Loredas, 8th Sun’s Height, 4E 205

Falskaar: Small things count!

At around 9:00AM I sent Lydia to ask if Jarl Agnar and his wife Jalma would care to sit and talk with us. They invited us to visit their home at 10:00AM.

Rigmor and I dressed in matching finery. The usual clothing we wear at court and public appearances is meant to convey our status and is therefore expensive and unique. That type of clothing is way too pretentious for a meeting with the leaders of a small kingdom. What we decided to wear is tailor made and of the finest materials but nothing that a rich merchant could not afford.

Rigmor and I have learnt a lot about diplomacy over the last few months. The last thing we want to do is draw attention to how large and rich The Empire is compared to Falskaar. We want Jarl Agnar to regard us as friends and feel comfortable accepting our help.

The Skyrim Squad wore their usual uniforms and remained outside the Jarl’s residence. Neither Rigmor nor I had our weapons.

We entered and they were already sitting at the table waiting for us. Extra chairs had been put in place but were empty. This casual approach, no meeting inside the doorway and idle chat before sitting, was refreshing. The Jarl at the head of the table was a subtle but firm declaration of whose kingdom this was. They were both wearing their finest. Similar to what the Jarls in Skyrim wear.

Rigmor and I sat and Jalma raised her eyebrows. If she thought I was going to pull the chair out for milady before sitting down myself she had been reading the wrong etiquette books.

Brother Thorlogh sat opposite Rigmor and me.

Then it struck me. We are probably the first foreign leaders to visit Falskaar in six hundred years!

  • Agnar: Good morning Majesties. I am honoured to have you in our humble home. This is my good wife Lady Jalma.
  • Wulf: Good morning to you King Agnar. Lady Jalma. Please allow me to introduce my wife, High Queen Rigmor Septim.
  • Rigmor: King Agnar, Wulf mentioned you feel uncomfortable being called by your title so I suggest we just use our first names. I hate the titles too and if Wulf was to list all of his we would be here till next week.
  • Agnar: Haha, I can imagine. I am so very pleased to meet you Rigmor. Like many in Falskaar I have read your husband’s journals. Till yesterday they were fascinating but not real. Too fantastic for us to believe.
  • Jalma: I am also glad to meet you Rigmor. What Agnar says is true. But now, sitting before us, are heroes from a bard’s tale. The shining King and Queen from some popular story.
  • Rigmor: We never sought the Ruby Throne or any nobility at all. We would both be happier living on a farm with our only worry being the weather and when to harvest. But prophecy and the will of many Gods, not just The Nine, has put us there. So we will do their will, up to a point, for the benefit of all the people on Nirn.
  • Wulf: That may sound pretentious but that is why the Gods wished us to take up this burden. Not just for the citizens of The Empire but all mortals. If we fulfil our daughter’s prophecy then peace will exist for all.
  • Rigmor: Mostly. There will still be evil such as Yngvarr but the wars of the Gods will no longer be fought on Nirn.
  • Thorlogh: I will forgive Agnar for forgetting me as he has a lot on his mind. I am Brother Thorlogh and am also pleased to meet you Rigmor.
  • Rigmor: Pleased to meet you as well Thorlogh.
  • Thorlogh: I think I understand what you are saying. Wulf said that Yngvarr would require help from somebody very powerful, maybe even a Daedric Prince, to corrupt the Heart of the Gods for evil, selfish purposes. If the Daedric Princes no longer have influence then that sort of corruption could not occur.
  • Rigmor: Mortals are capable of great evil without the influence of the Dark Lords. But they cannot kill or enslave everybody or destroy Nirn without their assistance. The reason for many wars and the dangers to our very existence would be removed. That is what the prophecy involving Kintyra, our yet to be born daughter, promises.
  • Agnar: We know you did not ask for this meeting to discuss yourselves. Forgive us for our curiosity.
  • Rigmor: There is nothing to forgive Agnar. We can discuss all of this when travelling as we have a proposal for you both.
  • Wulf: We wish to offer you the use of our airship, Nafalilargus, to help you and your people over the next few days.
  • Rigmor: We can fly over Borvald and Staalgarde to access the damage. There will be four Masters of Restoration aboard who can help the citizens of Staalgarde, the same as Celestine and Wulf have assisted those of Amber Creek.
  • Wulf: There is also a chance that some escaped Borvald or did not enter the city before the attack. The airship could aid in finding them as well.
  • Agnar: We could cover far more ground with less danger!
  • Jalma: Agnar, you are talking about going where only birds and dragons belong. If we were meant to fly we would have wings.
  • Rigmor: There are many people who would destroy the airship rather than risk Wulf, I and Kintyra. If they consider it safe then I am happy to say it is so. Absolutely safe.
  • Wulf: I would never risk Rigmor’s safety Jalma. You can stay inside the cabin if you wish but I guarantee once you see your country from up high you will remember the experience for eternity.
  • Agnar: Who could we take with us?
  • Wulf: I would definitely suggest your housecarls and a few soldiers if you wish. Four Sentinel will be aboard as well as three Master Mages.
  • Thorlogh: I would love to join you Agnar!
  • Wulf: Not today Thorlogh. I propose you and I tackle the Dream Crystal and Necromancers. That does concern a Daedric Prince I do believe. It could be a bigger danger than Yngvarr was.
  • Agnar: If Wulf thinks there is great danger then I ask you to go with him my friend. While you work on that problem we can help our people with Rigmor, the airship and the mages. We will take Ulgar and Svegard with us.
  • Wulf: I don’t think you will have much chance of leaving Wilhard behind.
  • Agnar: I wouldn’t dare. It will be an experience for him.
  • Jalma: It might help him forget what he saw yesterday.
  • Rigmor: Wulf told me about that. Something like a ride in a magical airship is perfect therapy. Replace some of the horror with adventure.
  • Wulf: Aboard Nafalilargus are two of the best things on Nirn to help drive away the sadness. Meeko and Karla are dogs, or at least they look like dogs. Whatever they are they have a way of making the saddest children laugh and smile.
  • Jalma: Okay Agnar, I will try and be brave enough to go flying but it will be amusing to see you try and convince those two oafs.
  • Agnar: It is agreed then. Let us see what we can get done today and then make further plans after that.
  • Wulf: Ready Thorlogh? Let us head for the priory and see what Brother Arnand has discovered about the Daedric artefacts. Don’t worry as you will get your turn aboard Nafalilargus before we leave.
  • Thorlogh: I assume you are putting some armour on first?
  • Wulf: Yes, meet me outside. I will only be a few minutes.

We all stood and I gave Rigmor a peck on the cheek then whispered, “Wear your armour and tell them about the Thalmor!” She nodded and I headed to the airship to don my armour.

