Bruma: War and babies.
I have thought about the message delivered by Pelinal Whitestrake and understood entirely. Every Divine Task and all other things I have done since awakening have been harder because I have avoided ‘collateral damage’. I have put myself and companions at greater risk to avoid the unnecessary deaths of innocents. It comes down to my reverence for all mortals and especially the everyday families. I can’t help but think the Champion for all mortals, Alessia, drummed it into me in the 18 years she had me on Roscrea. Tiber Septim stomped all over the normal people in his quest to build an Empire. He was benevolent once in the seat of power but absolutely ruthless establishing it. What he did to some of his political rivals is nothing short of bloody murder. To resolve the current issue in Bruma he would have sent his one thousand foot high Dwemer automaton to wipe out Rigmor and her family.
Whitestrake was ruthless but that became genocidal when his beloved, a slave he freed and trained to be a hoplite, was killed in battle. A famous song sung by bards Tamriel wide says,
“When Huna, whom Pelinal raised from grain-slave to hoplite and loved well, took death from an arrowhead made from the beak of Celethelel the Singer, the Whitestrake went on his first Madness.”
He destroyed entire cities and as much of the population as he could. Several times Alessia had to intervene with The Divine who wanted to kill Whitestrake for his atrocities. It is only upon death did his insanity flee and he could see what he wrought and now has an eternity to regret.
So I needed to reassure Rigmor that I would take her anger but would not use it to inflict unnecessary and mindless violence when my conservative approach will get the job done.
I removed the five red mountain flowers from my journal. Four from the time I died and one from our quarters in the Imperial Palace and made a trail…
… to her writing desk…
… where I placed a letter with the last flower atop.
The letter read,
“My beloved Rigmor,
I am writing and telling you these things because last night you cried and that means I failed to protect you and I am so truly and deeply sorry.
I have fought and defeated some of the most formidable beings to ever walk on Nirn.
I have faced evil most foul and in its own domain.
Yet only one power has enabled me to do these things
Yet only one power has made me pray to the Gods.
Yet only one power has made me cry and wish for mercy.
Yet only one power has triggered insanity and deep despair.
That power is our glorious and eternal and infinite love for one another.
It is terrifying to realise a lot of your life was planned by distant and seemingly cold Gods.
Prophecy and destiny thrust upon you without permission or a desire for the rewards.
You are uncertain and that turns to anger.
You are confused and that turns to anger.
You are scared and that turns to anger.
You feel you have lost control and that turns to anger.
I understand because I have lived with the same feelings since my awakening.
Every single day!
All that anger builds and builds and you need an outlet and I am it.
Vent your anger, shout, call me names and even question our love.
Do what you need to do so I do not hear such sorrow from one who deserves to only laugh.
Give me your anger and your frustration and your worries.
I will gladly accept them not as your Guardian but as your soulmate.
I accept them as the one who loves you beyond measure.
I accept them because you need me and I never want to lose you.
They are not a burden because I have the power of our love to carry them.
The flowers that led you to this letter are the ones you dropped the day I died. As you cried for mercy with a voice bereft of hope, part of you knew deep down I would follow them and find you and never let you go.
The last flower was the one you left on the bed the day you were arrested and taken from me again. I understood. It was a plea to find and rescue you from the darkness once again.
I want nothing more than to hold you in my arms and feel our love surround us and to protect you from all that tries to hurt you and to hear your laughter and to see your smile.
We are in another battle against an evil that wants to harm the ordinary families like you once had. You know their value because you lost yours. That is why your determination combined with our love is an unstoppable force.
P.S. Your silly Dragonborn is waiting out front.”
It was not long to sunrise, when Yngol would start his attack, that I gently shook Rigmor’s shoulder and told her to prepare for the battle.
I then waited outside her door as the darkness receded.
Soon after she joined me outside and kissed me passionately. A few guards and militia heading for muster pointed and a few clapped. After she let me go she stood a little embarrassed at her public demonstration of affection.
I said to her, “Wow! Anybody would think we are madly in love!”
“That will start some rumours!”
Milady, the Sun is almost up and battle awaits us. Today we take back the initiative and make them regret their choices.
“The garrison is mustering, what shall I say to them?”
You gave one of the most famous speeches in Tamriel history ad lib to The Sons of Talos. I am sure you will think of something. Or maybe you might stand there looking silly. Let’s go.
The bells started ringing.
The muster point was just inside the gate. Gathered there were a large part of the garrison, two shieldmaidens, Captain Grimbold and the Fighter’s Guild members.
Rigmor stood proud and spoke to her army, “Captain Grimbold, prepare to sally forth. We need to destroy the trebuchets and the gate ram. We will also need to reinforce Yngol’s men.”
Grimbold replied in the affirmative and then started issuing orders.
Rigmor addressed all gathered, “Now is our time! If we lose this city we stand to lose everything. Our allies from Skyrim have come to our aid in our time of need. Let us not waste this moment. It is time to push our enemies back down into the valley where they belong. For this is our home, not theirs. For this is our land, not theirs. For we are Bruma!”
There were cheers and the banging of weapons on shields as we made our way to the rally point just outside the front gates.
I conjured two Dragon Priests who would supply more mage power for the assault.
The signal was given and we surged forward on a mission to defend Bruma and destroy the invaders.
There was a line of skirmish of about ten men in the gap in Robere’s defences. They were supposed to slow down Bruma’s forces as they came under withering bow fire from both flanks. I blew them into burning chunks with a few fireballs. Only a couple reached our advancing troops.
I used a rock formation on the left of the road to give shelter. This allowed me to kill the men in the right hand tower and palisades with very little return fire from their archers.
Once the right was neutralised I stepped out a bit from the rock and took care of the left hand tower and palisades. I was still protected from the archers on the far left hand palisades.
Our men were soon through the gap with no casualties and the intense hand to hand battle began.
I ran through the gap and looked to my left. Rigmor was easily dealing with a couple of Leyawiin guards and a New Imperial heavy infantryman. Bruma guards were climbing steps and engaging archers along the walkways. I wiped out a group of archers manning a distant tower. Below that I could see Yngol’s men in a large melee against the enemy.
