High Hrothgar, Throat of the World, Dragonborn Gallery: Greybeards.
I went up on deck and activated the ethereal travel.
Fade in and out and the airship was slowly glided into dock at High Hrothgar. As expected Odahviing was entertaining himself flying circles around the summit of the highest mountain in Tamriel.
The bell rang, the ramp lowered and I was soon joined by Rigmor, Elisif, Falk and Nelkir.
Slowly down the steps came the four Greybeards.
Masters Borri, Einarth and Wulfgar stood at the foot of the steps. Master Arngeir stood a few feet in front.
They all bowed and introductions were made,
- Arngeir: Dovahkiin. Can you remember the words of the ceremony when we declared you Dovahsebrom?
- Wulf: Lingrah krosis saraan Strundu’ul, voth nid balaan klov praan nau. Naal Thu’umu, mu ofan nii nu, Dovahkiin, naal suleyk do Kaan, naal suleyk do Shor, ahrk naal suleyk do Atmorasewuth. Meyz nu Ysmir, Dovahsebrom. Dahmaan daar rok.
The others were looking confused so I translated,
- Wulf: That translates roughly to ‘Long has the Storm Crown languished with no worthy brow to sit upon. By our breath we bestow it now to you in the name of Kyne, in the name of Shor, and in the name of Atmora of old. You are Ysmir now, the Dragon of the North. Hearken to it.’
- Arngeir: And so it has come to pass that the Storm Crown now sits upon a worthy brow of none other than the son of the last to have those titles. On behalf of the Greybeards we welcome you to High Hrothgar Emperor Wulf Septim. Dovahsebrom.
The three other Masters barely whispered Dovahsebrom and my companions all staggered except for Nelkir.
- Arngeir: I must apologise but tradition says he must be greeted by his new title. I assure you that Master Borri, Master Einarth and Master Wulfgar will speak no more while you are here.
- Elisif: Good, that vibrated every bone in my body!
- Arngeir: We welcome you High Queen Rigmor Septim, High Queen Elisif the Fair and Court Advisor Firebeard.
Arngeir turned to Nelkir,
- Arngeir: I am afraid I do not know your name young lord.
- Nelkir: Zu’u los zin wah grind hi in Arngeir, Borri, Einarth and Wulfgar. Zu’u los Nelkir. Kul do bronjun Balgruuf fin lot.
I saw something I never thought I would. Greybeards smiling!
- Arngeir: Hi tinvaak Dovahzul?
- Nelkir: Nunon aan mal…um…amount. We had better switch to Tamrielic before I mistakenly call you a rude name or something.
- Arngeir: Where did you learn the language of the Dov?
- Nelkir: At one of Wulf’s orphanages. There are small Dov that teach the children Dovahzul if they wish.
- Arngeir: What do you mean small Dov? How small?
- Wulf: Excuse me Master Arngier but it is fairly cold out here. Can we please proceed inside and discuss what you summoned Rigmor and me for. Then you can ask Nelkir all the questions you wish after.
- Arngeir: Of course, forgive me. If you will all follow this way.
- Wulf: And before somebody asks, Nelkir’s greeting translates to, ‘I am honoured to meet you Masters Arngeir, Borri, Einarth and Wulfgar. I am Nelkir, son of Jarl Balgruuf the Greater.’
We made our way to the Greybeard’s dining hall. A large fire warmed the room and it was quite pleasant if you didn’t mind everything being some shade of grey.
I sat at the head of the table with Elisif, Arngeir, Borri and Wulfgar on my right. Rigmor, Nelkir, Falk and Einarth sat to my left.
- Arngeir: We have asked you to come as our leader, Paarthurnax, wants us to understand the prophecy of the Chosen One, the purpose of the Red Diamond and the details of the Akaviri invasion.
- Wulf: Why would you need to know? The Greybeards have never concerned themselves with what happens thousands of feet below them before.
- Arngeir: Paarthurnax says we may be able to help.
- Wulf: I know how you could help. But I would not ask until you understand what is at stake. So ask your questions and we will do our best to answer.
- Arngeir: Does the fulfilment of the Chosen One prophecy require the Red Diamond?
- Wulf: To answer that question I have asked myself what the peace Kintyra is to bring to Nirn actually entails. The aim of the original barrier controlled by the Dragonfires and the replacement created via Martin’s sacrifice is simple. They are to prevent Gods from manifesting themselves on the mortal plane. To allow mortals to live without the wars of the Gods using Nirn as a battleground. The trouble is, like the Oblivion Crises showed, the barrier can be breached.
- Rigmor: We believe the Red Diamond can be used to make a new Amulet of Kings and that only Kintyra and her descendants will be able to use it. We believe that even as Dovahkiin Wulf would not be able to tap into the powers within it.
- Wulf: Remember this is mostly speculation. We believe the new Amulet of Kings in Kintyra’s hands could fundamentally change the barrier and that she will have several options.
- Rigmor: We think one option would be to cut off all communications with the Gods.
- Wulf: Some people with a simplistic view of good and evil think that would be a solution and that if given a choice it would be a good one. There are so many reasons why that would never be a good idea but the fundamental one is this, evil would not decrease!
- Rigmor: As Wulf tirelessly points out to those who blame Gods for everything, mortal free will is the cause of evil. The Gods do not make you a good or bad person. Your choices in life do.
- Wulf: No God forced Ulfric to start the Civil War. He built his army by making false claims of fighting for the right to worship Talos. Many of his recruits thought that was a true and worthwhile purpose sanctioned by the Ninth Divine when in fact it never was.
- Elisif: He also tapped into the Nordic hatred for the mer.
- Wulf: Yes he did and that is an ingrained trait that can only be removed via education. Part of that education is the removal of the lies and propaganda that taint the histories taught to our children.
- Elisif: Such as?
