Rigmor of Bruma quests: Guardian, The Lost Empress, Let Them Come.
We made our way to the spa just before 6:00 AM.
I was enjoying a good soak when Rigmor looked over and asked, “Is your, you know, big or small?”
“We have just spent all night exploring every nook and cranny of each other, and you are still embarrassed to call things by their correct name.”
“Which parts are the nook and cranny?”
“It means every part!”
“Oh. Well, is your penis big or small?”
“I have no idea. I haven’t exactly spent my time since awakening staring at other men’s wedding tackle! Why does it matter?”
“No reason. I was just curious.”
Another five minutes passed before Rigmor asked, “The number of times we made love last night, is that normal?”
“Last night and this morning you mean? No, it was way more than average.”
Another five minutes went by, then Rigmor asked, “Are you totally worn out. I mean, could you do it again?”
Rigmor reached under the water, grabbed a part of my anatomy and exclaimed, “Well, there is the answer!”
After Rigmor had her wicked way and we finally left the spa, we sat and ate some pretty good porridge that I prepared to another of Lydia’s million porridge recipes.
As I was washing the dishes, Rigmor asked, “Can I read your journal before we go?”
“There are things in there you don’t know. So yes, and I will answer any questions. I think it will be good for you to know what has been happening in my head and it will prepare you for what Jonte Malesam has to say.”
“Do you know already?”
“I have a good idea.”
I sat in the chair across from Rigmor as she read. There were not as many questions as I thought there might be.
“Rose wanted to make love with you?”
“Yes. But I simply can’t envisage myself ever making love to somebody I don’t love. Since I don’t ever intend to love anybody but you, that means you are my first and only.”
“What if we get separated for a long time?”
“Do you want me to swear it on The Divines? I will never make love to another person.”
“My parents were funny when giving me ‘the talks’ about babies and sex and all that. Dad was always so embarrassed while mum was a matter of fact. They both said they were each other’s first because they thought the same as you. That it only means something if you love your partner.”
“What about Baa’Ren-Dar. Khajiit are a bit more relaxed about these things. It has to do with their clan system. A child of one is a child of all.”
“He used to get female tutors to talk to me about these things. But I always believed what my parents said. I could never make love without being in love.”
“I still respected Rose and found it flattering she asked. She led a hard life and was just looking for some comfort.”
“And you would never seek out such comfort?”
“Rigmor, I swear on The Divines that I will never take another into my bed. Is that good enough?”
“I am sorry if I seem a bit possessive. It is just I have this feeling you are going to face some terrible things. Dark and depressing things.”
“I will carry our love wherever I go. That is all I need, Rigmor. That is all I will ever need for comfort.”
Rigmor started reading again. I did not ask her if she would never take another to bed. I trusted she wouldn’t.
A while later she said, “Throughout your journal you show nothing but understanding for me. You have not written any criticism, except for my suicidal way of fighting which was true. You have never really spoken an angry word to me.”
“Whoever raised me has instilled in me values which result in empathy. Same as your parents have. We are both capable of killing, but we are gentle souls. Your parents raised you in a loving household, and I assume my parents did the same. Baa’Ren-Dar is a wonderfully compassionate individual. We are products of our upbringing.”
“That is why I always find it hard to reconcile my father with the ‘Beast of Hammerfell’.”
“Remember I got angry at Yngol’s claims about Ragnar fighting for the sake of Talos?”
“Well, you asked me what I thought. I didn’t think my father would fight and kill for that alone.”
“You will often call on Talos when fighting. But you are not mad at the Thalmor for the Talos ban.”
“No, I am mad at them for many other more important things!”
I was watching Rigmor closely. She was nearing the end of what I had written in my journal so far when I saw her mouth some words several times, and her forehead crease in worry.
She looked at me and asked, “What is this about noble blood?”
“That is why the New Order wanted you. You have noble blood by birth, not just because your father was given a title or like I now have a title.”
“And you think it could be Mede blood?”
“That is just a guess. We will find out today when we visit the College of Winterhold.”
“They wanted to sacrifice me because I have noble blood and was a virgin?”
“Yes. That is exactly why the New Order religious nuts put you on the table and were going to drink your blood. Nice people, you would have liked them.”
“And if I wasn’t a virgin?”
“Aedriath would have taken you to Alinor and renewed his depravity.”
“Any you think that virginity was an unnecessary requirement?”
“It is a ridiculous requirement based on associating chastity with purity.”
“That argument I heard. Aedriath thought he had his ‘toy’ back and his superiors told him they needed me?”
“Thank you, my Dragonborn. Knowing about this nobility thing and why they needed me on the dais has cleared up all these questions I kept asking myself. Why me? Now I know.”
“Your mother knew nothing about the Daedric artefacts, did she?”
“No, they came as a complete surprise.”
“Your father would be carrying the noble blood. Many generations before him carried the noble blood. Yet you were chosen for special attention by Azura. There must be something else other than your noble blood that has attracted her attention.”
“What could that possibly be?”
“I have no idea. But what we have between us is special. The love, the quiet we share. Noble blood, by itself, has no different qualities than commoner blood. It should make no difference during the ritual to open the portal than virginity.”
“So, why choose me?”
“Because, and this is my intuition, we are bound together. You combined with me is what is attracting the attention. But not from these New Order morons, but the gods. We already know my immediate destiny is to defeat Alduin. We suspect The Divines will have other tasks for me. Today we will probably find out your immediate destiny.”
“But you think there is a combined one past the immediate?”
“It is the only way I can make sense of it all. But I may be completely wrong.”
“I have finished reading your journal and will probably have more questions when I think it all over. Thank you for letting me read it.”
“Thank you for just being you.”
“Do I get a kiss?”
“No. You will somehow rip my armour off, and we will be rolling on the floor.”
“Hey, we haven’t tried the floor yet!”
I quickly got our things together and headed for the stables with a laughing Rigmor following me.
Ri’saad’s caravan was outside once more, and I felt another pang of envy. I don’t think a simple life like that will ever be in our future.
We collected our horses, and the well-dressed stable hand gave us the current version of what happened in the Bannered Mare last night.
As we started our ride to Casius’ camp, Rigmor exclaimed, “None of that happened! I did not dance on the tables so drunk I started to undress!”
“And I certainly did not stick my hand up Vivienne’s dress and use my Thu’um to say, ‘It is good to be Thane!’”
“Can’t you order heads to be lopped off?”
“Too much paperwork!”
As we passed the farm where I had slaughtered the Giant, Rigmor exclaimed, “Look at that little girl helping her mother in the field. She can only be three or four years old. How adorable!”
“So how many children would you want?”
“If we had somewhere safe to live, a few dozen would do!”
“Well, we had better get in some more practice then.”
“After last night, and this morning, you have lost the right to accuse me of being a pervert or having ‘weird ideas.’ Lady Dibella will want to recruit you to spread the word!”
We rode by The Loreius farm, and I wondered if the little Jester got his mother settled into her new tomb.
It did not take long to reach Casius’ camp. Rigmor looked worried. Perhaps she is not as well as I thought.
Casius was sitting at his table and waved at us.
We all sat down, and the idiocy began,
- Rigmor: Hey, Casius.
- Casius: Well met Rigmor. It is so good to see you looking so well.
- Rigmor: We’re going to the College of Winterhold. I’m hoping to learn about my family.
- Casius: On second thoughts, you don’t look the best. Is something wrong?
- Wulf: Rigmor has gone through a very traumatic experience. Understandably, she is not feeling too well.
- Casius: I see.
Casius did not see. He ignored my explanation and dragged up the very things most likely to reverse the excellent progress Rigmor had made.