I found a few injured including one of our shieldmaidens and healed them before heading towards the large melee.
Yngol’s men were dispensing with the bandits in fancy dress at a fast rate. They were being harassed by archers on the walkway who I destroyed with fireballs.
There were only a few New Imperials left.
I conjured up two more Dragon Priests amongst the melee.
Then I leapt in and started dispatching the last of the enemy.
As I suspected the New Imperials were thugs in armour. I sliced through them like a scythe though wheat.
One of the last was already pierced by Ice Spears before I decapitated him.
That was virtually the end. A few distant weapon clashes could be heard but there was no longer an effective Leyawiin fighting force on the field. I approached Rigmor and asked, “They are just about done. Are you alright?”
“I’m uninjured. Where is Bobby?”
Let us go and find his command tent. Look out for ambushes.
We walked a bit further back from the palisades and saw it. The number of tents around it indicated the attacking force was many times larger than the defenders. They were totally unprepared for Yngol arriving on their flank. Even then, if their troops were at least half the quality of ours, they would have put up more of a fight. Instead they were annihilated.
As we got closer to the command tent it was apparent it was empty.
We entered it and there was a letter from the Count to Robere. I read it aloud for Rigmor,
Here is a chance to prove yourself. With Rigmor exiled and her Guardian out of the picture it is up to you to take Bruma and claim the city for yourself. I have availed you my garrison and a company of Imperial Legionnaires. Make use of the catapults to place fear into the enemy while you construct the trebuchets. When completed they will be able to strike the castle keep itself and force a surrender.
Make use of the city dungeon to house the fake noble squatters and we will deal with them later. Once we have consolidated our position of power we can deal with them all. Don’t disappoint me son.
Rigmor laughed and said, “Poor Bobby is going to get a spanking when he gets home.”
What sickens me the most is them calling this rabble ‘Imperial Legionnaires.’ What a fucking insult to the real members of that elite force. Let us head for the muster point and see what the situation is.
“I bet the imposters even have underwear on!”
I could not help but join in with her laughter and our uplifted mood persisted despite the dozens of corpses we walked past. Not one did I see wearing the colours of Bruma!
There was a long and orderly line of Yngol’s men.
We reached the mustering point and I said to Rigmor, “Look at your city my beloved. Not a column of smoke or fire to be seen. You have truly helped your people today and should be so very proud!” Tears started to form as relief washed over her.
Rigmor barked an order as well as any Drill Sergeant could, “Captain Grimbold, get the men ready to help reinforce the heights. Build overhanging stockades and place the archers behind them. Let’s get some wood stakes on the road and build a barricade.”
Then we heard the unmistakable voice of Yngol, “Go back to the rear and bring the supply wagons. We will be here for as long as it takes. Get the wounded into the castle and bury the fallen.”
I looked over and there was Yngol. Robere with hands bound was standing next to him.
I approached slowly and I found my hatred for Robere was more intense than I could have imagined. That piece of slime deserved to die for a thousand different crimes. The worst one of all was he made my beloved cry and that merited my sword through his guts.
I said to Yngol, “I see you found the barn dog. Was he hiding somewhere? I was hoping to meet him on the battlefield.”
“Yeah! I caught this scumsucker cowering behind some rocks away from the fighting… “
Rigmor saw Robere and the venom in her voice would have shut up anybody with brains, “Bobby. You bastard! I’m gonna kill you!”
Rigmor drew her sword and approached the brainless moron who said, “Go on you little shit. Do your worst you little gobshite. My father will piss on the lot of you peasants. I am nobility!”
I decided grab him by the throat for two reasons. I did not want to hear any more crap come out of his mouth. More importantly, if he was going to die it would be best if I did it. Rigmor was in a rage similar to when she chopped into the den that time. She needed time to calm down and make a rational decision. If she cut him down now she may have lifelong regrets. I really did not care about the strategic value of the vermin.
I squeezed and he tried to prise my hand away. I yelled to Rigmor, “Take a minute to think Rigmor. If you want him dead after that I will gladly do it. Let them try and take me to trial for the justified killing of somebody who has plotted against a descendent of Morganna and intended to kill her. I think they would find Emperor Mede I’s writ trumps all subsequent laws.”
I looked Robere in the face and said, “You consider yourself nobility and of superior breeding when before you stands Rigmor, Royal Princess via her Mede blood. What are you? The son of a bandit and a fucking coward. Every time Milady sneezes she loses more nobility than you have ever had. I will release my grip a bit but I advise. Don’t say a word. A dragon has you by the throat.”
Yngol said, “I know you are aware of this Rigmor but think it out. Ser Robere as a hostage gives you an edge and gives us time. I suggest you let these others go so word reaches them soon of Robere’s humiliating and pathetic capture.”
Rigmor sighed and sheathed her sword. Then she said to me, “It is OK Dragonborn and thanks for what you just did.”
I let go of Robere and stepped away. Rigmor ordered, “Have him taken to the prison. Put him in a suitable uniform and have him guarded around the clock. You soldiers of Leyawiin, go running back to your master and tell him how easily you were crushed and that we have his son in captivity. Let them go.”
I turned to Rigmor and said, “You know this will buy as some time.”
“Yeah. Leyawiin will not dare attack us now.”
Rigmor turned and asked Yngol, “Did you bring Sorella?”
He replied, “She’s coming. Now we have secured the border and hold the heights it is safe for her. She will join us shortly. Grom is with her.”
Rigmor exclaimed, “Grom? Bobby’s bodyguard? No way!”
“Grom barely escaped with his life. When Ser Robere was given command of the besieging forces and made General he wanted to cut any loose ties to you. That included Grom and his little friend. You were friendly with them both, right?”
“Of course but how do you know Grom?”
“Grom is one of mine and an old friend of your father. Tiny works for Malesam… “
The look on Rigmor’s face was pure shock. She asked incredulously, “You have both been spying on me all this time?”
“Rigmor, that old Khajiit, Rar Bendar or whatever the hell his name is, wanted it that way once he knew about Robere. He rightfully didn’t trust him one bit. Consider them chaperones.”
