Rigmor of Bruma quests: Shadows of the past, Guardian General.
I woke at about 6:30 AM when Rigmor kissed me on the forehead and crawled out of bed. I went into the basement and donned the fine clothes that were mysteriously gifted in Breezehome.
I entered the main room of the farmhouse, and Sigunn said, “Rigmor had some breakfast and is outside, sitting near the lake.”
“I might take her into Riften, and we will go as a gentleman and his lady. I don’t need armour to protect Rigmor.”
“She would like that. Maybe you can find the things you need for Jenny.”
I stepped outside to a warm, sunny day. Lydia and Meeko were guarding the farm as usual.
My heart leapt when I saw my beloved. I knew our time together was running out. I was determined to do as Rigmor wished. Talk if she wanted. Be quiet if that was her way of coping. I was not going to mope.
She heard me approaching, and our quiet let her know it was me.
She said, “Sit down, my Dragonborn. It is a beautiful day.”
I sat and looked across the water. I could happily own a property like this.
I said to Rigmor, “I am going to do some shopping in Riften. I would love it if my lady accompanied me.”
“I can’t see any lady but can I come with you?”
“Only if you want to do something boring and check out the market.”
“Hey, I would love that!”
“Well, let’s feed the horses and set off.”
“No horses needed! Over here, Dragonborn.”
I noticed Rigmor was not wearing shoes, and she had a mischievous grin on her face.
“OK, Miss Ragnarsdottier, what are you planning?”
“Yanno, it is such a beautiful day. I thought maybe we could walk?”
“Why not. It is only about a mile and a half.”
“Who said anything about walking all the way?”
“Rigmor, you are not carrying a sword or anything heavy!”
“Come on, Dragonborn, where’s your sense of adventure?”
“Don’t complain if a Slaughterfish takes a toe!”
“Haha, come on, race you to the other side.”
I let Rigmor get a bit of a lead then skipped across most of the lake’s surface using Whirlwind Sprint.
I still had to swim the last bit, and since I wasn’t wearing my armour with the dweomer on it, it was a struggle to stay afloat with my sword dragging me down.
I still climbed out of the water ahead of Rigmor.
Rigmor said, “You cheated!”
“So says Miss cotton dress and underwear. I hope you are wearing underwear! I am wearing silk bloomers and doublet, stockings, shoes and carrying a sword, plus I gave you a head start!”
“It doesn’t matter because you still look like a drowned Skeever!”
“And you look stunning!”
“OK, I forgive you.”
“I am not wearing armour so really do not fancy taking on half a dozen bad guys. So please, stay close and be careful.”
Rigmor turned and dashed off, laughing, “Hahaha…”
I was hoping to at least empty the water from my shoes, but I had no choice but to chase after Rigmor.
She ran past a pack of wolves then stopped. It wasn’t reckless. She knew the wolves would not attack.
Rigmor asked, “Why does Kynareth have such power when you say gods have very little power because of the barrier?”
“Like Azura has some power through her Black Diamonds, Kynareth has some power through the creatures she helped create. The wildlife of Nirn. Remember when no animals would attack us for an entire day after we did the ritual of the seven thousand steps? Kynareth also has some control over the weather for the same reason.”
“Well, I am glad you saved Sorella and killed them all!”
“I did not hide in my journal what I was like killing the Vampires, the men who attacked Angi’s camp, the ones in the inn and the New Order who had you. I was my Dovah and nothing else. That is what I would be like without you.”
“I noticed gaps in several pages.”
“I deleted things via Magicka that should not be there. Secrets that are not mine to divulge.”
“To do with Angi?”
“You are clever, but I will not say anything, so please, do not ask.”
We walked in silence till we came to a random fallen tree that Rigmor decided looked comfortable. Sometimes she forgets I am a lot taller than her. So Rigmor sat upright on the log while I reclined so I could talk to her face to face.
Rigmor sighed then exclaimed, “Ah, it’s so beautiful here.”
“Soon you will be able to return to Cyrodiil. Are you looking forward to that?”
“It’s so cold in the mountains! We could never have afforded to live in the Imperial City, Chorrol or Cheydinhal. Leyawin was too far south. When I was a little girl, us kids would sneak out of the walls of the city and head south in the Great Forest. The trees were so huge, Dragonborn! In the mornings or towards evening, the mist would rise from the ground. It has an amazing, mystical feel about it.”
“Like around here. Can you remember how it kept coming and going the first time we visited Riften?”
“Yes, very much like that! At times we were sure we could see faces in the trees, and at any moment they would come to life. Haha, we would scare ourselves and just run and run.”
“That sounds so wonderful!”