It was about 10:30AM when I met Thorlogh out the front of the Jarl’s residence.

He exclaimed, “I was just telling The Sentinel how impressive their armour looks and then you stroll up wearing that! It must have cost a fortune!”

“It was not cheap but it is certainly not my most valuable set of armour. This set is what I use when representing The Empire and therefore has to look like something its Emperor would wear. The set I wore the last few days is called The Vestige. I forged it myself out of a metal created from dragon souls. I used the same metal to make my weapons.”

“You are a blacksmith as well?”

“I am quite good but not able to make something of that craftsmanship. Let’s just say I had a great deal of help from Lord Akatosh.”

Thorlogh shook his head then said, “You talk about these things so casually.”

“Believe me Thorlogh when I tell you they fill me a sense of wonder as well.”

“Can you tell me about these Dream Crystals?”

“Let’s get walking and I will tell you on the way to the priory.”

It took just under an hour to walk to Bailun Priory and Thorlogh was like a three year old. He asked question after question after question. His thirst for knowledge was unquenchable and I enjoyed his company.

There was nobody outside as we approached which was unusual according to Thorlogh.

We stood at the entrance and listened. There was silence from within.

When we entered there were a few prior shuffling around but nowhere near the hive of activity Thorlogh expected. Brother Arnand was leaning up against a support so we approached him.

One prior was kneeling before a shrine to Kynareth and touched it gently with his hand. Then he bemoaned loudly, “You have always been my favourite Divine yet even you refuse to get rid of this headache. Shame on you I say!”

It was now obvious what ailed all in the priory. I used my Thu’um to make my voice loud enough to exacerbate their problem,

“THE DIVINE BLESSING IS TO REMOVE DISEASE AND NOT THE EFFECTS OF TOO MUCH MEAD!”

Collective groans from different parts of the building let us know where each prior was.

  • Thorlogh: Greetings Brother Arnand. How much mead did you all consume?
  • Arnand: How many barrels did we have? That much. And can you talk a bit quieter please.
  • Wulf: I hope you are well enough to tell us what your research revealed.
  • Arnand: Forgive us Traveller, ah, Majesty. We lost Brother Collins then we heard about Borvald then about the battle then finally the news Yngvarr was dead. A few celebratory meads turned into the disaster you see before you.
  • Wulf: I understand. It must have been difficult.
  • Thorlogh: I kept you all out of the fighting in case we were needed after Yngvarr was defeated. I now expect you all to find your way to Amber Creek and from there to wherever each of you thinks you can provide the most help. Do not let the people of Falskaar down!
  • Arnand: We shall leave soon. It might take a bit longer as many will shuffle along like crippled Draugr.
  • Thorlogh: You will not look out of place amongst the Amber Creek residents.
  • Wulf: I thought the streets were a bit empty this morning.
  • Thorlogh: Your research Arnand. What can you tell us?
  • Arnand: You were a bit wrong in your appraisal of that crystal Majesty.
  • Wulf: Please call me Wulf. What was my error?
  • Arnand: You thought it was one of five Dream Crystals. In fact it is a shard of the Dream Crystal.
  • Wulf: Was this artefact known by earlier scholars of Falskaar?
  • Arnand: Yes, hundreds of years ago. Our knowledge of magicka was far more complete back then. When they discovered the crystal it was decided the danger it posed was too great. They managed to break it into five shards. Upon each shard an incantation was placed to seal the dark magic within thus preventing their use.
  • Thorlogh: Did Arnand find all five shards?
  • Arnand: It seems their ancient wisdom did not extend to scattering the shards. They were stored in a single place that is not named in the texts. Arnand mentions crystals in his journal. It is logical to believe he found all five.
  • Wulf: And distributed them amongst the Necromancers on the island for research.
  • Arnand: They appear to be of lesser status than he. His own cult if you will. There may be one group with all four of the other shards in their possession or four groups with one each or a combination in between.
  • Wulf: All that is certain is they will be trying to break the protective barrier, what you called an incantation.
  • Arnand: Which I fear has most likely worn down over the years.
  • Wulf: Your knowledge of magicka is not the best is it? Dweomer do not wear down. Their strength is determined at the time of casting and will remain the same throughout eternity.
  • Thorlogh: Then how do they get past it?
  • Wulf: Through study. Do you have the shard I gave you?

Arnand reached into the folds of his robe, retrieved the shard and handed it to me.

I concentrated but could not detect any dweomer. I handed it back to Arnand.

  • Wulf: There is definitely no dweomer on it that I can detect. That can mean one of three things. They have managed to remove the protective barrier from this one. The protective barrier is in itself of Daedric design or placed upon it by a Divine.
  • Thorlogh: Would their study of Necromancy aid in removing the barrier?
  • Wulf: Any such barrier will be a combination of the four elements woven together. Earth, water, air and fire, or light if you are Ayleid. You can study the weave and find its weakness or overcome it with a large amount of magicka concentrated on a small area. They would have found a weak point on the crystal that allowed them to shatter it. The same principal applies to protective barriers.
  • Thorlogh: Why could you instantly destroy the barrier around the Heart of the Gods from a great distance when those three wizards could not from close up? It seems they had been working at it for some time.
  • Wulf: They did not have time to study the barrier and were trying brute force. Like randomly hitting a diamond with a hammer. Nothing happens till you hit just the right spot and it shatters. Lightning is good because when it hits there is light, heat, electrical energy and magicka concentrated into a very small area. That was enough to overcome the barrier. I am one of the most powerful mages currently on Nirn but am nothing compared to Zurin Arctus and other great mages of times past.
  • Thorlogh: Didn’t he become the Underking?
  • Wulf: Him and Wulfharth both. Don’t ask me how as your head will explode with the explanation. Neither of them liked me much when I met them.
  • Thorlogh: I know these things you say are true but really, you met them and survived?
  • Wulf: Barely in the case of Wulfharth. If the shard we have in our possession has had its barrier removed then they might have done so for the other four. But sensible mages of old would have placed a different barrier on each. But then again sensible mages of old would not have stored them all in one place. We do not know enough.
  • Arnand: All you can do is search for Necromancers and see if they have the shards and/or more information.
  • Wulf: What does the complete Dream Crystal do?
  • Arnand: It can be used by the holder to create an alternate world of limited scale within the planes of Oblivion. Wherein the user may create anything they could possible dream of.
  • Wulf: Daedric Princes and Daedric magicka can’t create something out of nothing. They must convert something already existing. So I doubt it is that powerful. The knowledge to create a pocket realm was common amongst ancient mages.

