Sea Of Ghosts: Ultimate evil revealed.
I dreamt, which is something I never usually record but this was interesting.
Rigmor and I were just adventurers going where we wanted and when without a care in the world. We had stopped by Dave’s to share a crate of various expensive and highly intoxicating beverages. We were getting well and truly shitfaced when…
I was woken by Mikael saying, “Wulf, there may be trouble.”
I slowly disentangled myself from Rigmor without waking her. She was mentally and physically exhausted and I was worried how hectic things might get.
I walked up to Mikael and asked, “What is the problem?”
“You had better come and see.”
I checked and Rigmor was still asleep.
I left the cabin and found Mikael looking at a ship barely visible in the fog. I asked him, “Who are they?”
“It is not the Akaviri War Galley but a pirate vessel. Ex East Empire Trading Company I would say.”
Can we outrun them?
“We’ve hit a squall so it is only a matter of time before they catch us. Best thing to do is stay in the cabin with the young lady. I’ll try to parley with them, offer them some trade. Once they realise I’m just a fisherman they might leave us be and go their way. It is not the first time we have had deadlings with them.”
Alright, Rigmor and I will stay in the cabin. I will have to wake her so they better be friendly or she will bite their heads off.
I entered the cabin and slowly shook Rigmor awake.
“Wh… what? No way!”
Yeah way. Mikael is going to try and bluff them. Be prepared just in case.
Just two against the storm. Are you ready if they get nasty?
Mikael came into the cabin and said, “Somehow they know you’re aboard. They want you upon deck and promise safe passage for the Dragonborn and Rigmor, Countess of Bruma.”
Pirates offering safe passage? Tell them we will be out in a minute and Mikael, thank you for helping us and I know this is not your fault.
“They seem a bit rattled. Apparently there is an Imperial War Galley on their tail.”
I approached Rigmor and she said, “This should be interesting. As you said, just two against the storm.”
It will be okay unless they try to disarm us. Follow me Milady.
We left the cabin and were greeted by an idiot who said, “Hey you two, step aside. I’m waiting for some V.I.P and I don’t want them hassled by no aggressive begging OK? Now scram…”
Rigmor and I just stared at him and he understood his time on Nirn might end very quickly.
“Hahahaha, I’m only kidding with ya. Come on, this way.”
As we followed him onto the other ship his banal ramblings went too far, “Hey Zan! Got a little buddy for ya. You ain’t the only girl on this ship anymore. Although I’m not sure if it’s a girl or a boy?”
I heard Rigmor gasp and instantly decided a lesson was needed. I stepped forward and put my forearm against his windpipe and pressed him against the stairs till his eyes started to bulge.
Then I used the Thu’um to emphasis my words, “LISTEN YOU PIECE OF SHIT. THAT IS ROYAL PRINCESS RIGMOR, COUNTESS OF BRUMA. NOT ONLY IS SHE ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMEN ON NIRN SHE IS ALSO A HERO! IF YOU UTTER ANOTHER WORD OF DISRESPECT I WILL LET MILADY DEAL WITH YOU HERSELF. SHE WILL EITHER CLEAVE YOU IN TWO FROM MOUTH HOLE TO ARSEHOLE OR KICK YOU IN THE COBBLERS SO HARD YOU WILL HAVE TO STICK YOUR FINGERS DOWN YOUR THROAT TO PLAY WITH YOURSELF.”
I let him go and as he gasped for air an Imperial Soldier yelled out, “We will educate him Guardian General. Leave him to us.”
The pirate called Zan said to Rigmor, “Take no notice of that arsehole kid, go on in, the Captain’s waiting.”
We stepped into the cabin and there stood Casius Varon.
Rigmor yelled, “Casius!” and ran full speed at him.
Casius managed to say, “Hello little lady.” before Rigmor rammed into him so hard he staggered and then engulfed him in a bone breaking hug.
He pleaded, “Whoa, put me down. Hahahaha.”
“By the Gods, it is so good to see you again. What are you doing here? Are you a pirate?” asked Rigmor.
“All in good time, all in good time.” he replied.
Cassius greeted me, “Well met Dragonborn. We’ve been looking for you for a few days now. You’ve been leading us a merry chase, or should I say, a right Royal merry-go round. Hahaha.”
Rigmor responded, “Pffft! Not you too…”
Casius said, “Haha! I see you have moved up in the world. Please sit and help yourself to refreshments.”
Rigmor giggled, “Heehee! How did I know that was coming?”
We all sat and I said to Rigmor, “Nice greeting. Better than ‘And where the hell have you been!’ I can’t remember getting a flying hug either.”
