Bruma, Imperial Palace: Is nothing sacred?
Ever since Lord Akatosh spoke to Rigmor I find myself praying at the Bruma Chapel every day I can. If I have stayed with my beloved overnight in Bruma then just after breakfast I head there with The Sentinel in tow.
There is a residual presence of my Lord that comforts me and gives me confidence. The magnificent temple in the Imperial City cannot provide this service so I visit it not as often.
I have spent a lot of time explaining to all what occurred in Sancre Tor and what it all means. Of course it was something completely out of the blue for Freathof, Malesam, Cerys and Sigunn as they had no prior knowledge of the events that had transpired. They all understand that sometimes this must happen, that Rigmor and I will have to keep secrets even from friends and family. They also know we will tell them about it when we can.
I emphasised the fact that the Amulet of Kings was inert except for its connection to the White-Gold Tower. There is no way I can hide its existence from Malesam so I ensured that his Mistress will not desire it.
Auryen was still chasing up information on the bow and nobody was any wiser on who ‘0’ was. If this mystery figure still wanted the amulet he would have to take it from me as it will never leave my side. It can have enchantments placed on it and I have been studying a few that might be useful.
I entered the chapel at about 8:00AM. Lydia and Jordis stood guard just inside the door and Iona and Christine just outside. They always stayed at the far end to give me privacy.
I was not surprised to see pilgrims sitting on the front pews. Since the borders have been normalised after the removal of Sethius the number of pilgrims has steadily grown. There are many ancient and historic places of worship in Cyrodiil for both followers of The Divine and Daedra. Some pilgrims spend months visiting all they can.
The Bruma Priest of The Nine was in attendance and had been speaking to one of the pilgrims when I entered. They all respectfully went silent as I knelt in front of the font.
I closed my eyes and was barely into my prayer when something smashed into my side. I found myself flying through the air then sliding along the chapel floor.
I heard Lydia yell, “WULF!” and sounds of battle slowly filtered through the fog of my thinking.
It has been a long time since somebody hit me like that when I was not in armour. I am sure I had a couple of broken ribs and I slowly got to my feet.
The priest was attacking my assailant with his fists. He had physically put himself between me and the summoned beast. He was going to die if I did not do something. I cast lightning at his opponent and it staggered away. A second later it vanished as its conjurer died when Jordis sliced into him with her two handed sword.
The fight lasted seconds but I knew my anger would last for a very long time. Attacked in a place where I felt security was superfluous. Attacked in the home of my Gods!
The priest was bleeding out and I was fairly sore so I cast a wide area healing spell.
He got to his feet slowly.
I gave him a second or two than approached and said, “Thank you. It would have taken The Sentinel too long to get to me to stop that thing continuing its attack. Who knows what would have happened.”
“I can’t believe they were assassins! The one I was speaking to was very knowledgeable on The Divines and seemed devout. I must admit my actions were more out of anger for the sacrilege than any thought of protecting you.”
I laughed and said, “That is understandable. I suggest you sit for a while. I have repaired your physical damage but the shock will soon hit you.”
Iona and Christine had taken position inside the door. They would have ordered some Bruma guards to take up their previous positions outside.
“Iona and Christine go immediately to the castle and join the Sentinel squad guarding Rigmor. Tell her of the incident and that we are all healthy. I will be there soon.”
As they ran to do as ordered I talked to Lydia and Jordis, “This might be the work of ‘O’. Keep guard close by me while I check the bodies.”
There was nothing useful on the first two.
The third had a note,
“My blessed worshippers,
This is your task.
Travel to Skyrim via one of the trade boats that travel from Florin to the Solitude Docks.
Make you way to Cyrodiil. You should easily pass as some of the many pilgrims who can now freely travel across the borders once more.
You are experts in what you do so decide yourselves where and when to strike.
Lord Zahkris needs his body. It is nothing against the retched Empire or the fact he is Emperor. Our Lord simply needs the body of the Dragonborn if he is to be successful in his dominance. It would not matter if he was a poor farmer unaware of his powers.
Do this and Lord Zahkris will know who delivered his most powerful weapon to me. You will be richly rewarded.
You know the consequences so DO NOT FAIL ME!
I handed the letter to Lydia grumbling, “Another day and another enemy.”
Lydia handed the letter to Jordis and stated, “Surely they do not think this would be successful?”