“I don’t believe it! Whose spy was Tiny?”
“Malesam’s. He wanted to make sure you were safe as we all did. You are like a daughter to me and we have to look out for each other right? You’re special.”
Rigmor looked between myself and Yngol and growled, “Ahhh! OK, I just wanna drop it, right now! If I hear any more about how special I am, or any more revelations about hidden, secret bodyguards, prophecies, or any of that shit of that kind… “
I looked at Rigmor and said, “So I shouldn’t tell you the Cerys is actually Sven and under a constant dweomer?”
“Fuck you Dragonborn!”
Yngol cut in, “Prophecies? I never mentioned any prophesy?”
I said to him, “Yeah, Rigmor’s ‘The Chosen One’ or ‘The Chosen Queen’ or both. I haven’t figured it out yet.”
Rigmor moaned, “Agh! I swear you two, I… agh! Can we just get back to the castle OK! We can plan our next move there. Ugh!”
OK Chosen One. No need to chuck a right Royal tantrum.
Rigmor went stomping off and Yngol and I followed at a safe distance. He said, “Haha! ‘The Chosen One’ is an old wives tale made up by drunkards and dreamers. Don’t let that old rubbish get inside you head Guardian. Rigmor needs to focus.”
You really are an ignorant bastard aren’t you? Prophecy and magic are tools used by the Gods and other immortals. This fighting on the battlefield is just a part of the big picture Yngol. The Battle of Whiterun and me going into Oblivion and stopping Malacath were equally important. We could not have defeated Alduin without using some really mixed up magic involving an Elder Scroll. If I did not believe in prophecy the Sun would be permanently dark and you would be cattle for vampires. Prophecies are real. Your daughter is here because of a prophecy! My trouble is I can’t find any information on ‘The Chosen One’.
“I can’t help you with that Guardian. There must be somebody more knowledgeable than me on that stuff that you can ask?”
Freathof is a good scholar. I will ask him. If it has anything to do with the history of Tamriel he may know something.
“There ya go, ask him.”
Rigmor had stopped and as I approached she asked, “You were joking about Cerys I hope?”
I hope so too. I would hate for that special wiggle she has when she walks to be an illusion! Not that I have noticed of course. You Royal arse is the only one I follow! Ahem…
“I owe you a pisspot Dragonborn. Revenge will be mine.”
With that we continued on into the city. I saw Tish and said to her, “Thanks once again for the help. You are so completely different than the other Blades I know.”
“Visited Sky Haven Temple and talked to Delphine and Esbern. They said you forbade them from killing Dragons and refused to kill Paarthurnax.”
I thought I was going to have to kill Delphine more than once to get it into her thick skull I order her, not the other way around. I have forbidden them to kill a Dovah without cause. No intelligent species should just be hunted for what they are. I have a Dovah guarding one of my orphanages. I consider Alduin’s second in charge, Odahviing, to be a good friend. Those two would have hunted them and most probably died trying to kill them just because they are of the Dov.
“I wish they had learned that lesson earlier Dragonborn.”
As I rushed to catch up with the others I shouted, “Once again Tish, thank you and thank your colleagues for your help.”
We reached the castle and I headed straight for the meeting room. When I entered Rigmor was already seated.
I sat at the far end and had Rigmor, Cerys and Freathof on my right.
I had Yngol, and Malesam on my left. Sigunn sat in the end seat.
Here is the transcript of the meeting;
- Malesam: Ahhh! Guardian, Yngol, let’s make haste and get down to business.
- Sigunn: Yngol, there are now words to express our gratitude for your help I just want you to know.
- Yngol: Sigunn, your problems are my problems. I would never turn your back on you. Ragnar would never forgive me.
- Rigmor: Sorella will be well cared for and I give you my word Yngol, on my life.
- Yngol: I know you and the Guardian will take good care of her and she’ll be in good hands. However, I want Casius to personally take responsibility for her welfare once you meet up. He is to keep her out of harm’s way, never leave her side and is not to partake in the main battle. This is not negotiable and I want your word on it.
- Rigmor: Of course, you have my word.
- Wulf: Perfectly reasonable request Yngol. He might object if he thinks it was our suggestion since he would most likely want to lead his troops. Coming from you though, he will agree to it.
- Yngol: Angi understood the prophecy crap and does not blame you or the Guardian for putting Sorella in danger. We thought both of you will be targets for the enemy and probably very occupied just staying alive. Having Casius as her guardian was the most comfortable solution.
- Freathof: We received word from Casius. Quintus is on our side. Once Casius had prepared a base camp at the foot of the ridge he will sent word and await your arrival. You’ll all cross the ridge and trek down through the highlands to the source of the Brena River. Keeping to the South side you’ll follow the river and make your way to Quintus’ Headquarters. The journey is not without its dangers. Redguard border raiders inhabit the region so you must all be vigilant.
- Wulf: If I was not vigilant I would have died many times over as Champion of The Divine. And before anybody says it. Both Rigmor and I are aware that Sorella is not a big hairy barbarian but is in fact a child. For that reason one of us will always be beside her if we encounter any hostiles. Along with Casius we are a very competent team of killers who are quite capable of making it to Quintus safely.
- Rigmor: What my Dragonborn is trying to say in his typical diplomatic style is we need information, not platitudes.
- Yngol: So that old goat has become a mountain goat. Hahaha! I am looking forward to meeting him again. But why not just travel down the Gold Coast, via Skingrad?
- Wulf: We keep them off balance via surprising them.
- Malesam: Ahh, The Guardian is correct. A medium sized party would stand out plus the road to Anvil had many New Imperial patrols. The element of surprise is vital, we don’t know the full extent of Morag Sethius’ powers.
- Wulf: Pardon to the ladies present but bullshit! The element of surprise is my only concern. I know full well the extent of Morag’s powers. She is not some big scary monster. She is a second class vampire with no more power than the hundreds I have cut down in the last few years. If we are close to her when she has access to the Bridge of Sighs we might well be smart to be wary of her. Until then she is a non-entity except for her ability to order troops around. Being sneaky also makes Sorella safer.
- Yngol: Yeah, of course. The less risk to Sorella the better.
