Roxey Inn, Lakeside, Bruma Castle: Our Princess arrives!
For the first time in months I woke when my body wanted to and not with some loud banging on a door.
I was about 8:00AM when I got out of bed, washed my face and got ready for the day. I gently shook the snoring Rigmor.
“Wakey wakey rise and shine my Queen!”
“Is it morning already?”
“It is a wonderful, sunny, gorgeous day for waddling down to the lake.”
“Give me a minute.”
“I shall eagerly await milady’s triumphant entrance to the establishment downstairs. Would my better half like something to eat before we head out?”
“Would his Majesty like me to cover him in last night’s stew?”
“I will take that as a no then.”
As I waited for Rigmor I glanced over at Vivienne. She was discussing some sketches of different signs for the inn with some customers. ‘The Royal Roxey’ was prominent on them all.
Sooner than I expected I heard Rigmor at the top of the stairs. I rushed up and helped her down which was not appreciated.
Once at the bottom she shook my arm off and grumbled, “I can still walk you know!”
“A lady would thank a gentleman who provided such unselfish assistance!”
“A lady might but since I am not one and am suffering severe mood swings thanks to our little princess it is likely the gentlemen will be kicked in the shins.”
Nobody stood for their Emperor or even acknowledged he existed but all stood and bowed their head as soon as Rigmor entered.
“Oh don’t be silly. Everybody act normal. I am still Rigmor and I can still drink any of you under the table. The second sign from the right looks the best in my opinion Vivienne.”
With that the Roxey turned into its normal rowdy itself.
I shook my head and said, “Truly amazing!”
“You are my beloved.”
I was rewarded with a smile.
“You ready to go?”
“Yeah, OK. Don’t go too fast, I need to breathe… wait for me OK?”
“Don’t worry, I will continue to be a gentlemen despite the threat to my shins.”
“Let’s take one step at a time.”
We stepped outside and were greeted with a beautiful blue sky. The Sentinel fell into place and we walked slowly towards the lake.
I stopped at a steep incline and asked Rigmor, “Are you OK or do you want my arm for this bit?”
“Yes please. Wulf, you know I love you right?”
“Of course I know and I will always be here for you.”
“I just want you to know that I am here for you too OK?”
I was used to Rigmor’s pregnancy induced mood swings. I knew whatever brought this on would reveal itself.
“If you ever want to talk about the baby, or all that stuff? It’s OK you know.”
“Rigmor, even if I have been busy being Emperor in the capital, I have made sure I visited for at least half a day every three or four days. We have talked and talked about ‘the baby and all that stuff’”
“I worry sometimes I might be holding you back… You have already done so much for me.”
“I have told you this many times and you know it to be true. Without you I would not be the man I am. My path to Emperor would have been one of far more blood and terror. I would have been more Dovah than mortal. My values would have been different and my solutions to problems more violent. After waking up in that carriage I needed a role model to replace the memories stolen from me and you were it. Hold me back? No, you have helped me soar!”
My poor lady was swinging between extremes of happiness and melancholy. I thought I would change the subject.
“We will both need to move to the Palace permanently once Kintyra arrives. Apart from the small bedroom I am using their old quarters are empty and ready for your changes.”
She took my arm and we continued down the steep path.
“No faster Wulf. This is as fast as I can go right now.”
“See that snail coming towards us? I am sure it passed us going the other way half an hour ago!”
“My changes involve far more than where they hatched their evil schemes! Firstly I want a brand new royal suite built especially for us and just behind the thrones. It is to be connected by a stairway to the upper dome room where there’s light. Also so I can keep an eye on you from the great big hole.”
“And drop things on me when I am parleying with VIPs?”
“Such a thing never crossed my mind! I want a railing made so Kintyra won’t fall through it. Secondly I want a veranda built around either the dome, accessing outside where the arched windows are currently or directly from the royal suite. Basically what I am saying is…the dome room will be incorporated into the royal suite and the veranda too. I want space.”
Rigmor was enjoying this. She never was one for indulgence but this was our family home she was designing so she knew exactly how it was to be.
“Thirdly, the royal suite will need its own living area, kitchen area, children’s play room but if you want you can make the play room and Kintyra’s bed chamber all in one. Yeah of course we need a private room or rooms and we can accommodate a guard room too.”
“Anything else dear? I am sure we can find more provinces to sell to pay for it all.”
“Umm… OH! A room for Cerys, she will be staying with me permanently as my lady in waiting, and a small guest room for any chambermaids, child minders… yanno, that sort of thing.”
“I don’t know how much can be changed Rigmor. There is a reason the tower has remained the same for millennia. We can add things and we have managed to repair damage from war but sometimes the tower seems to disallow certain changes. It won’t let us.”
“Won’t let us?”
“We know very little about the Dawn Magic used by the Ayleid to make the tower but we shall do as much as we can to accommodate your wishes.”
We had reached to docks and it was very similar to all other seaside towns I had visited. It was very pleasant and full of vitality, of life.
“I love Lakeside! It’s so nice to get away from the walls of Bruma for once. Did you know Balin lives around here somewhere? Maybe you might want to go fishing sometime?”
“Caught another one Amarog. That makes me two ahead!”
“I just hooked another Anna but look at the size of that Slaughterfish my Mum is holding. That is worth four salmon so I am ahead.”
“Remember last time we had Slaughterfish for dinner?”
“Your father found a person’s toe in his portion and held it up laughing.”
“Yeah, and we all laughed except for my mother who upchucked all over the place.”
Anna and I broke into uncontrollable peals of laughter.
“What is so funny about fishing with Balin?”