- Casius: I noticed you no longer wear your armour or a weapon. I hope this isn’t permanent. You will need them shortly.
- Rigmor: Hey! I don’t want to go back there, OK? As far as I know, my part in this is done.
- Casius: Rigmor, there is the threat of an imminent invasion. Have you forgotten that?
- Rigmor: I’ll just let you all take care of that. Armies fight armies. Not young girls.
- Wulf: You are correct, Rigmor. There is no need for you to be on the battlefield.
- Casius: What if this young girl was to lead an army?
- Wulf: What are you talking about, Casius?
- Casius: I don’t know how, or why, but for the last few days, scores of old Nord warriors have been arriving at Yngol’s camp from all over Tamriel. They want to see Rigmor.
- Rigmor: Why would they want to see me? Why are you telling me this?
- Casius: They are your father’s old brigade, the Sons of Talos. They have come to pledge their swords and lives to you. Like it or not, they have sworn loyalty to you and you alone.
- Rigmor: They don’t even know me. I won’t do it. I can’t do it!
- Wulf: This is ridiculous! If they think they are fit to fight, then their loyalty should be to saving their friends and family. Not some warped reverence for their old commander’s daughter!
- Casius: You need to get a grip on yourself, young lady. These men? We will need them in the coming battle. The fate of Skyrim, no, Tamriel even, could depend on you.
- Wulf: All your battle plans were based on what we already have. You are now saying we would have failed and only the late addition of these geriatrics gives us hope. That is bullshit, Casius! I don’t want troops on my side whose loyalty is to a dead man’s daughter. We need men who will fight for their home, their country, their loved ones!
- Casius: You need to sort this out Dragonborn. Whatever it takes, she needs to address these men.
- Rigmor: Hey! I’m right here, OK. I’m not invisible…and the answer is no!
Rigmor ran off saying, “I won’t do it. I can’t do it. You can’t make me!”
Rigmor stood sobbing in the snow, and my rage was immense.
I stood over Casius. He looked at me then quickly stood with fear in his eyes.
I growled, “I do not tell Rigmor what to do. She is a grown woman and can make her own decisions! You have no idea what she has endured! You have no idea how hard it has been for her to crawl out of the darkness where evil had tossed her!”
“I didn’t realise she was in such a bad way Dragonborn. Please forgive me.”
“I am taking Rigmor to Winterhold now. If Rigmor does not speak to those men, I will. If the Dragonborn can’t get them to fight, then I will make sure their reputation is forever tarnished. They would not be worthy of the title Sons of Talos! They would have offended Ragnar with such stupidity! If you think they are sorely needed, then get together with Yngol and come up with a better plan that does not include them!”
I stormed out of Casius’ tent and found that Rigmor had moved further into the camp.
I walked up to her, held her and kissed her on the forehead.
I whispered to Rigmor, “I swear by The Divines the next person to upset you like that will get my mailed fist in their face.”
“Forget it. Can we go now?”
“Whatever you decide, you have my full support.”
“I know, my Dragonborn, I know.”
The sun was shining and the weather very warm by the time we reached Whiterun stables.
Rigmor said, “I think I will sleep all the way.”
“Well, we didn’t exactly sleep last night.”
I laughed then hired the carriage for the long trip to Winterhold.
We hardly made it half a mile before I was asleep. Rigmor had beat me to it and was laying with her head on my lap when I succumbed.
The Winterhold stables were excellent, and the groomsmen knowledgeable and polite.
As we walked towards the College, Rigmor exclaimed, “So it is true! Part of the town did fall into the sea!”
“Yes. It is a mystery what caused that great storm. The locals blamed the mages because their buildings were undamaged.”
“Do you think the mages caused it?”
“No, I don’t. It would be a good mystery to solve.”
“What are those rock thingies with the lightning?”
“Storm Atronachs. The mages conjure them to help protect the town.”
When we got closer to the bridge, Rigmor said, “Whoa! Is that the College of Winterhold?”
“It certainly is. Maybe we can have a quick look in the library while we are here.”
Master Mage Faralda asked us, “None may pass without permission. Why do you seek entrance?”
“Master Faralda, I am Wulf, The Dragonborn. I believe I am expected?”
“Yes, the Arch-Mage said you would most likely be here today or tomorrow. You will currently find him in the courtyard.”
As we walked to the College entrance, Rigmor asked, “Why are we seeing the Arch-Mage. I thought we have to see somebody called Malesam?”
“I want to have rank over Malesam in case he is stubborn and tries to use his status here to do something that is not in our best interests.”
‘You mean my interests?”
“That is what I said, our interests.”
“You don’t trust him at all, do you?”
“See the broken bit of bridge ahead. If Malesam was passing over it, I might accidentally sneeze an Unrelenting Force making him plummet to his death on the rocks below.”
Arch-Mage Savos Aren was in the courtyard as Faralda said he would be.
I approached, and he welcomed me,
- Aren: I see a young and very tall man, accompanied by a young woman. You must be The Dragonborn, and the lady is Rigmor of Bruma.
- Wulf: Well met, Arch-Mage. Did Baa’Ren-Dar manage to talk to you?
- Aren: A lightning visit, you might say. He handed me your letter, and I am intrigued.
- Wulf: May I ask what dealings the College would have with such an important Khajiit emissary?
- Aren: He sometimes escorts potential students from Elsweyr. He also arranged for some of our scholars to travel the Moonpaths with caravans so we could study ancient Magicka used.
- Wulf: I ask because Rigmor was his ward, but he is unaware of her noble heritage.
- Aren: It is up to Rigmor who she tells.
- Wulf: I agree.
- Aren: Let us get the formalities over with shall we? Please show me a master level spell of any of the Schools of Magicka.
- Wulf: I could show you from all five Schools, but this one is safe.
I cast Dragonskin on myself.
- Aren: That is good enough. I can also tell your Magicka reserves are, quite frankly, unbelievable.
- Wulf: I do intend to help the Colleges scholars study the Thu’um. There has already been a mage who used skills he learnt here to improve on some ancient Shouts.
- Aren: You are now officially a Master Mage of the College of Winterhold and therefore superior in rank to Jonte Malesam.
- Rigmor: Excuse me, Arch-Mage. Is the Dragonborn right to mistrust Jonte Malesam?
- Aren: After he has divulged the information you need to know, come and see me. We can discuss any concerns you have then.
- Wulf: Thank you, Arch-Mage. We look forward to talking to you some more.
We walked past a Thalmor who was giving a Master Mage a hard time in the usual condescending tone they use to us ‘lesser beings.’ He didn’t even give Rigmor and me a disdainful stare. How rude!
We entered the main building, and I explained to Rigmor, “What you don’t see of the College is far bigger than what you do see. It is mostly inaccessible to the public and most students.”
“But you could take me to see them, Master Mage Wulf.”
“No, I couldn’t Milady Rigmor.”
We entered the Arcanaeum to have a quick look.
“What is this round thingy?” Rigmor asked.
“It is an Armillary Sphere. It shows the planets revolving around our sun. Pure science, no gobblygook or mumbo jumbo.”
An impressive map adorned one wall.
When Rigmor saw all the books she asked, “Can we spend the next month or two in here?”
“This is a tiny part of their collection. The College has many scrolls and books that are not in the Imperial Library.”
“Do they edit them to make the Dominion happy as the Imperial Scholars do?”
“I doubt that very much. Many mages are also historians. They like to search for the truth in all things.”
A student I asked for directions led us to the Scholar Rooms. Malesam’s was at the far end.
The young mage I saw in the Necromancer’s cave was asleep on the only bed in the room.
We entered the room, and Malesam sat waiting for us to approach.
