Imperial City, Imperial City Prison, Labyrinth, College of Winterhold, Dawnstar, Roscrea: Trial and Rescue.
These journal entries were written in the early hours of the 10th Sun’s Dawn on the island of Roscrea.
I woke during the night with a question asked and answer demanded.
- ‘How will you do it? What if they try and stop you?’
- Leave me. We need the sleep. I will figure it out.
- ‘They are likely to be innocent Imperial troops doing their job. Do they deserve to die?’
- No, I can’t kill them.
- ‘We are no assassin. We are no sneaky thief. We can’t just sneak in, put Rigmor under our arm and sneak out again.’
- We said we would rescue her!
- ‘You did but have no plan. I would not care about sneaking and can do the killing. We are her Guardian and you promised to come and get her. You would be breaking the law. You might have to kill innocents. Can you?’
- I can’t. I will figure out a way. You are not doing it!
- ‘Sleep Dragonborn and the solution will come to you.’
I awoke about 7:00AM and was as tired as if I had no sleep at all. Something was different. I felt different. I instinctively knew it but could not pinpoint what.
I had a quick wash and shave and something to eat.
At about 8:00AM there was a knock and I said, “Enter.”
In marched Malesam and Cerys. There was worry etched on the young woman’s face. Malesam seemed way too bright and chirpy. That sat at the table.
I soon joined them.
Malesam asked, “How is our noble Guardian this fine morning?”
I asked Cerys, “Have you seen Rigmor yet?”
She replied, “They won’t let us see her, not until after the trial.”
I turned to Malesam and I suddenly knew what was different. I stared at him and he asked, “Dragonborn, I need you to listen.”
Rigmor was with that monster and you can’t even tell me how she is and this is a fine morning?
“I understand your worry Guardian but… ”
NO YOU FUCKING DON’T!
We are here because you did not tell me about the revocation of Free City status! You also knew she was protected by International Law. Why send her here Malesam? Did that bitch ask you to?
Malesam looked stricken. He tried to mouth words and gave up. He looked to his daughter with pleading in his eyes. Then looked down while Cerys answered for him.
She looked at me with tears forming and said, “He doesn’t know why Guardian. When you asked him about the ability to sign as a Free City he knew the answer. They had already discussed it and decided together with Rigmor that was just how it had to be. None of them told you Guardian.”
And the protection under International Law?
“Father is an expert in Cyrodiil law, not International. He made a mistake. Blackwell played the game better with his ultimatum. You arrived just as that ultimatum was made and then the plan was immediately put into action and you were sent to find Rigmor.”
I turned to her father, “Malesam, look at me and tell me the truth.”
He stared into my face and said, “I am very fond of Rigmor and so is my Cerys. My Mistress has never asked me to compromise the duty I was hired for. I no longer regard it as duty. It is the right thing to do. Cerys has guided me on what is the right path in all things Guardian. I would not do anything deliberately to put Rigmor in unnecessary danger. I can’t explain why you were not told about the Free City revocation. I know I made a mistake falling for Blackwell’s ultimatum.”
I believe you Malesam. We all make mistakes. As for the thing unsaid, the reason why may never be answered. Now we deal with the consequences.
“Thank you Guardian.”
Before we talk about the trial I am going to tell you Rigmor’s wishes so you can factor them in.
She does not want to hide her Royal blood any more. She told me this just prior to her arrest. They may not have evidence at the moment but ever since Morag’s Daddy has told her she will not stop digging. They will inevitably find evidence.
We also discovered Ser Robere has no feelings for Rigmor at all. She was just the means to getting his hands on Bruma. She never had any intention of marrying him before that discovery anyway. Her feeling towards ‘Bobby’ had changed in recent days.
He told me his intention to propose and Rigmor decided she would accept. If they knew about her Royal blood they would think twice about making it an issue if Bruma was allied with Leyawiin. She was going to break off the engagement once safely back in Bruma.
I looked at Cerys and said to her, “You know why she changed her mind about Bobby. We will keep that quiet for now.”
Cerys smiled and said, “Yes, of course.”
Malesam looked at me and said, “We are not all blind Guardian. As for her wish to reveal her bloodline, I am unsure as to the best strategy as yet. We do not even know if she has confessed.”
What is next?
“The Lord Chancellor has requested we meet in the Temple Gardens. I suggest we do so immediately. The trial will start in a few hours and I must finalise my strategy.”
One last question. Who is investigating Hammerfell? I know you did not intend to go till Rigmor was safe back in Bruma but now…
“Sethri volunteered to go. I’m far too old and decrepit anyway. Sethri asked me to pass on Azura’s blessings.”
I am not surprised he came. Morag let something slip when we had a friendly talk. All of this is fluff compared to Molag Bal’s plans. We are all being led by our noses to a destiny long in the planning by immortals willing to accept too much collateral damage.
“More than a few ripples Guardian?”
More like a tidal wave. Let us go and talk to Blackwell. Do not worry Malesam, I will watch my temper and be careful of my words. He must be good to beat you at this political game.
As we walked through the Palace and out into the sunshine I pondered my change. There was no longer an “inner beast’. We were one voice now. Not a killing machine revelling in violence or a cautious man avoiding collateral damage. We were one with a clear goal. Find and protect Rigmor, no matter the cost. It made sense now I know the stakes. Not just mortals but The Divine themselves are at stake.
We approached Blackwell and greetings were exchanged. He then asked us to follow him. He said as we walked, “As you probably know or don’t know, the Emperor’s coronation has been postponed to make way for the trial. It will begin shortly. Charges will be read out and the prosecution will makes its case. Sitting on the Jury will be the six houses of Cyrodiil. This is a prerequisite as the defendant is of noble status. All the parties have been advised. One thing you can be assured of, it will be fair.
We stopped under a gazebo of some sort.
I approached Blackwell and said, “Sorry if I am a bit sceptical but for some reason I really do not trust any of you.”
“This is not the game, this is the law. I will be presiding over the proceedings and will advise the Emperor as he has the last say. Court Adviser Malesam will put the case for the defence; Morag Sethius will be prosecuting on behalf of the Emperor. I know what you are thinking Dragonborn, I advise you to refrain from saying it.”
I had always been a stickler for the law Blackwell. I know all about Morag after our talk. I care not for her. She is but a puppet of her Daddy. He is the danger to your Emperor Blackwell, not Rigmor or I.
(If he noticed the past tense he gave no indication.)
Malesam added, “The Counts will hear statements from the prosecution and defence then the defendant, ahem, Rigmor, will be questioned. The court will deliberate then finally Rigmor will have a chance to make a statement. She might want to have her say, make a confession or say nothing at all.”
I asked Blackwell, “How is she Blackwell? Have you seen her?”
“She’s not very good.”
Tell me Blackwell, what did Morag do to her? I am afraid she may have taken out her anger at me and her fear of me on Rigmor. I need to know!