She replied, “I promise that if you go away for more than, let’s say, three days, I will pretend I have missed you and fly into your arms!”
And I promise I might catch you.
She then turned to Casius and asked, “How did you become a pirate Casius? Oh my, this is sooo cool…”
“Haha. We after we all departed after the Battle of Whiterun I made my way to the Solitude Docks. I took a few odd jobs, tried a bit of fishing, got to know how to sail a fishing vessel and acquired myself a job at the East Empire Trading Company. I shipped linens, silks, all sorts of commodities from Solitude to Torval.”
Rigmor whined, “But how did you become a pirate?”
“Haha, hold on little lady, I’m getting there. The shipping was very lucrative but the company was experiencing problems with piracy. I told them to give me a bigger ship and pay me enough gold to have my own company of marines on board. I was promoted to Captain and some of my very best sergeants and loyal men joined my crew and we stopped company ships from being attacked virtually overnight. Then one night we got into a storm which blew us off course a hundred nautical miles. After ad-hoc repairs at sea we made our way to Solitude Docks a few days late. The ship had been reported missing and I had been accused of piracy and outlawed.”
Rigmor was outraged, “Accusing you of being a pirate is the most stupidest thing I have ever heard!”
“It is actually quite common for a ship to go AWOL. If you don’t show up in time they assume you went Black Flag.”
I had to ask him, “Stupidest is not strong enough. You are supposed to have gone Black Flag and were dumb enough to turn up at their home port in the ship you were supposed to have stolen?”
“They wouldn’t think about that Dragonborn. They were losing a lot of ships because you can make so much more gold illegally. So I was a pirate, sad but true.”
Rigmor stood up and excitedly asked, “This is exciting! Can I go look around your ship… pleeeease?”
“Of course but don’t get in anyone’s way and keep away from the sides!”
Rigmor ran out laughing and it was heart-warming to hear her so excited.
Once she left I asked, “Casius, it is good to see you again old friend. How did you find us?”
“Baa’Ren-Dar sent me. He has been very good to us on this ship. We are allowed free passage in the waters around Elsweyr and have access to Torval Docks. He is trying to cut us some slack with Solitude and to clear my name. He has also been keeping me informed on what had been going on in Cyrodiil. A soothsayer from Corinthe advised him to locate you.”
Azura has really got her sticky fingers in it this time. She sent Sethri as well. Sometimes I wonder how much she and The Divine are voluntarily co-operating. They haven’t tripped over each other yet.
“I will leave all that God stuff to you Dragonborn. I just like to know the political and military information and Baa’Ren-Dar explained that well enough for me.”
It is good to know he has our backs. I really admire that old Khajiit. It has been pretty rough for Rigmor lately and he must be worried.
“He was so pleased you two were together again. Are you, um, together again?”
Did everybody know how close we were? We tried to keep it discrete!
“Yngol and I witnessed your panic on the way to save her from sacrifice. We saw how you killed like a God angered and cut a path through the enemy as fast as many people can run. When you knelt over her and whispered to her and kissed her twice it was heart wrenching. Yngol will never admit it but that was when he decided to pursue Angi with more vigour. You watched us carry her out of there with relief and determination on your face. Then you went into Oblivion and faced Malacath for her! Nobody mentioned it because it was none of our business but we were all happy for you. Then you sent her to Cyrodiil and when I heard that I could not understand. Baa’Ren-Dar recently filled me in on how selfless that was Dragonborn. How Azura, through her soothsayers, told him to let it be and just comfort Rigmor when he visited.”
You are now knee deep in a war between the Gods Casius. A tug of war between good and evil with Rigmor the rope between them. Some of this will be sorted out on the battlefield with sword and shield. Some of it will be fought with ancient prophecy and magics of immense power. The outcome is not who controls bits and pieces of Tamriel. It is the very existence of The Divine on Nirn that is at stake.
“Saving the world is a hobby of yours but you would not know it. Why does it take Azura to tell Baa’Ren-Dar of what you have done?”
The normal mother, father and children find life hard enough. They do not need to know how often everything they cherish is threatened. Alduin caused enough worry and strife without adding all the others to the pile. What we do in Cyrodiil will also remain quiet I suspect. Anyway, how did you find us?
“As per Baa’Ren-Dar’s instructions we arrived at the prison first. We saw the carnage and presumed you two went on foot. We traversed the island and came across the Akaviri War Galley. That led us to believe you wouldn’t be far. When it left the waters we anchored of the coast near the fishing village. We rowed in, Sethri saw us and informed us you had boarded Mikael’s boat and was heading for Dawnstar. So here we are!”