“Huh… oh it happened again.”
“More timeline gobblygook?”
“Yeah. I hope this is temporary. At least this time I was just an observer.”
“Tell about it in a minute but first, do you see that creepy guy over there?”
I looked and staring at us from the docks was an admittedly strange looking individual but he was nothing to be concerned about.
I said to Rigmor, “Relax. He is a type of Tang Mo. They were once thought extinct due to powerful rivals in Akavir but have recently started trading with Tamriel again. They are apparently a prosperous people and reputed to be a very friendly if not overly bright. Some think their entire population is insane. I have seen them before in Dawnstar and I am sure Casius would have encountered them as well. Probably has a story about them if you half a day to hear it.”
“OK but the way he is just staring just creeps me out. Come on, there is a bench where we can sit down over there.”
So we sat and just took in the sights, sounds and smells for a while.
After a few minutes Rigmor said, “It is good to just take in the moment like this. I have always loved being by the water. I dunno, it’s a wonderful thing to hear the soft ripple of the water. The sunlight dancing on the surface.”
I quoted her from that wonderful moment years before, “Look at the water Dragonborn. It’s crystal clear. Cold. Inviting. The sound of water lapping on the bank makes me feel liberated. Ah! The light reflecting of the surface is like…like music to me. All the answers to every question asked bounces in that light. Look too deep…you don’t see anything. It’s all dark but for the light on the surface.”
“That was a special day wasn’t it?”
“I knew you had to leave me and I stored every word, every laugh, every moment and all the love I could. You were lost, confused and your memories fragmented but those words and others that day were the core that is you. The wonderful person that sees beauty when she has been subjected to so much darkness.”
As I was talking I noticed our Tang Mo friend wandering towards the track we had just walked down.
“Tell me about your time gobblygook.”
“Last night I was thinking about what you said about farming. Suddenly I was on Roscrea with a little girl called Anna tending to some crops on her parents farm. She looked about ten so I assume I must have been around the same age as apparently we were pinky-promised boyfriend/girlfriend.”
“Aww… that’s cute!”
“She told me my Nedic name. It is, as well as it can be pronounced in Cyrodiliic, Amarog which means wolf.”
“So Wulf is not an accident?”
“I think that comes from my father. An avatar or aspect of him has appeared at different times using that name.”
“Did you learn anything else?”
“No, Anna wanted to know who Rigmor was since I said, ‘Rigmor, scoot over.’ to her the same time I said it to you. Then I was back with you.”
“This is just weird. What about just then when I mentioned fishing?”
“This time I just observed. I was on a beach fishing with Anna. We had caught several salmon and I had caught a huge Slaughterfish that Saint Alessia was holding. Apparently we were going to have it for dinner.”
“It is not just weird, it is scary.”
“Let us hope it is a temporary thing. I don’t want to be another Pelagius the Mad!”
“You cured him of his madness didn’t you?”
“Yes and some say that was caused by the evil spirit of Potema tainting the Blue Palace.”
“Do you have any juicy secrets?”
“What? I don’t keep secrets from you!”
“Come on, isn’t that what best friends are for. Telling each other secrets.”
“And showing each other their ‘bits’ apparently.”
“Come on, you’re the only link I have to the real world. Sometimes I think you treat me like an over protective parent. Just like everyone else. Like that asshole Camaeus.”
“He accused me of that once when in fact you know I have always told you everything. You dare compare me to that blasphemous, lying prick? I despise him more than any other mortal on Nirn so don’t you ever, ever say I am anything like him!”
My voice had risen and The Sentinel glanced over then quickly went back to lookout duty when no danger could be seen.
“Sorry Wulf. That was wrong of me.”
“Sorry I am so sensitive about him but he has done the unforgivable by not only disobeying Lord Akatosh but also putting our daughter in danger.”
“Did you know that when he turned his back on me he squished my toe?”
“I did not. If I had I would have stamped on his with my gold plated boots!”
“You destroyed him that day. The jeers that followed him as he left showed what the dignitaries thought of him.”
“Water off a duck’s back where a Thalmor is concerned. Who cares what those lesser species think of him?”
“Yeah, I was right all along about him!”
“Ahem. Did I not see, after we had won our way to the bridge, a certain Princess Rigmor accept his apology from the Aldmeri Dominion and also thank him for all he had done?”
“OK, he had me fooled but never you. You knew all along.”
“You read my journal. I was seconds away from killing him and his fucking silver swords.”
“So…drop the goss!”
“You are as responsible as me for governing Tamriel. I have made that clear. Anything important I know, you know. Stop this nonsense as it is spoiling my mood and therefore this outing.”
“I know. I know. Sorry again.”
“Blackwell has let me down on this one though. If he knew you were in imminent danger he should have told me immediately. No number of guards is going to match myself and The Sentinel. I don’t understand what has happened as he had been ultra-reliable so far.”
“I am sure there is logic behind it. Yanno, in a weird kind of way, I actually like him.”
“He has always been an admirer of you and has said so on several occasions. Baa’Ren-Dar was pleased we kept him as Lord Counsellor. He is a good man who has done his best under the circumstances.”
“I wonder if he had found out any more on that little cow. The way she plonked herself there with her arms crossed.”
“As I keep saying, she is a puppet. It is not her we have to worry about but her puppeteers. She could very well lose her life not really understanding the quagmire she has entered. I tried scaring some sense into her but I don’t think it will be enough to resist the whisperings of whoever is controlling her. We will have to visit them soon after Kintyra is born. We shall take a large force with us so they do not miss the hint. Maybe have a few dragons fly over their palace.”
