Bruma Castle, Cyrodiil Wilderness: Chatty stroll.
This journal entry was written at Casius’ Base Camp on the 19th Suns’ Dawn.
I stood in my room and Rigmor approached. She looked up at me then fell into me. She held me tight and wept into my chest and we just stayed like that till the sobbing subsided.
She pulled back a bit but did not let go of the tight grip she had on me. Then she said, “Look at me my silly Dragonborn, look at me.”
I looked into those eyes that I adore and gently wiped some tears away.
“Everything you said was true so feel no guilt. I have wanted to say these things but couldn’t. They would have dismissed a lot of it and then said, ‘You have the privileges of a Countess but they come at a price’ crap.”
I feel I may have gone too far. I did not intend to hurt anybody, especially Sigunn, perhaps you had better see how she is!
“She will be OK. I will talk to her in a while. She was following the advice of those two as well Dragonborn. She was as much out of place here as I was. They meant well but we had no insight into how we could do things different. They could see I was uncomfortable but put it down to me ignoring my duties and just wanting to gallivant about. They never once asked what was actually wrong.”
I know they meant well but part of their responsibility was to ensure your happiness and not enforce their idea of who you should be. I thought when I made you accept your destiny you were headed for more than misery. The fact you never visited your special childhood places says much.
“Nothing I have experienced coming home compares to that walk to Riften and the simple act of browsing the marketplace. I have not even shopped in the Imperial City like I loved to do as a child.”
I should have warned you about declaring our love. I could not wait any more. We are going into danger and I did not know if I would ever have another chance.
“It is out there and that is a relief beyond words my love. They all knew and none will object. They had probably been wondering why we hadn’t declared it earlier.”
Can you please go and see to your mother and any other I may have hurt. I will be there soon and we must get on with what we need to do and go find Casius. I wish to waste no more time on matters that are in the past when we are about to fight for our future. Hopefully we will return soon and I can sit and talk to each for as long as they need.
“I understand and so will they. Give it ten minutes or so Dragonborn. Then we can go and kill that bitch.”
My beloved gave me a kiss on the lips and left my room with a spring in her step.
I had not intended that outburst but the comment from Sigunn about following the plan triggered the need.
After a while I stopped pacing around my room and headed for the aborted meeting. The three elders had thoughtful, introspective looks. The other three had smiles.
I started where we had left off, and answer to Malesam’s question,
- Wulf: Blackwell knows about our excursion to Table Mountain. He agreed it was an obvious move on our part so do not worry about a leak or misstep giving it away. He has no intention of trying to stop it and you will not have heard anything from our colleagues to indicate otherwise. He wants Morag dead. She is a danger to the Empire so we are doing him a favour by killing her. As I have said several times, we are not doing anything treasonous.
- Malesam: What about the siege Dragonborn?
- Wulf: Even though there was no formal agreement he has decided to accept the status of Free City and the revocation of the Decree and Concordat. He will tell his Emperor that there is a chance of Robere being returned if all hostilities cease while we all ponder the matter.
- Freathof: Isn’t that breaking the rules?
- Wulf: Yes it is but Blackwell does that occasionally to protect the bum on the throne. Let me state this clearly. What Rigmor did was brilliant! She surprised the Master at his own game. She stated her position forcefully, made clear the consequences of further aggression and presented her non-negotiable offer which he has accepted. She gave him no time to try and pry secrets or mess around with her head. While you were back here wondering what disaster would befall us I was listening to Blackwell praise Rigmor and say to me, not for the first time, how much he likes and admires her. You should all be proud of what she did!
- Rigmor: What did Bobby say to him?
- Wulf: I wish you were there Rigmor. Robere tried his, “I am noble, they are but peasants!” routine and Blackwell called him a disgrace for not dying on the battlefield. Robere threatened and Blackwell told him to shut up or he would have his tongue ripped out. I think Robere finally realises he is at our mercy.
(Sorella could sense the tension still in the air. She was also eager to start her adventure.)
- Sorella: Hey Rigmor, remember when your Mom called Sethri an obnoxious elf?
- Rigmor: Oh yeah, hahahaha. And he went everywhere in just his underpants. Hahaha.
- Wulf: Sometimes he didn’t even bother wearing those!
- Sorella: Yeah, yuck! I didn’t even know what all those bits were called.
- Rigmor: Dangly bits.
- Sorella: Hahaha, yeah, and he used to like, like just…’blow off’ hahaha!
(Rigmor walked over to be near Sorella. It was her subtle way of saying, “Let’s get out of here!”.)
- Rigmor: Oh my days, he stank so bad, hahaha.
- Malesam: Well I never! How rude! You two would do well to pay attention and stop messing about.
- Sorella: Yanno, he used to sit on the porch ‘blowing off’ and laughing to himself. Hahaha.
- Rigmor: Oh my, no way…Hahahaha!
- Sorella: My Mom used to say to me, ‘If he comes over here he’s gonna get an arrow in his arse!’ Hahaha.
- Rigmor: Hahahaha!
- Malesam: Hahaha!
- Sigunn: Girls, stop it! The Dragonborn is talking. It’s important.