- Wulf: Nelkir, have you ever been taught that Atmorans migrated to Tamriel long before Atmora became uninhabitable? That they lived with mer in peace for many centuries before Ysgramor arrived?
- Nelkir: No, we were taught they came to Skyrim and lived in peace for a short time before the attack on Saarthal.
- Wulf: Were you ever taught that long before man or mer set foot on Tamriel it was inhabited by the Khajiit?
- Nelkir: No. The children at your orphanages know that as I have discussed it with them when we talked about why my father stopped Khajiit from entering Whiterun.
- Wulf: What were you taught about the Minotaur?
- Nelkir: That they were beasts that killed and murdered for pleasure and they deserved to be hunted down and slaughtered.
- Wulf: Did you know the first Emperor after Saint Alessia was a Minotaur?
- Nelkir: Wow and no!
- Wulf: I could ask Nelkir questions for hours exposing the falsehoods he was taught. It is not just in Skyrim either. The histories being taught in Evermore were so twisted compared to reality and even those who were supposed to be educated, the Priests, believed them. Such false histories are used to justify much evil.
- Rigmor: And as discussed this morning, the new Dragonborn Gallery is one step towards getting the truth taught. Wulf’s journals are another.
- Nelkir: My father says Ulfric’s motivation was not religious but a lust for power.
- Wulf: Exactly. So was Count Leyawiin’s wish to take Bruma away from Rigmor. Greed and the lust for power are evils that exist without any influence from the Gods. There are many other reasons why violence and war exist such as jealousy and in the case of Evermore, a false sense of entitlement.
- Arngeir: So how would Kintyra use the new Amulet of Kings to bring about the promised peace?
- Wulf: The worst dangers to Nirn and Mundus are not wars fought by mortals using even the most devastating weapons and magicka they can wield. It is those weapons and magicka that can be wielded by the Gods themselves if they can manifest themselves on the mortal plane. Since the current barrier is not strong enough to prevent this we speculate Kintyra, via a new Amulet of Kings, could create a barrier that is.
- Arngeir: But that alone would not stop wars and evil as mortals still have free will!
- Rigmor: It would stop one cause of much strife. We are not saying this is the only thing Kintyra must do to bring about the prophesied peace. Other motivations for choosing evil and war must also be eliminated.
- Wulf: By strengthening the barrier you stop people such as the Mythic Dawn, the New Order, Morag Bal and countless others throughout history working with Daedric Princes to create portals between Oblivion and the mortal plane. That in itself is a huge step towards peace on Nirn because you have removed one of the biggest motivations for going to war. No longer could mortals be recruited by the Daedric Princes with the promise of rewards, spiritual or otherwise, that will be handed out once a portal is established.
- Rigmor: Other reasons why mortals war on each or choose evil must be removed. Wulf and I need to establish foundations for Kintyra to build upon. Nelkir, what other motivations can you think of?
- Nelkir: Greed, religious differences, poverty and racism.
- Rigmor: If religious freedom is allowed then the Gods are no longer a motivator. If all are fed and housed then poverty is no longer a motivator. If we accept all mortal races as equal in the eyes of the Gods then racism is no longer a motivator. One motivation that Nelkir did not mention is a sense of entitlement.
- Wulf: Much of the evil in Evermore was caused by an elitist attitude. They believed Gods have elevated some people to a position of power and authority based purely on their bloodline. That any opposition to the status quo was blasphemy and therefore anything done to the dissenters was okay in the eyes of the Gods.
- Falk: But have you not claimed yourself that Rigmor and you rule The Empire by Divine Right?
- Wulf: And we do per the covenant between the founder of The Empire, Saint Alessia, and the chief deity of our religion, Lord Akatosh. It does not make our lives worth more than the peasant working the fields or the cobbler making shoes. Our right to rule is undeniable which is vastly different than Nobility falsely claiming such rights. We do not deny that the Khajiit have individuals with a right to rule based on the moon phases at birth. In other words there are those with a right to rule as dictated by ancient and established customs of religion and race. Rulers such as the King of Evermore simply changed the rules to keep themselves in power and had nothing religious or cultural to support their claim.
- Rigmor: It has been culturally acceptable in Cyrodiil for city states to change hands via war. Hence Count Leyawiin would have been legally accepted as Count of Bruma if he had conquered it. That type of idiocy was rejected in Skyrim long ago and now the seat of Jarl is inherited and a war between Holds will not create a legal Jarl if the invaders win. Therefore nobody tries anymore and there have not been Holds trying to conquer other Holds for a very long time.
- Wulf: To make Cyrodiil as stable as Skyrim we would like to make Counts and Countesses an inherited right only. We would also like to remove the idiotic and archaic male dominance. A man should not become the Count and ruler simply by marrying the Countess. Such reformation is not falsely claiming divine rights for the rulers or elevating them to a higher status than already exits. Any logical and fair minded person will see such reformation for what it is and not confuse it with the actions of the Evermore nobility for instance.
- Arngeir: I can accept yourselves and Kintyra can remove some of the motivations that cause peace to be shattered. I fail to see what you can do about poverty and greed.
- Rigmor: Poverty on Nirn is artificial. Fair distribution of food and resources will eliminate it. We will rule by example and in areas of The Empire that refuse to emulate we will force them to do so. Skyrim is an example of how things should be. The Jarls rule for their people and not prestige, power or wealth. The Kingdom of Evermore was ruled by the opposite. Nobles sought power, wealth and prestige and their people suffered for it. Those nobles are now dead or imprisoned.
- Wulf: Several Counts of Cyrodiil are now dead for the same reason. We will actively support any citizens who fight against oppression within The Empire.
- Rigmor: If we can establish rule for the people throughout The Empire then we have started building the foundation for Kintyra to succeed. If all countries established rule for the people then Kintyra would have almost all she needs to create millennia of peace.
- Nelkir: There is nothing you can do about greed is there?