“My dad, he would come and look for us…he would blow a Nordic Horn…and we knew it was time to go home. He would be waiting for me, with a smile on his face, and he would start to jog back to our house slowly. I would try and race him, but no matter how fast I ran, I could never catch up. I would be so scared he would scold me, but he never did.”
Rigmor was starting to tear up. I put my arm around her and said, “You must miss him so much.”
Rigmor replied with years of bitterness in her voice, “And then it all turned to crap!”
I started to tear up. Rigmor stood and said, “Come on, my silly Dragonborn. Let’s move on.”
I wiped my eyes and nose on my expensive silk sleeve and followed Rigmor like a faithful puppy.
I was having difficulty controlling my emotions. So, I walked just to the back of Rigmor so she would not notice at a glance.
Rigmor stopped, then said, “Yanno, I used to enjoy long walks as a kid. As soon as we got out of Bruma, away from the snow, we would take off our shoes so that we could feel the ground under our feet. We would never go too far down into the valley, where the lake was, but we would make dens and treehouses. As soon as I saw Riften, I fell in love with it right away. It reminds me of my home so much, not Bruma, but yanno, the forests and stuff.”
“Rigmor, I could listen to tales about your childhood for all eternity. It sounds ideal, no matter how it was ripped away from you! They didn’t take your memories, and they are priceless!”
“A good long walk like this helps me to focus. To blow out the cobwebs. I’m trying Dragonborn…believe me I’m trying.”
I lifted Rigmor and kissed her.
I put her feet back on the ground then said, “It doesn’t matter how long it takes to fix this last bit. You have done remarkedly well! There is nothing more for you to do other than wait for me to get back from crushing the New Order so I can take you home.”
“I have decided to take up the Emperor’s offer. I just hope he keeps the royal blood a secret.”
“You know I can’t come with you until Alduin is defeated.”
“And that could take a long time, couldn’t it?”
“It will take you some time to settle in Bruma anyway. You will need to do lots of visiting and endear yourself to the other ‘nobles’ of the Imperial Court.”
“How will we say goodbye?”
Rigmor and I got a bit carried away with the second kiss.
I pulled back, kissed her on the hand and said, “Um, we had better keep moving before I take you into the trees and rip that dress off.”
“And why would that be so bad?”
Rigmor laughed that laugh, and we continued towards Riften.
All of a sudden, Rigmor said, “Come on, you know where!” and ran off.
She was heading to the bench we sat on after leaving Riften that first time.
I sat down next to her, and she said, “That’s quite a view, huh?”
“There is that property in the middle and a farm across the way but no other houses. What a waste! I would love one this close to Riften.”
“Maybe as Countess of Bruma I might need a place in Skyrim to conduct business. A lot of Bruma’s trade is via The Rift.”
“And what part would I play in this estate?”
“My Batman, of course. You could walk behind me as I ride side-saddle on a noble white steed.”
“Ben would die of jealousy if you rode another horse!”
“He wouldn’t need to know. While the Countess is away, she can, you know, and play.”
“Batman and plaything! OK, when do I start?”
More laughter and I smiled.
Rigmor asked, “How does it make you feel, yanno, sitting here by the lake?”
“Look at the water, my Dragonborn.”
I looked at the water, then Rigmor’s voice transported me to another place.
“It is crystal clear. Cold and inviting. The sound of the water lapping on the bank makes me feel liberated. Ah! The light reflecting on the surface is like…like music to me.”
Rigmor’s voice was mesmerising. This moment seared into my memory.
“All the answers to every question asked bounces in that light. Look too deep…you don’t see anything, and it’s all dark. But for the light on the surface.”
I turned to Rigmor and asked, “What answers do you see?”
“Look over the lake and close your eyes.”
I did as Rigmor asked, and once again, her voice took me to another place.
“I see beautiful green fields of grass and golden fields of wheat, only made brighter by the sun. The faint smell of melons is in the air, along with crickets chirping and birds singing. A little girl is running through a wheat field, making deep tracks as her hands brush against its ears. She realises they are prickly and she laughs as a little dog runs alongside barking with excitement. A farmer is shaking his fist, but she keeps running, laughing louder and louder.
Life is a thrill, the sun is setting, and she doesn’t care…about anything. She makes her way up the cold icy stream with her little friend through the brambles and thick evergreen. It isn’t even her dog…it just wanted to play, to jump into the icy pool to fetch the stick.
The deep golden rays of a dying sun, it’s red fingers softly caressed all it touched. The little girl, once again feeling the snow under her bare feet, heads towards the huge shadow of the man that has come to meet her. His face cracked with the biggest of smiles…and she runs and jumps full pelt, her arms outstretched…into the dark, smothering safety of his loving arms.”
I looked at Rigmor and said, “Thank you for sharing that my beloved. That is what the treasure for which I fight. That is what it means to be a mortal. Freedom, laughter and love. It was truly amazing.”
