Dawnstar, Driftshade Refuge, Snowpoint Beacon, Hut: Another hero’s prophecy.
Just before 9:00 AM Nafalilargus came out of the ether and automatically docked in Dawnstar. I waited on deck for The Sentinel to check out below and give me the all-clear.
I turned myself into a half-orc and climbed down the ladder. I hadn’t told any of the new Sentinel of this ability. So, it came as a bit of a surprise.
Inigo asked, “Can you turn yourself into a Khajiit?”
“Yes, but in this armour, which has no hole for a tale, it would not be a good idea.”
Just outside the main entrance to Dawnstar was a Khajiit Caravan. Even though they could now travel inside any city within The Empire, they chose to keep using their traditional trading place. All traffic saw it in and out of the city, and previous customers knew where to find it.
The fog was thick, which at least kept the sun glare off the ice and snow to a minimum.
All of a sudden Kharjo groaned in pain. I walked over to him, and he said, “My friend. I feel…strange.”
I looked at him closely. As I did so, he groaned again, “Argh, my mind is vibrating in my skull. It feels like it is at the end of a hook.”
“Is it a migraine?”
“I do not know. I have never had one before.”
A look of relief quickly replaced the grimace on his face. He sighed and said, “It has stopped. The sensation was horrible!”
“How do you feel?”
“I’m okay. I have no idea what it was.”
“Describe what happened.”
“All of a sudden, there was a bright flash. My mind pulling out of my ears is what it felt like.”
“Let me know if it happens again. Maybe a bit of healing might help if it does.”
Illia called out, “Bandits heading our way!” then fired an Ice Spear at a fast-approaching Khajiit.
A small party of bandits had taken advantage of the fog to get closer than they usually could have.
A Dunmer mage soon found one of Inigo’s arrows sticking out the side of his head.
Plue showed no hesitation and charged an archer. She almost sliced him in two with a mighty swing of her sword.
Another archer was stupid enough to exchange fire with Inigo. He also died from an arrow to his head.
I was going to talk to Plue and see if she was alright. Not everybody is okay with their first kill. But I was diverted by Inigo who fell to his knees in pain, “Agh! It is happening again. My mind is vibrating. It feels like it is on the end of a rope!”
Nubaree attended to Plue, and I rushed over to Inigo.
I asked, “Do you need healing?”
He stood, shook his head, then said, “Wait! I see something. A cabin? Trees? A face! It is fading. It is under the rug. Aagh!”
I could detect no fever or injury.
“Thank the Gods; it is weakening. Ugh.”
A few seconds later he sighed then said, “It is over. Ow.”
I asked, “You saw something?”
“I saw brief flashes of a cabin in the snow. Trees surrounded it. What is happening to me?”
“At a guess, somebody is trying to send a telepathic message but is not establishing the link properly. Some Masters of Conjuration can do it. It is not something I have studied though it would be useful.”
“Why would somebody want to tell me these things?”
“I don’t know Inigo. Maybe the clue is in what you saw. What was under the rug?”
“Something small and shiny. A coin? A Ring? No, I cannot remember. I think my brain broke.”
“What about the cabin. Do you recognise it?”
“No, but something about the landscape was familiar. I wish I could remember where I have seen it before.”
“Was the face of somebody you know?”
“A man perhaps. A bearded man. I did not recognise him. The flashes were fast and confusing.”
“And you feel tugging in a particular direction?”
“My brain does!”
“I think that man is using a Conjuration spell to try and tell you something. Let’s move on.”
“Okay. If it happens again and my brain tries to escape through my nose, push it back in please.”
I looked over to Nubaree and Plue. They were both smiling while keeping a lookout as I attended to Inigo. Plue was outwardly showing no distress at having to take a life. Still, I will keep an eye on her just in case.
On the way to Driftshade Refuge is a well know shrine to Dibella. I decided to stop and make sure it was in good condition.
The statue was in reasonable shape, considering the extreme weather.
The shrine itself looked almost new. Mountain flowers were the most common offering.
Inigo was behind me on the steps. He tapped me on the shoulder and when I faced him said, “My friend. My mind feels tugging again! It is extreme this time. I see wooden posts upright in the snow, a tower. I recognise the tower!”
“Concentrate Inigo. Try and make sense of what you see!”
“Eergh! I see the cabin again. The door is tightly locked. It is receding, and it is over… for now. My head is pounding. Ow.”
“We need to get to the bottom of this!”
“I agree, and I think I know where to start. I saw a ruined tower in the snow. I think I camped there long ago.”
“That great! Where is this tower?”
“It is called Snowpoint Beacon. It is nothing special from what I remember. I think it is close to the source of these embarrassing episodes.”
“I know where it is. It used to be a signal tower when the Holds still fought each other. Overrun by bandits last time I passed it. It is not much further than Driftshade Refuge.”
“I understand if we are too busy, but what do you say? Shall we visit it?”
“After we have dealt with the Silver Hand and bandits.”
“My mind and I thank you for helping us. I hope we make a full recovery.”
I was at the bottom of the shrine’s stairs when I noticed a ghostly lion in the distance. I gave a hand signal, and like clockwork, The Sentinel all crouched, and nobody made a sound.
I notched an ethereal arrow, drew, aimed then released.
The arrow flew true.
And hit the lion midsection.
We walked over to it. Inigo exclaimed, “That was amazing! I don’t think I could have hit if from way over there.”
Plue was examining the corpse. I told The Sentinel, “Watch. Kyne’s Dweomer will soon fade.”
The ghostly form slowly faded and a normal, but dead, lion remained.
“Lady Kyne will randomly mark a creature like that. If I kill enough of them, my Thu’um will increase in power next time I pray to her. Interestingly, my ethereal arrow turned into a real one! More gobblygook! Let’s keep moving.”
There were a lot of bandits on the roof of Driftshade Refuge. We did not try to hide and approached them casually.
“What do you want?” one of them asked.
“We wish to speak to you about the Gods. How about we share some glasses of milk while I tell you how worship will save your souls.”
“Attack! It looks like we got some Imperial milk-drinkers who need a lesson.”
I stood back and watched. Less than a minute later, The Sentinel had slaughtered all seven of them efficiently and quickly.
Plue had cut down one of them and was still looking okay with shedding blood.
Before we entered, I said, “From the reports Blackwell had, given to him by the local Imperial Legate, this place crawls with bandits. It is much easier dealing with the vermin out in the open so just watch where you aim arrows and spells when fighting inside.”
Nobody was guarding the door. They must have been confident that those outside would deal with any threat.
I signalled, and The Sentinel once again crouched then went silent. We slowly moved forward and found several bandits huddled together, having a good chat.
I hit them with a full-strength Unrelenting Force.
Many perished, but a few staggered to their feet and charged us.
I just kept firing fireballs till they were all dead.
The Sentinel saw I was still crouched so waddled their way over also crouched.
Inigo asked, “Are you going to kill them all? That is very selfish of you!”
“Sorry, I got carried away. I promise to leave some next time.”
We had not gone much further before more than a dozen bandits attacked us. I had my bow out but forced myself to observe The Sentinel.
Illia plunged her sword in one mage and immolated another.
Inigo and Nubaree sliced and diced a few more bandits. Plue fired arrows as it was getting too crowded for another melee fighter.
The Sentinel killed them quickly and efficiently. In seconds the dozen attackers were corpses.
There was a portcullis with a lever next to it.
I asked The Sentinel, “Why have a hidden door or portcullis with the opening mechanism visible?”
Nubaree suggested, “Perhaps they are trying to keep something on the other side, not stop people getting to those stairs?”
“That would be logical, but I guarantee beyond that door will be more of the same bandit gang.”
That blank faces of the four told me all I needed to know.
“There is no logical reason for this, but I encounter it all the time. Let’s just pretend such idiocy does not exist and proceed, shall we?”
The nods of the head were enthusiastic. But I bet the question worries them all for hours.
I pulled the lever, the portcullis lowered then we proceeded down the stairs and through the door.
I signalled that there were three bandits ahead.
They all died by my bow.
We came to a torture room, and I said to The Sentinel, “This is why I outlawed the Silver Hand. They have a psychotic hatred for all Were-People. They think they are justified to not just kill them without reason or trial, but to torture them as well. The members hiding out in here hoped a large number of bandits would keep them safe. They did not care if the bandits caused problems for local farmers and travellers. They have earned the punishment we are about to inflict.”
We snuck into a room where a bunch of bandits huddled around a fire boasting about a caravan raid from which they had recently returned.
A Cyclone Shout threw them up into the air, and then they crashed to the ground.
The Sentinel swarmed into the room and in a beautiful display of synergy, killed with arrows, Magicka and swords.
As they cleaned and sheathed their weapons, I said, “That was brilliant! These may only be bandits, but if you fight like that, there will be very few opponents who can stand against you.”
A bit further on from that room, we finally encountered the Silver Hand, and they were in trouble.
Some bandits were upset because we had carved through their gang like a knife through butter. A heated argument with the Silver Hand soon turned to violence.
We gleefully leapt into the fray and slaughtered them all.
By the time we exited Driftshade Refuge, the sun was almost set.
As we cautiously approached Snowpoint Beacon, Inigo whispered, “I hope my mind vibrations are not leading us into a trap.”
There were no sentries outside, and when we entered the beacon, we heard some senior bandit complaining to the others about an even more senior bandit.
I signalled The Sentinel, and they raced upstairs. After a few seconds of screaming and clashing of steel, all was quiet.
I walked up the steps and found carnage. Another gang of bandits eliminated and The Sentinel were not even breathing hard.
Inigo said excitedly, “Okay, this is Snowpoint Beacon. Next, we need to find the wooden posts I saw. They must be close.”
“It is pretty dark outside Inigo. How are you going to find them?”
He tapped his nose and said, “In my vision, the posts were worn and weather-beaten. All the wood here is recently cut, according to my nose. I can also smell stone, and ice, and bandit pee, and you, and the ladies, and… Wait! I can smell old timber. This way, my friend!”
Inigo then forgot his Sentinel training and went running out into the snow. He is very rapid on his feet, so by the time I exited the beacon, he was a fair distance away.
We ran to catch up with him. He could see I was not too pleased.
“I shouldn’t have left your side. I am sorry.”