I stood back as Rigmor walked up to him.
Malesam said, “Ahhh! Rigmor’s Guardian, and the famous, or should I say infamous, Rigmor of Bruma. I am honoured to make your acquaintance at long last.”
Rigmor replied, “Hi, I’m hoping to find out anything about my ancestry?
“Ahhh yes! Rigmor, why don’t you go with Cerys. She will take good care of you, and explain a little about all that. She also has some heirlooms left in good keeping at the College for your perusal.”
Cerys had walked over and was standing next to Rigmor.
Rigmor looked at me and asked, “Dragonborn?”
I asked Malesam, “How far away will Rigmor and Cerys be?”
“In the room at the end of the corridor. A few doors away.”
“It’s OK, Rigmor. The doors will remain open, so I am only seconds away. Go with Cerys while I discuss some things with Jonte.”
Cerys said, “Come this way, Rigmor. There is so much to talk about.”
As they walked down the corridor, Rigmor said to Cerys, “This place is so cool!”
“Cool? Are you cold?”
“It means great. I made it up.”
“Oh! I have never heard of that. How interesting.”
I sat in the chair opposite Malesam and said, “We are here as you requested. What did you want to tell us?”
“It is a rather long story.”
“Malesam, if I am to keep Rigmor safe I need to know all.”
“A long time ago, two hundred years to be precise, there was a mercenary by trade knows as Rigmor of Cyrodiil. She had a pretty uneventful early life taking petty contracts until she joined an army of outlaws. The very same outlaw army led by Titus Mede, the Colovian Warlord.”
“He started the Mede Dynasty when he ousted Thules the Jibbering in 4E 17. I see where this is leading.”
“Yes, and it was a sad tragedy then, that after giving birth to a baby girl three years later, Rigmor of Cyrodiil became gravely ill and died shortly after at the age of thirty-eight. Physicians attributed her death to an unwanted pregnancy at a late age.”
“What happened to the illegitimate child of The Emperor and Rigmor?”
“So you have guessed already. Titus Mede was beside himself with grief and arrangements were made for the child to be adopted by the College of Winterhold by Royal Decree. The infant was duly adopted and her belongings kept in storage therein.”
“An unusual arrangement to say the least!”
“The child was named Morgan. At her coming of age, Morgan of Winterhold was summoned to the Imperial City. She was made Imperial Court Mage to the Mede Dynasty and became a very powerful influence. Before she left to take up her newly appointed duties, it is rumoured she had used her late mother’s armour to create an Amulet of Talos.”
“It is in the shape of an Amulet of Talos but does not carry his blessing. The dweomer on it is average.”
“She also used a Daedric ceremonial blade her mother had kept as a souvenir to strengthen a Bastard Sword’s properties.”
“That was impressive work! Its blade was keen, and when I placed dweomer on it, it was one of the finest weapons imaginable.”
“The New Order could not reproduce her work.”
“It seems she was a fine mage and I assume she became quite influential in court?”
“The Emperor would always seek guidance in the affairs of the Empire. Overshadowing the Heir to the Dynasty, Attrebus Mede.”
I had a feeling some bullshit about Attrebus was about to spew forth.
Malesam continued, “Attrebus was fiercely jealous of the foreign ‘Witch’. So much so, at the event of the Emperor’s death, Attrebus Mede struck. Morgan and her husband, a Palace Guard Captain, were accused of a plot to usurp power. Her husband was slain, and Morgan escaped fleeing Cyrodiil with their only child.”
“I do not believe that of Attrebus Mede! He was a hero of the people before he came to power and had no reason to be jealous of Morgan. But his hero status was false. His father had propped him up with staged heroic events. But Attrebus became one of the greatest heroes in Tamriel’s history! He travelled to Oblivion and helped defeat Lord Umbriel thereby saving Tamriel from utter devastation! Attrebus married a commoner against all convention. They named their first child and future Emperor after an Argonian who had helped against Lord Umbriel. Attrebus was a man of high morals who believed in service to the people. If anybody accused Morgan, it would have been the Elder Council. They would not want Attrebus to have a strong advisor. They would have wanted a puppet emperor.”
“Even if what you say is the truth, Morgan’s disappearance only served to confirm the rumours that she was the bastard child of Titus Mede I and Rigmor of Cyrodiil. She and her child, Morganna, were never heard from again.”
“Then, the heirlooms appeared.”
“Yes, one fine day Morgan’s heirlooms miraculously surfaced. The Thalmor had found them in a chest, belonging to Ragnar of Bruma. The identity of Rigmor, his only heir and her history, became known to the College. Unfortunately, we were too late to intervene. The College you see is duty-bound to protect and serve the descendants of Morgan of Winterhold.”
“The College has no political power. It could not have intervened, and it has done an abysmal job of protecting or serving Rigmor.”
“Before she leaves here, it is my duty to tell her of her ancestry. Emperor Titus Mede II is to restore her name and accept her family as part of the Mede Dynasty. He is also offering her the position of the recently vacant Countess of Bruma if she desires it. All she has to do is accept, and it is hers.”
“You don’t even know Rigmor’s mental state or what she had been through!”
“I am afraid this doesn’t concern you anymore, Guardian. Tell her I must.”
“I was given the task of protecting Rigmor by The Divines. It is my sacred duty, and I have risked my life many times performing it. You dare sit there and tell me some ancient pledge of this College somehow removes my sacred duty! If I think this information is detrimental to Rigmor at this time, and you try to tell her, what do you think I will do?”
“I shall ignore the threat, Guardian. You see, killing me would serve no purpose. She will eventually come to know. Unless you intend to lock her away in some dark dungeon or gallivant around the wilds of Tamriel like a common bandit.”
“Killing you would protect Rigmor and stop you from breaching the College’s duty to protect her! You would be dead, and she would find out from me when, as her Divinely tasked Guardian, I deemed the information would not harm her.”
“You believe you would be protecting Rigmor by killing me?”
“Absolutely! You threaten the health of Rigmor with your arrogance, and I would cut you down without hesitation. You will not decide when she is told!”
“With an imminent invasion looming and all that, it would be prudent to await the outcome of such an event. We would, after all, need to make sure the Emperor is still in residence at the Imperial City.”
“So, in your expert opinion, Rigmor would need to be kept ignorant of her royal blood if the New Order wins and the Emperor is deposed?”
“Rigmor was targeted by the New Order because of her noble blood. If you had done the right thing and told us weeks ago of her noble blood, we might have been better prepared and done things differently. Instead, Rigmor has suffered once again and asked herself why? You failed in your duty to protect Rigmor by only telling me this information now. You would fail in your duty to protect her again if Rigmor was not told because Emperor Mede II no longer sat on the Ruby Throne. He had one child he lost at sea. There is no heir apparent. Rigmor would be a legitimate heir to the Ruby Throne, and her life in would be in grave danger whether she knew of her royal blood or not. It does not take the New Order to depose of Emperor Mede II for this to happen!”
“Give me your word of honour Guardian, that as soon as she is fit and well, you will deliver to Rigmor, her legacy.”
“I would be derelict in my duty as her Divine appointed Guardian if I did not tell her for the simple reason, as I just explained, ignorance has been and would be a danger to her. No Malesam, you will not get my word as I am already honour bound to tell Rigmor for her protection. You made the suggestion earlier that I would never tell her. That proves to me you are ignorant of who I am.”
“I don’t have much choice, do I?”
“No Malesam, you don’t. I am a Master Mage of this College. I am telling you that to protect Rigmor, as is the duty of the College, she must be told of her royal blood and legacy no matter the outcome of the invasion. As Rigmor’s Divinely appointed Guardian, I am telling you that I will decide when Rigmor is told.”
