Dawnstar, Falkreath, Fort Neugrad, Bruma: Into the fray we entered.
This journal entry was written on the 16th inside Rigmor’s apartment.
I was woken by a banging on the cabin door. I opened it and Zan said, “Dragonborn, we have arrived off the Skyrim coast. Captain Varon had a Jolly boat ready for you.”
Thanks Zan. We will be out in a couple of minutes.
Rigmor was already sleepily arising when I closed the door.
We gathered our gear and headed outside where Zan and Casius awaited.
I said to Casius, “Thanks for everything Casius. If all goes well we will see you soon in Chorrol.”
“Make haste Dragonborn and give my regards to that fat old fox.”
I nodded and then Rigmor said to him, “Be careful Casius.”
“Likewise Rigmor and fare thee well.”
Rigmor turned to Zan and told her, “Zan, I am so going to miss you.”
She replied, “Hey, don’t you worry about a thing OK. You have so many people around you that love you so much. Take care of yourself until we meet again.”
They hugged and I told Rigmor, “I am sure they will be OK. Come on my Princess.”
We boarded the small boat.
And were soon ashore in Dawnstar.
I secured the boat and said to Rigmor, “You saw me tie her up so if it goes missing you can tall Casius it was a stowaway crab.”
“I still can’t believe you lost a boat!”
Umm, take your hat off Rigmor. I think the tonic worked better than Allie planned.
Rigmor removed her hat and I stood there stunned. Rigmor’s hair fell to halfway down her back!
I exclaimed, “I thought it was only supposed to grow as long as it was before?”
She replied, “It’s great but let me get it under control.”
She rummaged around in her pack and retrieved a short strip of leather and soon had a wonderful pony tail. I thought it suited her.
I told her, “I think that looks fantastic Rigmor. I am so happy that worked.”
Rigmor replied, “I think she knew it would be longer. Let’s go Dragonborn, I am keen to get back home.”
It was still fairly early in the morning so Dawnstar looked almost deserted.
We went a little out of town and I summoned Blaze.
Rigmor asked, “Do you want to double up, on that burning horse?”
“Well I intend to ride. You can walk behind if you want.” I replied.
I mounted Blaze and gave Rigmor a helping hand up. It was a rather tight squeeze and after travelling a little while Rigmor said, “I hope that is the pommel of your sword and not you getting any weird ideas!”
We arrived in Falkreath several hours later and as I unsummoned Blaze Rigmor said, “This just seems so weird being back in Skyrim with you.”
Too bad we have to rush. I would love to show you the orphanages and the Throat of the World and the valley of the Snow Elves and Blackreach. Oh, Eldergleam Sanctuary. You would love Eldergleam Sanctuary!
“Maybe one day Dragonborn. Just you and me and TWO horses.”
We made our way to the Jarl’s residence and entered.
Yngol saw us, stood and exclaimed, “Well, well, well… as I live and breathe. Guardian and Rigmor!”
I approached him and replied, “Well met old friend. Gone up in the world I see?”
“You could say that. I see in the news sheets you have been very busy for the last three and a half years.”
They only know a fraction of what I do Yngol.
Yngol said to Rigmor, “Rigmor, look at you, a Countess! You are a fine young woman now and you have no idea how much it pleases me to see you safe and well. You have warmed an old warrior’s heart… truly.”
Rigmor replied, “Oh Yngol! Thank you but I’m sorry, this isn’t just a surprise visit.”
“No need to explain. Your both fugitives again and need my help? Come, let’s sit and talk.”
As we followed Rigmor asked, “Where’s Angi and Sorella? How has Sorella been? She must have grown up quite a bit.”
“Haha! Angi took her hunting in the mountains and they will be gone for some time. She’s very good with the bow now. ‘Storm-Bow’, that is what I have named her.”
Rigmor asked, “Do you have any more children?”
Yngol replied, “Not through the lack of trying. Who knows, maybe one day.”
We sat and he asked me, “OK Guardian. What brings you here and how can I help?”
There is a vampire megalomaniac working for a Daedric Lord doing evil things in an attempt to open a portal to Oblivion and let her master through. She just happens to be the wife of the Emperor and wants Rigmor, dead or alive. So as a side event we have a little war in Cyrodiil.
“I heard the besieged Bruma a couple of days ago. I sent my old guard to keep an eye on the border. I heard you two have stirred up a whole hornets nest over there.”
We were just trying to stay alive. You are well informed?
“One of my men keeps me informed on the details. As soon as I saw you I guessed you would need my help. I am guessing you want to lift the siege?”
Rigmor and I are going to sneak back into the city but the garrison needs reinforcing.
“We could do that, just break through the ring. My men are raring to go. They have family there too.”
Once the siege is lifted Rigmor and I need to travel to Hammerfell. We will meet Casius in Chorrol and hopefully he has talked to Marshal Quintus and got his army on our side.
“Haha! That old goat is still alive?”