“No, you are amazing.”
“We had better head into Riften before I think splinters are not such a bad thing.”
We walked hand in hand into Riften.
I said to Rigmor, “Take a look around. If you need any coin, just come and get me.”
“This will be so cool! We never got the chance last time we were here. What is it you need?”
“Some bits and pieces for some Magicka I think might help somebody.”
I watched Rigmor talk to the store holders and ask about where things come from, who made them etcetera. She made people instantly relaxed. She will be a superb Countess.
I asked at several stores, but nobody had the simple items I required.
I noticed a particularly grimy man watching both Rigmor and me.
When I walked near him, he said, “Hey, matey!”
I looked at him and pointed to myself.
“Yes, you matey, over here.”
I walked up to him and asked, “What can I do for you?”
“Jimmy Ten Fingers is my name. If you can’t find what you are looking for, I’m your man.”
“Is that so?”
“You looking for a good bargain? I got just what you might need. A gold necklace, it’s all legit like. It’s just that I need some gold quickly. My poor old auntie took a nasty fall, you see. I need to help get her back on her feet.”
“Well, let’s go help her then. She must be a big lady if you can’t get her up by yourself!”
“I don’t need a gold necklace.”
“So, what is it you want? Some Skooma?”
“Do I look like a Skooma addict to you?”
“I need some simple things to make a doll, but nobody here stocks the items I need.”
“Ah! A kid’s doll. So, you’re looking to make a doll for your daughter?”
“I don’t look that old, do I? No, it is for somebody special to me. A reminder of her past.”
“I’m guessing it’s for the girl you arrived with. Tell you what, you tell me what you need, I’ll get the stuff. But you take the necklace off me ‘ands as well, I’ll do you a good deal.”
I stared at the repulsive little man.
“Listen, you can’t come to Riften Market and leave empty-handed now. I’m sure your pretty little friend would appreciate it.”
“OK, but no items, no deal. How much for the necklace?”
“Seein’ as I’m feeling all charitable, it’s yours for one hundred gold.”
“Does the Thieves Guild know you are hawking on their turf?”
“Alright then Jimmy. I need a piece of sackcloth, wooden Dowling and some yellow string.”
“Hang about here, and I’ll be back in a jiffy.”
As Jimmy ran off, I looked across and saw a man standing behind Rigmor. I put my hand on my sword then started walking towards him. The stallholder greeted him by name and handed him a parcel. I took my hand off my sword.
At one stage a beggar woman warned Rigmor not to listen to another hawker trying to sell his genuine Falmer Blood elixir.
After half an hour, Jimmy came running up and said, “They don’t call me Ten Fingers for nothin’!”
“I would probably guess it is because you have ten fingers?”
“Have you got my stuff?”
“Yes, here you go and here is the necklace. Can’t hang around, need to attend to my old boat. Need anything else, you know where to find me.”
“That is not a nice thing to call your poor old auntie? An old boat! How rude!”
“Thanks, Jimmy. I suggest you use some of the money to buy soap.”
I walked up to Rigmor, who gave me the biggest smile.
I asked her, “Enjoying yourself?”
“Yanno, if I ever had to choose between Bruma or Riften, that would be a hard call.”
“But you won’t only have to settle for one Milady.”
“I suppose I had better get used to that.”
“Did you see anything you like?”
“Nah, I but I enjoyed the looking!”
“Well, here is a gift from me to you. So that we don’t leave Riften Market empty-handed.”
I reached around her neck and clasped the necklace in place.
Rigmor exclaimed, “Oh my days, Dragonborn. It’s beautiful. Thank you!”
“Come on. We had better head back. I have a feeling that things are about to get quite busy.”
“The New Order?”
“Yes, they should have landed by now.”
“I would like to rush back, but I am exhausted.”
“No piggyback this time, but perhaps a boat trip might help?”
We headed to the docks, and Jimmy was standing next to an old boat.
I approached and said, “Your Aunty is looking much better!”
“How would you like to make some more shiny, clinky gold?”
“Row us across the lake to a farm. It is not far.”
“Ten or zero.”
“Ten it is. Climb aboard.”
It did not take long for Jimmy to row us across. He may be skinny, but there is strength in his spindly arms.
Just as we arrived back at the farm, it started to rain.
I said to Rigmor, “Today was very special. Neither of us in armour and just being a couple. I couldn’t have asked for more.”
“Yes, my dear Dragonborn. It was something to remember.”
“Let’s get you out of the rain!”
I followed Rigmor into the house, and then she headed straight for her bedroom.
Yngol was finishing talking to Angi, but I missed what their conversation concerned. Sigunn and Sorella headed in the direction of Rigmor.
I approached Yngol and asked, “Have they landed?”
