Bruma Castle, Rigmor’s Tree, Royal Mausoleum: The plot thickens.
I awoke sweaty and entangled with my wife.
Wulf Septim has a wife! A pregnant wife! He has a family!
It is a reality that is yet to sink in fully.
It was about 8:30AM when I stuck my head out of the door. Cerys had been sitting outside and had nodded off. She was taking her new position with Rigmor very seriously but when we move into The Palace we will have to set up a good summoning system. We can’t have people waiting around for us. It is the kind of noble excess we want to avoid.
I closed the door, made a loud coughing sound, with a bit of Thu’um to add to the volume, waited a few seconds and opened the door again.
Cerys was standing as if she hadn’t just been slumped in a chair and was fighting a mighty battle against a yawn.
“Morning Lady Cerys.”
She looked surprised at the title so I explained, “No matter how much Milady and I hate all the pomp and ceremony, the servants in the Imperial Palace thrive on their mini game of political power. By calling you Lady by name and not just job title, we instantly put you on top of the pecking order. That means if you ask another servant to do something they will obey without procrastination or objection.”
“That includes any domestic staff of any other castle or hold, including Bruma Castle.”
“I supposed we are all going to have to get used to things quickly but it has been so normal here. Do you think Rigmor will like living there?”
“That is a rhetorical question. You know her well.”
“She will hate it with every fibre of her being Majesty!”
“Yet live there we must. Could you please have somebody bring up water for our baths. We will be heading out for a picnic a little later but I believe you have things to do here today. That is OK, I am sure us poor royals can figure out how to do up our laces and cut our own food.”
Cerys did a quick little curtsy, I have stopped trying to prevent her doing that, and hurried off to, hopefully, get somebody else to lug up the buckets of warm water.
I closed the door and walked towards our bed. The wedding dress and my expensive outfit were discarded along with underwear and other clothing on the floor. It reminded me of Rigmor’s apartment. My Queen was sprawled face down with a silk sheet barely covering half of her. I quietly gathered the items to be washed and put them in a hamper. I folded her wedding dress and inspected my outfit. A few stains from the feast but since I was not meeting any dignitaries it would do for our ride and picnic.
We had to go to the Imperial city on the 9th and stay there that night. The day before the coronation we would get some coaching on the various people and politics of the realms. Today was going to be quiet time for Rigmor and I.
Rigmor woke with a bit of a start when a loud rapping on the door let me know the water had arrived. I opened the door and three burly men hurried in with the water buckets and I pointed to the partition behind which were the baths. Rigmor watched blurry eyed as they dashed across the room, noisily filled the baths and departed.
“Rise and shine your most Royal Majestic Highness of Highnesses!”
“Yeah, right, pffft!”
“Nah, didn’t work with me neither. Anyway, bath time!”
So we both sat in the baths with steaming hot water to our chins and had the first real discussion since I proposed in the Cathedral.
Rigmor looked across at me and asked, “So… how was it for you last night?”
“Terrible. Let’s never do that again.”
I decided I did not want to be the shortest lived emperor ever so quickly added, “Only joking. Fantastic as always. How many times did you attack me last night?”
“You can talk. Pervert!”
With that we both laughed but then Rigmor ruined the mood, “Are you sure? My body is less than perfect. It is pretty messed up actually.”
“You and Cerys deliberately picked that wedding dress so your scars were on display. We have not had to discuss what I think of your body since that night in the tent. Why now?”
“I don’t know Wulf. Probably just nervous about the coronation and getting thrust into the game once again but on a much bigger scale.”
“We are going to have to leave all of that behind us when we close our chamber door whether it is here or the Imperial Palace. We have our silence and so this is going to be like our own plane of existence. Everything else does not matter when we are alone. I love every inch of your body and you.”
“I don’t have anything to compare it to but are you average down there or what?”
“Well, not as big as that giant I saw without this loincloth.”
Rigmor laughed at that memory from what seemed like a lifetime ago.
“Did you read all of my journal entries my beloved?”
“I had no idea Wulf! I feel guilty about that greeting I gave you in the Roxey that day. I knew you had done so many different things for The Divine but the number of times you saved all of these ungrateful wretches who plot against us. They should be kissing your feet. As for how much you obviously missed me, that made me weep to read my Dragonborn. The lonely times you spent battling your own daemons and coming to terms with the things you saw and had to do.”