He referred to you as the fat old fox. You know we are asking you because we do not want to turn this into a Tamriel wide war and we are short of time. Rigmor and I could easily get large numbers to follow us and field our own army but that takes time we have not got and would probably cause that larger war we want to avoid.
“I understand the reasons. Is there anything else?”
There is and I hate to ask but we have no choice.
“Continue friend… “
We need Sorella with us to defeat Morag and stop the rift opening
(Yngol got up and turned his back to me.)
“This I cannot do. You will have my men and I will personally lead them if I must. However, I will not put Sorella in danger. Angi would never allow it and would never forgive me if anything happened to her.”
Rigmor explained to Yngol, “Casius will guide us over the border along the Brena River to Table Mountain. An artefact needs to be destroyed and Sorella is the only one who can do it. She has the curse of these vampires on her plus the bow Dragonborn gave her, Xenia’s Wrath.”
Yngol angrily said, “Enough! I have welcomed you into my house and now you offend me!”
Rigmor said, “I’m sorry!”
I explained calmly to Yngol, “We did not make the prophecy. Yell at the fucking Gods if you want but if you raise your voice at Rigmor again we will have an issue. Sorella will want to fulfil her destiny and do this great deed for all those children lost to these monsters. They all had loving parents as well! Do you think that keeping Sorella here will make this all just go away? It won’t and she will die and Angi will die and so will you! You are the one being offensive Yngol. We understand your worry but don’t shoot the messenger. What would Ragnar have thought of you addressing his daughter like that?”
Yngol sat and said to Rigmor, “Sorry. That was uncalled for but I don’t like this one bit. It all fits though. Sorella had been having dreams. I told her to keep the ring on Dragonborn gave her but she can be stubborn. In the dreams she fires an arrow to save many children.”
Rigmor replied, “Yngol, she will be well protected by Cassius, Quintus and thousands of Imperial soldiers. That gem holds the souls of all the children that disappeared throughout Cyrodiil and Hammerfell for over a decade. It must be destroyed and those poor children’s souls released. It is the only way we can win the war. It is also the only way we can stop Nirn from becoming a new Coldharbour.”
I said to Yngol, “First we must lift the siege of Bruma.”
“Do you even have a plan?”
Rigmor and I will rally the garrison and volunteers. You attack Leyawiin’s forces from the rear. We sally forth and with two fronts they should be easily defeated.
“They will send more. They will send a bigger army to besiege the city.”
Rigmor assured Yngol, “Bruma can hold out indefinitely. Dragonborn, Sorella and I will meet Casius in Chorrol. Once we are over the mountains we will meet up with Quintus and assault Table Mountain. We will carve a way through and Sorella will only be allowed to join us once the coast is clear. Hopefully she will only need to take a single shot and then be taken away.”
I said to Yngol, “When Sorella destroys the gem we hope it kills Morag, the Emperor’s wife and Molag Bal’s puppet. Then, if Quintus does not mind being called a traitor, we will return to Bruma at the head of an army. Hopefully news of our victory will make the besiegers withdraw before a battle ensues.”
“Angi will take some convincing. I’ll talk to Sorella and let her know what is going on. It is best if just the two of you sneak into Bruma. Avoid the border posts and use this cave I will mark on your map. It will bring you out directly North of Bruma.”
I will shoot three fireballs up into the sky. That will tell you we have made it inside the city gates.
“Good idea. The best time for use to engage them is early morning. I’ll attack their flank, your troops sally from the castle and as you said before, the two battle fronts will ensure their defeat. We can then reinforce the city and I will bring Sorella.”
Thank you old friend and good luck with Angi. I know you both love Sorella dearly but honestly, if she did not come with us what do you think she would eventually have done?
“Tried to get there herself. See you soon Rigmor, Guardian.”
Rigmor and I made our way out onto the main street of Falkreath leaving behind the worried father of a young girl caught in a prophecy. A destiny not of her choosing like somebody else I know.
Rigmor said to me, “Well that went better than expected. It’s all still a leap in the dark and I don’t blame Yngol for not being happy about it.”
I think he was a bit embarrassed about saying that shit about us insulting him. We have no choice but to take Sorella to whatever Table Mountain is. Even Angi will eventually see why. I hope.
“I will stay with Sorella. I’ll protect her.”
And I will protect you both. Let us hope Casius had the ear of Quintus.
“He should do. Surely Quintus will understand what the Elder Council will proclaim one Baa’Ren-Dar gives them the evidence of collusion.”
This is already a long chain of things that must occur and I am sure there will be others. Especially when we learn more about this chosen one, chosen queen, chosen whatever prophecy. Just one broken link and?
“I don’t even want to think about it.”
The cave is near Fort Neugraad. I don’t know if the Imperial Army occupies it or bandits. We can take a carriage from here and then walk to it from Whiterun.
“What, no two rider horse thingy?”
No, my pommel still hasn’t recovered.
Accompanied by that lovely laughter of hers, Rigmor and I went on our way.