- Rigmor: I know the Great Forest like the back of my hand. We can pass through the forest all the way to Chorrol without being detected.
- Wulf: We will stay away from the walls of any big cities like Chorrol. We will kill to the man any patrols that see us. Depending on the circumstances we may hide their bodies. All of this is standard and it is to be expected from any half competent army recruit. What is unknown is the inside of Table Mountain. How dangerous the Bridge of Sighs is might not be known till we are within sight of it. If anybody is to approach close to the Bridge of Sighs it will be me. Sorella will only be allowed to enter the chamber if she can’t take her shot from a distance that I feel is safe from both the effects of the crystal and potential explosion.
- Yngol: One shot is all she needs Guardian.
- Wulf: She will take her shot and be whisked away to safety immediately. You have my word!
- Yngol: I trust you Guardian to do the right thing otherwise I would not risk her.
- Wulf: Which leads me to this. I will be in charge once we are on and in the Mountain. It will not be by committee. We can have nice meetings and plan strategy for the military side of things but there is nobody else with even a tiny smidgen of my experience when it comes to magic, Daedric Lords, Oblivion and vampires. We are dealing with unknowns that will take snap decisions to survive. Decisions only I am capable of under the circumstances. I will emphasise this once again. There is far more to this than just the Bridge of Sighs. Molag Bal has a bigger plan than just making a portal to Coldharbour. Morag Sethius let it slip that the sacred covenant of Akatosh is at risk. If one Daedric Prince were to walk Nirn mortals would still have a slim chance as long as The Divine can work through us. If the covenant is broken then we will have multiple Daedric Lords battling over Nirn and its destruction would be inevitable. If, as Morag indicated to me, that the covenant is not destroyed but reversed then The Divine could not aid us and we would be at the complete mercy of the Daedric Lords who may then decide to dominate, not obliterate.
- Yngol: Is this the sort of crap you dealt with for the last three and a bit years?
- Wulf: It is why I am on Nirn. I was given my gifts by Lord Akatosh and trained to do this. I know that and I am comfortable with it.
- Rigmor: Understood Guardian and I know the truth of what you said more than anybody else. Choice after choice after choice and each one a potential trigger for disaster. Day after day. Year after year. The fact we are still alive is proof you know what you are doing.
Just then Sorella walked in and sat down.
- Sorella: Hey Dad!
- Yngol: Hey there kiddo. You remember everyone here don’t you?
- Sorella: Rigmor still looks the same haha.
- Sigunn: My how you’ve grown. You’re such a big girl now.
- Sorella: Hi Sigunn. I’ve missed every one so much. By the way, Mum says hi. It is so cool to see you all again.
- Rigmor: It is good to see you again Sorella. I’m just sorry it has to be under these circumstances.
- Sorella: They are waiting for me.
- Freathof: Who is waiting for you child?
- Sorella: The children. The children in the glass house.
- Freathof: Did these children speak to you somehow? What did they say?
- Sorella: You Freathof aren’t you?
- Freathof: Yes I am.
- Sorella: Sofia told me about you.
Freathof leapt out of his chair. He was obviously perturbed by what Sorella was saying.
- Freathof: Now then my child, please don’t play games… what… how…
- Malesam: You had better sit down Freathof…
- Sorella: I have a message to you from Sofia.
- Freathof: What is it she wants to tell me child?
- Sorella: She said to tell you not to blame yourself. It wasn’t your fault and she misses you.
Freathof fell to the floor visibly upset. He must have carried a burden of guilt now gone.
- Sigunn: Freathof!
- Yngol: What kind of sorcery is this?
- Sorella: She knows you never gave up looking for her. She says you should not be sad anymore.
- Freathof: Sofia!
- Sorella: She is happy and is going home soon. They are all waiting for her.
Sigunn stood next to Freathof who staggered back to his feet.
- Sigunn: Freathof, do you want to retire? I’ll help you to your room.
- Freathof: No, no. I just want to sit a while…
- Sigunn: Then everyone please excuse me, I have heard enough. Sorella if you need anything do not hesitate to ask.
Sigunn left the room and I could not help but think she has carried a heavy burden these last few years.
- Sorella: Hey Dragonborn, I’ve still got your bow, look, and the ring you gave me.
- Wulf: I am so sorry you have got mixed up in all this prophecy crap as your Father called it. Can you tell me how you learned about the glass house and how Sofia talks to you?
- Sorella: About a year ago I took the ring off. The voices had stopped. When I was dreaming Xenia came and took me to the glass house.
- Wulf: I brought Xenia’s spirit back to her mother. She was a very brave lady who tracked the vampires down and tried to rescue her daughter. She was killed but Xenia must be special. She had avoided going where the other children had gone and I saw her and her mother’s ghost walk hand in hand into the afterlife. She waved goodbye to me. It was a very nice thing to see and I was glad I could help them.
- Sorella: Xenia told me that and asked me to thank you. She is a free spirit and she showed me the glass house. Sofia is there with all the other children. I know what to do Dragonborn.
- Wulf: You are also a special girl Sorella. You want to help these children even though it might be dangerous. You are very generous and very very brave.
- Sorella: Try telling that to my Mom. Hahaha!
- Malesam: Let us reinforce our positions here and await word from Casius. Then we can begin. I also expect some sort of response from the enemy once they realise we have Leyawiin’s son. Come Cerys, it has been a very long day.
- Yngol: I need to return to the encampment and get to work on those positions. Grom and Tiny will be guarding Sorella. Does she have a room ready?
- Rigmor: Sorella can stay with me.
- Yngol: That is all I need to know. Grom, Tiny, keep watch outside Rigmor’s room.
- Wulf: Don’t forget my room is next to Rigmor’s and she is ultimately my responsibility. Just make a lot of noise and I will be there and we can deal with any danger together. I appreciate what you have both done in looking after Milady when I could not and Sorella is fortunate to have you as guardians.
- Rigmor: Hey Sorella! Didn’t you look after me once? Well, now it is my turn. You can stay with me in my room. We have so much to catch up on.
- Sorella: Hey, that would be cool Rigmor.
- Wulf: Goodnight young lady.
