Rigmor of Bruma quest: Guardian.
While Angi, Baa’Ren-Dar and Lydia joined me for a meal and talk, Sigunn and Sorella attended to Rigmor.
I heard Sigunn talking to Rigmor but resisted the urge to check in on her. For years they yearned to be back together, and now they are. I have no right to get in their way as they learn to communicate once more.
We cleared away the table and were preparing for bed when Sigunn joined us.
- Wulf: Sigunn, how is Rigmor?
- Sigunn: She’s asleep, Sorella is with her.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: Did she mention anything about what happened?
- Sigunn: She awoke in a panic and didn’t know what was going on. We asked her about what happened, but she doesn’t remember.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: Could her memory loss just be exhaustion?
- Sigunn: It’s too early to tell. Once she has had a good rest, we can talk to her.
- Wulf: It is not exhaustion. I healed her but…how do I explain this…her aura…her lifeforce is wrong. Either a spell or potion was used to put her into a catatonic state. She may have little or no memory of the events after the spell or potion was used. I am confident she will recover.
- Sigunn: How can you be so sure.
- Wulf: Intuition.
- Sigunn: Sorella listened to some of what you talked about with the others. She says you had to beat up one God’s ‘bad guys’ then go into Oblivion and beat up another God’s ‘bad guys’?
- Wulf: I had to defeat Boethia’s Champions so that she would tell me where Rigmor was. I then had to enter Oblivion and kill Malacath’s minions so I could destroy the Oblivion Gate. He pleaded with me not to do it and offered tremendous riches, but I told him no. I told him Rigmor was the most precious thing to me. Any offer would fall short.
- Sigunn: You talked to two gods and went to Oblivion to rescue Rigmor?
- Wulf: I almost got killed retrieving something for Boethia. But as soon as she told me where Rigmor was, I was unstoppable. I decimated all before me like the killing machine I am. I would have done anything to rescue her.
- Lydia: I am good at killing as well, my Thane. It does not dictate who you are.
- Wulf: You have not seen what I can do. Think on the Dragonborn of history. That is what my enemies face and not just a man with a sword.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: You did what was necessary.
- Wulf: If you say so.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: As I said earlier, they could make another portal. The New Order must be defeated on the ground in Skyrim and Cyrodiil.
- Wulf: It will do them no good to build another portal. There is something special about Rigmor. She is…unique.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: You did not say this earlier. What makes Rigmor special?
- Wulf: I will discuss what it is with Rigmor when she recovers enough. She should know before anybody else at his table.
Rigmor came strolling into the room. I detected no darkness around her. Whatever they did to her, spell or potion seems to have worn off. Her mood was foul.
- Rigmor: Know about what? Is everyone talking about me behind my back?
- Sigunn: Rigmor! No, we just thought…
- Rigmor: We? Who’s we?
- Baa’Ren-Dar: Rigmor, the Guardian…
- Rigmor: Guardian? Pffft! I don’t see any guardian
I stood and approached Rigmor. She stood with anger on her face as I addressed her.
“Rigmor, I am so relieved to see you walking and talking. I was worried as Lydia, and I brought you home.”
“Brought me home? This isn’t my home! It’s just part of the nightmare. So, get out of my face, argh!”
I have been the target of Rigmor’s anger before. Whenever she is uncertain, the anger comes out.
Rigmor saved the biggest barb for last and growled, “I don’t even know you!”
“Look inside your heart, and you will find me waiting there. Goodnight Rigmor, I will see you tomorrow.”
Rigmor pushed past me. I smiled then walked up to Sigunn who said, “Dragonborn, I’m sorry…she…why don’t you get some sleep? You must be exhausted.”
“I am not upset Sigunn. Rigmor will be fine. She just needs some time and no pressure on her. I can’t detect anything affecting her…what did I call it before?”
“Yes, her Aura. I don’t know what Rigmor’s temper was like when she was fourteen, but that was a mild tantrum compared to a couple that I have been the target of.”
“You are putting on a brave face, but it must hurt when somebody you love says that!”
“Love is what will bring her back to us. The love of family and friends. Goodnight Sigunn.”
I was, as Sigunn suggested, exhausted. I had hardly lain on top of my bedroll before sleep dragged me into its depths.
I woke at sunrise and made my way upstairs. Sigunn approached me and said, “Guardian, Rigmor has calmed down overnight. She is sitting on the porch. I think you should go and speak to her.”
“How are her memories?”
“Slowly recovering. At least she knows who Baa’Ren-Dar and I are.”
“Guardian, do not worry. She will remember your love, and it will not have been diminished.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“A mother’s intuition.”
I smiled at Sigunn then exited the farmhouse.
Rigmor was sitting and staring into infinity.
“Mind if I join you?” I asked her.
“Yes, I would like that.”
I sat down and had a close look at my beloved. On the outside, she was healthy, vibrant even.
“Your mother says you are feeling better today.”
“Yeah, I think so.”
“Every step forward is a triumph.”
“I’m sorry about…you know…”
“I understand completely. There is no need to apologise.”
“Mom says you came for me, that you are my Guardian.”
I looked away quickly and composed myself. Was I wrong about the strength of our love? What a fool I have been!
I turned back to Rigmor and said, “Yes. I rescued you, and now you are safe. That is all that matters.”
“Will they come for me again?”
