hairy ones as well! Balin has several and the one he showed me last week made me squeal!”
All faux nobility was lost when this beautiful, petite, very well dressed woman elbowed a laughing brute in the stomach and whispered, “Do not say it Dragonborn. Do not!”
I wasn’t sure if that one would work out Milady. I claim double points for ingenuity and planning.
“In your dreams Dragonborn.”
I followed Rigmor through the streets and noticed the admiration and curiosity she attracted from all ages and genders. It wasn’t her clothes and jewellery that defined her nobility. It was her grace and willingness to smile and say hello when passing those who greeted her. She has an obvious affinity with the ordinary citizens that all great and fair rulers have had. Hopefully by tomorrow at the latest I can escort her back to her Castle and she can be the ruler I know she is.
We approached the gates to the Imperial Way. Two Imperial soldiers guarded the entrance. It seems that the more important tasks are in the hands of real soldiers and not the fake ones. The soldier on the right challenged, “Halt! Access to the Emperor’s Way is closed. State your identity and business here.”
Rigmor replied, “Countess Rigmor of Bruma, and this is…
The guard interjected, “No need Milady, I knew it had to be you. Please enter. Everyone is assembled in the Imperial Chamber. I will have the Lord Chancellor informed you have arrived.”
We step through the gates and headed from the entrance of the Imperial Place when we heard, “Yoo hoo, Dragonborn, it is I!”
We turned and saw Balin running towards us. Rigmor said, “It’s that creepy guy again. He’s coming over… “
Balin ran up to me and excitedly exclaimed, “Well met my fine Dragonborn! I am filled with such joy to see you again. Oh… my cheeks are glowing… how are you on this fine day?”
Fine and thanks for asking. Now please be on your way my good fellow.
“I could sing you a song, shine your shiny bits, anything for you. Just name it and I will do your bidding. You cannot imagine just how excited I am just to be in your presence. I am such a lucky lucky boy.”
Balin, the Countess and I have important business to attend to. So if you will please excuse us.
“Of course… “
Baling then addressed Rigmor, “Countess Rigmor of Bruma, how rude of me, please forgive me.”
One of the guards ordered Balin back to work. As he turned to leave he said, “Well have a nice and happy day… till next time.”
Rigmor said, “Maybe he is just a harmless guy Dragonborn. OK, he’s a bit weird yanno. Come on, who doesn’t know about the Dragonborn, the “Hero of Whiterun”?
He knows too much about me Rigmor. If he knows of the Greybeards declaration then…
Rigmor’s face went ashen.
He is standing over there waving at me again Rigmor. We escaped into the hotel last time, perhaps the Imperial Palace may also keep him away?
“Come on then Dragonborn, let’s get this over with.”
I followed my beloved into the viper pit.
Everything about the Imperial City had screamed familiarity. This place, this centre of Tamriel’s power, it felt like home. Like Dragons Keep or Breezehome or any of my other properties.
I looked up at the Ruby Throne. How many lives have been lost and how much suffering has occurred over who sits their arse on that thing?
I was sickened at first sight. Without speaking a word to any of them I instantly knew their type. Slimy upper class elite who have never done an honest day’s work in their life. At least Robere and his lot worked for their title. Not born into privilege without the slightest idea of what the common people struggle with year in and year out.
Rigmor warned me, “Don’t say a word!”
I replied in a whisper, “I will keep my mouth closed so I do not vomit breakfast onto their shiny boots.”
She giggled despite her obvious tension as we entered.
Robere approached and I could sense a change in Rigmor. She went from my worried lady into the fake role of noble in an instant. We had played around with faux upper class crap when leaving the hotel. Now she was putting on the performance of a lifetime. A slip could cost her and her family dearly. I could not help but admire as I was forced to watch with barely hidden consternation.
Robere deliberately exaggerated his greeting so all would hear. My instincts have saved every piece of slime in this room several times. They were screaming now. This thing was putting on an act that a commoner audience would jeer. These brainless nobles lapped it up.
“Rigmor, you are here at last. Words are not enough to describe how beautiful and radiant you look. Guardian General, thank you for escorting the Countess here safely. You have my sincere gratitude.”
I wasn’t joking about my breakfast!