- Sorella: Goodnight Dragonborn. Oh, and I still have the pony haha!
- Rigmor: Goodnight Dragonborn.
- Wulf: I wish you pleasant dreams Milady.
As they left the room I felt redundant. I am kind of nervous not being closer to my beloved and I think Rigmor will miss the quiet from our shared destiny as I will be too far away. I had to put aside my knowledge that guards outside doors are not enough. Although the Dark Brotherhood has been decimated in both Cyrodiil and Skyrim there was still Cicero on the loose. The Morag Tong were still quite active in Morrowind and Solstheim and illegal writs of assassination are far from unknown. The only consolation is that this was way too early after their defeat for the enemy to have organised a contract.
Freathof was still sitting down looking into the distance as many people lost in thought do. I needed to clear up the prophecy. It was dangerous not knowing enough about something directly involving Rigmor. I was also confused as to why I never saw it written down.
I sat opposite and said, “Excuse me Freathof, can we please talk about something vital?”
Freathof, it is urgent I talk to you about something.
“Uhh! I’m too upset for talking right now.”
I understand Freathof, I truly do. I need your counsel on a matter related to the safety of Rigmor. Sofia would want you to give me it would she not?
“Yes… yes your right. What is it you wanted to ask?”
Do you know about the prophecy of “The Chosen Queen of Tamriel?”
“Ah! You’ve come to the right man. ‘The Chosen Queen of Tamriel’ isn’t written in parchment but rather passed down by word of mouth by elder scholars and scribes. It all comes from hearsay mostly. It isn’t officially sanctioned.”
You know that ‘officially sanctioned’ means nothing when determining the truth of something. All the great libraries of Tamriel are full of lies, propaganda and misdirection. Is the officially sanctioned history of Rigmor’s father true and accurate?
“I can’t think of any other reason why this prophecy is not documented.”
Two reasons I can think of. The Divine did not want me to know the full prophecy till now. That there is something in it that may have made my ‘free will’ more likely to make decisions other than I have.
The other reason is that an oral prophecy can be more easily changed according to circumstances. A slight change as it is passed from one scholar to the next as influenced by The Divine. A while ago I would have said that is beyond their power but recent revelations suggest they can do such things.
Is it often discussed outside of the scholar community?
“No. It would be of little interest to others.”
Then how did a huge barbarian warrior know about its existence when a widely travelled and read bard did not? This smacks of more manipulation by the Gods. Can you please tell me what you know?
“Not then… let me see…When Akatosh failed to save the beast races from the persecution of men, Al-Esh cursed the land. Tamriel would never have peace and prosperity until all her children were returned to her.”
Her children being The Minotaur correct?
“The Minotaur have been extinct for centuries. That makes the credence of the fable suspect. There would be peace already. You would have thought so before all that has come to pass recently but yet again we are locked in perpetual struggle as you can see.”
This is where scholars fail miserably. If something does not have physical proof it must be wrong. What does your officially sanctioned history say about Snow Elves?
“That they sought refuge with the Dwemer during the Nord genocide. That the Dwemer turned them into the blind and savage Falmer.”
That is not what happened and not only have I met living Snow Elves I have two of their children at one of my schools. The point is your information is flawed and there are many examples I could give you.
I met the last Minotaur and his name was Lord Mor’Bel-Harza. He had been trapped in a Labyrinth underneath the Imperial City. He had lived for thousands of years under the noses of all those scholars writing the officially sanctioned bullshit.
“By the Nine Divine, what came to pass… how?”
He told me of the prophecy of Al-Esh and begged me to release him.
“So you slew him?”
I could have escaped the Labyrinth by other means so it was not for that reason. It was not to kick off a prophecy I knew nothing about. It was because he had suffered enough for the petty jealousies and racism of others. This sort of mindless hatred has resulted in the Snow Elves being at the brink of extinction. It has almost wiped out all Dov in Skyrim. It has destroyed the Ayleid civilization. It makes Khajiit pitch tents outside some of the holds in Skyrim.
He had suffered enough and I felt obliged out of pure decency to comply with his request. That is why I slew a being that meant me no harm and it has haunted me since.
He said his death would result in the coming of the Chosen Queen. I have since pursued more information about the prophecy as it may directly relate to my Divine Task and Milady Rigmor.
“So you think Rigmor is the “Chosen Queen?”
I do not know enough about the prophecy to say or, as I said, how it may relate to my Divine Task. It may even be my Divine Task to ensuring she is the Chosen Queen.
“Well she is certainly poised for greatness, especially with her Royal bloodline.”
The Divine have brought us together. I have been told by Talos himself that our destinies are entwined and the fate of not just Tamriel but Nirn and even Mundus is at stake and that we need to be together to save all. I do not know the ultimate wish of our Gods or what needs to be resolved or how to resolve it. That is often the case when given a Divine Task.
From well before Rigmor was born her life has been manipulated by The Divine and Azura leading up to a crucial point in the future. A point beyond which even Akatosh can’t see. We will both have roles to play in its resolution.
Rigmor is not destined for greatness. She is already great by any measurement you wish to apply. Even if you choose to ignore the fact she fought by my side to defeat the New Order on the battlefield!
She is still the loving and compassionate woman you have got to know and love despite the expectations of the Gods pushing and pulling her in directions she does not desire. She is without peer and her Royal blood has fuck all to do with it!
“I beg your pardon Guardian. You are correct. Why do you think all of this involves the prophecy?”
I do not know because at the moment it is a jumble of Chosen Queen and Chosen One. Are they one and the same or different? What are the criteria to be either or both? I do not know Freathof.
“Rigmor cannot be the ‘Chosen One’ my friend. That is something complete different. The Alessian prophecy speaks of “The Chosen Queen of Tamriel” and Rigmor could indeed be she. It would explain the keen interest of Gods, both The Divine and Daedric Lords, ever since she was born and according to you, well before that even. Her bloodline to a Royal Dynasty helps make that theory credible. But the ‘Chosen One’ as written in the Elder Scrolls is half beast. So Rigmor cannot be the Chosen One. When you put two and two together it is apparent how your destinies are entwined.”