“Yes. The New Order has already taken Morthal. A battalion of enemy Bosmer Auxiliaries is heading for Dragon Bridge. Advance units are in the mountain pass heading straight for Whiterun.”
“It will be morning before they are in position. I doubt the New Order will attack until sunrise as they will be heavily dependent on archers. Are our troops in position?”
“Casius and I immediately moved our men to the designated ground outside Whiterun.”
“Head back to Whiterun. Tell Cassius to prepare for a dawn attack.”
“Consider it done, friend.”
Angi had gone outside, which left just Sethri and me in the room. I sat opposite him.
I told him, “There is a very slim chance we will lose. But if we do, I want you to get everyone safe. I will be counting on you.”
“Lose? I’m afraid it’s a little too late for that. You see, everyone is counting on you Dragonborn.”
“If they expect me to go in and slaughter like the Dragonborn of legends, they will be disappointed. We will win via better troops, moral and tactics. I could wipe out the entire army that Aedriath fields but only by being the Dovah you saw at Angi’s. One dead moron! Two dead morons. Thousands of dead morons. Get the idea? I don’t want to go down that path.”
“Can you imagine the fate that awaits the people of Skyrim if you lose? Even if Mede does defeat the army in the south. How long would it take him to muster the force to dislodge Aedriath from the strongholds? If at all he can. I’ll wager he would just fortify his Northern border, and try to be all diplomatic. He’ll cut Skyrim loose. Let’s face it, Skyrim is expendable. A mountainous, cold, lonely place filled with dissent and unrest. This barren land will become the beginnings of a New Dominion of an Elven God King in waiting.”
“Go and tell the legions of Imperial Troops fighting the civil war that Skyrim is expendable! The Empire and Skyrim need each other, or they will both perish. And do you have any idea what would happen if any of the Daedric Princes manifests on Nirn? Every mortal would be killed or enslaved. The New Order is not deluding themselves that Malacath would show them mercy for he would not need an army once he is here! They are hoping to destroy the worship of The Divines and to be useful to Malacath long enough to reach that goal. Like the normal Thalmor, they want to undo the Wheel of Time and become immortal once more.”
“Well, that is an even grimmer picture, so you have only one option. Do or die Dragonborn. Do or die.”
“That is what I do, and so far, I have only died once!”
“On that light note, I think I’ll hit the sack.”
“I am glad we didn’t get you to speak to the Sons of Talos. They would have ended up crying for their mothers and drinking milk!”
“Just go out there and do what you do. Yngol, Varon and all those brave men and women out there believe in you. They all know you went into Oblivion, kicked arse and came out alive. Do you know what they are calling you out there?”
“Umm, Wulf the Arse Kicker?”
“They are calling you Guardian General. Don’t underestimate yourself, my friend. Even if they have the numbers, it doesn’t give them a victory.”
I laughed, and Sethri looked worried.
I said, “The least likely mortal on Nirn to underestimate themself is me! And numbers count for nothing! A few of the New Order troops will be fanatics who believe in the Aedriath vision. Most will be rank and file soldiers and mercenaries whose sole motivation is money. They are facing men and women fighting for their loved ones and way of life. That makes each of our troops worth many of theirs. It is they who are outnumbered! I know how to use that moral and the terrain. I also know the battle for Whiterun will be conducted under terrible weather. That will make their archers far less effective.”
“How can you be sure about the weather?”
“The young seer I took to the Riften Market today.”
“Thank you for your help Sethri. I will thank your Mistress when I get a chance.”
“As it happens, if by perchance you do lose and your head finds a nice new home on the battlements of Whiterun. I have a nice little bolt hole in Morrowind where I’ll be happy to take all my current residents I have living here. So, don’t you worry!”
“Get some sleep. Sethri.”
“As you wish Dragonborn, as you wish.”
I headed out into the rain and walked to the shed.
Lydia was repairing some farming tools. A woman of many skills is she.
I spent thirty minutes making the doll with Lydia providing sound advice and the odd finger when I had to tie things.
I entered the farmhouse and walked into Rigmor’s bedroom. Sorella was fast asleep, and Rigmor was sitting on the edge of her bed.
I knelt in front of her and said, “I am going to Whiterun now to fight the New Order’s army.”
“I know you will win. Just make sure you come back to me!”
“There are no words that can adequately express how much I love you. But you know without words for we are one heart, one soul and one destiny. I am incomplete without you and never want to leave your side.”
“But you have to leave my side now to fight and will have to leave me at the border. I know.”
“The Divines trust my empathy and sense of duty will override my wants and needs. I hope they are right because I don’t know if I can be that strong. My strength comes from you, my beloved.”
“I will always be with you. You know that! Not physically, but our love, we will still feel it even if a million miles away!”