“I have killed many already and will destroy all that try! So, no, they will not come for you again.”
“What did they want with me?”
“When you get your memories back, we can discuss that.”
“Guardian, I keep having this dream.”
“A recurring dream?”
“Yes! There is a little girl that I can hear crying. She’s all alone, in the dark. I can’t see her, so I follow the sound of her sobbing. When I find her, she has her back to me. I approach, and she wants me to hold her hand. I take it, and then she leads me to a battlefield. The sky is black, and the rain is pouring down. It is a terrible storm, but she keeps pulling me forward. I don’t want to follow her. I’m scared and let go of her hand. Then I wake up, every time.”
“Do you recognise the girl?”
“No, but I have this feeling she wants to show me something, but I let go every time because I am afraid.”
The little girl wanted Rigmor to remember. That is what she was trying to show her. Memories. But I did not say that to Rigmor. I said, “You have been through a lot. It might make sense as your memories return.”
“I am having trouble remembering things. Everything is vague. I can’t remember my past. Before, when I was a little girl? All that is gone.”
“Have you spoken to your mother or Baa’Ren-Dar about this?”
“I am finding it hard to connect with them, no matter how much I love them in my heart. I feel something is wrong, and I feel guilty, but I don’t know why. All we have to connect us is…this…uncertainty? Ahh!”
“How do you feel about me?”
“Comfortable…protected…safe, I guess.”
“Then I have done my job as Guardian and will continue to do so.”
“Right now, I think I need that, a Guardian.”
Rigmor looked at me with concern on her face. My façade was slipping. I asked her, “Can you remember what I told you last night?”
“Just before I barged past you?”
“You said I should look inside my heart. That I will find you waiting there.”
“Sometimes what the mind forgets, the heart remembers.”
“I…I’m sorry. I guess I am about to rediscover a lot of things, right? I think I’ll go take a walk and try to clear my mind.”
I watched Rigmor walk towards the lake. She knows that she loves her mother and Baa’Ren-Dar but not me. That hurts far more than ‘I don’t even know you!’.
I entered the farmhouse then approached Baa’Ren-Dar and Sigunn.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: Dragonborn, did she say anything? Is her memory coming back?
- Sigunn: She does know who we are, doesn’t she?
- Wulf: Yes, Sigunn, she remembers you are her mom. She also knows she loves you both dearly. But it is not a matter of no memories and then all memories. We must gently remind her of things and let the memories return that way.
- Sigunn: Both Baa’Ren-Dar and you are positive that it is just a temporary thing.
- Wulf: Yes, and now we need to figure out what will help recover her memories. It is not just the trauma. Like I said last night, they did something to her with a spell or potion. I also think there are some memories she doesn’t want back. Those memories we have to be careful to tread around. But it is not all or nothing.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: Some say that to move forward, you must sometimes go back. Sometimes to remember who we are, we need to start from the beginning.
- Wulf: No, that is wrong! The most uncomplicated memories to recover will be the newest. She will be sure of those while older ones might seem a bit vague. Rigmor might be unsure if she has an older memory correct. We need something recent that would be an important memory. Some memory she would subconsciously like to recall.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: Why don’t you take Rigmor to revisit some of the places you have recently been?
- Wulf: High Hrothgar would take too long, but The Lookout is close. That would do for a start. We could then head for Whiterun. She loved that city, and I have a home there she likes.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: This one thinks that is an excellent choice!
- Sigunn: What about you, Dragonborn? Does she remember who you are?
- Wulf: She knows I am her Guardian because you told her. Apart from that, I am a stranger.
- Sigunn: Oh, I am so sorry!
- Wulf: She is alive and well. That is the most important thing.
- Sigunn: Is there anywhere else you might take Rigmor?
- Wulf: She liked Casius, so we will probably visit him. I really should take her to the College of Winterhold and find out what they want with her.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: This one will stop at the College of Winterhold and speak to the Arch-Mage as you requested last night. It is not much of a detour for Khajiit. Enquiries about Jonte Malesam will take Khajiit a bit longer.
- Wulf: Thank you, Baa’Ren-Dar. Is there any important person in Skyrim you don’t know personally?
- Baa’Ren-Dar: This one has never met Ulric Stormcloak!
- Sigunn: Do you know why the mages want to speak to Rigmor?
- Wulf: Yes, but it is part of the reason why the New Order were so interested in Rigmor. Until Rigmor is ready to understand all of it, I will not talk about it further.
- Sigunn: I understand. Guardian, please be careful.
- Wulf: I failed her once. I will never do that again. She will be safe with me, Sigunn.
- Sigunn: Tell her there is some old leather armour she can wear instead of that flimsy dress. It should fit with all the straps and laces. Ask her to come inside, and I will help her put it on.
- Wulf: I have a spare sword she can use.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: Safe travels Guardian.
- Sigunn: We will be here waiting.
I left the farmhouse and headed to where I last saw Rigmor. She heard me approaching and asked, “Hey Guardian. You checking up on me already?”
“Can I sit beside you once more?”
I sat beside Rigmor and looked across the lake. It was a pretty spot to have a farm.
Rigmor said, “I love it here by the lake. It fills me with a wonderful sense of freedom. We’ve been here before, haven’t we? Me and you together I mean?”
“Yes, we had a good long talk a little further up. Just outside the South Gate of Riften.”