“I am afraid… I am not at liberty to discuss… “
Malesam stepped in and showed some anger, “Poppycock Blackwell and you know it! We need to prepare him for the worst.”
Blackwell turned his back and started to tell me. There was genuine emotion in his voice as he recalled, “She was interrogated by the prosecutor as is standard procedure. We do not allow torture. They took her into the cell and she was made to sit. Then her hair was shorn and she began to cry. It is standard procedure to humiliate the accused, to break down any self-respect or any scrap of dignity they may have left. It is nothing personal.”
I told you of her past Blackwell. She only started growing her hair again after we defeated the New Order and killed its leader. Her hair represented her freedom from that past. She was not crying for her hair. By cutting it you bastards have dragged her back into the dark. Back to the time the Thalmor had their hands on her. It is very personal to any who have helped her find the light again. Any who love her.
“You must try and compose yourself.”
Malesam added, “Guardian, Rigmor is a tough girl. Be thankful it is illegal to use traditional… er …interrogation methods. It really doesn’t bear thinking about, trust me…”
I turned back to Blackwell, “Malesam means well but if anybody knows how tough Rigmor is it would be me. But you can see from the cutting of the hair she is vulnerable to her past memories. I am currently more than composed Blackwell. So tell me what happened, did Rigmor confess?”
One again he turned his back and once again emotion was heard. He said, “No, she did not confess. Something strange happened. The prosecutor stood behind her and tore her dress asunder, exposing her back. She just stood there, staring at the scars, for what seemed an eternity. All that could be heard was the soft gentle sobbing. Then Morag just left. She stormed out as quickly as she had arrived. I tried to console the Countess and had her placed in a comfortable secure room and she was given prison attire to protect her modesty.”
She did come in angry with me because I had guessed her past. When she saw those scars she remembered. Do not mistake it for compassion. She could not face her past in front of her and ran away from it.
Malesam said, “Guardian, she needs you to be strong. If she is found guilty and exiled we will worry about that when the time comes. When the trial starts you must keep control of yourself, especially when Rigmor enters the room.”
Why have I been asking these questions Malesam? You have never seen me lose control and I am sick and tired of you underestimating me. I have accepted what I am. I am stronger now than I have ever been because I have fully accepted Lord Akatosh’s gift. Understand?
Both of you. I do not need dire warnings about me losing control and consequences. I am trusting the law despite some barbaric elements. How does this work Blackwell? What are the mechanics?
“There are six jury members. The charge is treason. If their verdict is four against, she will be acquitted. If they fail to reach a verdict, she will be acquitted. If it is a hung jury I get the final say on the evidence provided. With no evidence or credible testimonies I will advise the Emperor to acquit the Countess. Know this, if there is evidence I will pursue a guilty verdict.”
As you should Blackwell. That is the law.
Malesam addressed Blackwell, “Thank you Lord Chancellor. You have been most helpful.”
As Blackwell turned to leave a very unwelcome visitor arrived, “Woo hoo… Dragonborn!”
Malesam asked, “What’s this?”
Blackwell answered, “His name is Balin and lives with his mother by the lake. Please excuse me. I must prepare for the task ahead.”
As Blackwell walked away, Balin rushed towards us in his usual excited state. He stopped in front of me after brushing past Cerys who said, “Hey, watch it!”
Balin started his excited banter in his usual amplified voice, “Are these your friends Dragonborn? I am so excited, ooh, I think I might faint. Oh!”
Malesam said to Balin, “I say my good man, it is good to meet you but we have important business to discuss.”
Bain replied, “I have followed Dragonborn for as long as I can remember. I have the biggest collection of news clippings of his adventures.”
Balin turned to Cerys and asked, “Who are you? You are pretty! Oh, my cheeks are glowing.”
Cerys was not amused, “Get away from me you freak!”
Malesam asked, “I see, you must be such an adoring fan to follow the mighty Dragonborn?”
Balin looked around and asked rather loudly, “Where is the Countess Rigmor? Do you know her too Mr Kind Old Man? She is related to the Emperor Titus Mede I, isn’t that wonderful!”
I said to my fan, “Balin, my friends and I need to talk and you need to go. Now!”
“Oh I… I’m sorry. Er… goodbye… “
Silence for a few stunned seconds as Balin ran off crying.
I said to Malesam, “Well that has decided that then.”
“Ah! We don’t know that, he might not have heard.”
Cerys said, “Pretty much everyone would have heard that.”
I said to Malesam, “It makes no difference if Blackwell heard or not. It proves that information about Rigmor’s heritage is out there and if Balin found it then others can. Balin is annoying but innocent. If Blackwell heard that and needs a witness or evidence what do you think might happen to him? He could be confused and scared and Lord Chancellor Blackwell is not a ‘nice old man’. If we go into court today and deny Rigmor’s heritage and she is acquitted we are back at square one. Dreading the day somebody finds the evidence Balin did. A second trial after we lied at the first would be a disaster. Also remember Rigmor’s desire. She is not here to voice it so I will say it again. She is sick of hiding. Of being scared of who she is.”
“You are right Dragonborn. It is time for Rigmor to come home and stop running. No more looking over her shoulder. I honestly think this will help her. In court today I will put this whole thing behind her for good or ill. Whether she be found guilty or acquitted is not the most important thing. It is time to put this whole thing to bed once and for all.”
I assume if she does a courtroom confession that will halt proceedings quickly and a verdict called for immediately. If exiled where will they send her?
“There is an island located in the Sea of Ghosts called Roscrea. There was an abandoned Fort on the Northern tip which Sethius has turned into a prison. All exiles are sent there. Nobles hostages, political activists, religious extremists, Daedric devotees… ahem!”
It is not illegal to worship Daedric Princes and you know that. They would have to arrest every Dunmer that crossed into Tamriel. I hire many of them within my orphanages.
“Blackwell does as he wishes when filling up the prisons.”
I know of Roscrea and its history. It now belongs to Solitude and my good friend High Queen Elisif the Fair. It will be manned by regular Imperial Troops and not these pretend ones you may have noticed stinking up the place. That gives me heart but still, will they hand her over without violence? I hope so.
“If Rigmor is exiled I will need to return to Bruma immediately. Cerys will accompany Rigmor in exile as her lady in waiting. Make your way to Dawnstar. There is a trade route with a small fishing village on the South of the island. Any of the fishing boats will know the area and take you straight to the prison jetty for the right price.”
“It is time, shall we proceed?”
I followed the pair to the Imperial Chamber which has been turned into a courtroom for today. The plan sounds easy except for one thing. They will take Rigmor and Cerys overland to whichever port they use to sail to Roscrea. One on the West coast of Cyrodiil most likely. I could not use such a vessel and must travel overland to Dawnstar. I assume they have replaced the dead troops and repaired the border crossing. I dare not attack it for the second time and hope not to be recognised and reported. I will have to take a risk. A big risk with something the College has been working on. I will make that decision when I have to.