Robere invited my beloved to join him with, “Rigmor, if you please… “
To survive this I knew I had to refrain from talking till spoken to. I had to keep my personal revulsion hidden. To answer questions with neutral and non-committal answers. To restrain the impulse to ask how many of them knew what was happening at the border and approved. I wanted to grab Rigmor and drag her away before their taint seeped into her and poisoned her soul. Our soul.
Count Leyawiin spewed forth, “Finally, the mystery behind me errant son’s disappearance is revealed. Countess Rigmor of Bruma, Robere has told us all about you Milady.”
(So they had been ‘together’ for almost a year or more and she had not met the Count till now. And I thought Robere was a threat to our love? He never was. Now he is just a threat to my beloved.)
Rigmor replied, “Good things I hope Count Leyawiin.”
The buffoon replied, “Why, are there some bad things?” and then laughed like a drunken mule.
“If there were Count, one would expect on the most dignified behaviour of a Knight and Gentleman.”
(I prayed to The Divine for whichever one is responsible for vomiting to please stop me from embarrassing Rigmor!)
Count Turd exclaimed, “Hahaha! The Countess has you over a barrel there already Bobby. Hang on tight boy as it is going to be a rough ride.”
(I think last night’s meal is trying to join my breakfast in protest. Probably collecting the carrots and corn that have been sitting somewhere in there for months awaiting release.)
Robere did not even rebuke his father’s behaviour and the Count continued to display the mindless piss smelling bandit underneath the pretty clothes, “No offence Rigmor, as you can see, these… balls, as they call them, aren’t really the sort of balls I understand them to be.”
Sir Robere finally grew some tiny balls of his own and said, “Father, mind your manners. Ladies are present.”
(‘Well, one lady and a bunch of gold seeking whores!’ said my inner beast as it wrestled for control. Sorry Dragon Rage, not now. Maybe some other time you can have the pleasure of beating the shit out both of them. OK?)
Rigmor responded and showed she could run rings around Count Leyawiin, “I’m sorry Count, I don’t understand, exactly which balls do you have in mind?”
Count Leyawiin was stumped for an answer so a new comedian joined in. Count Chorrol said to him, “Who’s over the barrel now Leyawiin?”
(I thank The Divine responsible for vomiting! Count Leyawiin retreated without uttering another word.)
Count Chorrol asked Rigmor, “Pray tell us Countess, what finally brings you out of the cold?”
Lady Chorrol chimed in with, “Yes Countess, we have so much to catch up on….”
As Rigmor joined the Chorrol’s in mind numbing banter Robere came up to me and said, “Guardian, Might I have a word in private? It concerns Rigmor.”
(‘Lady Rigmor you ignorant moron!’ Quiet beast, we hate protocol remember?)
I followed Robere and my quick estimation of him from The Roxey was confirmed. He was no warrior.
We moved as far away from the mob as we could and Robere stood facing me. I asked, “Ser Robere, what is on your mind?”
“Unfortunately Rigmor did not attend last night and the Counts were becoming agitated. They just want her to sign the decree so they can all go home.”
(You will have to do better than that Bobby. She was not expected till this morning as that is what we told the court. Rigmor had more important things to do last night.)
“Some of the Counts do not recognize Rigmor as nobility; they say she is a commoner.”
(I have to say the minimum. Not get into a debate or any lengthy conversation. Her family were nobles before the Thalmor pounced. She did enough saving Tamriel alongside me in Skyrim to earn the same noble accolades her father once earned. When Titus Mede II pronounced her Countess of Bruma he did so under the standing conventions that have existed since Saint Alessia. Royal blood or not, Rigmor is as much a noble as any in this room. She earned her nobility knee deep in the blood and entrails of those who would have enslaved or killed every piece of slime in this room. I kept quiet and listened to him lie some more.)
“I, of course, defended her honour robustly. When Count Chorrol suggested Bruma wasn’t doing enough to stop bandits sneaking through the Jerral mountains to raid the Northern Counties, my father countered the complaint that as soon as Bruma signs the decree it will be signing away its status protected under International Law as a Free City.”
(I asked Malesam to investigate this precise thing for me. Why the fuck is he not in the city somewhere so I can ask him? I can’t very well ask anybody in this room. It makes sense to me that only signatures of owned cities would count towards the decree being legal. I am out of my depth here.)