“I wish I could remember what’s been going on. It’s kind of peculiar. For instance, Angi, Lydia and Sorella, I feel like I have known them all my life, but I just don’t recall any of the moments. Like a book with nothing on the pages.”
“You have known me longer than you have known Sorella or Lydia.”
“Sorry, I am unfair. I am letting my mouth get ahead of my better judgement.”
“I don’t know why I said I didn’t know you last night! I look at you, and I am confused. It is not like looking at any of the others. I don’t know. I am not making much sense, am I?”
“When I am close to you, how do you feel?”
“Safe, less confused. Less pressure to, I dunno, do things I guess.”
“It is something special between us that seems to work if you remember it or not.”
“Look inside my heart?”
I nodded, then asked Rigmor, “How would you like to visit some of the places we have been that you enjoyed? That might help you remember things.”
“Hey! I would like that. Can we take the horses?”
“Yes, but that dress is not suitable. You need some protection. There is a set of leather armour in the farmhouse your mother will help you put on, and I have a sword you can use.”
“I will go and get the armour, but I can’t take the sword. I’m just not ready for that.”
“That is OK. You don’t have to! The last thing I want is to do is make you uncomfortable or make you feel pressured.”
“I want to remember, I do…really. So, you just do what you gotta do, and I’ll follow, OK?”
“Go get the armour on and I will take you to the first spot.”
“Where is it? What is it?”
“It was a surprise last time so you will have to wait this time as well. The quicker you get the armour on, the quicker we can get going!”
Rigmor laughed as she ran towards the house, and my heart leapt at the sound.
She said she is just not ready to use a sword. If she is rejecting that part of her past, am I rejected as well? Is Rigmor taking this chance to discard aspects of her life with which she wasn’t happy?
Logic says I am an idiot. But logic has never been in love. I stared out into the water in the hope it might provide an answer.
After about thirty minutes, Rigmor emerged from the farmhouse and called me over.
“Well? What do you think?”
“A lot less revealing than some wear. It is quite good quality. I wonder where Sethri pinched it from.”
“You have met him. His is a mage, thief, disciple of Azura and the owner of this farm.”
I had to point out to Rigmor which one was her horse!
We passed some of the golden trees I had noticed the other day.
Rigmor exclaimed, “Guardian, look at those trees! I can imagine if you opened the treasure room at a palace all the gold coins piled high would look just like that!”
I knew Rigmor would think of something to describe them!
We passed a couple of Stormcloaks. They were discussing how they would be fighting next to their friends once again.
“I think I remember crossing this stream,” said Rigmor.
“Yes, and I warned you not to fall in otherwise I would have to go to Akavir to bring you back.”
“Nah, I don’t remember that bit.”
As soon as the camp came into sight, Rigmor leapt of Ben and starting running to the Lookout.
As she ran, she called out with joy, “I remember this place. Oh, my, it is all still here.”
I leapt off Hashire and ran to catch up with her.
I stood beside her, then said, “That is quite a view, huh!”
Rigmor turned to me and asked, “This is the last place we came before it all went wrong, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it was.”
“You gave me a dress to wear, and you let me pick flowers. I kept them and…and when you got hurt, I left you a trail in case you came for me.”
“I found them, and I have kept them. They are special to me. But you were gone by the time I got to the last one.”
“He tricked us, didn’t he?”
“Yes, he did. I failed to protect you.”
“Is he still alive?”
“We saved that little girl back at the farmhouse, didn’t we?”
“Yes, we did.”
“Wait…there’s something else…”
Rigmor observed my face as she asked, “Were we…yanno?”
My face gave me away. And the damn tears.
Rigmor said, “Oh, I’m sorry, Guardian.”
“I am going to sit over near the tent. Think about the last flower you dropped.”
Rigmor turned back to the view.
I walked forlornly to a chair and sat down. I was at a loss. How could Rigmor remember some details yet not the ones that count?
After ten minutes, Rigmor came over. As she walked, she hummed a tune that I did not know. She sat on a stump then stared at me.
After five or so seconds of looking deep into my eyes, Rigmor said, “We were about to enter the fort after rescuing mum. We kissed because we wanted to before one of us died. You said it was a clue as to your decision on what we should do with our love. Later on, I was scared and upset, and I made you promise never to let me go.”
“Yet seconds later, they were dragging you away from me. I could not stop them.”
“I told you I love you. Your face lit up. You were so happy and tried to tell me those three words that we had been so careful not to say.”
“But the arrow struck and I couldn’t. I broke the promise I had made seconds before.”
“But you didn’t break your promise. As I dropped the last flower, you used the Thu’um to tell me, ‘Rigmor Ragnarsdottier. I love you and will never let you go.’ Knowing that you loved me back gave me the courage to face him with pride, not fear. There are some other things a bit vague, but they will come to me. I am sure.”
“I was a fool. As soon as you said those three words, everything became clear. I knew our love was all I needed to do whatever The Divines asked of me. All those scenarios I sang and talked about were insignificant compared to that simple fact.”
“So, my silly, sometimes weird, but always wonderful Dragonborn. Have you got something to say to me?”
“Rigmor Ragnarsdottier, I love you!”
“And I love you with all my heart.”
I kissed Rigmor on the hand, then she said, “What, just a peck on the hand?”
