Imperial City: Coronation.
Rigmor and I spent most of yesterday getting our knowledge of the latest politics of Nirn as up to date as possible. It was amazing to both of us that there are large areas of the planet that might as well be in another plane of existence as far as information goes. Even the homeland of our Nemesis, the Akaviri, is steeped more in mythology than fact.
I was getting so frustrated I suggested I could fly a Dovah over some of these places and report what I see.
Malesam almost had a fit. Freathof could not get a word out. Blackwell pondered it.
Rigmor put an end to it with, “Don’t even think about it Wulf!”
We all agreed this new High Rock princess spelt trouble. She was a puppet for somebody but the list of possible puppeteers was long.
Rigmor and I discussed her even further over breakfast on the day of coronation.
I said, “She was eleven or twelve years of age when her father was murdered. There were many months of the Elder Council being in charge as they waited to see if he was actually dead or kidnapped or just missing. So why wasn’t she declared? If they wanted the throne, why not take it then?”
“Perhaps it is not the throne they want but to destabilise our rule?”
“It is a very long plot for just mortals to plan and even Daedric Princes would not have much success shuffling everything over a decade or more to get the outcome they wanted.”
“Maybe they just waited for parts of the prophecy to happen. Then it would have been a case of putting a plan long thought out into action. It probably did not matter to them if the princess was fourteen or forty.”
“You could be right Rigmor. Maybe the princess did not even know of her parentage till recently. That way she would not be constantly promised the throne with no firm date.”
“I think Lord Malakai has been involved for a long period if not from the start.”
“Apparently he disliked Titus Mede II immensely but until recently the High King has been firmly in charge.”
“So Wulf, answer me this. If they are poisoning the High King or using a dweomer to make him ill, why not just kill him and put the princess in charge. Surely it would be easier to overthrow an Emperor or Empress or at least cause a distraction if she was High Queen.”
“High Rock could not stand up to us militarily if they were to do something and we traced it to them. Not unless we are already fighting against the Dominion.”
“I think she is proving to be what we suspect, a destabilising factor.”
“That unfortunately leaves us with the long list of possible puppeteers.”
“Let’s practice your own advice and worry about what we can do right now.”
“You will see my favourite tactic at the coronation. Get them mad. Dent their ego. It works with mortals and Gods. They make mistakes. Give away things they never intended. The thing is, I will do it so if they object they will appear petulant and rude.”
“You say you hate the game but I think secretly you want to master it.”
“We have to for the sake of us, our child and Nirn. If I can have fun doing it so much the better. Poor Blackwell, he has coached us the best he could and I never had any attention of playing by the rules.”
“He did admire my parley skills!”
“You read in my journal what I thought of that performance. Best part was the palpations you gave Malesam and Freathof.”
“Cerys came to me very upset a few days before the wedding. She said you had told her father he is no longer trusted. I know from your journal it derives from him being a follower of Boethia yet we are allowing religious freedom.”
“The vast majority of Boethia followers are not talking to her on a regular basis. Only a few mortals on Nirn can speak to the Daedric Princes or The Divine. Malesam is not her champion, I am that, but he is a senior acolyte who has her ear. The fact is ‘The Culling’ showed she is no different than Molag Bal, Mehrunes Dagon or Malacath. She wants to dominate Nirn and to enslave and/or kill all mortals. That is her ambition and the very thing we are trying to prevent. You have felt an immortal inside your head twice. You know how they seem to dig and probe and find all your secrets. There are things Boethia would like to know. If Malesam knows them then meaning to or not he may deliver the knowledge she wants. So first of all there must be things he never knows.”
I tapped on her ring finger and she nodded.
“Do you think he would turn against us?”
“That is the lesser risk but I don’t think he even knows what would happen if Boethia asked him to. Listen, I have him working with Freathof and the senior members of the College of Winterhold on those projects of mine. We have also included him in our discussions with Blackwell and taken his advice on board. He knows we value and will use his skills. He does not need to know things outside his areas of responsibility that could aid the enemy. It is bad enough he knows about the Red Diamond. Sethri was wrong to reveal that information to him. Do you think Boethia would like our daughter to have the ability to banish her and her kind completely from Nirn for eternity?”
“I think Cerys understand all this. Malesam was hurt though.”