- Wulf: Thank you Sigunn. Hey Sorella, when Rigmor and I walked into a fishing village all the locals were standing outside their tavern. They told us they were going to lynch our friend if he did not stop stinking them out!
- Sorella: No way!
- Rigmor: Yes way! When we went in to talk to him he promised to behave. I told the villagers that and they all came inside to enjoy some mead and talk. Guess what Sethri did next?
(Sorella used her tongue and did a great interpretation of Sethri’s famous liquid blow off.)
- Wulf: It stunk so bad they were gagging and banned us from the inn for life!
- Sorella: Hahahahaha! Did poop come out?
- Rigmor: Smelt like it!
- Wulf: I saw him lift his bum then shake his leg so maybe.
- Sigunn: Dragonborn, you are as bad as the girls!
- Rigmor: It’s OK Mom. We are just…just blowing off a bit of steam. Hahaha!
- Malesam: Hahahaha!
- Sorella: Hahaha!
- Sigunn: Hahahaha!
- Rigmor: Haha, aaaahhhh!
- Sigunn: Oh, my apologies, oooh!
- Sorella: Hey Dragonborn, is it time to go yet?
- Wulf: Yes Sorella it is time to go.
- Sorella: Hell yeah!
- Wulf: And Sorella, thanks for what you just did.
- Sorella: Thank you Dragonborn for being there for Rigmor.
- Rigmor: If we sneak out the way we came in we can follow the stream. It will take us straight into the forest.
- Wulf: It is just on dusk so a perfect time to head out.
- Sigunn: Please be careful, all of you.
- Wulf: Lady Sigunn, I will bring Rigmor home like I always have. Sorella will be well guarded and as safe as we can make her. We will all be back here soon and put all this, to use your term, this shit behind us.
- Malesam: Farewell Guardian, Rigmor, Sorella. May the Gods be with you.
- Wulf: They always are Malesam. They will keep you all, even old Daedric worshippers, safe.
I took one last look at the people who love Rigmor dearly. I owe it to them more than anybody else to keep Rigmor unharmed through the trials ahead.
As we walked through the Castle to the sewer entrance I asked Rigmor, “Did you do your quiet goodbye to Sigunn this morning?”
“Yeah, while you three were having your secret strategy meeting.”
How was she this time?
“A lot calmer but still tears. She has always had great faith in you Dragonborn and bringing me back from Roscrea strengthened it even further.”
You brought yourself home Rigmor. I just unlocked that cage and tried to keep up.
“Maybe I get to rescue you one day?”
You already have many times. Facing monsters like Morag can darken my spirit. My memories of you over those years reminded me of what I was fighting for. How could I start placing a value on childhood and family except from your recollections? I knew I missed them but not why that was eating me from the inside. When you crossed that border I started to watch the normal people of Skyrim through your eyes. I saw the love between spouses and their children and the perfection in the simplicity of their lives. It was more beautiful and precious than the grandest palace and finest gems. Even apart your love kept me going Rigmor. It gave the empathy and sympathy imparted by Allie a place to find roots and grow.
Sorella piped up, “Are you two going to kiss now?”
I replied, “We are here at the sewer entrance. This will destroy any desire to kiss anybody. This is like Sethri without the funny noises. Ready?”
“I will just pinch my nose shut!”
You will still taste it!
We entered and true to her word Sorella was pinching her nose. I pointed to something floating and asked Rigmor, “Isn’t that what you had for lunch yesterday?”
My plan worked as Sorella had to release her nose in a fit of laughter. Then got a whiff and started dry gagging. I wanted her to remember this adventure for the rest of her life.
We exited the sewer and it was much brighter than what I wanted. The Sun sets fairly late this time of the year.
I turned to Rigmor and asked, “Follow the stream you say?”
“Yeah, it will take us down into the forest. There’s a bridge it goes under, on the Orange Road. Once we’re past that we should be safe.”
I told Sorella, “We will have a bit of fun as we go but sometimes we have to be very serious and quiet like when you are out hunting with your mother. We will tell you when. Stick close to Rigmor but if she gets into a sword fight get yourself a safe distance away. Use your bow to put an?
“Arrow in their head. Dragonborn, I have never had to, you know, kill a… a…”
Rigmor came and took Sorella by the hands and said, “It is not easy even if they are evil. Your love for others and sense of what is right will let you fire that arrow sure and true. Just like it will when you save those children in the Crystal House.”
As we started walking I reflected on what Sorella just said. So many children in my orphanages have learned to kill at a younger age than Sorella. I don’t think anything I do in my lifetime will ever change that. I do not think The Divine planned it that way when creating Mundus and Nirn. It is not any God that causes such travesty. It is the free will of Man and Mer that invents its own evil. We do not need a tutor for that.
As we passed under the bridge I asked Sorella, “Do you know why the Orange Road is different than all the other major roads in Cyrodiil?”
“Umm…hang on I learned this at school….um…”
Rigmor whispered in her ear then Sorella said, “It is the only one that does not connect to the Red Ring Road.”
I asked Rigmor, “Which way now Princess Cheater.”
“Over that way Grumpyborn. To the right and keep going until I say.”
I did a quick salute and said, “Going to the right Sir. Hoping you will tell me to stop before I fall off a cliff Sir.”