We entered the Imperial Chamber and the heavy infantry were all in the same spot for the signing of the Decree. Morag and the Emperor sat upon their thrones. The jury, the Count and Countesses, were arranged to either side of a central platform. That will be for Rigmor to stand on with her armed escort flanking her. Blackwell was standing before a lectern.
I made my way to the front row seats set aside for Cerys and I. Malesam made his way to Blackwell’s left.
As I sat next to Cerys the room was loud with murmurs and whispers. I have no doubt the political game was still going on as we waited for the trial to begin.
Here is the transcript as I remember it;
- Blackwell: Silence! Court is now in session. The case being heard is The Empire versus Rigmor, Countess of Bruma. The accusation is of treason on two counts. We will determine if she has a royal bloodline and is therefore a pretender by default. We will determine if she planned to usurp the Imperial Throne by subterfuge. I call the prosecution to make their case. Please proceed.
- Morag: The Countess is not who she claims to be. She has been harbouring a secret. We are here today to fully expose the trail of lies and deceit she has woven and prove beyond doubt her reasons for signing the Noble Decree did indeed have ulterior motives. That she intended to infiltrate the House of Cyrodiil to cause dissent, to intrigue and subvert so as to place her in a position of power to make her claim to the Mede Dynasty. A dynasty that has been legally passed on to our great Emperor Ariel Sethius by right of combat. I put this to the jury, Rigmor, the Countess of Bruma, is a pretender to the imperial Throne. Thereby committing treason. That you should find her guilty so that she spend the rest of her days banished in exile and the House of Bruma be dissolved.
- Blackwell: I call the defence to make their case, proceed.
- Malesam: The Countess of Bruma is innocent of the charges brought against her and I put it to the jury that they think very carefully of the implications a guilty charge would bring. I put it to the jury that they will find before them not a subversive power hungry pretender to the Imperial Throne but quite the opposite. They will see but a young vulnerable girl caught up in events not of her choosing that have led her to this day. They will witness the truth about Rigmor of Bruma, her name, which in itself, sounds as if it could be a tragi-comedy you would see in a local amphitheatre but there is no comedy in this play we are her to see today, only tragedy. I implore you to find the accused not guilty and be acquitted so she can simply return home, where she belongs.
- Blackwell: Bring in the accused.
I no longer have an inner beast to battle. I am the beast and I am Wulf combined. I am the Dragonborn. The beast was a problem because it had to fight for its voice. It would get desperate and wait and take over and quickly express itself before it was suppressed again. It did damage during those brief periods of stolen freedom. That made it more unwanted and more effort was expended to suppress it. I have made it this far by separating what I thought of as Wulf and the beast. The fact I was talking to it should have been proof it was not my natural state. This is and here is its first test.
My beloved appeared and there were gasps of genuine shock. Others saw a beautiful woman stripped of her finery, glorious hair and dignity. Forced to appear bare footed and in grubby prison issue underwear. They measured her fall by their shallow assessment of what nobility is. Hence the gasps and murmurs of disbelief.
I saw my Rigmor. Head held high. She walked faster than her armed escort expected. She climbed without hesitation onto the podium many meters ahead of those who would end her life in a second. She stood on the dais and stared at her accusers with the look many have cowered before. She was by far the most noble in this room. She was the epitome of royalty and I was so proud.
The inner beast would have railed and swore and put all in danger. Instead of watching and appreciating I would have been fighting to suppress. The rage is free to express itself when needed. There was nothing to rage at. Their attempt to humiliate failed before those who know what constitutes dignity.
I whispered to Cerys, “She is magnificent!” She looked at me and smiled. She saw what I did.
- Blackwell: Silence, silence, silence.
A few seconds later the murmurs and whispers fell silent.
- Blackwell: Rigmor, Countess of Bruma, you have been brought here today to hear the charges against you. You are accused of treason. How do you plead?
- Rigmor: Not guilty!
- Blackwell: The prosecutor may proceed.
- Malesam: Permission to interject Lord Chancellor?
- Blackwell: Go on…
Malesam combined his knowledge of the political game and law to perfection. He painted a picture of Rigmor opposite to reality. It fit with the shallow views of those who were on the Jury. It was a master-stroke. Rigmor knew her role and played it to perfection.
- Malesam: As you can clearly see, the Countess of Bruma, who I shall refer to as Rigmor, is in poor health and is clearly disoriented. Before the prosecutor questions her, I would like to speak to Rigmor directly. Only for a moment as to clarify her position so that she knows just what is actually going on around her.
- Blackwell: Prosecutor?
- Morag: No objection.
Malesam approached the dais and stood directly in front of Rigmor
- Malesam: Now Rigmor, don’t be afraid as today you will be free. No more running away, no more hiding. So I want you to listen carefully. Whatever questions the prosecutor asks, you must tell the truth. You must not hold back. You have nothing to hide or be ashamed of. Tell it as it is. Do you understand?
- Rigmor: Yes.
- Malesam: There’s a good girl. Thank you Lord Chancellor.
Malesam addressed Blackwell and then Morag.
- Malesam: Than you Lord Chancellor. Prosecutor. No need to accuse, interrogate or intimidate. Ask her what you want to know and she will comply.
- Blackwell: The prosecutor may proceed.
- Morag: Rigmor. Are you a direct descendent of the Emperor Titus Mede I?
- Rigmor: Yes.
- Morag: How did you acquire the title and deeds to the county of Bruma?
- Rigmor: Emperor Titus Mede II bestowed them upon me.
- Morag: Did you plot to usurp the Imperial Throne by subterfuge?
- Rigmor: No.
- Morag: Do you admit that by your lineage you are a pretender to the Imperial Throne by default?
- Rigmor: Yes.
- Morag: Guilty by her own words.
The crowd erupted in loud protests and I could sense Morag would not be regarded as the winner even if Rigmor is convicted.
- Blackwell: Silence, silence, silence…
It took far longer to quieten down than when Rigmor had entered. There was genuine disapproval of this treatment of a Royal Princess. It was one of those rare occasions when a title is useful.
- Blackwell: Court Adviser Malesam. You realise that the countess had, by her admissions, brought these proceeding to an abrupt close?
- Malesam: I do and thank the Gods. Now I would like to exercise my right to advocate clemency.
- Morag: Objection!
- Blackwell: Objection denied. Continue Court Adviser Malesam.
He played their heartstrings like a lute. He was brilliant.