- Rigmor: No, that is free will. If you have all that is needed to live a happy comfortable life and decide you want more that is free will. If you can convince others that it is desirable to pursue more than what they have then it is their free will. But it is logical to think that greed as a motivation for evil would be much less likely to produce a large uprising of any sort as recruitment would be very hard indeed.
- Wulf: Racial tensions would be eased by everybody learning from history and not seeking retribution. The motivations and reality of past sins must be taught and understood within the context of the time the events occurred. Those living today are not responsible for the sins of their forbears. When everybody has a roof over their head, food in their stomachs and their religious beliefs respected then race can’t be used as motivation for evil.
- Elisif: Much of what you talk about is similar to the ideals of the Ebonheart Pact in the 2nd Era.
- Wulf: Ironic isn’t it since that alliance was designed to remove the corrupt Imperial rulers and dismantle The Empire. One of its founders, Alla Lalleth said, “The rash actions of those who sit the Ruby Throne, or who pull their strings, have brought Tamriel to the verge of irretrievable doom. They must be scoured from the face of Cyrodiil, and the decaying remains of The Empire of Men must be swept away. It shall be replaced by the Pact, which will enforce peace across the continent and strictly regulate all involvement in dangerous magical pursuits.”
- Elisif: Most of Skyrim was part of the pact!
- Wulf: The biggest difference being is we do not wish to enforce anything across all of Tamriel. We will enforce things across The Empire. Also the dangerous magical pursuits mentioned were not really defined.
- Arngeir: That is our biggest concern Majesty. That you will pursue war like your father did. That you will try and enforce your beliefs on others. We could not help you accomplish such things.
- Wulf: Has Rigmor or me said a single thing suggesting we will enforce ours view on those outside of The Empire?
- Arngeir: Your threats to the Aldmeri Dominion were very clear during your coronation.
- Rigmor: We must have consistent rule for the people across The Empire. We will enforce that. The Kingdom of Evermore was an example where force was needed and I would like to hear you arguments against the actions we took. We know we are doing the work of The Divines but are not going to use that as our excuse or reasoning to others. We simply ask others to look at the before and after before passing judgement. The less we involve religion the more likely foreign rulers will accept what we do within our own territory.
- Wulf: My threat to the Aldmeri Dominion stems from two things. They blaspheme against the religion common to both them and us. They endanger all of Nirn by keeping the Red Diamond as it can be used for great evil by followers of the Daedric Princes. We also do not know if it will be crucial in our defence against the Akaviri.
- Arngeir: You left no room for negotiation!
- Wulf: Which one of their ‘terms’ was worth considering Arngeir? The re-establishment of the White-Gold Concordat? The basis of their objection to Talos is purely racial and not religious! They know to deny Talos’ divinity is blasphemy. I am not only Emperor but Champion of The Divine. They know my parentage. Tell me who would honestly expect me to accept the reintroduction of such a thing? Would you like the High Queen of Cyrodiil to show you the scars on her back from their enforcement of such blasphemy? Would you like to read the volumes listing the thousands of Empire citizens who have vanished because they believed in the Ninth Divine?
I was getting angry. I calmed myself down. After all I had invited him to ask questions.
- Wulf: My apologies for letting my anger show Master Arngeir. What that Assclown did at our coronation was unforgivable and against the very instructions given to him via The Divines themselves.
- Nelkir: Assclown? I have a new title for my sister!
- Rigmor: You like it? That was my invention.
- Wulf: Back to Assclown’s demands. Asking us to allow the corrupt and dangerous Elder Council back into Tamriel looks like totally unacceptable interference with how we wish to run The Empire. If we do not wish to have an Elder Council as part of our rule that is our right as the rulers! But that was not the reason he made such a ridiculous demand. They were hoping it would appeal to our Court Advisor so he could wreak revenge for the Elder Council’s supposed involvement in the murder of Titus Mede II. They hoped Advisor Blackwell would somehow convince me the rest of the ludicrous demands were reasonable simply to get his hands on that vermin. It was a ludicrous thing to demand and the real reason for it instantly made it non-negotiable.
- Rigmor: As for his demand we hand back the territories of Hammerfell given to the Aldmeri Dominion by Titus Mede II. They are no longer part of The Empire! How can we hand them land that belongs to another country? Land that my father helped them reclaim from the very animals who were conducting genocide whilst Titus Mede II looked the other way.
- Wulf: None of the demands were reasonable or even possible. But to say we must do these things because they have the Red Diamond is beyond unreasonable. I will do what is needed, not only as Emperor of The Empire but also as Champion of The Divine, to ensure we are prepared for the Akaviri invasion. We need that Red Diamond and they do not! If it is not handed back voluntarily I will take it from them. There is no ambiguity here. This is not us trying to enforce our beliefs on the Aldmeri Dominion. This is not us trying to expand our territory. This is not us seeking revenge or more power. This is ME doing what I have always done. I will defend all mortals of Nirn against those who wish to kill and enslave and destroy. If I have to reduce the Aldmeri Domain to piles of rubble and corpses so everybody else can live I will do so. To avoid it all they have to do is hand over what our mutual Gods have told them belongs to the Chosen One.
- Rigmor: If the Greybeards can’t understand the reason why no negotiations are possible when the Red Diamond is held for ransom then we have nothing further to discuss. What we do is the will of The Divines including Kyne/Kynareth. It is the will of Wulf’s mother, Saint Alessia. It is the will of Ysmir, Dragon of the North, both old and new. If you claim it was the will of Shor and Kyne that Wulf be Emperor then you must also accept this is the will of the Gods. We do not demand fealty Master Arngeir but we will not sit here and listen to hypocrisy.
Arngeir looked at his colleagues and they all nodded their heads.
- Arngeir: Forgive us Majesties. We simply needed confirmation of your motives. That is impossible to do by simply reading proclamations and news-sheets. We have watched many Emperors come and go and very few have had acceptable reasons for declaring war and invading other countries.