“It is a bit suspicious they refused your offer to send some of our best healers to see if they can help the High King.”
“Yes it is. The idea that he has already been attended to by the best is utter nonsense. No healer knows everything and the more that examine him the more chance of curing him. It just adds to the speculation he is being controlled by medication or dweomer. I could order them to accept our help but I am resistant to step on any sovereignty. The White Gold Concordat was forced and caused great resentment.”
“She is going to be trouble, I can tell.”
“Yes and the easy solution would be to simply kill her at some stage. I am not willing to do that without trying to rescue her first. She is a Royal Princess. She did not ask for any of this and you know what that is like. She is cursed by her royal blood. Sound familiar?”
“Why do people have to be such assholes?”
“The Gods do not make somebody an asshole. That is a choice the mortal makes.”
“If only they realised there is more to life than money and power.”
“That is the lesson I am trying to teach Robere. If you are never shown the beauty of love, family and honest work you cannot attach a value to it. I heard his own father dismiss such things as trivial compared to power.”
“I love it here, with you.”
“Maybe you dream outcome will come true with a farm on Roscrea. It would meet all your criteria.”
“I wonder if Sethri still has his farmhouse on the lake.”
“He certainly does and has got himself a partner now.”
“You never told me that!”
“Remember I arranged for the temple under the huge shrine of Azura to be refurbished and told him about it at our wedding feast?”
“Did you do some matchmaking?”
“Yes, I have done some on behalf of Lady Mara before so I thought I would try my hand again for a friend. He and Aranea are now an item.”
“Didn’t she work for you at the orphanages?”
“Yes, helping children with foresight. It must be a frightening thing for a child to experience. She also taught all the children about her mistress. I want all Gods to be known to them. Hopefully they have found some more followers of Azura who can help if she is going to be unavailable.”
“You are one big softie!”
“He has taken her to the annual Bard’s Festival which is in Morrowind this year. I loved going to it and mingling with hundreds of other bards and entering the competitions.”
“That is so cool! Maybe we can make one someday. I would really love that.”
“It might be a bit difficult to go to the bards but why not bring them to us? A Bruma Bard something or other. I am sure you could come up with a good name.”
“Why Bruma and not the Imperial City?”
“Nepotism! Imagine how much money it would generate for the people of Bruma, some of which will find its way into your mother’s treasury and help run the city.”
“I love the idea and so will she. It would give you a chance to perform again. I know you miss that.”
“The smell! Does Aranea have a nose?”
“Maybe Azura warns her beforehand of an imminent eruption like she did with the Red Mountain?”
“Haha, that’s so funny.”
Rigmor suddenly leapt to her feet and started running along the pier and then onto a ship.
“Haha, come on Wulf, where is you sense of adventure?”
“Where is your ‘slow down. I can only go as fast as a crippled snail!’?”
I ran to catch up with her and The Sentinel took up suitable guard positions like a well-oiled machine.
She reached the bow of the ship slightly out of breath and I arrived a few seconds later.
“I didn’t know this was a whaling vessel!”
“Ha de haha!”
“This brings back some memories.”
“We can tell Kintyra all about our adventures as pirates on the high seas.”
“She will think we are big fat liars with some of the tales we have to tell.”
“Casius and Zan, I miss them already. You saw Casius didn’t you?”
“Only for a brief time when he attended court to report on the rebuild of Leyawiin and construction of the fleet. That is when he told me how Robere is going. I promised we would visit Leyawiin when we can.”
“Thank you Wulf, for being here with me.”
“Giving up all that excitement at court just to be with you? What a sacrifice!”
That got a good chuckle.
“Hey! You wanna hear some juicy gossip?”
“Oh yeah. What?”
“The only thing I do not share with you is surprises because then, well, they wouldn’t be surprises.”
“What is it Wulf?”
“Guess what had been built for us and is sitting on the waterfront?”
“A ship. Our own great big ship ready to take us to more adventures on the high seas!”
“Hey, I would love that.”
I didn’t tell Rigmor it was heavily armed and designed to be my vessel when conducting war.
Rigmor looked at her stomach and smiled.
“Ooh, she is moving again. I think she is telling me it is time to go.”
“Are you OK?”
“I’m feeling a little hungry. Actually we’re feeling a little hungry.”
“No chance of me wearing last night’s stew?”
“No. This walk has got rid of the morning queasiness.”
“The come my beloved. Let us head back to the Royal Roxey.”
“I’ve had such a wonderful time, thank you for bringing me here my Dragonborn.”
“So have I Rigmor. We really need to make more time for such simple pleasures.”
“Don’t go too fast. Let’s take it one step at a time. I need to breathe… I don’t want to be catching my breath. She can come at any time now.”
“Then no running like you did before! No objections if I help you along the way either!”
I followed Rigmor and was taken by her beauty once again. Many societies worship the pregnant form. Some men find their partners less than attractive and I pity them their shallow views.
We slowly waddled our way to the inn and sitting outside was our Akaviri friend.
“Wulf, look… over there, it is that guy again.”
“Rigmor, he is not an Alduin or Miraak or one of the powerful creatures I have fought. The Sentinel will keep an eye on him. There is no need to worry about a single mortal no matter how much he seems to be creeping you out.”
“I really don’t like this at all.”
I told The Sentinel to casually surround him before Rigmor and I walked past.
When they were in position I said to Rigmor, “Stick close. Just to be sure.”
“What is the plan if something does go tits up?”
“We will eat at the bar. You take the stool nearest the stairs.”
“And if anything happens I head up there right, up the stairs?”