“But you read how I still made a life for myself. One day I can show you my orphanages and some of the places I visited. Just remember that no matter what, I will endeavour to make us as normal a family life as possible for the sake of our daughter and sanity. We can at least pretend to have that carefree life you always wanted.”
“And in the meantime we will be planning wars, trying to avoid wars, listening to endless drivel whilst sitting on those horrible chairs.”
I laughed a good loud belly laugh at that and Rigmor gave me one of those, ‘Better explain or else!’ looks.
“Thousands of years of countless wars, assassinations, plots, counter plots all so some poor bastard can get haemorrhoids from the Ruby Throne.”
Rigmor returned my belly laugh and then we were silent for a few minutes before she asked, “After not being able to talk for so long is there ‘stuff’ we need to discuss?”
“Oh yes, but not where walls may have ears. Baa’Ren-Dar was paranoid so I will take his queue and be paranoid as well. I don’t care how preposterous the idea of spies in Bruma Castle seems to you, we no longer have the luxury of ignoring such possibilities. I will oversee the construction of our new premises in the Imperial Palace, to your design and specifications of course, and make sure eavesdropping is not possible. Till then we will practice extreme caution.”
“So, how are you going to tell me these important things?”
“Today we will be having a picnic at one of your favourite spots as a child. There we can talk.”
“Are we to be surrounded by bodyguards?”
“You heard last night that many of my most trusted friends have volunteered to be our own personal bodyguards. They are some of the best mages and warriors in Tamriel and they will be discreet Rigmor. They will only be as close as need be to protect us.”
“I suppose I can handle people I know, or will get to know, better than anonymous guards.”
“Away from the public eye they are our friends and we can relax and be ourselves. They will be an important part of our ‘normal life’.”
With that I climbed out of my bath and proceeded to get dressed. Rigmor followed suit a few minutes later.
I was dressed and sitting down thinking when there was a loud rap on the door. Before I could say a word Cerys came into the room and said, “Majesty, I have just received a message from the Lord Chancellor requesting you and Lady Rigmor meet him in the Royal Mausoleum along Emperors Way. He assures me it is not politics as you were adamant that today was one of rest. He did say you will find it enlightening.”
Rigmor asked from behind the screen, “Is that Cerys?”
“Yes. Quick, hide the shackles and whips and that cute goat!”
Cerys tuned a bright red.
“Cerys, the protocol is to knock, wait for one of use to give permission to enter and then enter. That way we can avoid you seeing things you shouldn’t and I don’t slice the head off an intruder before realising it was you. This is all new to us as well and we will make blunders I am sure. Thank you Cerys, you are dismissed.”
Rigmor emerged from behind the screen and said, “Did Cerys say mausoleum? We are going to enjoy a picnic in the sun and he is spending time with the dead.”
“The Royal Dead. They make a better class of Draugr.”
Rigmor laughed as we made our way outside and I will never tire of that sound.
My other friends have not made it from Skyrim as yet so I expected three guards dressed in the new uniforms I had made. I was more than surprised to see Serana also in uniform.
“Serana? You told me you were going to join the Temple of Mara in Riften?”
“I spoke to the Primate just after the wedding. She told me the Great Chapel in Mara would have me but first you and Rigmor might need me for the next few years. She said Nirn is in the most danger since its creation and the list of enemies arraigned against you is large. Plus she reminded me of something I forgot but you mentioned last night. There are vampires involved and who knows more about them than me?”
“That is so very true and I am so glad you joined us. Did young Sorella have a chat with you?”
“Talked my ears off! A remarkable young lady and so much wisdom for one so young. I told her the most important thing to remember is being a vampire is not automatically evil. That many are survivors of being bit and they are not volunteers. That even those who do volunteer to become one may regret their decision. When I told her they can be cured she wanted to know how that works as she thought our souls now belonged to Molag Bal. I told her even though I am a mage and my mother one of Nirn’s greatest necromancers we are not sure. I think The Divines have something to do with it but really, it worked and that is all that matters.”
“Have you spoken to Valerica since Boethia and I sent Molag Bal back to Coldharbour?”
“She has not spoken to him in millennia. Even so she could tell his power is weakened. If he has anything to do with the Akaviri then that is to our advantage is it not?”
“Hopefully. We are still not certain if the Akaviri were Molag’s plot or entirely Morag’s. It seems a bit redundant to invade if Molag had managed to step permanently through the portal so I think he was oblivious to it or thought it didn’t really matter. He was just using Morag as his mortal go-getter.”