It is not apparent to me as I am still yet to be informed of the connection between the two titles. I am highly intelligent but not omnipotent! What are you trying to say Freathof?
“The ‘Chosen Queen’ is to deliver, give birth to, the ‘Chosen One’. That child is to be of Royal blood and Dragonchild.”
So a child of Rigmor and I would have Dragonblood. He or she would not be Dragonborn as the gifts of Akatosh are bestowed later and not at birth. For that to occur, Rigmor would have to be the Chosen Queen of prophecy. There is no other requirement for Rigmor to be that except having Royal blood. One mystery solved.
“May I interject and ask you a very personal question?”
“I have noticed Rigmor is very fond of you. Have you two had… relations?”
Explain the relevance!
“The Last Dragonborn, a half beast. The Minotaur Lord spared you because that too is in the prophecy isn’t it? That only a half beast brother or sister could release the curse?”
A Minotaur Lord is not an Alduin or Vampire Lord or a myriad other foes I have beat in combat. He would have been no match but that is totally irrelevant. He was told by Alessia I would be coming and I do meet the criteria of the prophecy. Far more than you realise.
“You love Rigmor don’t you? It’s alright. I have no qualms about you and her being as one. I assure you of my confidentiality and trust in this matter.”
To put it bluntly, neither I nor Rigmor should have to care about who approves or doesn’t.
To tell her the main criteria for her partner should be nobility is so wrong and barbaric. That concept being shoved down her throat by you and Malesam has caused her great grief and goes totally against her values. She loves all her citizens and does not differentiate their value according to this artificial class system!
That stupidity caused her to choose Robere as he met your criteria even though he is nothing more than a bandit and the son of a bandit. The exact type of scum I have slaughtered endlessly. The type Rigmor killed in great numbers when travelling with me in Skyrim. Think about that and justify it to me!
Have none of you wondered why she was so heartbroken over no contact with me over those years? Was her deep sadness what you would expect if I was just her Guardian? We were deeply in love in Skyrim. We have never stopped being deeply in love.
Have we had relations? In Skyrim and here we have celebrated our love by making love. We have celebrated the Divine gifts of Dibella wrapped within the Divine gifts of Mara. We feel no guilt or shame!
I am still mystified why we have to keep our love a secret. It is pure and unending and without it we would not have endured what happened in Skyrim. Without it we would not survive what is happening now.
How about the fact I am a noble! Do you guys just ignore that I am Thane of several holds? Earned by helping the people of them and not by slaughtering half the population like Ser Robere. I am so bitter about this class bullshit!
Our love should be welcomed and celebrated as it makes Rigmor happy. That should be the only criteria!
“I can see what we drove her to and I apologise. Your love for each other is all too obvious. Many have ignored it as a fad. There is nothing more than I would like to see than Rigmor happy. Even Sigunn is not, how we shall say it, too uncomfortable with the notion of you two being together.”
I should hope not. There is nothing that prevents Rigmor marrying a commoner. It is just your warped interpretation of what is best that put that bullshit into her brain! So lucky I am a noble and none of you have to faint with the embarrassment if we did get married!
“Sigunn thinks the world of you, how could she not after everything you have done for her and Rigmor. Know this, if you asked her for her blessing I am sure it would be forthcoming. I must tell you that this prophecy comes with a heavy price.”
“Bearing a Dragonchild would… ahem, I am afraid Rigmor would be destined to die in childbirth.”
No. That I refuse to believe.
“Her body is a vessel to be discarded, sacrificed for the whim of the Gods. Only useful for bearing them their ‘Chosen One.”
The Divine would also have to discard me as I would be such a force of vengeance there would be no hope of peace. They would have defeated their own purpose for creating the “Chosen One”. I know they will need me beyond this task but they would lose me. They want peace but they would have war.
They could not stop Pelinal Whitestrake after his beloved was killed. They would not stop me.
Your interpretation is flawed Freathof.
“Apart from Alessia, every woman who ever tried to bring into the world a half beast child has perished. None has survived including your… ahem, forgive me, I have spoken too much already…”
You know nothing of my mother Freathof. I have met her. She did not die in childbirth. She would not allow Rigmor to die in childbirth. She not only loves Rigmor, she would not allow such pain to be inflicted on me. We are owed a life of happiness after what we have endured. You are wrong.
(Freathof did not ask what I meant or about my mother. He seemed distant as he stood up to leave.)
“I am so sorry Dragonborn, truly I am. However I must retire. It has been a very long day.”
Goodnight Freathof and I thank you for your assistance. Please forgive my anger at some things. Nobility truly is the opposite of being civilised.
I watched him walk towards the exit when he suddenly stopped and turned to face me. He said, “Maybe you should try finding solace at the Cathedral. Ask the priest within about what we have spoken of. It may help you find what you are looking for.”
One second he was telling me how cruel the Gods were and then suggesting I should seek solace from them. That seemed odd enough for me to take his advice.
As I walked past his statue I thought, “Come on Father. You know what would happen if Rigmor dies because you guys let her.”
The Cathedral is where a young Rigmor dreamt of a beautiful wedding. Maybe it is actually the house of monsters. I would not let my beloved be collateral damage!
I entered and there was no priest visible.
I sat on the front pew then heard a familiar voice approaching, “When your own strength fails you, trust in the Nine.”
Talos approached me. Not the avatar/aspect I have met before but that of a priest.
“I can sense you carry a heavy burden my child. Let Lord Akatosh help carry the load, if only for a short while. May I sit beside you?”
I answered, “Of course Father.”
Talos sat and I told him, “I am looking for answers.”
“Tell me what is troubling you my child. Speak freely as this is a house of sanctuary and a house of truth.”
Can I talk to the other you? He was far less flowery.
“I don’t think my Lord with let him out again for some time.”
I need a straight answer to a straight question.
“Ask and I shall do my best.”
The prophecy says Rigmor would die giving birth to our child. That the Divine would discard her as unimportant. That your concern is only for the child, the Chosen One. Is this a fact?
“Her first child would have Dragons blood and a Dragon Soul. A Dragonchild. That would normally be fatal to the mother.”