“Tolfdir is now the Arch Mage. That means he is ultimately responsible for fulfilling Titus Mede’s writ. He could just as easily decide Malesam is too much of a liability and ask him to give up his duties here. We would then have to make a choice as to keep him on as our employee or ask him to leave. Malesam is going to have to come to terms with the possibility.”
“We have some time before we head for the coronation. Is there anything else before we go?”
“Have you read my arrest warrant for the Elder Council slime?”
“Can you read it to me with a bit of authority in your voice so I can judge the wording a bit better?”
“Councilman Andrino Ancorius, we have a warrant for your immediate arrest signed by Emperor Wulf Septim.
You are neither protected by diplomatic immunity or parley.
You are being charged with breaching the exile lawfully declared under the previous emperor and still in place.
You are being charged with being a member of a conspiracy that led to the murder of Emperor Titus Mede II and the hiring of Dark Brotherhood assassins for that purpose.
Do not resist or draw a weapon.
Please keep your hands up as we remove visible weapons and frisk for hidden.
When that is done you will follow me to the cells.”
“And Lydia will be one that says this?”
“Yes, she can be very intimidating when needs be.”
“I think it is fine Wulf.”
“It is a pity that the rest of The Sentinels are not here yet. We underestimated how long it would take to find replacements for the orphanages.”
“Blackwell has gone all paranoid and is not allowing the usual gallery of onlookers for the ceremony so they could not have watched anyway unless as guards. Only the invited dignitaries will be there and a number of the new City Watch.”
We proceeded to don our coronation armours and walked with The Sentinels surrounding us from the guest rooms to the door of the throne room. They then exited to their designated spot to await the execution of the arrest warrant.
Blackwell greeted us, “Majesty, Milady, this way if you please.”
We followed him inside and stopped not far into the chamber.
“Can we have quiet please!”
He waited for the murmurs and whispers to cease.
“I present to you Emperor Wulf Septim and High Queen of Cyrodiil, Rigmor Morgan-Mede.”
I observed carefully those who enthusiastically clapped, who pretended to be enthused and those who did not care or showed disdain.
All the Jarls except Maven Black-Briar were genuinely welcoming. She had her usual look as if she smelt something foul. Probably her own black soul.
All of the Emissaries and Diplomats were also enthusiastic.
All the Counts showed some enthusiasm but the two new widows were staring daggers.
Camaeus stood with his arms crossed displaying Thalmor arrogance at its finest. Andrino Ancorius who, now face to face with the ‘dreaded’ Dragonborn, suddenly wished he was elsewhere.
Lord Malakai politely clapped and his charge, the mysterious princess, was a mini version of Maven.
“This way if you please Majesty.”
We followed Blackwell further in till we were in front of Lord Malakai.
Blackwell announced, “Please let me introduce you to… “
“No need Lord Councillor. The High Queen of Skyrim and I have been good friends for many years!”
I walked past Blackwell whose mouth hung open in mid-sentence, squeezed past Maven and Camaeus making sure both got a bit of shoulder, and stood before Elisif.
She went to bow and I quickly said, “No Majesty, friends need not bow to each other. Just a smile upon greeting is more than adequate. I present to you Rigmor, my Queen and wife.”
“I am sorry milady but this is something new to us all. How should I address you?”
Rigmor replied, “How about Rigmor and I shall call you Elisif for is that not the names our parents blessed us with? As for him, call him Wulf.”
“I heard so much about you from his Majesty, I mean Wulf, that I think I know you like a sister.”
“Same here Elisif. He has nothing but praise for you and your strength during the Civil War and your compassion for your people. All traits we will need in the trying years ahead.”
I gushed, “Elisif, you look so much younger than when I saw you last. Only eighteen or so compared to the ancient twenty or so in the past!”
Elisif laughed and replied, “It must be this new hairstyle.”
“Sorry that we can’t chat more right now. Perhaps at the banquet after and if you stay for a day or so we can catch up for a private meal?”
Elisif nodded her agreement and I moved onto Casius as I glimpsed over at a fuming Lord Malakai and a perplexed Blackwell.
“Count Leyawiin, so glad to see you. Did those funds arrive?”
“Yes Majesty and the repairs and dock building have started.”
“Splendid. I will catch up on the details later.”
As I walked towards Blackwell he tried once again, “Majesty, I must really introduce you to… “
“Oh no need. Jarl Balgruuf and I are old friends!”