“Did you point out to her how weak she was in the hierarchy of vampirism?”
“Yes, I even told her your family would hunt down vermin like her brood. She was constantly plotting against ‘Daddy’ so I think she knew only too well. She did not even have the Vampire Lord abilities. She was a step above the almost mindless minions encountered in great numbers throughout Nirn.”
“Yet the words of Molag helped her wrest control of The Empire!”
“Part of that was the countless centuries of playing the game in different parts of Nirn. She knew who to manipulate and whisper promises to. It still comes down to free choice. She was not forced to do anything and neither was Sethius.”
Rigmor piped up, “This subject, along with a million others I am sure, will need discussing over the coming months. Can we get out in the countryside please Wulf?”
With that we set out with Rigmor and I surrounded by our new guards. I had not felt so safe since leaving Skyrim.
As we rode I told Rigmor the story of Pilvi-Hinnesh but left out the part of Akatosh’s blood. I will tell her about that at the picnic spot.
Rigmor wept as I knew she would. She now knew some of the reason for Lord Akatosh’s sorrow and regret.
I admitted to her, “I was constantly complaining to The Divine about my separation from you and how hard it was. I am sure Lord Akatosh would have liked to say, ‘You think that was hard, let me tell you about my mortal love!’ Now I feel a bit guilty. Maybe I should have just accepted it earlier and trusted we would be back together eventually?”
“It does not matter what Lord Akatosh had to endure. You had to endure something real and powerful to you and the suffering of others does not diminish or devalue your own.”
“I have said similar to other’s in the past. Sometimes I think we do not believe our own advice till we hear it from another.”
We finally reached “Rigmor’s Tree” as she once claimed it to be. We tethered the horses and headed down to the pond and ‘den’. The picnic consisted of simple fare prepared by the kitchen staff and not some elaborate multi course meal spread out over several blankets. I think we were all pretty bloated from last night’s feast so it was more than adequate.
Rigmor and I sat in the little hut and spoke very un-noble like through mouths full of food.
“There is something really important you need to know about your ring and the main reason I did not want to speak in the castle.”
“Is it to do with why I can feel Lord Akatosh’s presence?”
“The ruby in the middle is a soul gem. It contains some of Lord Akatosh’s blood. We could, if need and we have some of our best mages work on it, create a new Amulet of Kings and relight the Dragonfires. Some say the original contained the blood of Lorkhan but I think it makes no difference. Nobody else must know. I had Loona promise she would not talk about it and I trust her.”
“Martin’s barrier is in place so why would we ever need to do that?”
“I did not feel like it was appropriate to mention this after you accepted Camaeus’ apology on behalf of the Dominion and thanked him for his help but… “
“He lied to us! You said this in the last of you journals. Do you know now what he was up to?”
“As I said in my journal, he was never there to do what that piece of paper signed by Baa’Ren-Dar said. I now know the truth. He had two missions given to him by Akatosh and delivered by my father. The first was to protect you. Not because the Thalmor were sorry for their actions or that he was genuine in any way whatsoever. His only concern was you as an incubator living long enough to deliver Kintyra, the Chosen One. For years he would have been OK with this even knowing the birth would kill you. Only at the last minute did Talos tell him you would live and I don’t think he really cared one way or the other.”
“I knew he was with us for some other reason and guessed it has to do with another Red Diamond and the creation of another Amulet of Kings.”
“To fulfil the promises that Morag made to you?”
“Exactly. Camaeus was instructed by Talos to look for the diamond after the Bridge of Sighs was destroyed. He left some men behind while I was in The Void and you were battling your way to the Imperial City. They found it. Loona witnessed them search and find something and then leave.”
“Why weren’t you told of the diamond?”
“I am unsure. I have gone over everything in my head over and over. I think The Divines are now blinded to the timelines Lord Akatosh usually reads. Lady Azura’s seers can’t see anything past Table Mountain either. At first I thought that occurred when Molag Bal and Boethia both existed on the mortal plane for a while. I now think the destruction of the crystal caused it. I know something is not right because my Dovah blood allows me to sense these timelines. I have never taken much notice of them as I cannot read them but now they just seem wrong. I know I will have to speak to a Dovah for an explanation.”
“Still, why weren’t you told? It is obvious to me reading your journals that you have never done a thing to make them distrust you!”