“I am going to beat them at Whiterun so that little girl can run through the wheat with the dog by her side. I will kill efficiently and quickly so more fathers and mothers will be there to greet their little girls and hug them tight. I will be a monster, so little girls don’t have to meet any. I will be a monster, so little girls don’t think they have to kill to please their father!”
“I’m sorry I let you down.”
“You have not let me down! Not once! I am so proud of you and how you have fought back from these terrible things done to you.”
Rigmor was still plagued with self-doubt. I said to her, “All that matters to me right now is that you are safe and well. What others expect you to do means nothing. They do not know you, or love you as I do.”
“Please don’t take too many risks. Please!”
“I will do what I need to do for that little girl in the wheatfield. I have something for you.”
I held out the Jenny doll. Rigmor’s eyes lit up, and she yelled, “JENNY!”
She gently took Jenny from my hands, then curled up exhausted and soon fell into a deep sleep.
I went and quickly donned my armour then returned to Rigmor’s side. I felt to my knees and prayed to The Divines.
“I am doing what you want. Please, let no harm come to Rigmor. Otherwise, I will not be the instrument you need.”
I stood, and Lydia came in. She sat in the chair and said, “Meeko is on guard outside. I will sit by Rigmor in case she needs anything.”
“Thank you, Lydia.”
“We will be waiting for your return.”
I walked past the sword and cursed the day Rigmor ever had to use one.
I mounted Hashire and asked him to run as fast he could go to Whiterun. He snorted, and we flew like the wind.
The news of the invasion had spread fast. Most farms I rode past were boarded up as the farmers took their families behind the nearest city wall. Columns of people with their possessions headed for whatever safety they could. There were no bandits or other stupidity to delay me.
I rode Hashire past the Whiterun stables and right up to the city entrance. I rush in and through the crowds to Dragonsreach. It was about 10:45 PM when I stood in front of Jarl Balgruuf.
He looked worried. He loved his people and his city.
I said to him, “The attack will most likely occur at early dawn. They have rushed here, and I doubt they have trebuchets and catapults with them.”
“Thank Kynareth for that! Every citizen capable of fighting has armed themselves. The Companions would not be much use on a battlefield, but they will defend this city well.”
“We will stop them on the field. I have waded through hundreds of them myself, and they are no match for Legionnaires and the people of Skyrim defending their homeland and families.”
“A new set of armour from the Emperor’s blacksmith arrived earlier. You will find it in Breezehome.”
“Then I shall go and prepare it with dweomer.”
I headed to Breezehome and admired the lack of panic in the streets. Citizens were being drilled on elemental spear and polearm tactics. Anybody trying to climb the cities walls will be in for a surprise.
I entered Breezehome, and the armour was superb. I placed my usual dweomer on its various components.
I sat and replayed Rigmor’s childhood stories over and over in my head. The vision of the little girl running with a dog beside her seemed familiar. I was starting to think my loss of memory was not as secure as The Divines think.
It was just after 6:00 AM when I exited Breezehome and headed for the Field Command Post.
The weather was as Rigmor’s premonition predicted. It was gloomy, raining and thunder rolled in the distance.
As I rode amongst the troops, I was greeted with cheers and ‘Here he comes. It’s the Guardian General!’ and similar greetings. Everybody was so happy to see me; you would think it was my birthday. I wonder what day that actually is?
Yngol and Casius were astride their horses, so they had an elevated view of the battlefield. I rode Hashire between them.
- Casius: Well met Dragonborn.
- Wulf: What do we face, Casius?
- Casius: The enemy forces consist of a Bosmer Auxiliary battalion, a mercenary Orc Brigade, a detachment of Dark Elven archers and a New Order infantry division.
- Wulf: The archers will hate this weather.
- Casius: An Orc Brigade had dug itself in on the Pale border opposite my encampment, just as we suspected they would.
- Yngol: The sooner we start cracking skulls, the better.
We dismounted and walked over to a table with a tactical map atop.
An Imperial Officer was waiting for me.
- Quintus: Guardian General, I am Captain Quintus Vitalis. Second in Command and advisor to General Varon.
- Wulf: Well met Captain Vitalis.
- Quintus: As you can see from the map, the enemy has split into three forces. An Orc Brigade, mostly mercenaries, are deployed east of here adjacent to our Imperial encampment on the border of The Pale. They are indicated in the top, right-hand corner of the map.
- Wulf: Yes, go on.
- Quintus: To the west, we have a Bosmer Auxilia Battalion composed of two companies, red and white indicates archers, and solid red indicates infantry. They have dug themselves in at Dragon Bridge, indicated in the top left of the map.
- Wulf: As predicted, they have deployed forces to halt any attempt of the Solitude and Windhelm garrisons from sallying forth. That protects the rear of the main New Order force in front of us.