Luckily I did not encounter any of my friends when at Whiterun stables. I don’t think any of my housecarls would let me go without their protection if they have heard what is happening in Cyrodiil. I am determined to leave them all out of it. If Sethius still sits upon the throne after all this he will seek vengeance again all those opposed to him. He will choose the softer targets to get revenge on Rigmor and I. My housecarls and friends are better off in Skyrim protecting the schools and students.
We snuck close to Fort Neugrad and it was infested with bandits. It is away from the main roads so I can understand why it would be so low on the Imperial list of things to clean.
I said to Rigmor to watch the skies. I then called Odahviing who appeared out of the ethereal and swooped over the fort bellowing his name and challenging the puny bandits to a fight.
“Wow… is he your pet?
You do not make one of the most intelligent, powerful and oldest beings on Nirn your pet. Besides, I could not afford the food bill and if he is not house-trained…yuk! No, he pledged to follow me as my Thu’um is superior as I showed by capturing him and twice defeating Alduin. I had a good talk with him a while ago and said I don’t want a follower, I want a friend. If he is to fight for me it is has to be because he wants to help a friend and not because he is obeying orders.
“Look at the bandits panicking. Did he just scoop one up?”
Watch what he does. Gruesome but it scares the hell out of the remaining enemy.
(Odahviing threw the bandit he was carrying forward and then bit him in half, armour and all, and both pieces fell to the ground spewing blood and entrails and hitting the ramparts with a loud metallic clang.)
Let’s go in and help him out shall we?
We made short work of the remaining bandits. Odahviing hovered over and asked, “Los daar hin kiim?” (Is that your wife?)
Nid. Rek los dii laas. Rek lod Rigmor. (No. She is my life. She is Rigmor.)
Odahviing said to Rigmor, “Dovahkiin often mentioned you when he came to the summit of Monhavin, Eye of the World, to tinvaak, discuss, things with me. It is an honour to meet you Rigmor.”
I have introduced many people to Odahviing and Amfenon, the dragon who guards Dragons Keep. All of them, including High Queen Elisif, were unsure when greeting them. Rigmor was not and said, “It is my great honour to meet you Odourwing. My Dragonborn frequently mentions the powerful Dovah he has befriended. His descriptions did not prepare me for such magnificence.”
(Rigmor the diplomat! You want a Dovah to roll over and act like a puppy, just appeal to its vanity.)
“I can see you are as formidable with rot, spoken words, as you are with lingrah zahkrii, longsword. I thought his descriptions of you as brii, most beautiful, to be exaggeration. I see now that my language does not have a word adequate enough. He is your Dovah. You are his laas, his life. May Bormahu, my father Akatosh, eventually grant you both peace for many, many years. He owes you both that much at least.”
With that he flew away saying, ”Fare thee well till next time Dovahkiin. I can sense confusion in tiid, time itself. There is much darkness ahead.”
Rigmor looked at me with a big smile and asked, “Did you really tell him I was the most beautiful?”
I replied, “I must have pronounced it wrong. The Dovahzul words for ‘beautiful’ and ‘smelly’ are so similar!”
Rigmor leant over and kissed me then said, “I know we were never far from each other’s thoughts. It does not matter the reason why, the Gods owe us a great debt for keeping us apart.”
Can you imagine our enemies reaction if Odahviing swept down upon their troops and wiped out dozens with his fire. I will not ask him to fight for us in Cyrodiil. A desperate Sethius would have no hesitation offering a large bounty for his head. Come Princess Smelly. The cave and your home are this way.
I knew we were getting closer to Cyrodiil as the Jerall Mountains loomed before us.
The path was steep with some stairs but mainly a slog up hard packed snow. Rigmor stopped and asked me, “Apart from my hair, do you think they would notice any change in me Dragonborn?”
The secret of your royal blood is no longer a burden and so you are much more confident in yourself. You have not had to adhere to a stupid set of rules and ‘protocol’. You have been almost constantly happy and smiling and appreciating the beauty around you. So yes, they will see a great change in you as you are now yourself once again. No longer are you some fabrication trying to survive in a society that is far more barbaric than Skyrim.
Rigmor turned and kept walking. I was terrified that she may once again become that fabrication if the others treat her like one. “Rigmor, it is expected blah blah…”
My beloved is also going to come face to face with the real Robere. How do you deal with what you thought were genuine moments of affection only to find nothing but lies? I know how she will react as she has accused me of such treachery more than once. The difference is I reacted with genuine hurt and bewilderment. I have no idea what an animal like Robere will say. I never promised not to hurt him. It would be good to meet him on the battlefield.
We eventually came upon the cave described by Yngol.
I said to Rigmor, “This is the place. Keep alert and stay close and yes, I will go first.”
“You know me well my Dragonborn.”
It started off as a boring cave.
Then unfamiliar architecture appeared and Rigmor said, “Dragonborn, look. These blocks look Ayleid.”
We entered a cavern with a bridge over a very deep ravine and Rigmor warned, “Mind where your treading, one wrong step… “
I replied, “Wait here and I will cross first in case it had decayed and might collapse.”