“I think they saw up the point of me being kissed by Morag. They would have known it was Molag and that I would either become his puppet or die. A few seconds later the crystal was destroyed. They would have seen that but not know the possible outcomes. They would have chosen the most likely up to that point.”
“But the most likely outcome did not occur.”
“When I first spoke to Allie she told me she was a seer and had seen many possible outcomes for Nirn and only a handful were good. The Divine lost trust in me. They did not think it likely I would survive the temptations offered by Morag or Molag. That would explain the hostility shown to me at the waterfall. All of a sudden I was deemed an enemy or a dead asset.”
“You told me your faith was wavering. No wonder.”
“Molag overcame all the barriers other Daedric Princes could not. My love for you rescued me from his grasp. But I was already doomed. If they had seen up to that point they would not have wanted me to look for the diamond as I would have died while searching for it or have been a Molag or Morag puppet. Instead I resisted the temptations and made it to camp before collapsing. I cannot deny the simple truth that it was wise for them not to tell me about the diamond and to have a backup.”
“So with that diamond they could build another Amulet of the Kings and do some of the things Morag suggested?”
“Do you know what that diamond contains?”
“Saint Alessia was inside the crystal fighting Molag Bal for the souls of the children. It was a battle of willpower and she was slowly losing after ten year of resisting his power. If it had continued much further Molag Bal would have won and my mother’s soul become tainted. He would have collapsed the Bridge of Sighs and entered the mortal realm with a Black Diamond. He could have built a barrier to allow the entry of Daedric Princes but stop The Divine from even talking to their creation. Nirn would have become a battle ground for the Daedric Princes. Some who want to dominate it. Some who want to destroy it.”
“Is it a soul in the diamond then?”
“A combination of a part of my mother’s soul and that of Molag Bal.”
“Oh, what effect would that have on Saint Alessia?”
“The same as when I gave up part of my soul to enter the Soul Cairn. She would be weakened and so would the Daedric Prince.”
“Morag hinted at a world where there were no Gods interfering at all.”
“It is possible the Red Diamond could create a barrier that blocks both sides from ever communicating with mortals.”
“You do not believe that would make much difference do you?”
“Absolutely none at all to how much evil exists. The Divine gave up much to create Mundus and Nirn and mortals. They have tirelessly fought for our right to exist and be free. They would be unjustly denied access to the mortals they love and you know that love to be true. Evil would still exist. People like Count Leyawiin would still crave power and riches. Those less fortunate would still be envious of those with more and take it by force. Love would still be spurned and revenge taken. The Divine only manipulate people like us as part of this immortal war and to preserve their creation from destruction or domination.”
“What if you could completely block the Daedric Princes?”
“Many people worship them without resorting to evil. If the Red Diamond could do that, and I am unsure as to what it can do, would we have the right to cut people off from their chosen deities? Including Azura? It still would not make a difference to how much evil exists. It would stop plans of the Daedric Princes such as the one we just prevented and Boethia’s ‘Culling’ and even the Oblivion Crises. But I don’t think the choice will ever be ours. It will be Kintyra’s.”
Rigmor looked shocked.
“I say this without 100% certainty but I think she would be the only one who could wear an amulet with that Red Diamond in it. The Divine would have made it that way in case I did swap sides like Miraak. I would be able to use one made from your ring but at the moment that is not needed. What if, and I do not want you to get hysterical over this, they had both the Red Diamond and our daughter?”
“If they twisted her to their way she could provide whatever barrier they wanted?”
“So your ring is another backup. It would allow us to restore the Dragonfires if such a thing came to pass. I assume it would overpower whatever barrier they created. It would be status quo.”
“Except they would have our daughter and we may not have another child. There may not be another who could use our amulet?”
“I am not immortal. The Dragonfires would die. Their barrier would win. We still lose.”
“I see the importance of the secret of my ring being kept to a few of us. The idea of Kintyra being snatched and manipulated terrifies me Wulf!”