“Umm, let’s just be careful before we start something way too dangerous to be doing out in the open.”
“There is a tent?”
“You are right. Lets us talk about other things for a while.”
“You wrote me a song then sung it to me.”
“Yeah, right! In your dreams.”
“There is a small child lost in the dark; in my dreams, she’s still there.”
“She has fallen, and she waits. Will someone come? Might someone care?”
“Her heart, she’ll give you, her love be true. Where’s her Dragonborn, to save her, to never let her go?”
Rigmor sat with her mouth open then exclaimed, “Oh my. I remember now. You held my hand and told me…I can’t remember the exact words.”
“That was absolutely stunningly fantastically wonderfully beautiful!”
“I almost told you I loved you there and then.”
“And I was waiting for it. We just danced around it for no real good reason.”
“We talked about my mum and how she was a schoolteacher and how everything changed…”
Rigmor was trying to suppress the memories that hurt. I said, “Rigmor, it is important you remember the bad with the good.”
“They killed my dad, Guardian! I don’t know if I want to remember.”
“It’s OK. These memories make you who you are and never be afraid of that. You will be able to face them in your own time.”
“They make me who I am? How much about me does Wulf know?”
“Tell me when I have bored you enough with my extensive Rigmor knowledge.
- You breathe fourteen times per minute, like clockwork when asleep.
- Your heart beats between sixty-five and seventy times per minute when you are asleep.
- You love red mountain flowers and red dresses.
- You make terrific Elsweyr Chowder.
- You named your horse after Baa’Ren-Dar.
- You had a best friend you met when she stole the doll your father made you.
- You threw snowballs at the Bruma Guards.
- You loved to go to the relatively warm Imperial City, take your coat off and enjoy the sun on your face.
- Your mum taught you how to read and write.
- You love to read for hours and were mute for months until one day you discovered Baa’Ren-Dar’s library.
- You studied fine art, poetry and song.
- I know you have to sleep on your side because of your scars.
I stopped even though I could have gone on for ages. Rigmor had to face her demons, and I knew which remained.
Rigmor said, “Keep going. I am not bored yet.”
I said, “Your father taught you how to use the sword by making you use bigger and heavier ones each time you got used to the one you had. I know that sword-masters taught you because Baa’Ren-Dar hired them at your request. I know you think you should be like a son because your father said you had to be. I know Ragnar would be proud of the warrior that you have become.”
“I don’t know about that Guardian. I know there’s a part of me that fits the term warrior. But it seems so long ago I was ever that. I can’t envisage it right now. I don’t even want to.”
“You will need to remember what you have done, but that does not mean you have to be what you were. I see no need for you to take up arms right now. Other’s may expect that of Rigmor, daughter of the ‘Beast of Hammerfell’. You can tell them to shove that notion up their backsides. Being good with a sword is one tiny part of Rigmor Ragnarsdottier. It does not define who you are!”
“Can we change the subject? What else do you know of me?”
“I know you love the word ‘Albatross’ and hate the word ‘cool’.”
“Hahaha! Good try, Dragonbum!”
“Dragonbum? Well, I also know you have beautiful bum cheeks!”
“The Hot Springs! You pervert!”
“See, you are doing good. Don’t hold back.”
“Ahh…mom and dad…Cyrodiil. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to go home?”
“I made a solemn promise to take you home when it is safe to do so. That might be sooner than you think.”
“It is all coming together, for good or worse. I’ll guess I’ll have to face it as it comes back.”
“There are many who love you and can help.”
“I know there are some things I would rather not remember, and some things about me I would rather forget for which I carry the scars.”
Rigmor was doing so well. Woe to anybody who drags her back into the darkness from which she has emerged!
Rigmor continued, “I know there are some things I have done that I am not proud of, but at least I don’t feel angry anymore. I just feel so tired.”
“Why don’t you rest a while. I’ll watch over you.”
“You were humming a song as you walked towards me. I don’t think I know that one.”
“Oh, it is just something I picked up some time ago.”
“Please, would you sing it? For me?”
“Sing it? No…I don’t know…”
“There is nothing wrong with your voice, and it may help loosen some more memories.”
“You mean it about my voice?”
“I don’t do false flattery. I don’t lie. You have a fine voice.”
Rigmor sang, and her voice was beautiful!
“Come sail away with me, out of the darkness and into the light. Come sail away with me, on a river of tears I’ve cried.”
“Into the promised land, we can begin again. Lift up our hearts, and build a new society.”
“Come sail away with me, out of the darkness and into the light. Come sail away with me, on a river of tears I’ve cried.”
“And we’ll have no fear, of their swords and spears.”
“Together, we’ll stand proud and tall, or together we will die and fall.”
“The true price of freedom.”
I waited for a few seconds then said, “Like last time, that was truly amazing. Did you write that one as well?”
“No, it was a song I learned in Valenwood from an old Redguard. He’d been there since, I dunno, like forever.”
“Can you remember his name?”
“Don’t worry. His name might be something that pops into your head when you are not even thinking about it.”
“I suppose I will have to get used to that!”
“As I said before, you don’t have to face this alone.”
“Thank you, Guardian.”
“Why don’t you have that rest now. A good hour of sleep will help, and you can have more on the way to Winterhold.”
“With my head on your shoulder?”
“And enveloped in our peace.”