“Once Ariel Sethius gets Rigmor’s signature on the decree, it will legitimize his claim to the Mede Dynasty and everything therein. Once he proclaims himself Titus Mede III, he will own Bruma. It will no longer be a Free City. My father told the other Counts and Countesses that the Emperor has plans for Bruma and they should no longer be concerned.”
(Guaranteed he can’t answer this next question.)
What kind of plans?
“That I am afraid, I do not know.”
(Let’s pretend to nibble at the bait.)
Ser Robere, why are you telling me all this?
“Because Guardian, I love Rigmor with all my heart.”
(‘KILL THE LIAR! FUCKING KILL HIM! NOW!’)
“And if anything were to befall her, I would never forgive myself. She has changed my life completely and I intend to marry her. So I have a plan to protect her honour until that time comes, decree or no decree.”
(I was fighting the beast. Trying to speak was too chancy. I pretended to furtively look around for eavesdroppers and then nodded my head for him to continue.)
“As you know my father is the Count of Leyawiin. He commands the largest force but is loyal only to Sethius, as am I. If the Emperor does indeed have any plans for Bruma that could affect the house of Rigmor, if I were to publicly propose… and she were to publicly accept my hand in marriage, we would rule the county together as Count and Countess of Bruma. Any plans the Emperor had, he would seriously have to reconsider or come to nought.”
(‘No, don’t kill him. This is worth considering. At least ask our beloved’. I hate it when I feel like two beings in one body, one head. I suppose I am in a way. I have the wants and needs of a mortal and the soul of a Dovah. I still do not know if this is the way of all Dragonborn. I have nobody to ask.)
You are playing a very dangerous game Ser Robere.
“Is Rigmor not worth it? Guardian you know as well as I our engagement has been a long time coming… Look at these stuck up so called nobles fawning over her as we speak with sweet sounding words. Don’t think for one moment I am ignorant to the fact they feel the same way about father and I. In their eyes we too are also commoners. Bandits and scum from the highlands.”
(No comment beast? Good.)
“Rigmor and I were meant to be together, it’s our destiny by fate and no noble or even Emperor is going to get between us.”
(‘What the hell is that supposed to mean?’ I don’t know beast. Verb or noun, fate is the same as destiny. It is like saying we will get wet by water. Next move Robere.)
What do you want me to do?
“When you have a private moment, tell Rigmor of my plans, that my love is true, because when she signs that document, her life may be in danger and I intend to be the knight in shining armour that saves the day and our future together.”
(‘Glad we didn’t kill him. He is quite the comedian!’ Shush, this is getting complicated.)
“It would be for the best interests of all present that she accepts. I do not want to surprise and embarrass her or take any chances.”
I’ll speak to her. Of that you can be assured.
“Thank you Guardian, you won’t regret this, I never forget who my friends are.”
Robere walked back to join the others and I had a no idea what to do.
I know he is lying about some things but all of it?
Would Bruma lose its Free City status if Rigmor signs the decree? I had a feeling it might and that is why I asked Malesam to investigate. Why didn’t Malesam know when I asked him? You would think it is a vital piece of law he already knew. Did he know and not tell us? Is his Mistress playing games and he obeying? I am getting paranoid but I can’t reconcile he did not know.
If Robere is lying about the Free City status, what harm would it do if Rigmor accepts his marriage proposal anyway? For a start Rigmor would have to lie to the man she might very well have genuine feelings for. She might be agreeing to hurt the man emotionally. Countering that is the fact he will be hurt anyway if his feelings are genuine. We were going to go back to Bruma and send him a “Bye Bobby!” letter. Dumping boyfriend and dumping fiancée, are they the same? The extra humiliation he receives as dumped fiancée after what will no doubt be a melodramatic and public proposal may turn him into a mortal enemy!
Saying no to such a public proposal of marriage may have the same effect!
If he has no feelings for Rigmor she still has to enter this game of politics that we are novices at. We agreed not to do anything besides sign the decree and come back home. That was based on the assumption that doing so does not change Bruma’s status as a Free City. At the moment I believe signing the decree might very well be outside of what we agreed upon if it does change the status.
Would such a potential alliance turn others against Bruma? In the short run it may very well do so but on the cancellation of the engagement they would be appeased.