I pulled out my Ayleid amulet and held it up for them to see.

  • Wulf: This gives me access to my own pocket realm in Oblivion. From there I can theoretically travel to anywhere else on Nirn plus other pocket realms. I am still researching how it all functions as this was created by the Ayleid and the knowledge is lost.
  • Thorlogh: Have you experienced other pocket realms?
  • Wulf: I have travelled through many and their existence within Oblivion does not dictate they are evil. The one inside Azura’s Star was quite beautiful. A Demon I encountered in Evermore had created one that was stomach churning in its ugliness. The one I can access from the College of Winterhold is just like a slice of Skyrim with eternally good weather and nothing trying to kill or eat you.
  • Arnand: Do you think the shards have individual dweomers the Necromancers can use?
  • Wulf: I have no idea. We will just have to go looking for them and find out rather than guess.
  • Arnand: Sorry to say I haven’t a clue where they might be or how to track them.
  • Wulf: If they have any dweomer usable by the Necromancers they have probably been experimenting. So any unusual activity or behaviour will be our clue. There is one place that caught my notice the other day. Near the port the mudcrabs were very large and very aggressive compared to all others I have seen in Falskaar.
  • Thorlogh: That is a bit of a slim hope to base a long walk on!
  • Wulf: Very rarely do I get the answers given to me. I work on hunches, intuition, educated guesses. Besides that I want to speak to Wulf and see if he can tell me how and where Yngvarr managed to ship in all his mercenaries and gear. Just think of the million more questions I can answer along the way.
  • Arnand: I was going to suggest you just ask around to see if anybody has noticed anything unusual. Those mudcrabs are a good example. Ask Henrik about them.
  • Wulf: If we manage to find the other four shards we will decide what to do from there. If there is a Daedric Prince behind this the danger increases many fold.
  • Thorlogh: Terrific. Just what Falskaar needs I don’t think.
  • Wulf: Great work Arnand! Hopefully we see you again soon with more good news.
  • Arnand: All in the priory thank you and The Sentinel for your help. Divines bless you.

We left the priory and I said to Thorlogh, “Any Necromancers we encounter should not pose much danger but if we have to deal with a Daedric Prince, leave it to me. Do not get in a conversation with it!”

“Is it true they can change gender?”

We started the long walk as I answered, “Most if not all Daedric Princes can and do change gender on a whim. My encounters with Boethia have been when she is in her rather voluptuous female form that many males lust over. She could just as easily appear as a handsome male, which would be kind of strange for me to deal with since I am used to her current form. There are creatures on Nirn that can change gender and even some that are both.”

“I have read Argonians can change as well.”

“Yes but they have to have access to The Hist to do so…”

The discussion on gender was one of dozens of topics Thorlogh picked my brain about on the way to the docks.

I was going to speak to Henrik however the first person we saw at the docks was his son Galen.

I walked up to him but he was so intent on sweeping the front porch of his parents store he didn’t realise we were there till I said, ‘Hello Galen.”

He looked up at me then replied, “Oh hello. You are the people that saved us aren’t you? You are just wearing different armour. I recognise the pretty ladies.”

“Don’t let them fool you. They are really witches with big hairy warts on their noses and yellow rotting teeth.”

“Then you must be an old troll!”

“Oh no, Galen has seen through my disguise!”

“You are weird! But thank you for saving us the other day. I didn’t get a chance to thank you because I had to run off to the privy.”

“That’s okay Galen. Are your parents inside?”

“No, they took a couple of wagons of supplies up to a camp near Staalgarde where Jarl Yngvarr’s people ran to. They need help too did you know?”

“King Agnar will make sure they get lots of help. Isn’t it dangerous leaving you here by yourself?”

“Patrols come through here regularly since you and your friends rescued us. Plus there is Wulf over there. He is a pretty good fighter. Did you know he lost an eye fighting a pirate once?”

“Did he? I bet he was angry when those sneaky bandits surprised you all and tied you up.”

“My Mum told him off for using swear words I had never heard before. I don’t suppose you could tell me what they mean?”

“You will learn as you get older. No need to hurry with these things.”

“But it is so boring around here at the moment. I usually have plenty to do. Through I wish there was more sometimes. My Dad says I still can’t go into the forest alone as there may still be bad people who will try to hurt me. Some parts of the coast are full of nasty creatures but usually I can play on the nearby beach.”

“You can’t play there at the moment?”

“No, the mudcrabs have gone crazy. Normally I just throw rocks at them and they go away but lately they have been much bigger than normal and chase me. Some followed me all the way home and my father and Wulf had to kill them!”

“I think I will go ask them to mind their manners! Maybe even tell them to go find another home far away.”

“Or you could just hit them with that big sword of yours. They would have eaten me if they caught me.”

“I will try and talk to them first. That is the right thing to do.”

“Okay but I bet you have to hit them with your sword. They are just west of here near Sandyshell Hollow.”

Galen got back to sweeping. We spotted Wulf leaning against the mast of his boat and headed towards him.

I said, “Good afternoon Wulf.”

He replied, “Good afternoon Wulf.”

“I was told you are the only sailor currently brave enough to sail to Skyrim and back.”

“It was very dangerous with the increased number of pirate vessels after that Sethius bloke took your throne. But since you shortened him a bit and sit on the throne the number of navy patrols has increased and the pirates decreased. It was too late to save some of my friends or their vessels though.”

“How did Yngvarr get all those mercenaries onto the island?”

“The coast may look docile and beautiful but the shoreline is littered with sunken reminders of the treachery that lies not far below the calm waves. We have always been plagued by bandits that risk the danger and land undetected along many of the small inlets. But I doubt that is where most of Yngvarr’s men landed. There have always been rumours of a sheltered bay in the frozen north.”

“So long before Yngvarr this island has been a target of bandits, corsairs and pirates?”

“We have no navy. After the war a hundred years ago our population started to decline. There were never enough guards to patrol beyond the borders of the holds. King Agnar knows this but what can he do? Now we have lost Borvald and I don’t know how badly Staalgarde has been damaged but if that is lost then I will be transporting hundreds to Skyrim. Rats deserting a sinking ship. But they are not really rats, just people who want what is best for their children.”

“Queen Rigmor and I are helping your King by helping Falskaar get over the last few days. Save the people we can. Until that is done no other plans can be made.”

“You and Queen Rigmor are part of the problem. A large exodus occurred when you ended the civil war. Some more left when you took the Ruby Throne. You are telling all nations to prepare for the Akaviri. What could Falskaar do against them? The last few days will convince many that not only is The Empire better for their family in terms of opportunity but safety as well. I feel that Falskaar is doomed. Perhaps similar happened to the original inhabitants? There must be a reason they left.”