“It takes some time to get used to being in the military and even longer to learn how The Sentinel work. Even though I am relaxed about rank, I expect you to wait for permission before leaving the squad behind like that. It puts you in danger and weakens us.”
Inigo looked suitably abashed, but I gave him an example anyway, “Just down below is a known haunt of mechanical dragons built by the Dwemer. Like all of their automatons, they will attack without mercy or provocation. They are no match for us as a squad. You by yourself would stand no chance. It would only take a few seconds for them to kill you!”
I waited a while for that to sink in before asking, “Are we on the right track?”
“Yes, the source of my mind vibrations is east of here. I am sure of it.”
“The cabin is nearby?”
“These are the posts from my vision. We should follow them.”
“Okay, let’s go.”
After a few minutes, we came to a steep set of stairs. Inigo grimaced and said, “Argh! More mind vibrations. The source is at the top of these steps. I can feel it.”
“You look worried?”
“I’m wondering if all this is in my head. You haven’t had any visions, have you? Maybe I’m crazy. Let us find out.”
“That’s the spirit. If you’re nuttier than a fruitcake at least that is still an answer!”
During the fighting in Driftshade Refuge, I had used the Thu’um. That always cancels the Dweomer that maintains my disguise. I turned myself back into a half-orc before climbing the stairs.
The steps were many and the climb steep. We stopped at the foot of a stairway leading to the front door of a small cabin.
Inigo exclaimed, “Thank the Gods. I am not crazy. There is the cabin I saw. My friend, I bet you a hundred Septims the door is locked tight. I think I have a solution.”
“I could blow the door to pieces with my Thu’um!”
“No! Maybe there is danger inside. If there is I would rather it did not know we were coming.”
“Maybe I should blow the whole cabin to splinters with my Thu’um then?”
Inigo looked horrified until he saw my smile.
“Very funny. Anyway, during one of my episodes, I said, ‘It is under the rug.’ Remember? Give me a moment.”
We crept slowly up the steps, then Inigo looked under the rug.
He found something and whispered, “Yes, here it is, a key. Back home, my mother used to keep a spare in the same place.”
He handed me the key, then said, “Why don’t you do the honours? My hands are uncharacteristically shaky for some reason.”
I said to the other three Sentinel, “Take guard near the door. The cabin is to small for us to fight effectively if we all crammed in there. Use your discretion on whether to enter or not if you hear fighting within.”
I stood before the door and asked, “Ready Inigo?”
“Yes, let us see what is inside.”
I unlocked the door then we entered.
The first thing we saw was a painting of Inigo’s head. He asked, “Is that a painting of me? What is this place? Let us look around.”
“We have just entered this house without the owner’s permission. I sense no danger here, so let’s not snoop around.”
“Okay, it is unsettling, but I do not sense danger here either.”
“Is the sleeping mage the man from your dream?”
“Yes, he is the one I saw during one of my episodes. This room smells like forgotten memories. Maybe we should wake him?”
I approached the sleeping mage then gently shook him. He groggily opened his eyes and looked around. When he saw Inigo, he said, “Oh my, You’re… you’re here. I was beginning to lose hope.”
“How can we help you?”
“What? I am not talking to you, whatever you are. I am talking to him. Get out of the way!”
The mage tried to shove me aside. It was like a flea trying to move a mountain. I chuckled, then walked to the other end of the room.
The mage approached Inigo,
- Langley: Inigo? Is it really you? Or am I dreaming?
- Inigo: That is my name, and let me tell you this, I guard the man you just tried to push out of the way. Insult him or touch him again, and I will have to harm you. Do we have an understanding?
- Langley: My apologies, I am often too terse for my own good. I mean nothing by it; I assure you.
- Inigo: Okay, my friend here is…
- Wulf: … somebody who deserves your respect mage.
- Langley: I see. Well, I’m sure you make quite the team, Inigo, but it is you who I have been seeking all these years. I’m so glad you’re still alive.
- Inigo: Who are you? Why have you been seeking me?
- Langley: My name is Langley. Langley Longseer to some. Dear boy, I have much to tell you. How did you find me?
- Inigo: I started to get brief, painful visions a few hours ago. They showed me flashes of this place and you. I also felt a nasty, tugging sensation.
- Langley: Ha! The spell works! Not quite as I intended but it got you here in the end. I was about to string that Conjuration Mage up by his toes!
- Inigo: You summoned me? I have to tell you; your spell needs work.
- Langley: I’ve been trying to locate you for quite some time. I even travelled to Riverhold. I found your parents shortly after they died; Gods rest their souls. Oh dear, you do know about that, don’t you?
- Inigo: I heard they died while protecting a trading caravan. Were you there?
- Langley: Yes. I am sorry for your loss, for all of your losses. In a way, I’ve been travelling with you. Just a step behind.
- Inigo: Did my mother and father die well?
- Langley: They met their end with dignity. I was the one who found them, and I made sure they had a beautiful burial. They died holding hands.
- Inigo: Why were you there? Were you looking for me even then?
- Langley: I had hoped they would lead me to you. I continued to track you for years, and then the trail went cold… after I found your brother.
- Inigo: You found Fergus? How? Have you always been hiding in my past, haunting every step I take? Why? I do not know you! What do you want from me?
- Langley: I have come to know you very well. I am your friend, Inigo. Perhaps the greatest friend you have and we are destined to work together!
- Inigo: I already have all the friends I need.
- Langley: You don’t understand. There’s a great evil coming. I don’t know when exactly, but it is close. I’ve seen it in my dreams. You are there too. You are the champion destined to destroy the Doom Strider.
- Inigo: What are you talking about? The Doom Strider?
- Langley: Yes. The very avatar of destruction and death, the demon that has plagued my dreams for decades.
- Inigo: I… I need to sit down.
- Langley: Take a seat. Rest, and I’ll tell you all I know. I’ve been keeping a note of everything.
Inigo turned to me and said, “I am sorry, my friend. I need a moment. My legs are a little wobbly all of a sudden.”
“I understand Inigo. The shock gets a bit less after your third or fourth prophecy.”
Langley got close to Inigo then assured him, “Go and sit down. It is a lot to take in, I know. Make no mistake, Inigo, you are safe here. You both are.”
Inigo went and sat at a small dining table. Langley said to me, “Inigo and I have much to discuss. I don’t want to be rude, but perhaps it’s best if you leave us to it for a bit. If you could do something for me, I’d be most grateful.”
“What do you need me to do?”
“Can you get me some eggs?”
“Chicken eggs? Chaurus eggs? Frostbite Spider eggs? You are going to have to narrow it down a bit.”
“Snow Thrush eggs to be precise. Six should do the trick. They often boost my visions allowing me to see further into the future. If Inigo is here then maybe the Doom Strider is finally preparing to strike. We must be ready.”
I knew Langley was bullshitting. I guarantee my alchemy knowledge is infinitely better than his. But I played along. If he thinks I am some buffoon, he may become careless, and if this is all a charade, he may slip up out of arrogance.
“Where do I find Snow Thrush eggs?”
“There are at least eight nests outside my home. You shouldn’t need to go very far, and I hope you don’t mind heights. They are usually rather elevated. Come back to me when you have no fewer than six eggs. Find eight and I will give you something precious for your trouble.”
“What is the Doom Strider?”
“I don’t know. Maybe in time we’ll find out together. Go on. Go and get those eggs and let Inigo and I talk awhile.”
“I must warn you to watch your manners. I didn’t appreciate your rudeness earlier.”
“I don’t appreciate your inability to pay attention. I already apologised for my initial greeting. It is not my fault you were not listening.”
“Quote, ‘My apologies, I am often too terse for my own good. I mean nothing by it; I assure you.’ I was paying attention, but that apology was to Inigo, not the person to whom you were rude. Also, your tone carries more hostility than your words. I am the last person on Nirn you want to make your enemy.”
“I can’t help that. Emotional honesty has always been my greatest weakness. I have a fiery temperament I can’t always control.”
“You can help it, and you had better. You do not want to see my fiery temperament!”
“We are wasting time. I need to talk to Inigo and you, if you would be so kind, need to find those eggs.”
“Okay, I’m off to get your eggs.”
Langley went and sat at the table.
I said to Inigo, “Remember that talk we had about nice hugs and nasty hugs? If he tries to touch you on your private parts or suggests you sit on his lap just scream and I will be in to help in no time.”
Inigo laughed, Langley fumed, and I left the cabin.
I told The Sentinel on watch, “Nothing exciting happening in the cabin. Don’t worry about me, just fetching some bird eggs.”
I had to climb along tree branches, upon the cabin roof and plenty of other high up places to collect them.
I noticed the huge statue of Talos at the front of the property. It would be visible for many miles and must have attracted the attention of the Thalmor when they were in Skyrim.
When I had eight eggs, I entered the cabin and sat down at the table.
- Langley: Well done! You got the eggs. Very good.
- Wulf: I got all eight. What’s my prize?
- Langley: Your prize? Oh yes. Here you go. Take my thanks and my gratitude. Very precious commodities indeed.
- Wulf: I suppose you didn’t want the eggs. You just wanted me to leave you two alone to talk. Gosh, I feel so stupid. You are way too smart for me, Langley.
Inigo looked concerned at my tone of voice. It was full of potential violence, but Langley seemed oblivious to the social clues.
- Langley: Anyway, Inigo and I have had a bit of a chat, and he’s persuaded me that you can be trusted. It seems we three are in this together.
- Wulf: Oh, goody!
- Langley: I’ve given him my notes, and I’m sure he’ll let you read through everything. If you have any questions, I’ll do my best to answer them. Maybe you should speak to Inigo first though.
Langley stood up, then moved away from the table. I turned to Inigo.
- Inigo: Good job getting those eggs, my friend. This Langley fellow may be a bit rude and abrupt be he’s on our side. He gave me these books. He found my father’s journal; can you believe it? He also gave me two books he’s written about his search for me. They contain a lot of information about how important I am.
Inigo passed me the three books.
- Inigo: Apparently, I have my own prophecy. If you want to hear about it, I’ll tell you what I know. Langley says we are going to save the world. That is, of course, unless you think we have something better to do.
- Wulf: I will read the books after I get some answers from you. How does your head feel now?