Father, would you allow this? Would you discard me as well? This is house of truth. Tell me!
“I am sure Alessia would never allow harm to come to Rigmor. You must trust in the Divine.”
Mother is not one of The Nine. All The Divine care about is maintaining the sacred covenant. What do I need to do to earn the life Rigmor deserves?
“All you have to do is look to them and ask what it is you want. It shall be given to you.”
Father, all I ask is that Rigmor be safe and well.
“She will always need her Guardian Protector. You must never leave her side.”
No! Tell me both mother and child will survive the birth of The Chosen.
“Have faith my child and keep your trust in The Nine. No harm shall befall her. Mother and child shall be blessed. Go forth and fulfil your destiny and know that you are blessed also.”
Thank you Father. This is a house of truth so I shall believe and keep my faith.
“There shall be signs to follow and tasks to be done to restore the light that shall burn brightly and purge the darkness from the land.”
As always I shall do my best. This time we are two and we shall prevail.
“When you carry the load of others as well as your own The Nine shall help carry your burden.”
Talos arose and started to walk away and I said, “The burden you can take is whatever makes her cry.”
Talos stopped and replied, “Be assured we look upon you always and are proud of our son and are well pleased.”
He then walked behind one of the columns. I knew if I looked behind it he would not be there and there would be no exit.
I left the Cathedral and headed outside of the main gates. I stood upon a rocky outcrop and gazed at the stars. Murmuring, voices like a distance gathering talking. On the edge of comprehension. If anything it reminded me of the moths gathered around me just before I read the Elder Scroll.
Even though I could not understand those celestial voices I was comforted by them. Rigmor is beloved by many immortals. She would be OK but I must tell her. It would be her risk to take.
When I entered the castle and headed for my room I still felt out of place. Talos just told me I should never leave her side.
I entered my room an on the bed was a poem from Rigmor. It read,
“The Dragon and the Bear
The snow blankets itself around us. The bitter wind chills me with one gust. Blood stains red, those that hurt me dead. The Dragonborn, my guardian and protector, my one anchor, the one who is always there. The Dragon and the Bear. Woe to those who cross the dragon’s eyes, suffer and die. Shadow and hunt lie within. Only I see what lies within, calloused hands gently hold, kind whispers amongst the cold, beneath the dirt. To the divines I thank thee above, for this is love.”
I was putting the poem away in my journal and was getting ready to write today’s entry when there was a knock on the door. I opened it and there stood my beloved. I asked, “Rigmor, is there something wrong?”
“Sorella fell asleep, bless her little heart. Grom and Tiny are watching her. I wanted to come and see you.”
Glad you did. Come on in and tell me what this is about.
“You got my poem. Do you like it?”
Absolutely adore it.
(Rigmor sat on the bed and I sat beside her.)
“I… I wrote this after what you said in the Tap&Tack and the letter this morning. I want you to know I will never doubt you again.”
You were in a dark place and I meant everything I said and wrote.
“Dragonborn, you do still love me don’t you?”
I think I might get it tattooed on my forehead! Yes Rigmor, I love you now and forever.
“I know I am so annoying and I keep asking you and telling you but since Bobby betrayed me and called me all those things and because of my nature I need to be constantly reassured and don’t ask me why because I can’t even explain it myself.”
I will tell you as many times as you ask because I like to express it to the world. I have never stopped loving you even for a second. I will love you to the end of my days and beyond.
“Heeheehee. I’m sorry… “
Say sorry one more time and we are going to have serious problems!
“Hahahaha… I… oops…”
“Dragonborn, there is something else.”
If you want to ravish me go ahead. I will feign resistance for at least ten seconds.
“With my ex chaperones within groaning distance. I don’t think so.”
Damn. What is it then?
“Don’t be angry with me… “
Come on, spit it out.
“I want to see Bobby.”
You want to see Bobby hung? Beheaded? Set on fire? Castrated?
“I need to know why! It has been playing on my mind and I need to end this. I trusted him. I even thought I loved him. I know it’s not what you want to hear, but I need to hear it for myself. I hope you understand. Will you come with me?”
Of course I understand. You still can’t accept there are people so devoid of empathy they could do such a thing. You need closure and I will be there to pick up the pieces. He will undoubtedly make you cry but hopefully this will extinguish any doubts.
“I knew you would.”
Rigmor, there is also something we need to talk about.
“What, what is it?”
Let us get this Bobby thing out of the way first.
We headed for the cells and I knew what the outcome was going to be. More tears shed. Hopefully the last she ever does over this piece of shit.
Captain Grimbold had put himself in charge of keeping Bobby caged up. I approached him and said, “Captain, have the prisoner ready for an audience with the Countess.”
“Right away Sir.”
As Grimbold went to do as ordered I turned to Rigmor and said, “I know you too well to think you will keep your composure. I hope this is the last time this man makes you cry otherwise I will end up killing him. Ready?”
“Yeah… OK… yep… I’m ready.”
As we approached Captain Grimbold barked, “Front and centre prisoner. Milady Rigmor, Countess of Bruma wishes to speak to you.”
Robere slowly made his way to the cage door and then it began,
- Robere: Have you come to gloat? Then go ahead and gloat!
- Rigmor: No Bobby. I… I came to ask why?
- Robere: Why? Surely it’s so very obvious why. But then again you were never very bright were you?
- Rigmor: What happened to you Bobby? This isn’t the person I once knew.
- Robere: Come on Rigmor, open your eyes and wake up! This is the real world. A cruel heartless existence where power is held by those that can kill without mercy. Ask your friend, he knows exactly what I am talking about. Hahaha! Next you will be telling me that we had something. That we loved each other.
- Rigmor: We did! We did have something and I did love you.
- Robere: You’re pathetic. You were there to be used as I was there to be used when you accepted my hand in marriage you little hypocrite. Standing here all hurt when you were prepared to use me to buy yourself time.
- Rigmor: No! That is not true. I never wanted to use you or hurt you.
(I had never heard Rigmor lie before. She had sunk to his level and played their game. We both did.)