I pushed between the princess and the disbelieving Malakai and embraced Balgruuf in a typical manly Nord way which involved lot of pats on the back and gentle shoving. He caught on to what I was doing and played his part well.
“Jarl Balgruuf the Greater, greater than what you never told me, I would like you to meet Queen Rigmor.”
“As my High Queen said, I almost know you like a sister so much has his Majesty spoken of you. May I congratulate you on your nuptials and I was thrilled to hear of your pending parenthood.”
“Thank you Jarl and I am so pleased to meet the man silly enough to let a dragon land on his castle. I believe you have three children of your own.”
“Yes but I almost lost one to the darkness. I owe his Majesty more than I can ever repay for saving his soul.”
“One tiny thing you can do if you will. Can you please make sure our life ban in The Bannered Mare is lifted? I really wasn’t going to shove the flute up his chute.”
Everybody laughed except the usual party poopers.
“Consider it done!”
I patted him on the shoulder and moved to Blackwell who finally managed to say, “PLEASE Majesty, let me introduce you to Lord Malakai, envoy to the King of High Rock.”
Malakai and his princess both held an identical hand on hip posture. He was livid but soon controlled himself as an effective diplomat is trained to do.
In a rather effeminate voice Malakai said, “Majesty, it is my honour to finally meet you in person. On behalf of the King of High Rock, we hope to strengthen our relationship, and bring wealth and prosperity to the northern peninsula. We also hope to fortify our friendship with Solitude, and look forward to further talks in the near future.”
Before I could make up a reply full of fake praise the girl coughed loudly.
“Oh, and this is the King’s eldest daughter, Potema. She insisted on accompanying me to this most important of events.”
I turned to the girl and she said, “Well met Uncle. I do hope you could visit us sometime, as you may or may not know, my father is frail as of late and his health is waning, even more so every day.”
“Forgive me but I did not know my half-brother, Emperor Belharza the Man-Bull, had a daughter. You hide your horns well or do they not grow till later?”
Potema looked shocked and a few sniggers could be heard.
“Relax Princess Adilessia, sorry, Princess Potema. I realise that was but a slip of the tongue on your part. You would be related to me along my uncle Agnorith Septim’s line as my other half-brother, Emperor Pelagius, was unfortunately assassinated leaving no heirs. So you would be a cousin many times removed but a cousin you are and I am pleased to meet you.”
I will give the girl credit as she recovered quite well from the first clash of wills.
“Oh, please, forgive me, I seem to have forgotten my manners with that slip of the tongue. It is my high honour to be in the presence of the Emperor by Divine grace, and of course, the lady Rigmor Morgan-Mede.”
“Actually I am Emperor by right of combat as I lopped the other guy’s head clean off. You are standing where it landed!”
Potema quickly looked down and moved a few feet to the right.
“You are so brave having survived a shipwreck and still travelled by boat to visit us. I am so sorry about your father but I know the name of the assassin and will soon have the plotters in custody. You would be most welcome to attend their execution. Would you prefer beheading or hanging or some other form? I will let you decide.”
If she caught the warning in the last two sentences she hid it well.
Potema turned to Rigmor and asked, “So, Lady Rigmor, when do you think I will have the honour of meeting my little cousin?”
Rigmor looked at me with a hand on her hip and a bemused look on her face.
Lord Malakai addressed his charge, “Lady Potema, all in good time, this is not the time or place…”
Rigmor grinned and anybody with sense would have run.
She said, “No Lord Malakai, it is fine!”
“I would say, thirty six weeks give or take a few.”
Potema should have realised she was outclassed but she persisted.
“And isn’t the child, by the grace of the Gods, to be a Dragonchild?”
“She will be a child conceived the normal way. You do know how babies are made I hope! So the grace of the Gods is limited to Lady Mara’s blessing that allows us to procreate. Some may call her Dragonchild because of my husband’s dragonblood but she will be a normal little girl.”
“Please, and I mean no offence…”
Lord Malakai was starting to panic, “Lady Potema!”
Rigmor forcefully commanded, “No Lord Malakai. Let her speak!”
His mouth dropped open and he watched the girl dig a big hole and fall in.
“Then please allow me to give you my most heartfelt and deepest condolences should… should anything untoward happen during the birth.”
There were gasps all around as Potema fired her best shot at Rigmor.
I looked at Rigmor and she nodded at me to have the fun.