- Wulf: I totally agree. I swear on The Divine that we shall never invade another country simply to expand The Empire. Is that enough to allay your fears?
All four Greybeards stood and bowed then sat again.
- Wulf: I do not agree with your Way of the Voice but then again I disagree with a lot of religious interpretations. Any irritation in the past comes from you trying to judge me by your narrow point of view. You are not pacifists. If I attacked one of you the others would come to their defence. If a dragon was to attack High Hrothgar you would try and kill it. When I defeated Alduin you implied I had learned evil to do so. I had not then but I have since. I have learned shouts that I will never teach another. But there are shouts you should learn that only I currently know.
- Arngeir: Such as?
- Wulf: Dragonrend, created by the Ancient Tongues. Call of Valour taught by Tsun and gifted to me by Shor. Divine Resurrection gifted by Saint Alessia.
- Arngeir: And those you will never teach?
- Wulf: Bend Will, created by Hermaeus Mora, and others from the Dark Lords.
I knew Arngeir objected to Dragonrend but never really understood why.
- Wulf: Masters Arngeir, Borri, Einarth and Wulfgar, do you have any objections to Dragonrend?
Al four shook their heads.
- Arngeir: I know I objected to Dragonrend when you first learnt it. Paarthurnax was rather firm and not very complimentary when I shared my views on it.
- Wulf: The example I just gave where you would defend High Hrothgar against a Dovah attack shows it is the opposite of evil. You would try and kill the attacking Dovah using frost, lightening and fire. You would inflict many wounds and much suffering before the Dovah lay dead. Dragonrend does not harm but forces the Dovah to land where he can be quickly dispatched and his suffering lessened.
- Arngeir: As Paarthurnax also explained. I apologise for my questioning of how you defeated Alduin.
- Wulf: The talk of these shouts leads onto the Akaviri Invasion. We do not know what we will face. My biggest fear is not the Vampiric troops or the Akaviri warriors but the red dragons they have used in the past.
- Rigmor: Wulf has only recently mentioned to them to me and I am terrified of what they could do!
- Wulf: They slaughtered all Dov on Akavir except for those they enslaved and use in war. Not many were taken down in previous invasions so there is no reason to believe they will not be used in great numbers in this invasion. Having a few people spread around who can bring them down with Dragonrend would aid our defence don’t you think?
- Arngeir: It would be the first time in our history we would be on the front lines.
- Nelkir: You Greybeards are a lot like The Companions. You both have the benefit of living in my father’s Hold and are regarded as citizens of The Empire. Yet you have never done what is expected of any citizen which is face an invasion head on and help repel it. It is cowardly to reap the rewards of a country and refuse to defend it. Yet both of your institutions are revered. It has always been a mystery to me.
- Rigmor: Sounds like you were asleep during your diplomacy classes Nelkir.
- Wulf: No, it sounds like he attended the same ones as you.
- Nelkir: My Dad’s advice this morning was to be like you two. Cut the bullshit and say what needs saying.
- Elisif: Easier said than done Nelkir. I agree with your sentiment and am glad The Greybeards will at least try and help if the Akaviri invasion happens.
- Rigmor: We are certain it will happen Elisif. We would not be preparing and spending large amounts of money if we did not.
- Arngeir: What of the other shouts Majesty? What are they?
- Wulf: Do you know how to summon Wulfharth?
- Arngeir: Are you referring to the Arcturian Heresy?
- Wulf: Yes. Well can you?
- Arngeir: Remember that a Dragon Break occurred after Tiber Septim activated the Numidium. In one timeline we may have been able to. This timeline we cannot.
- Wulf: Yes, there are inconsistencies in the Arcturian Heresy that brings its accuracy into question. Many involving Tiber Septim that are just wrong with what I know. For a start it says Hjalti Early-Beard was a Breton. There is no mer in my blood but Atmoran and Nedic. Also Tiber Septim murdering the rightful Emperor? No, that did not happen! But I digress. The Call of Valour Shout will bring a random Hero from Sovngarde to aid you. Usually one of the three ancient Tongues but it could be anybody as far as I know. Such a hero appearing on a battlefield can turn the tide. Especially if it is one of the ancient Tongues.
- Arngeir: Yes, I can see what a generous gift that was from Shor.
- Wulf: The third shout, Divine Resurrection, can cure people of the disease transmitted by the Akaviri Vampires. It can also resurrect somebody killed by the disease.
- Arngeir: You mentioned a shout you will never teach anybody created by Hermaeus Mora.
- Wulf: It allows me to control any sentient being including Dov. I used it to force a Dovah to take me to where the other Dragonborn called Miraak was. Miraak killed him for his soul and for betraying him. It is evil. Controlling any other being is evil. I knew that before Molag Bal bent my will. I know it with every fibre of my being after experiencing it. The Shout is an abomination.
- Arngeir: Is a Daedric Prince behind the Akaviri invasion?
- Rigmor: We do not know. We do not think Morag’s relationship with the Akaviri was known by Molag Bal. Such an invasion would not be needed if his plan was successful. Morag was trying to deceive Molag Bal and seize the Red Diamond for herself. We believe that the invasion was her idea and even though she is no longer alive, the Akaviri are still keen to invade.
- Wulf: They may have help from elements in High Rock and Morrowind. If everything is still in place then the loss of Morag is insignificant. She has provided them the framework and they will use it. As for Daedric involvement, I do not think so. I believe it is just a power play but one that will lead to the devastation of Nirn. At the moment we simply do not have enough information. It is all speculation.
- Arngeir: Thank you for answering our questions Majesties. We have a lot to digest.
- Wulf: You were interested in the small Dov that live in one of our orphanages. They look exactly like Dov but about 1/10th the size. I can find no reference to them anywhere. The latest theory is they were used in Eyries when mortal lived with Dov. That a Dovah could communicate with man or mer via them so that a meeting would not require a huge room to be conducted in. All they currently do is teach Dovahzul. They will not answer any questions about their origin. No Dovah I have spoken to knows anything about them. They are a mystery but a welcome one.