“You are a Master Mage of this College?”
“Yes. Didn’t Boethia tell you that?”
Silence from Malesam. I asked him, “Ragnar was of the same royal bloodline as Rigmor. How many generations before him were of the same royal bloodline? You said it was her noble blood that made the gods take notice of Rigmor. You have no idea of how many other descendants of Morganna exist! Why did the gods show interest in Rigmor and not those before her with royal blood? It is obvious that her noble blood, even if royal, is not why the gods have taken notice of Rigmor. The Daedric Princes cannot know such things anyway. Another lie from Boethia!”
Malesam looked disturbed once more. When will he realise his ‘Mistress’ is not to be trusted?
Rigmor came running into the room and excitedly said, “Dragonborn, you have so gotta see this! Come on, this way!”
Malesam and I walked to the other room at a more dignified pace than Rigmor’s mad dash.
On the table sat an ancient set of armour and a sword.
- Wulf: Rigmor, what has made you so excited?
- Rigmor: Morgan of Winterhold left this armour. She was an ancestor of mine. Cerys says it belongs to me. Isn’t it wonderful?
- Wulf: That is a fantastic suit of armour and sword. Morgan is who your noble blood comes from! Your father had noble blood before he was given a title!
Malesam looked stupider than usual with the stunned look on his face.
- Rigmor: Did you learn more about that? Did you guess correctly?
- Wulf: Yes, the Mede bloodline.
- Malesam: But you said Rigmor was not ready to learn about all that!
- Wulf: I said it was not up to you when she learned about it and that as her Guardian, I would decide when Rigmor was ready. Yesterday she wasn’t healthy enough. This morning she was. And yes, I would still have ‘stopped’ you if you had tried.
- Rigmor: If I learned of my noble blood yesterday, it might have set my recovery back. Wulf was the only one who could judge when I was ready. I can’t believe a stranger thought they had a right to dictate what was best for me! Who do you think you are, Jonte Malesam?
- Wulf: Why don’t you try the armour on? I will carry it into the other room and help you change. You don’t need to wear that sword.
- Rigmor: Do you think I should?
- Malesam: Please do my child. We await with anticipation.
- Rigmor: OK.
- Cerys: Shouldn’t I help Rigmor?
- Rigmor: My Guardian is not going to see anything he hasn’t seen before.
- Wulf: Besides, Rigmor is embarrassed about the bite marks I left last night.
I picked up the armour as Cerys stood staring at Malesam. He was trying to look anywhere else but at Cerys.
Rigmor and I walked into Malesam’s room and laughed together till it hurt.
We eventually calmed down, and in between fits of giggling, I helped Rigmor into Morgan’s armour.
Rigmor remarked, “I can’t believe Malesam thought he could ignore your recommendation and tell me about my noble blood!”
“There is a lot to tell you, and it is complicated, but yes, he thought it was his duty and that I had no say in the matter.”
“Is that why you wanted to be a Master Mage?”
“I just thought the rank might come in handy, but I did not need it. Malesam knew I would kill him if he tried to tell you anything.”
“Does the rest of it explain why the gods have shown such interest in me?”
‘No, but it is your destiny though so be prepared for a bit of a shock. You have options, and we will discuss those.”
“I will wait until then.”
“What do you think of Cerys?”
“She is a lovely person. We are getting along like the best of friends.”
“I wonder what the deal is between them?”
“I don’t think it is anything untoward.”
“I am sure the Arch-Mage will tell me.”
When everything was adjusted, and comfortable Rigmor asked, “Well, what do you think?”
“It is old fashioned but superbly made. It makes you look like a Lady Knight from High Rock.”
“I wonder why there is no helm?”
“You never fought in a helm, so maybe it is a family tradition?”
“Ha de har! I noticed you just said fought and not fight and you did not ask me to carry the sword. Thank you!”
“The best thing about having no helm is your beautiful face is not covered.”
“Keeping saying things like that, my dear Dragonborn, and we might start biting each other.”
We were still stifling giggles as we made our way back to Cerys and Malesam. I carried the leather armour with me as I had a plan.
We entered the room, and they both stared at Rigmor, and I knew what they saw. Rigmor was a Swordmaiden of old as if magically transported from a classic painting. She was regal, commanding and beautiful. With that armour on and a sword in her hand, Rigmor could command the world, not just the bunch of geriatrics waiting at Yngol’s camp.
- Rigmor: Well, how does it look?
- Malesam: Remarkable! It is a fine example of antique armour forged by the famous Khajiit armourer, ZZ’Jay.
- Rigmor: Did Morgan wear it in battle?
- Malesam: Yes, when she accompanied Emperor Titus Mede I on a campaign.
- Rigmor: I guess I could get used to it. I love it.
- Wulf: Well, it fits perfectly. I need to talk to Jonte again. Could you please help Rigmor change back into her leather armour for me, Cerys?
- Cerys: Yes, of course.
Malesam got the hint, and we walked back to his room. He stood and waited for what I had to say.
“You are going to have to comfort Cerys.”
“What do you mean?”
“Just listen. Cerys is about to learn more about Rigmor in a few seconds than you think you know.”
A minute or so later Cerys’ gasp was audible and her sobbing uncontrolled.
Malesam’s voice was full of worry as he asked, “What is happening?”
“Cerys just saw the scars inflicted on Rigmor by the New Order. Dozens of welts on her back that no healer has been able to remove. They are so painful, even years after they were inflicted, Rigmor cannot sleep on her back.”
“I didn’t know!”
“You know nothing about her! You know nothing of how she has suffered at the hands of the New Order. You failed to realise what it was like for her to fall into the hands of the same people who did such things to her. “She is unharmed’ you said. She was poisoned! I swear that the love Rigmor and I share saved my life at Diamond Ridge and Rigmor’s life after they poisoned her!”
“I was wrong to suggest you would not tell her.”
“If Rigmor accepts the position of Countess, the College will want to appoint a Court Mage, an advisor. Am I correct?”
“You are no mage Malesam. I doubt you could pass the actual test to gain entry to the College so you must have other skills. You expect to be appointed as that ‘advisor’ don’t you?”
“I have the relevant skills and that was the plan.”
“I am a good judge of character. I have to be to survive. Cerys is full of compassion and empathy. That is why I knew what her response would be when she saw Rigmor’s scars. Would Cerys be with you in Bruma?”
“That is the hope. She would be of greater help to Rigmor with some things than I ever could.”
“Rigmor and I know there may be long periods when The Divines call me away. I would be trusting the welfare of Rigmor to others in that rotten environment of Cyrodiil politics. I am going to speak to the Arch-Mage soon. He wants to know my assessment of you. What do I tell him?”
“I would not harm Rigmor if Boethia asked me to. She has never asked me to do something that would harm another. You are right, and I have nothing to fear from telling her no if she did ask.”
“Boethia may continue to show interest in Rigmor because she sniffs a potential gain along the way. If you remember that then you can better judge her motivations when it comes to Rigmor.”
“You will not speak against me to the Arch-Mage?”
“I am sure he was meticulous in selecting you, and I am not in a position to second guess him. I would be lost in that world of backstabbers and court intrigue. I am assuming you have excellent skills suitable for that environment so no, I will not speak against you.”
“I hope you appreciate the trust I am showing in you! It is not just my love for Rigmor that makes me so concerned for her. Rigmor and I believe that there is a greater destiny for both of us. That is why the gods have taken notice of Rigmor. It is no coincidence I just happened to come along at this time.”
Rigmor called out, “Ready to go, my Dragonborn!”