“That danger is removed if we have the Red Diamond. I have been told that Camaeus was instructed to hand it to me. I do not think he will do that. I do not think he will obey anything my father tells him now he knows who the priest is whether it be the instructions of Akatosh or not. We will soon find out when we negotiate with the Dominion for help with the suspected Akaviri invasion. This is my will on this Rigmor and I would hope if anything happened to me you would uphold it. I will never agree to reinstate the White Gold Concordat. It is blasphemy and I am the mortal representative of The Divine. If they refuse to hand over the Red Diamond I will take it even if I have to turn their country to rubble. I can no longer turn away from courses of action that may harm the innocent as well as the guilty. Now my decisions must be for what will bring about the peace our daughter is prophesied to bring. As with all things we will negotiate and discuss together our options at the time but using the soul of my mother and the safety of our daughter as ransom whilst professing to be followers of The Divines? I can’t ever see that bringing anything but war.”
Rigmor could sense my fury. My anger was building.
“Shhh my love! Let us deal with things as they occur and not worry about problems that may not even exist. What is that noise?”
We both looked out of the doorway and could see our guards enjoying a good chat. Further up the hill was a lone wolf issuing a loud warning. It was most likely a member of a pack that recently moved into this territory and was telling us trespassers to move on. Kharjo was keeping an eye on it. It would not attack unless somebody approached it.
After a while it decided we had been warned enough and sauntered off to wherever the rest of the pack was. I said to Rigmor, “We had better get them to move up a bit and protect the horses. If the pack is big enough they may attack wanting horse for lunch. I would still like to chat a bit more. Maybe stand amongst the flowers for a while. Listen to the water.”
“We can’t keep calling them ‘our guards’ or ‘they’. Let us think of a name over by the pond as you suggested.”
I asked the “not yet named” to go look after the horses in case the wolf came back with a large pack. Nobody could sneak up on us from any direction so we were safe at the pond.
We were standing in amongst the flowers and I asked Rigmor, “Any more questions about things you read in my journals?”
“A million and over time I will ask them but one thing confuses me, why did you give Ulfric a chance to enter Sovngarde?”
“High Queen Elisif asked me the same. You are probably one of a handful of people who have resisted the Thalmor and their expert ways of reducing people to a shadow of themselves. I am all for pointing out people’s free will but what the Thalmor do is more than the whispering in the ear the Daedric Princes use. I used you as an example to shame him but really that was unfair. 99.99% of people would cave in and become a Thalmor puppet like Ulfric did. He used to be an excellent and loyal soldier. Killing him in fair combat would help appease his followers. So for his service before the Thalmor tortured him into betrayal and to help stop the Civil War sooner I gave him a warrior’s death and a chance for entry into Sovngarde.”
“I don’t think you will have any problem with parleys and negotiations. That was clever of you.”
“I think we will be far better at all this than we ourselves think.”
“One more thing and it isn’t to do with your journals. What have you done to Robere? Cerys told me he was removed from the Bruma cells a few days ago.”
“I have made a deal with him. I shall give him tasks to do. How well he accepts them and does them determines how comfortable he will be and any luxuries he may get.”
“Rigmor, when you are currently in a 5×10 cell with nothing to do, no windows and a basic bed then normal things become a luxury. A bigger cell, an extra blanket, a change of diet, books to read and even a window becomes a luxury.”
“Oh, so what is his first task?”
“He is helping some ex New Imperials to exhume the bodies of the men, women and children murdered at the border. They are to search the remains for anything that may identify them and put them into family units if possible.”
“Are there many?”
“Far more than I would have guessed. I like that today is nice and warm because our two new countesses are making a trip there today. They are not going to be forced out of the covered carriage they are travelling in but will be ordered to look at the piles of dead. If they refuse they will be imprisoned overnight and taken again tomorrow. The smell will reach them if they look or not so the wise thing to do is look on the first trip.”
“Won’t that make them more hostile?”
“I am guessing they had no idea of the depravity their husbands were comfortable putting up with and Sethius allowed out of greed. They thought they were playing the game and have been outmanoeuvred. They need to realise we were not playing the game. We were fighting this depravity. I will tell them that if they ever marry they keep control of their counties. No longer will a penis give you more rights. That is barbaric. To think Robere would have become Count of Bruma because he had a tiny dick between his legs?”
“I would not know its size Wulf. But I agree this gender inequality is barbaric.”
“Not a pleasant conversation for such a pretty place.”
“This place is beautiful isn’t it?”
“Any place is beautiful with you by my side.”
“Don’t you get any funny ideas!”
More laughter from both of us.
“Okay, we don’t want to leave Blackwell amongst the dead for too long and I think I have a name for our guards.”
“I am all ears.”
“That makes our lovemaking a bit creepy!”
“I suppose it does. What name are you thinking of my beloved earlobe?”