I suddenly had an idea. I had to think about it some more. The reason why the first inhabitants left and the reason why the Thalmor are sniffing around right now might be one and the same.

“Wulf, all I can promise you is that we will work through options with your King and see what can be done for your country. We will sweep the bandits and other scum from your land and perhaps that will convince many to stay. How can we give you hope?”

“Much of my gloom is caused by something that has brought up a lot of questions about some old friends.”

“I am listening.”

“Two friends of my parents, Janna and Alvar, ran the lighthouse to the east of here a long time ago. As a matter of fact they were the closest of friends when my mother was pregnant with me. In case you can’t guess my age, that was fifty years ago.”

“Did something happen to Janna and Alva?”

“We don’t know. One day the left quickly for a trip to Skyrim. They had never shown interest in going there before so my parents were mystified. They thought they would get answers when their friends returned. However, on the day they said they would return, there was a particularly nasty storm. Everybody thought they didn’t make it. That they perished in the storm aboard one of the several boats that sunk that night.”

“Did anybody check their home to see if they had made it?”

“My parents did not think they would have made it and not told them but a guardsman said he would check anyway. This was several days after the storm. He went to the lighthouse and was never heard from again. Immediately rumours circulated that the lighthouse was cursed or haunted by their spirits who now hated the living. Nobody has stepped foot in that place since that guard never returned.”

“Did your parents try and contact them?”

“My father wanted to go and check but mother was very superstitious. She thought something evil had happened and made my father promise to never go there. He never did.”

“So why has this suddenly become an issue? What has caused these questions to surface now?”

“I regarded it all as ghost tales and bedtime stories until recently. I was walking along the beach a few days ago, clearing my head after our run in with those bandits you saved us from, and I found something. In a small dugout on the beach was a sack of coins and a letter. It was from my parents to Janna. They were giving her the sack of coins to help. Alvar was a proud man and would not have accepted charity. I think Janna hid them there till she figured out what to do or perhaps just till she got back from Skyrim.”

“You think Alvar was in debt to somebody? Perhaps that is why they went to Skyrim?”

“I don’t know and now I need an answer. What was going on between my parents and their friends? Is the explanation to be found in the lighthouse?”

“You are an experienced warrior. Why have you not investigated the lighthouse yourself?”

“I will fight anybody that holds a weapon in their hand but ghosts or evil spirits or worse? I told you my mother was superstitious. Those ghost tales and bedtime stories are enough to keep me away from that place.”

“The lighthouse is not far from here. I am going to solve the problem of the mudcrabs who have taken over Galen’s favourite beach. Then I will go look at the lighthouse for you.”

“You are the Emperor! You are one of the most powerful people on Nirn! I can understand you helping our king win a war against evil but beating up on mudcrabs for a boy and checking out an old superstition for a sailor? Why?”

“It is what I did for years before becoming Emperor. It is what I like to do. I like to help people and make their lives happier. If I have to do it one person at a time then so be it. I am also investigating something for the priory. That is why Brother Thorlogh is with me. Who knows, the mudcrabs or the lighthouse might contain clues to this other problem.”

“Farewell then Wulf. Perhaps when you return you might tell me why the Aldmeri Dominion navy gave me a hard time. I took my boat out to check my repairs on her mainsail this morning. One of their warships tailed me and I was sure they would have boarded me if a huge Imperial ship called Andlát had not crossed their bow.”

As we walked towards the mudcrabs Thorlogh asked, “What is this about the Dominion? Do you know what is happening?”

“When informed they had warships close to Falskaar Queen Rigmor sent several of our vessels to keep an eye on them. It may have to do with my presence on the island or something more sinister. I am waiting on a report from one of our admirals. Till then I would only be guessing.”

“It can’t be coincidence they came the same time you are here!”

“What has happened in the last few days that would enrage the Thalmor? The first time we saw Ahkrinviing was in the Heart Chamber but he may have been watching things for days.”

“Lord Shor!”

“Shor, the missing God also known as Lorkhan. If there is one immortal they despise more than Talos it is the one they blame for their mortality. Perhaps they knew his avatar was active here. Perhaps they knew about Shor’s protection well before your people arrived six hundred years ago. Perhaps they are the reason why the original inhabitants left suddenly. This is speculation but the pieces fit. I would need to find evidence to make it fact.”

“What are you going to do about them?”

“They break no laws as long as they do not enter your territorial waters. Rigmor would have informed King Agnar by now. He may have his own suggestions. Until then we just watch them closely.”

“Do you think they would want the Heart of the Gods?”

“Oh yes! They would love to get their hands on that! I have no doubt as to that fact whatsoever!”

“Shit!”

“You got that right. Look, the mudcrabs. They are huge and charging at us!”

As soon as a mudcrabs saw us they moved in to attack. Usually they chitter away and bury themselves then only attack if you get too close. It was the same behaviour I noticed the other day when we came this way.

Unrelenting force killed a few but the noise attracted more from far away.

So we started using sword and bow to kill them.

We came to a stream. Thorlogh pointed to it and said, “That leads to Sandyshell Hollow. It is a series of caves worn into the limestone through erosion.”

I pointed to a dead white sabretooth and exclaimed, “That is not common. It looks like a mudcrab killed the sabretooth. They never attack each other.”

Lydia added, “I don’t think any of us have seen such a thing before. Something is strange here Wulf!”

“I agree. Let us clear out the mudcrabs up to the entrance of the caves and decide what to do from there.”

We killed another half a dozen mudcrabs then stood at the entrance to Sandyshell Hollow. Clear booted footprints could be seen entering and exiting the caves. I said, “These footprints are a combination of new and old. Several look like today’s or yesterday’s at the latest.  There were no dead mudcrabs or signs of fighting apart from the sabretooth. So whoever is coming in and out seems to not be bothered by the large homicidal crustaceans that seem intent on attacking everything that moves.”

“Like the mudcrabs were acting like guards.” suggested Iona.

“Let’s have a look inside shall we?”

We entered the caves and were immediately attacked by mudcrabs.

What looked like a dead end had an obvious ‘hidden door’. Next to it was a pull handle to open the hidden door. I couldn’t help it and asked Thorlogh, “Don’t give me an answer now. Think on it and I will ask you later. Why go through the effort of making a hidden door and then place the opening mechanism right next to it?”

Thorlogh’s forehead instantly creased as he started to consider this conundrum that has vexed me for years.

I pulled and twisted the lever and the door ground upwards. We started walking along the new corridor.

We passed a portcullis with its opening mechanism, a chain pull, on the other side.

“That is probably a shortcut to the outside. The bars and chain pull look new. A recent addition I think.” suggested Jordis.