I figured out who the Tsaesci were when I encountered them at the fort. The remnants were a mystery till Sethri filled me in. Apparently we will encounter many if we travel to Table Mountain.
“No doubt Dragonborn, no doubt. These are dark times we live in.”
We will be visiting Yngol. I am hoping he can help us cross the border and provide support for Bruma. I am trying not to involve too many troops from Skyrim. I do not want this turning into a full scale war. Rigmor and I will have enough trouble with the shifting alliances within Cyrodiil itself.
“That old fox! Did you know he is the Jarl of Falkreath now?”
I hope he is better than the last crook. He tried to recruit me to clear out some bandits who short changed him!
“Yes, the old Jarl was arrested and removed from office for that type of corruption. I think he thought he could get away with more because of a bandit king as Emperor. He did not take into account High Queen Elisif though. She was with the troops when they marched in and arrested him and gave him a lecture as they bundled him into the wagon in shackles.”
She was always the power behind the throne.
“So Yngol was revered by the people once he moved in with Angi. It took him some convincing to persuade Angi to agree but in the end they both thought it best for Sorella. She is growing up quick, a fine young girl.”
There was something special about her from the day we rescued her Cassius. Kyne has blessed her so she is a wolf friend. When the Gods take notice like that they must see something as well. What happened to the Sons of Talos? Did they just disband?
“Some joined the garrison and stayed in Falkreath. You will find them mostly on border patrols. Yngol enjoys his new status. He will be pleased to see you both again.”
Rigmor maybe but I cut the head off Ulfric and showed him to be a traitor. How is he going to feel about that I wonder?
“Much better than if he did not resign after the Battle of Whiterun and ended up killing young Imperial soldiers for that bastard. That came to a shock to all! You stopped the Civil War with far less casualties than fighting to the end would have produced. The news sheets were full of praise about how you gave him a chance to enter Sovngarde. You could have just struck him down with no danger to yourself.”
I know how the Thalmor work Casius. Rigmor withstood their mental and physical abuse but she is an exception. How many good men have caved in like Ulfric? What he did was unforgivable but sometimes when passing sentence you have to consider the circumstances leading to the crime. I think it made a lot more Stormcloaks give up the fight after they saw that mercy. General Tullius does not understand Nords. He would have had a lot more mopping up to do if he had stormed in and summarily executed Ulfric. I met Ulfric in Sovngarde did you know that?
“Did he have much to say?”
Even before we defeated Alduin and cleared the way to the Hall of Valour he was remorseful for all he had done. Galmar on the other hand was as defiant as he ever was. After Alduin’s defeat they both graciously praised myself and those who helped.
“I heard a great version of the story from a bard in Dawnstar once.”
That was me Casius. I went incognito for a while when too many assassins kept endangering me and those I care for. Now if you will excuse me I had better check on Rigmor. Make sure she hasn’t skewered or neutered some of your crew.
“I heard your Thu’um. I know who said the wrong thing. Karles. He is a true pirate Dragonborn. Rough as hell but a good man in a fight and loyal to boot.”
Then I better hurry and see if he needs his head sewn back on. Be back soon Casius.
I left the cabin with Casius still chuckling.
Karles was sitting near the cabin door and as I walked past he said, “Ahh… sorry I upset the young lady. Others have set me straight on what both have you have done and… “
It is OK Karles. Normally Rigmor would have shrugged it off but the circumstances of her hair loss are not pleasant and your comment hurt for so many complicated reasons. Apology accepted. Just be careful because people you do not know may react different than your shipmates to a jest. Do you know where Milady is?
Karles pointed to the bow so I headed there and found Rigmor staring out to sea. I approached and asked her, “Hey my love, are you OK?”
“Yeah, I was just letting the sound of the waves take my thoughts out to sea.”
I spoke to Karles, the one I choked a little, and he apologised. You know they are good men otherwise Casius would not have them on his crew.
“They looked at me as I passed but it seems the Marines spread the word and nothing was spoke. What Karles said took the wind out of my sails a bit. For a moment I forgot where I was.”
Reminded you of another who mocked you so didn’t it. When you left Casius’ cabin you were so excited.
“Even though nobody said anything as soon as I saw Karles the memories brought me down to Nirn with a bump I guess.”
I walked up and held her hand.
“I am loving this view Dragonborn! Aah, breath in that sea air. This? This is something I could get used to. I wonder if we sail far enough we would fall off the edge?”
The world isn’t flat Rigmor. Surely Freathof has shown you a globe of Nirn.
“Yeah, I know but wouldn’t it be cool if we could fall off!”
You would be the only one yelling ‘Cooool!’ amongst all the screaming and cries for ‘Mummy!’