- Quintus: Correct. Adjacent to us, the larger force consists of a New Order infantry division and a Dark Elf Archer battalion of two companies.
- Wulf: Do we have Scouts and Runners in place?
- Quintus: Yes. Several Scouts have been sent to watch for any changes or movement from the Bosmer at Dragon Bridge and the Orcs on the Pale border. Runners will notify you of any changes or movement during the battle.
- Yngol: We can wait for them to come to us, and I’ll hold them with a shield wall. Casius can then bring his Legion in on their left flank.
- Wulf: Sitting and defending is what the New Order command expect us to do. They would engage us with everything but the Bosmer Auxiliaries. Their numerical advantage would pin us down and restrict our movement. This would allow the Bosmer Auxiliaries to flank us on the left. The pressure of two battlefronts would most likely make our position untenable. It is doubtful either the Imperial or Stormcloak troops on the field would route so a controlled withdrawal into the city would be the most likely result. The cost in troop casualties on our side would be too high. I say we take the initiative. Their archers, especially in this weather, are extremely vulnerable.
- Quintus: I would wager that once you engage the Dark Elven Archers, the enemy command will commit.
- Wulf: Yes. Otherwise, they will lose their numerical advantage as we slaughter their archers. They risk a rout.
- Quintus: So, an attack on their archers will draw the main body of troops forward and commit them to battle.
- Casius: Is Rigmor with you?
- Wulf: Rigmor is not well and will not be participating in this battle.
- Casius: I see.
- Yngol: The Sons of Talos won’t fight without Rigmor. But their presence at my camp. And Casius’ reserves, will keep the enemy Orc Brigade occupied.
- Wulf: If the Sons of Talos do not make a useful contribution to the defence of Skyrim, I will do my best to have each one of them named and shamed as cowards! Rigmor used all of her reserves to do that magnificent speech in front of them. She did not ask them to fight for Ragnar’s memory or her. She asked them to fight for their loved ones, their way of life, their homes. They cheered and smashed their shields and as far as I am concerned that was a commitment to fight. I have never heard anything more idiotic than standing by as your country burns because a teenage woman is too sick to fight!
- Casius: We are in position. I assume we are attacking and not defending?
- Quintus: Your orders, Guardian General?
- Wulf: Yngol, they expect your men to sit there and make a shield wall. Do the opposite and treat them to an old-fashioned Nord charge! Make as much noise as you can, and the archers will shit themselves. Once they commit their infantry, Casius can strike and outflank them.
- Yngol: Good choice.
- Quintus: Guardian General, it would be wise that you remain here at the Field Command Post until General Varon receives your orders for the Legion to advance.
- Yngol: Hey, Casius, this is just like old times you old goat.
- Casius: Aye, you old fox. Let’s hope the gods are as favourable now as they were then.
- Yngol: Be well, I don’t want to have to come to save your ass all over again.
- Casius: In this present scenario, it seems the fortunes of war are reversed, and it will be I who is saving your ass. Take care, old friend.
- Wulf: Wait for a second Yngol. I want to improve their moral.
I used my Thu’um and announced their doom,
“FORCES OF THE NEW ORDER. MERCENARY SCUM AND PUPPETS OF DELUSIONAL ALTMER. YOU FACE A DRAGONBORN AND NOT ONCE THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAS A SON OF AKATOSH BEEN DEFEATED IN BATTLE!
I COULD KILL MOST OF YOU BY CALLING DOWN THE WRATH OF THE DIVINES. BUT I WON’T.
INSTEAD, YOU WILL DIE AT THE HANDS OF MEN AND WOMEN DEFENDING THEIR HOMELANDS. EACH SOLDIER DEFENDING THE THINGS THEY LOVE AND CHERISH ARE WORTH A DOZEN OF YOU.
I MUST ASK THE ORSIMER AND BOSMER AMONGST YOU, HAVE YOUR ALTMER EMPLOYERS TOLD YOU OF THEIR PLAN TO CLEANSE ALL BUT THEIR KIND FROM NOT JUST SKYRIM, NOT JUST ALL OF TAMRIEL, BUT ALL OF NIRN?
YOU WILL FIGHT FOR THEM AND THE DEATH OF YOUR LOVED ONES BY THEIR HANDS WILL BE YOUR ULTIMATE REWARD!
ALL OF YOU WILL DIE TODAY AND BE BURIED FAR FROM HOME AND FORGOTTEN BY HISTORY.
I, WULF, DRAGONBORN AND CHAMPION OF THE DIVINES, SWEAR THIS TO BE THE TRUTH ON ALL THINGS I HOLD SACRED.”
The cheers from the Imperial and Stormcloak troops was deafening.
I ordered Yngol, “Go kill the ones who haven’t run away yet!”