- Arngeir: Why would children want to learn Dovahzul?
- Nelkir: Because it is fun to learn other languages. Children can learn a language much faster than an adult. I did it because Dov fascinate me.
- Wulf: When the other Masters called my new name before, did you notice everybody but Nelkir and I staggered?
- Arngeir: Yes, why was that?
- Wulf: Nelkir, do you have the token given to you by Froki? If so can you please hand it to Arngeir?
Nelkir removed the token from his neck and passed it to Arngeir. He stared at it, smiled and passed it onto Borri.
- Arngeir: Why do you have something blessed by Kyne?
- Nelkir: A few weeks ago my two older siblings and I completed Kyne’s Sacred Trials.
- Arngeir: They must be a lot older than you?
- Nelkir: We are all under eighteen years.
- Arngeir: I did not think anybody still knew about the trials. Who told you about them?
- Nelkir: The children at one of the orphanages. Wulf hired Froki to teach about the old Nord gods and arrange for people to do the trials if they wish.
- Arngeir: You are a remarkable young man Master Nelkir. You are not the oldest so will not inherit the title of Jarl. Do you have plans on what you want to do when you come of age?
- Nelkir: That is why I sometimes go to the orphanages. They teach so many things our tutors in Dragonsreach don’t. I have plenty of time to think about it and the more things I see and experience the better my decision will be. I think. Maybe.
- Wulf: And that is why he did not stagger when the Masters spoke. The token must provide some protection.
Einarth was the last to look at Nelkir’s token. He passed it to him and bowed which is tremendous honour from a Greybeard. Nelkir stammered a thank you. He knew the significance.
- Wulf: We are going to visit Paarthurnax and maybe Odahviing since I see him flying around the summit. There are three subjects I will discuss with them that you should be aware of.
- Rigmor: We wish to make Dov citizens of The Empire with all rights, privileges and protections.
- Wulf: Even before becoming Emperor I forbade the Blades from hunting a Dovah without first getting my permission. They have also sworn never to hunt Paarthurnax. But there will always be Dov who give into their baser instincts. Just like a criminal of any other species in The Empire, they will be hunted down and dealt with and I need The Blades to continue existing for that very reason. I actually recruited many more to their ranks before leaving for Cyrodiil a few months ago. They will also be needed if the Akaviri do use red dragons against us.
- Arngeir: We understand but we will remain sceptical for now.
- Wulf: Fair enough. The second thing is that if they are to be citizens they should have a place to live. We will ask if they know of any Eyries that can be reclaimed. Mortals and Dov sharing cities may once again be seen on Nirn.
- Arngeir: That is a worthy thing to pursue.
- Wulf: Thirdly we will ask if they will fight for us even if the Akaviri use enslaved Dov. I have no doubt they will.
- Arngeir: If they have a home to defend they will do so fiercely.
- Elisif: Have you seen one the cities where mortal and Dov lived together?
- Wulf: Only Skuldafn which was Alduin’s Eyrie. We can reclaim that one and make it beautiful again.
- Rigmor: If there is nothing else I am keen to visit the Throat of the World.
We all rose, left the dusty old place and said goodbye to the Greybeards. When everybody else was below deck I flew the airship to the summit and anchored it in place. The bell rang, the ladder dropped and everybody, including The Sentinel, came on deck.
Paarthurnax said, “I can see the Dovahsebrom has learned to fly. Have you come to tinvaak with this old Dov?”
“Maybe after my kiim (wife) has talked to you old one. Jud Elisif (Queen Elisif) is also here to see you. She has never met a Dovah before. A kiir (child) of bronjun Balgruuf (Jarl Balgruuf), Nelkir, is also keen to tinvaak with the revered Paarthurnax.”
Rigmor, Elisif and Nelkir climbed down the ladder. I had lowered the airship as close as I could to the ground so it was not a long climb.
They all walked without fear and stood craning their necks to talk to Paarthurnax who could have swallowed all three in one gulp.
Before a word was said Odahviing flew past and commented, “Be careful of the Dovahsebrom’s wife old one. She is one of the finest swordsmen in Tamriel but her honeyed words are deadlier. She will have you rolling over for a tummy rub if you let her charm you.”
Rigmor replied, “I think you are dizzy with all that flying in circles Odour Wing. Perhaps you need to land and rest. I suggest somewhere near Windhelm.”
Elisif was doing quite well till the earthquake like rumble that is the laughter of a Dovah issued forth from Paarthurnax. She shrieked then quickly composed herself. That generated laughter from all observers.
- Paarthurnax: Greetings High Queen Rigmor, High Queen Elisif and Master Nelkir. I will try and restrict myself to Tamrielic but it takes a lot of concentration so forgive me if I break out in random Dovahzul.
- Nelkir: Drem yo lok Master Paarthurnax.
- Paarthurnax: Ah, the kul (male child) of Balgruuf. I thank you for returning Numinex to us. It was cruel what was done to him when alive and an insult after death.
Paarthurnax suddenly went very still and stared at Rigmor. He lowered his head till his snout was very close to her and stayed that way for a few seconds before returning to his previous position. Rigmor did not stop looking him in the eyes and showed no fear.
- Paarthurnax: Forgive me Queen Rigmor but I sense Bormahu, my father, when close to you.
- Rigmor: Perhaps it is the Dragonchild I carry?
- Paarthurnax: Maybe or could it be something you are not at liberty to say at the moment.
- Wulf: The wisdom of many millennia is hard to fool. I shall talk to you about it soon.
- Rigmor: One thing I can tell you is Lord Akatosh has spoken to me. Wulf says it was the first time he has spoken to a mortal since his last Curate abandoned him.
- Paarthurnax: There is little that surprises this most ancient of beings but that has. May I ask what our father had to say to you?