“Attend to Cerys. She will have lots of questions. It is a terrible thing to realise there are other’s capable of such cruelty. Rigmor was a little girl of fourteen!”
I saw Cerys exiting the room and said, “Thank you for helping her.”
“You look after her, Guardian!”
“Maybe you can do that in Cyrodiil?”
Cerys smiled and went to join Malesam.
I walked into the room and said to Rigmor, “Let’s go see the Arch-Mage.”
“Can we talk later? Not just about what Malesam told you but the Sons of Talos as well?”
“Of course. Just remember, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want.”
“I will carry the armour and the sword. Let’s go.”
We found the Arch-Mage in his room. I approached and said, “Excuse me, Arch-Mage, can you tell me what relationship is Cerys to Jonte?”
“His adopted daughter. He has raised her since she was a baby.”
“I have no further reservations about Jonte Malesam.”
“You understand what his role might be?”
“Is there anything else the College can do for you?”
“It is late, and Rigmor and I need somewhere safe to stay for the night.”
“Baa’Ren-Dar told me both of you are being hunted. I have a safe house you can use. The teleporter is just upstairs. You should have the skills to read the runes and cast the spell. Stay there as long as you need.”
“Thank you, Arch-Mage.”
I studied the runes swirling around the teleport orb then asked Rigmor to hold my hand.
I whispered the spell and touched the orb with my spare hand.
A bit of cold from the ether and then we were on a cliff face on an inaccessible part of the Jerall mountains. The only way to get where we were was to fly or teleport.
Rigmor said, “That felt weird?”
“We just travelled hundreds of miles!”
“How come we don’t have these ‘teleports’ all over the place?”
“Like a lot of Magicka, the skills and knowledge needed to make safe teleports were lost over time. That is why there are so many scholars in the College of Winterhold and other such establishments.”
We entered the cottage.
I said to Rigmor, “Why don’t you have a look around. There is a stew on the stove. We can have something to eat then a long talk.”
“Yuck, how old would the stew be?”
“It will be ready after a bit of stirring and will taste perfect. This cottage is a safe house for senior mages so a lot of ‘magical’ devices will be scattered around. Needless to say, if you don’t know what it is, don’t touch it!”
The cottage had four floors packed with books, scrolls, tables and mage apparatus.
Rigmor and I scoffed down two bowls each of the excellent stew.
After our meal, Rigmor inspected a large bath full of warm water then asked, “How come it isn’t mineral water like the spa in Breezehome?”
“That can be rather smelly, so this water is pure but infused with Restoration Magicka.”
“Last one in cleans the dishes!”
“They are already clean. I used Magicka on them.”
“Can we just soak and talk?”
“Promise you will not ravish me?”
“Well, maybe after we have talked?”
The water stayed clean even though we were both dusty and sweaty after the day’s travels.
I asked Rigmor, “Does this help your back at all?”
“Yes. Just as good as the hot springs!”
“What did Cerys tell you about your ancestors?”
“Morgan was my great, great, great, great, great, grandmother, and her mother was also called Rigmor. When her mother died, the College adopted Morgan. When she came of age, she became the Court Mage to the Mede Dynasty. How cool is that, my Dragonborn?”
“So, the heirlooms I had, yanno, when I first met you, were made by Morgan. She used her mother’s armour and weapon to make them.”
“And that is where the Daedric dweomer came from. Morgan managed to do what all the best New Order wizards could not reproduce. She was an excellent mage!”
“Then, why the armour?”
“She would have been a Spellsword. I can fight like them, but it is not natural to me. They will have a weapon in one hand, and with the other, they use a staff or cast spells from it. The Imperial Legion uses Battlemages. They mainly use Magicka but can use weapons when they need to. Battlemages will not wield both at the same time.”
“Like you sheath your weapons when you use Magicka.”
“Yes. What else did Cerys tell you?”
“After Emperor Mede I died, Morgan returned to the College then disappeared. She took the heirlooms with her, but left behind what we have just been given.”
“Not only did Malesam think he had the right to determine when you knew the truth, he thought I might never tell you.”
“Why would he think that?”
“He thought I would want to keep you with me.”
“You are scaring me, Dragonborn. Please, tell me now!”
“Your six times great grandmother was a mercenary by trade and was known as Rigmor of Cyrodiil. Titus Mede was a Colovian Warlord, and Rigmor joined his outlaw army. They seized the Ruby Throne by attacking the Imperial City and killing the insane Emperor Thules, also know as Thules the Jibbering.”
“Yes, I remember learning about that. Mum used to give me fascinating history lessons.”
“When Rigmor of Cyrodiil gave birth to Morgan, she was thirty-eight years of age. She died soon after the birth, and the physicians blamed her death on the late age pregnancy.”
“That is sad!”
“But very brave of her! It is so easy to get a potion, gulp it down and remove the baby. Rigmor would have known the dangers and still proceeded with the pregnancy and birth.”
“I hope she at least got to see and hold baby Morgan.”
“As do I, Rigmor.”
I hesitated, and Rigmor knew I was getting to the ‘destiny’ part. She said, “Don’t be scared. Tell me and help me figure out what to do.”
“Titus Mede was grief-stricken. You see, he loved Rigmor of Cyrodiil dearly, and Morgan was their illegitimate child. The noble blood you have is royal blood of the Mede line.”
“Like you guessed and I read in your journal.”
“Emperor Mede arranged for Morgan to be adopted by the College of Winterhold. By Royal Decree, the College is duty-bound to serve and protect the descendants of Morgan who was known in court as ‘Morgan of Winterhold’.”
“So that is why Malesam thought he had the right to tell me all of this?”
“He thought this ancient Royal Decree held more sway than my position as your Guardian.”
“But you were sent by the gods and have helped me far more than the College ever has! You know me better than anybody else ever has. You have risked your life many times for me! You saved me, and we love each other!”
“Yes, I love you more than life itself. I think that was what concerned Malesam.”
“Your trembling. I have never seen you afraid of anything!”
“I was terrified when I saw you cold and unmoving on the sacrificial table!”
I took a deep breath the continued, “Malesam says that Morgan of Winterhold made Emperor Mede’s son, Attrebus, jealous. So, when Titus died, Attrebus accused Morgan of being a usurper. She had married a Palace Guard Captain who was slain when he resisted arrest. Morgan fled with their only child; a little girl called Morganna. I do not believe Attrebus did any such thing.”
“Attrebus was a hero to the people and had no cause to be jealous. He went into Oblivion to help save Tamriel during the Umbriel Crises. He married a commoner, named their first child, the next Emperor, after an Argonian friend of his wife who died to end the Umbriel Crises. Attrebus was very brave, ruled for the people and was in no way a bloodthirsty tyrant. It would have been the Elder Council who wanted to get rid of Morgan. They did not want Attrebus to have such a competent councillor.”
“What happened to Morgan and Morganna?”
“After fleeing Cyrodiil, they were never heard from again.”
“Did the Elder Council get rid of Morgan because she was of Mede royal blood?”
“It seems there were rumours but no proof. That could have been the reason rather than wanting to have an easily manipulated Emperor. It could have been a combination of both.”
“Did the artefacts found when they arrested my father make the College think he was a possible descendant of Morgan?”
“Yes, and that bothers me. The College has no proof of Ragnar’s lineage and yours. Just suspicion based on those artefacts.”
“I could just deny that I have Mede royal blood and nobody could prove it!”
“Emperor Titus Mede II has made it a bit more complicated than that.”
Rigmor kissed me and held my hands while I looked into her eyes. Those beautiful eyes.
“The Emperor was contacted by the College. He has decided your family will officially become part of the Mede Dynasty. Your family’s name and father’s reputation will be restored.”