“No they didn’t. Even if they killed me there was a whole garrison to get past with a dead Emperor over their shoulder. They are bait and were probably given a deadline to ensure they at least attempted their task. That letter is also bait. Somebody wants me to swallow the hook.”
We left he chapel. On the way to the castle I sent some guards to help the Priest clean up the chapel and lay out the bodies. There was something strange about them. They were mer but their eye and skin colouring was unusual.
The mages heard all the commotion and came running up to ask what was happening. I quickly explained and asked them to go look at the dead assassins to see if they know anything about them and a place called Florin.
When I entered the castle Rigmor came rushing up to me and almost broke the ribs I had just repaired. Then she demanded, “Tell what that the fuck is going on Wulf!”
I handed her the letter, she read it and came up with the same conclusion, “They want your corpse and to get it you will have to go to them. It might be stupidly dangerous and probably insane but you will go as it is the right thing. If you don’t they will keep trying.”
“There is not only that my beloved. They may hurt others around me till I do go.”
I just stood and held my lady for a few minutes. Those two days aboard Nafalilargus seemed a long time ago.
A very young female Dunmer Master Mage ran into the castle and blurted, “J’Zargo thinks he knows who they are and has asked Kharjo to join him in the temple and they will be here to talk to you soon.”
She then ran back outside.
“Who was that?” I asked Rigmor.
“The College have sent some new mages to help with the load since you wish two to be aboard the airship at all times. You were going to meet them later today.”
“She looks so young even for a Dark Elf yet is a Master Mage already?”
“You should know her. She has a cat that is not a cat.”
“And she has a broom that is actually a powerful fire staff?”
“Yes, she is the girl you wrote about in your journal. You saved her from being sacrificed. It seems you do that bit.”
“Glinda! But she would only be what, fourteen at the most?”
“She is Dunmer and does not remember her past. She could be thirty for all we know. Apparently she is very wise in some ways and still immature in others. While you were busy and because they would be primarily looking after me per the writ I chose the new mages. She has passed all tests and I find her unique. Plus the whole being a sacrifice thing hit a nerve.”
“And I fully accept your right to choose and know you have done so wisely. She was always one of my favourites at the orphanage and mixed happily with the children and the adults. Her cat that is not a cat and Meeko have a love/hate relationship. They would pretend to despise each other but I caught them more than a few times sharing a comfortable spot in front of a fire.”
“Apparently his holiday at the orphanages is over and he wants to come back to join The Sentinel.”
“Of course he does and just because he can’t talk it doesn’t mean people don’t understand him. Like Locasta and her four legged companion.”
Rigmor was upset I was in such danger and she knew I would be leaving once again. So we just talked about inconsequential things and a bit of gossip waiting for the Mages to give me a clue.
After another ten minutes or so Kharjo entered the castle and said, “They are Somner, sometimes called Sun Elves so are almost certainly from the island of Midwood where Florin is the capital. It is an independent kingdom that lays north-west from central High Rock in the Eltheric Ocean. I know of them because they trade very high quality gold and different woods from the Solitude Port. They are devout followers of The Eight plus a few of their own Gods. Unfortunately that is all I and J’Zargo know about them.”
“Your Sentinel Squad is about to start guard duty for Queen Rigmor are they not?”
“You are to stick to her like shit to a shoe. I do not care how much she complains or threatens you. This is an order from Commander Wulf of the Penitus Oculatus so outranks her whining. Make sure all The Sentinel understand this.”
“You have asked us to do many dangerous things Wulf but this is beyond all before! Can’t you find another portal to Oblivion instead?”
Rigmor growled, “You had better leave Kharjo if you ever want to have kittens in the future.”
He left, we laughed but then reality hit.
“Okay my beloved, I am taking Nafalilargus to the Palace. I believe Malesam is there with Blackwell helping with the search for ‘O’?”
“Yes and Freathof is visiting relatives in Bravil.”
“Why don’t you come with me to the Imperial City? We can sit and talk while somebody ethers us there.”
“You have forgotten haven’t you? The two widowed Countesses are coming for a parley with Mum. There are a ton of things they want to discuss and we were going to act as advisors.”
“Damn it. Yes I did forget and we know Sigunn could handle them but your support would be greatly appreciated.”