- Rigmor: We discussed many things but he had heard my plea for reassurance that I would survive the birth of my child and that she would be healthy. I was concerned because of the ‘Chosen One’ prophesy and the seemingly callous nature of the Gods. He provided assurance and renewed my faith in our Gods and surrounded me with a depth of love that only Wulf surpasses. A love that I knew he felt for all mortals. It is an experience I will never forget.
- Paarthurnax: I will admit that I had never heard of the prophecy till Master Arngeir related it to me just after Wulf donned the Stormcrown. I can understand your concern for your life and that of Kintyra. I am pleased Bormahu could give you comfort. It would take tremendous effort for him to do so with tiid, time, behaving so strange.
- Rigmor: Wulf has said that time is strange. That he does not think we are in a Dragon Break but the possible timelines seem to be entangled and impossible to follow. It is hard for me to understand because I do not have the Dov sense of time.
- Paarthurnax: I have lived with that sense for many millennia and I do not know what it means. Many Dov have speculated and the theories are just as numerous. Dovahsebrom, can you see what has reappeared?
- Wulf: Yes, the Time Wound that had closed after I used the kel to go back in time. Let me guess that it reappeared about the time I faced one of your father’s enemies in Nagasel.
- Paarthurnax: Yes. From what Arngeir and Odahviing told me another of his enemies aided you in that battle.
- Wulf: Correct and I believe it was the portals that were opened and the existence of two of the Daedric Princes on the mortal plane for that short amount of time that has caused the issues with linear time. I believe Lord Akatosh knew that this may occur and although I do not think we are in a Dragon Break I believe he is blinded as if we are. He was not sure of the outcome of my confrontation with his enemy. My instincts tell me I have to complete my Divine task for certainty to return. But this is all metaphysical speculation.
- Paarthurnax: It is as good an explanation as any that Dov have come up with.
- Rigmor: It is not just The Divines having problems. Azura’s seers are also blind to any future beyond the battle in Nagasel.
- Paarthurnax: Instinct tells me it will sort itself out. We are not too concerned. It is an interesting puzzle that has provided plenty of opportunity for tinvaak so I welcome it.
Just then Odahviing flew past, did a sharp turn and returned to inspect the skeleton of the Dovah attached to the airship. He then hovered so he could speak with me.
- Wulf: Do you know the identity of the Dovah?
- Odahviing: It is Nahfahlaar. Who placed him so?
- Wulf: The kaaz people who we call Khajiit.
- Odahviing: He was a great hero to that people. He is a great hero to all Dov loyal to Bormahu. He was respected by your father.
- Wulf: My father called him a jewel in the Imperial crown. He saved the whole of Tamriel from destruction. He allied with those who should have been his enemies such as the Dragonguard. He stopped the blasphemy of Laatvulon and Kaalgrontiid. He lost close friends and allies who helped him perform his Divine tasks for Bormahu. He is worthy of the greatest respect.
- Nelkir: Wulf and I were concerned that even with the best intentions the Khajiit have done disservice to Nahfahlaar.
- Odahviing: Do you know where he was finally defeated?
- Wulf: On the Hammerfell island of Stros M’Kai in 2E 864 by Cyrus the Redguard pirate.
- Odahviing: Yet the Khajiit have somehow recovered his remains. That speaks of a reverence that still exists many years after his demise. Master Nelkir, why is this display different than that of Numinex?
- Nelkir: Numinex was divided. His skull hung above my father’s throne as a trophy. His other remains scattered in several rooms of discarded history. The deed done by those with no respect for a fallen enemy. By those who do not understand the Dov. I was ashamed.
- Odahviing: And Nahfahlaar?
- Nelkir: I do not know the story of Laatvulon and Kaalgrontiid. From what I just heard Nahfahlaar is similar to Wulf. A champion for Bormahu. I assume the Khajiit aided him in his tasks and in turn recognised his contribution to saving Tamriel and stopping a great blasphemy to Alkosh. It appears to me they went to great lengths to recover Nahfahlaar and have probably had him in a sacred place till now. It appears to me they have carefully kept him together and not allowed division. It appears to me they have let him fly once more to aid the people of Tamriel, of Nirn. They have other airships but chose to place him with the son of the man who named him a jewel in the Imperial crown. This son of Talos now wears that crown and is also a Champion of Bormahu and has been blessed by him. On reflection they are honouring Nahfahlaar.
- Odahviing: You are wise beyond your years Master Nelkir and have answered your own question. No Dov would object to this display for it is one of honour.
- Paarthurnax: I concur with Odahviing. I will leave it up to Dovahsebrom to tell you the story of Nahfahlaar but let me summarise what he did. He prevented Kaalgrontiid from becoming a God. He would not have been a benevolent God like Bormahu. He would have sacrificed many Dov who followed him to achieve his goal. He would have ruled with Fenjuntiid, the primitive urges many Dov now battle, unchecked. He would have commanded armies of undead Dov who would have been slaves to his will.
- Wulf: I thank you for your wisdom Paarthurnax and Odahviing. I was searching for a name for this airship. From now on it will be called ‘Nafalilargus’. It is the name he chose when he befriended my father.
- Odahviing: That is a kind gesture Dovahsebrom. He will protect you from attacks by other Dov. None would want to show disrespect by harming him.
With that Odahviing flew off to continue his circles of the summit.
Just then Elisif sneezed. Rigmor looked at her then stared at me as if I had committed some unforgivable sin. With crossed arms she confronted Paarthurnax.
- Rigmor: I came here to discuss important matters with you and yet I have had to endure a group of males endlessly chattering away like nosey neighbours swapping gossip!
- Elisif: Rigmor, I don’t think…
- Rigmor: What was that Elisif? I can’t understand you through those chattering teeth of yours. We are not exactly dressed for the highest place in Tamriel. It was okay while the sun was out but it got bored and disappeared over the horizon eons ago.