“Yes, I can defend you better in a small area. But he and any allies would have to get past The Sentinel and the noise would give us plenty of warning.”
With that we slowly walked past the seated Tang Mo. I made sure I was between him and Rigmor.
“Welcome to Cyrodiil friend. I hope you find trade that benefits both our peoples.”
He just stared at me. No emotion. No response.
We entered the Roxey and I did a quick look around. There as nobody but some regulars we had seen before.
I walked up to Vivienne and asked, “Has that hairy man, the Tang Mo, been in here?”
“Yes Majesty. He stepped inside, took a quick look around and went back outside. He has been sitting on that chair near the door since. Scaring my customers he is.”
Rigmor asked, “Do you have any of that lovely stew. My husband and I are quite hungry.”
“Of course. Sit at the table and I will bring some over.”
“We will be eating at the bar thank you. What do want to drink Wulf?”
“Some ice cold milk please.”
The same local who called me a ‘milk drinker’ the night before laughed.
Then Rigmor yelled, “WULF!”
A group of Morag Tong had suddenly materialised out of nowhere.
Rigmor’s warning gave me time to turn and dodge the first attacks. I drew ‘The Sword’ and cut down a mage in a single motion.
Rigmor rushed up the stairs and I did a “Slow Time” shout.
I cut another three down at the bottom of the stairs and another who was about to attack Rigmor at the top of the stairs.
She seemed unharmed but was covered in the blood of the last assassin whose neck I had severed.
The fight took less than five seconds and The Sentinel joined us by the time the last attacker fell.
I asked Rigmor, “Are you two OK?”
“What! Yes, yes we’re fine.”
Lydia came up and said, “That weird fellow outside said some incantation the all hell broke loose inside. We heard you use the Thu’um and I was going to cut our hairy friend down but he was gone! We rushed in here and saw you moving faster than anybody could possible move. You cut them down in seconds!”
“Yes, I can slow time. Secure the room.”
I turned back to Rigmor who said, “This is fucking scary, they’re after me… or my baby! By the Gods, not my baby!”
“Blackwell knew this was a possibility and set those two guards to be your shield. But he did not warn me or come when summoned. He had better have a good reason or I will wield the executioners axe myself!”
“Who are they?”
“Morag Tong. A Daedric worshipping assassin’s guild from Morrowind where they are legal to hire. If you thought Cyrodiil politics was dirty, imagine having access to legal assassination as an option! They used to be in Solstheim as well but I wiped them out there.”
“Who the hell would send Assassins Wulf? Why would they want to harm me or my baby.”
“That list is very long Rigmor. They will be carrying a writ, let me see what that says.”
I searched the bodies and they all carried the same writ as is standard practice.
“Honourable Writ of Execution:
Rigmor Morgan-Mede and child.
The afore-mentioned personage has been marked for execution as a member of an unlawful guild of assassin, or as an unlawful usurper, in accordance with the lawful tradition and practice of the Morag Tong Guild. The bearer of this non-disputable document has officially sanctioned licence to kill the afore-mentioned personage.”
I said to Rigmor, “Give me some time to think about the writ and I will discuss it with you.”
“Can you help me down the stairs as I am a bit dizzy?”
I held onto Rigmor’s arm and we made our way down the stairs and past the bodies.
When she saw Vivienne she asked, “Vivienne! Is everyone OK?”
“Yes, I think so… mostly. It is not every day you see people materialise out of thin air, attack your Queen and Emperor, hear his Majesty use the Thu’um and then move so fast you can hardly see him whilst he cuts down men before they can lift a weapon to parry! Then to have your guards burst through the door like that! Not good for the nerves my Queen!”
Rigmor asked me, “What are we going to do now?”
“Get you back to Bruma. Surround you with The Sentinel and try and figure out who sent them.”
“Then I kill every single fucking one involved and any who stand in my way. Time for my Dovah half to get involved I think.”
“And they shall come to know your pain, and they shall come to know your rage, your suffering will become their suffering.”
“You know that is not you!”
“And they shall come to know your name and tremble, be it Gods, Demons or Kings. The Dragonborn comes!”
“Don’t ignore Whitestrake’s warning. Please!”
“Fuck him. He never had a family. What would he know?”
Rigmor doubled over in pain and fell to her side into the foetal position.
I knelt down beside her and stroked her hair and tears came unbidden. I held her hand and my finger brushed Pilvi’s ring. My rage instantly replaced by a clear mind and determination. I had felt my Lord’s presence.
“Rigmor, tell me what to do. There must be something I can do?”
“It has gone. Help me up Wulf.”
I helped my beloved to her feet and she said, “OK. OK that’s better, I’m OK now.”
“Was it a contraction? Is our daughter on her way?”
“I don’t know Wulf. If it was I might not have another for quite a while and my waters have not broken.”
“So are you OK to travel? Can we get you back to Bruma?”
“Yes Wulf. Let me lie down in the wagon and you can tell me about this ‘writ’. I am as eager as you to find and punish who did this but the same way we always have. With measured and well directed violence and not a berserk rampage.”
I told Vivienne she will have to clean up the mess but to send a bill for repairs etcetera to the palace. It was unfair she should have to shoulder the debt.
By the time we got outside Kharjo had already driven the carriage into position and placed some furs on its floor.
I lifted Rigmor onto the carriage placed her gently on the furs.
The other three Sentinel waited for my command.
“Serana and Lydia, run a little ahead of the carriage. We are travelling slow so you can be as vigilant as needed. Celestine I want you to travel a little behind the carriage and be ready to leap on board to help Rigmor if needed.”