The two cheaters laughed and we continued on our way. Rigmor chatted to Sorella as we went,
- Rigmor: Hey Sorella, how’s your Mom?
- Sorella: Oh she’s cool. She wasn’t too happy about moving to Falkreath though.
- Rigmor: Yeah, but it was for the best right?
- Sorella: My Dad, he opened a school there, for all the kids. He said he was thinking about it and when the Dragonborn opened his first one up for orphans he did it for the ones with Mum’s and Dad’s in Falkreath. I made lots of friends and it was a happy time for me.
- Rigmor: That sounds great.
- Sorella: Don’t get me wrong, I still love it in the mountains. It is all I ever knew. Angi, my Mom, still prefers to hunt to put meat on the table even though there is a shop. She takes me with her to keep my skills up and the wolves won’t attack her if I am there.
- Rigmor: I have the same thing happen but with bears. Never did find out why that is.
- Sorella: Yeah, I heard that. Way cool huh?
- Rigmor: Yeah, way cool!
- Sorella: Hey Dragonborn. Do you know what’s up with the wolves and the bears?
- Wulf: I do. You have both been blessed by Kyne or Kynareth as we now call her.
- Sorella: The God?
- Wulf: Yes. She has made you a Wolf-Friend and I think she made Rigmor a Bear-Friend. It might just be that Rigmor growls like a bear when angry so they think she is one.
- Sorella: That is even cooler!
- Rigmor: I do not growl!
Rigmor got her answer to that with peals of laughter from Sorella and I.
A little later Rigmor stopped,
- Rigmor: OK Dragonbum, wait while I get my bearings.
- Wulf: Waiting.
- Rigmor: If we go straight ahead there used to be a little camp further up with a treehouse.
- Wulf: A treehouse that nobody has climbed up to or played in for how long?
- Rigmor: Yeah, it’s probably gone now. We used to play there when we were kids.
- Sorella: That’s totally cool, can we check it out?
- Wulf: If it is still there and it looks safe then sure, we can rest there for a little while.
- Sorella: You’re so the coolest!
- Wulf: See Rigmor, I am the coolest.
- Rigmor: Yeah right. Pffft!
Even though there was banter happening both Rigmor and I felt safe doing so. When your life is in danger often enough you get quite good at picking up subtle hints that something is not quite right. Like when I detected something watching us as we entered the fishing village. When Rigmor noticed the crickets had gone quiet before the Akaviri attacked.
Rigmor asked Sorella about being scared,
- Rigmor: So don’t you feel scared, even just a little bit? Yanno, about all this…
- Sorella: I try not to think about it. Mom always taught me to remain calm even in the midst of chaos. She used to say, “Don’t let anyone know how you’re thinking. Keep your composure and trust that each shot is true.”
- Rigmor: I wish I was as brave as you. I get scared all the time.
- Sorella: Hehe, no way, you’ve got the Dragonborn!
- Rigmor: Haha, yeah…my Guardian Angel.
- Wulf: We all get scared Sorella. I am always scared I will make a wrong choice and people get hurt because of it. Being scared is OK but nobody is brave unless they are scared first right?
- Sorella: That is so right. My Dad told me that once.
- Wulf: So is he the coolest?
- Sorella: Yeah!
- Wulf: OK, I will be second coolest and Rigmor can be one hundred and thirty fifth.
- Sorella: Equal second. Your both together now right?
- Rigmor: This girl is smarter than you Dragondumb.
We came to the treehouse and we virtually had to hold Sorella back while I checked the ladder. As soon as I said it looked okay she scrambled up it saying, “This is so totally the coolest thing ever. I’m so gonna get my Dad to make up one of these.”
I turned to Rigmor and said, “Okay, let’s take a quick break. We had better make sure Sorella eats something.”
“Sure. She is doing okay isn’t she?”
Yeah, she’s doing great. She’s a brave kid.
“It all seems like a game to her.”
We have both been trying to make it that way. It is the best thing I believe. Make this an adventure and not a trip into danger.
“Do you miss the orphans?”
Yes, very much so. Their sense of wonder is contagious. Their well of empathy is bottomless. Their capacity for giving and receiving love is infinite. That is why we must kill Morag. That is why I must kill Sethius if I get the chance. I doubt he would meet us in a field of battle though.
“Yeah. I hope our children, including the “Chosen One”, are just normal kids who love treehouses and watching frogs and swinging on gates.”
Just then Sorella called down, “Hurry up you two!”
We both climbed the rickety ladders and ended up on a platform many meters above the ground. It had survived the elements extremely well. We all sat down on benches.
- Sorella: I bet you used to come here all the time Rigmor. Haha.
- Rigmor: You bet. We used to hide up here and if anyone came by we would throw stones at them and hide. Hahaha.
- Sorella: No!
- Rigmor: It was so funny. They would be looking around and we would just keep quiet. We used to laugh to ourselves, unless it was my Dad. He knew where we were and he would pretend that he was going to chop the tree down, yanno…
(Rigmor adopted a rather comical gruff voice.)
- Rigmor: “Oh look at this tree someone had left in the middle of the road. Hmmph! I’ll just have to chop it down to get those naughty squirrels.”