If Rigmor refuses his proposal we will have angry Leyawiin’s who may act hastily to harm us before we even get to Bruma.
All of this politicking is leading to whatever this Divine task is all about. It is fluff the same as stopping the New Order invasion was secondary to stopping Malacath’s return. Killing Harkon was secondary to dealing with Arch Curate Vyrthur. Whatever choice we make I think The Divine will have put in place further decisions that end up steering us towards their preferred timelines becoming the most likely.
I simply do not have enough information. The only thing I am certain of is it should be Rigmor’s choice. That is the free will decision of mine that I will now pursue and hope it leads to a resolution to the Divine Task with the least damage to those I love. That includes all the normal, average citizens of Tamriel.
Thanks for the contribution beast. ‘You’re welcome.’
I approached the ongoing conversation and was not surprised to find the banality level had been maintained. I would have to scoop my brain out with a spoon to sink to this level of bland.
Count Leyawiin drooled, “Aha! Bobby, come and join us. So when are you going to pop the question to this beautiful damsel?”
Lady Chorrol mistakenly said, “Count Leyawiin, leave the poor Countess alone, note how she blushes… “
(That is Rigmor holding her breath so she doesn’t yell out ‘Pfft! As if! followed by peals of laughter.’ After last night there would be very little Milady would blush about.)
Lady Chorrol continued, “Ser Robere and the Countess Rigmor would make such an excellent match don’t you think?”
Robere replied, “All in good time Lady Chorrol.”
As the banality stepped up another level I took the opportunity to tap Rigmor on the shoulder to get her attention. She turned and said, “Guardian, we are dining… “
Sorry Milady Rigmor and your esteemed company but I forgot to tell you of an important message I received this morning from Meeko. It is fairly complex and like I have forgotten to inform you, I may also forget the contents.
“From Meeko, the hero who fought beside me many times in Skyrim?”
Rigmor apologised to the others and accompanied me to the furthest we could get from any guest.
Rigmor said quite sternly, “If this is a pisspot I will be less than impressed. Well?”
(I could tell this is going to be fun.)
Ser Robere has an interesting proposition.
He told me that once you sign the decree, Bruma will no longer be a free city.
“Yes, it is the decision we made. We all agreed on it. The Emperor will rules supreme.”
Rigmor, it is a decision you all made yet I am sent to be your Guardian and was not told! Even when I questioned Malesam on this exact legality?
“I just assumed you knew.”
Probably for the same reason Malesam did not answer my question. Probably for the same reason you thought sending two unreturned letters was enough to decide on our future. I don’t like this. The Divine are not supposed to have this level of influence on us. I am more blinded to the truth than ever!
(Rigmor could see me becoming unsure. This is not what she needs. I can tell she is terrified.)
I am sorry Rigmor. Sometimes I do not have all the answers or even the clues and it disturbs me. Let us get back to the matter at hand.
“What else did Bobby say?”
He also fears for your safety. He said that once you sign the decree and Bruma belongs to him, The Emperor has plans for it.
“Plans for Bruma! What plans?”
He doesn’t know. Rigmor, this is all getting out of hand.
“I just want to sign the damn thing and go home, nothing more.”
Ser Robere has a plan.
When you sign the decree, he is going to ask for your hand in marriage.
“Oh the Gods, the idiot, what is he thinking?”
(I will not give her my opinion of Robere. I will not try and influence Rigmor’s decision or get side tracked by claims of jealousy etc. I still do not know him enough and Rigmor would never accept my ‘gut feelings’ as adequate evidence.)
He says he loves you and wants to be your knight in shining armour.
“Tell me your kidding right…”
This decision is yours Rigmor. It may be our way out.
“No… I don’t love Bobby, I love you.”
If you accept Robere’ proposal, any plans Sethius might have for Bruma, or if he knows about your secret, are over. He could not win a war and would not risk one with Leyawiin’s troops supporting you.
“Are you dumping me?”
Rigmor! All I am asking is that we discuss this and make a decision.
“You know, I thought better of you, I thought we had something, all that back there, was that a lie?”
Listen to what you are saying? I thought we had got over this? None of it was a lie! Why do I have to say again that I love you more than anything in this or any other world!