“They are our allies 100% Wulf. You have given them more power than they would ever have had even if Leyawiin won the Ruby Throne. You have also given them a chance to marry again. Do you know how many Countesses died spinsters rather than hand their title over to a male, no matter how much they loved them?”
“Well I might be in consultation with our advisors for quite a while. I can’t just go traipsing into a foreign kingdom without knowing a bit more about the people and land. Plus they might dig up some information on Lord Zahkris and Drakus.”
“I will ride there as soon as the parley has finished. And I promise not to give The Sentinel a hard time. I will not ask you to be careful. You will do what it needed once again.”
I kissed my wife and to her embarrassment kissed her belly.
“We have to run out of new enemies sooner or later. I will see you and the lump soon.”
I headed straight for Nafalilargus with the Riften Squad in tow. It was just their luck to be on duty again when the shit hit the fan.
I flew to airship to the Palace and soon found Blackwell and Malesam conferring over dusty records of the Mythic Dawn. After a brief discussion of the situation they both headed for the Imperial Library to see what they could find.
Before they left Blackwell informed me my new armour had arrived. I had commissioned it over a month ago as I felt my father’s armour should only be used for ceremonies or certain diplomatic meetings. I had to recognisable as the Emperor but it had to also emphasis my rank in the Imperial Legion. I went to the Emperor’s quarters and was stunned. The armour was superb! I donned it then went and sat in the throne room to think. There were no supplicants so nobody to disturb the quiet of that most ancient of places.
A few hours later my Advisor’s came into the throne room with Malesam looking excited and Blackwell looking gloomy, or should I say gloomier.
- Malesam: Ah…Majesty, it is always helpful to find things so well organised and catalogued. We found many books and manuscripts pertaining to the Sonmer Kingdom of Midwood Island.
- Blackwell: And we would still be there reading totally irrelevant dribble if I had not dragged Court Advisor Malesam out by the collar.
- Malesam: Who knows, I might have found something vital if you had more patience.
- Blackwell: Who knows, I might have used my very sharp knife to remove something vital if you tried my patience any more.
- Wulf: If you two are done with the comedy I would like to remind you some bastards attacked me whilst I was praying in a House of The Divine this morning. To my great surprise they were not ‘O’s but a new enemy because as you know, I have a shortage of those.
- Blackwell: Forgive us Majesty. I will let Malesam quote the prophecy as he likes the dramatics.
- Wulf: Great, another fucking prophecy. I have a shortage of those as well.
- Malesam: Lord Zahkris is mistaken by some as being a Daedric Prince but he is not one of the seventeen known. Actions in the past to fight him imply he has some access to Oblivion but so have many powerful mages in times past as you know. So Blackwell and I think he may be a very powerful necromancer or even lich. Like many such dark souls in the past he refuses to stay dead. The prophecy reads,
“One day, Zahkris will rise again, built on the souls of fallen Mer, and he who defeated the World Eater is the only one who can vanquish Zahkris forever. Should they fall, so will the land of Midwood Isle”
- Wulf: Well that is pretty specific and easy to understand. Obviously not written by a Divine or Dov or whomever makes Elder Scrolls.
- Blackwell: You defeated Alduin over three years ago. It is logical to assume Lord Zahkris has had to build his strength to a certain point before making his move. Drakus seems to be the leader of a cult of very devoted followers.
- Wulf: Yes, that was a suicide mission this morning. The fear of failure and death was less than the fear of disobeying Drakus. No doubt they had a time limit imposed.
- Blackwell: I could make enquiries as to the trading vessel they arrived on and how long ago but it is irrelevant.
- Wulf: There is nothing to be done but for me to travel to Midwood Island and eliminate the problem. The Royalty there should be more than welcoming if they know of the prophecy. After all I am not arriving with a Legion or two.
- Malesam: From what we can gather they revere Akatosh and regard the title of Dragonborn with almost equal reverence. Since you are going to save the lot of them they would welcome you even if a beggar in rags.
- Wulf: Tell me of their religion since it seems to be central to this prophecy.
- Malesam: They worship The Eight. If they regard your father as Divine or a God we do not know but it would not be racial bias like our Thalmor friends if they do not.
- Wulf: Kharjo said they have additional Gods.
- Malesam: One that we have found mention of. To understand how they started to worship this new God you must know the tale of how Lord Zahkris was defeated last time for this is his return, not his first appearance.