As they got into place I approached Kharjo and said, “Keep control of the horse. I am about to call on a Dovah friend for extra protection.”
He nodded and I stopped to explain to Rigmor what was happening.
“I will be with you soon my beloved. I am just going to call Odahviing so he can fly ahead and flush out any potential ambushes.”
“That will give the locals even more to talk about!”
“I know. When I summoned him the other week he said no Dov had visited the kingdom of Tiber Septim since his death. He did not know why.”
I stood a distance back from the carriage and used a shout to call his name. He soon appeared out of the ether and landed in front of me.
“Sorry to have a short tinvaak my friend but my mate needs to get home and there may be hidden assassins between us and there.”
“That is all I need to know. I will gladly fly and see if such cowards threaten your family. You mate carries an unborn Dovah. A miracle to us who have lived for so long without young ones. We are not born, we just are.”
He was genuinely angry and took a step before leaping into the air.
I heard a noise and turned to see what it was. I laughed as the man who had called me a milk drinker last night stopped just outside the Roxey, stared open mouthed at the dragon, squealed like a little girl and ran back into the inn.
Odahviing made sure he was clear of Rigmor before beating his massive wings and lifted into the sky with a mighty roar that challenged all.
I leapt into the carriage and we set off at an even slower pace than we had arrived.
“They are beautiful but terrifying!”
“Dov are the children of our Lord Akatosh and proud of that. He knows you are carrying one with dragon blood and is fascinated by that fact.”
“But she is not yet Dragonborn is she?”
“No, at some stage Lord Akatosh will bestow that blessing on her. I do not know when.”
“Imagine a baby Dragonborn burping after a good meal of breast milk and destroying half a castle?”
We both had a good laugh at that image.
Then Rigmor grimaced and said, “Definitely a contraction Wulf!”
I called to Celestine, “Rigmor just had a contraction. How long do you think we have?”
“I am no midwife Wulf but have delivered a few babies in my time. It is impossible to tell as the child determines when it wishes to be born. The time between contractions may gradually decrease or do so rapidly. Since Rigmor is lying down and at rest that increases our chances of making it to Bruma. We can handle the birth anywhere but I know her wish is to have it at home so let us hope that is the case.”
I looked at Rigmor and she seemed healthy enough. I found it amazing that I too am a master of Restoration magic but knew so little about the natural workings of the body.
“Can we please discuss this ‘writ’ Wulf.”
“Sure, let me read it out to you.”
So I read her the writ and she immediately picked up what smelled about it.
“Those two things would not offend the same people. It is if two distinct groups banded together to hire them.”
“Exactly! But the charges make no sense either. First the charge of being an usurper;
You do not sit the Ruby Throne. You are the High Queen of Cyrodiil and Empress by marriage. Your position never existed till we created it to complete the prophecy. You were are the “Chosen Queen” and that is by Divine design, not by blood or family name. You can’t usurp something that nobody else can possible have a claim to.
The only person who might mistakenly regard you as a usurper would be the daughter of Titus Mede II, young Princess Potema.”
“But only if she is being misled by those puppeteers as you call them.”
“Yes and she has to ask herself why they did not make a claim whilst her father was still alive or when the Elder Council were in charge. Once Sethius took the throne her claim was not legally binding.”
“She is just a puppet isn’t she? I have found it hard to see past her attitude and comments and inspect what is behind them but you have from the beginning.”
“As I said to you by the lake, she is a victim of her blood, just like you were. In her case others are telling lies and convincing her she has rights to which she does not.”
“What about the second charge?”
“The only people who could possibly think you were working with assassins would be the Thalmor. How else could an eighteen year old Nordling, despite who her father was, wipe out an entire Embassy? But then who would care that you killed all those New Order operatives? Care enough to hire a very expensive assassin?
“And why announce you have joined forces with Potema? They could just have kept quiet and left the single charge on the writ.”
“That is why I think it is just to confuse us. That neither of those two reasons was why they were sent.”
“Are they supposed to only do as the write says.”
“They are bound by rules but then this is not in Morrowind or Solstheim. They are already operating outside the laws of their land and who says the lower level assassins were told the truth?”
“Perhaps they were meant to fail and for us to worry about that writ?”
“You are good at this you know! There is no way they would think such a small force could prevail. The hairy one would have seen The Sentinel but even then he would know of my strength. It is no secret that I wiped out both the Dark Brotherhood in Skyrim and the Morag Tong in Solstheim. Even if you ignore all the other things I have faced in combat those two incidents alone would tell you that mortal assassins in small numbers had no hope.”
“So he did some magic gobblygook and sent them to certain death. Just so we could get our hands on a dodgy writ?”
“You got it. That is why I think the target was also misleading.”
“You don’t think they would kill both me and Kintyra?”
“I still think Kintyra alive would be the aim of all our enemies. Her and that damn Red Diamond are what they want.”
“What if she can’t use it till she is blessed and made Dragonborn by Akatosh?”
“I don’t know if the use of that new Amulet of Kings is dependent on being Dragonborn. All you needed was Dragonblood to use the one created for my mother and destroyed during Martin’s sacrifice.”
“Do you think there may be another writ? One that specifies my death but not Kintyra’s?”
“I do not know but taking her at this age would be problematic for them. She may not have the ability to use the amulet for years and they might not even have the diamond. Meanwhile I would be tearing countries apart in my grief and desperate search for her. It would be a race against time.”
“And if they had an Akaviri invasion to confuse the matter?”
“Then that may be enough to delay me until it is too late.”
“We are discussing this so calmly Wulf. Why are we not ranting and swearing bloody vengeance like you did before?