“I suppose next you’re going to tell me you’re only doing it for me out of love? That you only want to see me happy. That ‘sometimes if we love someone’ we have to let them go right?”
Rigmor, you are scared. I understand but you are not making sense. PLEASE listen.
“I would rather die in your arms than lose you again but now I see the real you. Now I see through all your lies and that you have been leading me on all this time. “I’m here for you”, pffffft whatever!”
You are not listening…
“You know what Dragonborn, you’re pathetic.”
“OK, I’ll accept Bobby’s hand in marriage because he is a real gentleman. At least he isn’t going to mess with my head and dump me at the drop of a hat. By the time I get home I want you gone. Do you understand? I never ever want to see your face again.”
Rigmor went storming off to join those who have no interest in her fate other than how it improves their social standing and wealth.
I stepped up and pleaded with her to turn, “You just said you loved me and would rather die in my arms than lose me again. I know that is true so I am asking you to stop, turn and look at me. Give the man you profess to love a chance. Please.”
Rigmor turned, hostility still in her eyes and arms crossed. She waited for me to say something.
Think about the silence Rigmor. As you told me, is that not a sign from wherever and whoever that we are meant to be together. Remember how all our doubts about our love for each other and our eternal commitment vanished with those vows and the love we made. How can all of that be a lie?
The hostility faded. The fear and uncertainty returned. That in turn was replaced by unneeded and unwarranted guilt.
Rigmor said, on the verge of tears, “Oh Dragonborn… I’m sorry.”
I have faced hostile Gods as close as you are to me right now and not felt the fear currently consuming me. I still do not know what The Divine want us to fix. I do not know what the best course of action is. That is how my whole life has been. I take my best guesses and if they are the right ones Nirn and its peoples live to see another day. I guess wrong just once and they may be enslaved or die. The only thing I have ever been certain of 100% is how much I love you. We both committed to a shared destiny last night. Please help me make the choices, the guesses, this time around and in the future. I need your help Rigmor and as far as I know, so does every individual on this planet.
“What do we do Dragonborn?”
I could take the route of violence. It would take me seconds to kill every single person in this room. They could never summon enough troops in time to stop you and me from getting to Bruma. Let them try and take your home after I have summoned my dragons and used the evil I have learned to control men and make them do my bidding. Your enemies would be slaughtered and we could ignore that throne over there or take it for ourselves.
“I know you would do that if I asked Dragonborn. You would no longer be the man I love. Sometimes you have risked all to avoid killing soldiers simply obeying orders and would never kill innocent civilians. No, that is not your way. It is not our way.”
Then consider Robere’s plan. I do not wish you to marry him. That would be a lie that would not survive the wedding vows. That leaves you with two choices.
If he proposes you refuse. Make up any excuse but do not say it is because you love another. The hurt of rejection may embarrass him and even turn him hostile. It is guaranteed if he thinks there is a rival.
Your second choice it to lie to all assembled here. You accept his hand in marriage in front of these witnesses knowing full well you do not intend to go ahead with the nuptials. That too may hurt Robere and turn him hostile. You would be entering their game of politics and have made a move that may be genius or foolhardy or both.
There is so much we do not know Rigmor.
“There is a third. I don’t think I could promise then dump him later. Bobby doesn’t deserve that. I also do not think I could lie to him as to the reason I said no. I would rather tell him the truth right now, to his face. “
Are you sure? This could trigger violence and if anybody does know about your secret what then?
“I am sure Guardian. If he proposes I will refuse and tell him the truth. I would rather risk being exiled or killed than join in their games of politics and I think Bobby deserves the truth. I know you would try and rescue me if exiled and if I didn’t make it as least I would have died loving you.”
It is a pity we can’t continue from on from last night. This may be our last chance to say it till we get out of this place so remember, I love you Rigmor.
“And I love you my silly Dragonborn.”
We had better get back before they start wondering what kind of long message Meeko sent you.
Rigmor is not bad at this. Instead of re-joining the same table as before and risking awkward questions about our absence, she made a beeline for another small gathering.
The level of discussion was just as banal.
After a while she went and re-joined the original group. That would make Robere think we had been discussing his idea. The others would assume we had been talking with the other group for most of the time.