- Sorella: Haha.
- Rigmor: We would shout and scream. Hahahaha. Oh those were the days.
(Thanks Rigmor for another childhood memory to store away for when I need it.)
- Sorella: I wonder sometimes about my real parents. What really happened to them?
- Rigmor: Oh Sorella…
- Sorella: You and Dragonborn were there. You must know?
- Rigmor: Dragonborn…
- Sorella: You said they were gone. Gone where? Did they just leave me there? Didn’t they want me anymore?
- Wulf: Oh Sorella, I thought you understood what that meant! All this time you have not known?
- Sorella: No Dragonborn. Can you tell me? Please!
- Wulf: The men who captured you, the New Order, killed them because they wanted to keep a secret. They didn’t want anybody to know they were there. You parents were already dead when we found you. I am so sorry about your parents and so sorry you didn’t know.
- Sorella: Are you sure? I know they were in the prison with me. They would call to me to say everything was going to be alright.
- Wulf: They were cruel people Sorella. We found your parents’ bodies and a written order for you to be killed as well. You were so small and quiet in your cell but Rigmor saw you. We took you out of that horrible place. We cared for you and took you to your Mom’s cabin. I think she loved you from the moment she saw you.
- Sorella: I figured something bad happened. Thanks Dragonborn.
(Sorella’s parents were tortured to death and they knew nothing. I had hoped at the time Sorella had not heard their screams. Rigmor looked over at me and could see the tears welling. The blubbering barbarian is back.)
- Rigmor: Hey! Why don’t we play a game?
- Sorella: What, like ‘I spy’?
- Rigmor: Yeah, you go first!
- Sorella: OK! I spy with my little eye…something beginning with…’D’.
- Rigmor: Oh, hum…Daisy?
- Sorella: Come on Rigmor…that is so lame.
- Rigmor: Cough, OK, let me guess…ummmm…Dragonborn?
- Sorella: Doh…How did you guess that? That was a hard one…Haha.
- Rigmor: Come on Dragonborn, you’re it…
- Wulf: OK. I spy with my little eye something beginning with ‘P’.
- Sorella: Umm…Plank?
- Wulf: Nope.
- Rigmor: Let me think…ah…Pants?
- Wulf: Princess. I see a Princess.
- Sorella: Where?
- Wulf: Rigmor is a not just a Countess, she is a Royal Princess.
- Sorella: No way!
- Wulf: Every way! Even her blow offs smell like flowers now.
- Sorella: Hahahaha!
(Sorella quickly stopped laughing. Some rather loud voices could be heard approaching the tree.)
- Sorella: Rigmor!
- Rigmor: Shhhh! Dragonborn!
I climbed down one level and peered through the branches. Very loud New Imperials showing how totally unprofessional they were. They gave us plenty of time to hear them and keep quiet. A real Imperial patrol would have been virtually silent and snuck up on us.
Amongst them was a pathfinder. He would soon tell we were up the tree once they used the campfire and he sees our footprints. I quietly made my way back up.
- Wulf: There are six of them. All New Imperial scum. One heavy sergeant, four fake Legionnaires and a mercenary pathfinder.
- Rigmor: Can we take them on?
- Wulf: I can use my Thu’um to take most of them out so yes, if we have to. Just be ready.
- Rigmor: Dragonborn, do you think this is wise…what about Sorella?
- Wulf: They are lighting the campfire. The pathfinder will see our footprints and they will draw bows and demand we come down. We can’t leave Sorella up here is case we get captured and she will not be able to run. I will try to talk our way out but…
(I looked down at the child entrusted to us. She was frightened. So much for making this into a game.)
- Wulf: Sorella, if Rigmor and I are fighting with swords stay well back. Use your bow if you think it will help us. If it looks like we are about to lose you must run as fast as you can back to the Castle. Do not stop or worry about us if that happens. Understand?
- Sorella: Yes Dragonborn. I’ll cover you. I won’t let you down.
- Wulf: I know.
We made our way down the ladders and were treated to the usual garbage from bandits. These ones in fancy dress. They all stood in perfect formation for Unrelenting Force.
The Sergeant approached and said, “Well, well, well. What do we have here? What business do you have skulking around the forest?”
Skulking? We are Imperial citizens on a family day out. We came to pick mushrooms which I believe is still a lawful pastime.
“Mushrooms huh? Like for a picnic? Hahahaha!”
They were not buying it. They were making snide remarks and I could not risk it. I attacked first. I gave them a full strength Unrelenting Force to shut their bandit cakeholes.
That killed four of the five in front of me and Rigmor killed the other. The pathfinder tried to run and Sorella put an arrow right between his shoulder blades. He was dead before his face hit the ground. It was over in seconds.
Rigmor asked, “Should we hide the bodies?”
No. That Shout I did will attract other patrols. We need to get out of here.
Just then Sorella doubled over and vomited.
Rigmor ran to her and kneeled down beside her,
- Rigmor: Hey, try to breathe deeply OK. Don’t worry, it will pass.
- Sorella: I’m sorry…
- Rigmor: It’s OK Sorella. It happens to all of us. You did really well.