“You will sit close while I sleep in the tent?”
“OK, I will. Just for a little while.”
It looked like nobody had used the bedroll for some time. And the grass, like in the rest of the small camp, was fairly high even in the tent.
Rigmor just brushed the various creepy crawlies away, lay down and was soon fast asleep. It was fairly dark for the hour, but there was no sign of rain. I sat with my back to where an attack might come from, but I trusted Hashire to let me know of any danger.
I am no seer. I do not have foresight. What I did have was this feeling this may be the last time I get to be the one to keep Rigmor’s nightmares at bay. It threatened the happiness I felt at her recovery so far.
I got to speak those three words to my beloved. Why can’t I just revel in that fact?
Somewhere in the back of my mind, there is a reason for this feeling of dread. I felt it when we entered the Black Diamond mines.
After an hour, I woke Rigmor. I gently shook her and asked, “Rigmor, are you ready to move on?”
“Are we going to the farmhouse?”
“I thought we might visit Casius and the College of Winterhold tomorrow as it is getting late. How about we spend the night in Whiterun? It will allow us the whole day to visit those two places.”
“Hey, that would be cool! It sounds vaguely familiar. We have been there before, right?”
“Yes, we have spent some time there.”
“What did we do there?”
“I think Whiterun will help with your memories. So, instead of telling you, we will let the city remind you.”
“This I have got to see!”
It is a pity Rigmor said that. I am enjoying myself and then she unknowingly reminds me of Boethia, which in turn reminds me of Malesam.
“We will have a meal and a few meads at the inn there.”
“Cool! Let’s go!”
The dark clouds moved away with no rain. Undoubtedly some other part of Skyrim or Tamriel will get drenched soon.
We reached the main road leading to Whiterun with no encounters apart from both Imperial and Stormcloak troops heading to various mustering points. Their presence on the road was enough to make the bandits lay low, for now.
“Did something happen at that tower over there?” asked Rigmor.
“Yeah, you might say that. It will come to you because it was pretty amazing!”
“I hate you!”
“See, your memories are flooding back already!”
The well-dressed stable hand came running up and said, “The usual, my Thane?”
“Yes, but not so many oats. They have been munching on grass all afternoon.”
Rigmor asked, “Why did he call you Thane?”
“Because I am the Thane of Whiterun. Lydia is my Housecarl.”
“She is lovely.”
“Yes, she is.”
“You don’t act like a noble.”
“Thank goodness for that. It took me ages to remove the stick!”
“It will come to you, my dear Rigmor.”
Ri’saad’s caravan was visiting Whiterun, so I stopped off to talk to him.
“Hello, Ri’saad. How is business?”
“Very good. All of my caravans have sold a lot of our wares to soldiers even before we reach the cities. We have seen something strange that you might explain to this Khajiit.”
“Imperial and Stormcloak soldiers not trying to kill each other?”
“Yes, this is an inquisitive thing.”
“I can’t say too much, but I will warn you that things in Skyrim may become very chaotic very soon. If the danger I fear happens and you are near Whiterun, I will allow you shelter within its walls. Nobody will argue. You can stay at my home if need be.”
“It is not the dragons. They have been quiet since you killed the one nearby.”
“Sorry, Ri’saad. All I can say is that being outside of the city walls will be dangerous. I doubt any city will refuse your caravans entry if the things I fear come to pass.”
“I understand. Emissary Baa’Ren-Dar has also warned my people a similar thing but has been careful not to divulge too much.”
“Is there only one of him? He seems to pop up all over the place.”
“This Khajiit thinks he has some ancient device that helps him do his duties more efficiently.”
All of a sudden Rigmor called out, “Guardian, quick, follow me!”
Ri’saad smiled then said, “A wise person does not delay responding to their partner’s orders!”
Rigmor ran into the grasslands. If she went too far, it would be dangerous for her with no weapon. She stopped, and I soon caught up with her.
She turned to me and said, “It was here!”
“What was here?”
“The battlefield in my dreams. I remember the walls of the castle. There was a storm.”
“Is this where the little girl brought you in your recurring dream?”
“But you never complete the dream, do you? Something scares you.”
“When she tries to show me something, I get scared, and the dream ends. Has there been a battle here before?”
“Not for a long time. But this is where I expect one of the major battles with the New Order will happen and soon.”
“Then why the dream?”
“Most people with foresight can’t make much sense of their visions. That is why a lot of them turn to Azura for guidance. But yours seems different. It is like you are having a repeating premonition rather than a dream.”
“I’m sorry, what…?”
“The little girl is trying to tell you something about the battle that may occur here soon. Only by looking at what she is pointing to will you know what that is.”
“But why? I don’t want to be in the battle! That is for soldiers, not me!”
“You do not have to be fighting. You might just be observing. But this is speculation. Once again, we might just have to wait to figure it out.”
“You want to be here and fighting if this is where the war comes. Don’t you?”
“Logic tells me Whiterun will be the centre of fighting. I don’t see how the New Order hopes to win since we have shown we are ready, but they will try. The quicker we defeat them, the fewer people get harmed.”
“The Khajiit trader said something about dragons. That is what happened at the tower, isn’t it? We fought a dragon.”
“Yes. And for some reason that has been the only dragon attack for several weeks.”
‘And that is how you became Thane. There are other pieces to that story.”