- Malesam: Gentlemen of the jury, Lord Chancellor. What you see before you is no usurper. Not a threat to the Imperial Throne. Until recently she was considered a commoner, not even of noble blood. She did not come to sign the Noble Decree to cause dissent, she came to sign it because she was scared. Her ancestry was a curse, something to be hidden. “Why?’ you might ask. It was a curse because eventually it would lead to a day like today. Her ancestry should have been cause for celebration. Ties to a dynasty was something Titus Mede II held dear. He himself bestowed the titles and deeds of the County of Bruma upon her house. That fact should be duly noted in your deliberations. So I ask for clemency and that she be able to keep the titles legally awarded her by her former Emperor. I ask you to be merciful and that she be cared for as befitting a Royal Princess.
I whispered to Cerys, “Whatever mistakes your father made in sending Rigmor here, he has just redeemed himself many times over. You should be proud.”
Cerys did not turn to face me, she nodded her head in agreement and I knew she would have tears rolling down and a smile on her face.
Blackwell walked to each Count and was given their vote on each charge. He then returned to his lectern to deliver the verdict.
Soft murmuring could be heard in anticipation of the jury’s decision.
- Blackwell: Silence, the court has come to a verdict.
Absolute silence followed.
- Blackwell: Countess Rigmor of Bruma is found not guilty of the charge to usurp the Imperial Throne by subterfuge.
Quiet murmurs of approval the quickly died down.
- Blackwell: Countess Rigmor of Bruma is found guilty of the charge of asserting her royal bloodline as a pretender by default and is sentenced to be exiled on the island of Roscrea for 25 years.
Much louder murmurs of absolute disapproval. A great sense of injustice prevailed amongst the crowd. To be punished for having Royal blood seemed absurd and so it was. It was also the law. Not all laws make sense.
- Blackwell: Silence, silence, silence…
The palatable anger was slow to subside. Eventually Blackwell talked over the last of the dissenters.
- Blackwell: As is the unanimous wish of the Houses of Cyrodiil, Rigmor will retain her noble titles and deeds. The County of Bruma will be administered by her family in her absence. It is the express wish of all that she be cared for as befitting a Royal Princess.
A sudden cacophony of grumbling and arguing and anger could be heard. Blackwell spoke loudly, “Take her down!”
I watched Rigmor leave with the same dignity she entered. This time far more people recognised the nobility that I have known since first learning from her lips her own tragic story,
I approached Malesam who had just had the indignity of Cerys leaning up and pecking him on the cheek and then squeezing him tight. I saw a smile flicker across his face as she reluctantly let him go.
I said to him, “I thank you Malesam. The law is idiotic but you have done the best you could for our Princess and her family.”
I think he was stunned by my approval.
Robere came running up yelling, “Guardian! Guardian we must do something!”
I grabbed him by his collar and leaned in then used the Thu’um so my words echoed around the Imperial Chamber.
Ser Robere. You have lied to and misled my charge, Princess Rigmor of Bruma. You have no genuine feelings for her. You pretended affection in the hopes of marrying simply to get control of Bruma. I, Wulf, Dragonborn and Champion of The Divine and Arch Mage of the College of Winterhold swear this to be true in front of all here who witness. The engagement is nullified. No marriage between you and her will ever be regarded as legal. I will enforce this in law and for perpetuity via the sacred charge given to the College of Winterhold by Titus Mede I. If nothing else regard this as a class decision. Bandit and son of a bandit is not a fit lineage to take the hand of a Royal Princess in marriage.
He stormed off to complain to his father who just laughed at him. Others who had never witnessed the Thu’um in action were talking about that. I could not believe I was still hearing, “Is that the Dragonborn?” Some who played the game sniggered at Robere’s failed manoeuvre.
Having received no satisfaction from his father Robere stormed out of the Chamber.
I approached Malesam and noticed Cerys had already left. I hoped she saw Ser Robere’s lesson. It will cheer Rigmor up I am sure. I do hope any real feelings she had for him cause as little pain as possible. Cerys will help with that I am also sure.
Malesam said, “The nobles backed us Guardian. It will be much harder for them to try anything and will give you a better chance to get her out of there. Rigmor will have a personal guard and be kept as comfortable as possible. Cerys will be with her.”
What will you do now?
“I shall go back to Bruma and console Sigunn.”
Now they are playing their game by my rules. What can we expect?
“I will prepare for a siege and reach out to the nobles. In particular Leyawiin, they won’t be expecting that.”
After I just publicly humiliated the Count’s son I bet they won’t! Be careful, he did not do it alone. Morag was involved somehow.
“Count Leyawiin enjoys the game. He will regard it is a learning experience for Ser Robere. The Count himself will not be happy this trial occurred. He would view it as an insult to nobility and he does take his new class rather seriously Guardian. Hopefully Sethri will have something and I can of course, ask my Mistress for guidance.”
Once again I ask you to be careful of her motivations. She may end up helping us tremendously but there will be a price.
“I know you will hate being asked but I would be remiss not to. Do you know what to do?”
I will head to Dawnstar and hire a fisherman to take me to the prison jetty.
“By the time you get there the girls may have been in prison for a while. Do whatever you need to do to release them. We are on borrowed time.”
Just then a guard rushed into the Chamber and yelled, “The prison is on fire!”
Malesam said, “By the Gods, Guardian come on!”
I followed Malesam out of the Palace and onto the streets. He was remarkably fast for his age.
As we approached the prison I could see smoke bellowing from it. People were running away from the inferno.
Cerys was standing outside the entrance to the prison panicking and yelled, “She is still in there Dragonborn. Get her out of there!”
Malesam asked her, “Cerys, calm down. Where is she, where did they take her?”
Cerys replied, “They took her to the holding cells on the lower floor. Hurry!”
This is a bit suspicious don’t you think Malesam? I will get her if she is there.
I then entered the inferno.
This was no normal fire. This was an oil fire. A deliberate fire.
I was not surprised to see Robere. In a room not on fire of course. I said to him, “If she gets hurt Robere, you die. Keep out of my way.”
He snarled and attacked me.
I put him down and did not bother further with the dog.
I made my way downstairs to a sturdy door. I was hopeful the fire had not got to the lower levels yet. Then I heard Rigmor scream my name and burst through the door…
And fell into a pit. It had been Morag impersonating my beloved and was now laughing. I looked up and saw Robere staring at me.
Does he not realise that even from here he would be dead if I wished? A shout could disintegrate him. A lightning bolt could turn him into a pile of ash. I could summon many different entities, including an ancient hero from Sovngarde, who would kill him in seconds.
I did not want him dead. I wanted him alive with many years to regret this. I want to slowly reduce him from this arrogant little shit into a quivering mess asking for forgiveness. Death would be too quick.
I yelled up, “Get on with your pathetic speeches. Try not to bore me to death.”
Robere did not disappoint, “I’m sorry Guardian, I truly am but it is nothing personal. I hope you appreciate that? You gotta look after number one right? I only want Bruma County, nothing more.”
Come on Robere, we kind of figured that out and Rigmor said yes just to make you look like an idiot. It worked.