It seemed very sturdy when I crossed so I called Rigmor over. There was an ancient chest that had been forced open and its contents looted.
“Looks like treasure hunters have been this way.”
I said, “It could have been historians. No every corpse I find in a dungeon was a seeker of wealth. Many were seekers of knowledge.”
Many doorways were blocked by rubble. I have always wanted to just explore and discover what is on the other side of such portals to the past like those brave seekers of knowledge whose corpses I just mentioned. Maybe one day I can do that at my leisure.
We entered a room and Rigmor exclaimed, “I knew it!”
You know this place?
“Yes, I know where we are. Loona and I used to come here when we were kids. We are in Rielle. Can you please use your magicka thingy and get that fire lighted and we can rest a bit. We are only meters from Cyrodiil.”
Some magicka soon had the fire burning bright.
I sat down next to milady and she said, “This is one of the many Ayleid ruins that are all over Cyrodiil. The Ayleid were and ancient race of Mer, yanno, elves. Their empire was vast and their influence reached out to most of the regions in Tamriel.”
(I know I usually get impatient when people tell me things I already know but this was Rigmor. She was proud of the knowledge she had learnt and was now gifting it to me in that voice that mesmerises. I also knew this was a moment of peace before we crossed those last few meters into chaos.)
“You will find their ruins in High Rock, Hammerfell and Valenwood. The Imperial City was built by the Ayleid at the height of their power. Until Alessia… “
“Until you Mother led a slave army against them and formed the Imperial Empire out of the ashes.”
I have something to show you.
“Not your pommel I hope!”
I reached into my pack and handed her the ancient Ayleid slave shackles I found in Allie’s home.
“Were these hers?”
Yes. I have read she kept them above her throne so that all who met her knew her origins. They do not have a dweomer like other artefacts from Immortals I have held but they are now my most prized possession. Allie watched me snoop around and pocket things here and there. I think she was pleased I kept those ancient reminders of her past. You are so much like Allie. You have rose against your oppressors, defeated them utterly and shone like the beautiful soul you are. You will do so again my beloved and I will be there every minute of the way this time.
She handed the shackles back to me and I remarked, “Freathof would be impressed that you have learnt his lessons so well.”
“Not only Freathof. I do read books yanno! Have you ever experienced something like this before?”
Only within the labyrinth that I told you about. I have been in hundreds of old ruins in Skyrim and have even been inside those constructed by Snow Elves. Yet I have not seen any Ayleid architecture so I assume there is none in Skyrim?
“Uhuh, you need to go beyond Skyrim and even Morrowind.”
So how do you know this is Rielle?
“I remember it because one of those stone blocks fell on my foot and Loona had to go fetch my Dad. He had to carry me all the way home. I wanted to cry because it hurt so bad but he scolded me. ‘Cry and I’ll give you something to cry about!’ He was so angry with me as he had forbade me to enter such ruins. They were so dangerous back then but nowadays most of them have been cleared by treasure hunters.”
Did you father ever give you, ‘something to cry about’?
“No, never. He didn’t need to. I feared and respected him at the same time. I mean, he was my Dad right.”
Your Dad taught you the correct way. He earned your respect and did not demand it. He disciplined via controlled anger and not humiliation and violence. I cannot stand the type of parent who does nothing to earn a child’s respect, belittles them when scolding and uses violence as a teaching tool. The world would have less damaged evil people if all were taught like you were. Love, deeds and a firm voice now and then. No violence needed.
“What do you say to those who claim it never did them any harm? I agree it is the right way to parent but it is a lot harder than just spanking and walking away.”
If they believe that inflicting pain by words and violence on one they are supposed to love is OK then they have been harmed far more than they think. Many children flee such homes and end up prey for others.
“I think that incident made up his mind as it was just after that he made me my first wooden sword. I remember he said, “Rigmor, the world is a dangerous place and I might not always be here for you. You must learn to take care of yourself. Something like that… “
We encourage our children at the schools to learn how to fight with sword and magic. Some have already learnt to kill to defend themselves and others when on the streets. You certainly learnt well from your Dad and those lessons Baa’Ren-Dar organised for you. Come on Rigmor, let us get moving. Your mother is probably grey with worry.
“The exit is just up ahead.”
We passed a skeleton of an explorer. It looked like stone blocks from the ceiling had fallen on him. Ragnar was right to be worried for his little girl.
We found the exit to Cyrodiil and hesitated. We were about to exit the quiet of the ancient tombs into the unknown. I said to Rigmor, “Be prepared for a hostile reception. Surely our Bandit King knows of this entrance into Cyrodiil.”
I was surprised that there was no welcoming committee. How many innocents could have been saved if they use this entry into Cyrodiil and not the official one?
I turned to Rigmor and said, “Welcome home Countess. Is there a way we can get into Bruma unnoticed?”
“Well, there is a sewer outlet. It comes out West and we might be able to enter there. It leads directly to the keep. You really wouldn’t see it if you weren’t looking.”