“Sometimes you worry me Wulf. Anyway, I thought ‘The Sentinels’ was appropriate.”
I pretended to think about it but I loved the name straight away.
Then I said, “Yeah, I suppose…”
Rigmor looked offended so I finished with, “… that is a brilliant suggestion!”
She was pleased and we stood just watching the water and enjoying the quiet for another few minutes.
I broke the silence with “Let’s see what Blackwell wants. It better not be just to show off some old bones.”
“Where are we staying? I refuse to use Morag’s and Sethius’ old quarters till Cerys and I rip it all out and redesign it including room for Kintyra!”
“We will ride back to Bruma today. Tomorrow we must stay overnight in the palace but will use the guest rooms. I will make sure none of the VIP are able to approach us till the coronation.”
We walked to the others and I asked them as a group, “What do you think of being called ‘The Sentinels”?
They all liked the name so that is what they will be.
We rode at a leisurely pace and just enjoyed small talk and the picturesque countryside.
It was about 3:00PM when we stabled the horses and headed for the Emperor’s Way. At one of the entrances to the Palace I noticed some of Blackwell’s new City Watch. His idea was that the New Imperials were not well liked and poor city guards so a brand new uniform and veteran Imperial Legion troops will help regain public respect. I walk up to one and he performed a perfect salute and held it.
“At ease soldier.”
He relaxed and waited to be spoken to.
“How are you finding the public response. Be honest, I am merely curious as to their reaction.”
“There is already a great change in opinion Majesty. We are not quite met with instant compliance but nobody is questioning our parentage or pelting us with vegetables.”
I had to laugh and then said, “Thank you. Know that I appreciate all of you supporting Lord Counsellor Blackwell with this initiative.”
I re-joined Rigmor and proceeded to the mausoleum. When we stopped out the front Rigmor asked, “Well here it is. It makes you wonder why he wants to meet here Wulf. Sounds a little creepy to me. Should we be on our guard?”
“I believe Blackwell is 100% trustworthy. It is only a tomb full of our relatives. Let’s see what he wants and then we have free time again.”
The door to the mausoleum was well polished and maintained.
We entered and had to pull a chain to lift a portcullis. Blackwell was at the far end of the main chamber. There were sarcophagi of various sizes including some that could only be for children. We started walking towards him.
When closer we stopped and he said, “Your Majesty, I know you must be wondering why I asked to meet you here in this place of death. Be assured there is a good reason. You see, this is the Royal Mausoleum and I have been attending to it for many years.”
Kharjo was standing inches away from Blackwell just staring at him. I think he enjoys his new role but if he is trying to intimidate the Chancellor he will need to practice a lot more.
“You do the Empire a great service Lord Chancellor.”
“I have studied and kept record of the dynasties that have come and gone, that have sat upon the Ruby Throne, you might want to read my works. There are copies near the entrance.”
“I will do so with interest. I have an incredible knack for remembering things I have read. Many mages do. I am sure that some of it will be useful sooner than later.”
“It is very extensive. Lady Rigmor could also benefit greatly about what is contained in the script.”
Rigmor piped up, “In that case Lord Chancellor I will attempt to read them.”
“The books are one thing but why are we here Lord Chancellor?”
“As you know, some of the guests have arrived. Notable representatives from the major powers. Interestingly every Jarl from Skyrim is attending. I had heard and read of you popularity there so it should not come as a surprise I suppose. None of them were going to attend Sethius’ coronation.”
“I bet he was a little displeased at being snubbed by barbarians, after all, he was of the best bandit breeding.”
Everybody laughed but Blackwell. I wonder if he ever has?
“Count Camaeus had arrived to represent the Aldmeri Dominion, along with a leading member of the Elder Council, Andrino Ancorius.”
“Did I revoke Sethius’ writ exiling the Elder Council?”
“No your Majesty.”
“Was this Andrino a member at the time of Titus Mede II’s assassination?”
“Did you invite him?”
“Then he is without diplomatic immunity or protected by the rules of parley?”
“Correct on both counts Majesty.”
“Then my men here, now called The Sentinels, will arrest him on suspicion of compliance in Titus Mede II’s assassination as well as breaking the exile. They will not arrest him until he leaves the palace. I want you to make him terrified Blackwell. Tell him I know the name of the assassin and it will only be a matter of time before the truth comes out. Threaten him with the most vial tortures you can imagine. Make him sweat so that when I visit him he will gladly spill the beans.”