- Inigo: It is still a little tender. Oh. That reminds me. You should ask Langley about the summon spell that has been causing my mind vibrations. He has a spare copy. Maybe he will let you give it a go. My mind is not keen on the idea, but I think a spell such as that could be useful, my friend.
- Wulf: I am a Master Mage in all Schools of Magicka. I am one of the most potent mortal mages on Nirn. I don’t think I will have trouble with the spell.
- Inigo: Then I am looking forward to seeing Langley’s jaw hit the floor.
- Wulf: What is the prophecy exactly?
- Inigo: Okay. The Inigo Prophecy. Somewhere out there in the world, there is a very nasty being gathering its strength. If left unchecked, it will grow until its evil influence burns away all that is good in this world. It has appeared in Langley’s dreams for many years often as a gigantic figure striding through the land, leaving nothing but pain, anguish, and death in its wake. He calls it The Doom Strider. In the same dreams he sometimes sees a handsome blue Khajiit defeat the menace with his help. He calls the fellow The Champion. That is me, my friend. Much of Langley’s prophecy is hazy, and he says sometimes his dreams show more than one possible outcome, but now he and I have finally met, he believes we stand a good chance of preventing much suffering.
- Wulf: It is not a prophecy. It is a prediction based on Langley’s foresight. But we shall call it a prophecy if that reduces confusion.
- Inigo: I understand the difference.
- Wulf: What can you tell me about The Doom Strider?
- Inigo: Not much, I’m afraid. Langley is the man to ask about that. All I know is that I am destined to fight whatever or whoever it is. I hope you will be by my side when the time comes, my friend. Of course, I will do my best to keep this from interfering with my duties as a Sentinel.
- Wulf: It is my duty as Champion of The Divine to keep all mortals on Nirn safe. I have done so many times. I will be with you all the way. Let’s just hope the Doom Strider doesn’t pick the day the Akaviri Invasion begins to show up.
- Inigo: It warms my heart to hear you say that, my friend. With your help, I know I can finally put some good back into this world.
- Wulf: Tell me about the books Langley gave you.
- Inigo: They are called ‘In Search of a Champion’ and ‘Da Vinci’s Journal’. My father wrote the journal, and Langley wrote the others. Langley’s books contain the story of his search for me and a few tales about Fergus and I. The journal is my father’s account of our upbringing. In my opinion the books are informative and quite moving.
- Wulf: What have you learnt about your past?
- Inigo: Like all Khajiit, my physical characteristics were determined by the moons at my birth. I seem to be a product of a very rare celestial alignment that only occurs briefly every few hundred years or so. In the backwards village where I was born, a blue child is seen as a bad moon omen. We would have been sacrificed if my birth mother had not smuggled Fergus and me away,
- Wulf: It seems a bit unfair for Fergus to be in danger as well.
- Inigo: We were not identical, but we were twins. Perhaps his life was forfeit by association.
- Wulf: Or they did not want to risk a brother seeking revenge for the death of his twin!
- Inigo: Good point. Whatever the case, I like to think that my birth mother could not bear the idea of separating us.
- Wulf: In a matter of minutes, the celestial alignment had changed, and that is why he did not have blue fur.
- Inigo: That is also what Langley thinks. I am incredibly unique my friend.
- Wulf: I wonder if there can only be one Inigo similar to only one Mane?
- Inigo: I have heard rumours there is a new Mane.
- Wulf: Sorry, Inigo, the truth of that rumour is not mine to confirm or deny.
- Inigo: You did go to Elsweyr?
- Wulf: Yes. The Dominion would not be impressed even though I have caught them within Empire territory. Back to the business at hand. Tell me about Langley.
- Inigo: He is interesting. Langley has dreams that often come true. He usually foresees the beginning, the middle, or the end of a future event, but never all three. He may know that a man at the market will get into a fight, but he won’t know why, or he may see a dead man at the market but not know how he died. To make matters worse, he sometimes sees two or more possible endings. Until we met, he couldn’t be sure we ever would. He is understandably relieved.
- Wulf: He can’t be sure any of the endings he sees will occur. If he says otherwise, he lies. There are an infinite number of possibilities branching from an infinite number of possibilities. What he sees are possibilities, not certainties. He may see one or two possibilities out of the unlimited possible outcomes. Understand?
- Inigo: Then we could be wasting our time listening to him.
- Wulf: Not at all. He deliberately manipulated things in the hope one of his outcomes occurred. He increased the chances of you and him meeting by paying a mage to create that spell. It is no different than how The Divines and Azura work.
- Inigo: I see. You and Rigmor have been manipulated your entire lives in the hope particular outcomes happen.
- Wulf: Yes. Now that he has met you, he assumes one of his other predictions will come true and that The Doom Strider will make an appearance. He has invented a prophecy and manipulated events to make it occur. You read my journals, so you know the story of Auriel’s Bow and the fake prophecy. People manipulated to make that prophecy a reality.
- Inigo: Will he do something to make the Doom Strider appear?
- Wulf: Not intentionally. Remember when I killed the last Minotaur? I unintentionally progressed the prophecy of The Chosen One.
- Inigo: This is more gobblygook, isn’t it?
- Wulf: It is one of the more straightforward concepts to understand.
- Inigo: My brain hurts again, and it has nothing to do with Langley’s spell.
- Wulf: Tell me about his search for you.
- Inigo: Ever since I appeared in his dreams, he has been looking for me. All he knew at the beginning was that The Champion was Khajiit, avoided death at an early age, and had blue fur. He finally heard about a remote village among the shifting sands of Elsweyr that ritualistically sacrifices any child born among their number whose fur is blue. He deduced that The Champion was likely a blue child from this village that somehow escaped their fate. He set off in search for the village, but on the way, he visited Riverhold and heard about me. This happened a few years after Fergus and I left to find our fortune though, so he began tracking us. Along the way, he heard tales about my brother and I. He even collected mementoes from our endeavours. You can see a few of them over there on those shelves by the chest. After finding Fergus lying amongst the remains of our camp, he lost track of me. The years went by, and he grew weary. He eventually returned here and employed a group of adventurers to continue the search for me and to look for any signs of The Doom Strider. He also paid a Conjuration Mage to concoct a Summon Inigo spell. My mind vibrations were the result of him trying unsuccessfully to use the spell.
- Wulf: There is an example of accidentally progressing his prophecy. The adventurers find an ancient ruin they think contains clues about The Doom Strider. They break into the ruins that have remained sealed for many thousands of years. This action releases The Doom Strider who otherwise may never have surfaced.
- Inigo: That makes sense, which is worrying. Maybe I have got brain damage!
- Wulf: What happens next?
- Inigo: We wait for Langley to receive more information, either from his sources or his dreams. When he hears something new, he will let us know.
- Wulf: We will have to provide him a way to contact you other than making your brain vibrate!
- Inigo: Please! I do not want to experience that again.
- Wulf: Okay, I have heard it from you, so let me quickly read the books, and we will go from there.
- Inigo: I will wait and count my fleas to keep amused.
I decided to read Da Vinci’s Journal first,
That’s it done. Leah and I are retired. No more contracts, no more blades in the dark, and no more sneaking about. Leah says I’ll soon grow tired of a normal life, but I’m not sure. I think I’ve seen all the death I care to. Now it’s time to settle down and spend some of the gold we’ve saved. So, meet the new us. We are just an honest couple doing honest work.
We’ve just bought a house in Riverhold. Life is good here. It’s peaceful enough and quite pretty in its way. Most of the locals are pleasant and far more accepting than we were expecting. It’s a very cosmopolitan place with all the border trading that goes on. No one seems to mind the idea of an Argonian and a Khajiit living together.
Our new home is next door to the town orphanage, and Leah keeps bringing it up in conversation. She wants a family. I’ll be honest; the idea terrifies me. Is it possible that a couple of trained assassins like us could be good parents? I don’t know.
I’m working a local mine, and Leah just got a job at the orphanage! We went there yesterday. I think I’m going to be a father. We saw two little Khajiit boys that melted our hearts. They are supposedly twins, but one is golden, and the other is an unusual shade of blue. Seeing Leah with the boys… I don’t know… it just felt right. We discussed adopting them all night. She said that if it were only down to her, she’d go and collect them now. I told Leah I had to think about it, but I’m reasonably sure my mind is made up. She is going to be an amazing mother. I love her more than words can say and can deny her nothing. I’ll lock all our weapons in the basement and get to work on making the spare room baby proof.
We are now proud parents! We’ve named the boys Fergus and Inigo after our favourite former guildmates. The woman at the orphanage told us the little she knew of their past. A soldier found Inigo and Fergus in an abandoned shack about fifty miles from here. He heard them crying as he took shelter and discovered the boys wrapped in linen rags, half-hidden in a pile of straw. The boys had a letter tucked between them. It was from their birth mother. We were shown the letter, but it was ragged and torn so I asked if I could make a copy for posterity. It reads –
‘Atala hopes you have found her children safe. They are twins, born only minutes apart, though as you can see, they are unalike.
What had been a pleasant day began to darken at the time of their birth, and I heard much wailing and commotion outside my tent. My first son came then, but by the time his little brother entered the world, the sky outside was like night. I held them in my arms, and it was as if their cries brought back the sun, for then the darkness lifted and the voices outside rejoiced. I smiled and wondered if a third moon had appeared during my labour, as such a thing is said to signal the arrival of a Mane. Wishful Atala. Stupid Atala. Cursed Atala. There had been no third moon, only darkness.
A few weeks later, my youngest sprouted his first blue hair, and his fate was decided. It has been nearly a hundred years since the last bad moon omen, but upon seeing that tiny blue strand, our elder recognised its meaning. The village would suffer much unless my baby was put to death. Alas, Atala could not allow it.
I can no longer trust the father of my children, and the moons hold greater sway over his heart than we do. Our situation fills him with great sadness, but he is elder born and wishes to appease Masser and Secunda above all else.
The night before the sacrifice, I heard a woman’s voice speak, though no woman could be seen. The voice was fair but commanding, and it said “Run, Atala. The way is clear. Take your babies and flee.” I bundled up my little ones and snuck away into the desert. I have travelled many miles, but my people are tracking us, and they grow close. They will have blood one way or another. I would rather it was mine.