Sorella eventually stood and I approached her,
- Wulf: Sorry you had to kill a person Sorella. It is never easy.
- Sorella: You don’t seem to get upset Dragonborn.
- Wulf: I hate killing and the day you don’t feel anything is the day you become the monster.
- Sorella: How many have you killed?
- Wulf: If I told you it would make you think I am a monster. All I can tell you is every one of them was trying to hurt me or was hurting another or had hurt another. Every one of them made a choice to do something bad and I stopped them. These men were bad. They were not real soldiers like your Dad or Casius. They were bandits pretending to be soldiers and they would have taken us to a jail like the one we rescued you from. You made the right choice to stop the man running. He would have got many more of these people to chase us down.
- Sorella: I don’t want to let you or Rigmor down.
- Wulf: You can never let us down Sorella. We can let you down and we did just then. We were not careful enough. We treated this walk as a bit of a game and if they were real soldiers they would have caught us. Because of that you had to kill a man. You did very well and should be proud. I am sorry we made a mistake. Ready to go?
- Sorella: I understand you two were just trying to make it easier for me. Yeah, I’m ready Dragonborn.
- Wulf: Rigmor, how far now?
- Rigmor: We keep moving forward keeping the Orange Road to our right. Up ahead should be some old Ayleid ruins with a derelict old Imperial Fort to their left. It is quite a way but we can rest there until we have to cross the Black Road.
- Wulf: Let’s go.
I looked down at the corpses. Sorella just had to kill another person and that adds to the tally of reasons I must kill Morag and Sethius.
The pathway was pretty narrow and there was plenty of tree coverage. As long as we talked quietly we would hear one of those amateur patrols before they heard us. A few minutes into the walk and Sorella found the need to discuss the killing.
- Sorella: I’ve never had to kill a person before. Rigmor, how many people have you killed? Do you keep count?
- Rigmor: Now that is a good question. Why do you ask?
- Sorella: I dunno, I just wondered because of what happened back there. I think Dragonborn is ashamed of how many he has killed.
- Rigmor: He remembers nearly every one he kills. He doesn’t know why but they are all stored in his head and he can see them again and again. That is a terrible thing for him to carry. He thinks it is so he keeps control and doesn’t just kill when not needed.
- Sorella: He does not seem like he kills a lot of people. He is always kind and I saw him crying about my parents in the treehouse.
- Rigmor: He is the kindest person I know. He has over 100 orphans in his schools and was building new ones before he came to Cyrodiil to help me. That sounds like a very nice person doesn’t it? He kills to protect those who can’t fight.
- Sorella: So he shouldn’t be ashamed.
- Rigmor: No and maybe one day he can stop having to kill bad people.
- Sorella: So what about you?
- Rigmor: Too many for me to count and remember Sorella. But like Dragonborn, I only kill those who deserve it.
- Sorella: Tiny says he keeps and ear form each man he kills and puts them on a piece of string around his neck.
- Rigmor: Yeah, hah. He told me that once but I have never seen them though. Yuck! If he did do that and got caught it would be a death sentence for him. When I was with…with Bobby, he would sit crossed legged on the floor and clean his fingernails with his dagger and stare at me. It gave me the creeps.
- Sorella: Yeah, I noticed that the other day when we were waiting to come to Bruma. Grom just eats and drinks.
- Rigmor: Hah yeah! Eats like a horse…drinks like a fish. He could never best me though…Hahaha!
- Sorella: When Dragonborn was mad with everybody today he mentioned Robere, is that Bobby?
- Rigmor: Yes, why do you ask?
- Sorella: He seemed more madder about him and not because of the siege.
- Rigmor: I thought I loved Bobby but he was pretending so he could steal Bruma from me. He hurt me a lot and that made Dragonborn mad. When he first came to help me he thought I no longer loved him because of Bobby and that really hurt him.
- Sorella: But you do love him right because he told everybody and I knew back in Skyrim you did.
- Rigmor: Well you are the expert. What do you think?
- Sorella: Very much I would say.
- Rigmor: A lot more than that! Are you feeling better now?
- Sorella: Yeah, I’m all good.
It was a pleasant walk only slightly ruined by the taint of danger.
I looked up at the stars and they whispered back.
I saw the Ayleid ruins up ahead and a rest would be welcome.
When we reached them I said to Rigmor, “OK, let’s take a quick break but we had better keep our eyes and ears open for more patrols.”
“Sure thing. Come on Sorella, take a seat.”
I sat down with them and we had chat,
- Wulf: How much further now?
- Rigmor: We keep going till we reach the Black Road. It is actually not far and just ahead. However, if we went that way we would be exposed and in the view of Fort Ash. If we double back a bit we can take the dirt track to Odiil Farm. Crossing the fields there will bring us out behind the Fort and on top of the road. Once across we can head West keeping the road and Chorrol to our right. Once we reach the old Oblivion Gate we should find Casius’ base camp not too far from there.
- Wulf: If we had let Freathof and Malesam dictate that to you we wouldn’t have left yet.
- Rigmor: I know Dragonborn but they mean well.
- Wulf: I am forever grateful to them for looking after you and Sigunn but all I said was true and you admitted it.