Princess Smelly enters her castle via the sewers. Sounds like it I worth a try.
“Hahaha! But we are nobles and our poop smells like roses. Down that way Dragonborn. Towards the road.”
I had a mental map of Cyrodiil in my head and decided to take a wider path and just skirt the road and not cross it. It proved to be a wise move when we spotted a large contingent of Leyawiin guards huddled around a campfire. I whispered to Rigmor, “They are not very seasoned. No Imperial guards would stand around a fire or make so much noise. I could extinguish that fire with a spell and they would be night blind and easily slaughtered.”
“They are blockading the East side because of the ridge. If they want to starve us out they need to stop supplies to Bruma from Skyrim. These troops must have been patrolling the route to Applewatch.”
We will leave them be as they are not New Imperials but loyal guards simply doing their duty. Plus we do not know how many other such patrols we might attract by the noise of battle.
“More importantly Dragonborn, I want it to be a surprise for Ser Robere when I lead the garrison out to fuckup his plans.”
I would pay to see the look on his face.
“Come on then. The outlet is just ahead.”
I could have found it blindfolded. Nothing coming out of that sewer smelt like roses.
As we trudged through the foulness I whined, “Uggh! I think I just stepped in… well you know.”
We soon found a grating that led to the castle. I boosted myself up and then dragged Rigmor up and into her home.
“We made it! Let’s go and see just what the hell has been going on.”
Hang on, let me use some magicka to remove certain substances from our boots.
I cleaned us up and we proceeded to the main hall.
They were in a meeting of some and we did not say a word.
Sigunn knew her daughter had entered before she saw her or we had announced our presence. She turned and exclaimed, “Rigmor!”
Rigmor said, “Mom!” and ran to embrace her. We all watched as these two remarkable women were reunited.
This was a lengthy meeting so I will transcribe it here.
- Sigunn: Of the Gods have looked upon this day. Oh my baby girl, what have they done to you? Dragonborn, how could I ever thank you?
- Wulf: Just your smile is enough Lady Sigunn.
- Rigmor: Come on Mom, let’s sit down. Everything is going to be alright.
There was a change in protocol. They left the seat at the head of the table for me. I felt like an imposter but sat there as they desired.
Sigunn, Freathof and Captain Grimwold sat to my right.
Malesam, Rigmor and later Cerys sat to my left.
- Malesam: Guardian, I take it you were not seen entering the city?
- Rigmor: We got through the sewers. I don’t think they saw us.
- Wulf: OK Malesam, please give me a summary.
- Malesam: Two days ago Robere de Medalius arrived under a white flag of parley.
- Rigmor: Bastard!
- Malesam: He demanded we surrender the City. When we refused he cut off our lifeline to Skyrim and has sat there since. They have not been idle but constructing trebuchets to assault the city and a log ram to force open the gates. We assumed you had survived and rescued Rigmor and they were now enacting the exact scenario we had discussed. Initially we had expected the worst as Cerys will now explain.
- Cerys: Robere said that you had perished in the fire Dragonborn but luckily Rigmor had already sailed for exile. That he was going to speak to the Emperor and implored that he be allowed to marry her. That his love was true despite your public denouncement.
- Rigmor: Yeah right.
- Cerys: Morag Sethius called for calm and said she would get to the bottom of the reasons for the fire. She said it was a sad day so many had lost their lives. She hasn’t been seen for two days.
- Freathof: We fear she may have left for Table Mountain. Sethri informed us of everything so know we know the truth. Have you spoken to him? He was coming to find you.
- Wulf: Yes Freathof, we met him in Sonje. So all here are privy to most of what has been happening. There is much that Sethri’s Mistress would not know but also most is not relevant to the current crises, the siege. There are four things everybody must understand. Robere has been planning the seizure of Bruma for a long time with the co-operation of Morag. He has not been beguiled by her but entered agreements with full knowledge that Rigmor’s demise was to be an outcome. They set fire to the jail not in an attempt to kill me but to have me kill the final Minotaur alive for reasons not relevant at the moment. So I will repeat, Robere has been in alliace with Morag for a period of time and intended for Rigmor to die after they married.
- Rigmor: No Dragonborn. No.
- Wulf: It is true Rigmor and I am truly sorry. We can discuss it later if you wish. The second thing you must know is we found collusion between Morag and the Akaviri. She was planning an invasion of Tamriel by that race of vampires. They are not yet ready to invade and we have years to plan our defences if they proceed with the plan.
- Malesam: That is grave news indeed Guardian!
- Wulf: Third thing you must hear, so you know the depravity we face, is that out Emperor has been allowing the capture of Tamriel citizens.
- Rigmor: They have been delivering them to the Akaviri as… as…
- Wulf: It is OK Rigmor. They have been using Imperial Naval vessels to deliver Tamriel citizens to the Akaviri to be used as food. Like cattle to the slaughter.
There was much uproar and all were visibly upset. They needed to know that Morag was not the only monster in charge. I waited for some calm to be restored before continuing.