Earlier the woman’s voice spoke up again inside my head. She said I must go now and draw our pursuers away from this place. She said my children would be found here by one who can help them. As strange as it sounds, I believe her. Please take my darlings to safety, and when they are old enough to understand, tell them that Atala loves them still.’
Leah says that she has never heard of such a barbarically pious tribe in her homeland, but the existence of such people does not surprise her. There are stories of forgotten settlements that still thrive in isolation among the shifting sands. Atala must have hailed from such a place. Her plan worked, and now her boys are safe and loved. Leah and I will do our utmost to give them the best of everything.
When they are old enough, we will tell the boys about their mother and what she endured to save their lives. It is a sad tale, and I am not sure if we will ever tell them absolutely everything. That is a worry for another day. Here and now they are happy, and they make us happy. Long may the happiness last!
Leah and I are just back from a job. I know! I know! We’re retired, but it was good to flex those old muscles again, and it was only a group of outlaws. The thugs had been terrorising a village a few miles away, so we waited until dark, left the boys at the orphanage with one of Leah’s co-workers, tooled up, and took care of business. By the Hist, it felt good! I must admit my armour is getting a little snug, but it seems Leah and I are as good a team as ever. I love her so much. When we returned to the orphanage, Leah’s friend led us to the basement where Inigo and Fergus were chasing spiders. They looked so adorable I had to draw them.
We’ve decided to teach the boys how to handle themselves. I’m sure many would say they are too young for weapons, but it’s a harsh world out there, and we both agree they’ll be better off with a little training. Inigo instantly took a shine to archery while Fergus seems to favour the sword. They both show great aptitude, even at such a young age! I’m a very proud father. Fergus is already turning into a determined and thoughtful boy. Inigo has fantastic reflexes and a sense of the absurd that often has the rest of us laughing even when we shouldn’t be. Most importantly, the brothers are fiercely loyal. They often fight and squabble, but at the slightest hint of danger, they unflinchingly stand up for one another.
When I’m down the mine, the boys spend most of their days at the orphanage with Leah. It’s sad, but you could say they never really left. Ah well. I see no harm, and they often cheer up the other children.
Poor Inigo had a bit of trouble at the market today. Some local boys and girls were making fun of him because of his blue fur! Little hooligans! If he’d had his bow with him, I think he would have taught them a thing or two. If Fergus had been there, things could have gotten ugly. We don’t want either of the boys seriously hurting anyone, so Leah showed them a few hand to hand tricks just in case things get rough. We adults often forget what a battleground childhood can be. I spoke to the parents of the boy who instigated the bullying. The father said his son wasn’t responsible and called me a filthy lizard! Maybe this town isn’t as open-minded as we first thought.
Leah discovered Fergus and Inigo playing with our most precious weapons today. I have no idea how they got the display cases open! Luckily Inigo is still too weak to draw Lightning, and Thunder is too heavy for them to wield. Can you imagine if either had discharged in the house! We locked the weapons away in a safer place. We have to keep an eye on those boys!
Sadness and excitement today. Riverhold lost three people to a large group of migrating giant spiders. Leah and I knew we were the only ones capable of helping, so we strapped on our weapons and exterminated the beasts. To be honest, the boys did most of the work. They were eager to test their weapons on live targets, and I must say they did fantastically well. As the villagers hid in their homes, Leah and I dispatched about ten of the beasts, then watched as Inigo and Fergus took care of the rest. They fought efficiently and with great zeal. Fergus became a quiet whirlwind of deadly steel as Inigo expertly loosed a storm of arrows and insults. That boy would joke on the gallows! They are young men now, and they are already talking about leaving Riverhold to seek their fortune. I would rather my children sought a more sedentary occupation, but they wish to use their skill to help others who are less able. I’m confident that as long as they have each other, they will be safe.
Our little boys are now men. It feels like only yesterday they were just fuzzy little bundles. Leah and I have agreed to let them travel the land in search of their fortune. They leave behind two incredibly proud parents. We are gifting them our most prised weapons. Inigo will take Lightning – Leah’s bow, Fergus will take Thunder – my sword. May they protect our children and strike fear into the hearts of all who oppose them.
I better stop writing and help them pack. Dearest Fergus and Inigo, come back safe and happy. I miss you already.
They are gone. Our boys, our sons, our greatest achievement. Leah and I are already growing restless rattling around this empty house. Everything is the same, but everything has changed. They will return in a few years, and I cannot wait to see the men they will undoubtedly have become. Until that day we’ll keep the fire stoked and their rooms ready.
A courier brought us news from the boys today! It’s been over a year since they last sent word. They are well and happy. They say they have had many adventures and are now heading to Cyrodiil. They have caught the travelling bug and want to see as much of Tamriel as they can before coming home. I’m so glad they are alright. The letter has put us in a fantastic mood. Leah and I went to the Inn and had a few drinks. We spent most of the night toasting our boys repeatedly. They are happy, they are safe, and they are together. All is well.
We haven’t heard from Inigo and Fergus in a long time, but I’m sure they’re okay. There is a lot of world out there to explore. Let them have their fill of it before returning. They are not the only ones who feel the call of the road. Leah and I are growing tired of our inactive lifestyle. Perhaps we can go on a little trip of our own. Something with a bit of risk and adventure. It has been far too long.
Adventure has found us! I can’t wait to hit the road again! A trading caravan passed through town today, and they were looking for guards. It’s perfect. A bit of travel, a bit of adventure, and who knows, we may even bump into Fergus and Inigo. We join the group tomorrow. Leah is choosing her armour at the moment. I think we should each take a light and heavy set. It sounds like we could be passing through bandit territory, nothing we can’t handle I’m sure. Leah is calling me. I had better get my things together.”
I am positive Azura is involved, and that she urged Atala, Inigo’s birth mother, to flee with the twin kittens. We have somebody with foresight, Langley, which also suggests Azura’s involvement.
I can see no indication of Azura worship within the cabin. I do not want to interfere with whatever is going to happen. I could easily make the whole thing go astray. For that reason, I will not mention my suspicion about Azura to Langley or Inigo.
I then read In Search of a Champion Volume One.
Ever since I was a child, I’ve had the gift of foresight. At the age of six, I awoke from a dream in which I saw our cattle being slaughtered by a group of monstrous beasts, all slashing claws and ripping teeth. I could smell the thick, metallic stench of blood as I awoke screaming. My father led me outside to prove that our livestock were safe. They were all there at the bottom of the field, alive and well. We went back indoors. I was fussed over, reassured, and then tucked back into bed.
Early one morning about a week later, my father found our whole heard slaughtered. A pack of giant wolves had killed them. The entire field was red with cow’s blood. I soon learned to listen to my dreams, and for many years my gift has served me well. Specifics are often frustratingly hazy, but if I have a vision, it almost always comes to pass… unless I somehow intervene.
I’ve had countless visions over the years, but there is one that has outlasted all the rest. Since I was a young man, my sleep has been plagued by a persistent nightmarish apparition. I have named this being The Doom Strider because, in my dreams, it brings anguish, grief, and pain wherever it walks. I have decided to dedicate my life to finding the one person my dreams tell me can defeat this great evil.
The Doom Strider
In my dreams, a hateful shadowy figure strides through our lands, casting all asunder.
I see Tamriel transformed to a tortured ruin. I see thousands of innocent lives destroyed. I hear screams of agony, the weeping of children, and the hopeless prayer to Gods that can no longer intervene. This is not a mere nightmare… it is a vision! How long do we have before this thing, this agent of annihilation appears? I know not. All I know is that there is one who can help us. There is still hope.
In my dreams, I see a champion, unlike any other. A Khajiit that should not be, he escaped death in his first year, and has been successfully eluding it ever since. He is bold and fierce, but also kind and loyal. Like all Khajiit his appearance was decided by the moons at his birth, but he is the product of an extremely rare celestial alignment. The heavens have gifted him bluish fur, great strength, sharp eyes, and according to my visions, the power to destroy the Doom Strider. I must find the champion before it is too late.
The dreams are more frequent than ever, but I think I’m making progress. I procured a traveller’s journal that may describe our champion’s place of birth. In the Khajiit homeland, there is a tiny village, completely cut off from the modern world. The birth of a blue Khajiit is significant in their folklore. Every 200 years or so, a child is born who turns blue a few weeks after birth. The appearance of a blue baby is seen as a bad moon omen, and these bloodthirsty zealots sacrifice the infant as soon as they get their first blue hair! I can only assume that the champion in my vision somehow escaped his fate. Maybe he was smuggled away by a family member. I’ll travel to Elsweyr and visit every settlement in the vicinity of the village. Perhaps I’ll get lucky.
Our hero has a name
Inigo! His name is Inigo! After many months of travel, my search has led me to the town of Riverhold. There was a blue Khajiit here, but he left to seek his fortune years ago. He and his brother were abandoned at the orphanage and later adopted by a local couple. This all happened a long time ago. Inigo and his brother are likely grown men by now. Alas, his parents recently left town with a trading caravan. I must speak with them. I’ll follow their trail and see if they know where their son is. From what I’ve heard, his foster parents are strange but pleasant people. I’m sure they’ll help me if they can. Inigo’s brother is called Fergus, and Inigo’s mother is called Leah. Oddly, his father is Argonian. His name is Da Vinci.
I found the trading caravan this morning among a litter of corpses. It has been ransacked. Everyone is dead. Damned bandits! The filthy thieves paid the price. At least 16 of their number were killed in the attack. I wept when I found Leah and Da Vinci. They died holding hands, heads resting brow to brow. Poor Inigo and Fergus don’t yet know the tragedy that has befallen them. At least they have each other. I found Da Vinci’s journal by the side of the road. Its pages hold so much love for his wife and sons. I will find a quiet spot, dig a grave, and lay the brave couple to rest away from the crows and rats.
May they find peace and joy in the afterlife and may they hold hands for eternity.
Inigo is the one
I am confident Inigo is the champion I have dreamed about. I returned to Riverhold and passed on the news about Leah and Da Vinci. The townsfolk were both saddened and shocked. They have no idea where Fergus and Inigo are, but word has been sent through what conduits exist in the hope they will be found. Since returning here and telling the tale of how I discovered and buried their parents, the locals have been more forthcoming with stories of Inigo’s past. It seems he and his brother became heroes here in their teens. A swarm of migrating giant spiders overran the town, and three people died. When everyone else cowered in their homes, the boys and their parents ended the rather nasty insect infestation with ease. Da Vinci’s journal backs this up. People say that it was Inigo that led the charge and that he killed 15 of the beasts by himself, laughing all the while! I can’t wait to meet him. All I know is that he and Fergus were headed to Cyrodiil. Maybe I’ll strike out in that direction and try my luck.”