“We appreciate your concern Princess Potema but my father told me he and the other Divine would never let Rigmor die giving birth to our daughter. He also assured me my mother would also not allow it. Then just a while ago Lord Akatosh spoke to Queen Rigmor and told her the same. Imagine that, the first mortal spoken to by my Lord in millennia! So the love of the Gods for Rigmor and I and our daughter fills us with joy and the absolute certainty that all will survive the childbirth.”
Potema stared at me with her mouth agape. If she was hoping Rigmor died at birth and that would somehow move her closer to the throne that dream was just shattered. Her puppet masters probably misled her through ignorance. Maybe now she might come to her senses and realise the real powers she faces.
She stammered, “Oh, please, I meant no offence, I just thought…”
“Whoever gave you that information was wrong Princess Potema. I wonder what else they told you is untrue?”
Lord Malakai knew what a disaster this was. Whoever has put this young girl up for sacrifice is heartless. I only hope we can rescue her from their influence.
“Forgive us Majesty. The Lady Potema is young and can be thoughtless at times.”
“The PRINCESS is not at fault Lord Malakai. She simply lacks competent direction from her elders. When a young girl of twelve can show the courage to face unbelievable horror and fire an arrow true, age is not the factor.”
I quickly glanced at Rigmor who gave me the nod of approval I sought.
Blackwell was about to say something so I cut him short by standing in front of the two widows.
“Countess Cheydinhal, Countess Chorrol, attendance was not compulsory and you should know by now I hate the silly games of politics that has consumed Cyrodiil for so long. So let me say without any other meaning than the truth, I am very glad to see you both here to celebrate a new beginning.”
Both ladies did a robotic curtsy but said not a word.
“You saw with your own eyes what your Queen and I were fighting for. Not land, not prestige, not riches. We fought for the normal citizens of not only Tamriel but all of Nirn. Whilst we were fighting evil that threatened your very existence your husbands took advantage of our absence to try and steal milady’s home and kill her people.
Not for the first time every single person in this room owes their life, family and lands to the actions of milady and I.
New laws are now in place. If you should ever remarry you will still be Countesses and in charge of your cities. It is time the woman of Cyrodiil enjoyed the equality that other provinces exercise. It is time marriage was removed as a strategic move in the political game. Similarly we shall adopt the same system as Skyrim. A city cannot change hands via conquest.
You have a chance to do something for your people and earn their respect and love. They are the greatest riches on all of Nirn.”
I heard a derisive snort from Maven Black-Briar and thanked The Divine for that opening. It gave me one more chance to keep Camaeus waiting.
I turned, walked up to her and asked, “Jarl Black-Briar, you believe the right to rule is only for the strong and that accumulating wealth is the objective?”
“It is the natural order of things.”
“You sit on your throne not through your actions but mine. Let us hope that you use your business skills and acumen to assist in the war effort and help your people. That is what High Queen Elisif and I expect from you. Falkreath is prospering under new leadership. Learn from that and realise you are not as secure in your seat as you think. I also apologise, doing profitable business deals must be so much harder after I wiped out the Dark Brotherhood.”
Maven snarled, the other Jarl’s laughed.
I turned to Blackwell and raised my eyebrows. A look of relief crossed his face. I chanced a look at Baa’Ren-Dar. He had an ear to ear grin.
“Majesty, Count Camaeus of Lillandril representing the Aldmeri Dominion and the Elder Council in exile.”
“Majesty, Lady Rigmor.”
We both remained silent.
“It is my honour and pleasure to meet you both once again under these special circumstances.”
“The dominion and the Elder Council in exile hope a lasting alliance can be forged to meet the upcoming threat. Of course before such an alliance can be agreed to, there are a few important things we need to discuss.”
Rigmor and I both knew what he wanted to discuss but we did not know if he had the diamond with him.
Rigmor asked, “Such as?”
This thing was supposed to be of the upper class and sophisticated yet showed the manners of a common drunk. He stood between my Queen and myself, pushing her as he did so. This was such an obvious political statement as to make it comedic in its execution.
He thinks all decisions are going to be solely mine and Rigmor can be dismissed. He knows very little about Rigmor and I and that does not bode well for walking away with any dignity. Already many watching noisily expressed their distaste for this manoeuvre.
“Cyrodiil needs to return to its former glory before the events of that usurper Ariel Sethius.”