“And they will…?”
“Come back to me sooner or later.”
“Could I persuade a certain Rigmor to come and have some food at the inn? I know you hate noisy inns and despise mead.”
“Yeah, right. Pffft!”
We made our way inside Whiterun.
Rigmor said, “Guardian, I think I remember this place. Your house is that one there, right?”
Rigmor pointed to Breezehome, and I answered, “Yes. You thought I paid way too much for it.”
“Shall we go inside?”
“We shall later on. Let’s go to the inn first and get a hot meal.”
“Can you remember the name of the inn?”
“I will as soon as I see the sign out the front of it.”
Rigmor found great humour in her joke, and I laughed because her laugh made me so happy. We probably looked like a couple of lunatics to others.
On the way to the Bannered Mare, three different Whiterun Guards said hello to ‘their Thane’ and ‘Milady’. Rigmor liked that. I squirmed.
We entered the inn and sat at a table. Rigmor was doing her familiar stare into infinity. I waited for her to speak to me.
After three or four minutes, Rigmor said, “It is nice and warm in here.”
“Do you want me to get you some food? A drink?”
“No, I’m fine.”
“Has visiting Whiterun helped you remember things?”
“It has helped me a lot! I still feel a little confused, but I think all that before, you know, the anger. I think it has all gone now.”
“How about I throw a few yes and no questions at you. So that I have an idea of what you have remembered.”
“I just say ‘yes’ if I remember and or ‘no’ if I don’t?”
“That is the idea.”
“Your father’s arrest?”
“The Bosmer gangmasters?”
“Your time in Torval?”
“Mostly. Is that alright to say?”
“Of course. I don’t expect you will have full recall.”
“The time Angi looked after you?”
“Your leap into the tree?”
“You were in and out of consciousness, so that is not surprising.”
“But you were there. I remember that clearly.”
“With your shoot them in the dark from miles away trick. Yes.”
“Oh, that scared me. I was terrible to you later because of that.”
“And I sort of understood why. I didn’t know your full story then.”
“No, you didn’t. I had to tell you piece by piece.”
“Our first trip to Riften?”
“You ignored my protests about that red dress. And you got a bit mad at Baa’Ren-Dar. And we were attacked by some Argonian mercenaries.”
“The hot springs?”
“Windhelm and Sethri?”
“What a dump!”
“I think we could go all night so just a couple of more.”
“The New Order?”
“It is not surprising you don’t remember the altar. You were unconscious. The New Order did something to you, and that is why your memory is a bit wobbly.”
“All over the place like a buckled carriage wheel?”
“Yes, it is wobbly. I like that word.”
“But not as much as Albatross!”
“You have already tried that, and if you do it again, I will kick you.”
“Do you remember what happened after you dropped the last flower and I called out?”
“The whole place collapsed in a bit cloud of dust. They took me down the mountain. At one stage there was a stream and a huge city carved into the rocks.”
“That would have been Markarth.”
“He was furious! He had a big argument with some other Thalmor, but these guys were different. More important.”
“They should have executed him!”
“They placed me in a cell, and when they came for me, he was not with them.”
Aedriath was still trying to hold onto his toy and threw a tantrum when the grownups took it from him.
Rigmor asked, “Do you know who the others were and why he was not with them?”
“There was a change of plans. We can go over that later when you are ready because some things are not pleasant.”
“What happened next?”
“I tried to struggle, but they hit me and forced me to drink something. Then they placed a sack over my head. That’s about it until I…”
Rigmor stared into infinity once more. The pause gave me a chance to put my dragon away.
After a few seconds, I said, “I think I understand why you don’t want to carry a sword anymore. But to make sure, can you please explain it to me?”
“I want my life back. I realise now that it was all a lie and how my life has never been mine. Not really. I want to discover myself without the point of my blade in someone’s guts, without blood in the dirt. I want to discover why I have this dream I keep having. What is she trying to tell me?”
Rigmor’s anger was growing. People were starting to look over at us, so I gave them all my best Thane stare, and they all looked away.
Rigmor’s voice grew louder as she continued, “I don’t want to live with a killer inside of me. I don’t want to have a ‘destiny’ or be the son I never was, or ever could be.”
Rigmor almost growled the last part, “I want to be free Guardian, and I don’t want to play this game anymore!”
“And there is the determined, confident Rigmor that I adore. Welcome back!”
“By the gods. I feel sick. I remember everything.”
“Your memories, good and bad, make you who you are. Without them, you are somebody different and a shadow of the real you. I am so happy. Yours have come back!”
“Oh, you don’t have yours! Here I am feeling sorry for myself and…”
“Rigmor, no! I have not thought about my lost memories for days. Your suffering was real, and I am just so happy you have yours back.”
“So how do we move forward? What is next for us?”
“You don’t want to live with the killer inside you. How can you live with the killer opposite you?”
“No, we are not going there again, my silly Dragonborn! I love you!”
“I say I will never leave your side, but that is not my choice, is it?”
“As long as you are by my side when you can be, you will fulfil that promise, that commitment. I thought you realised that we need each other and that is all that matters?”
“I never want to break your heart. I never want you to regret our love.”
“I can’t think of anybody I would rather be with right now or in the future.”
“Even if that is in small chunks as I get dragged all over Nirn by The Nine?”