Langley appears to be a kind soul cursed with the personality of a rabid Skeever. He has gone through an awful lot of effort to locate Inigo, and I must consider that before tearing strips off him.
As I suspected, his visons only show possible outcomes and not absolute certainties. This fact is proven when you consider Langley’s own words, ‘… but if I have a vision, it almost always comes to pass… unless I somehow intervene.’
I then read In Search of a Champion Volume Two,
“Inigo and Blowaft
I just stopped in a little village on the border, and it seems that the brothers came through this way a few years ago. Inigo and Fergus are making a name for themselves. It seems that for quite some time the village had been terrorised by a giant known by the locals as Blowaft the Flatulent (for reasons you can imagine). Inigo and Fergus heard about this while renting a room for the night. A patron heard them talking. Inigo said ‘I’ve never seen a giant before.’ Then Fergus replied ‘We’ll deal with it tomorrow. It’s late.’ Inigo said ‘Get your beauty rest then. I’ll take care of the giant.’ Fergus nodded and said, ‘Fair enough. Yell if you need me.’
Then Inigo patted his brother on the shoulder and walked out. Fergus downed his ale and went to bed. An hour or so passed then Inigo staggered in dragging something heavy. He was grinning ear to ear. ‘I’ve brought you a souvenir, barkeep.’ He heaved the giant’s club onto the bar. Everyone gasped. ‘He’s only slightly less smelly dead, so I’d bury him first thing in the morning if I were you.’ said Inigo. Everyone cheered and laughed and the innkeeper mounted the club above the bar. After a lot of negotiation, I managed to convince him to sell me the club. It’s wonderful to have something he touched. It makes me feel closer to him somehow. He killed his first giant single-handed! Inigo and Fergus are as tough as they come!
Inigo and the Witches of Glamoor
I followed a lead to the town of Anvil, where I have discovered more evidence of the brothers and their daring deeds. They passed through here a year ago and ended the lives of a group of treacherous hags that had been seducing the local men, then sacrificing them. Inigo and Fergus rescued a man from the witches table, and he was quite happy to tell me his tale. He said that two Khajiit men, one broad and golden, the other wiry and bluish-purple, snuck into the cave where he was being held. The hags were in a hide tent at the far end of the cave, noisily preparing a beastly incantation of some sort. The golden Khajiit, Fergus I assume, crept to the far end of the tent sword in hand. Inigo readied his bow and waited in the shadows. Fergus raised a hand to Inigo, Inigo nodded then loosed an arrow. It tore a hole in the tent, and from within, there was a horrible scream. A witch ran out wielding a dagger, Fergus decapitated her and called out, ‘Join us, ladies! You have two new suitors here! We are ready to take you out!’ There was a lot of angry yelling from within the tent then the witches burst out, spewing fire and ice from their hands. The poor man strapped to a sacrificial table watched in terror as a mighty battle began. He saw Fergus take the heads off two more witches then raise his shield as a massive gout of flame erupted from the hands of a third. Inigo put an arrow through the hag’s eye as his brother’s shield disintegrated. Fergus tossed the melting hunk of metal away and ducked as Inigo shot a witch behind him. The brothers fought as if they had one mind. The man said it was like watching a beautiful dance… but with more screaming and blood. Soon the Witches of Glamoor all lay dead. The brothers laughed and hugged.
They freed the man, looted the cave, and went on their way. After hearing this story, I ventured to the cave where it all took place and found the remains of the witches. I took their heads. Yet more evidence that Inigo is indeed real, and the champion I seek.
Inigo and Browulf the Broad
I’m so close! I just received another Inigo artefact for my growing collection. The helm of a barbarian called Browulf the Broad. My continued search for Inigo and Fergus has led me north to a small unmarked settlement in the mountains that border Skyrim. The brothers were here two months ago! This Browulf character had been in charge for a year, and he was fierce and mighty and utterly insane. He and his crew enslaved the locals and forced them to dig a mine. He was convinced that the village lay on an ebony deposit. He had the men and women serve him in a thousand horrid ways when they were not digging. They say that one day a local boy tripped while bringing Browulf a cup of mead. The brute reached out his slab-like arms and ripped the poor boy’s head from his shoulders!
One day two Khajiit warriors came to town. They were greeted by one of Browulf’s men at the gate. On seeing Inigo’s unusual colouring, the thug laughed, jeered, and pointed. Fergus drew his sword in a blur and amputated the man’s leg in a flash. ‘Next time you mock my brother, I’ll remove your head. Do we have an understanding?’ said Fergus. The man nodded, wept, and whimpered as the remains of his leg spurted blood onto the snow. Inigo stepped forward into the village, ‘We have heard tales of the great misery you bullies have inflicted on the rightful owners of this land.’ he shouted. ‘Run and live or stand and die.’ A group of Browulf’s men drew their swords but did not advance. They liked their legs. Browulf heard the commotion and stepped out of his hut; he was tall and possessed the tremendous breadth of a giant. His legs and arms were like tree trunks, his chest was like a brewery barrel, and his head was the size of a cooking pot. ‘What’s all this? Everyone get back to work!’ he yelled. The locals all dropped their heads and hurried away.
Fergus spoke up, ‘I am guessing you are the reason the people here scurry like mice?’ Browulf laughed. ‘Yes, and you had better scurry back the way you came, little kitty, unless you want to work my mine with the rest!’ Inigo drew his bow and addressed the retreating townsfolk. ‘Worry not, good people. This smelly pile of dung is about to give his last order!’ Browulf’s face turned red with rage. ‘Kill them!’ he shouted. Fergus readied his sword and yelled, ‘If you have no affiliation with this brute, get indoors! We do not quarrel with you!’
People ran, and doors slammed. Frightened faces peered through windows. Browulf’s men advanced. There were at least twenty, but after Inigo and Fergus made short work of the first ten, the rest fled. Browulf was furious and rushed at the brothers, wielding a massive axe. Fergus rolled out of the way, and Inigo put an arrow into the huge man’s helm, which usually would have ended things, but Browulf was as solid as a rock, and he kept coming. Fergus slashed at the huge man’s arms and legs, but no wound went deep, there was just too much bone and muscle in the way.
Inigo advanced, aiming for the eyes, but the barbarian kept his head down as he fought Fergus and he only succeeded in peppering Browulf’s helm with arrows. A massive hand shot out and took Fergus by the throat and lifted him off the ground and squeezed. Inigo dropped his bow, drew his sword, and ran to his brother’s aid. With flagging strength, Fergus drove his blade into the crook of Browulf’s neck. Inigo ducked a flailing axe blow, jumped on the brute’s back, and stabbed his sword under Browulf’s jaw. Suddenly Fergus was free. Browulf dropped his axe and fell to one knee. His gigantic hands groped for the two blades that now pierced his neck. Fergus rushed forward again and grabbed the hilt of his sword. In perfect unison, Inigo and Fergus withdrew their swords and swung them in opposite arcs. The blades rose, winked briefly in the sunlight, then hurtled down again. They collided at the point where Browulf’s massive head met his massive neck, cleaving the two asunder. The brothers fell back into the snow, panting and laughing. The villagers rejoiced, for they were finally free from tyranny. Inigo and Fergus set off south sometime later. I have Browulf’s helm beside me as I write this. It cost a pretty penny, but it was worth it. I’ll continue my travels tomorrow. It looks like I’m going south.
I am a murderer
I met a farmer on the road to Skingrad yesterday. When I asked if he had seen a couple of warrior Khajiit recently he laughed and said, ‘We took care of those thieving cutthroats a few days ago.’ Shocked, I asked him to explain. He said that two Khajiit men had been stealing from the local farms and villages for weeks. After finding their camp, the farmer and a group of his mates crept up and attacked the thieves in their sleep using muffle scrolls they bought in town. He said they killed one, but the other got away. ‘Doubt he’ll be showing his face around here again though.’ I explained that the Khajiit men I was looking for were not thieves. He said, ‘All Khajiit are thieves!’ Distressed, I asked the farmer to show me the camp. I found Fergus, dead and gore-streaked, under a collapsed and torn tent. I knew it was him instantly. He looked vital, dynamic, and majestic, despite the dried blood clinging to his golden fur. I have never felt such outrage, pain, and sadness. The farmer saw a change come over me and stepped back. ‘You fool!’ I shouted. ‘This man was a hero, both noble and brave! He was no thief! By the Gods, what have you done?’
The farmer took a step back. ‘He was a filthy Khajiit, nothing more.’ I felt my sadness turn to anger. Tears blurred my vision as I glared at the fool. He took another step back. ‘He was a scoundrel and a thief. Good for nothing. No use is getting upset.’ Before I knew we34rhat I was doing, my hands had taken charge and engulfed the farmer in a torrent of fire. I watched him burn and scream as flame leapt from my palms. I have never before now used my magic against a person. I still feel sick, but Fergus deserved better than to die at the hands of a group of witless, racist inbreds! I would have immolated every last one of them if they had been standing there before me at that moment. I cleared the ragged remains of the tent away and knelt by Fergus. I held his cold, golden hand. ‘You saved Inigo, didn’t you?’ I whispered. ‘Where did he go, Fergus?’ I dug a grave nearby and laid the brave warrior to rest. I looked around for his sword, but it was gone, probably taken by one of his killers. There was no sign of Inigo anywhere. At least he survived the attack. I only hope his grief has not led him astray. I must find him soon. I will stay at the camp tonight and see if a new vision visits me. Oh, Inigo. You are not as alone as you feel.
It has been years since I found Fergus and I am no closer to locating Inigo. It is as if he dropped off the map. My visions of the Doom Strider are less frequent, so perhaps the death of Fergus somehow changed our destiny. I know not. I have settled back in Skyrim for now. I have paid a small group of adventurers to seek out and acquire any artefacts and information relating to Inigo. So far, none have returned. I have also employed the services of a powerful Conjuration Mage. He is hard at work in the Imperial City trying to create a summon spell that will hopefully teleport Inigo straight to me when cast. The mage assures me such a spell is possible but will only work if the caster is a true friend of the summoned individual. I told him that I am the only true friend Inigo has left. Unfortunately, the incantation will take some time to prepare.
