First Base Camp, Roscrea Ice Fields, Second Base Camp: Banter and love.
We were both exhausted and slept later than I can recall us ever doing before.
I arose about 10:00AM and built the fire up and cooked a reasonable breakfast. I woke Rigmor at around 11:00AM. I gently shook her shoulder and as she started to come to I said, “Wake up sleepy head. It’s time for food, pee, wash and walking.”
“Do we have to? I was dreaming.”
Not a nightmare I hope?
“No, nothing like that. We were looking at a strange mountain. It was, I dunno, kind of squarish? There were children playing, many many children. A little girl left the others and came towards me. She pointed to the mountain.”
Did she say anything?
Was there a dragon sitting in front of flying around the mountain?
It kind of sounds like one of my schools. Do you think this is another of your strange premonitions?
Is ‘uhuh’ all you can say?
I have a theory. Azura uses seers to feed her insights. She gathers the insights and makes premonitions which she than passes back to a select few Seers and other followers. It is how she manages to manipulate mortals more effectively than other Daedric Lords but not as much as Akatosh. He knows all of time and manipulates us for longer periods of time than the Daedra do. I think you are a seer. You have insight and like all other’s I have met with it, you only get part of the future that can be hard to make sense of without context. A lot like starting at a random point in a story. It takes a being like Azura to gather all the insights and make a narrative from them.
“So at some point I will understand it?”
Yes, with enough clues.
“Is this like the ripples Malesam mentions?”
No, they are important points in time where crucial decisions will be made.
“I think I will change the order.”
“Pee, wash and then food”
Okay but we will have to start out within the hour if we want to reach the next stop before nightfall.
At about 12:30PM we set off across the ice fields once again and Rigmor was quite chirpy. I think she was feeling a lot safer and the long sleep helped.
“Yanno, this is what it must be like on Atmora. It is the most Northern landmass. Did you know that men originated from there? Well, that is what Freathof told me. It wasn’t always ice and snow, it used to have green fields. Then it when all cold… brrr!”
Yes, Ysgramor and the 500 Companions came from there. I met him in Sovngarde. Nirn changes the climate of a land according to the people that live there. Cyrodiil used to be lot warmer with jungles and so on. Things called the Earth Bones are responsible for that.
“A while later Rigmor said, “Yanno, if we get caught out in the open by a storm the best thing to do is dig a hole. Then you cut blocks using the snow from the hole and place them around the pelt. Then we get inside the hole and snuggle up… hehe. You know, keep each other warm with our body heat, teeheehee.”
A bit of friction would heat things up even more. If I was to rub my hands all over different parts of your body it could get very warm in that snug hole I think.
“Which snug hole would that be Dragonborn?”
I will leave that up to your perverted mind Milady.
A bit further along Rigmor said, “Did you know, if you get frostbite in your fingers and toes they can fall off? Not just those but other dangly bits too. I hope you covered up!
I am sure if I got a bite on my dangly bit you would suck the poison out. It is why we have been practising isn’t it?
I turned to my beloved and said, “You must be really cold. Your cheeks are bright red!”
“If you ever want me to practice again you will change subject.”
Not too much further to go. I can see the outline of the forest ahead.
“We should be able to see much better once we get over the rise.”
We did not have much further to go before we reached the forest edge. Rigmor said, “Whoa! We made it, the snow forest. Dragonborn wait!”
Rigmor walked to the cliff edge and started making wolf calls. She would make one and wait to see if there was a response. She did this several times before a pack of wolves answered back.
“Hear that? We don’t want to be going into the forest in this fog. It might also be night before we reach that other cave on the map. We had better check out this cave and sleep here till tomorrow.”
I knew I should have kidnapped Sorella on my way to Dawnstar.
“You would have got an arrow in your head!”
Let me use my Thu’um. Animals often hide for ages if they think there is a Dragon nearby.
I walked to the cliff edge and did the most powerful Unrelenting Force I could. It echoed for several seconds.
Rigmor asked, “Do you think that will scare them away?”
It might. It could also attract any Dovah within hundreds of miles. I can’t remember if there are any on Roscrea.
“As my Guardian you are not very reassuring sometimes.”
The way I see it, every time I rescue you from certain death I get at least a kiss.
“So you planned this all with Morag then?”
Damn, you found out! The cave should be just below this cliff so let’s climb down and have a look shall we?