I noticed Blackwell entering with his two bodyguards just as Count Chorrol asked Rigmor, “So tell us Lady Rigmor, why has Bruma had such a change of heart? Considering the circumstances, surely Bruma is better off remaining a Free City?”
Rigmor did not have a chance to respond before Blackwell stuck his nose into her business, The runt said, “Bruma has decided to sign the Noble Decree and join the six counties of Cyrodiil making a seventh.”
All eyes turned his way and all other conversation ceased. He continued, “Therefore returning to the fold. Exemplifying the County of Bruma’s loyalty to the Empire so as to legitimize the title of our beloved Emperor… Titus Mede III.”
Rigmor said, “Talking of which Lord Chancellor, I had hoped to make haste as to signing the document. Bruma wishes only the best for our County and the continuity of the Empire as well as to enable the Coronation of our Emperor.”
Blackwell replied, “Unfortunately the Emperor is unavailable to join us at present and wishes me to convey his sincere apologies. Please help yourselves to the refreshments provided then return to your guest rooms here at the palace until the reschedule had been confirmed. That should take place tomorrow. The Emperor thanks you all for your patience, continued support and understanding.”
(Intuition tells me Mr and Mrs Bloodsucker did not turn up because I am here and Blackwell has not formulated a plan as yet.)
Blackwell addressed Rigmor, “If Milady Rigmor would be so kind as to follow me, as so only to be acquainted with her designated quarters.”
Blackwell turned his back and started up the stairs. I quickly caught up with Rigmor and whispered in her ear, “You are not well and would like to have supper delivered to your room.”
Rigmor nodded and we rushed to catch up with the runt. His man mountains stayed behind.
Round a few corners, thought a door, up some stairs. What a rabbit warren!
Finally Blackwell halted in front of some double doors.
He spewed forth, ‘Milady, as I have conveyed to our other Noble guests, the Emperor wishes you all to remain here at the Palace until the signing of the Decree and the subsequent Coronation has taken place. Then you will be free to return to Bruma as you see fit. An adjacent room for your… companion… is provided en-suite as stated in the Agreement. I do apologize for any inconvenience caused and hope your stay will be a pleasant one, as best it can be. I would also like the opportunity to thank you for finally attending… and would like you to convey my respects to Lady Sigunn upon your return. Please, feel free to return to our guests.”
Rigmor replied, “Thank you Lord Chancellor, you have been so kind. Be assured, your respects will be conveyed as you wish. I find myself quite under the weather and would like to have supper in my room if I may.”
Blackwell replied, “Of course Milady Rigmor. I will send somebody to take your order soon.”
Blackwell walked straight past me eyes ahead. He did not even have the courtesy to look me up and down, sniff his nose and then dismiss my very presence as inconsequential. I was onto him though. His reference to me as companion rather than Guardian or General told me he knows exactly who I am. Even an up himself turd like Blackwell would not dismiss a General with such rudeness.
I followed Rigmor into the room and she exclaimed, “Ugh! Now I remember why I liked living at the Roxey Inn so much.”
Rigmor sat on the bed and I sat on the chair next to her. She said, “About me not feeling well?”
I thought we could talk for a few hours. I promised you I would tell you some of my adventures.
“I would love that! You certainly know how to look after your Countess. You could be a good batman if you applied yourself.”
When Milady said about that “Stiff assed court crap thing” you weren’t kidding were you?
“I know right, It can’t be much fun for Blackwell having an icicle permanently shoved up his arse.”
I heard he uses a long necked bottle full of bees.
“Why would he do that?”
The bees make the bottle vibrate.
(I was treated to a snort laugh. Not as beautiful as her guffaws or giggles but not bad.)
Milady you know I am always full of admiration for you many assets.
(I glanced at her chest and licked my lips which got some giggles.)
But today my eyes were truly opened. You held your own today and that was most impressive. From whence did you learn all that?
“Freathof mainly. I also learned some it from Malesam’s constant and frequent polite reminders.”
Do you mind if I slip into something more comfortable Milady.
“No, go ahead my good man. The staff should be here in a minute and we can order supper. I think I know what you might like. Let me surprise you with my choice?”
I walked behind the partition, much to Rigmor’s disappointment, and changed into my normal armour. The expensive Imperial General Armour was nice but I no longer felt like representing the Empire. I was guarding Rigmor and I should wear and use my best equipment and make it clear I was representing her.