I had a horrible dream last night. Inigo was trapped in a vast, dark chamber, and he was bleeding badly and surrounded by Draugr. He fought them off and fled up a spiral staircase, but there was someone else there (a wizard?) who wasn’t quite as lucky. Where did the dream take place? It looked like Skyrim, but I can’t be sure. Damn it! I need that spell!
Thank the gods! Inigo is indeed still alive! In my latest dream, I saw him leaving Windhelm carrying a dragonfly in a jar. He looked tired and ragged, but he’s out there somewhere. With age, his fur has begun to take on rather a mauve hue. Time changes us all, I suppose. When I started this book, I had a thick head of black hair. I saw Inigo save a farmer from a frost troll! The farmer thanked him and offered him gold, but Inigo ignored the gesture and plodded away. Where is he heading? My vision ended shortly after he reached a fork in the road. Did he travel towards Riften or Whiterun? I’d set out in search of him immediately if the summon spell weren’t due any day now. Blast!
The spell arrived today, and it is worthless! I have tried reading the tome a hundred times, and it does nothing! Well, not quite nothing. It vibrates gently then slams shut! That Conjuration Mage is a swindling con artist, and I want my money back! I will keep trying none the less. Perhaps I can force it to work somehow. By the gods that charlatan is going to pay! I may not know much about Conjuration, but I can kick a fellow in the crotch as well as the next man!”
Langley wrote he tried the conjuration spell a hundred times and it didn’t work. Inigo only felt its effect for the first time just outside Dawnstar. Inigo had been renting a cell in the Riften jail. Not only would he be surrounded by thick masonry, Riften is much further away than Dawnstar. When Inigo came to visit the Imperial City to inquire about becoming a Sentinel, he would have been even further away from Langley’s cabin. I surmise I could summon Inigo from anywhere on Nirn and the spell would work. Langley admits he is not very powerful in Conjuration. The plan for Langley to use the spell to summon Inigo if there is any development is not a good one.
Langley was worried that the death of Fergus might have changed their destiny. That is more proof that his foresight is providing possible outcomes that he is manipulating things to produce.
I have warned him about his temper, and now he has killed in cold blood because he couldn’t control it. Toleration of racism doesn’t exist in Cyrodiil. Even though Fergus and Inigo were not citizens of The Empire, the attack on them would have been dealt with quickly by the Count of Skingrad. It does not matter if Titus Mede II, Sethius or I sat the throne, the farmer and the rest of the murderers would either be headless or working in a mine. I will talk with the Count and see if justice is still possible.
I called Langley over. He came and sat at the table,
- Wulf: Can I ask you something?
- Langley: I don’t know. Can you?
- Wulf: Can you tell me my future?
- Langley: I’m afraid it doesn’t work like that. Whenever I try and force a prediction, the results are usually extremely vague. My more accurate visions come to me in the form of dreams. Though even then they show possibilities, not definite outcomes.
- Wulf: That is what I told Inigo. We can word your predictions as a prophecy if you want, but it is not. It is a set of possible outcomes. A prophecy accurately predicts the result of a sequence of events, such as The Chosen One involving the Emperor, Queen and unborn child. Or the one concerning the return of The Dragonborn.
- Inigo: I like to be part of a prophecy rather than possible outcomes!
- Wulf: Then, my friend, I am quite happy to call it Inigo’s Prophecy.
Inigo smiled, and I am more than happy to stoke his pride.
- Wulf: Have you had dreams about me?
- Langley: No, not yet, anyway. I occasionally get flashes of Mr Dragonfly, but that probably doesn’t mean very much. Inigo’s fascination with the little fellow has seeped into my dreams. I wouldn’t feel too left out, though. If you have a place in all this, I’m sure you’ll show up eventually.
- Wulf: I would like to discuss the Inigo Prophecy.
- Langley: What do you want to know? Inigo knows a fair bit, and you have those books I gave him, if you know how to read.
- Wulf: I have already read all three from front to back. You really should watch out for passive sentences and mixed tense. Your use of colon and semi-colons leaves a lot to be desired as well. Oh, ending sentences with prepositions can make some readers go berserk, so watch for that as well. If you ever intend to publish them, may I suggest you pay a proper editor first?
Langley sat with his mouth opening and closing like a fish out of water. Inigo laughed once again.
- Inigo: He did read them in a couple of minutes Langley. He also publishes a lot himself so take his advice on the grammar.
- Langley: You look somewhat learned, but appearances can be deceptive.
- Inigo: In his case, very.
It was my time to laugh. Langley looked at us like he was missing an inside joke, which he was.
- Wulf: I believe there is no certainty the prophecy will come to pass.
- Langley: True, but let’s look at the evidence, shall we? On average, the accuracy of my visions is about ninety per cent. That percentage goes up when the event I predict is closer in time and, or, the subjects of the event are known to me. The fact that Inigo and I have now met and had a chat suggests the chance that the rest of my vision will come to pass has increased substantially. Do you follow?
- Wulf: Absolutely. An infinite number of specific events must occur for your predictions to come true. By seeking out Inigo and paying for the Conjuration spell, you have increased the probability of the prophecy coming true. The likelihood also increases because this meeting has occurred. Similarly, you sent out adventurers to seek information on The Doom Strider. Depending on what they find that could also be a significant step to triggering the rest of your predicted outcome. As a predicted outcome gets closer, there are fewer events that can prevent it from happening.
- Inigo: I think he more than followed, don’t you believe so, Langley?
- Wulf: Tell me about the Doom Strider.
- Langley: I’m horrified by how little I know on the subject. I think it’s a human, or at least I believe it walks in human form. My dreams and visions are often metaphorical, so it’s hard to discern what The Doom Strider is, or the nature of the destruction it will bring.
- Wulf: Your foresight is more precise than most inflicted with it. Normally I would advise you approach a Priest or Priestess of Azura about this. Lady Azura takes these confused metaphorical visions and stitches them together to produce the reality of the prediction. She loves her people, the Khajiit, and has actively worked against those who wish to destroy or dominate Nirn. However, the nature of the Doom Strider is unknown, and if it has anything to do with a Daedric Prince, then Azura may find herself compromised. I am afraid we will have to live with your metaphorical visions for now.
- Inigo: I can see you want to ask my friend what he would know about Gods, Dark Lords and foresight. Just trust that he knows more than most.
- Wulf: Tell me what the Doom Strider looks like in your dreams.
- Langley: There are two dreams. In both, I see a towering dead minded, red-eyed monstrosity, walking the world leaving sorrow, death and despair in its wake. The very Gods are powerless to intervene. In one vision, I see them watch in horror as Nirn decays and rots.
- Wulf: The Gods cannot intervene. Martin’s barrier prevents them from entering the mortal plane. They can send avatars but rely on mortal champions to fight for the survival of Nirn. Both Aedra and Daedra have employed mortal heroes in the past. Without wanting to make his head explode with pride, Inigo may be a champion chosen by a God or Gods.
- Inigo: You think so?
- Wulf: Do not think it is a gift, Inigo. If chosen, it is a burden of expectation and responsibility. But the rewards can be invaluable. Not in treasure or prestige but a sense of accomplishment.
- Inigo: Just knowing that every person you meet can continue to experience life due to your efforts is reward enough, according to your Emperor.
- Wulf: Langley, what happens in your other vision?
- Langley: That one is a little better. It starts in much the same way, but this time The Champion is there to stop The Doom Strider. I see a baby blue Khajiit elude death before his first birthday. I see him grow into a great warrior. I see him and I talking in earnest, and I see the Gods rejoice as he defeats the demon.
- Wulf: You used the word demon but is that not projecting your interpretation of the creature in your vision? It could be a Daedric Prince, a Numidium, a foreign God or even a powerful Lich. Did you see how Inigo defeats the Doom Strider? That may give us a clue to what or who it is.
- Langley: That is unclear to me. Perhaps now Inigo and I are known to one another, my dreams will offer up a clearer picture. I’ll be sure to keep him posted.
- Wulf: Going back to the metaphorical nature of your visions. That covers everything, not just the Doom Strider?
- Langley: The destruction I witness could be my mind’s way of translating any great catastrophe. Perhaps The Doom Strider is an evil man who gains great power, or maybe it is not a man at all. Perhaps it represents famine or disease, or even a wicked idea that infects every mind it touches. That said, considering Inigo is The Champion, and his skill set revolves around killing, I think it is more likely that the Doom Strider has a corporeal form.
- Wulf: That is reasonable conjecture based on fact. But Inigo also has excellent agility, a smart mouth and nimble mind, a personal army of fleas and questionable hygiene habits. In reality, any of his strengths, or vices, could be what decides the outcome.
- Inigo: I bathe regularly!
- Wulf: Monthly or annually?
- Inigo: I bathe whenever I have a promising date lined up.
- Wulf: Langley, are you a native of Skyrim?
- Langley: Yes, but I moved to Cyrodiil in my teens. I had a talent for magic, and went to the Imperial City on an apprenticeship. I never joined a guild or anything. I received my training from an angry little man called Barton Barius. Bit of a pyromaniac but a decent sort. He never used his powers against people, wouldn’t hear of it, but he enjoyed burning everything else. Anyway, he taught me a great deal about destruction magic, alchemy and even how to hone my visions. He imbued in me a thirst for knowledge, and I soon began researching a variety of subjects outside the discipline of magic. When I returned to Skyrim, I travelled the Holds making gold by predicting the weather for farmers and such, but my main focus soon became science.
- Wulf: Science is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.
- Langley: That is a thorough definition! I say it the systematic building of knowledge and collecting testable explanations.
- Inigo: What? Now my head is hurting again! First gobblygook and now science, whatever that is.
- Wulf: There are natural laws that govern the behaviour of things. Why do you stick to the surface of Nirn and not float away Inigo?
- Inigo: Nirn sucks?
- Wulf: Gravity. By understanding how gravity works, we can predict things and experiment, that is conduct tests, to prove our hypothesis.