“He was no usurper Camaeus. Nobody came forward to claim the absent throne via blood and your friends in the council had not proposed a new Emperor or claimed stewardship as was their duty. So in the absence of their leadership he claimed it by right of combat.”
“Before you continue, move aside and address both my Queen and I. Even young Princess Potema knew that basic etiquette!”
He actually looked abashed as he complied. I nodded and he continued.
“A long lasting and true alliance can be obtained by the restoration of the White Gold Concordat and return of the Elder Council here in the Imperial Palace.”
“I really don’t think you want to discuss this right now Camaeus.”
“I disagree; we have the right to make our terms known, after all the Dominion was instrumental in destroying Sethius so we should see the benefits of our involvement.”
“You know as well as I your help was not needed and neither Queen Rigmor nor I asked for it. The forces of the New Order were far superior in numbers and quality and we demolished them with considerably less men. They were the best Dominion troops ever fielded despite your shiny armour and arrogance. We both know why you were at Table Mountain and on the march to the capital and it wasn’t to aid Tamriel!”
A lot of those who signed the paper entreating we accept his help started protesting and asking for clarification. Baa’Ren-Dar chuckled.
I turned to them and said, “Please, let him continue.”
“All we ask is the White Gold Concordat be restored, the Elder Council reinstated and the lands of Southern Hammerfell be handed back over to the Dominion which is legally and rightfully ours.”
Rigmor asked, “You really expect us to seriously consider these demands?”
“Lady Rigmor, you must think of the greater good. I will take it upon myself to make sure the returning Justiciar act in a fair and open manner.”
“Yeah right, whatever.”
“Plus, it will put me in the perfect position to return to you something of importance.”
I raised my voice so all could here. No need for the Thu’um in this echoing chamber.
“So you have my Red Diamond and wish to use that as a bargaining chip?”
“All I ask is you discuss what I have mentioned, delay any knew jerk decisions and after some serious thought, reach out to us. The future of Tamriel depends on a new found friendship of tolerance and diversity.”
I could not help it. That last sentence coming from the mouth of a Thalmor cracked me up and once I broke protocol and laughed many others joined in as it was comedic.
I leapt up onto the platform that many an Emperor and Empress had used over many millennia to address those gathered.
“You claimed a right to put forward your terms as if this was merely a parley session and we were all gathered here to listen to your drivel. I have let you have your say and here is my answer.”
There was silence and all heads were pointed my way, including that of the guards who were supposed to be looking out for assassins.
“Be aware Camaeus that all you asked for was predictable and the topic of many long discussions between my Queen and I, our advisors and more importantly, the Gods you profess to follow. So this is no knee-jerk reaction but our last word on these matters.”
He started to look nervous.
“Many of the people here signed the recommendation that we accept your assistance at Table Mountain because they were told a lie. You were not there to atone for the barbaric treatment of my Queen. You were not there as an apology for the New Order or to clean up the remnants of that order. You were not there to ensure our victory against the evil of Molag Bal.
The Elder Council in exile told the signatories these lies as part of a deal they made with you.
You promised them that after Table Mountain Rigmor and I would, with your vital assistance, march on the Imperial City and take it by force. In the process you told them we would eliminate Blackwell and they would end up with a weak and young woman on the Ruby Throne.
You lied to them as well!
You knew we would not do such a thing and that Rigmor would never have been a weak and easily manipulated Empress.
You knew that was never our intention as it was never the plan of The Divines and they have controlled your whole life from birth until now. Is that not true Count?”
All eyes turned to him and he just stood mute.
“Count Camaeus has been following the orders of Lord Akatosh. Orders delivered to him verbally by what he admitted to me he thought was another God. Delivered to him by an avatar of my father, Talos of the Nine Divines!”
I could see he wanted to flee but he couldn’t. He demanded the right to put forward the Aldmeri Dominion’s demands. He was obligated to remain for the answer.
“His real reason for accompanying us to Table Mountain was twofold. One was to ensure the safety of Queen Rigmor. Not because he felt any obligation after their barbaric treatment of her family. Any regrets expressed on that were pure theatrics and without an ounce of sincerity.
He wanted Rigmor to live as she is carrying a very special child that not just The Divine but all Gods who value mortal life wish to be born. This child, the daughter of Rigmor and I, is destined to unite all of Nirn and eliminate poverty and war for all time.