“Rigmor means nothing to me and she never has. Used to get right up my nose. She would just never shut up. The amount of shit I had to listen to! She would just go on and on. Did she used to do that with you? Yes of course I am sure she did. Haha, and I’ll bet you felt the same as me, yes, she would ramble on and on and I would smile and feign interest. When all I really wanted to do was punch her in that fucking mouth. It took everything in me not to stuff her fucking mouth with my fist. She always was a whiny little cunt. I am sure you will agree.”
That I would love to see Robere. She is a warrior and daughter of one of the greatest in Tamriel’s history. She would kill you in seconds, sword in hand or not. I could kill you right now but I want you alive. I have faced and beat Alduin and worse. I have been in Oblivion many times yet you gloat over me being in a pit. Start running and don’t waste your head start. I am coming for you Bobby.
Morag said to Robere, “Thank you Bobby. Now go tell them the Countess is alive and luckily had already left for Roscrea. We will arrange a wedding somehow despite the Guardian’s boast. Once you become Count of Bruma we’ll arrange something nice for her so you can get a proper wife.”
Robere scampered off like a good lap dog and we heard the door close before Morag addressed me, ”I must give Bobby a nice slow meaningful death for talking about Rigmor like that. He is such utter scum. Dragonborn. Not the brightest candle in the stack are you. Again you have proven yourself to be way out of your depth. I expected so much more from you. All those big words. What was it you called me again?”
(Have you ever heard a yawn boosted by the Thu’um? That is what I gave Morag.)
“Don’t you find it paradoxical that you, Tamriel’s most powerful killing machine is reduced to a shameful, obsolete wretch? Twice now you have placed Rigmor in mortal danger and what is really tragic is right now, when she does need you, you are not there for her. It truly is heart breaking because she really is a great girl and she has been through so much. After our last little meeting I was so angry with myself. Oh believe me I wanted to hurt her because of you. I was thinking of you in that filthy cell as I hacked away at her beautiful hair. Then she began to cry and I wasn’t expecting that. When I stood behind her and ripped her dress almost completely in two she tried to dignify her modesty by crossing her arms. Then I saw it and from that moment we became sisters, no lover, she moved me.”
(I started to make a pyramid out of some shin bones. Morag continued unfortunately.)
“I felt every single lash she had felt and I wanted to cry with her. I wanted to hold her close, lightly in my arms and tell her everything will be OK. Don’t cry. Shhh! No one is ever going to hurt you ever again. For I am now your guardian and protector and no man shall ever place his hands on you. From this moment you are eternally mine.”
Slight mistake there Morag. A Guardian is supposed to be stronger than the person they are protecting. Oh shit, you still have more? Go on then.
“Sadly this is where we say goodbye. Don’t worry about Rigmor, she is in safe hands now. Oh here, I thought you might appreciate a small gift. It is a lock of Rigmor’s hair. By the way, these labyrinths under the city are ancient and this one has something special. Literally one of a kind. I hope you brought a torch with you. You will need it. But here, take mine just in case. When you do come face to face with death I would hate for you not to be able to see it coming.”
I have a present for you Morag.
(I did a half strength Unrelenting Force Shout that sent her flying. I heard a satisfying thump as she hit the ground.)
Thanks for the hair but I didn’t need the torch. I suppose it is the thought that counts when it comes to presents. My present to you is the same I just gave Bobby. I give you your life and a head start. Did you tell Daddy you fucked up and told me about the Red Diamond? Or was it the Amulet of Kings? Either way you are nothing in the big picture. Run Morag! No use shouting for the guards this time is there?
I heard Morag scramble to her feet. Then she walked over and pulled a lever whilst uttering some very unladylike words.
The trap shut and she ran to the exit without another word.
Instinctively I knew Morag was going to make more mistakes. She is the type who doesn’t realise their own limitations compared to their foe. First she slipped up about the Red Diamond/Amulet of Kings and now she has shown mercy to Rigmor. This type boasts and boasts and looks surprised when they find a foot of steel poking out of their chest. They are a liability to a team. She is a liability to Molag Bal.
I also suspect she knows I will get out of here. I doubt something as powerful as she indicated lives down here. Ancient? Yes. As powerful as anything I have faced before? No.
Looking at the skeletons these poor wretches died on impact. Since there is no clothing or other items I suspect they were prisoners. Naked and thrown into the pit. Cyrodiil justice at its purest.
I started making my way through the ruins. Ayleid in origin and most likely an original part of the city.
There were lit lanterns. Somebody wants me to find my way and have lighted the way.
I started hearing deep rumbling. If a rock could mourn, that is what it sounded like.
In the past I followed a trail of red flowers. This time I followed a trail of red blood and corpses. I prefer the flowers. They smelt much better than these torn up New Imperial soldiers. I wonder if they were sent down to take care of Mr Moaner.
I eventually came to a whole pile of corpses and the moaning was now intermingled with snorting and deep breaths. Curiosity peaked and I stepped into a large chamber.
If only Rigmor were here to see a most magnificent of beings, a Minotaur Lord! He spoke to me, “Dovahkiin. Come forth into the light.”
His voice was like gravel in a bucket. It echoed in the empty spaces. I stood before him.
He said, “Al-Esh has smiled upon me this day. She promised me you would come.”
Saint Alessia, Slave Emperor and Lady of Heaven. You are truly blessed if she talks to you.
“I am Lord Mor’Bel-Harza.”
And I am Wulf, Dragonborn and Champion of The Divine. I am truly humbled to meet you Lord Mor’Bel-Harza. You have been expecting me? Why?
“Because of the prophesy of Al-Esh. She is waiting.”
What is she waiting for?
“She is waiting for me to return to the stars.”
I have met others of species that were supposed to be extinct. How many of you are left may I ask?
“I am the last of my kind. Once we were many and thrived all over Tamriel. Al-Esh looked down and she was pleased. We lived here in peace and flourished. Many amongst the jewel encrusted cities of ancient Cyrodiil. Our wings carrying us up on high and to far off lands. We were the children of Al-Esh and like winged horned Gods we played among the stars. We took our place amongst the many people.
But the hearts of men became dark and they came to fear us. We were shunned, reduced to the status of beasts and monsters, and we retreated into the dark caves and forests of the land. For thousands of years we watched their Empires rise and fall, the Elven Kingdoms come and go, mighty Dwarven Citadels crumble in ruin. But we were the blight of men and mer. We became trophies and sport for the Arena. We were hunted down relentlessly and without mercy until we were on the verge of extinction.
I, Lord Mor’Bel-Harza, gathered the last of us and we rose up to defend our very existence but they were too many. All but a few, including the little ones, perished and they captured and enslaved us. They tore off our wings and imprisoned us in these ancient Labyrinths. Our anguished cries, sounding the passing of our kind, rose up into the heavens. Al-Esh heard our cries and was angry and she cursed the land.