- Inigo: Huh?
- Wulf: The cliff outside that the statue of Talos sits on is about 100 yards high. If I were to dangle you over the side by your legs and let go, I know it would take about 4.3 seconds for you to hit the ground at a speed of just under 95 miles per hour. I know this for sure because other people have calculated how fast falling objects accelerate on Nirn and created a mathematical formula that gives me that answer.
- Inigo: I believe you, no need to experiment!
- Wulf: When did you first start receiving visions, Langley?
- Langley: They started when I was very young. After I managed to convince people they were accurate, my father called them a gift. Most of the time they’re a bloody curse. For instance, I knew my mother was going to leave my father before she did. It’s hard for a nine-year-old to know what to do with that information.
- Inigo: My friend understands Langley. Both he and his wife have foresight. They have hired people to help children with it to cope and understand it better.
Langley looked at me differently. As if I was suddenly an ally and not a rival.
- Wulf: When you are not waiting for blue Khajiit to appear at your doorstep, what do you do here?
- Langley: I may not be very well known here, but my studies have earned me good standing among certain more rational factions of society.
- Wulf: I have read many hundreds of books and manuscripts covering a wide range of subjects but have never heard of you. If you are not well known, it is not ignorance but the fact that thousands of scholars each year publish their findings, theories and experiences. It is a sign of elitism and inflated ego to suggest only rational factions of society know of you!
Langley’s body language told me my status as an ally ended. The man had a fragile ego, and I don’t mind sticking pins into it.
- Wulf: Your paintings intrigue me. Are they images from your visions?
- Langley: Yes. I discovered my love of art in the Imperial City. Now I mainly use my talents to depict what I see in my dreams. I paint them as soon as I wake up. I find that locking a vision in place in the form of a picture often lends further insight.
- Wulf: You are not exactly a stone’s throw from any market, and Khajiit caravans do not pass this way. Where do you get your materials?
- Langley: I make my own. I mix various ingredients with a little oil to create paint, and I’ve discovered a Skeever tail makes quite a decent brush. Unorthodox but functional. The ability to improvise is useful when one is so far from civilisation.
- Wulf: The statue of Talos outside would have attracted trouble when the Thalmor stunk up Skyrim.
- Langley: I believe a group of Talos worshippers used to live here. I’m not sure where they went, but I fear they may have suffered an attack of some sort. When I first arrived, there were a few collapsed shacks and a destroyed stable too. This cabin was the only intact building. I needed to re-thatch the roof and fix areas of the walkway, but other than that it was in tip-top condition.
- Wulf: I am confident they fell foul of the Thalmor!
- Inigo: You and I find them distasteful. I assume you encountered them in my homeland?
- Wulf: That discussion is for another time, Inigo.
- Inigo: Ah, I must try harder to remember what is for public consumption.
- Wulf: Langley, I admire your skills as carpenter, thatcher and stonemason. I also appreciate the collection of souvenirs from Inigo’s and Fergus’ adventures. I am a bard and might write something to spread the word of these deeds.
- Inigo: I write songs as well!
- Wulf: And I look forward to hearing them. Perhaps we can perform together in a tavern or two. Do you live here alone, Langley?
- Langley: Yes. I find that stupidity can be contagious. To maintain my intellectual prowess, I must keep some distance from society as a whole. Of course, this does not apply to Inigo, and since he likes you so much, I’ll suffer your company for as long as he wants you around.
- Inigo: I think you will find my friend outsmarts you in virtually all areas Langley, and people surround him. He has been patient with you. Do not test him further.
- Wulf: I would advise you to take notice of what Inigo said. I am wondering if there is some inherent racism due to me being half Orsimer. Some of the most intelligent people I know are Orsimer including Urag gro-Shub, the librarian and a Master Mage at the College of Winterhold.
- Langley: What? The College of Winterhold? That bunch of jumped up show-offs.
- Wulf: And once again, you prove your ignorance. The majority of mages from the College spend their time helping the ordinary citizens of many provinces. I am yet to meet one who shows off. Perhaps if you had asked one of their Masters of Conjuration to create your spell, it might have worked. Who did you hire, some Hedge Mage? It would also have come with a guarantee to work from the College.
- Langley: It’s rubbish! Tosh! It hardly works at all. All it seems to do is give poor Inigo vague directions to the summoner, and a headache.
- Wulf: Maybe it is not the spell but the caster. You are not a Master of Conjuration. You are most likely not powerful enough to make it work or do not meet the criteria required.
- Langley: I followed the instructions dutifully. There is no reason it shouldn’t work. No one knows Inigo better than I do.
- Wulf: What has that got to do with the spell?
- Langley: The Conjuration Mage who created the spell told me that as long as I was Inigo’s true friend, I should be able to get it to work. It is clearly broken. I’m the greatest ally Inigo has.
- Wulf: That criteria would have been placed on the spell so you can’t use it to summon strangers. Imagine somebody summoning the Emperor into a room full of dozens of assassins? If the subject of the summoning was handy when creating the spell, you could ensure it only works for that individual. Since Inigo was not where the mage was, otherwise you would not need the spell, he had to work off the physical and personality traits of Inigo that you gave him. But Inigo has changed since you last saw him or since you described him to the mage. His face scars, for instance. Nowhere do you mention this in your writings. I am guessing they happened near Windhelm when he encountered those Draugr. Inigo’s personality has changed somewhat after the death of Fergus. He was addicted to Skooma for some time and was in a dark place inside his head. I know more about Inigo than you do. As for being his greatest ally, we have fought together and had each other’s backs.
- Langley: Oh, I’m sure you know him a little, but I’ve been studying him for decades. No, if the spell doesn’t work for me, it won’t work for anyone. Isn’t that right Inigo?
- Inigo: I think you should let him try it.
- Langley: Exactly… What! Why?
- Inigo: Langley, I am sure we are great allies in the making, but my friend here and I have a more immediate bond.
- Langley: What do you mean? Oh, I didn’t realise you were an item.
- Inigo: Hahaha. Not that type of bond. We have travelled together, trained together and have shared our views on many subjects. He told you we fought bravely side by side. I have placed my life in his hands and vice versa. What I am trying to say is this, we are friends. Go on, hand over a copy of the spell. I am the only one who will suffer if it goes wrong.
- Langley: I see. I won’t argue with you. Even though it’s a waste of time, I will do as you ask.
- Inigo: Thank you. What is the worst that can happen?
- Langley: You don’t want to know.
- Wulf: I might make it work, then Langley dies of a broken ego! Would that be the worst thing to happen? Debatable.
Inigo burst out laughing while Langley turned bright red. I was getting tired of his posturing. My Dov half wanted to punch him in the nose.
- Langley: If we’re going to do this, we must be scientific. Inigo, you stay here, and your friend and I will go outside. Once we are on the path, I’ll give you the spell, and you can try, unsuccessfully, to teleport Inigo to us. Stare vacantly ahead if you understand.
- Wulf: There is nothing scientific about that! What is your hypothesis, and how is it being tested? What control is there for the experiment? What you are suggesting is simply logical procedure, not science. I am starting to wonder if you know what science is.
- Inigo: Good luck, my friend. I will wait and brace myself.
- Wulf: There is no luck involved Inigo. If the spell is viable, it will work. If it is not viable, I might have to spend some time fixing it, which is something beyond the capabilities of this twit.
- Langley: We shall see who is the twit! Let us go outside and get this waste of time over.
Langley stormed outside. I stood, then said to Inigo, “He doesn’t know about the other Sentinel outside. I hope he doesn’t shit his britches.”
“You are trying hard not to turn him into a frog. Please be patient a while longer, my friend.”
I walked outside and stood before Langley, who was halfway up the cabin stairs. He looked at The Sentinel, then asked, “Who are these people?”
“They are a special part of the Penitus Oculatus. They are my bodyguards, as is Inigo.”
“You are a general, why would you need bodyguards?”
“How about we concentrate on the spell?”
Langley handed me a tome containing a copy of the spell. I read it and recognised its creator. He is a Master Conjurer trained at the College of Winterhold and now a researcher at the Imperial Library.
The spell was genius and could easily be adapted to conjure other people. I would have to discuss the ethics of it with The Sentinel, but it was voluntary. The conjured could see who was summoning them and refuse the summons if they wished. A mental acceptance of the Conjuration was needed. It could be convenient, indeed!
It only took me seconds to learn the spell. I closed the tome Langley gave me and said, “I am ready to caste. Are you watching?”
“Inconceivable! Just you wait, I bet your hands explode when you cast it.”
I concentrated on a spot a few feet in front of me and cast the spell. Instantaneously Inigo teleported to that spot.
- Inigo: Woah! It worked! I am outside!
- Langley: What? How did you do that?
- Wulf: I cast the spell. Or maybe I hid a tiny Inigo in my pocket?
- Inigo: My friend! That was wonderful. Did you see it? One moment I was inside casually not tasting Langley’s cooking, then WHOOSH! I saw your face, and I was out here! It was amazing!
- Wulf: How did it feel?
- Inigo: It feels good. No mind vibrations at all. It is like a brief, warm embrace followed by a pleasant floaty sensation. There is something else.
- Wulf: Let me guess, you saw it was me summoning you and could refuse to come if you wanted?
- Inigo: You’re right! When you summoned me, I knew it was you, and I had a choice. I could choose to come or not.
- Wulf: The sensation you described is how it feels travelling the ethereal plane. If you stayed on the deck of Nafalilargus when it does an ether jump, you would feel the same sensation.
- Inigo: This spell is a fantastic tool, my friend.
- Wulf: It certainly is. I can think of many times it could come in handy. We will discuss them later.
- Langley: I don’t know what to say.
- Inigo: Let us test its range. Try to place me further away.
- Wulf: Okay, but the range is unlimited. I think I could even conjure you to and from another plane of existence. But that experiment can wait.
I concentrated on a spot neat the fence many yards away, then I cast the spell. Inigo instantly vanished from the place a few feet in front of me and reappeared where I was focusing.
He came running up to me, and as he did so, Illia asked, “I can see the theory behind the spell. Do you think I could learn it?”
“Anybody competent in Conjuration can so yes, I believe you could.”
Inigo stood in front of me with a massive smile on his face. Langley stood staring at him with a sour look on his.