Every time I think I couldn’t possibly love you any more you break out that laugh and prove me wrong!
“No use getting too romantic Dragonborn. There is nowhere to knock boots aboard this ship.”
That is why sailors are a hazard when they get shore leave! Why don’t you try and break the ice with the pirates?
“I dunno. They all look comfortable together. I don’t want to interfere.”
What about Zan? It must be tough being the only girl on a ship full of guys!
“Haha, yeah. I suppose I could try breaking the ice. No harm in trying.”
I watched as Rigmor walked confidently towards Zan and strike up a conversation.
- Rigmor: Zan?
- Zan: Hey kiddo.
- Rigmor: How did you end up here, on this ship?
- Karles: Hey Zan, the kid wants to get all girly on your ass. Don’t be fooled kid. Zan has got a bigger set of balls than the Captain, hahahaha!
- Zan: Hey, why don’t you fuck off Karles. Have some respect.
- Karles: I didn’t say anything against Rigmor so calm down.
- Zan: Come on Rigmor, let’s go talk a while in private away from this arsehole.
They both headed for the bow. I looked towards the stern and pretended not to be listening to their conversation which I accidentally overheard and somehow recorded in this journal. Oops!
- Zan: So you know the Captain huh?
- Rigmor: Yes but I haven’t seen Casius for some years. It is great to meet up with him again. Did he say anything about us, yanno, me and the Dragonborn?
- Zan: No, the Captain doesn’t talk about his past. Some of the Marines have been talking non-stop about both of you since you boarded. I would love to get the story from you one day. The guys on this ship are super loyal to our Captain.
- Rigmor: What about you Zan, were you one of Casius’ veterans?
- Zan: Me? Nah, I was in Solitude training to be a Royal Bodyguard. Served the High Queen for a couple of months. Saw the Dragonborn there for dinner with her highness a couple of times. It was nice and paid well but I yearned for adventure and figured it would be a change of pace working for the East Empire Company guarding their shit. That is where I met Karles, down at the docks.
- Rigmor: Are you and Karles… yanno?
(Does Rigmor get into intimate discussions with every woman she meets? Lydia did explain it to me once. Something about learning new things to teach their partner plus a chance to complain about how lazy they are around home or how a simple cold can seem like a death sentence. I will refuse to listen to anything Allie taught her!)
- Zan: Hell no! Karles isn’t my type and he is such an arsehole! I only tolerate his shit because he’s good with the ropes and a bow. You have to put aside any differences in our line of work and he has had my back many times since we went Black Flag.
- Rigmor: What is your type?
- Zan: It is… complicated. Hey, what about you. Captain says you’re a Countess. You don’t much look like one.
- Rigmor: What, a boy or a girl?
- Zan: Hahaha. You look fine, kinda cool and sweet at the same time.
- Rigmor: Looks can be deceiving which is the case where I am concerned.
- Zan: Is there somebody special in your life Rigmor?
- Rigmor: Yes, my Dragonborn. His name is Wulf but nobody ever calls him that. I don’t know what I would do without him.
- Zan: Like a ship right, steady and sure. Even if the storm blows you a hundred leagues off course. The ship always makes it home.
- Rigmor: We’ve got a long way to go. Sometimes I don’t know if we’ll ever make it home.
- Zan: Rigmor, make anywhere you’re standing at any time your home and you will never be homeless.
- Rigmor: Thanks Zan. Hey, is that your real name?
- Zan: You wanna know my name? I have never told anyone my real name.
- Rigmor: Hey, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to pry.
- Zan: That’s OK. I’ll tell you as long as you promise me one thing. You don’t tell anyone. Especially that arsehole Karles or I will never hear the end of it.
- Rigmor: I promise.
- Zan: It is Louisharee.
- Rigmor: That is such a beautiful name!
- Zan: I was an only child, a miracle baby as they thought my mother could never conceive. She was late middle age when she had me. My father was a Breton Luthier and fell in love with my mother, a Nord, while they were both at the Bards College in Solitude. They had this ‘brilliant’ idea of combining their names, Louis and Sharee.
- Rigmor: Thanks Zan. I needed a ‘girly’ talk.
- Zan: We haven’t even got onto the subject of you yet.
- Rigmor: Hahaha. Fire away. First question?
I was so pleased Rigmor has somebody other than me to talk to. At least when we get to Bruma she has Cerys. I hope Rigmor doesn’t ask about Zan’s complicated preferences!
I entered Casius’ cabin and he was still sitting at the table patiently.
I sat down and said, “Sorry you had to wait Casius. You will be glad to know none of you crew need sewing back together or their balls pushed back into place.”