“OK let’s go.”
What we found was not really a cave. It was more of a recess, a wind break. It had a couple of chairs and a fire pit. No sleeping facilities. We would have to make a bit of a trench near the stones. They would hold the heat from the fire and we should be warm enough in there.
Rigmor said, “Hey, go get some wood and get the fire going. I need to thaw out!”
Yes my Princess. One would hate for your Royal Derrière to get chilly!
I walked over to the wood pile. There was some already chopped but it looked a bit soggy. So I picked up the wood axe and got to work.
Rigmor instructed her servant on the finer points of chopping wood, “Teeheehee. Choppity chop… Hehehehe, don’t overdo it, back straight, pfft haha.”
I walked over to Rigmor and said, “To build a fire and save your Royal arse once again, I will need some branches and twigs for kindling. Would you mind lowering yourself to my level and finding some before I hand you the axe and go look for myself?”
“OK, OK! Keep your hair on. Wait… don’t you dare Dragonborn!”
I know what growing your hair meant after we killed whatshisname. It was a symbol of you moving forward and getting on with your life. I do not find any amusement at all in what she did Rigmor.
“That bitch! First chance I get I am gonna ram my sword right up her arse!”
I would be careful, Bobby is probably hiding up there!
“Ha de haha Dragonborn.”
For what it is worth, I loved your hair in the different styles but you are just as beautiful with the short hair as well. It is cruel what they did but it will grow back. Now what were we saying about branches and twigs?
“Ugghh! OK, OK!”
As Rigmor wandered off to look for kindling I chopped some more wood.
I heard Rigmor yell, “DRAGONBORN! Over here… quick!”
I stopped chopping, put the axe where I found it and rushed around the corner to see what was so urgent.
Rigmor had found the actual cave entrance. I said to her, “Great find Milady! Let’s check it out.”
“Well go on then. You go first. I hate caves?”
What if there is a bear in there and I get eaten before you do your weird magical calming on it? You sure I should go first?
“Go on then. In you go.”
So in I went ready to yell, ‘BIG FUCKING BEAR!’ but it was devoid of hungry wildlife. There were two sleeping pallets with furs, a reasonably comfy looking chair and a fire pit. What immediately caught Rigmor’s eyes were the amazing rock paintings.
I followed my lady and revelled in the excitement and beauty she found in them, “Oh my days Dragonborn look. These are so wonderful! They must be ancient.”
“These are amazing. I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
“Oh my, giants! I heard tales of ice giants inhabiting these islands. I hope we don’t run into any.”
I have encountered quite a few in different places I have been. They are generally quite placid.
Rigmor sat on one of the beds and I lighted the fire.
I then sat next to Milady who asked, “How long do you think it will take for them to find out I’m gone.”
A couple of days at the earliest. It depends on how often the supply the garrison. We do not know what the relationship between the Akaviri and Morag is. If they are in league then they will assume I came and got you. If not they make think you have been taken to Akavir.
“Do you think Morag and those things were working together?”
It would explain how they knew when you were supposed to arrive.
“What will they do?”
They would probably keep the news of the Akaviri quiet and claim I had slaughtered the troops and civilians and prisoners to rescue a legally exiled pretender to the throne. The real Imperial soldiers would be ordered to keep quite under threat of court martial. They would declare Bruma and ourselves as outlaws and try and take your city. Leyawiin would be the most likely troops to lay siege.
“Can they hold out?”
I had a good look when we were there and I believe so. Captain Grimwold had extra volunteers, mainly retired guards, and I am sure others skilled in weapons, such as hunters and caravan guards, would pitch in as well. Your walls are high and strong and it would take a much larger force than Leyawiin has to overpower them quickly. My only concern was catapults. If they were ruthless enough to use them they could eventually make a breach but not before causing fires and possible civilian casualties. There are not enough troops within to sally forth and destroy any catapults deployed.
“We never did figure out what to do if Bruma is under siege did we?”
At first I thought about getting the mages from the College involved and even do a quick recruitment drive. After thinking about it I do not think we should get too many from Skyrim involved. We do not know if removing Sethius is a desirable goal. Any siege could easily turn into a full scale war with the Ruby Throne awaiting the winning side. We will have to think about it and talk some more as we travel to the fishing village.