“I am glad we came here. Why don’t we just relax and enjoy the music for a while?”
“OK. But if that bard plays that song once again…”
“You will shove his flute or lute up his chute? At least this Wilbur is better than Mikael, but I will go and warn him his anus is in danger!”
Rigmor laughed that laugh as I made my way to the bard.
I said to him, “Excuse me, Wilbur. Can I please make a request?”
“Certainly Thane. What will it be?”
“Anything but Ragnar the Red.”
“Can I ask why? That is one of my most popular tunes.”
Rigmor yelled across the room, “Because, asshole, if you sing that song again, it will be your head rolling across the floor.”
Wilbur shouted back, “I’ll sing any song I jolly well like!”
Rigmor replied, “Is that so? We will see about that!”
Rigmor got out of her chair and started walking towards Wilbur. He was stupid enough to stand there and stare at her with his arms crossed.
A young barkeep call Vivienne stepped from behind the counter and in front of Rigmor.
She told Rigmor, “Get out! This is a fine establishment so get out before I call the guards.”
“Hey lady, get out of my face!” was Rigmor’s not so polite reply.
“Guards, guards!” yelled Vivienne.
There are always guards posted near the entrance of the Bannered Mare. They are quite happy to act as bouncers, and one soon came storming in through the front door as Vivienne, Wilbur and Rigmor stared at each other.”
“What is the problem?” the guard asked Vivienne.
“Get them out of here. They are both barred!”
I protested, “Hey, what did I do?”
The Whiterun Guard said, “OK, you two, you heard the lady, out you go.”
Rigmor replied, “Hey, this place stinks! We don’t care.”
I walked past Vivienne, and the guard stared at me in horror. He was evicting the Thane and thought that was not a brilliant career move.
I told him, “Relax Guard Alfarnesson. You are doing your duty and doing it well. If this incident reaches the ear of Jarl Balgruuf, I will make sure he knows that.”
Vivienne yelled to Rigmor, “I am disgusted. That is not how a Lady is supposed to behave!”
Rigmor replied, “Who said I was a Lady?”
I laughed as I hurried her outside.
Once we were at the bottom of the steps, and therefore legally outside the Bannered Mare property, we stopped, and Rigmor looked at me with barely hidden amusement.
“Thanks, Rigmor! I am probably the first Thane in the history of Skyrim to get tossed out of his local inn.”
“Hey, don’t mention it!”
Rigmor laughed, and I stood mesmerised.
When she finally calmed down, I said, “You are something. I am not quite sure what but yes, you are something.”
“Where shall we go now?”
“There is another inn, but I thought Breezehome is probably the next place we should try. You said you remembered everything, but I doubt that.”
“Lead on, Thane.”
We held hands as we walked to Breezehome and ignored the whispers and stares of local gossips. Except for the ones Rigmor rasberried.
We entered Breezehome, and I told Rigmor to wander around like when I first purchased it in case that jogged more memories.
I was so absorbed in looking through Lydia’s recipe book. I did not realise that half an hour had passed. Rigmor yelled, “Dragonborn, you have to come and see this!”
I walked upstairs to the main bedroom. There stood Rigmor, in a wonderful, and very expensive, silk dress of a wonderful deep red colour.
“Well, my Dragonborn, what do you think?”
“Stunning and beautiful. The dress isn’t bad, either.”
“It was laid out on the bed next to a set of clothes for you.”
“But who from?”
“I don’t know. There is no message.”
“That dress would cost an absolute fortune. That is real gold embroidery isn’t it?”
“Let’s say it is gobblygook and just enjoy. Why don’t you put your fancy clothes on and meet me in the turret? I would like to talk outside in the fresh air.”
“OK. I will be there soon.”
My clothes were just as expensive and also made of the finest silk. I felt like I was doing them no justice putting them on over my slightly unwashed and smelly body. They fit like they were tailor-made!
I joined Rigmor in the turret. She twined her arms around my right arm and leant against me.
Rigmor said, “I remember what you told me about the aurora. How you liked to think it was souls dancing in Aetherius. That no matter how shitty their life, they found joy with loved ones in the afterlife.”
“I strongly believe souls find joy in the afterlife. I like to remind myself of that when I see the aurora. It is comforting to think somebody may experience misery on Nirn, but that time is insignificant to the infinite amount of joy they will find in the afterlife.”
“But there is a scientific reason for the aurora.”
“And I told you that I prefer the souls dancing explanation. It is far less boring.”
“What about all those stars that we see?”
“You would know that when you get away from the lights of a city, you see more. They are even there during the day, but you can’t see them because of the bright sun.”
“Some say that they are holes made by Magnus and the others when they refused to join the Gods in creating Nirn.”
“Religious mumbo jumbo. In this case, the scientific explanation is far more interesting. The stars are other suns, like ours but far away. They might even have planets like Nirn and people so weird in looks and manners we can’t even imagine them.”
“That is more interesting than holes! What about the moons?”
“They are made of cheese.”
“Hahaha! You don’t believe that, do you?”
“Khajiit, like all cats, love milk. But big round blobs of milk would not last long up there. The next best thing to milk is cheese. A big ball of cheese can survive up there. Khajiit, being cats, love cheese, and that is why they worship the moons.”
“I can tell you are lying.”
“Your mouth is moving.”