“Haha. I am glad Dragonborn.”
Casius, can I ask for your help again old friend?
“Of course you can. Once I drop you two off at Dawnstar I’ll be sailing to Anvil. Once there I will see Marshal Quintus and ask for his favour. Most of the Western Legion are my old veterans.”
Will he help? We are not planning on removing Sethius from power. This would be treason Casius. If we win but Sethius is still Emperor there could be dire consequences!
“We are going to fight the evil at Table Mountain, not defend Bruma against Leyawiin. That is not treasonous. If one or more Counts send their New Imperial idiots against us without provocation then they will have committed treason and we will deal with them with or without Sethius’ approval.”
We have to bring Sorella with us to Table Mountain. We need to get into Hammerfell unnoticed.
“The road from the Imperial City to Skingrad will be perilous and no doubt heavily patrolled by the New Imperial Army. So I will wait for you near Chorrol to guide you over the mountain pass into Hammerfell. We can follow the source of the Brena River to Table Mountain. I will have a small base camp set up at the foot of the ridge on the border. So cut across the Orange Road from Bruma and use the Great Forest for cover. I’ll meet you there.”
Sounds like a good plan Casius.
“I’ll send word when I am ready to receive you. This will be hard for me Dragonborn.”
“We will be following much of the same route I did with Ragnar all those years ago. It will bring back memories I will not enjoy.”
Then it is fitting that his daughter will be together with his best friend along those roads. On their way to fight an enemy that threatens innocent people.
Rigmor came bursting into the cabin and said, “They are here! Quick, come on!”
We exited the cabin and headed for the stern. I could see a large ship on our tail and apparently catching up.
Casius said, “It’s not the Akaviri. This is the ‘Colovia’, an Imperial War Galley that had been following us since we passed Solitude a couple of days ago.”
Rigmor asked, “Can we outrun them?”
“Oh, I have no intention of running little lady.”
Cassius ordered his men to battle stations and Zan started barking orders.
In amongst the hive of activity Rigmor and I dodged and weaved as we followed Casius to his cabin.
As soon as we entered Rigmor exclaimed, ”You mean to fight them! That ship is huge! How many of them are there?”
“Not enough to take on a company of Imperial Marines, and of course us!”
(Casius started disrobing so he could don some better armour. Rigmor quickly turned and faced the other way.)
“Oh, I have no intention of running, not now you are here, hahaha. Come on, join in the battle.”
I said to Rigmor, “I forgot nice polite Casius likes chopping people up!”
She replied, “Which is why I like him so much.”
I did a Dragon Aspect Shout on myself. It adds all sorts of protection and looks scary.
“COOOL!” said Rigmor.
There was a loud “THUMP” as the two ships grappled each other and drew together.
We exited the cabin to complete chaos. Casius’ crew were having difficult clearing a boarding ramp between the ships. I stepped in with Unrelenting Force, knocked about eight enemies away, and ran onto the Colovia.
Unfortunately the enemy swarmed behind me and the bottleneck reformed. I was on the enemy ship surrounded by pissed off New Imperial wankers. I ran upstairs and waited for the attack.
I killed most of those with another Unrelenting Force and hacked down the remaining when Casius and a few others finally made it over the boarding ramp.
By now the enemy was in smaller groups and I quite enjoyed sending many of them overboard to drown.
Others I just hewed through with “The Sword”.
When most of the enemy was dead I concentrated on killing those in the fighting top of each mast. Why people call them crow’s nests is beyond me. I used Fireballs…
… and Unrelenting Force to annihilate the marksman in each one.
I went a checked on Rigmor. She was puffing, covered in bits of New Imperial Marine, but OK. I still think she is not fully recovered from the affliction.
I approached Casius who was trying to get through the door of the Colovia Captain’s Cabin. I looked at the lock and decided it could not be picked. A search of nearby dead baddies produced the key.
We entered and were greeted by the most pompous arsehole imaginable, “You will hang for this Varon! You and your filthy criminal scum will swing from gibbets until the ravens pick your bones clean. Traitor! How dare you defy your Emperor!”
Casius politely replied, “It is you who is the traitor here my good sir and he is not my Emperor.”
Captain pompous yelled, “Thieves, Pirates… Murderers!”
Karles fired an arrow and the Captain dropped dead.
If I hadn’t merged with “the beast” I would now be very upset at this turn of events. Killing a prisoner like that in cold blood would have sent me ballistic.
Now I just turned to Karles and said, “Thanks. He was giving me a headache.”
As Karles automatically headed for a chest and valuables he said, “Happy to oblige. Looky here at this little lot!”