- Wulf: They never stay dead. Alduin, Miraak, The Underking, Maven Black-Briar etc.
- Blackwell: I think you will find that Maven just looks dead sometimes Majesty.
- Malesam: I have borrowed a copy of the relevant book so will read the passage verbatim,
“Zahkris was a mighty figure, enslaving many of the Sun Elves of Midwood Isle into his bidding. Everyone was fearful and thought that the end had come. All this is, except for one man, a warrior by the name of Vorir.
Vorir consulted the three district mages and only one had any useful information about how Vorir should defeat Zahkris. The powerful mage looked to The Divines for help and was answered by a God by the name of Erkaloth.
Erkaloth communicated directly with Vorir and told him that Zahkris could be defeated if you remove him of his soul. Erkaloth then proceeded to tell Vorir about the Steal Soul Essence Shout, which should reach into the soul of Zahkris and attack it so that he in turn will drain away.
Vorir was then taken to the afterlife of Lastendell, where Erkaloth himself gifted the warrior with the knowledge of the shout. However, once Vorir arrived back to the mortal realm of Midwood Isle, he saw that the island had nearly fallen. Bodies were strewn everywhere and Vorir had to pick his way through them to challenge Zahkris.
Zahkris laughed in the warrior’s face then attacked him. But in all his power, Zahkris failed to comprehend that he could be beaten. He did not fight with full force against Vorir and this gave the warrior the chance to attack Zahkris’ soul.
Zahkris disintegrated away, vowing his revenge.
Midwood Isle slowly returned to her former glory, and a shrine to the god Erkaloth was built, nearby the small town of Alverton. Midwood Isle was saved, for now.”
- Wulf: The line that says, ‘…Erkaloth himself gifted the warrior with the knowledge of the shout.’ can only mean he taught Vorir the Shout and not knowledge of the Words of Power.
- Blackwell: Why is that Majesty?
- Wulf: If I were to discover a new Word of Power and taught it to Master Arngeir or any other of The Greybeards they would need to study it for months if not years before they could use it in a Shout. I do not have to study the Word of Power as the knowledge of their meaning and use it transferred when I slay a Dovah. The Greybeards can also transfer their knowledge with me but not vice versa. I can use the Word of Power immediately and this is due to the blessing from Akatosh. My Dragon Soul allows me to do this.
- Malesam: But you can teach others a new Shout and they can use it if they already have enough knowledge of the Words of Power. Like you have offered to teach the Greybeards some new Shouts in preparation for the Akaviri invasion.
- Wulf: Something during the teaching goes beyond just reading the combination of the Words of Power. What the mechanics are I do not know but if I were to write down the Shouts new to the Greybeards they could not use them. If I slowly pronounce each Word of Power and they have sufficient knowledge of them they will be immediately able to use the Shout.
- Malesam: So logically, unless Vorir was a Dragonborn, Erkaloth told him a Shout that consisted of three Words of Power that Vorir was already proficient in.
- Wulf: If there were three Words. Vorir might only have had enough knowledge for a one or two Word Shout. It is not like you just pick up the ability to use the Thu’um via reading. You need a teacher. I assume Lastendell is their equivalent to Sovngarde but I will ask more about that in a minute. Notice that Erkaloth talked to Vorir first while he was on the mortal plane but then took him to Lastendell to teach him the Shout. Like I said, there is something that occurs between two normal proponents of the Thu’um that needs close proximity before the receiver can use the new Shout. Once again my Dragon Soul gives me the advantage. I just need to read the Words of Power and if I know what the Shout is supposed to do it will work. I can’t just start randomly combine Words of Power and expect them to do anything. I need to know what the Shout can do before it does it!
- Blackwell: I am not much into all this magicka and so on but basically Vorir must have been proficient in the Thu’um to some extent and knew at least one Word of Power enough to use it.
- Wulf: Correct and the fact Lord Zahkris was not permanently ripped away from his soul may be because Vorir only learnt a one or two Word Shout. Maybe he did use a three Word Shout but his Thu’um was not strong enough. If I or one of the Ancient Tongues or Greybeards used the three Word Shout it would be permanent. No more Lord Zahkris!
- Malesam: What advantage would he have if he used your body?