I replied, “I think you are right. Somebody is probably at home so let’s be quiet from now on.”

We move cautiously and came across the stream we saw outside. We were attacked by several mudcrabs and killing them made noise that echoed and alerted those ahead of us.

I just don’t go killing random people we meet in caves so approached with weapons sheathed. Several mudcrabs and Necromancers saw us then became instantly hostile.

I hit them with a full strength Unrelenting Force.

A couple of them landed in the water.

I leapt in and hit them with another Unrelenting Force.

Neither of them survived.

A tunnel leading off the watery cavern had several Necromancers who came running with spells prepared after hearing my Thu’um.

They died by Shout and arrow.

We entered a cavern where an Arch-Necromancer and several mudcrabs were waiting for us.

Unrelenting force sent the mage flying and killed the mudcrabs.

After staggering to his feet the mage watched in horror as one ethereal arrow was soon joined by a second. Both flew across the cavern and fatally embedded themselves in his midsection.

Upon a platform covered in symbols was a dais. Upon the dais was a bowl.

Within the bowl was one of the Dream Crystal shards. I picked it up and could feel no dweomer the same as with the first I had recovered.

I searched the dead Arch-Necromancer and recovered a journal. I read the relevant sections to the others,

“Our latest trials have proven far more bountiful than the earlier ones. Vernan assures us that we are close to our goal, we must keep going.

Sandyshell has proven to be an invaluable location for trying to unveil the magics in the crystal fragment. It is out of the way, far from anyone who would certainly… judge us.

The earliest tests let forth a powerful burst of magic, sprouting life throughout the cave. The odd part was that the life did not match that of the forest around us. Perhaps the magic that flows through the land of Falskaar affects or interferes with the crystals own magic.

Luckily our latest trial has proven useful. We have been able to direct the magic into the local mudcrab population. It increased their size and ferocity. This has proven useful and will have many applications. However we have also stumbled upon the ability to control the mudcrabs will to a limited extent. For example we can control to the point that they will not attack us. No doubt the two phenomena are related which perhaps hints at the crystal’s original intent.”

I angrily said, “Fucking mind control! Only an idiot would think that is anything but pure evil. I wish this particular idiot was still alive so I could make him gut himself and see what he thinks of mind control after that!”

Lydia said, “No you don’t Wulf. You have only ever used that power once and have felt guilt since. That time all you did was make a Dovah fly you somewhere.”

“And Miraak killed him so don’t you dare suggest that was harmless!”

“Get angry at me, I am used to it, but just cut the bullshit where you say you want to use mind control.”

“This is sounding more like that bitch Vaermina as we go.”

Thorlogh asked, “What next Wulf?”

“We check the lighthouse. Who knows, there may be another lot of these idiots waiting for us there!”

At the back of the room was a door.

It led to a short corridor with the pull chain and portcullis we saw earlier.

“You were right!” I said to Jordis.

We made our way out of the caves and back to the port. Galen came running and smiled when I announced, “The beach is ready for adventure once more! No more angry mudcrabs and you were right I did have to hit them with my sword.”

“Wow thanks! Here, have this money. It is a whole month’s allowance. I am going to build a huge castle!”

“Keep your money Galen. Not everybody expects to get paid for doing the right thing.”

“I thought you would do that. My dad says you are one of the nicest people ever.”

“I try. Now you had better go build that castle while the tide is out!”

Galen ran off laughing and I had a huge smile.

Thorlogh said, “In your journals you mention your orphanages quite a lot. Children are special to you aren’t they?”

“Just think. Even Yngvarr was once a child. He was not born the evil bitter man he was. All children are full of empathy, wisdom, love and insatiable curiosity. We need to nurture and feed those natural aspects so they turn out more like King Agnar.”

I placed the beacon and activated it.

“Does that call the airship?” Thorlogh asked.

“Yes and no matter where on Nirn it is it will take two hours to get here by the ether. I suspect they will fly it here which should take less time. It should be here by the time we return from the lighthouse.”

It had been misty all day and the lighthouse did look ominous in the distance.

I asked Thorlogh, “Did you figure out why they have the way to open a hidden door in plain view near the hidden door?”

“No Wulf, I have no idea! It seems incredibly stupid to me.”

“Correct answer. Here is another one. Who lit that torch at the entrance to the lighthouse and why?”

We walked through the archway and on the left were three shrines of Divines.

To the right was a locked door which I quickly picked.

When we entered the lighthouse living quarters a ghost exited the room.

I said, “That will be Janna’s spirit. She wants us to follow her.”

On the floor was a journal that read,

“Rain’s Hand, 14th – They came by again. We simply don’t have the money to keep feeding their greed. Janna and I have to do something. We must find a way to stop those bandits from harassing us. If we don’t, they may try to do something stupid.

Rain’s Hand, 17th – We’ve decided to go see some friends in Skyrim. Maybe they can help us. We don’t have a choice. We will talk to them tomorrow.”

Thorlogh said, “They were being harassed by some local bandits. You were right that the money Wulf’s parents gave Janna was to help them. But from what you just read Alvar knew. So why stash the money like they did?”

“I am guessing it was not enough money. Rather than let the bandits take it they hid it till they could get enough. It is foolish to pay such extortionists. They say ‘Give us 100 septims!’ and you do so. Then they think you must have more so they return and demand another 100 septims or even more. They are simply not going to walk away when they can milk an easy source of income. Let us go where Janna has led us.”

We entered a bedroom with a skeleton on the bed. I said, “Looks like we found Alvar. There are no broken bones so he probably died of pneumonia from their swim in the sea. Could have been poisoned by a sea creature I suppose. Janna led us here to see him and discover the journal on the side table.”

I picked it up and read it out loud,

“18th of Rain’s Hand

We’re leaving today to go to Skyrim. We’ll be back in 3 days, hopefully with enough money to make those thieving bandits leave us alone.

21st of Rain’s Hand

By the nine! What’s happened! We had no choice we had to take the money! So many innocent lives we could have helped. We should have helped. But no we need it! Alvar has become very ill. I fear he may die. If he does I don’t know what I’ll do. We’ve hidden the gold in the dungeon. I hope those bandits never find it.

23rd of Rain’s Hand

They came again today. I simply didn’t answer the door. Next time I fear they’ll break in. I have no choice but to go and hide with the gold. The bandits don’t know about the trapdoor. They won’t be able to find me there. I’ll be safe. Alvar is close to death. I must leave him up here, I have no choice!”

I lamented, “Oh Janna, you always have a choice. You could have sought help against the bandits and not just your friends at the docks. You could have had guards inside who would have dealt with the bandits when they came. You could have helped the others escape the stricken ship and they may have helped against the bandits out of gratitude. You chose your course of action Janna. Nothing forced you to!”