Her name is Kintyra and she will rule as Kintyra Septim the third and is the granddaughter of Tiber Septim and Saint Alessia. Count, why would the Gods reward a fake Divine with such a thing?
The Count was willing to follow the orders of Lord Akatosh until I told him he had been talking with Talos. Now he openly defies the wishes of The Divines.
The second reason why he accompanied us was to retrieve a soul gem created when the Bridge of Sighs was destroyed. A soul gem that contains part of my mother’s soul. Trapped in there after she spent ten years combating Molag Bal for the souls of the children consumed by Morag Sethius and her brood. A vile act approved by Emperor Sethius and some Counts of Cyrodiil.
I am sure than many of you know of people who lost children to these evil creatures! Their souls saved by Saint Alessia and this person before you bargains for the diamond as if a trivial thing.”
I deliberately did not mention the soul gem contained part of Molag Bal’s soul. That was irrelevant to my argument and hopefully not widely known.
“The Divine were not sure I would survive my encounter with Molag Bal. Count Camaeus was a backup. He was to retrieve the soul gem, the Red Diamond, if I could not. Some of his men did so whilst I was still in The Void and Queen Rigmor and our allies fought the forces of the opposing Counts and marched to the outskirts of the Imperial City.
I have had confirmation from several Priests and Priestesses of The Divines that he was instructed to hand the Red Diamond to me and now he wishes to ignore that and play games with the future of not just Tamriel but all of Nirn.
So let me answer each of the demands you just tabled. This is the joint decision of Queen Rigmor and I and not negotiable.
The Aldmeri Dominion have never had Divine instruction telling them that worshipping Talos was blasphemy. They have known all along he is the ninth Divine. They simply could not accept that a man, not a mer, was elevated by the Gods themselves to such a glorious status.
They could not stand that the man who thwarted one of their many attempts at conquering the free people of Nirn was revered by so many.
Like the many lies that spew forth from the leadership of the Aldmeri Dominion, they claimed he could not be a Divine.
I am Dragonborn and Champion of The Divine. The Aldmeri Dominion asks that I allow the blasphemy of the White Gold Concordat to be reinstated.”
I used a bit of Thu’um to emphasise my answer.
“Queen Rigmor and I will never, under any circumstances, allow such. This is our final say on the matter. We also pledge our full support for any of Tamriel’s provinces who also wish to rid themselves of such a stain on the Divinity of The Nine!”
The Jarls, including Maven, verbally expressed their agreement.
I put my hand up and all went silent again.
“As for your claim to the lands of Hammerfell. That was part of a treaty that I have not agreed to honour. All terms in that treaty are null and void.
The Aldmeri Dominion attempted genocide in that region and it was the brave men who followed my Queen’s father, Sir Ragnar Fjonasson, who helped the native people throw you out with your tail between your legs. That is why your leaders hated him so and were terrified of his daughter. That is why your leaders falsely accused him of the very war crimes the Aldmeri Dominion committed. Why you murdered him under pretence of a just punishment. Why you lied to him in his final days and reneged on the deal you made for his confession. You made slaves of his wife and daughter! But that was not enough. You whipped and tortured Queen Rigmor till she was barely alive. A fourteen year old girl who you wisely feared and now stands before you beloved by The Divines and her Dragonborn and her people.
So we will not hand the territory of the good people of Hammerfell over to you. It is not our territory to secede anyway. This is our answer to your outrageous demand.
Also tell your leaders we will defend that territory on behalf of its inhabitants if asked. The fact they are comfortable with Quintus’ camp still being there should tell you what is most likely.”
More murmurs of agreement amongst the dignitaries.
“The Red Diamond belongs to me. It may be vital in the upcoming war against the Akaviri.
It is a war not just for the governance of Tamriel but for the very existence of mortals on Nirn.”
I did not hold back as my fury was genuine.
“YOU DARE THREATEN TO WITHHOLD THIS FROM ME AND THUS ENDANGER ALL LIVING THINGS WITH YOUR ARROGANCE!
YOU DARE IGNORE THE INSTRUCTIONS OF LORD AKATOSH!”
Everybody flinched. Rigmor signalled for me to calm down and I did, barely.
“Go back to your leaders and tell them this.
If the Red Diamond is not handed to me by the time of our daughter’s birth I will regard that as an act of war.
We must prepare for the Akaviri and if I have to come and take that diamond I will not hold back!
Look at what happened to the Ayleid and the Snow Elves when they opposed Akatosh’s chosen.