“Yanno, being out here, in the wilderness with you is something I wouldn’t trade for anything. We are free here and for the first time since we left Bruma I feel safe.”
The same feeling you had in your childhood den. I saw you as a child that day, clear as you are now. The same brown eyes full of wisdom even then.
“You think it was the Gods playing with your mind again?”
No, I think it was your voice and the role playing that took me there. Dragons often see past and future superimposed on the present. Apparently an affinity with time lines is a remnant of the gifts Lord Akatosh bestowed upon me. My Dragon blood and soul makes me a half-beast according to two sources. One I admired and the other I pity. You know the later.
“You mean Morag? I didn’t think I was going to make it. I thought she was going to really hurt me. After she tore my dress almost completely off she stood for a while staring. Then she just left in a hurry. Left me there crying.”
I had a meeting with Morag and made her furious at me. I did not think it through and should have realised she would take her temper and frustrations out on you. It was necessary I make her realise who she is dealing with but perhaps I could have been gentler with her.
“You have told me how you have to make guess after guess all the time Dragonborn.”
Yes and in recent days I have more capacity to accept collateral damage. I just never want to ever regard harm to you in that way. When Morag saw the scars on your back it moved her. They reminded her of her own abuse.
“How do you know and why would you pity such a creature?”
She told me herself when I was caught in the labyrinth. But also she is a Daughter of Coldharbour. Do you know how a vampire becomes one of those?
“I just assumed it was a blessing for favourites from Molag Bal.”
That is the common belief but the reality is far more tragic. Once a year on his summoning day a festival is held where young virgins are transported to Molag Bal’s plane in Oblivion, called Coldharbour, where they are raped by him. Some girls go voluntarily thinking it an honour. Many are forced as they are slaves or prisoners. It is rape Rigmor. It makes no difference if volunteer or forced he violates them in a sick parody on the beauty Dibella had given us. The girls scream and writhe in agony and terror and he cares not. One after other he thus kills or transforms young girls. The one who survive the rape are Daughters of Coldharbour. Most die Rigmor. Most die!
Rigmor reached out and traced my tears. She whispered, “You think she was a slave and forced don’t you?”
Yes but I pity for her. I do not forgive her. ‘The world you shape is by your hand.’ I have a close friend who was a Daughter of Coldharbour. She was given to Molag Bal by her parents who craved his favour. She still loved them despite that. She helped me save the world Rigmor. She even helped me kill her own father. It is a tale I must sit and tell you in full one day as there was much beauty and wonder discovered on our travels. She is now the headmistress of one of my orphan schools. She is also mortal once again. It is like your reaction to Thalmor torture compared to Ulfric’s. You fought, he capitulated.
“I can tell it is an important part of your time away from me and I look forward to the telling. If you are right about Morag’s background then it would explain her reaction. I am still going to shove my sword up her arse though!”
Of course you will. It is expected of a Royal Princess!
“Hahaha! The bitch cut off all my hair and ripped my clothes but I just sat there and just… just let her. It’s like you have absolutely no control over your life or what is going to happen to you. Numbness comes over you and tries to protect you. I felt I was standing there next to her looking on. I started to cry. Not because I felt sorry for myself. I was crying for her. The Girl I used to be. The girl I was trying to be again but fate wouldn’t allow it.”
The little girl I saw in your childhood den.
“Destiny had not yet taken its course and still had your life in its hands, laughing at your suffering. I stood there in rags, with my head shorn, in that filthy cell. The weird thing is, it was almost like a dream to me. I had been there before and I had felt worse pain. There was nothing they could do to me and I just didn’t care any more.”
One destiny moving forward. They are your words and oh so true. Our destinies, our very souls, are entwined Rigmor. Talos himself has told me so. The Divine need us to be together so we can win for their side against Molag Bal and other Daedric Lords in a rapidly approaching crises. A win for them is a win for mortals. The everyday mother, father and child who just want to live a normal life. We are both pawns in a game that is centuries if not millennia old.
“Like some ancient prophecy?”
There has been multiple prophecy already involved. It is all an effort by The Divine to make sure their preferred timelines are followed out of the infinite possibilities. The Minotaur, Lord Mor’Bel-Harza, had been waiting for a Half Beast brother or sister to set him free. To fulfil a prophecy and release the curse of Al-Esh.
The arrival of the “Chosen Queen of Tamriel.”
“That bitch? You can’t be serious?”