Lydia said to Thorlogh, “My Emperor’s whole life philosophy is based on the fact mortals have free choice. No Daedric Prince or Yngvarr or Emperor Sethius can make you do something. It is always free choice. That is why he dislikes any sort of mind control. He hated it before Molag Bal temporarily bypassed his own defences. Now it is more like he completely detests the whole concept. I would not like to be a Necromancer who practices it if Wulf finds them!”

Thorlogh tapped me on the shoulder. I turned to him, “Many normal people would have done the same as Janna and Alvar. Not everybody can think clearly when terrified. You can imagine the threats the bandits made. ‘We are watching you so don’t you dare get the guards!’ or similar.”

“I am not judging them on their decisions because we do not know what led to those decisions! Whatever the reasoning it is still free choice Thorlogh! Many people convince themselves they had no choice so as to lessen their guilt at what choice they made. Tell the truth to those who read your confession or who you verbalise it to. Say you made your choice after considering the options. Admit to what led to your decision. Do not lie and say there was no choice. Even if you admit you did something out of selfishness that is better than the lies. It all starts at childhood when older siblings can be blamed for everything naughty the younger one gets caught doing. It gets accepted time after time till it becomes ‘Molag Bal made me do it!’ or ‘The Emperor made me do it!’ At least mercenaries are honest enough to say, ‘Money made me do it!’”

Jordis called from another room, “If the bandits could not find the trapdoor then we should pity them. For the evidence suggests they must have been blind!”

We entered what looked to be a storeroom of some sort. A huge uncovered trapdoor dominated a small alcove. There was nothing hiding it.

Similarly there was nothing to hide the lever that opened it.

I looked at Thorlogh who shrugged his shoulders and repeated what he said earlier, “No Wulf, I have no idea! It seems incredibly stupid to me.”

I pulled the lever and we climbed down in the room below the trapdoor.

We walked along a narrow corridor then turned into another.

It was a dead end with, you guessed it, a hidden door with a pull chain close to it.

Thorlogh laughed and said, “Before you ask Wulf. Ditto!”

The hidden door opened to another store room with nothing useful in it.

We returned to the t-intersection and turned onto the section of corridor we had not yet travelled.

Janna’s ghost appeared to let us know we were back on the path she wished us to follow.

In a small alcove along the corridor was some primitive bedding and a note from Janna,

“I too am getting sick. Just like Alvar. By the gods, I had to leave him up there, who knows what those sick bandits have done to his body. They came today and searched the place. Tore it apart but they didn’t find the trapdoor. Thank the Nine for that as we had to uncover it to open it in the first place and never had time to cover it back up.

I still hear those people screaming… We should have helped them. In the violent storm our boat began to sink. We could have helped those people but instead we made a run for the galley. We stole the treasure. We couldn’t let it sink to the bottom of the ocean. We needed it. But those people… Not that this is any better. My beloved Alvar is dead, and I am dying.”

I moaned, “I will not ask how they were supposed to cover up the trapdoor from this side. My brain is already reeling!”

Thorlogh, “Then it must be disturbing to realise your logic failed with Alvar. If Janna died of the same thing then it could not have been pneumonia that killed them as that is not contagious.

“Tell him Celestine!”

“Wulf’s logic was correct Thorlogh. Pneumonia is a secondary condition to a primary disease or condition. Many common ailments that can be transmitted from person to person cause pneumonia which kills the afflicted. Being subjected to the cold and swallowing sea water could also cause pneumonia. I assume you are familiar with the Thrassian Plague. It killed nearly half the mortals on Nirn but their cause of death was toxicity from excessive water consumption. The plague made them have an insatiable thirst but it was the water than killed them.”

I assured him, “Keep questioning and asking Thorlogh. Cause and effect is what you should always strive to understand. That is why I put a lot of emphasis on explaining a decision made so it can be weighed fairly against the consequences.”

“So you are saying it is hard to judge Alvar and Janna as their reasoning is incomplete.”

“With something like this it is more a want to provide a complete answer to somebody who asked the question rather than pass judgement. How do I present their story to Wulf? It is obvious Janna feels guilt at their actions. That is why her spirit has not moved on and is guiding us. She turned left up ahead. Let us see what she wants to show us next.”

We came upon a skeleton squashed by falling debris. I surmised, “This is most likely the guard that came investigating. It is reasonable to assume the lighthouse took a battering during the storm. He, unlike the bandits, found the great big trapdoor and made his way down here. Then he was unfortunate enough to be squashed by this huge rock. The only question is this, was he naked and if not, where is his armour?”

Thorlogh piped up, “You will send me insane with these conundrums. But I believe I have solved the torch outside. Janna’s spirit lit it and the candles etcetera that have illuminated the insides.”

“That might be right. How about we douse the torch when we leave and you can check it in a month or so. If it is lit again then let the conundrum return with a vengeance!”

“You are a…”

Lydia ended it for him with, “Bastard!”

Thorlogh nodded in agreement, I laughed and we moved on.

Just past the unfortunate guard was a locked door with no obvious way to open it.

On a bookshelf was another journal. When I opened it a key fell out. The journal read,

“I have half a mind to destroy this key but someone must find it. I fear I may not rest until the treasure is in good hands. We’re tainted. We aren’t worthy of it. Someone who is kind of heart and pure of soul must find it so that we may be free of its burden. I have left in this journal a key for the gate. I’ll hide the journal. Gods know those bandits are too stump-brained to find it. I must go now. I’ll close the gate, locking myself in. Then I won’t be tempted to leave. I can’t. I must stay with the gold we fought so hard to get.”

I unlocked the gate. Down a narrow corridor Janna led us to her final resting place.

I asked Jordis, “Can you please gather all the valuables. I have no spare storage pouches.”

“Yes my Jarl. I am sworn to carry your burdens.”

“If you start talking about apple cabbage stew I will know I should have quarantined Lydia.”

Jordis handed me a note she found in one of the chests. I read it aloud,

“To Wulf’s parents,

We had so much. We could have paid back the bandits and given some to you our friends to help raise Wulf. I have grown quite ill and my hours are numbered. I pray that in spirit I may guide someone to the treasure. It must not go into the hands of those bandits! Please if anyone finds this money give some of it to Wulf’s parents at the docks. Then it can go to making a newborn happy and maybe that can wash it of its curse.”

I pledged over the remains of Janna, “All of the money and gems and other valuable will be given to Wulf to do as he pleases with. This I swear on The Divines.”

Thorlogh asked, “What are you going to tell Wulf?”