Rigmor’s grip tightened. My fear for our future was affecting her, and I could not help it.
“Rigmor, my dear beautiful Rigmor, Emperor Titus Mede II has offered you the vacant position of ‘Countess of Bruma’. You and your mother would live in the castle in luxury, and you would be one of the most powerful women in Tamriel. You do not have to accept the title. That is the decision you have to make.”
Rigmor let go of my hands and sat perfectly still as she stared into infinity.
After several minutes she looked at me then said, “This whole thing stinks of gods playing games! Everything is conveniently falling in place. It would be so easy to accept the title, but I just don’t know.”
“Tell me your concerns, and I will help as much as I can. But it is your decision.”
“What are you so afraid of my Dragonborn? That is a good starting point!”
“Let us get out of this water and into some warm robes. It will be easier to become an analytical and emotionless councillor without the woman I adore desirable and naked next to me.”
Rigmor laughed as we climbed out, got dried then selected a robe each from the extensive collection in the wardrobes.
We lay on the bed, and the discussion continued.
“I am afraid that, like Morgan, you would be entering the world of Cyrodiil Court Politics. They call Skyrim barbaric because disputes are often resolved with violence but, apart from the current civil war, it has been the most stable country in Tamriel. Mede has created stability and inter-county violence within Cyrodiil has been non-existent under his rule. But if something was to happen to him, there will most likely be chaos and tremendous violence as the empty Ruby Throne beckons those with ambition. If you accept the title of Countess, you will be safe and protected under his rule. If something should happen to him?”
“I would be dragged into their game of politics. Some would want me to be their ally. Some would regard me as an enemy.”
“Some would want you to become Empress.”
“But I could just refuse! Being a Countess would be enough. I have never asked for or sought such power. It is not what I want!”
“There are so many scenarios that could play out! We could grow old talking about them. A great deal depends on how Mede words your appointment and if your royal blood is disclosed.”
“Wouldn’t he have to declare my royal blood to make me part of the Mede dynasty?”
“Not at all. His claim that he is descended from Titus Mede I is disputed by many, and there is no proof he is. He could adopt you into the Mede family, and it would not be unprecedented.”
“He could say it was compensation for how my father was treated. Since he is going to give us our name back, he would already have upset the Thalmor.”
“If he did that while keeping your royal blood secret, you will attract less attention. You are less likely to be considered a threat to the Ruby Throne.”
“So, if I am there as Countess due to compensation and my royal blood is kept secret, I could give mum the life she deserves without much fear.”
“And you could make a difference for the people of Bruma.”
“You would have figured this all out beforehand so why the fear?”
“Because that scenario is only relatively safe compared to announcing your royal blood. You are still entering the cesspool of Cyrodiil politics. You will be a commoner raised above her station. Others would think they had a better claim to the County of Bruma and despise you for that reason.”
“But all that would only be talk unless Emperor Mede is no longer in power.”
“But there is more. You fear for us. What we will become.”
“I just don’t know how often we could be together. Where and when I will be dragged off to by The Divines. It would have been difficult enough to have time to ourselves if you lived on a farm somewhere. Now you will be a Countess with all that goes with it. Much of your time will, like mine, not be your own. Duty will dictate much of your day.”
“You say you could handle anything The Divines throw at you because of the power of our love. What about me living in that environment with the pressures and politics? I may need that power just as much as you!”
“I know, and that is why, even though this has complicated things, I will not give up on us. I can’t give up on us.”
“I will make sure good advisors surround me. That is why you wanted to talk to the Arch-Mage about Malesam, isn’t it?”
“What happened when Cerys saw your back?”
“She gasped, stood there and burst into tears.”
“As I thought she would. I wanted Cerys to know more about you than Malesam has told her. A bit of an immoral way to go about it, though. Playing on sympathy for what you went through.”
“I just told her it was the same people you just rescued me from. She said you had a go at Malesam when he told you I was unharmed.”
“You read my journal. The thought of them laying their hands on you!”
“If they did that check, it was when I was unconscious. That would have been unbearable if awake!”
“It is up to you if you take the Countess position. It is up to you who you tell about your noble blood and if you mention its royal connection.”
“We really should keep it all quiet till we know we have beat the New Order. But it was important I know, right?”
“It was important you know because it poses a danger to you. It is important you know because this is not a decision that should be made too quickly. Most of all, it is your history, and I had no right to keep it from you!”
“I have decided to talk to the Sons of Talos.”
“It is not as if I am going to be killing people or wading into battle. I just have to motivate some good soldiers to fight, and they may make a difference.”
“It would not be acceptable for them if to let others die when they could help.”
“It does sound like something my father would not expect of them! He would be ashamed!”
“I will be there, but this is about you. The Sons of Talos will be looking at Rigmor of Bruma for leadership and motivation. Just be you, and they will get that and more.”
“Would this bed be magically cleaned each day?”
“You would hope so. I assume a few different mages use it.”
“Good, then I won’t feel guilty making it dirty!”
Rigmor attacked, and I put up little defence. We made love, and it was now a perfectly coordinated dance.
We woke tangled together when first light came through the windows of the cottage. A quick bath and breakfast and we were ready to go. I cast the spell to return us to the College
We exited into the College courtyard and encountered an elderly Orsimer walking towards us.
I said, “Good morning Master gro-Shub!”
“What is good about it and I don’t know you!”
He walked by without another word.
We moved a bit further away before Rigmor asked, “Who is Master gro-Shub?”
“He is the chief librarian of the College and one of the smartest people on Nirn. One of the grumpiest as well.”
We climbed on our horses, and I said to Rigmor, “We will be travelling along the northern coast road. Nothing but ice and snow.”
“Just like home!” she joyfully replied.
We stopped to watch a group of Stormcloaks and Imperial Troops meet. Even from a distance, we could hear the easy banter between old friends. It is incredible to think that soon they will be trying to kill each other again.
“That is a pretty waterfall,” I remarked.
“Nah, not high enough to bother jumping over!” replied Rigmor.
As we rode into Kynesgrove, Rigmor said, “Look at the size of the Moose and the size of the baby chickens. I think the variety of animals the gods have made and put on Nirn is truly amazing!”
I would never have noticed either or started contemplating the variety of animals. It was another insight into my wonderful beloved’s awe at the world.
As we approached Yngol’s camp, Rigmor said, “I want to do this wearing Morgan’s armour. Can we find some convenient bushes where you can help me change into it?”
We found a well-secluded spot not far from Yngol’s camp. I can read Rigmor like a book. She was terrified of what she was about to do.
I asked her, “I don’t think this is necessary. Are you sure you want to do this?”
“Just help me get into Morgan’s armour.”
It took about twenty minutes to get Rigmor kitted out.
I said to her, “We can just jump on our horses and ride away. You don’t have to do this.”
“Yes, I do. Just…hand me the sword.”
I reluctantly handed the sword to Rigmor who winced as she held then sheathed it.
There was something wrong. I asked Rigmor, “How do you feel?”
“Do you really want to know?”
“Yes. How do you feel?”
“I feel invincible. I am an unstoppable force. A born killer, a widow maker. A true Nord Warrior and my enemy’s worst nightmare. The scariest thing of all…It excites me, it invigorates me, it’s all I have ever known, and I feel good. But once this is done, know this…it will be over. So, don’t you ever ask me about it again! Do you understand me?”
“How do you feel?”
That was not what Rigmor expected from me. I was not going to pander to her mood this time.
“Rigmor Ragnarsdottier, the woman who I share my soul with, is none of those things! You certainly do not enjoy battle or killing so cut the bullshit! Tell me, my beloved, how do you feel?”