- Wulf: I can only speculate. Unless he could hijack my soul and combine it with his then not much. My Dragonblood does not provide the blessings of Akatosh. It allows one to wear the Amulet of Kings and keep the Dragonfires alight. He may gain some protection against Shouts but I still get thrown across the room by some Draugr. In reality we do not know enough as yet.
- Malesam: What about Erkaloth? It says Vorir prayed to The Divines and Erkaloth answered!
- Wulf: The Khajiit call all the Gods in their pantheon Divine. It does not matter if Aedra, Daedra or something else. So you can take that text as meaning he simply prayed to any God that would listen.
- Malesam: Could it be interpreted another way?
- Wulf: Yes, Vorir could have been praying to The Eight and an Avatar answered his prayer. Whatever that statue of Erkaloth looks like it would be an aspect or Avatar of a God that Vorir saw. Only upon death do mortals have the ability to see the true form of a God without going insane or blind or both. For instance I could not see Shor in Sovngarde but the dead heroes could. He kept himself hidden from me so as not to cause an issue.
- Malesam: Could Erkaloth be something else?
- Wulf: Yes, it could be a full God that is simply not well known outside of the Somner. It could be somebody like Tsun using a different name. I am sure when I get deep into this on site I will learn more than what books can tell us.
- Malesam: Wait a second, there was something in an old manuscript that I was not allowed to remove from the library. Ah…now I remember. Erkaloth was the first of the Somner and was created by Lorkhan to populate Midwood Isle. Erkaloth then created the Somner from his image.
- Wulf: Well that would have stopped five minutes of wild guesses and speculation. At least you finally remembered it so thank you. Strange for Mer not to despise Lorkhan. Seems like Erkaloth is an Avatar of Lorkhan/Shor. Hence the Thu’um expertise. Wulfharth is also an Avatar of Shor and his Thu’um is one of the most powerful.
- Malesam: To the Somner Lorkhan is their creator God. Hence their reverence for him.
- Wulf: Now it is all starting to fit.
- Malesam: You were correct about Lastendell being their replacement for Sovngarde. The biggest difference is that three halls are present, not just one.
- Wulf: Makes more sense. I mean where do great Nord poets or midwives or privy cleaners go for an afterlife? There are many worthy Nords who are not mighty warriors. Most of them would die another death amongst all those Ragnar the Red type braggarts.
- Blackwell: There goes Skyrim. Annexing itself from The Empire due to the Emperor calling all their heroes Ragnar the Red.
- Wulf: Yep, send one shield-maiden called Matilda in and clear them all out.
- Malesam: Ahem, back to Lastendell?
- Wulf: Of course.
- Malesam: Lastendell is a spirit world mimicking Midwood Isle that was created by Erkaloth. The Somner look highly upon the traits of honour, respect and intelligence. All taught by Erkaloth at the time of creation.
- Wulf: Three revered traits. Three halls!
- Malesam: Yes, the Somner believe if you demonstrate these traits throughout your life and lead a good and meaningful one you will ascend to Lastendell. The Hall of Scholars is where great minds and compassionate souls reside. The Hall of Kings and Queens is where all the previous monarchs of Midwood Isle reside. The Hall of Champions is where all the warriors and heroes reside.
- Wulf: What if you were born stupid. How would you get into Lastendell is you can’t have the trait of intelligence?
- Malesam: Although those traits are highly respected, Erkaloth judges all fairly and equally with the main criteria being you have lived life to the fullest and adjudged a good person.
- Wulf: Once again much better than Sovngarde where it doesn’t matter if you carved up children and grandmothers for entertainment as long as you occasionally slaughtered other armed entities in mortal combat.
- Blackwell: Might as well start packing up the furniture in Castle Dour. Sovngarde is now full of child and old lady murdering Ragnar the Reds.
- Wulf: Pretty accurate eh!
Blackwell just shook his head and muttered quietly to himself.
- Wulf: So the number three seems important to the Somner. Three Halls in Lastendell. Three districts since Vorir spoke to three district mages. Three highly respected traits.
- Malesam: Many societies seem to place importance on the number three.
- Wulf: Three happens to be my favourite number. Red is my favourite colour. Medium rare steak my favourite food. You didn’t need to know those things by they are going in my journal for others so too bad. Balin probably knew that stuff anyway.
- Malesam: Majesty, your life is in peril. Can you please take this a bit more seriously?