- Wulf: Casius aided us, another thing Sethri would not have known. He is a pirate but that is a story for another time. Together we defeated the Imperial Naval vessel used to transport the citizens and an Akaviri ship that was carrying them as food. We rescued who we could. They are being transported to Torval as we speak. After Casius took us to Dawnstar he too was going to travel to Torval. There he will present the evidence we gathered of collusion and the fate of Tamriel citizens to Baa’Ren-Dar. You know the implications of that do you not Malesam?
- Malesam: He will present the evidence to the exiled Elder Council. They will call for the removal of Sethius from the Ruby Throne. If Sethius didn’t step down there may be a Tamriel wide civil war. All would be dragged into a prolonged bloodbath.
- Wulf: So we must resolve this mess before that happens. Let us concentrate on the siege. Then we can discuss the next phase which is Table Mountain and the halting of Molag Bal’s plans. After that we may face a crucial decision on the fate of Sethius who, without Morag’s guidance, may very well be as great a danger to Tamriel as Molag or the Akaviri.
- Rigmor: Please, before anybody dares suggest it, neither of us want the Ruby Throne even though we have the rights to it. Myself as the last living Mede and Dragonborn as proclaimed by the Greybeards.
(I was not surprised she did not mention my Septim blood. Rigmor knows that news may accidentally be leaked and would spread rapidly. Everything would get so much more complicated.)
- Wulf: Fourth and final thing is Casius will approach Marshal Quintus and see if he will help with Table Mountain. Casius does not believe this could be claimed as a plot against him by Sethius as that army would be dealing with a foreign threat as per standard procedures. As far as we know there are no New Imperials or soldiers from within Cyrodiil defending the place.
- Freathof: What a wretched world it has become. Apart from what Sethri told us we have been cut off from the world awaiting the worst.
- Wulf: The worst would have been Rigmor’s death. The rest we can deal with. Rigmor, will you please fill them in our plan.
(I was hoping Rigmor would show them her new found confidence.)
- Rigmor: Dragonborn will send a signal that lets Yngol know we have arrived in the city. Yngol will mount his attack early in the morning and we shall sally forth and destroy the trebuchets. I would advise taking control of the road into Cyrodiil and we can defend it from the heights. The mountains behind our backs are impassable and offer us natural protection. Once we gain control of the road any attempt to take the high ground would funnel their troops into a withering fire from our archers. It would also give us time to reinforce the city and temporarily open a trade route with our Nord friends in Skyrim. We can fill our stores for a long siege if we have to. Then we… we… Dragonborn?
(She was doing so very well and then started questioning herself.)
- Wulf: You are doing a fantastic job Countess. Your father would be proud. Please continue.
- Rigmor: I… I’m sorry, I didn’t know my place… I…
- Wulf: You are in the exact place you should be Milady. We are here to advise you. You are ultimately responsible for your citizens and the choices to be made.
- Malesam: Guardian is correct Rigmor. Your place is at the helm of your citizens. Please continue my child. We are all so very proud of you.
(Rigmor gave me a smile that melted my heart. She truly is magnificent and in her element.)
- Rigmor: Then we hold them off as long as we can till Leyawiin brings his main force to bear. This time we are many. Yngol and his veterans will be amongst us. He could direct small groups of resistance fighters in the mountains behind the enemy. They would make it impossible for Leyawiin to assault the city by conventional means and he would have to starve us out with a long siege of attrition.
- Wulf: I am an Arch Mage. There are many ways I could get food into the city. I could even order Daedra to be our grocers if need be. Leyawiin can sit outside till his hair goes grey.
- Malesam: True Guardian. Cerys could help with that if it came to it. Rigmor, I take it you have spoken to Yngol about…?
- Rigmor: Sorella? Yes, when Yngol arrives she shall be with him. When the siege is broken he will escort her inside the city. Once Captain Grimwold and our garrison has secured the City as well as can be the Dragonborn and I will escort Sorella to Chorrol where we will meet up with Casius. We can exit the City the same we came in. Nobody would be aware we have left.
- Malesam: Aaahhh! Casius Varon. I do love it when things appear to be coming together. I like reunions.
- Rigmor: Casius will guide us over the Colovian Highlands and mountain passes into Hammerfell.
- Wulf: We will be following the routes he took with you father all those years ago Rigmor. Both he and I found some significance that you too are going with Casius to help defend the normal people against tyrants.
- Rigmor: I had not thought of that. Thank you Guardian. That will make the trip rather emotional for him and I. Hopefully he will already have secured the support of Quintus and his Legion. We take Table Mountain, destroy the ‘Bridge of Sighs’ and that bitch is history.
- Wulf: Excuse Milady’s venom towards Morag. That bitch did make it personal.
- Freathof: Quintus will then march his army back down the Gold Road to the Imperial City?
- Rigmor: We will have to decide that later. As Dragonborn pointed out, he would not have done anything regarded as treasonous at that stage. If he did march down that road it would be treason.