- Rigmor: I know but they did take it to heart. I had to stop them saying sorry.
- Wulf: When we get back I will sit down with them and put it all in the past I promise.
- Sorella: Dragonborn, can I ask you a question?
- Wulf: Of course Sorella.
- Sorella: It must have been hard on you guys keeping your love a secret.
- Wulf: Very hard. Sometimes we needed to cuddle to make each other feel better but we couldn’t because everybody was watching.
- Sorella: Why couldn’t you tell everybody that you loved each other?
- Wulf: When you went to your Dad’s new school was there a lot of rules?
- Sorella: Lots and lots!
- Wulf: Any that you think were silly?
- Sorella: Had to comb my hair, clean under my finger nails, wash my face. Had to be polite to the teachers even though they were sometimes rude. Had to write my letters a certain way so they looked like everybody else’s and were boring. Wasn’t allowed to laugh if somebody blew off in class even if it stank so bad we had to open the door.
- Wulf: Okay I bet you could go on forever about silly rules.
- Sorella: Yep.
- Wulf: Some of the rules are traditional. They are really not of any use in making the school or students better but people are reluctant to change them or get rid of them. They say it has always been that way. Keeping up?
- Sorella: Yep.
- Wulf: When Rigmor came to Cyrodiil there were silly rules about who she could marry. Those rules do not exist in Skyrim. There was no need for the silly rules but nobody told Rigmor that. So when I came to Cyrodiil poor Rigmor did not know if she would break the silly rules by being in love with me. I got very mad at the silly rules and that hurt Rigmor because she was confused with the whole Bobby thing as well.
- Sorella: Nobody better tell me who I can marry!
- Wulf: None of those silly rules in Skyrim so I think you are safe from that.
- Sorella: Are you and Rigmor going to get married?
- Wulf: We would like to although I haven’t done that asking bit yet. We have to finish all this kids in the Crystal House stuff first and maybe a war after and then I would have to ask Sigunn and that might be very scary.
- Sorella: Can I come when you do get married?
- Wulf: Of course. You would be an honoured guest and get a bigger slice of the wedding cake!
- Sorella: YES!
- Rigmor: Hahaha! Oh my days Sorella. You remind me of myself in so many ways. Yanno…when I saw you in that filthy cell my blood ran cold. I was sooo angry! I knew we had to get you out of there.
- Wulf: You panicked Rigmor and I did not even have time to look for a key. I had to pick the lock as quick as I could.
- Rigmor: What kind of world is this that such evil can exist in people’s hearts?
- Wulf: Often people blame the Gods but that is not fair. Without the Gods there would still be greedy people who want more than they have and that leads to evil.
- Sorella: When I grow up, I’m gonna become a vampire hunter.
- Rigmor: Still gets to you huh?
- Sorella: I still have nightmares sometimes if that is what you mean.
- Rigmor: Sometimes you just have to let things go…
- Wulf: Sorella, one of my best friends was a vampire and she would join you in hunting down the vampires that hurt you and the kids in the Crystal House. You have to be careful not to hate all of something because of the actions of some. There are people called the Dawnguard who live in a big fort in Skyrim and they have learnt to only hunt the evil vampires. I am sure when you are older they would like to have such an expert marksman help them.
- Sorella: I understand Dragonborn. You don’t kill all the dragons you see do you?
- Wulf: No, I have some friend Dragons. I also have some friend Snow Elves. They used to live all over Skyrim till the Nords killed nearly every single one of them for the crimes of a few.
- Sorella: I owe you guys my life and Angi, my Mom, she gave me a real home. I never knew that. I have you guys to thank for that.
- Wulf: Now you are going to help all those children in the Crystal House. Feels good when you help other people Sorella. One of the best feelings in the world.
- Sorella: Hey Rigmor, my Dad, he thinks of you as a long lost daughter. So that kind of makes you my big sister right?
- Rigmor: Yeah…I know…cool huh?
- Sorella: Way cool…
- Wulf: Okay you two sisters, let’s go find that road. We will be close to the enemy soon so no more talking till we have crossed it.
- Rigmor: Sure. Come on Sorella. Follow me and keep close.
- Sorella: OK Rigmor…
We doubled back a bit and found the correct path.
We soon came across the farm and I could see no lights.
We quietly passed though the farm. and cross the road and then we could relax a little.
- Sorella: Hey Rigmor, is it true Casius herds goats from Hammerfell to Skyrim?
- Rigmor: Yngol told you that? Oh the Gods.
- Sorella: Yeah, and that Casius gets lost all the time and he has had to go fetch him.
- Rigmor: Oh my…well when we meet him don’t you go telling him that.
- Sorella: Ya, it’s true, he said when he first met Casius he rescued him from a nomadic tribe who had eaten all his goats and had him working as a batman, fetching water from the well.
- Wulf: Probably had to empty their piss-pots as well!
- Rigmor: That’s so cute…oh my, I’m crying now. Your Dad and Casius are very brave soldiers who helped defeat the might of the Aldmeri Dominion here in Cyrodiil. In fact, not very far from here.
- Sorella: He never talks about that. He always changes the subject when I ask him about it.