- Wulf: From the moment I awoke in that carriage people, Gods, animals and inanimate objects have been out to kill me. Anyway, tell me about the three districts.
- Malesam: The right as King and Councillor resides in the family bloodline. Queen is by marriage. No suitable male heir results in a moot. Unsuitable kings cannot be thrown out. The climate of the island is not tropical but still very warm with far less rainfall than anywhere in Skyrim. The island is mostly flat and it is reportedly a beautiful place. Each district is roughly the same size therefore one third of the island each. The island itself is small and you can easily traverse one end to the other in a day. Each district is named after its major settlement. The north-east is called Alverton District. Its main source of income is lumber. Lumber mills send their produce to the central one called Florin District. All trading and shipping is done from the port of the capital Florin. Naturally that is where the King and if married Queen reside. The north-west is called Lundene District and it has a seemingly endless gold vein that produces some of Nirn’s finest and most easily refined gold. So the three most powerful men are the King and the two Councillors.
- Wulf: Kharjo says the trade with Skyrim is via Solitude. What port do they use in High Rock?
- Malesam: The Kingdom of Northpoint which we believe is still independent and not a vassal of one of the larger kingdoms.
- Blackwell: Sometimes the Kings of the High Point kingdoms don’t even know they have suddenly become a vassal. Messy place!
- Wulf: Tell me about it! Okay, last but not least, so I can sound like I have not just learnt of the place, who are the heroes and legends apart from Vorir?
- Blackwell: There are two mainly. Tamron Swifthand was born in 3E 147. He was expert at Speechcraft, which nearly all Somner are so watch your purse when shopping. He was so exceptional he no longer found it a challenge bartering for the normal goods of the island. His gift of the gab and entrepreneurial skills, plus I must say extreme bravery, led him to single handily negotiate the trade routes between High Rock and Skyrim that still exists today.
- Wulf: Skyrim would have been a shock to him! Lucky he picked Solitude instead of Windhelm to visit!
- Blackwell: Indeed! The other hero is a mage called Orisys Stormsong who was the Florin District Mage in 4E 109. Do you recall what happened in the year 4E 122 Majesty?
- Wulf: I would have been a poor Arch-Mage if I didn’t. The Sea of Ghosts smashed Winterhold to rubble for which the College still gets the blame. Apparently when I get a chance I can go through a time portal and see what happened. It is on my list of things to do which is longer that the longest thing you can think of.
- Blackwell: My list of torture variations would rival it. Anyway, similar to the catastrophe that struck Winterhold, Midwood Island seemed to feel the wrath of the Gods. The whole island shook and shuddered, the ground heaved, trees uprooted, buildings collapsed and all that other unpleasant stuff associated with huge earthquakes. Any Dunmer would have felt at home.
- Wulf: See Malesam. Blackwell just did two funnies. You should try it sometime. Although your suggestion to get Jimmy to find the Red Diamond was quite funny, till I realised you were serious.
- Blackwell: He what? No way!
- Wulf: Yes way!
- Blackwell: Probably be funnier if I knew who Jimmy was. Back to our heroin. She was born in 4E 76 and her father was the District Mage of Florin. She was so talented she outstripped her father’s knowledge by the age of fourteen and was sent to the College of Winterhold for further training. She became Master in both the Restoration and Alteration Schools and returned to Midwood Isle at the age of twenty four after receiving news her father was very ill. He died shortly after her arrival and she was immediately appointed the district mage. As the island continued to shake she realised she could help most but not all the people. At her insistence the King ordered the evacuation of everybody on the island to Florin. Orisys surrounded the city in a magical ward whilst also healing those already injured. Anything inside her ward was protected but Lundene, Alverton, major forts and other structures were all destroyed. Only a fraction of the people who could have died did due to her actions. Because she saved the port and the royal family the repairs could be paid for and everything done in an orderly manner. She died fairly young at one hundred and seven years of age in 4E 184.
- Malesam: I must say Blackwell you narrated that very well indeed.
- Wulf: And not one, ‘Ahhhhhh’ in the whole thing!
- Malesam: Very droll Majesty.
- Wulf: Auryen accused me of the same thing. So I need to know who are the current King and Queen?