“Terrified. Sickened by the touch of the sword. Wondering why I am wearing this armour and what could I possibly say to the ‘Sons of Talos’.”
“Why are you doing this?”
“I am not doing this for Casius, or Yngol, and I know you don’t want me to. I am doing this for my father. It is what he would have wanted. I owe him this much, considering the failure I have been so far. You know, he might even forgive me.”
“You never gave up the search for your mother and found her and rescued her against incredible odds! You have fought beside a Dragonborn against a dragon. You have wreaked bloody revenge on those who ripped your family apart. Despite all you have been through, you are compassionate, full of empathy and see the beauty in all things. Why would Ragnar’s chest not be bursting with pride? What is there to forgive you for?”
This trip to Yngol’s camp was a mistake. I have undone all the work since rescuing Rigmor by stupidly agreeing to this idiotic and unnecessary farce!
“Tell me why you should do this, and why should I stand back and let you tear yourself apart?”
“These men might be needed. They could make a difference to us winning or losing. That is what Cassius said.”
“Then do it with that as the motivation. Make these men want to save their loved ones and fight for reasons other than following Ragnar’s daughter!”
“That is all anybody, including Ragnar, could ask for.”
We mounted our horses then made our way to and through the camp. The young Stormcloaks wondered what the fuss was all about. The Sons of Talos were yelling out how they fought beside Ragnar and how they knew her father etcetera.
We were getting hemmed in. Yngol saw us and yelled, “Back off! Let her through. Back off and let the child through!”
She is a grown woman you idiot was my immediate thought.
We got as far as we wanted and dismounted. I approached Yngol.
I said, “Rigmor, the woman you see climbing the steps, wanted to come. She insisted on addressing the Sons.”
“By the gods, she truly is her father’s daughter.”
“This has nothing to do with her being Ragnar’s daughter! This decision to come was Rigmor being herself!”
I climbed and stood to the back and left of Rigmor. The Sons of Talos were not quieting down, and there was no pause to allow Rigmor to begin. So, I used my Thu’um,
“QUIET AND SHOW SOME COURTESY!”
Instant silence and Rigmor did not hesitate even a second.
“You asked me to come. Here I am!”
Hurrahs came strong and loud from the Sons.
“I know you all loved my father, and most of you here, sons and daughters of Talos, will have followed him, and fought beside him, with loyalty and honour.”
Those who watched stood transfixed. Rigmor was going to make a formidable Countess!
“You are here today because a new wind blows from the north. And on it rides a new danger ready to sow the seeds of war.”
This homecoming is testament to your love for your homeland. This calling of arms, my brothers and sisters, is testament to your love of our people.
This truce, between our former enemy, is testament to the peril we face. For a short time, the enemy of our enemy shall become our friends.”
Rigmor is making herself sound like a Stormcloak sympathiser when that is far from the truth. She may be better equipped for Cyrodiil politics than either of us thought.
“From the north, a new enemy is coming and waiting to strike at our homeland. A new danger, never before seen, where no one is safe.
A New Order comes not to take away our freedom. A New Order comes, not to occupy and enslave us…BUT TO ANNIHILATE US!
THEY COME TO SLAUGHTER OUR CHILDREN, OUR PEOPLE!
THEY COME TO DESTROY US AND BRUN OUR LANDS!
THEY WANT TO DESECRATE OUR SHRINES AND TAKE AWAY EVERYTHING WE HOLD DEAR!
WELL, I SAY TO YOU…
LET THEM COME!”
There was more cheering and clapping. Rigmor was magnificent!
“WE WILL FIGHT THEM…
WE WILL THROW THEM BACK INTO THE SEA…
I SAY TO YOU…
LET THEM COME!”
All of the Stormcloaks, young and old, started cheering, and banging weapons on their shields and calling Rigmor’s name.
Rigmor turned to me, and she was drained both physically and emotionally. I was ready to carry her out of there!
I said to her gently, “Come, my beloved. Let’s get you back to the farm.”
Stormcloaks tried to crowd us once more. “MOVE ASIDE!” I yelled with my Thu’um. They soon scattered.
We rode silently and with dignity towards the place where Rigmor had donned the armour. I was sure she wanted to remove it as soon as possible.
We made it to the clearing then Rigmor leapt from Ben and ran towards a tree.
She vomited so hard, and so long I was worried she was going to damage herself.
She finally stood and faced me. I gave her a water canteen which she gladly took and washed out her mouth.
I told Rigmor, “Come, my Rigmor. We shall get you home, and you can get some sleep. We will take it easy and don’t hesitate to let me know if you need a rest.”
“And for what it is worth, that was magnificent. Your father would be so very, very proud!”
We rode in silence the entire way. I kept looking behind to make sure Rigmor had not fallen off Ben.
We arrived at the farm, and Rigmor still did not say a word. I followed her into the farmhouse.
I followed Rigmor into her bedroom. She sat on her bed, looking bewildered.
I said to Sorella, “Why don’t you help Rigmor get out of that armour and tell her what you have been doing? I am sure it will cheer her up.”
“OK, Dragonborn.” the little girl replied.
In the main room, Sigunn was standing with her back to the mainly naked Sethri who sat at the table.
I approached Sigunn and said, “Rigmor has been doing very well, but we just had a bit of a setback. She could do with your love right now.”
“Of course. How is Rigmor’s memory?”
“Excellent but there is still something wrong. Has Baa’Ren-Dar visited?”
“He is outside somewhere.”
“Are you and Sethri getting along?”
“What an obnoxious person! He took a bath in the lake and hasn’t got dressed since. He has been annoying Angi too. You might want to tell him to put some clothes on.”
“Did you ask him?”
“I tried telling him earlier, but he insists that it is his’ farmhouse, and he can do whatever he likes.”
“I will tell him what the rules are, and he had better listen.”
Rigmor called out, “Dragonborn!”
I rushed into the bedroom and said, “Rigmor, I am here. Are you OK?”
“Thank you, Dragonborn.”
“Thank you for what?”
“For being here for me.”
“We are here for each other. An inseparable pair. I will always be around to annoy you.”
“I love you, my Dragonborn.”
“And I love you with every fibre of my being. Please Rigmor, remember that you do not have to do anything you don’t want to. Not now and not in the future. Now lie your head on the pillow and get some sleep!”
Rigmor did that then asked, “Dragonborn, will you guard me tonight?”
I dragged a chair closer to the bed and said to Rigmor, “It will be my pleasure. I have to arrange a few things so sleep and I will be here as soon as I can.”
“OK. Goodnight Dragonborn.”
I kissed Rigmor on the forehead and said, “Goodnight my beloved.”
Sorella had the biggest grin on her face as I walked past her.
Baa’Ren-Dar had entered and was sitting next to Sethri at the table. I joined them while Sigunn attended to Rigmor.
- Wulf: Sethri, why are you sitting there, half-naked?
- Sethri: What’s wrong? I have my underwear on.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: You would do well to make yourself decent. There are ladies in the house!
- Sethri: Whoa there! We don’t all have a massive mansion in Torval. It’s the heat.
- Wulf: There is a little girl here. If she suffers a single glimpse of your green and hairy dangly bits, I will feed them to a Slaughterfish.
- Sethri: Oh!
- Wulf: Now all the trivial crap is out of the way, tell us why you are here Sethri.
- Sethri: The invasion fleet you are expecting. It’s been spotted out to sea off the coast of Morrowind. Thought you would want to know.
- Wulf: They have avoided the main Imperial Fleet by doing that. Pity.
- Sethri: They should be here anytime soon.
- Wulf: What about you, Baa’Ren-Dar? Any news from Cyrodiil and the Dominion?