Zan warned him, “Keep your hands where I can see them Karles you big ass.”
Casius called me over to the Captain’s desk and said, “Dragonborn, take a look at this map, it shows what seems to be shipping routes from Akivir to outer Tamrielic island chains. There are points of interest marked along the coast at High Rock and Black Marsh.”
Looks like possible invasion routes. Maybe landing sites?
“It certainly seems suspicious. The continent of Akivir is steeped in mystery. There has been no contact since the 3rd Era invasion by Uriel Septim V.”
Yes, pretty stupid idea that one and now we get to fight our own soldiers remade into remnants. Can you look at the ship’s log. It is probably full of nautical gobblygook.
Casius walked over to the log and started flipping through it, “OK the ship arrived in Black Marsh a week ago to pick up what looks like supplies. ‘Arrived with contact – Cargo acquired’ They then sailed to High Rock to meet with ‘Ship X’ three days ago. ‘Cargo delivered – correspondence delivered and accepted’”
This Ship ‘X” is probably the Akaviri war galley.
“My thoughts exactly!”
Zan approached Casius, handed him some letters and said, “Captain, these look like some kind of official letters in a language I have never seen before.”
Casius looked at them and said, “Okay… it says, ‘M.S. to Captain Drusus. Do not dock at the prison. Wait in Solitude. Deliver the cargo. Oxi-Amura is to eliminate the Dragonslayer. Leave no witnesses and bring the girl to the rendezvous point. Bring her to Table Mountain as soon as you acquire the goods.’”
Captain Dead here must have been heading there when he bumped into your ship.
“She had the Akaviri war galley make a detour from its reconnaissance of the island chains to attempt to kill you at the prison. Oxi-Amura was apparently one of their best champions.”
That must have been the big guy in the bright red armour. If he was one of their best then they are in big trouble. One parry and one backhand slice and he was dead. Out of curiosity I removed his helmet and that was one ugly, slimy, snaky bastard! Honestly, Morag is by far the most idiotic enemy I have ever faced if she thinks they had a warrior to beat me in single combat. The Akaviri guys are not very smart either. If he was their best why leave him to last? Why let me carve through all the lesser troops? We are battling morons Casius! What does the other letter say?
“This one is written in Tsaesci. Luckily some of the traders on islands near Akivir still use the language and I have picked up a little. Hmm, from what I can gather, Morag Sethius is angry the Tsaesci won’t have their ships ready. She wants to move the plan forward but the Tsaesci leadership are telling her it is going to take years.”
Something strange is going on here. If the Bridge of Sighs is almost at full capacity and we do not stop Morag triggering it then no invasion fleet would be needed. Molag Bal would be on Nirn and unstoppable. Even if an invasion fleet appeared close to Tamriel we would not stop heading for Table Mountain. Why try and hurry the invasion? How long to build a large invasion fleet do you think Casius?
“Anywhere from four to six years.”
Seems Morag has been colluding and planning this for some time and now panic has set in. I think the invasion was a backup plan and one she thinks she now needs as we close in on Table Mountain.
“You unexpectedly accompanied Rigmor to Solitude. You were the fly in the ointment, the stone in the shoe. Rigmor being outed as a pretender certainly wasn’t part of their plan.”
You see Casius, this is where The Divine, and Azura to some extent, have an advantage over Daedric Lords. Akatosh know their plans as he sees all possible timelines since the creation of Mundus to it inevitable destruction. Azura, via her seers or soothsayers as you called them, can see some outcomes of what they call “ripples in the void” and can deduce what is causing them. The other Daedric Lords can plan and scheme but if something springs up expectantly, like me appearing on the scene and Rigmor’s Royal blood being revealed, they have very little chance to change their long terms plans. You get the type of panic Morag is showing. Now, at last, I understand why The Divine kept Rigmor and I apart for all those years.
“You would not have been a surprise. They could have had better plans in place to deal with you.”
Exactly! There had to be no clues I would suddenly pop back into her life as Guardian or any other way. Yesterday I found out who my parents are and today another mystery solved. Not bad at all Casius.
“You didn’t know who your parents were?”
A long and involved story that I will tell you one day soon.
“So what you said about poor Rigmor this morning. About her being the rope in a tug of war between Gods. It is true. These guys want her really badly and will go to any lengths to kill or capture her.”
I still do not think Molag Bal would want Rigmor killed. Let’s look in the cargo hold and see what goods they carried.
I found the key to the cargo hold and we entered.
It was Rigmor’s worst nightmare.