“Have you noticed you keep touching your ring? That is why. He becalmed me and you so we can think on this clearly.”
“We do not have enough information do we? Not by a long shot. Do they think we will do some knee-jerk reaction? Hoping we may instigate a war with an innocent party?”
“I simply do not know. We need to find out more and we need to be 100% certain we have it right before taking action.”
“I am very tired Wulf. Is it OK if I sleep till we get to Bruma?”
“Of course my Queen. Sleep knowing I am here. Sleep knowing our daughter is most likely to make today her birthday. Sleep knowing that we shall soon have her to hold in our arms.”
Rigmor was still asleep when we arrived just outside the gates of Bruma. I woke her and waited till she was fully awake. Then I helped her out of the carriage.
Odahviing bellowed a goodbye and flew off at a great speed.
“How are you? How is Kintyra?”
“It is nearly time Dragonborn. Quick, get me to the keep.”
We slowly made our way. I was surprised nobody was there to meet us. I was getting used to the semaphore making that inevitable.
When I stepped inside I was greeted by all The Sentinel who had not accompanied us to the Roxey.
Rayya approached and said, “Majesty, the Lord Chancellor urged us all to come here and help protect our Queen and yourself. He was certain an attack on your lives was imminent.”
“There has already been one but there may be another. Is there a reason he is not here with you?”
“He and Court Advisors Malesam and Freathof are awaiting news that may point to the conspirators. He said he understands your anger but at the moment it is imperative we find out with absolute certainty who they are and then act swiftly. Only by getting updated reports of movements and so on can this be done so he must be in place to receive such.”
Lydia and the others had joined us so I addressed them all.
“Our Queen is about to give birth to our daughter. They will be the targets of any assassination attempt, not I. I do not know if an attempt will be made but let us assume it will be and by the same assassins we encountered earlier today. They are Morag Tong and not usually much of a threat to warriors and mages of your calibre. However they have a leader who seems to be able to teleport them into place.
You have drilled here as well as the Imperial Palace many times. Take up the positions assigned to you during those drills. The only one of you I will take into the room with me will be Celestine as her healing may be needed. This will enable me free reign to use all my powers without endangering any of you. Please co-operate with Captain Grimwold and if he tells you to do something you had better do it.”
The Sentinel quickly moved to their assigned positions and Rigmor and I moved further into the keep.
Sigunn, Cerys and Captain Grimwold came rushing into the room. Just as they did Rigmor collapsed with a very powerful contraction.
Rigmor regained her feet and her mother and Cerys helped her to our bedchamber.
Captain Grimwold approached and said, “Majesty, in case The Sentinel did not tell you, Court Advisors Malesam and Freathof are with Lord Chancellor Blackwell in the Citadel. What are your orders?”
“You have drilled with The Sentinel before. They are going to their assigned positions and are under your command. Use them and whoever else you need to ensure nobody enters or leaves this building.”
“Understood. Jana, Angi, with me.”
As they left Sethri rounded the corner.
I approached and he said, “Majesty, we need to talk.”
“You are a long way from the Bards Festival in Morrowind my friend. I am glad you are here.”
“I got there then Azura sent me here! She insisted I be present to help deliver the baby, as I am a trained physician, but to also warn you when certain magics are being used.”
“Sethri the midwife. Who would have known?”
“Hehe, bear with me, it’ll all start to make sense if you can call it that.”
“Go ahead. It couldn’t be any more gobblygooker than it has been already.”
“Just spill it out Sethri. I don’t want to miss my Daughter’s birth!”
“Now before you chew my head off I am not saying The Divines aren’t going to keep their word.”
I stood with my arms crossed and started tapping my foot.
“Ahem, Blackwell has some important intelligence you need to know about. It concerns a contract on Rigmor and the baby.”
I took the writ out of my jacket and waved it in front of his face, “This fucking contract that he knew about for several days and neglected to tell me about it?”
“They attacked us at the Roxey Inn. Morag Tong led by a Tang Mo with some invisibility and teleport skills.”
“He is called ‘The Mute’. He only shows himself to potential victims out of respect. Usually he is invisible and is also a conjurer.”
“Not a usual one Sethri. No magic I know of lets you teleport men whilst invisible. Most probably a gift from their Daedric Prince.”
“They will try again. They have no choice.”
“Yes, he could be inside already so let us get to Rigmor shall we?”
We started walking towards the bedchamber and Sethri started with the bullshit.
“I would know if he was close by. I would feel the vibes.”
“One of my many titles till recently was Arch Mage. You speak utter rubbish. Azura could predict his appearance via some short term foresight or perhaps they have to cross the ether or some other plane she can see.”
“Okay, I would know ‘cause my mistress would tell me.”
“Just the truth Sethri. I need facts.”
“The Mute has the ‘Ring of Khajiit’ and uses it to hide until the moment to strike. Then he conjures a portal so the Tong can do his bidding and in this case, as far as Blackwell can tell, it’s a Grey Writ.”
“Are we in Solstheim or Morrowind?”
“Then of course it is a Grey Writ! It is an illegal use of the Morag Tong outside of those provinces. They have accepted them forever and several Emperors have been the targets of such and a few dead by their hands. The leaders of Morrowind will deny any culpability if the Grey Writ is discovered. Now if the Chancellor had bothered talking to me I could have educated him.”
“Oh, he said it is one for special types of targets. Once the contract is fulfilled, they erase any evidence of ever being there and leave taking any casualties with them.”
“Have you ever seen a Morag Tong assassin?”
“Only from a distance.”
“And how could you tell what they were?”