- Rigmor: Yeah and they went on to help the people of Hammerfell. And then the people of Skyrim from a fate worse than death.
- Sorella: That is totally so cool.
- Wulf: Sorella, do you know what a General is?
- Sorella: He tells all the soldiers what to do like when you were Guardian General in Skyrim.
- Wulf: That is right. Do you know who your Dad’s general was in Skyrim and Hammerfell?
- Sorella: No because he never talks about those days.
- Wulf: His General was Ragnar, Rigmor’s Dad. He was a great hero as well.
- Sorella: No way!
- Wulf: Yes way! Ragnar was also Casius’ General in Hammerfell.
- Rigmor: That is why Casius and your Dad helped us in Skyrim. They loved my Dad and promised to help me if I ever needed any.
- Sorella: My Mom told me your Dad was killed by really bad people. So you had the Dragonborn and Casius and my Dad to help you. My Dad said you kicked their arses.
- Rigmor: Yes we did.
- Wulf: Got my foot stuck up their bum.
- Sorella: Hahahaha!
- Rigmor: Sorella, did you know Casius is a pirate?
- Sorella: WHOA!
- Rigmor: I’ve been on his ship.
- Sorella: No way!
- Rigmor: Yeah way! Do you know what, he is one of the kindest people I have ever met. Apart from you Dad that is.
(I had a sudden coughing fit.)
- Wulf: Sorry, you were saying?
- Rigmor: Nothing Dragonborn. Were there.
We were close. We were at the circle thingamajig and a little way up the track was Casius’ camp.
Casius was sitting in front of a fire.
So we all sat and joined him,
- Casius: Guardian, Rigmor, Young lady. Please sit and get warm.
- Wulf: Well met Casius.
- Casius: Glad you could make it. Did you run into any trouble on the way?
- Wulf: Just an enemy patrol. We had no choice but to deal with them.
- Casius: I took it you concealed the bodies?
- Wulf: I had to use my Thu’um so there was no time. The place would have been swamped. That was quite a distance away and we have seen no sign of pursuit or other enemy activity.
- Casius: Good, make yourselves at home, we’ll rest here for a while. We need to be properly prepared to cross the mountain ridge.
- Wulf: How is Marshall Quintus?
- Casius: Quintus is well. I didn’t even need to persuade him. My marines have been incorporated into his Legion and they await our arrival.
- Wulf: Do you know anything about the enemy positions?
- Casius: Sethri had infiltrated the area and should have some information ready for us when we return to Legion encampment on the border.
- Wulf: Blackwell, Sethius’ Advisor, told me he knows what we are doing. He is content to let us take care of Morag and Table Mountain as that is not an act against the Emperor. In fact as far as he is concerned we are helping the Emperor by removing his wife.
- Casius: When did he tell you this?
- Sorella: After Rigmor made him wet his pants. You should have heard her!
- Wulf: This young lady is Sorella, Yngol’s daughter and Rigmor’s little sister.
- Casius: Welcome Sorella. I have not seen you since you were a little girl. You are very brave coming all this way Sorella. I bet you don’t remember me as it was quite some time ago.
- Sorella: Hi Casius, Rigmor says you know my Dad.
- Casius: Indeed, do you want to hear how I met him?
- Rigmor: Here we go…
- Wulf: We might need to get more wood for the fire. That forest over there might do.
- Sorella: He told me about that. He said he saved you from a Nomadic Tribe that had eaten all your goats.
- Casius: Did he now? Actually it’s a little bit different than that, not much…but do you want me to tell you the whole story?
- Sorella: Oh would you, please…
- Casius: It’s a long story, let me see. It was a cold dark night. We had been attached to the 4th Legion patrolling the road between the Imperial City and Bravil. Then all of a sudden, a citizen comes running up to us, out of nowhere. ‘Quick!’ says he, ‘Come quickly, they’re all dead!’ “Who is dead good sir?” says I but he runs off in the direction he came…and we followed as quickly as we could trying to peer into the darkness. Our torches ablaze, our hands sweating. Gripping tightly to the hilts of our swords, not knowing what danger could appear in the darkening gloom. Then we arrived at what appeared to be a chicken farm. There was carnage everywhere. Dead chickens and parts of dead chickens strewn left and right. We thought, what could have done this…this terrible crime. It was terrifying. ‘We have caught the culprit!” says he, ‘Come this way!”. We drew our swords, expecting the worst, frightened for our lives…and slowly we moved forward, not knowing what was to befall us, beads of sweat ran into our eyes from furrowed brows and there it was. Indeed the culprit was caught red handed with some of the chickens still in his pockets. Your father, in the stocks. From then on he was always known as ‘The Fox’.
- Sorella: Whoa! What happened then?
- Casius: I…I don’t know if I should tell you.
- Wulf: It is OK Casius. She is a very brave girl!
- Casius: Alright Sorella, I think you need to know, it was awful. They…they beat him with sticks and then let him go.
- Sorella: You’re kidding right?
- Casius: No, no it’s the truth. Make sure you ask him about it when you get home.
- Rigmor: Come on Sorella, let’s get some sleep. We need to be well rested. Did you eat?
- Sorella: Yes thank you Rigmor. Will you stay with me, in my tent?