I watched Yngol ride into battle to the continuous noise of praise for my name and the Dragonborn and Guardian General, and it made me sick.
Our soldiers were disciplined enough to stop cheering once Yngol reached his troops. They knew his commands were crucial to the survival of his men.
Yngol encouraged his men, and they charged with the ancient war cries of the Nords. Yngol raced ahead on his horse. Not because he wanted to fight on horseback. He simply wanted to be the first to start wading through the enemy troops. He leapt off his horse and started swinging his hammer.
The sounds of battle reached us. The clash of metal on metal, thuds of metal on flesh, screams and the occasional pitiful cry for mercy echoed off Whiterun’s walls.
A horn sounded. The New Order was doing as we expected.
Quintus said, “That’s the call for the enemy to advance. Their main force is now committed. General Storm-Blade won’t be able to hold them off indefinitely.”
“He just has to hold out long enough for all of the New Order infantry to gather to try and rescue their archers.”
The Herald announced, “Guardian General, a Runner approaches!”
I waited for the Stormcloak Runner to reach me.
“Give me your report.”
“Guardian General, The Bosmer have left Dragon Bridge and are advancing towards us.”
“Thank you, soldier. Make sure I am updated on the situation regularly.”
I turned to Casius and ordered him, “Time to show the enemy what the best trained and most professional soldiers on Nirn can do. Make sure they can’t run away. I want every single one of them dead!”
I watched full of confidence as Casius and his men entered the battle. An audible gasp of despair could be heard from the New Order troops as the Legionnaires smashed into their vulnerable flank.
I could not see the slaughter from where I stood. That was a blessing, but the sounds were still enough to convince me this was not something I wanted to repeat anytime soon.
While I was watching Casius, a despatch rider rode up and handed Quintus a message.
Quintus handed it to me, and it read,
I have just received some important news. After learning of the invasion here in Skyrim, Mede sent his army north of the Imperial City as a ruse.
The enemy Southern Army Group thinking Mede’s Legions were heading North, crossed the border from Elsweyr into Cyrodiil.
Mede’s Legions traversed and struck.
The battle for the south then ensued.
The news from the Isle is the New Order Coup has failed, and all top-level New Order activists have been arrested in Alinor.
I will keep you informed of the battle.
I dismissed the despatch rider then told Quintus, “The coup in Alinor has failed, the battle in the south began yesterday evening.”
I used my Thu’um once more.
“ALL OF THE NEW ORDER IN ALINOR HAVE BEEN ARRESTED INCLUDING SHARON AEDRIATH. SHE IS NOW HELPING THE INTERROGATORS, ONE FINGERNAIL AT A TIME!”
Quintus said, “They wouldn’t do that!”
“Yes, they would, and Aedriath knows it!”
The Herald Announced, “Guardian General, another Runner approaches.”
I waited for the Runner to reach me.
“Guardian General, behind us, another army approaches.”
“Is it the Orsimer?”
“It’s too early to tell. If it is, all is lost.”
“Soldier, you are out of order! Your duty is to report, not comment.”
“Now go and find out who it is. Mercenary Orsimer are pretty easy to tell from any of our troops don’t you think?”
I asked Quintus, “How long have we got?”
“It is bad. The Bosmer are almost upon us.”
“Why do doom merchants surround me? All it means Quintus, is that I will have to start slaughtering in great numbers and I hoped to avoid that!”
The mouthy Runner I just dismissed came running back saying, “Guardian General, it is Rigmor of Bruma!”
I turned and ran.
Sitting perfectly straight with hands-on her reins was my beloved. A Warmaiden of legend was before me.
Rigmor looked regal, confident and stern. A direct descendant of the most revered warrior in Tamriel’s history. The daughter of the most revered warrior in recent history. A born leader of men. An omen of the woe that will befall all enemies of Tamriel. The deliverer of that woe.
I was probably the only one who also saw a young woman made whole again. A woman who delighted at discovering a new colour of butterfly. A woman who could read the mysteries hidden in light reflected off water and teach idiots like me. The woman who now shares my soul and who I love with every fibre of my being.
“Rigmor, my beloved!”
“You didn’t think I would leave you out here all on your own, did you? That little girl, the one in my dreams?”
“You finished the dream?”
“She was waiting for me to give her Jenny, that is what she wanted in return.”
“She wanted to remind you of your father’s love.”
“I gave her Jenny, and she gave me the sword. She had drawn a line in the dirt with it. I crossed that line.”
I hoped the rain hid my tears. I would hate for troops to see the blubbering barbarian.
Rigmor continued, “The little girl was laughing, and when I turned to look at her, she was gone. I awoke and was whole again.”
‘You wanted to change, and I supported that. What did the little girl teach you to bring you here?”