It took a while to change armours and I resisted the temptation to ask Rigmor for help. Although I know we both craved it, we could not be intimate within these walls.
Meanwhile Rigmor had ordered supper and it arrived hot along with some bottles of exotic liquor.
She looked at my armour and said, “There is the man I know from Skyrim. Your lady approves.”
I pulled her chair out so she could sit then made my way to mine I sat and stared at my meal. I sniffed it and it smelt delicious.
“That is the world famous Potage le Magnifique. Tuck in.”
The same meal that was poisoned by an assassin which then killed Emperor Titus Mede II’s decoy?
“Yes but it is an improved recipe. No poison.”
We talked for hours and simply enjoyed being in each other’s company.
I told her about my orphanages that were really schools and she cried and I could tell she was truly touched that she was my inspiration for them
She fully understood why I killed Grelod the Kind the way I had. She deserved to die and my method did not traumatize the children.
She told me several stories of Malesam turning bright red with suppressed rage at her attitude and inventive name calling. She said Cerys would pretend to be shocked. Since she was always standing at the back of her father she could smile at Rigmor’s genius put-downs.
I mentioned how Iona and Khajro, who she had never met but understood were very close to me, made an odd couple. I talked about how, contrary to all of Skyrim’s Nord racism, they had recently got married. They had a traditional wedding at the Temple of Mara in Riften and a Khajiit one somewhere in Elsweyr.
Rigmor said it would not even cause a stir in the more cosmopolitan Cyrodiil unless they were from different classes.
She reminded me I promised a tale of one of my adventures so I told her about retrieving the Sybil for the Temple of Dibella in Markarth. She was scandalised that a little girl would have to learn all about ‘sex and stuff’ if she was to advise people. I explained it was the Divine who knew all that. The little girl would mouth the words and comprehension would come when old enough.
It was a beautiful evening. Even though we dared not verbally express our love our bond was strengthened even more. A perfect end would have been some love making but obviously that was out of the question.
When Rigmor finally retired she took off her courtly dress so as not to have it wrinkled. I expressed faux courtesy saying I would sleep over the other side of the partition due to Milady’s bed attire being of such flimsy material. She reminded me that I had promised to look after her and never leave her side and ordered me to use the chair. To anybody listening it would have appeared I was being bullied. To me it was a gift of understanding and need. I needed to be close after Rigmor’s outburst and she wanted destiny to shut up for another night.
I watched her fall asleep and found it hard to take my eyes from her. I fully understood that fear and uncertainty caused her meltdown today. Even though I would never tell her, the fact she still questioned our love was hard to accept after last night.
I was disturbed about how little I really knew about the workings of the Gods. How could they make Rigmor give up after two letters? Make Malesam and Freathof forget to mention that Bruma’s Free City status would be revoked. Why would The Divine worry about me knowing the second? Would I have deemed it too dangerous for Rigmor? I think I would have but The Divine needed us to be here.
Ser Robere. I do not trust him. Rigmor’s decision to tell him the truth shows she is still concerned for his welfare. Still, even if Rigmor had genuine feelings for him, did he have genuine ones back? No, every part of my intuition and logic says no. She is a piece in the game he hoped to move to his advantage. She had not met his father till today. Everybody seemingly putting pressure on him to propose. It all smelt like that “stiff assed court crap thing.”
I had enjoyed the Potage le Magnifique. Wait, is that stomach cramps? Have they poisoned me? No, it just a fart that I had been holding in all day. I moved away from Rigmor a bit an let it rip.
Sethri would have been so proud. I quickly moved away and hoped it drifted into any little hidey hole where a spy might be. It might have been my imagination but I am positive I heard half a gag before somebody clamped a hand over their mouth.
I settled back into the chair and wrote this journal entry. I placed my precious book into the waterproof, burn proof, shockproof and virtually god-proof container Urag had found hidden in the College storeroom. Best thing is it would shrink down to the size of a wallet and easily fitted into a pocket inside my armour.
I blew out all the candles except the one illuminating Rigmor’s face. It would be a shame to hide such beauty from the poor bastards peeking in on us.
I know not what time if fell asleep.
I know I was wondering how the spies would spell and describe my fart.