“I understand your Majesty and I will comply with your wishes. He will be calling out for his mother without us laying a hand on him.”
“As for Count Camaeus, let me make this perfectly clear so you never insult me by putting it forward as an option.”
Blackwell stared at me as he knew what was coming, “Never will I allow the White Gold Concordat to be reinstated. They have never had Divine guidance telling them Talos worship is a blasphemy. It is fact my father is a Divine and Count Camaeus knows it. I am the Champion of The Divine. I will never tolerate a law that is blasphemy. Understand?”
“Understood and understandable your Majesty.”
“He also has something that belongs to me. Lord Akatosh had requested he give it to me. It may be of vital importance to our war effort but this is for certain. While he has this object Kintyra and Rigmor will be in grave danger. If he does not hand it to me tomorrow then we have a problem that will lead, if unresolved, us going to war to get it. The item is a Red Diamond, in reality a soul gem, containing a part of Saint Alessia’s soul and part of Molag Bal’s.”
Serana gasped as she knew the significance of it. Blackwell looked at her and raised his eyebrows.
“This is Serana. Former Daughter of Coldharbour and former Vampire Lord. Serana, please tell Counsellor Blackwell what might be done with such a soul gem.”
“A new Amulet of Kings could be made. I was born before the Empire and Amulet of Kings existed but I have read the histories since his Majesty released me from my tomb. This Amulet of Kings, because it has part of Molag Bal’s soul, could close all access to your Divine, the Aedra. It may be able to do other things, I am unsure.”
“It is speculation what it can do but that is the most probable use. So you can understand why this is also not going to be negotiated about.”
“Anything else about the Count your Majesty?”
“He will offer up the Elder Council in his negotiations. Not in those words but he thinks that will be a sweetener to tempt you to argue for their deal.”
“And you know this how Majesty?”
“Friends with spies Blackwell.”
Rigmor said, “Pffft, the only good thing Sethius did was kick them out.”
“Not true Rigmor, I quite like the new tiles in the Emperor’s bathroom.”
“Okay, only the second good thing Sethius did was kick them out.”
“He could have kicked them out then got the new tiles. Then it would be the first good thing he did.”
“I see your point my Husband.”
Blackwell shook his head whilst The Sentinels smiled.
“He presents a danger to our daughter as she may be the only one that could make use of this Red Diamond. If the person with the Red Diamond is working for a Daedric Prince then they will want our daughter as well. Understood?”
“Perfectly your Majesty. I would like to show you both something, please, this way.”
We followed him to the end of the room and Blackwell announced, “This is the armour of Tiber Septim.
I was stunned and got closer to it. My Father’s armour!
Rigmor asked, “Wasn’t it destroyed when Martin Septim sacrificed himself?”
Blackwell replied, “All we know is that it was returned here shortly after his martyrdom. It was last worn by Titus Mede II.”
I said to Rigmor, “How many Jenny dolls do we have, all identical?”
“Oh. I understand.”
Blackwell looked at me and said, “It now belongs to your Majesty. It is customary for the elected to wear it upon their coronation. So try it on soon and let me know if any alterations are needed. I will make sure you get it back in time for the coronation.”
“I suspect it will fit me perfectly.”
Blackwell turned to Rigmor and said, “As for you my lady, this way.”
We walked to a sarcophagus in the middle of the west wall.
“This is the burial place of Rigmor of Cyrodiil. Before Titus Mede had the infant Morgan sent to Winterhold, he had Rigmor laid to rest here. She died in childbirth due to complications and Mede was heartbroken. Some say he never fully recovered from losing her.”
Rigmor asked, “What do you know about her?”
“She was initially a mercenary and rumours have it she played a big part in the Oblivion Crises by helping the Champion of Cyrodiil close many of the gates. After the martyrdom of Martin Septim she joined the ranks of the Colovian Warlord Titus Mede and helped him wrest control of Cyrodiil from the hands of Thules the Jibbering. His dying wish was to be reunited with her, here in this small anti-chamber. Attrebus reluctantly complied but it was a well-kept secret. There is no mention or record of it. The official sarcophagus for him lies empty. Titus Mede’s remains are within, alongside that of his true love.”
“That is so sad” whispered Rigmor.
“The crowning armour she never got to wear is preserved in this chest. I think it would be fitting and respectful to her memory if you would wear it to the coronation my lady.”