- Baa’Ren-Dar: Our allies are ready to pounce. Once the invasion starts, countermeasures will be taken. At the right time, the Dominion will strike on the Isle. Once the New Order land in Skyrim, Mede will feign troop movements north to expose the Southern Army and crush them on the border of Cyrodiil.
- Wulf: Surely, they know their scheme will fail? They can’t be that stupid they think we will be fooled. I suppose they are hoping that Aedriath will succeed in Skyrim. We will put a stop to that.
Yngol and Casius came through the door and sat at the table.
- Casius: Well met Dragonborn, Yngol and I thought it wise to discuss the coming invasion.
- Wulf: And why would two veterans of many battles think I could contribute to such a discussion?
- Casius: The powers to be have decided we need a neutral commander in Skyrim.
- Yngol: You got the short straw.
- Wulf: Am I going to have some official rank?
- Casius: You are the General of the Skyrim Allied Defence Force. The paperwork is already done.
- Wulf: That sounds like crimping!
- Casius: Well, I suppose it does. Anyway, do you have any suggestions regarding the defence of Skyrim?
- Wulf: Do we know where and when they will land?
- Yngol: No.
- Wulf: So, we have little chance of attacking before they have a beachhead. Do we have an idea of where we would like to fight them?
- Yngol: We will be outnumbered, so we will need to choose our ground wisely.
- Casius: The swamps around Hjaalmarch are not suited to Legion tactics. We will become bogged down. The mud would kill us.
- Wulf: A detachment of Argonian would have come in handy!
- Yngol: They have only a few options open to them too. They will avoid Solitude and Windhelm and go for broke.
- Casius: Yes, if I were in Aedriath’s position, I would avoid a lengthy siege. He doesn’t even know if the Southern Army Group will advance in good time.
- Wulf: Titus’ force will crush it.
- Casius: A suppressing force on the Pale border and one at Dragon Bridge will effectively cut off Solitude and Windhelm.
- Wulf: They will head straight for Whiterun as I predicted.
- Yngol: Yeah, Aedriath has to get his army out of the swamp immediately. Like a lightning strike within twenty-four hours of landing.
- Wulf: And as we surmised, if Whiterun falls, we are in trouble. So we don’t let it fall.
- Sethri: He will protect his flank.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: Sethri, put some clothes on!
- Sethri: With a small force.
Sethri lifted his arse off his seat and farted. Baa’Ren-Dar growled and stared at me. Then he left the room disgusted with the whole thing.
The other’s laughed. I found it childish, unfunny and disrespectful.
- Wulf: Sethri, you are lucky I don’t conjure a Skeever up your butthole! Get out of here if you can’t contribute anything useful!
- Sethri: As you wish. I’ll get dressed.
- Wulf: Now that idiocy is out of the way we can get back to saving Skyrim. Casius, as soon as Aedriath lands I want you to move your Legion to Whiterun. If we do it too early, he may choose another target.
- Casius: The walls of Whiterun will protect our right flank. Aedriath will have no choice but to come for us. We will be drawing his main force onto the ground of our choosing, and we can take the head off the serpent.
- Wulf: Yngol, I want your force to do what Nords do best and make an impenetrable shield wall. That will allow you to slowly advance and outflank them on their left while Cassius pins them down.
- Yngol: We can use the Whiterun garrison to boost my numbers.
- Wulf: You can try knocking on the door of Jorvaskkr and asking The Companions if they wish to fight for their homeland. After all, this is not breaking their neutrality.
- Yngol: Will do.
- Wulf: Suddenly appearing in numbers at Whiterun will be our best hope. But that means sacrificing ground. Which way will Aedriath come?
- Casius: There are two options open for him. He can come through the mountain pass at labyrinthian or across the plains via Dragon Bridge.
- Wulf: With the Imperial Camp on the Pale border and Stormcloak Camp not far outside Windhelm, he will have no choice, even if he knows we are camped outside Whiterun, but to attack that city. A suppressing force as Casius called it earlier.
- Yngol: Yes, he will want to avoid a protracted campaign so he must rush and attack Whiterun.
- Wulf: Well, that settles our basic tactics. You two can fine-tune them, and I have no idea about logistics.
- Yngol: Come Casius, we can discuss logistics on the way back to our garrisons.
- Casius: We will keep you informed of the situation, Guardian
Both men rose and headed for the door.
I decided I would see them off then find Baa’Ren-Dar.
I watched them ride away then walked towards Baa’Ren-Dar and Lydia, who were on the porch.
- Wulf: Baa’Ren-Dar, Rigmor is plagued with doubt. She feels unworthy and thinks she has let her father down. No logic or love seems to be able to erase those thoughts. I thought they were gone, but I was wrong.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: Ragnar trained her to be the son he never had. That has made her think she failed to protect Sigunn and her father.
- Wulf: It does not matter how illogical it is, she thinks that as a fourteen-year-old girl, she should have been able to protect her parents from the events that occurred.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: Only hate and revenge fuelled her until recently. Now Sigunn is safe, she wonders about her father’s love.
- Wulf: She needs something to remind her of her father’s love, and I think I know what that might be.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: Sigunn has mentioned something from Rigmor’s childhood perhaps?
- Wulf: Yes, something made with her father’s love. A simple doll that I could also make. It does not have to be identical but just jog her memory.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: Don’t worry, she will be fine.
- Wulf: I can’t help but worry, Baa’Ren-Dar. Her pain is mine.
- Lydia: I just saw Yngol and Casius leave. Is the invasion imminent?
- Wulf: Yes, and I must ask something difficult of you.
- Lydia: You wish me to stay and protect Rigmor.
- Wulf: I know you would like to help defend Whiterun, but I don’t think Rigmor will want to be there.
- Lydia: Although I have not had much chance to talk to her recently, we are good friends, and I know how much you mean to each other. I will be honoured to protect Rigmor.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: Lydia has fallen under Rigmor’s spell as well!
- Wulf: It would seem so.
I entered the farmhouse. Sigunn was having a quick meal, so I sat opposite her at the table.
I asked, “Sigunn, remember you told me about Ragnar making a doll for Rigmor?”
“Yes, the one she gave to her little friend. Why are you asking?”
“Baa’Ren-Dar and I think that Rigmor needs a reminder of Ragnar’s love. It may jog the last of her memories. She can see and feel the love of you and Baa’Ren-Dar and others but not her father’s.”
“It was just a piece of old doweling with a sackcloth dress and string hair.”
“Did she have a name for the doll?”
“She called it Jenny.”
“Thank you, Sigunn. I’ll see if somebody can pick up the things needed from Riften. Hopefully, it will help Rigmor.”
“I hope one day this will all be over so I can take her home. Maybe we can start over and live a normal life. I hope you will be part of it. Rigmor adores you.”
“I would be incomplete without her, Sigunn. I promised I would sit by her bed and guard her once more. It will help keep her nightmares away.”
I walked into the bedroom. Sorella was fast asleep. I looked at the chair and decided it would not do.
I crawled onto the bed, and Rigmor woke.
“Can you shuffle a little bit across. I wish to cuddle you rather than sit in the chair.”
Rigmor moved a little, and I managed to squeeze in between her and the wall.
I know not what time I fell asleep.
I know it was to the regular breathing and heartbeat of the one I loved.
The old man stared at the farmhouse and knew something had to be done. It was beyond cruel to separate the two. It may not please Lord Akatosh, but he would change the plan. If they are careful, nothing will alter the preferred outcome. It is a risk he was willing to take for his Son’s happiness. They removed Wulf’s memories. To keep him away from Rigmor, the only love he knows, was unthinkable!