Casius yelled up to Zan, “Under no circumstances is lady Rigmor to be allowed into this hold! Take the helm of the trader and when all are on board retrieve the boarding ramp and set sail for the rendezvous point. ”
As I was inspecting the work of evil up close Casius slowly came up behind me.
I turned to him and he said, “There’s your answer Dragonborn.”
The cargo was human. All of the Akaviri I have killed carried human flesh. The ‘marines” we killed were New Imperial. The Captain was career Imperial. How can somebody climb the ranks in such an esteemed organisation and think that transporting live humans as food for monsters is OK? Then he stood there frothing at the fucking mouth because he was doing his Emperor’s bidding. I no longer care who sits the Ruby Throne as long as it is not Sethius. He will die for this.
“We must save them. We have a duty to try and rescue any survivors but I can’t do this without your help.”
We have the co-ordinates for the rendezvous. Bruma can hold on for the time it takes us to kill every single sick fuck on that Akaviri ship and rescue the innocent.
“Agreed! We must do the right thing or die trying. I say we burn this ship, this place of evil, and use the trader. When they see us they will probably think we are off course from the shipping route. They won’t suspect anything until it is too late.”
Do you have anybody capable of making simple potions on your ship?
“No Dragonborn. Why?”
We have a limited supply of a potion to cure an affliction the Akaviri bestow on their opponents. Some of your men will contract it and I am certain they would have given it to the prisoners. Let us hope we have enough as there is no other cure but death. The Divine gave me a gift, a Shout, that will let me resurrect such victims but they will always be weaker. The potion can also be used to coat weapons. One tiny drop will kill the vermin in seconds.
“I did not know. We have not fought them before. That is grave news. Who gave you the recipe? Since there has been no contact for centuries it would not be widely known surely?”
Saint Alessia. I told you we are knee deep in Gods with this mess.
“I will leave all that God stuff to you Dragonborn. I say we take control of their ship, administer the antidote and sail it to Torval with any survivors aboard. Are you sure about Bruma?”
Yes but I will talk to the Countess and tell her what we found. It is her county and ultimately her decision but we both know what she will say to this.
“Thank the Gods you two are on our side. You have my cabin Dragonborn. I will get somebody from the galley to prepare a meal for you both. Rigmor will take news of this atrocity hard Dragonborn. I must take care of things and will see you when we get close to the rendezvous.”
You are a good man Casius.
With that I made my way back onto the trader. Rigmor was standing at her favourite spot on the bow.
She turned and I asked, “Hey my love. Are you OK?”
“I guess. I saw you and Casius go down into the hold. What’s been going on?”
We found out what they have been trading with the Akaviri.
“Dragonborn, you look upset. What, what have they been trading?”
Under orders from the Emperor these scum were… were transporting Imperial citizens as food for those monsters. I knew they were cannibals and that was bad enough. But our own Emperor knowingly supplying them with the very people he is sworn to protect? That is beyond any evil of any God I have met! I knew he had been supporting the vampires back at the Bloodlet Throne all those years ago but he was not Emperor then. It was not one of my tasks to track him down and kill him. I will kill him Rigmor and fuck The Divine plans!
“Listen my dear Dragonborn. We must deal with Molag Bal before anything. You have always made the right choices. Just think about it OK?”
I am asking this of the Countess Bruma because I know how Rigmor my beloved would answer. We believe there are still people aboard the Akaviri ship and we have a rendezvous co-ordinate. It means delaying getting aid for Bruma but…
“I know we just changed course and are not heading for Dawnstar. You and Casius knew what my answer would be. We have to try and save them Dragonborn. I have some of Allie’s potion and it only takes a small amount to help so we should have enough.”
You are always a step ahead. I was about to ask about that.
“What do we do in the meantime Dragonborn?”
We have Casius’ cabin. They will send up some food for us soon. Remember when we just sat and talked that night at the Imperial Palace. I would love to do that. Just random chatter with us close enough to stop this infernal tug of destiny.
“Come on then my dear Dragonborn.”
We sat and talked of many things. Here are bits and pieces I would like recorded for posterity.
Rigmor, I know why they did not allow me to contact you all those years.
“Why? You said it could wreck their plans.”
Remember when I mentioned blind-siding Molag Bal? They were unprepared for two things. For me to suddenly appear on the scene as your Guardian and for your Royal blood to be discovered. Since then they have been panicking as they had nothing in place for either event. Those two things are a threat to hundreds of years of planning by Molag Bal.
“So if we had kept in touch it would not have been a surprise when you turned up!”
They would have had plans in place to deal with me.
“It is a relief to know why but still, it was cruel to both of us.”
“Now you know your parents, will you change your name?”