- Paarthurnax: I apologise Majesty. I do like to tinvaak and can get carried away.
- Rigmor: Pfft, whatever. Let us get on with it shall we before we become noble stalactites.
- Wulf: Stalagmites dearest. Stalactites are the ones that hang upside down. Easy to remember. They must hold on tight so as not to fall.
Everybody was trying to hold in their amusement at Rigmor dressing down the oldest living being on Nirn as if a delinquent schoolboy. The venomous look she shot my way was too much for some. Great peals of laughter broke out and I struggled not to join in.
When it finally settled down she looked at Nelkir.
- Rigmor: What is that grin for Master Nelkir?
- Nelkir: My apologies Majesty. I am just enjoying your lesson in diplomacy.
- Paarthurnax: Please Majesty, proceed.
- Rigmor: Wulf and I propose to make Dov citizens of The Empire with all rights and protections. We would like your opinion on this.
- Paarthurnax: The God you call Talos, Tiber Septim, once proposed such a thing but he did not guarantee all rights and protection. So the Dov may have been called citizens but there was nothing to prevent the Blades and others from continuing their indiscriminate slaughter. I think all Dov would accept such a proposal if the protection is guaranteed.
- Rigmor: Master Arngeir said you had instructed the Greybeards to assist us with the Akaviri invasion. Wulf has offered to teach them some Shouts they could use to provide that assistance.
- Paarthurnax: As I expected Dovahsebrom has learned Shouts no other mortal has known since the ancient Tongues. I hope I have relieved Master Arngeir of his concerns about Dragonrend. After all it was I who aided in retrieving that Shout from the past.
- Rigmor: He had no objections.
Rigmor looked at Elisif who seemed puzzled for a second but then realised it was her turn.
- Elisif: All citizens of The Empire and of Skyrim are expected, where possible, to help defend their home and repel invaders. Would Dov help defend The Empire against the Akaviri even if their slave Red Dragons are used in combat?
- Paarthurnax: Odahviing has chosen to fight beside Dovahsebrom first out of respect for his power but now as a friend. I could not very well ask the Greybeards to aid if I was not willing to do so. Like mortal citizens, Dov will have some willing to fight and some not. So the answer is yes, some of us will fight to defend our homeland.
- Rigmor: Apart from Skuldafn, do you know of any Eyries where mortal and Dov lived together and are they habitable?
- Paarthurnax: If we ask many Dov some may know. They certainly existed. If you revisit soon we may some locations for you.
- Rigmor: That did not take long once we finally got to it! We thank you for your time Paarthurnax.
- Paarthurnax: Please feel free to return for tinvaak any time.
All three bowed to Paarthurnax and climbed the ladder. Everybody but me went below deck.
I climbed down the ladder and approach Paarthurnax. I called to Odahviing to come and listen. He landed and waddled over so I would not have to speak very loudly.
- Wulf: I wish to tell you why Bormahu was detected on Rigmor. Have you heard of the mortal Pilvi-Hinnesh?
- Paarthurnax: She was a favourite of Bormahu because of her devotion when most of her countrymen had become enamoured of the deyra. She was of the first fahliil to populate taazokaan. They replaced the kaaz as the principal people of taazokaan.
- Wulf: When Bormahu spoke to Rigmor he placed in her mind a desire for a ring once owned by Pilvi-Hinnesh so I set out to find it. I was told it was in a lost city of Pilvi’s people underneath Nagasel. When I fought Bormahu’s enemy the forces unleashed uncovered a way into the hidden city. It had been buried under Nagasel by Bormahu’s enemy. Bormahu had prevented the annihilation of Pilvi’s people by combating his enemy’s minions and placing a seal that could only be opened with his blood. He only intended Pilvi and her people to stay hidden in the city for a short time but before he could visit and break the seal he made a covenant with my mother, Saint Alessia, and the result was a barrier protecting Mundus from Oblivion. The barrier prevented Bormahu from returning and breaking the seal to free Pilvi and her people. When I broke the seal with my blood I found Pilvi still alive after all these millennia. She was the last of her people and she survived because of the ring Bormahu has given her. When Pilvi removed the ring and gifted it to me the ageing that had been held back caught up and she died. Rigmor now wears that ring and in its centre is a red gemstone. It holds some of Bormahu’s blood.
- Paarthurnax: You are wise to keep this quiet. Bormahu must be very fond of Rigmor to entrust such a thing to her. Can you imagine what things our enemies could do with his blood?
- Odahviing: Now if you do not mind I am not yet dizzy enough. Maybe a few thousand more circles will do the trick.
Odahviing waddled up to the cliff’s edge and seemed to fall vertically down. Then he re-appeared flying straight up at great speed. He levelled out and was suddenly cruising around the summit at a relatively sedate rate.
I bowed to Paarthurnax, climbed the ladder and entered the cabin.
Rigmor was attending to cuts and bruises all over Nelkir’s body. I remembered the sparring session he had with Borgakh earlier and saw she was watching the proceedings with a grin on her face. Probably reminded her of fun times as a child!
I went to the map room and set the course for Whiterun but without an alarm.
As I headed for the hatch I overheard J’Zargo ask Kharjo, “But Iona does not have a mane of rolls of kitten fat on her neck. How do you hold on when you are…”
I did not want to hear the rest of the conversation and hurried back on deck. I enabled the ethereal travel and in a blink of an eye Nafalilargus was gliding into dock.
After my close encounter with the Morag Tong earlier that day Rigmor had put her foot down. I was not to travel without two Sentinel. Talvas and Kharjo came on deck along with Nelkir.
I walked Nelkir up to the front entrance of Dragonsreach and said, “It has been an absolute pleasure having you with us today. You did an admirable job representing your father and the Hold of Whiterun.”
“I have had so much fun Wulf! But I realised one thing, I would not want to be Emperor! Some of the things talked about today are confusing and scary. But the responsibility for making decisions that affect so many people, no thanks! Makes me glad I have an older brother and sister.”