“Their distinctive armour… OH…”
“They do not hide who they are. To keep the attack at the Roxey quiet they would have had to slaughter every single person inside the inn, at Lakeside and any other places that somebody might have descried the strangers in their distinctive armour or the only Tang Mo any of them have ever seen in their lifetime. Do you think they would be capable of killing me, The Sentinel, the Bruma Guards and all citizens?”
“Keep going, you might get something right in a minute.”
“Only saying what I was told by them three.”
“And people wonder why I yell at them. Surprised by Blackwell though.”
“They are after the infant so they must kill Rigmor to get to her. It’s all very professional, nothing personal. They fear you and want you gone. Rigmor is a way to get to you. No baby, no prophecy and all of Tamriel up for grabs.”
“That is the biggest load of crap ever spoken to me!”
“Not right then Majesty?”
“Do you know who the people are who hired the assassins?”
“Then how do you know their motives?”
“Have you seen the writ?”
“No… so how would I know who the targets are?”
“Well done. It could be the end of the prophecy or the biggest mistake they ever made.”
“To end the prophecy they would just kill Kintyra. There would be no need to take her unless they had the Red Diamond or planned to get it. Then they would have to wait for however long for her to be old enough to utilise it. Do you think I would be crying in a dark corner in that time or another Whitestrake?”
“I am sorry Majesty. We are not much help sometimes are we?”
“You have all been invaluable to Rigmor and I. It is just this tendency to state things as fact when at best it is educated conjecture and at worse utter drivel. Does Blackwell have any idea who hired them?”
“No. They are waiting on some more spy stuff to come in. That is why they are not here.”
“Anything else Azura has told you that might be useful?”
“Do you know of Mephala?”
“She is the Daedric Prince of the Morag Tong. She tried to get Jarl Balgruuf’s son to murder him. I tricked her out of her sword by becoming her champion. I then asked Lady Mora to destroy it. Let’s just say we are not friends.”
“I am also her Champion. I still have her sword as it is not inherently evil. I told her where to shove her religion when she tried to order me to spread the word. She is a traitor to The Divine, The Aedra, the Magna-Ge and an enemy of them and me.”
“Meridia is a friend of Azura and says the Ring of Khajiit belongs to her and not Mephala. Azura has requested I have it so she can give it to Meridia. Meridia is upset it is being used for assassinations.”
“Neither of them own it. The ring itself does not mind being used for assassinations but rebelled against a famous Khajiit thief when he used it too often to steal. I will let you have it since Azurah requested it. She will know what I think of her friend.”
By this time we were outside of the bedchamber.
“Azura can help calm Rigmor I hope? As well as give us warning about the portals?”
“Yes and that is really the main reason I am here as she could not even do those without one of her priests nearby. Even then it will take a lot of her power. I see you have Celestine with you. Between us we should be able to control or at least reduce the physical damage and pain. If she can help with the midwife stuff too that would be great as well.
“You also have Cerys who is a very powerful Restoration mage herself.”
“Of course. The three of us will ensure Rigmor is as physically well as can be.”
“I will protect you all. He will eventually have to show himself if I kill all of his accomplices. He must try and fulfil the writ. He may be able to conjure whilst invisible but any physical attack will render him visible. There are far more powerful rings than that one if you want go around backstabbing people and remain unseen.”
We entered the room and Sethri said, “Looks like the party has started.”
Both he and Celestine moved behind the hastily setup barriers to aid Rigmor who was screaming pitifully.
I called up my beast. I invited him to the party. Only then could I block out what was happening behind that barrier and concentrate on killing.
I used the Dragon Aspect Shout to protect myself with the magical armour of Akatosh.
Then I prepared to use Slow Time as soon as the first assassin appeared.
I drew “The Sword” and we waited, my beast and me.
Sethri yelled out that they are almost here.
Then they appeared all at once.
A mage hit me with an ineffectual flame spell then all colour left the world as I entered a semi ethereal state with Slow Time Shout.
The beast laughed as they tried to parry sword strokes that sliced through armour, muscle, sinew and bone faster than they could blink.
He laughed even more when the only colour to be seen was the blood splatter on my own eyeballs.
The first seven dead but still some yet to finish their death pirouettes and crumble to the floor when I cleaved the eighth almost in half.
All dead in mere seconds.
Who are these fools kidding? This is a joke. I have fought Gods and they send these pathetic fools. Where are you monkey man?
Rigmor was screaming and Cerys, Sigunn, Celestine and Sethri were all giving words of encouragement. I could sense Azura and could see her light through gaps in the barrier. That light was as close to an avatar as she can manage and must have taken great effort on her part.
Sethri announces the head was out. My little girl was almost birthed and I was not there to see. I was waiting for the last of those who dared endanger my family to commit suicide.
Minutes passed and the Slow Time Shout dissipated.
Finally he appeared and lunged. I blocked and froze him in place with a Frost Form Shout.
We stood over him did my beast and me.
“Nothing to say? Oh, that is right. You are ‘The Mute’. Silly me.”
His eyes blinked but he kept staring at me. He was not afraid to die. His soul belonged to his Daedric Prince. He knew what place in Oblivion he was headed.
“Oh I am so upset I destroyed that nice sword your mistress gave me. I could have killed you with it then you would have joined the others it had absorbed over millennia. Never to find peace but lost in the void till you end up in the Soul Cairn. Maybe she might reward you for your failure with such a fate or even worse.”
The stare never wavered.
I sliced his head off. Retrieved the ring and finally crossed to the other side of the barrier.
Azura’s light was gone. They all looked exhausted and even Sethri had tears showing.