All that sought to reign over it would never find peace until her children were free. Tamriel would plunge into ruin, decadence and perpetual war everlasting. Akatosh pleaded that she release the curse while Molag Bal laughed.
Now I am the last. Al-Esh is calling and I have been waiting for the coming of a half-beast. One of my kind to free Lord Mor’Bel-Harza and release the curse. To signal the beginning of a new golden age and the arrival of the chosen Queen of Tamriel.”
I have objected to the name ‘half-beast’ in the past. It looks like I was mistaken and will now wear it as a badge of honour. What must I do Lord Mor’Bel-Harza?
“Release me from this living hell so that I can return to my Celestial realm, to Al-Esh and my people. Free my soul so that I can returned to my loved ones and soar amongst the stars complete and whole again.”
You wish me to end your life?
“Strike quickly my brother. Then take my heart and place it in the fire and you will be free to leave this place.”
I will be both honoured and sad to return you to the stars and loved ones. For what it is worth, I apologise for the evil and envy contained in the hearts of mer and men. They have no excuse when they have been blessed with free choice.
“Hurry. Al-Esh is waiting.”
Lord Mor’Bel-Harza presented his neck to me without fear but anticipation. I swung “The Sword” with all my might and precision and removed his head in a single blow.
I removed his heart and placed it in the brazier.
I was free to leave but would never be free of the barbaric act I performed to gain that freedom.
I stepped outside and saw the Imperial City in the distance.
Nearby was a small fishing village. Going by boat to Dawnstar from there would be many days travel. Travelling across country would be several days at least and that is if I could cross the border.
Yesterday I would have debated the risk. Today I know it is the logical thing to do. I had several mages at the College investigating the teleport magics of the past. Like much knowledge of the arcane arts, the ability to teleport safely had been lost. We had set up an experimental teleport point in my quarters at the college. It could only be teleported to and only from outside. So far I had only tried it from fairly short distances within College grounds. Now I was going to try from thousands of miles away. If I get lost in Aetherius forever I will haunt Ser Robere till his dying days.
I cast the spell.
And found myself instantly at the teleport point.
I staggered down the stairs to my bed. Where I collapsed and remembered no more.
I awoke several hours later with a splitting headache. I had no time to waste and rushed out of the College and into Winterhold. Several students and teachers were given the brush off and must have wondered if they should start running as well. Perhaps one of the Arch Mages experiments has gone wrong?
I summoned Blaze and rode full speed across the ice and snow towards Dawnstar.
I was too fast for the predators and they did not even pursue me as I sped across Southern Skyrim.
I arrived in Dawnstar and headed straight for the docks. After asking around I was pointed to a local fisherman who knew the route to Roscrea.
I approached him and asked, “I am in urgent need of passage to Roscrea. Specifically the Prison on the Southern Tip. I was told you know the route?”
“Yes but I am not taking you there. Many strange vessels have been seen there recently. Too risky for me.”
This could be a matter of life or death friend. If you can’t help me is there another?
“I can see the urgency in you. I am the livelihood of my family and can’t risk my life. I can sell you one of my older boats if you wish,”
We made a deal for the boat, which I thought was fair but did not care anyway. The fisherman gave me directions and off I set.
Using the teleport spell was slightly risky. This was insanely risky. I have only been in a boat, make that a ship, twice. To and from Solstheim. I jumped into this boat with a few hasty lessons on jiving and sheets and other nautical terms new to me. As Dawnstar slowly faded from view I am sure the fisherman was placing bets with himself that I would be fish food in a few hours.
I can remember virtually anything I have read or heard. So I had no difficulties remembering the basics of sailing I had just been taught. He also gave me very basic navigation directions to where I was going. Keep going North, North West, till I see a big thing approaching. That would be Roscrea. Skirt along the east coast till I come to the end of it then turn left. After I while I should see the prison come into view. The fisherman assured me I can’t miss the island or the prison.
What he didn’t tell me is I would be in the dark by the time I got there. So as not to lose track of the east coast I risked being closer to shore than was wise. How loud should breakers be before they signal danger? I don’t know but they were awfully loud sometimes.
After many hours I found the prison jetty and leapt off the boat to carnage.
There were buildings on fire. Bodies of civilians, including children, interspersed with Imperial troops.
I would return to Morag and her puppet husband in front of an army as had never been seen before. I would give evidence in front of High Queen Elisif of the atrocities I have seen and how they killed a Princess and the forces of Skyrim would mobilise. Imperial Troops in all provinces would move against the tyranny of Sethius’ rule and follow a new Tiber Septim. I would lead dozens of the most powerful mages in Tamriel and destroy their defences from the back of Odahviing. A Dragonborn would claim the Ruby Throne and show no mercy to those who opposed his march. All those complicit in the death of my beloved would die whether by headsman or in battle.
This was the fate that awaited the world if I entered the prison and found Rigmor deceased.
I encountered only dead bodies and no enemy as I approached the main gate. I saw the silhouette of some type of soldiers against a fire in the background. One of them had just slit the throat of a soldier or civilian. I could not tell from this distance. I fired a fireball and the battle began.
They came streaming out of the entrance and I hit them with spell and Thu’um and killed many before I had to draw my sword.
Some were vampire in nature and wasted their final moments using blood magic against me. I was immune to all of it as far as previous experience had taught me.
Some were very skilled swordsman and used katana. In a practised hand they were the quickest of long blades and some of the sharpest as well. My shield was used constantly to block and bash.
The last to fall was a marksman. He had no chance against my Thu’um and as he stood to draw his blade I removed his head.
I had a quick look at my dead opponents. The armour and weapons were newly made variants of the ancient Akaviri armour I had given to Kharjo.
The vampire ones must come from Akaviri but they were not Tsaesci. A new slave race? I have no idea.
There was one that looked like some of the descriptions of Tsaesci I had read. I had no time to investigate further. The front door was unlocked.
I burst in and was immediately set upon by four Akaviri.
Unrelenting Force at full strength killed two outright.
And I killed the other two before they got back onto their feet.
I fought my way upstairs and several more rooms.
I burst through another doorway and surprised two of them searching bodies.
My Thu’um sent them smashing against the far wall. Neither survived the impact.
I searched their bodies and found a key to the next locked door.
I unlocked it, burst through it and was met by their leader. A brute in some sort of red leather and chainmail armour. I think he thought the doorway was safe and locked as I caught him unprepared and he died easily.
I removed his helmet. He was a Tsaesci.
A prison door faced me with a superior lock that I was never going to pick. I did not know of there were more enemy troops so quietly searched for the key rather than yell out to see if Rigmor was near.
I found the key in a corner away from the cell. It looked like a guard had thrown it there rather than let those about to slaughter him have it.
They hadn’t got through the door. Rigmor had to be alive in there. I opened it and stepped into the room.
I cautiously peered around a partition and locked eyes with Rigmor.