- Malesam: True but I am sure once he is fully informed of Sethius’ depravity he will do so. That would force Leyawiin to lift the siege of Bruma or risk splitting his force to protect the Imperial City.
- Wulf: Then comes the uncertainty.
- Malesam: Yes, depending on the circumstances we would have to decide what next to do.
- Wulf: It depends on the Emperor’s support from the Noble Houses and whether the Elder Council has issued an edict asking for Sethius’ resignation or removal.
- Malesam: Yes, who would join him and who would abstain. So many scenarios and much would depend on Quintus and how quickly he can move from Anvil to Skingrad. Gaining momentum till he sits his army outside Chorrol.
- Wulf: I am sure Milady Rigmor would agree. We should aim to gain support from the Western counties or at least persuade them into inaction.
- Malesam: It has been known for an army to just sit and do nothing on the battlefield.
- Rigmor: I agree with Dragonborn about the Western counties. If Cheydinhal and Bravil side with Leyawiin we will have problems. He could halve his forces, effectively keeping Bruma in check, and still mount a three pronged pincer attack from three fronts on Quintus’ army. We would be defeated.
- Wulf: I would not be so sure of that Milady. We are talking about veterans who have fought under your father, Casius and Quintus. Each one worth several of these dressed up bandits playing soldier. Leyawiin himself has never faced real commanders and real soldiers in the field.
- Rigmor: True Guardian but perhaps the best option, if we of course get this far, is to relieve Bruma. We attack Leyawiin’s army directly from the South, have Yngol sally forth on his flank and crush them.
- Freathof: Leyawiin will move my child. He will sit on the banks of Lake Rumare guarding the Citadel. He would wait for Cheydinhal and Bravil to reinforce his army and strike. The odds would overwhelm us all. The best you could hope for would be to relive Bruma with Quintus’ army and force a stalemate.
- Malesam: Bear in mind any peace deal would only last as long as it takes the Emperor to bring Chorrol, Anvil and Skingrad back into the fold. There really isn’t any other way than to fight to the bitter end.
- Rigmor: Dragonborn?
- Wulf: I can bring mighty forces to bear but have refrained from doing so as I do not wish this war to escalate to all of Tamriel as it surely would. I tell you all this and swear by The Divine, I will crush Leyawiin and any of his allies into dust before Bruma fell to his forces and let the Gods worry about the rest of Tamriel.
- Freathof: How so Dragonborn?
- Wulf: I am Ysmir, Dragon of the North and wearer of Stormcrown. I have explained to you before what such a declaration by me would mean. I can return to Skyrim immediately if I wish and use that to drum up support in no time. First to appear would be the entire College of Winterhold. I cannot order them to march to war even as Arch Mage. I can tell them that Rigmor is in danger and they would appear as one to defend the descendent of Morgan as per their sworn duty. Sethius and his cronies would have no answer to dozens of angry mages. I could send Dovah, both friends, and if need be, those I take control of via dark arts, to burn and discourage his troops. If I was to attack from a dragon’s back the devastation would be enormous. I would do that and more before I let Bruma fall.
- Rigmor: I also know of something we have only just discovered to do with my Guardian. It is his to announce when and if he wishes but know this. There would be very few people who would argue with his right to rule as Emperor if he so wished. Do not ask or probe as he will be mad enough I said this much.
- Wulf: I am not mad Rigmor. Listen to her though and do not probe. I do not want to be Emperor but if I had to muster support to defend Bruma I have another path I could take. And Malesam, your Mistress would have no idea except for a huge ripple in the void so don’t bother.
- Malesam: What you said about the College is true. They would come here to defend Rigmor.
- Wulf: All of this is hypothetical. At the time of making decisions about Quintus Milady will have access to far better military minds than mine to help determine the next step. I just urge here to ensure she makes the choices under advice and not be coerced. We have something here and now to contend with.
- Rigmor: Yes of course. Let us focus on the task at hand. The siege.
- Grimbold: If you will excuse Milady Rigmor, Lady Sigunn, I need to check on the defences.
- Sigunn: Of course Captain.
- Freathof: These really are dark times we are living in. I think I will retire. I bid you goodnight.
- Sigunn: I must apologize Dragonborn. I am so very tired and must retire.
- Wulf: I understand Lady Sigunn. I hope you sleep better knowing your Rigmor is home. Good night to you as well Freathof. You should be proud of yourself. You have taught and advised Milady Rigmor excellently.
We waited for them to depart the room and to gather our thoughts. After a few minutes the discussion resumed.
- Malesam: Guardian, I take it Sethri informed you of the consequences of destroying the soul gem?
- Wulf: We had both come to the conclusion there was a chance of a portal to Coldharbour being opened. He told be Boethia may have a solution.
- Malesam: Ahhh! Yesss, please allow me to explain. I have spoken to my Mistress and she is very interested in our endeavours to thwart Morag Sethius, or should I say, Morag Bal. So much so she had taken it upon herself to become directly involved if needs must.