“I will try it on and let you know of any alterations needed. Where are the crowns?”
“They have been sent for cleaning and polishing and then they will be delivered to the ceremonial priest.”
Blackwell turned to me and said, “I will leave you both to try on your new attire.”
“We will not be staying in the palace tonight and will use the guest rooms tomorrow night. We shall attend early tomorrow and be available for the coaching I asked for and any other matters you deem necessary. I ask that any requests to meet with us be put off till the coronation.”
“As it pleases your Majesty.”
“I will read those texts. There is one person I am particularly interested in. Count Leyawiin said you had concerns about a young girl adopted by the High King of High Rock. Is she related to him and of Royal blood?”
“I have not confirmed it is her but there is a young girl who fits the story. I will let you read the texts and if you come to the same conclusion then it is safe to say she is most likely the adoptee.”
“Thank you Lord Counsellor.”
When Blackwell left the building I asked Lydia, Serana and Celestine if they would help Rigmor don her armour. I asked Kharjo to assist me.
As I predicted the armour fitted perfectly. I was surprised those not Dragonborn had worn it since the motto on it indicated it belong to one. I suppose if the you only wore it once or twice not many would have known what it means.
I asked Rigmor, “What do you think?”
“It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen!”
“Oh, is my fly undone?”
“You are in good form today aren’t you my husband. What do you think of mine?”
“You look absolutely amazing and it fits perfectly.”
“It is sad she never got to wear it.”
“What has gone wrong with Cyrodiil over the years?”
“That was made for a peasant, a mercenary to don at her crowning. Presumably after she marries an Emperor with whom she had a child out of wedlock. There was no hint of shame or all this ‘must marry a noble’ rubbish.”
“That still rankles with you doesn’t it?”
“Last week I had to tell Malesam and Freathof to stop acting like your pregnancy was shameful and should be kept quiet. That I was marrying you for love, not to provide some unneeded legitimacy to our child. Such old fashioned values ostracise the unwed mother yet the father of the child will get pats on the back for showing his virility.”
“Let’s head home and the countryside will smooth your temper.”
“Better put the armours back since both sets fit. Don’t won’t to get them grubby!”
So we changed back and headed out for the ride back home. We were greeted to a wonderful sunset reflecting off the lake and I knew I was truly in love with this once foreign land.
After a good meal with Sigunn and Cerys I headed to our bedchamber to read the family tree books. Rigmor stayed with her mother and Lady Cerys and they talked till late.
When Rigmor finally entered the bedchamber I was still reading Blackwell’s books.
She disrobed and approached in her undergarments whilst laughing and saying something but it did not register as I concentrated on what I had just discovered.
Rigmor could see I was disturbed and asked, “What is it Wulf? Was there something in Blackwell’s books?”
I stood and looked her in the eyes and told her, “Titus Mede II had a daughter who was presumed drowned with her mother after their ship sank near Black Marsh. The child was only six months old and that was almost 14 years ago. The ailing High King of Highrock has recently adopted a young girl after being convinced she is of noble blood and related to him. I believe that young adoptee is Adilessia Potema Mede, daughter of Titus Mede II. She would have been declared Empress if she had claimed the throne before Sethius took it by force.”
Rigmor gasped as she realised what problems this may cause.
“Something stinks Rigmor. Where was she for all those years? Why did she not make a claim to the throne? How come Lord Malakai recently found her and presented her to the High King? Camaeus was saying there is a hint of collusion between High Rock and Morrowind. The ship allegedly sunk after a diplomatic mission to Morrowind.”
“You don’t think there was a shipwreck do you?”
“I would not be surprised to find Adilessia’s mother was still alive. But certainly somebody has a plan to put her on the Ruby Throne. Who knows what they have told her over the years. Maybe filled her head with the belief she is the rightful Empress? She was once but not in any legal sense now.”
“So what do we do Wulf?”
“Nothing for now. Blackwell will keep a close eye on her and Lord Malakai. Casius has his ears open. I am sure Baa’Ren-Dar will let us know of anything he deems dangerous.”
“It is unfortunate she has that second name. Who would name a child after one of the most evil women to ever exist? Reading your journal entries about her chilled me to the bone.”
“Come my love. Let us fall asleep in each other’s arms and forget this for now.”
I do not know what time I fell asleep.
I do know it was with my family wrapped tightly around me.
My wife and daughter. My life.