It was silent. There was something wrong with it being silent but I could not quite grasp what it was.
I looked at Rigmor. She was pale but they had cleaned her up and her now very loose maternity dress was sweat stained.
All the bloody rags and towels and so on had been removed.
She looked at me and started to panic, “Wulf, I think there’s something wrong. She’s not crying or making any sound… hold her.”
I looked in the crib. Apparently Rigmor had spent many hours debating which one to buy. Eventually Sigunn dragged her out of the store in the Imperial City and brought her back to Bruma. She took Rigmor to a dusty storeroom in the castle and there was the crib she used when Rigmor was a child. Sigunn had stored some items from their old house when they first moved into the castle and had wisely kept this beautiful crib.
So in my beloved’s crib was now our girl’s. She was wrapped warmly and stared at me with eyes I knew.
Past, present and future.
She still not make a sound as I gently lifted her and placed a kiss on her forehead.
I knelt and handed her to Rigmor.
“My wife. Look at our beautiful, wonderful girl. She is perfect and only quiet because she is content. Her eyes are open already!”
Rigmor lay with Kintyra in the crook of her arm and stared into those pools of wisdom. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she gently brushed her finger across our daughter’s cheeks. She looked at me and said, “She is perfect and luckily looks more like me than you. They want to see her. You need to take her to the Cathedral but first she must be fed. Can you ask all but Cerys to leave for now? Do not worry that I might wake and see her gone. I know you will return with her soon.”
We all shuffled out of the room and were soon inundated with enquires from Guards and Sentinel and Meeko.
The news of the birth of Princess Kintyra and the good health of their beloved Rigmor spread quickly and within minutes the cathedral bells were tolling loud and clear so even those on remote farmsteads would know of the joy that night.
A couple of Sentinel left immediately for the Imperial City to officially tell The Lord Chancellor.
I thanked Sethri with all my heart and handed him the Ring of the Khajiit.
“Thanks Majesty but couldn’t you have removed it from the finger first?”
I just looked at Celestine and she smiled. No words were needed.
After about twenty minutes Cerys exited the bedchamber with Kintyra in her arms. I quietly closed the door.
“Kintyra is well fed Majesty. Next time you can watch and marvel as I did. It is so beautiful.”
“And my Rigmor?”
“She is resting well. The birth was harder than a normal one but she will be OK. I believe you need to take Princess Kintyra for a walk? She is well protected against the cold.”
She handed me my child and I handed her to Sigunn.
“Countess, will you please look after your Granddaughter while I change into some robes. I do not feel she should have to tolerate her father being in this stinky old armour.”
Sigunn sat on a nearby chair and I could tell she too had fallen into those eyes.
I entered my old room and was heading for the cupboard when I saw on my bed some magnificent robes.
I was amongst the stars with my head on my father’s chest. Mother was holding his hand and we were silent as we simply stared into infinity and marvelled at the beauty of what the Gods had created.
Soon I was in front of the bed wearing the Robes of The Divine and did not even bother wondering how they got there.
I retrieved Kintyra from her Grandmother who seemed reluctant to part with her treasure.
Cerys said, “Lady Sigunn and I shall sit by Rigmor and be her Guardian till you return.”
The whole place was still on alert and would be for quite a while so Sentinel and Bruma Guard were at their posts once again. Every one of them temporarily abandoned their post to catch a glimpse of their Princess.
The residents of Bruma lined the way to the entrance of the Cathedral. There was no shoving or noise or cheering. Just smiles and polite bits of shuffling in the hope of glimpsing Kintyra.
I hardly noticed it all and even the sound of the bells seemed distant.
A priest opened the heavy doors for me and closed them behind leaving the cathedral empty except for me, Kintyra and an overwhelming sense of anticipation.
I approached the central font and stared at the stained window depicting Akatosh.
I held her out and said, “My Lord Akatosh. I present to you Princess Kintyra Septim the third. She is the Chosen One of prophecy but more importantly, the beloved daughter of Emperor Wulf Septim and Queen Rigmor Septim.”
I was surrounded by small lights. I could sense them all. Some were familiar as I had interacted with them before. Some were new. I knew who they all were. Divine, Magna Ge, Magnus, Minotaur, The Children from the Crystal, Pilvi and others. The strongest presence of all was Saint Alessia, Kintyra’s Grandmother.
These small lights were the stars from the heavens where my Mother resides.
I could feel joy from those infinitely powerful and immortal and incomprehensible beings. Just as the mortals outside rejoiced so did the immortals.
The lights flickered out and I was alone in the Cathedral once more.
It was complete. Finally the Divine Task that compelled me to cross the Cyrodiil border all those months ago was done. It was not the retrieving of the Red Diamond that was part of the task. It was the successful birth of our child and the survival of my Queen. That is what The Divine wanted me to accomplish.
It was all a blur as I returned to the castle and our bedchamber.
Rigmor was sitting and talking to Cerys and Sigunn and Lydia had also been invited to participate in a lively chat.
I handed Rigmor our Princess and noticed she was wearing some new robes.
She expertly exposed a breast and Kintyra clamped on and noisily fed.
Cerys was right. I have seen many wonders but none compared to our child feeding from my beloved.
Eventually Kintyra was changed, not by me as I am yet to have the courage to tackle that, and placed into her crypt. Finally those eyes closed and she slept.
Everybody had left the room and I crawled into bed next to Rigmor who sleepily asked, “The Gods?”
“They were pleased my darling. I don’t think we will have a shortage of immortal babysitters.”
She laughed that laugh and I had never felt such contentment.
I have no idea what time I fell asleep.