- Wulf: This is why the Daedric Lords never get anywhere. The Divine, plus I must add Azura and Saint Alessia, co-operate in their defence of Nirn and the preservation of the sacred covenant. The Daedric Lords bicker amongst themselves and are happy to destroy each other’s plans. So Malesam, how will she help and what does she want in return?
- Malesam: Let’s just say it’s personal. If a rift is caused long enough for a certain Daedra to appear in person then things are going to get very bad, very quickly. Not only for you but all of Tamriel.
- Wulf: Please Malesam, cut the dramatics and stating the obvious. As I said to Sethri, if I tackled Molag Bal I would be squashed like a bug.
- Malesam: Hahaha, so true Guardian, so true. So my Mistress has instructed me to give you this. Behold Dragonborn. The ‘Eye of Boethiah!’
Both ladies started giggling at Malesam’s dramatics. Sure enough, on the table was an eyeball.
- Wulf: Wow, I never thought I would see ‘THE BROWN-EYE OF BOETHIA!’
Both ladies were now in hysterics.
- Malesam: The “Eye of Boethia” Guardian! Listen very carefully. Once placed in your inventory it allows you to summon Boethia to your calling but only if you are within a rift between Oblivion and the mortal world and another Daedra is present.
- Wulf: I assume you mean another Daedric Lord. I can summon a Daedra whenever I wish.
- Malesam: OK, yes, Daedric Lord then. If Molag Bal enters the rift you must use the spell. Boethiah will appear and fight Molag Bal to the death. Actually it is an everlasting battle that can never end until you strike either one of the Daedric Lords with this.
Malesam placed Scourge on the table.
- Wulf: Scourge. Lucky I retrieved it for her Malesam and do not dare say she had planned all of this years ago. She did not as she had no idea of the current ripples in the void or their significance.
- Malesam: Even so she is supplying a solution to a problem. Boethiah is very fond of you Guardian, and Rigmor. You are, after all, her Champion.
- Wulf: I am also Champion of Meridia, Hermaeus Mora and other Daedric Lords but none of them are stepping forward with an offer of help. Boethia wants Molag Bal for lunch and she wants me to tenderise him with Scourge before she starts chewing.
- Malesam: Correct Guardian and as you have said many times, there always has to be something ulterior for her to become involved at such a personal level…ahem.
- Wulf: Even Azura demands a favour for a favour sometimes Malesam. I doubt such a rift will only allow Molag Bal to enter. So I will probably have to fight Daedra of various sorts whilst trying not to get squished by two giant Daedric Lords fighting in the same area. Do I have to pat my head and rub my stomach at the same time? Juggle maybe?
- Rigmor: You have all the fun my Guardian!
- Wulf: Nevertheless it is a solution and so please thank your Mistress on our behalf Malesam.
- Malesam: You may well find you can do that yourself but I hope it doesn’t come to that.
- Wulf: Please remember that this is probably not all The Divine are concerned about. There is still a mystery about Morag’s hint of a corrupt Red Diamond and/or Amulet of Kings. We must keep our eyes and ears out for clues on that as well.
- Malesam: Indeed Guardian. I too need my beauty sleep. Captain Grimwold is supposed to sound the bells once Yngol starts his attack. Can you please remind him as he left before I could do so.
- Wulf: I will do so. Since there is nothing really to be done until the attack I think Rigmor and I will find a way to relax while we wait.
(Cerys giggled. As if I meant that! But then again…)
- Malesam: Come Cerys, you need your rest as well.
- Wulf: Goodnight to both of you.
- Rigmor: Goodnight Malesam and thanks for the advice and help. Goodnight Cerys and we must catch up on the gossip soon.
(As they were leaving the room I picked up Scourge and the eye. I could not detect any dweomer on either as expected.)
Once they left the room I said to Rigmor, “Well here we are. Alone again.”
“Yeah, what shall we do now?”
First I want to tell you how immensely proud of you I am. They saw the side of you I had seen before in Skyrim those years ago. They know you will be a fine leader.
“Pfft, yeah right, I don’t know what came over me.”
(Rigmor stood and walked to stand in front of the fire.)
“I just want this to all be over. Remember back when I said about how you can’t run away from your destiny?”
I approached her and said, “Of course I do. We have discussed it several times.”
“We agreed that we have to face it head on but don’t let it control us.”
That is what we are doing my beloved. I was tempted to mention to them our feelings for each other.
“Dragonborn! Stop it. Oh the Gods, I am more afraid of that then anything.”
What the hell? I was about to say that I didn’t because it wasn’t the right time with all that had already been revealed and discussed. Why would you be afraid? Do you still not think they would accept it? They already know Rigmor!
“I love you Dragonborn but I am so confused with all that is going on.”
I love you and am trying to understand.
“Let us go to the Tap&Tack. I need a stiff drink and we may not get another chance. We can talk. There are some things I want to get off my chest.”
Then let us go Princess Rigmor, Countess of Bruma.