I have read many history and religious texts over the years. I have never encountered this prophecy being mentioned so I do not know the criteria for being the Chosen Queen. Do you know the story of Al-Esh and how she cursed the land? How perpetual war would reign until her children freed?
“Of course, Alessia, the mother of all Minotaur.”
Molag Bal wanted the curse removed. He has a desire for Morag Bal to be the Chosen Queen.
“That is it then, Cyrodiil is finished.”
No Rigmor it is not. There are always multiple conditions to fulfil a prophecy.
“Then we must stop her fulfilling those conditions. Let war descend on Tamriel for another millennia than she reign as Queen.”
She believes she outsmarted me. Accused me of not being the brightest candle in the stack. She wanted the prophecy’s first condition to be met and the last Minotaur to die. She knew it had no chance if it came down to combat with me. Whether or not she thought Lord Mor’Bel-Harza would ask for assistance to die or not is irrelevant.
“Did she outsmart you?”
No. I believe The Divine wanted the prophecy to start. When I have obvious choices to make it is more likely their preferred path. I had no clue the fire was a trap so the obvious thing to do is rescue you. That was not being outsmarted. It was doing as The Divine intended. Understand?
“You think The Divine knew of Molag Bal’s move?”
Think about it. If Lord Akatosh knows what all the ripples, the nodes are, throughout all of time then he would recognise when a Daedric Lord has made a move. He could manoeuvre things to take advantage of his opponents move without them being any the wiser. Lull them into thinking all is going well and then stuff up their plans completely by blindsiding them.
“I am following so far but remember; you live and breathe this stuff constantly.”
We both do Rigmor. I am just more aware of it. The Divine, as a matter of fact all Gods, try and get what they want done by manipulating our free will. Imagine if I had taken offence at your ultimatum when I mentioned Robere’s proposal plan? What if I had stormed out and rode my horse back home and left you there? End game. Molag Bal wins. See how tenuous this all is?
“This goes back to what you told me in Bruma. You are constantly guessing the right choices and how a wrong one can have dire consequences.”
I did not walk out because I love you dearly.
“Are you saying our love is a result of immortal manipulation?”
No. I am saying they worked around its inevitable existence and used it to their benefit. They can’t control who mortals love Rigmor. That is why I did those tasks for Lady Mara. I had to manoeuvre people to see if a love would blossom or be recognised. I believe a love like ours is part of the overreaching nature of our existence. Two souls that are meant to join no matter what the Gods desire.
“I like that idea. But still they are using us Dragonborn.”
There is much more that ties Alessia into this but enough for now. Just know that I am here for you, no matter what.
“Dragonborn, what are we going to do? What will happen to us?”
Last time it was easier. Save you, close the Oblivion gate, kill whatshisname. But now?
“Now we are alone again. Just the two of us together on a lost island in the Sea of Ghosts. Sheltered from the storm in a world that doesn’t care. Everything I have been through I would do again just to be here with you… for this moment. Maybe this is our moment?”
Rigmor, I am constantly expressing how much I love you but can never find adequate words.
“Then love me now, for tomorrow we might not love again.”
We will always have love for each other Rigmor no matter the future. You know in your heart and soul I have loved only you and will love only you now and for always.
“Then I am yours to love always.”
I let Rigmor take the lead in our lovemaking this night. Usual it is a dance of equals but this was different. Rigmor no longer had a secret threatening any happiness she had or future she planned. The discovery of her Royal blood was something she had handed over to chance and that took away her freedom as if she was back in the dark of her past. Why try if it can all be destroyed at any moment?
She was not shaping her world by her hand. She had let chance shape it for too long!
Now she was liberated. The secret was no longer there to destroy her hopes and wishes. It does not matter about our destinies. She and I can still make plans. Exercise our free will. Things can still go wrong but we won’t be waiting for it. Rigmor will no longer be expecting the inevitable to happen at a random time. There is a marked difference now in Rigmor’s attitude moving forward.
She now knows what she wants and revels in the freedom of it being her choice completely. She knew what she wanted from our lovemaking but was still attentive to my needs. We became one again but this time our destiny was as well.
I have snuck from under the furs to write this journal entry. One day soon I will show it to her.
Now it is finished and my beloved has not stirred from her slumber.
I will try and sneak back under the covers without waking her.
I know not what time I fell asleep.