She flew across the room and yelled “DRAGONBORN!” before trying to squeeze me to death. Then she stood up on her toes and kissed me as deeply and passionately as she has ever done.
When she finally came up for air I looked at Rigmor through tears.
My beloved looked haggard. She must have been in fear for her life. I put my hand under her chin so she looked at me and said, “I thank The Divine they did not get that door open. Are you hurt?”
“No. I think I’m fine.”
Did the Imperial Troops treat you OK?
“Yes. The guards saved my life Dragonborn. We had only just got here an hour or so before we were attacked. They shoved me into this room and locked the cell door and told me to hide. I stayed behind the partition. I could hear them fighting and dying and those guys screaming in some language I have never heard before. Then all went quiet and I knew I was alone and without a weapon. They tried the door and shook it and it would not budge. I heard them muttering and moving things and I assumed they were looking for the key.
Then a few minutes later I heard muffled explosions and your Thu’um Dragonborn and I was full of hope. But you were fighting you way through I did not know how many and they had just slaughtered all of the guards here. It was a race Dragonborn. You getting here or them finding the key. I still did not know for sure if it was you who unlocked this cell until you peered around the partition.
Would they have killed me? Who the hell are these guys? What is going on Dragonborn?”
I think they wanted to capture, not kill, but I can’t be sure. How would they even know you were here? They appear to be from Akavir. Tsaesci and some other type. Some of them are vampires. Many of them carried human flesh when I searched looking for keys. They must have been dropped off by ship but I saw none on the way here. The ship may return at any time. We have to get out of here Rigmor. I have a boat waiting.
“OK. Lead the way Guardian. Did I tell you I love you?”
Was that the ‘M… mmmm… mmm” when you locked my lips in a death grip?
I grinned at that and led my Princess, for that is what she is now called, through the prison.
She was visibly upset at the civilians and prisoners murdered by the Akaviri. It appeared to be senseless slaughter all in an effort to get to Rigmor. Were they in league with Morag or was another party involved? More questions to answer.
We reached the jetty my heart sank. No boat.
Rigmor stood tapping her feet with her arms crossed and gave me one of those stares.
This was going to be a good one I thought to myself and then it started, “Where is the boat?”
It was right here by the jetty.
“Great. Just great. Bravo Dragonborn!”
Hey, you just wait a minute…
“Wait? Hello! Our only transport of this damn Island had just disappeared into thin air, so I guess waiting is something we’re going to be doing plenty of unless you have another great idea.”
Maybe it got stolen by a survivor or drifted out to sea.
“Or maybe… just maybe a mudcrab stowed away and cut the mooring rope with its claws.”
She moved onto the shore where the ear bashing continued, “You did secure the boat right?”
I think so. Well maybe…
“By the Gods!”
Hey! I don’t know what happened to the boat.
“Pffft… whatever… so what do we do now, swim back to the mainland?”
Hey, race you to the other side!
“Don’t you go there Dragonborn. I am not in the mood!”
Maybe, just maybe I risked my life to get to Dawnstar as fast as I could. Maybe, just maybe I sailed a boat for the first time in my life in the dark for hours upon hours to get here. Maybe, just maybe I saw buildings on fire and dead soldiers and civilians on shore. Maybe, just maybe I feared I was too late and leapt out of the boat without securing it. Maybe, just maybe I killed dozens of enemy in desperation to reach you. Maybe, just maybe I reached you just in time to prevent you being snake food. Maybe, just maybe if I had spent time securing the boat I would have been too late and then what? Maybe, just maybe I do not care how ungrateful you are because I know you were and still are scared. Yell at me all you want because I am glad I found you still alive. No maybe on that last one.
I did not expect an apology. That will come later when the steam stops coming out of her ears. With arms still crossed and a killer stare she asked, “So, what do we do now?”
There is a fishing village on the other side of the island. We head for that.
“So you want to hike all the way there in this crappy weather. We will freeze to death out there!”
Let’s go search the prison for maps, charts, food. Anything we could use.
“You’re kidding right?”
I used my imitation Rigmor grumpy voice, “Don’t you go their Princess. I am not in the mood!”
Trust me, have I ever let you down?
“No, never. Well, maybe once. Well twice now including the boat.”
And both times it was just before saving your Royal Arse. Forget about the boat and follow me.
“I’m right behind you.”
Once back in the prison I told Rigmor, “Go and check around and grab anything useful. I’ll check the Governor’s Office.”
“OK. I wonder if I will find a boat in here?”
As Rigmor searched upstairs I looked for the key to the Governor’s Office. Bandits could learn a lesson from the Imperial Army. Spend the money on good locks!
After several minutes I found the key under a stack of papers and opened the door.
I found the Governor dead on the floor with a dagger in his hand. He had slit his own throat.
On the table was a note.
‘They are attacking the prison and are murdering everyone, even the prisoners. I have managed to barricade myself in my quarters. I can hear them trying to break into the noble room upstairs where the princess is kept.
Now they are trying to break down my door. It is only a matter of time. I dread to think what will happen if they catch my wife and I alive. They are monsters, beasts from another world.
But they shall not take what is not theirs to take.
Long live the Emperor.’
I placed the note back on the table. Any following us need to know what happened.
I looked in the back room and the Governor’s wife was on the bed with her throat cut. Some people will fight to the death. Some will surrender. Some will kill themselves rather than do either. To make the later choice and to be the one to end your spouse’s life? That takes a special kind of courage and commitment to each other.
I found nothing useful and entered the front room to find Rigmor in her armour and with her sword. I had a flashback to when I first saw her at Angi’s camp. ‘What is that skinny girl doing with a hand and half bastard sword strapped to her back?’ was my reaction back then.
She said, “Hey! Look what I found.”
Wow, and if I had tied up the boat you would have left them behind! Isn’t that right Rigmor?
“I suppose. You still lost it but!”
“Idiot! Anyway, they must have shipped my stuff from the city.”
“You look just like I remember you except for the wrinkles and a bit of extra weight here and there.”
“Let us go. Just you and me against the whole world again huh?”
With more Gods thrown in this time and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
“Me neither. I… I wanted to ask you about Bobby.”
That will be a long discussion and will have to wait till later OK? We have to get a move on before more of these bloodsuckers turn up.
“Sure but hey, look at the map. It looks like those places marked on the map would give us shelter. Once we reach the forest we can head for the village.”
Okay, map memorised. I’ll take the lead. We can’t falter once we start crossing the ice field.
“Keep moving or freeze. Got it. I’m sorry I yelled at you back there. I didn’t mean any of that.”
Rigmor, I understand when you do. If I thought it was petty or ungrateful I would yell back. I love you warts and all. Not that you have any warts in case you’re wondering.
“Dragonborn… I would follow you into Hell itself if you so demanded it.”
You have already been in hell my beloved and have the scars to prove it. You ready for this?