“I am sure you will excel at whatever you choose to do and as you said earlier today you have plenty of time to make your choice.”
“Oh, I did learn one more important lesson. Do not ask an Orsimer for a sword and shield lesson!”
“Goodnight Master Nelkir. Say hello to your father for me. Do not make Dagny too jealous about your adventures today. You might go missing if you do!”
“Goodnight my Emperor.”
I watched him enter the palace and my duty was done. We walked briskly back to Nafalilargus.
On the way to the map room I said to Rigmor, “I have decided to ask Auryen about the shard. If he knows nothing I will ask Freathof. If he knows nothing I will ask Urag.”
“You do not want Malesam to know about it do you?”
“Everything he knows his mistress knows. She may even be the one trying to seize the shards. So no, he is not to be told.”
I plotted the course to Solitude, went on deck and initiated the ethereal jump.
When Nafalilargus finished docking Rigmor, Falk, Elisif, Talvas and Kharjo came on deck.
Rigmor hugged Elisif and said, “I would like to not only do a tour of the Museum with Auryen as guide I would love to visit Paarthurnax again.”
“We would have enjoyed it more if we had some decent cold weather outfits!”
“How about I make up some excuse to summon you to the Imperial Palace and we can go shopping for clothes?”
“And boots and shoes and accessories!”
Rigmor rubbed her stomach and said, “Whatever I buy had better be stretchy!”
The women laughed and hugged each other once again.
I shook Falk’s hand and said, “It was an interesting day.”
He laughed and said, “The way Rigmor spoke to Paarthurnax! I was waiting for her Majesty to start waving her finger at him.”
“Petitioners have been cancelling parley appointment they have waited months for when they discover Rigmor and I will both be there or Rigmor by herself. She is fair but does not suffer fools.”
Elisif said to Falk, “Come on Firebeard. We will walk through the side gate and not through the Museum. Hurry up. Chop, chop! I am sure Jarl Bryling has found some excuse to work late!”
When they had gone a fair distance Rigmor came and kissed me on the cheek and asked, “How much money do I have to donate to the temple in Bravil to bribe Lady Mara about making Elisif and Tullius happen?”
“Elisif will have to get the evil spirit taking over her soul removed first. She is starting to sound like you.”
“Ha de hah! I know she is genuinely pleased about Kintyra but I can sense the pain as well. She said her and Torygg tried and tried and tried but she never fell pregnant. Yet we made Kintyra without consciously trying.”
“She is very young Rigmor. She has plenty of time to find another love.”
“I think I will stay on deck and just listen to the docks and water while you speak to Auryen.”
I walked over the hatch, opened it and yelled “Sentinel on deck!”
As I walked past Rigmor I quipped, “What is good for the goose is good for the gander!”
As her two Sentinel joined her on deck my two followed me inside the museum.
I soon tracked down Auryen and handed him the letter and wrapped shard.
“Do you think you can investigate this for me? The man Byron died getting it to me and I can sense Lord Akatosh in the shard. But I was also overwhelmed with fragments of memories. That is why I wrapped it in my handkerchief.”
“So you think it may be a shard of the Amulet of Kings?”
“Not the Amulet, the Red Diamond, the Chim-el Adabal.”
“I stand corrected.”
“You are to keep this quiet Auryen. Another potential Red Diamond will attract enemies of The Divine like flies to shit. I doubt very much the soul gem can be repaired but still, it may have some latent powers.”
“Of course Majesty”
“What confuses me is that I have neither read nor heard of fragments surviving Martin’s sacrifice. It seems from the letter these people have the title of Guardian. Perhaps they have kept the shards safe since the Oblivion Crises and have decided now is the time to do something with them?”
“I have a feeling my research will find the Imperial Cult are the source of these Guardians. I remember reading some rumours about them and five shards. I did not find any corroborating evidence at the time. I am sure I will find my notes somewhere.”
“Where were they kept?”
“In the White-Gold Tower. When Tiber Septim II abandoned the Imperial City the Thalmor raided the tower looking for artefacts. I do not believe they found these shards. Remember I am running from dim memories here.”
“Maybe they did not find them but five brave souls have hid them since. That is pure speculation but sounds feasible.”
“Give me twenty-four hours to find my notes and do some more research. I am positive I will have something for you when you return.”
“Thank you Auryen and goodnight.”
“Thank you Majesty for ruining any chance for sleep tonight. I hate unsolved mysteries! Now where did I put those notes?”
Auryen headed for his office and I made my way back to Nafalilargus.
Rigmor asked, “Did Auryen help?”
“He is like this huge library of information without a catalogue. He quite often suspects he knows but it can take him time to find the information hidden in his notes or his head. I will check on him tomorrow night.”
“The aurora is pretty tonight!”
“Let me move Nafalilargus out to sea a bit and away from the bright lights of Solitude. Then we can send The Sentinel into the cabin and bring a couple of bedrolls out here. I feel like sleeping under the stars. Maybe listen to mother and the others in Aetherius.”
“I will get the bedrolls and some supper. You move Nafalilargus.”
I stopped us a few miles out to see and when Rigmor returned we just enjoyed our silence and watched the Aurora.
As we ate a simple supper I wrote this journal entry. Tomorrow we will do nothing official. I just want to take Rigmor places from our past and wallow in nostalgia.
We eventually settled down to sleep and I stared at the stars.
“Can you hear the words yet?” whispered Rigmor.
“Not yet. But if I did you would soon drown them out with your snoring.”
“I do not snore!”
“How would you know? You are asleep!”
“I know everything. Haven’t you realised that yet?”
“You don’t know what a naked giant looks like!”
“Come on Wulf. After all these years you can tell me!”
“Use your imagination then half it. I know what kind of perverted mind you have.”
I know not what time I fell asleep.
I know it was the first time since returning from Evermore that nightmares did not visit.