Any nation, any person that threatens my family, and thus the survival of Nirn and Mundus, will be met with Divine wrath via myself and the forces available to me. Consult your histories and see what that entails.
Keeping that diamond is a threat to me, my family, Nirn and Mundus!”
Camaeus was not a popular figure in the room. If looks could kill he would be a bloody mess on the floor. The guards were on alert as there was a chance parley could be broken.
I leaped down and shirt-fronted Andrino Ancorius whose comical squeal was enough to lighten the mood.
With my face close to Andrino’s and my back to Camaeus I said, “Of all the arrogance I have seen displayed, dictating to Queen Rigmor and I on how to govern Tamriel is the greatest.
It is entirely up to the Queen and I what edicts and policies are implemented. If we find we do not want a bunch of backstabbing useless pieces of trash cluttering up our palace that is not a thing to be dictated by you.
But forgive me. That was not your intention was it?
You have offered us the Elder Council not because you think we will allow them to resume their positions. You have offered them as a sweetener for Lord Councillor Blackwell. I could agree to have them return to the palace as requested then immediately have them taken to the cells where we will find out the truth about the disappearance of Emperor Titus Mede II.”
Andrino pondered this and he grew paler when he realised it was the truth.
I walked up to Camaeus and drew close to him.
“You have with you a wanted man. He was not invited and his exile has not been retracted. He is not protected by the rules of parley or diplomatic immunity. I would be within my legal rights to cut him down where he stands.”
Andrino let out another squeal and I hoped he had not wet himself.
“But I will not taint these proceedings by spilling blood.
I do not wish him to remain for my coronation and you are to remove yourself from this chamber as well.
You are a blasphemer, a traitor to Lord Akatosh and your presence sickens me.
I once let you live suggesting to you that maybe you were the catalyst to help me make lasting peace between man and mer. Your idiotic demands today prove the opposite.
Go and tell your leaders of my answers.”
I looked at Blackwell and he took my queue.
“Let the ceremony begin!”
People’s attention flittered between the ceremonies and watching what Camaeus would do.
“Majesty, Milady, this way.”
We followed Blackwell up the stairs
It must have been a trick of the lights but the Priest’s eyes did not look ‘normal’.
“Milady Rigmor will be crowned first as the Queen. Then you will be crowned as Emperor. Please be seated.”
We both sat in the uncomfortable thrones and I don’t care how inappropriate, I am getting us some cushions. They can be red and diamond shaped for all I care as long as our posteriors are cushioned.
Blackwell whispered to us, “Majesty, Milady, is there anything you need to ask before we get underway. It may be very busy afterwards.”
“If you want to avoid a war Counsellor, find that diamond. I would rather destroy one castle or fort than a whole nation retrieving it.”
“Of course. I know you have other resources so if they can help?”
“I am sure they will inform us.”
Rigmor said, “We need to know more about Potema. Like where has she been all these years?”
“It is not long ago she washed up on the shore from a shipwreck claiming to be a distant relative.”
I said, “Why waste a good background story? The difference being she was twelve or thirteen years of age and not six months. What proof would a washed up girl have of her parentage?”
“Unknown Majesty but it is not a coincidence the High King has been taken ill with some unknown malaise since.”
“So his mental faculties may be impaired. Lord Malakai could have said she was Talos and he would have believed him. Let us make these two issues a priority Lord Counsellor.”
“As you wish Majesty.”
Rigmor said, “OK, let’s get this done.”
Blackwell turned and announced, “Behold by the grace of The Divines, the High Queen of Cyrodiil, Rigmor Morgan-Mede the first!”
As the priest lay the crown upon Rigmor’s head there was much noise.
There was great and heartfelt cheering for High Queen Rigmor.
There was great and heartfelt jeering for Count Assclown who left with his pet counsellor.
I looked over at my beloved. She had left her hair in a tangle after our baths in the morning. It was her and not some artificial construct like some of the women, Maven for example, in the room.
For all her avoidance of being in such a role, I had never seen somebody as regal as my wife.
The cheering lasted longer than the jeering which stopped when the outer doors clanged shut.
If Camaeus thought his day was bad, Andrino Ancorius was about to have worse.
Finally the cheering subsided and all eyes turned to Blackwell.