“I will hand him all the notes and journals and he can make up his own mind. Let us go, our job is done here.”

We made our way back to the port and Nafalilargus had arrived. By the dodgy way the ladders had been deployed I guess somebody new at flying the airship had dropped anchor. I wondered if it was Rigmor.

Wulf was in his small shack so I knocked on its door. He told us to enter and when we did he was busy writing out some invoices.

He stood but before he could greet me he was rendered speechless. Jordis deposited thousands of septims plus gems and other valuables onto the table he had been using moments before.

“What is all this?”

“The lighthouse was haunted by Janna. She was not a malevolent spirit but stayed behind out of remorse for her and Alvar’s actions.”

“What do you mean remorse for their actions? By The Nine, what happened to them? What did they do?”

I handed him the notes and journals then said, “Everything is explained in their own words. It is up to you to decide how you feel about their actions and the loot you see before you but can I ask a favour of you.”

“Of course you can. What is it?”

“I believe the ship they were aboard was full of new immigrants coming to live on Falskaar. That may influence what you do with your sudden wealth.”

“I understand but the favour?”

“It is safe to visit the lighthouse. I would like you to arrange for the burial of their remains in consecrated ground with the Rights of Arkay spoken on their behalf. The remains of the guard are also there and records should be available to tell you who he was. Give closure to his family and also ensure his remains are dealt with according to their wishes.”

“I know even before I read their words what is the right thing to do. The people on the boat intended the money to aid in their new life on this island. It is only fare it is used to help those who have survived the horrors of the last few days.”

“Do right by yourself as well. Your boat looks like it is ready to retire and your service is essential to Falskaar. Build or buy a new one Wulf. That will cost a fraction of the fortune we just handed you and will fulfil their wish for how the money should be spent.”

“I think I have no choice but to do that. Better to retire her gracefully than having to swim to shore after she sinks! Can you tell me what the Aldmeri Dominion ships are doing?”

“There are many Thalmor aboard sticking their noses into other people’s business. It is their favourite pastime. Don’t worry I am sure they will be moving along soon.”

“Thank you again Wulf!”

“Good luck to you Wulf and may The Divines keep you safe at sea.”

We exited Wulf’s shack and Henrik called us over.

“Yes Henrik, is there something I can do for you?”

“First of all I wish to thank you again for saving us from those bandits. But what you and The Sentinel did for Falskaar is just, well I can’t express how we feel about that!”

“It was our duty but we also like your nation and its people. Lord Shor brought us here in your time of need so thank him above all.”

“Then you do something simple like clear the beach for my son. That is not something we would expect an Emperor of The Empire to bother with.”

“It is all relative. The biggest concern of Garen’s was his inability to play on his beach. He does not grasp the enormity of the disaster that has struck the island and it would be an unnecessary thing to burden him with. He will grow up soon enough so let him play and be a child. I just enabled him to do so.”

“I understand. When helping the people of Staalgarde today they all had different things that they wanted to help recover from their plight. A simple blanket made some smile whilst others craved a piece of fresh fruit or a book to read. We took two carts full and returned with them empty.”

“Will that put a strain on your financial situation?”

“It will but we had to do something. Now we can make another trip with one wagon full of what we have left and that will be it. It may take us a while to afford to fully restock. But we will be okay.”

I fished two good sized diamonds from my gem bag and tossed them to Henrik. He caught them, looked at them, gasped and offered them back saying, “We did it out of charity Highness. We did not expect payment and these are way too valuable anyway!”

“And I wish to ease your burden so please accept them. You are good people and need not go broke or struggle for that. If you think they are worth too much then use the excess to provide more help. Drive your wagon full of your last goods tomorrow with a mind unburdened by the debt you are incurring.”

“Once again I am at a loss for words.”

“Goodnight to you Henrik. Goodnight Freya.”

“Oh I forgot. We had to yell a lot to get Galen down from your airship. That topped of an exciting day for him. But now he wants a white dog!”

“Sounds like Meeko charmed him like he does all children. A dog is a child’s best friend when they live in a remote place like this.”

“Then a dog he will have. But one taller than him and white, that might be a stretch!”

We were almost to the airship’s ladder when Henrik came running up to me and said, “Freya is inside so now I am free to ask you a favour.”

“Sure Henrik. What do you need?”

“Freya and I have been married almost ten years. Galen was born almost nine months to the day after our wedding day. I have heard you wish to help clear out the bandits on the island so you may be able to help with my anniversary gift.”

“Go on Henrik, don’t be afraid to ask.”

“Freya and I have known each other since we were small children. Her mother always used to wear a brilliant sapphire necklace, a gift from her father. They were both merchants like we are now. Her mother proudly wore that necklace all the time. When we were both about six years of age Freya’s parents were killed by highwaymen when transporting goods from Amber Creek to Borvald. Her mother must have hidden the necklace because the bandits didn’t take it. One of the guards who discovered the wreckage of the carts and their bodies gave the necklace to Freya. As you can imagine the grieving young girl kept that necklace close. It was valuable as a reminder of her mother, not as a superb and expensive piece of jewellery. However bandits, whether they were the highwaymen or others we do not know, broke in a few days later and stole it. It was never recovered.”

“Do you know what happened to it? I don’t suppose they could have sold it to anybody on Falskaar as it would have bent too well known.”

“That is what the thieves thought. When the guards investigated they found evidence that the precious stones were removed and the gold setting and chain melted down. The rumour was the unique sapphire was taken by several of the bandits into what would have been their new headquarters. It is called Grimrott Grotto and the rumour says they entered but never came out again. Other gems from the necklace ended up at the markets of Falskaar but never the sapphire. The lesser gems were confiscated by the guards and returned to Freya. She has kept them as the only reminder she has of her mother. Their monetary value is not much but their sentimental value is priceless.”

I had a quick look at my map and said, “Grimrott Grotto is not far from here. We will have a look and see if we can locate the sapphire.”

“I could then give it to Rangarr in Amber Creek. He remembers the necklace well and once told me he could reconstruct it if I gave him the original gems and sapphire. I can only imagine the look on Freya’s face if I presented it to her for our tenth anniversary!”

Lydia told him, “You should have seen the effort Wulf made to get the exact ring Queen Rigmor wanted for her wedding band. And that had been lost for thousands of years and he found it!”

Henrik replied, “That is heartening to know. I had better head inside before Freya gets suspicious. If she asks questions I’m in trouble. I can never lie to her.”

Henrik quickly ran home and we made our way into the airship.

The Sentinel and Thorlogh went to have a quick supper and then bunk down for the night. Rigmor came running up and we repeated the greeting from the night before. When she finally let me up for air I asked, “How was your day my beloved?”