“Do you like camping? We haven’t had a chance as it has been too dangerous.”
“I would rather sleep out under the stars than in some inn.”
“Well, we won’t be booking a room at the Bannered Mare for some time.”
“That laugh! Remember when you were so angry in Windhelm, and then we talked.”
“And I laughed about naming my horse after Baa’Ren-Dar.”
“We had just finished talking about some of the darkest of times. You survived horrors that would crush most people and turn them bitter. You still didn’t know if your mum lived or where.”
“You cried when the dragon was in your eyes.”
“When you laughed about Ben, it was the first time I saw the wonderful woman that was hidden under the anger, worries and pain. I was already falling for you, but that laugh, it stole my heart. I knew I loved you dearly from that point on.”
“We did a lot of flirting. Then you confessed how much you liked me and I ran away! You thought it was because I didn’t like you and worried all night over it.”
“That was a terrible feeling. Having you sleeping next to me as usual and not knowing what you would say to me when you woke. I kept thinking the darkest thoughts, hour after hour.”
“You treated me with respect once more when I targeted you with my anger. I knew I loved you, but I felt so guilty over that night I worried that I had scared you away. That you would not want to put up with my anger and tantrums.”
“We both avoided what we knew to be the truth. We both made excuses for not confessing our love.”
“We know why that was. We were, and are, surrounded by this uncertainty. This knowledge that both of us have gods sticking their noses in and manipulating our lives.”
“They can do that, but they can’t stop us loving each other. The gods can’t penetrate the quiet, the stillness we find in each other.”
“That quiet that surrounds us. It confirms we are meant to be together.”
“I believe that, as well.”
“My Dragonborn, will you lie with me tonight?”
I turned Rigmor around, so she was looking me in the eyes, then asked her, “Are you sure? That is a big step to take and …”
“Shh! You have woken the woman in me. You found her and dragged her out into the sunshine, and now she is here. I love you, and I want you. I have never been so sure of anything in my whole life.”
I stood like an idiot. Mouth open not knowing what to say.
“I will take that stunned look as yes. Give me five minutes. I will wait for you in the bedroom.”
As Rigmor climbed down the ladder and headed for the bedroom, I thought about what this meant.
Did I think this would be a mistake? Did I have reservations? Not for a second! I am not a slave to lust. I do not have this overwhelming need to experience the pleasures of the flesh. I do not judge those who pursue such things with willing partners. Rigmor and I are deeply in love. I knew she wanted and needed this for far more complex reasons than lust, and so did I.
I waited a few minutes then made my way to the bedroom. Rigmor was sitting on the bed, naked and nervous.
I slowly disrobed and walked towards her. Rigmor turned, looked for a second, gasped and then quickly turned back to resume her nervous, upright sitting position. I quietly chuckled.
I sat on the bed next to Rigmor and turned her face towards me. I told her, “I am as nervous as you.”
“But I am wretched and ugly. How can anyone love me?”
“You are the most beautiful woman on Nirn, and I love you more than life itself.”
“But my body is scarred. I’ll understand if you don’t want to.”
“Your scars, temper, eyes, laugh, determination, and a million other parts that go together to make Rigmor is what I love. Every single bit!”
“Dragonborn, are you sure?”
“With all my heart, body and soul.”
“I am so nervous.”
“Will it help if I tell you this will be my first time as well?”
“Are you sure that, well, before Helgen…”
“This is a skill I would remember. Since I don’t have the slightest clue of what comes next, I am sure this will be my first time.”
“Now, I am even more nervous. I thought you would know what to do!”
“I have seen dogs and horses do it. There are only a couple of parts to worry about so how hard can it be?”
“Very hard from what I saw when you were walking over.”
We taught each other.
How to kiss, where to kiss, when to kiss.
How to touch, where to touch, when to touch.
Giggles, laughter and shyness slowly turned to sighs, moans and boldness.
We explored and discovered and loved.
Rigmor’s doubts about her beauty erased by my desire.
When her soul and body told her she was ready, Rigmor guided me slowly.
Pain, a little, soon replaced by need and slowly we continued.
Then we were one.
Then we were everything.
No sound but our breathing, sighs, moans and loins.
No smell but our hair, breath, sweat and sex.
No taste but our lips, skin and tears.
No sensation but the giving and receiving of pleasure.
No guilt. No doubts. No regrets.
We shared our bodies, our souls and our love.
This was right.
This was beautiful.
Rigmor’s peaks were a celebration of womanhood.
Her final one coincided with mine.
As our breathing and heartbeats subsided, there was no need for words.
Rigmor turned on her side, and I held her close.
We were soon in the depths of sleep untroubled by fear, fate or destiny.
I woke to giggles and Rigmor staring into my eyes.
“What is so funny?” I asked her.
“Are you trying to stab me in the back?”
“Oh, um, I don’t have control over it.”
“I thought we did pretty good for the first time, but more practice is needed!”
With that, Rigmor took matters into her own hands, and we practised some more.
And more after that.
And even more after that.
When not making love, we just rested in each other’s arms and enjoyed our silence.
The old man had laughed when he watched them get thrown out of the Bannered Mare. Their love was powerful. It helped Rigmor to crawl out of the darkness into which the foul potion had placed her. Those who harmed her never meant for her to wake up. Nobody had before. They just slumbered till they died.