- Rigmor: Sure. Okay you guys, we’re gonna get some sleep. Wake us up when you are ready to move out.
- Casius: Sleep well Sorella, Rigmor.
(Sorella and Rigmor prepared their bedrolls and went off to do their “wee and whatever”.)
- Casius: So what did Yngol say about all this. I bet he wasn’t happy?
- Wulf: Not happy but he knew Sorella needed to fulfil her part and he had inside information we would ask for help with the siege.
- Casius: How’s the siege?
- Wulf: These New Imperials are nothing but common bandits. The Leyawiin guard were not much better. We wiped the field with them with a handful of casualties on our side. We broke the siege in less than ten minutes and captured the foulest piece of shit on Nirn, also known as Robere, the Count’s son.
- Casius: Now that was a gift from the Gods. So now I take it they’re sitting in the valley twiddling their thumbs?
- Wulf: Yes, that is why Blackwell paid a visit. He is the best political mind in Tamriel and Rigmor tore him to shreds. I have never been prouder of Milady.
- Casius: You will have to fill me in when walking tomorrow Guardian.
- Wulf: This whole nobility crap makes me want to heave.
- Casius: Welcome to civilization Dragonborn, where brother sets upon brother, father against son. Children used as pawns to buy power and influence.
- Wulf: Her own advisors tried to reduce Rigmor to one of their polite ladies and measured her worth on what noble husband she could attract.
Just then Rigmor came walking over and handed me my five red flowers, leant over and gave me a long kiss on the lips. Then she said, “But I am worth at least five flowers aren’t I my beloved. I forgot I had put them in my pack. Goodnight Casius. Goodnight my Dragonborn.”
- Wulf: Goodnight my Princess. Goodnight Sorella and wipe that grin off your face before the wind changes.
- Casius: About time. Zan told me but I already knew in Skyrim. I suspected but when you punched me into next week I knew.
- Wulf: You were being a complete bastard.
- Casius: Yes, but I was worried about what was at stake. Still no excuse.
- Wulf: That was a clean fight. With the New Order it was clear who the enemy was. Much better than this quagmire of shifting alliances.
- Casius: That could have gone against us. I dread to think about how things might be if we lost that battle. That was a bloody day.
- Wulf: The way Quintus’ Sergeants and the Sons of Talos combined to march with Rigmor and I halfway across Tamriel and assault that tower was both inspirational and sad. It was then I knew I had to deal with Ulfric quickly before more Talos worshippers killed more Talos worshippers.
- Casius: Then you had to say goodbye to Rigmor. I know it is a long tale but that must have hurt.
- Wulf: I was insane for most of a day Casius. I was lost in a paradox of duty and love. I managed to drag myself out of the darkness but needed more help to get on my horse and continue with my duties.
- Casius: Anything else before I retire Guardian?
- Wulf: Yngol has asked that you forego leading your men into battle and personally guard Sorella. I promised I would not let her partake unless you agreed to this.
- Casius: If anybody else asked, even you, I would say no and that my place was with my men. But for that Old Fox it shall be so. I’ll also have my marines place a ring of steel around us both.
- Wulf: I knew you would. When we have cleared the way you are to bring Sorella. She is to take her shot and if it hits you are to immediately remove her. You are not to wait for us but go straight to your ship and take her home. Back to Angi.
- Casius: Where she belongs, where all little girls belong. Not here. The Gods are but foul beasts and should take their place amongst monsters and demons.
- Wulf: Let me remind you who I am Cassius. Wulf, Dragonborn and Champion of The Divine. You place the blame on the Gods when most evil I have encountered has nothing to do with them at all. All of those children in my orphanages are a result of mortals being evil simply because that is the nature of the beast. The beasts known and Man and Mer need no God whispering in their ears to perform the foulest of deeds. Those who do obey Gods still have free will. Morag could say no to Molag Bal and unless in Coldharbour he could do squat about it. I am not controlled by The Divine and do their bidding out of choice and lucky for you that I have. Several times I have saved every man, woman and child on Nirn via guidance from The Divine and the gifts given me by my Lord Akatosh. You know how it works in war Casius. Sometimes people and even cities are sacrificed when strategy demands. Titus Mede II abandoned the Imperial City to the mercy of the Thalmor when strategy called for it! When The Divine are faced with a choice of putting a child in danger or letting Molag Bal turn Nirn into a living hell what do you think the strategic choice is? I hate such collateral damage and avoid it and curse the Gods when I see it.
- Casius: I apologise. But from the layman’s perspective…
- Wulf: The Gods seem distant and callous. I know.
- Casius: You had better get some rest, we leave at dawn.
- Wulf: As on your ship Casius I am but a junior in rank. You know the territory and the way. Bark orders like a drill sergeant and I will immediately obey. My rank will come in handy later but do not be surprised of Rigmor outranks us all.
- Casius: Goodnight Guardian.
- Wulf: Goodnight Casius. I will be up a while writing but don’t worry. I will get plenty of sleep.
Casius went to his tent and was soon asleep.
I pulled out my journal and placed the flowers back on their special page.
I wrote the last two days of entries by firelight then crawled into my bedroll.
I know not what time I fell asleep.