Neither Dave nor Allie could remember my surname. Dave heard it called countless times but it was in a language he did not understand. It would have been in Nedic, a language that died out millennia ago. So I will keep Wulf.
“Your family name?”
When the time is right I will claim my father’s name. I will be Wulf Septim. To you I will always be Dragonborn and that is just fine with me.
“That will stir things up a bit. A Septim alive and kicking!”
Almost as much a Mede alive and kicking.
“Where do you think you went after leaving the Island?”
I don’t know. Dave said I came a few times to the cliffs near his cave. I just stood there looking out to sea. I wonder if I was looking for a ship that was supposed to pick me up? Allie must have thought that was where I was last as she called my name in that area for decades. Weird thing is she did not appear for a long time till the Akaviri also appeared again on that part of the island.
“You think there is a connection between you leaving the Island and the Akaviri.”
Dave said they seemed to be searching for something. I think they were looking for me. When they invaded Skyrim they were not trying to conquer but were searching for a Dragonborn. They allied with Reman after they saw him use the Thu’um at Pale Pass when they tried to invade Cyrodiil. I think Allie originally knew of the plan to take me off the island but her memory was partially wiped. She associated the Akaviri with my disappearance. Hence when they re-appeared, so did she.
That first morning when I sat and guarded you. The morning we set out for the Imperial City. Everybody knew we were going into danger and may not return. Why did your mother not say goodbye to you?
“She did. When I awoke and saw you sitting in the chair fast asleep I immediately knew two things. That I still loved you with all my heart and that you would protect me as you always have. That gave me hope as I was terrified and still was as you know after my meltdown. I crawled out of the other side of the bed so as not to wake you and went to see Mum in her room. We sat and talked and she was worried sick. So upset at me getting dragged back into danger and chaos and uncertainty. We both had a good cry but we both took solace in one thing. My mother said to me, “I know you were annoyed at us bringing ‘The Dragonborn’ back into your life but that is not what he is. He is ‘Your Dragonborn’ despite the separation. He will stop at nothing to protect my little girl. He said he will bring you back and he will.’”
It was humbling when she entrusted me with her most precious of all things, you.
“Dragonborn, you had a book in your lap that morning and I have glimpsed you writing in it a few times since. What is it and where is it.”
It is my journal. Every day of my life I have written down the events and my feelings. When I realised my memories had been erased I was determined to leave a record in case they ever did it again. I also wanted what I had done to be written into the histories and not lost. Not for vanities sake but because people have a right to know the truth. Many deeds done by past Dragonborn and others have been distorted or hidden altogether. Motivations, culprits, atrocities and anything else that may offend or upset is changed or extinguished. Much is changed for propaganda. Your father’s legacy for instance. You will not find his true story in the Imperial Library or taught at schools. Soldiers told you once the real story is passed on word of mouth. I have arranged for my journals to be transcribed and the copies are kept in several fairly impenetrable places. One day they will be published and the histories kept.
“Can I read them?”
I promise you can after we finish this Molag thing. You will find a certain skinny Nordling with a destiny mentioned quite a lot. You will also find out how much a character called Wulf pined for her every day and how she never for a moment left his thoughts.
“Umm… you don’t write about… you know!”
Oh yes and in great detail. The whole of Nirn will know about every freckle, every mole, where you are most ticklish and where you like being kissed the most.
“You had better not have Dragonborn or… “
Relax Rigmor. Of course I have mentioned a couple of occasions as they were of vast importance to me. It was done with taste and nothing perverted. Well not in the standard issue anyway, all the perversion is in the limited edition.
“Hahaha. I look forward to reading it my beloved. Even the perverted bits.”
“If you were Queen or Empress, what are some things you would change?”
“I was thinking about this. We can make our own decisions so can do good if careful. First thing I would ban is any sort of torture or humiliation of a person about to stand trial. How many perfectly innocent people have had to endure what I have or worse? What do they do? Apologise and send a broken person home to their family? Prosecutors should only be able to question the accused at trial and the only evidence allowed is that gathered ethically.”
That would be a well overdue change Rigmor. There is nothing ‘civilised’ about what you went through.
“What about you. What would you change Dragonborn?”
I would find a way to force all cities to open their gates to all citizens. It is disgusting how some places in Skyrim exclude Khajiit from entry. I would get rid of places like the Grey Quarter in Windhelm. There is no place in a truly civilised society for that type of discrimination.
And so on and so on we talked for hours.
Rigmor finally yawned and made her way into bed.
I wrote yesterday’s and today’s journals and climbed in beside her.
I know not what time I fell asleep.
I know it was with my arm draped protectively over my Queen.