- Blackwell: Since 4E 178 that is King Lokan and Queen Elysia. I did look up my notes on them and had written that Queen Elysia giggles like a hyena and makes High Queen Elisif sound like an elder statesmen. Not implying your friend is not smart and she is certainly a very capable High Queen. I just meant age wise Elysia sounds like your friend Princess Potema, bless her little heart.
- Wulf: Have you been speaking to Rigmor about removing that blessed little heart with a blunt kitchen knife again?
- Blackwell: High Queen Rigmor would not need a knife for that task.
- Wulf: Okay, how do I get there? I do not suppose either of you would be happy if I used the small trading vessel that brought the assassins to Solitude?
- Malesam: I have learned we cannot stop you doing as you wish. But this Court Advisor suggests you take that huge ship designed to carry around the important person known as Emperor in safety and style.
- Blackwell: After your experience with smaller boats and pirates Malesam’s suggestion is also mine. It will take a bit longer to get there but you are guaranteed to arrive. We will not have much of a naval presence in that area till Count Leyawiin’s fleet is put to sea. However it would take many ships to even put a dent in your flagship if anybody dared risk it with you aboard. We will fly the flag to indicate you are.
- Wulf: Can you send a message ahead via the Mages aboard the airship. Get them to ether to Solitude then one of them is to pay for passage on one of the regular trade vessels to Florin. They are then to deliver a message to the King informing him of our expected arrival. Make sure the King understands we do not want or expect any official greetings. Tell him it is to do with the prophecy so he understands the gravity of it all. His people are at risk. Can you please word that and I will seal it before I go.
- Blackwell: That is definitely my area of expertise Majesty. May I compliment you on your new armour and I understand your reluctance to continue the use of your father’s.
- Malesam: We know you expressed reservation about that but there really was not a suitable substitute till now. That set you are wearing is outstanding.
- Wulf: Yes it is but I have this feeling Akatosh expects me to create my own set at the Soul Forge. Both of you have done an excellent job at short notice. Anybody would think we bounce from crises to crises.
- Blackwell: Where would they get that impression Majesty?
They both went off and I sat on the throne waiting for Blackwell to present the letter for my seal.
Uthgerd the Unbroken was The Sentinel to my left and said, “You were only joking about Sovngarde weren’t you Wulf?”
“Of course and the majority of the heroes in that hall would have laughed and probably broke out in a horrendous rendition of ‘Ragnar the Red’. Some of the others would probably have knocked my teeth out with their mailed fists. That is okay because my mouth would fix itself ready for the next drunken brawl.”
“Do you expect to go to Sovngarde?”
“No and I would not want to. I do not glory in battle or war. I hope I am rewarded with a place in Aetherius with my mother, all those children we saved from Molag Bal and my brothers and sisters of the Minotaur. They could teach me to soar amongst the stars. It is a place where Rigmor could join me and be happy. Maybe we can even make that farm she has always wanted somewhere up there.”
“You are a kind soul Majesty. The Divines will honour you and our Queen. If your wishes differ you will just have to put up with hers. It sounds like Lord Akatosh has a favourite.”
I laughed and then we were quiet for the ten minutes it took for Blackwell to return with the letter. It was perfect and would have taken me many draughts to approach its quality. I sealed it then made my way to the ports. The Riften Squad took over guard duties once I reached it.
It would take a good hour or so to get the ship ready so I took a stroll around the docks. Just as I was about to board Rigmor came running up to me and flew into my arms and kissed me till I begged for mercy. Then she stood back, looked at my armour and asked, “Where is my set?”
“It is on order my love. They had to send away for more metal to cover the bump.”
“Ha de ha! The talks with the Countesses went very well. All was relaxed and it was hard to remember their husbands had been intent on killing us all not so long ago. The only point of disagreement is what should have been done to Robere. They were both upset you did not chop up that ‘piece of excrement’ as one of them politely put it.”
“She is still stuck in the old ways. That has helped them forget the animosity generated by their husbands’ greed and concentrate on the future. I think a different Robere will walk back into public life one day and be a testament to my belief that not all pieces of excrement are worthless.”
The bell rang and the Admiral called out, “All aboard who is coming aboard. Five minutes and then you will have to swim!”
I gave my lady one long lingering kiss then boarded.
She was stills standing on the dock as my view of her vanished when we turned for the open sea.
I had been informed by the Admiral it would be early on the 30th before we reached Midwood Island.