“Agnar and Jalma are two of the loveliest people I have ever met! Their two housecarls are typical Nord oaths so got on very well with a couple of the Sentinel. Wilhard was hypnotized by Meeko and so company wise it was a fantastic day.”

“I bet it was not so nice emotionally.”

“You go join your team for a quick supper then write your journal. Then join me for snuggles in bed. I will fill you on the details there.”

“I will have the supper but join you for snuggles before writing the journal. Otherwise I will have to make a distinction between dates when writing tomorrows and it gets confusing.”

“But then you will return to bed with cold feet!”

“Such things we suffer in the pursuit of truth!”

“You are weird! Have I ever told you that?”

I had a quick supper and soon joined my beloved under the warm blankets.

“Okay Wulf. Ask away!”

“Did you fly over Borvald and Staalgarde?”

“They wanted to fly over Borvald first thing. We were in the cabin and it was so smooth they didn’t even realise we were flying. When they came on deck both them and their housecarls turned white. Wilhard on the other hand was soon leaning over the balcony pointing out things way down below. Meeko and Karla stood next to him barking along with his excitement.”

“I bet the adults soon learned to relax.”

“When Wilhard got upset they were not looking at what he was pointing out he called them all scaredy cats. That shamed them enough they took the chance and started looking below like the young boy. It was not long before their initial fear was replaced by wonder and genuine excitement.”

“What happened when they first spotted Borvald?”

“Utter despair. There was nothing left standing Wulf! It looked like everything was lifted into the air then fell into the holes that used to be the caverns underneath. There were many fires still burning and the smoke carried the smells of a battlefield. All of them wept including Wilhard. Meeko allowed the boy to bury his face into his fur while he sobbed.”

“Did you find any injured?”

“Jalma and Wilhard were ordered into the cabin while we did a low level search. All four Master Mages used Detect Life and none was found. But bodies and pieces of body there was in abundance. Later on in the day the members of the Priory arrived with some larger citizens to help recover what they could. It will take a long time but they are determined to give as many as they can a proper burial.”

“I am glad they are not going to leave it as a tomb to the fallen. It is a good place for a city and hopefully they will rebuild.”

“That is a topic I said we would discuss with them, amongst others, before we leave for home.”

“Did you see Yngvarr?”

“One of the few recognisable places left was part of the central park of the city. Shrines to The Nine were evenly spaced around a circle with lines from them crossing in the centre. A smear that was only recognisable as Yngvarr by bits of armour was dead centre of that circle. Jarl Agnar gave orders later in the day that those remains were also to be gathered and given the proper rights and burial in the family crypts under Staalgarde.”

“I bet that city was far less damaged than they thought. So quick were the Sentinel and me at defeating the garrison less catapult rounds were fired at the city than they had planned.”

“Yes, they were quite astounded and pleased at how little damage the city sustained.  They were absolutely amazed at the trail of bodies that showed you and the Skyrim Squad’s progress during the battle. It looked like you were swarmed from every direction and attracted nearly all the defender’s wrath. When I pointed out you were handicapped as you had not been using your Thu’um they finally understood the power of The Champion of the Divines.”

“You mean Tamriel’s greatest killing machine.”

“If you say something so stupid again Wulf I swear you will be sleeping in one of those hammock things.”

“I apologise. What about the citizens of Staalgarde?”

“Well, terrified at first. Nafalilargus can be rather intimidating when it flies overhead. So we anchored it a fair distance away and approached by foot. And before you ask I was wearing the tin can like you asked and we had the housecarls, my Sentinel Squad, two of the Master Mages and our weird dogs plus Wilhard with his cool new knife for protection.”

“What was the reception from the Staalgarde citizens?”

“A bit of bluster from a few guards but when we confirmed the rumours they had heard all bowed to their King Agnar. You could see they were impoverished compared to the Amber Creek citizens I have met. Clothes were worn out and patched. No jewellery was to be seen. The children looked healthy and well fed even if in raggedy clothes. It was apparent where the adults’ priorities had been. How can different people separated only by a few miles be so impoverished compared to their neighbours?”

“I asked that question a lot when in Evermore. Just across the border was Skyrim where the vast majority are well fed and content compare to the starving citizens of that wretched place. It can only happen under totalitarian leadership.”

“They readily accepted the aid offered. They would surround the Mages as they cured everything from minor scratches to mangled bodies. Then the biggest miracle of all happened when wagon loads of goods arrived from the rest of Falskaar. New clothing and shoes made some weep. When fresh fruit and vegetables were handed out they hugged the givers and cried even more.”

“And I bet there was never any pushing or shoving in an effort to get to the aid being given.”

“They stood patiently in long lines and even when it was apparent things would run out they did not riot or panic. They accepted the assurances that more would arrive tomorrow.”

“When does King Agnar think they can return to their city and homes?”

“He estimated within a week.”

“You mentioned severe injuries?”

“Yngvarr was not going to allow them to leave the city. Along with a few guards they overwhelmed the mercenaries at some gates and held them open while being counter attacked. They lost many people doing that and carried a lot of the elderly and injured away with them. They are brave people Wulf and deserved more than what their Jarl provided.”

“They will be better off from now on. It is a good outcome for them.”

“I told Agnar and Jalma about the Thalmor aboard the ships. That led to a brief discussion of the options they have moving forward.”

“What options did you provide them?”

“They can continue status quo. They can abandon the island. They can become a protectorate. They can become part of The Empire or the Aldmeri Dominion. They can sign a mutual defence treaty with The Empire or Aldmeri Dominion.”

“How brief was the discussion?”

“I gave them a few pros and cons for each and examples of countries that have chosen each of the options.”

“After they have thought about it for a while I am sure they will want an in depth discussion.”

“I think their decision will be based on the danger the Akaviri might present compared to that of the Aldmeri Dominion.”

“I have a theory on the Thalmor presence I will have to try and confirm but that discussion can wait. Let me go write my journal and then your nice warm feet can warm up my cold ones!”

“My sword is within easy reach Wulf!”

“Warning duly noted!”

I went to my desk and wrote this journal entry. By the time I returned to the bed my beloved was fast asleep. I warmed my feet with a bit of magicka and crawled in next to her.

I had seen and heard about the best of people today.

I know not what time I fell asleep.

I know it was to the laughter of a child running up the beach to play.

One thought on “Loredas, 8th Sun’s Height, 4E 205

  1. Sometimes you weave it so well, that I even get chocked up when the pain is all around and cheer when the happiness in life is returned. We all want a good ending even when we go through the pains of Life. Thank You Mark!

Leave a Reply to neshotah58 Cancel reply