“I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.”
We exited the prison and headed North to the spiked barricades. Several large spiders were dead around the perimeter. I pointed to one and said to Rigmor, “Be careful. There might be big hairy ones and I know you are scared of those.”
“Just remember who is behind you and has a sharp sword Dragonborn. Good for cutting off big hairy ones.”
We stopped at the exit to the compound and the start of the ice field. I looked at Rigmor and said, “Stay close in case of snowstorms. Keep moving to keep your body temperature up. Moan, complain, whistle, sing or whatever you need to do to keep your determination up. It will be bleak and cold and we can’t stop no matter how tired. OK?”
“OK Dragonborn. Am I allowed to call you names?”
“Let us go get frozen then.”
I turned up my lantern to full but the visibility was poor. The ice and snow was well packed which made the walking easier. The wind howled and snow flurries swirled. I wondered if Rigmor had anything nice to say about this vista.
“I hope you know where you are going. It is so cold we gonna die out here.”
And a little later, “I knew you’d get us lost. Just like last time. I can’t believe you lost the boat. How can anybody lose a boat? Pfft… whatever, Dragonborn!”
Hey, I have never got us lost. Ever!
And a little later still, Hey! I’m freezing my arse off back here! How can anybody lose a great big… ? pfft, oh yeah.”
At least if your arse fell off you wouldn’t be able to moan so much.
“What? Say that again!”
Listen Rigmor. We are nearly there. Stop worrying. We’ll be fine.
“I’m just cold OK… and tired,”
I know Milady. We can both do with a sleep. Maybe a cuddle?
“Sounds great. But don’t you get any weird ideas!”
Not when this cold. Things shrink.
Rigmor laughed and on we trudged.
A while later we arrived at the base camp.
We both scrambled inside and I lit the fire with a bit of magicka.
Rigmor sat on the bed and I sat on the chair next to it.
Rigmor said, “I am so tired I could sleep for a hundred years.”
If you think I am sitting in that chair for a hundred years!
“Haha. So what happened back there, yanno, after they “exiled’ me to this Godforsaken place?”
I was so proud of you in that courtroom Rigmor.
“I was not going to let them beat me Dragonborn. I have faced worse.”
But they haven’t.
“Malesam was great wasn’t he?”
You both fooled them at their game and yes, he was brilliant.
“So what happened after?”
Soon after you left the room Robere came up pretending he was all upset about your exile.
I grabbed him by the shoulders, bent down so we were eye level and used my Thu’um so everybody in the Imperial Chamber could hear me denounce him as a liar and declaring the engagement null and void.
“You didn’t hurt him. You promised!”
I did not hurt him. I did make him shrink a bit when I said, ‘If nothing else regard this as a class decision. Bandit and son of a bandit is not a fit lineage to take the hand of a Royal Princess in marriage.’
“Ouch. What did his father, the Count do?”
I let Bobby go and he ran to his father. Count Leyawiin just laughed at him and told him he has a lot to learn. Bobby then stormed out of the Palace.
They sprung a trap.
“A trap, how do you mean?”
Someone started a fire in the prison and we thought you were still in there.
“I didn’t get to see anyone. They quickly took me outside and put me in closed carriage. That took me to a dock on the West coast. I told them we must wait for Cerys but they didn’t listen. Just before getting bundled in the carriage I saw smoke over the Capital. What happened?”
Bobby led me into a trap. I have an idea what the big picture is and it is bad Rigmor. I don’t think he realises what is at stake.
“The bastard! Bobby is so dead. How did he trap you?”
He was in it with Morag. They planned it together.
“That bitch is also dead!”
You wouldn’t kill your new girlfriend would you?
I will tell you another time but let’s just say she likes scars.
Yep. You are tired so let me finish this for now. To cut a long story short I fell into a Labyrinth. Morag pretended she thought I would die but even she is not that stupid. Bobby might think I am so that will be fun when he sees me again.
“Was there anything to hurt you in there?”
A Minotaur Lord.
“Dragonborn, you are kidding right? Minotaur are extinct!”
Even if he attacked me he was no match. But he didn’t. We talked and we set each other free.
“How Dragonborn? Why would he talk to you?”
It is a story worth its place in history but I am still working out my feelings about it all. Please Rigmor, you are fighting to keep your eyes open. We have another long walk tomorrow. You are so tired I will even forgo the cuddling. I will sit in this lovely chair and we can enjoy the quiet together.
“I knew you would come for me.”
I gave my word. Plus I missed you yelling at me!
“Don’t you ever get tired of saving me?”
What is there to be tired of?
“You must think I am a real pain in the arse.”
I love everything about you Rigmor. The only pain is when we are apart. Hey that was pretty good!
“You still lost the boat.”
(We both had a good laugh.)
“I wrote another poem while I waited for you, Do you want to read it?”
Please Rigmor, I would love for you to read it.
“OK, it is called “Sand, Ice and Blood”
(I closed my eyes. There was no noise as I sat so close. No wind, no flapping of the tent, no destiny. The only sound was the voice of Rigmor which invited me into her world once again.)
“Sand, Ice and Blood.
Bleeding is she, forgotten is he, deeds long past. The gratitude of the people no longer lasts. Blood drips from the guilt, innocents paying for the price of what the wrongs built. Sick of the fighting, sick of the dying, pain our greatest teacher… and enemy. Sands of time pass us by, as we continue to die. What will you shape yourself into? What will you do? Tyrant or benevolent the world you shape is by your hand. Through ice we dice, through sand together we band, through blood, tears and pain from those left.
(I opened my eyes and stared into Rigmor’s)
Can you read my mind? I have always told both enemy and friend, mortal and God, what my philosophy on life is. Every single mortal being of intelligence has free will. They should be judged on their actions, not their race. I have dear friends who are, or were, vampires. I have Daedric worshippers as friends. I am the ultimate Dragonslayer yet count several Dov as friends. The world you shape is by your hand. Never heard it said better my love. You have such a talent and your work should be in a book for all to enjoy.
“Thank you Dragonborn. If we ever get out of here I will one day. I am going to call it “LoonaShadow” after someone who was very special to me a long time ago.”
Okay Rigmor I mean it this time. Head down and get some sleep. A long journey again tomorrow remember!
Rigmor’s head hardly touched the pillow before I heard the familiar rhythm of her breath in sleep.
It is just past midnight on the 10th when I started writing these two days of journal. It was just like years ago. Rush from place to place in a frenzy to rescue Rigmor and forget the sleep.
I am too tired to contemplate everything that has happened and what I have learned.
Hours of walking tomorrow will allow that.
Rigmor still reacts to uncertainty and fear with anger and shouting. It is who she is and I fully understand.
I know not what time I fell asleep.
I know it was to the silence we share. My beloved breathing shallow and my heart beating in time with hers the only sounds I noticed.