As predicted, Langley’s petulance has come to the fore. He sees me as a threat and needs reassurance I am not trying or going to replace him. He is a vital part of ‘Inigo’s Prophecy’.
- Inigo: I knew you could do it. You are outstanding.
- Langley: Observation. The subject seems to be physically unaffected by the spell. He is, however, exhibiting poor character judgement.
- Inigo: You are a funny fellow, Langley. Poor character judgement, my tail. My friend here did a fantastic job getting the spell to work.
- Langley: Note. The subject is delusional.
- Inigo: The subject does not sound nearly as good as The Champion. Did I offend you in some way? I hope not. Without you, we never would have gained such an excellent spell. I hope you know we are grateful for all you have done.
Langley stared at me with contempt on his face. He continued with anger in his voice,
- Langley: It’s not you, Inigo. It’s him. The spell shouldn’t work with just anyone. It was supposed to form a link between us. This idiot broke it!
- Wulf: You can’t break the spell, you nincompoop!
- Inigo: I think maybe the spell works because of the link my friend and I already share. You should not take it personally. We three are a team now. We need each other and should not be fighting amongst ourselves.
- Langley: You and I are a team. All this moron can do is collect eggs. How useful is that going to be when we take on The Doom Strider?
- Inigo: Trust me, you could not wish for a more worthy ally.
- Langley: We shall see. I hope your right. I’m getting cold, so I think I’ll head inside. Feel free to make yourself at home and stay as long as you like. When you leave, I’ll be sure to contact you with my lesser version of the spell if I hear anything new.
- Inigo: Thankyou Langley. I am glad we finally met.
- Langley: I am too. I can see you’re every bit the champion this world needs. I’ll see you soon.
Langley turned to me. I could still see hostility on his face; therefore, his attempt at reconciliation seemed empty. He said, “I’m sorry if I spoke out of turn earlier. I’m sure you don’t mean to be annoying.”
“Annoying is being called an idiot by a mental midget.”
“It was just an observation. There’s no need to get upset. Look. I’m sorry I called you an idiot. Happy?”
“Far from it. If we’re going to work together, you’re going to have to be more polite.”
“I’m going to have to be more polite? Who do you think you are? Just accept my apology, and we’ll leave it there. Really!”
That was it! I had given him enough chances. I used my Thu’um with enough power that they probably heard me in Dawnstar.
“WHO DO YOU THINK I AM?”
Langley dropped his torch in fright and covered his head and face with his arms. I waited patiently as he slowly realised death was not forthcoming. He peeked over his arm and recognition suddenly dawned.
I had used the Thu’um, so my disguise as a half-orc had dissipated and before him stood his Emperor.
Langley stood with his arms by his side, his head slightly bowed.
“I am sorry Majesty. I did not know who I was speaking to.”
“It does not matter if I was a beggar in the gutter. Your manners and petulance were unacceptable. I came in disguise for two reasons. Firstly, I did not want an enemy to recognise who I was. Secondly, I find it better to be somebody or something else other than the Emperor when taking the measure of others. It allows them to show their true selves without my social standing getting in the way.”
Langley was shaking with fright and resignation. He thought his years of work would now come to nought.
“Listen to me, Langley. You’re a good man! What you did for Inigo’s parents and Fergus is proof of that. But you must control your moods and that mouth of yours. In a rage, you murdered that farmer! Something your mentor would never have done. With your sarcasm and cynicism, you almost ruined your chance to help Inigo and Nirn. There are many others with less patience than me. They would have beat you to a pulp after just one or two snide remarks from that mouth of yours. Yes, I gave some back, but it was a fraction of what you dished out. Do you understand what I am trying to tell you?”
“You are vital to helping us beat whatever The Doom Strider is! I am not trying to replace you! You must admit, having the person who has saved Nirn and Mundus on many occasions assisting Inigo is a boon.”
“Yes, it is.”
“Have no fear about me trying to replace Inigo either. I am looking forward to assisting somebody else who has taken on the burden of saving Nirn, as it will make a pleasant change. Inigo is The Champion of this prophecy, and he is welcome to that designation. Inigo is a remarkable individual. That is why I trust him to guard High Queen Rigmor and our unborn child.”
“I am glad you have seen those qualities too, Your Majesty.”
“You need to keep doing what you are doing. I have a lot of experience with these things and believe I could break the prophecy if I interfere too much. Therefore, I will not use any of the vast resources available to me to assist you at this stage. But when the time comes and Inigo, you and I have to beat The Doom Strider, I will use all the power at my disposal to ensure we are successful. That is my duty as Champion of The Divine but also as Inigo’s friend.”
Langley finally relaxed and asked, “Do you mean it? We are a team?”
“As I said, you are a vital part of our team. When we defeat The Doom Strider together, you will also be able to look at every person you meet after and feel not just pride but also the joy from giving them a chance to live their life. Whether a person is a rich noble or street beggar, life is worth living.”
“You truly believe that, don’t you?”
“With every ounce of my being. And do you know what else?”
“The Gods will rejoice, well some of them. Certainly, The Divines and Azura, the All Maker and the Hist, and many others. Don’t expect thanks from Molag Bal and some other Dark Lords though.”
“You want me just to continue as if The Emperor is not part of this?”
“I believe that it is vital you do so. I can give you access to the Imperial Library, even the restricted parts, as well as the library of the College of Winterhold. But I strongly advise you do not divulge why you are researching certain things to anybody else. Of course, you may need to ask for help from librarians and so on. Just be cautious. I think if the wrong people, or even God, gets wind of what you are doing, they may try and stop us. The wrong words in the wrong ear could jeopardise the completion of the prophecy and may even endanger you.”
“What about funds? The money I made from weather divining has almost run out after purchasing the spell.”
“That is not a problem. Just ask via courier and money will magically appear, by Imperial Courier. The spell was created by a Master Mage who learnt his skills at the College of Winterhold. You may want to reassess your opinion of that wonderful establishment. Especially since I used to be the Arch-Mage.”
Langley laughed. He is a good man, as I have stated several times, and hopefully any unpleasantness between us is over.
“One more thing before we wish you goodnight. When Inigo has time off from his duties, it may be a good idea if he visits here and stays with you. If your dreams work as you say, his continued proximity may help clarify some of them.”
“Goodnight Langley. We have a long trek back to Dawnstar.”
Illia walked up and handed Langley his torch. He walked up the steps a different person and with a confidence to him.
Inigo came up to me, then said, “That was intense!”
“You should know by now I do not demand respect because I am Emperor. As I said to him, it did not matter if I was a street beggar.”
“All is well, I think. Anyway, we solved the mystery of my vibrating brain and got a powerful new spell. A spell not taught at any college I wager.”
“The Master Conjurer who reinvented it is a genius, but sadly we have to regain knowledge lost to time slowly. The Ayleid, Snow Elves and Dwemer could all summon people like that. They could also make teleport portals that we are struggling to understand. Much Magicka knowledge is lost. I am glad we have retrieved this small part of it.”
“I am still trying to digest what Langley told me. There is a lot to sort through.”
“You will have your first turn at Throne Room duty tomorrow. You will have plenty of time to think.”
“I have a feeling we are at the beginning of a fantastic adventure, my friend.”
“And I am so looking forward to being the sidekick!”
“If you do not mind, when we have a moment, I would like to discuss something with you.”
“I am open to discussion anytime Inigo. You simply have to ask.”
“Not here, can we talk when we get back to the airship?”
“Of course. It will be early morning by the time we reach Dawnstar, assuming we have no encounters on the way.”
“You are not going to summon the airship?”
“This is a field exercise. That means we walk back and risk the encounters. Let’s go.”
It was just after 5:30 AM when we made it back to Dawnstar and Nafalilargus.
As the other Sentinel made their weary way to their hammocks, I sat next to Inigo who said, “I know you told me you trust Langley back at his cabin, but you have since had several hours to think about it. In your heart of hearts, do you still think we can trust him?”
“My survival quite often depends on assessing others and determining their motives and honesty. Langley has his flaws, but he is honest. I have no problems trusting him. He genuinely believes his destiny is to save Nirn and its people. With us two as his allies.”
“I feel the same way. As you said, he had flaws, but who doesn’t? Even though we have just met, he has been a part of my life for years. He is, as you said, a good man. Hearing your opinion has eased my mind. Thank you, my friend.”
“Do not get your hopes up but I am going to see if the Count of Skingrad can find those who attacked you and your brother. Justice has no time limit, so it does not matter how many years ago that occurred.”
“You would do that for Fergus and me?”
“I would do it for anybody. The elimination of racism is paramount for the good of The Empire. Otherwise it flares up at the slightest opportunity.”
“I will not get excited until it happens, my friend.”
“You said you write songs.”
“Yes, but don’t ask me to play the lute! I have never been very good, but I enjoy writing songs. I have found it is more fun just making up words as I go along. Improvising keeps the mind sharp and boredom at bay.”
“If I asked, would you sing something while we are travelling?”
“Maybe, but nothing too serious. I would rather save my proper songs for the Bard’s College. For now, anyway.”
“Not only am I a bard but also a member of the Bard’s College. I understand you would want to sing your special songs in that special place. There is an atmosphere in that building that makes you want to compose and sing and play. Well, maybe not play in your case. Perhaps I can also perform a song I write about your adventures there for the first time.”
“That is a deal!”
“You had better get some sleep. If boredom is your enemy, then your first day in the throne room will be a good test of your endurance.”
“The veteran Sentinel said that Rigmor makes it amusing. She tears the spines out of some who dare waste her time with trivialities.”
“Not quite that bad but almost. Just remember, you have to be alert so you can kill an assassin before harm comes to our Queen!”
“I understand. You can trust me.”
“I know I can. Well you have today to get some sleep and rest so goodnight. Know that you all did great today. I have no fear that as a squad, you can deal with whatever nasties threaten us.”
Inigo joined the other Sentinel trying not to fall off the hammocks. I asked one of the mages to set the course for Bruma and to ether us there.
I sat at the dining table and wrote these journal entries.
I then snuck into our private room, trying my hardest no to wake my sleeping Queen. I hope she had a reasonable day running the Empire and didn’t rip out too many spines.
So happy was Rigmor that I returned safely she even forgave my cold feet.
I know not what time I fell asleep.