- Robere: Trouble is you never understood the game. You should have been killed in that fire but Morag Sethius had to go fuck it all up for whatever reason. She had it all, you in a boat on the way to Roscrea and your ‘Guardian’ play acting the tough protector, caught with his dick in his hand instead of a sword. Ain’t that right Dragonborn?
- Rigmor: Shut your filthy mouth!
- Robere: You could have had it all Rigmor. Marrying me would have solved all your problems. I would have made it a quick painless death. Let’s face it, that has got to be better than being a bird on a wire for the rest of your life.
- Rigmor: What do you mean?
- Robere: You know, like a sparrow tethered to a post that tries so desperately to be free. To fly away but only end up beating itself to death in a bloody fucking mess!
(Predictably Rigmor ran crying. Rigmor will never think of this piece of shit as worthwhile ever again. She will remove any kind thoughts about him from her memory and he will be nothing to her.)
- Rigmor: You’re disgusting!
- Robere: That’s it. Run, run away you little skank. It is all you are good for!
I said to Captain Grimbold, “Please keep an eye on Countess Rigmor. I will be out shortly.”
“Yes Sir. Glad to get away from the stink Sir.”
I approached the cage and said to Robere, “Well done. You accomplished exactly what we both wanted.”
“The best place for her is a long long way away from me Dragonborn. I am scum and deserve everything that is coming my way and I don’t give a fuck. Whether it be freedom or death, that is the price we pay for the game we play.”
You said all that not out of spite. You care for her Robere and genuinely do not want her to be a casualty of this stupid game you play.
“I don’t pretend to not know what will happen to me if we lose the war. You had better hope we don’t win it and if we do, you just make sure she disappears for good.”
You don’t have a hope of winning. We have The Divine on our side Robere.
“For what it’s worth, if she was in my place now she had better hope it is me standing where you are and not that bitch Morag Sethius.”
You really have no idea of what little consequence your pathetic bid for Bruma was in the big picture. You are totally ignorant of the stakes we are playing for. You know nothing about the real world. It is not as you described. It is a world where bad people like you are easily manipulated fools in the hands of the Daedric Lords and their lackeys. It is a world where people like Morag work to do evil for their masters and where people like Rigmor and I fuck up their plans royally, if you will pardon the pun.
Rigmor and I are fighting for the very existence of every mortal on this planet. We have already saved every soul on Nirn, including you, once by defying the will of a God and defeating armies much larger than your father could ever imagine.
If Morag wins, you will die by her hands. She has promised to do so for the names you called Rigmor in the Labyrinth. She also promised it would be a long miserable affair. Such a charmer that one! But your father and everybody else you have ever known will soon follow. Remember that if we lose. As Morag slowly kills you enjoy the knowledge that your pathetic little game contributed to the death of all.
I have no intention of ever releasing you Robere. Nor do I intend to kill you. We will win this war and this will be your permanent home. You will get the best care possible to ensure you live a long time.
I left to find my beloved and found her standing and waiting for me in the Great Hall. I thanked Captain Grimbold and assured him Robere was still alive.
I approached her and asked, “Hey, you OK?”
“He is right you know, about the bird on a wire.”
Not for much longer.
“Dragonborn, I’m so scared.”
There is a lot to be scared of. We are facing the unknown.
“We’ve been here before haven’t we?”
Yes we have. Do you know where there is a tent we can make out in?
“Hahaha! I do wish I could stay with you tonight.”
So do I Rigmor.
“You know, when this is all over we can get married. Have children. Live normal lives.”
I could not think of anything I would like more.
“What was it you wanted to talk about?”
It is definitely something we can’t discuss here. Back to my room and I promise I will have no weird thoughts.
When we entered my room Rigmor sat on the bed. I pulled up the chair and sat opposite her.
I said to her, “I have finally found out what the prophecy of the ‘Chosen One’ and ‘Chosen Queen’ is all about.”
“Uhg! More prophecy crap?”
This one explains a lot of things so please listen carefully. You are the Chosen Queen whether you like it or not. We can figure out what that means after we win. Our first born child would be the Chosen One. All I know is that he/she would be born with Dragon Blood and Dragon Soul. The child would be a half beast like me. The problem is that every woman that has given birth to a half beast child has died in childbirth.
“Oh Dragonborn. I would love to have your children but if that were to be an issue we won’t have any.”
I spoke to my father Talos in the Cathedral earlier tonight.
“He appeared for you again?”
Freathof knew he would be there. By the way, I told him we have been intimate in Skyrim and here.
“Why would he know about Talos? Why the hell did you discuss our intimacy with him?”
I think The Divine made him mention the Cathedral. He probably will never remember directing me there. I had to be honest with him about our love and love making Rigmor. It came up as we were discussing the prophecy and I was sick of hiding it.
“OK. I suppose I can rely on him keeping his mouth shut.”
Your Mum knows as well.
“Oh my! We never even got to talk about how babies are made!”
I have often wondered about that. How are they made?
“Hahaha! So what did you talk to Talos about?”
I asked him if you would die. He said no. Alessia would not allow it and neither will The Divines.
“Do you believe him?”
He said it within a sanctified Cathedral. He cannot lie in such a place.
“So what do we do now?”
I trust them Rigmor but it is up to you. We have never been ‘careful’ to avoid pregnancy. We have always thought it intrusive on the intimacy. I know there are potions you can take to keep from getting pregnant and those ones some women take the morning after.
“No Dragonborn. Every time we make love there is a chance a child will result from something beautiful and right. I like it that way so no. No potions or any other method.”
What about the risk?
“As you said, Talos told you where he cannot lie. There is no risk.”
I wonder if your attitude will change after we have had six or so?
“None, one, twenty is not the most important thing. As long as I have you I am whole and complete. You are my best friend, my soul mate, my Guardian Protector and my love.”
The Gods only know how much I love you.
“And I love you too. Always!”
So who do we invite to the wedding? Balin has to be first on the list.
“No way! I had better get back to my room and try and get some sleep.”
Yes my beloved. It may be some time before we see real beds again.
Rigmor gave me a wonderful goodnight kiss which I had to break off before clothes started accidentally falling on the floor.
When she left the room I sat and wrote this journal entry.
I know not what time I went to sleep.