“Behold, Wulf Septim the first, Ysmir, Dragon of the North and wearer of the Stormcrown. Dragonborn and Champion of The Divines. High King and Emperor of Cyrodiil and the Empire by Divine grace. All hail his Majesty.”
I was moved by the hearty and simultaneous, “All hail his Majesty. Emperor Wulf Septim the first.”
The crown was placed upon my head. If you were to test it on a set of scales it would weigh less than a good helm.
However its weight in responsibility was great. I will need my Queen to help bear such a burden.
With the placement of the crown the ceremony was over. Things such as the formal swearing of allegiances would occur in court sessions tomorrow.
The guests were free to mingle and immediately a buzz of excitement filtered up to us. I am sure today’s proceedings were far more entertaining, and I hope educational, than anticipated.
Baa’Ren-Dar was busy chatting with Lord Malakai and Potema took the opportunity to step out into the middle of the room wither arms crossed staring at Rigmor.
Rigmor whispered, “It looks like Potema did not take the hints or maybe they were not obvious enough?”
“OK Rigmor. I was gentle but not now. She is Titus Mede II’s daughter and we can’t just give up on her.”
I stood and used a medium bit of Thu’um so all could hear.
“Princess Potema you have a choice.
You can live a long life as a pampered noble who never has to worry about food, money or a roof over her head.
I would love to hear the story of where you have been all these years and who has been whispering in your ears.
If they really wanted you to be Empress, why not make a claim when your father disappeared or even when he sat this throne?
You have a choice.
Live that privileged life or end up like your namesake.
Tonight, when all is quiet and you lay in your bed, listen and you may hear her screaming.
I cast her down for the last time and now her soul drifts in the endless, colourless void.
She is screaming and screaming but there will never be an end to her torment.
The Divine placed her there for her sins and the Daedric Princes are tired of her fruitless attempts to gain the throne on which I now sit.
The girl looked distraught. I had probably burst every dream she had been fed since an infant. Better this than a noose or headsman’s axe.
She ran crying from the room and Lord Malakai sped after her.
Soon after Potema’s exit Lydia entered and approached.
“You have him?”
“Yes Majesty but he needs some clean underwear.”
“Did Count Assclown give any trouble?”
“He looked like he had already been beaten down by events here. There is nothing quicker than a guardsman’s tongue and already the rumours are circulating. I am sure you will fill us in soon but it seems a pity we missed the party.”
“Well you are all expected at the banquet. You will be near Queen Rigmor and I so we can tell you the real story.”
With that Lydia turned and left.
Baa’Ren-Dar approached with Blackwell.
Blackwell said, “Your Majesty, Milady. It did not take great talent to figure out who your friend with spies was. We are allies in this but the fact Elsweyr is part of the Aldmeri Dominion makes it awkward for the Emissary to travel here and pass on information.”
Baa’Ren-Dar added, “It would make sense for Khajiit to talk via Blackwell. This one is comfortable having a few of my agents be contact points with his.”
“I trust both of you implicitly. Baa’Ren-Dar, neither Rigmor nor I could forgive ourselves if you were to be harmed on our behalf. I only ask you show great caution.”
“This one will be careful as Khajiit wishes to watch more diplomacy like tonight. It was most entertaining.”
Blackwell shook his head and said, “I wrongly accused you of being a master at the game when Robere proposed. Tonight you went beyond even that. I commend you for trying to rescue young Potema. I can’t but feel protective towards Titus Mede II’s daughter.”
“I just hope we are not too late Lord Counsellor. She has been ill used.”
Rigmor and I joined the feast that was held in a large ballroom I had not visited before. Everything was kept as informal as possible and once again I was pleased to see my two lives combining. Jarls and Counts and even the two new Countesses seemed at ease with each other. Rigmor and Elisif chatted away like lifelong friends.
Blackwell left early to scare our new prisoner even more.
I sat and watched and was pleased. Count Camaeus proved to be a catalyst for a commonality amongst the leaders of Tamriel and the visiting dignitaries.
Rigmor and I left the festivities just before 11:00PM.
My beloved crawled into bed as I wrote this journal entry.
Our crowns are discarded and sitting on silk cushions on a nearby table.
The pull of destiny silenced for now.
Tomorrow the work begins. So far it has all been preparation.
Rigmor is snoring so I shall be careful not to wake her.
I know not what time I fell asleep.
I know it was with my Queen stealing my share of the sheets and blankets. Royalty changes little it seems.