“That I can’t escape my past, my dear Dragonborn. I am what I am. What I was destined to be. There’s no use hiding, or running away. Fate always tracks you down and finds you. You just need to be pretty sure you’re ready for what it has in store. I realise that now.”
“If we could avoid our destiny, you and I would be living on a farm next week!”
“My dear Dragonborn, who knows what tomorrow brings for us? But for now?”
“We have a war to win.”
“What are your orders, Guardian General?”
“The Bosmer must be kept away from the main battle. They are faltering, and we don’t need a resurgence of confidence!”
“One more thing Rigmor.”
“Leave some for me. It will be embarrassing to end the battle without blooding my sword.”
Rigmor laughed that laugh and rode confidently up to the Sons of Talos. She quickly gave some orders then they headed off to slaughter Bosmer.
I returned to the Command Post, and Baa’Ren-Dar was waiting for me.
- Wulf: My friend, I did not expect to see you here!
- Baa’Ren-Dar: Dragonborn, Titus Mede II had crushed the enemy army in the south.
- Wulf: That is excellent news! He probably did that even before this battle started.
- Quintus: The enemy command is leaving the field!
- Wulf: Stay at the Command Post, Quintus. I am going to help the Countess kill Bosmer.
- Quintus: Countess?
- Baa’Ren-Dar: You know?
- Wulf: We have known for days, Baa’Ren-Dar. Rigmor has decided to accept the Emperor’s offer.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: And I thought it would be a surprise!
Lydia and Meeko had arrived with Rigmor, but I did not have a chance to say anything to them. They had joined her to fight the Bosmer.
As I ran towards the battle, all I saw were Bosmer being outclassed by the veteran Sons of Talos.
Lydia stood back and fired arrow after arrow into the enemy. Meeko and Rigmor ran from melee to melee slaughtering as they went.
I had hardly blooded my sword before the battleground went quiet.
The storm cleared almost instantaneously, and the wind abated. I had a feeling Kynareth had used her power once more. Far more would have fallen to the archers if not for the rain and wind.
A huge cheer went up from the defenders. It was soon replaced by the cries of the wounded and dying.
Lydia yelled, “My Thane, Rigmor is injured!”
I ran to Rigmor, who was clutching her midsection.
“Rigmor, what happened?”
“Dragonborn, did he get away?”
“Let’s worry about that arsehole in a minute. Tell me, what happened?”
Lydia said, “Early in the battle she was hit midsection by a Warhammer. It didn’t seem to slow her down.”
“You would have seen similar before. There are probably dozens just realising they hurt now the battle is over.”
I cast Grand Healing on Rigmor.
She uncurled, and I knelt to support her head.
I said to her, “Thank goodness you were wearing that superb armour. That could have been a lot worse!”
“I’m OK, Dragonborn. Don’t let him get away.”
“Sit still for a bit. I will see if we have any idea where Aedriath has run to.”
I asked Yngol, “Do we have any idea where he went? Any correspondence? Any orders? Any officers we can politely ask?”
“As a matter of fact, we have an officer. Give me some time to interrogate him. I’ll find out where that scumsucker went.”
I said to Rigmor, “We will find where he is. You need to get out of here and rest.”
“I’ll be fine.”
I said to Baa’Ren-Dar, “Please get Rigmor back to the farmhouse. I am going to kill Aedriath.”
“Take care, Dragonborn.”
As I approached Yngol and Cassius, a Bosmer commander was being dragged away by a couple of Legionnaires. He spat out a tooth and glared daggers at Yngol.
- Wulf: The Bosmer still has some teeth so he must have told you where Aedriath is.
- Yngol: Yeah, he is headed for a place called Blacklight Tower. Here is a map showing where it is.
Yngol handed me the map. Blacklight Tower was quite a distance away.
- Yngol: As you can see, it is on the far east coast. Aedriath is waiting to be picked up by a boat heading for Morrowind. He is not alone.
- Wulf: This is personal and will do this alone. Can you and Casius please finish up here.
- Yngol: Then I guess this is goodbye?
- Wulf: For now, Yngol. I am sure we will catch up for a pint of mead or two in the future.
- Yngol: After we have taken care of this, my soldiering days are over. Angi wants me to join her in the mountains and help raise Sorella.
- Wulf: Well, that is a surprise! She is a wonderful person and deserves some stability and happiness. I wouldn’t have Rigmor in my life if Angi did not heal her!
- Yngol: She’s a fine woman Guardian. I think we have both earned the right to live in peace.
- Wulf: Sorella is a wonderfully warm and loving child. Please make sure she never removes that ring I gave her. I have a feeling the Vampires will not give up on her.
- Yngol: I will make sure, Guardian. Both of them need protection, so I intend to build a good home for them, a good home for us.
- Wulf: That is what we fight for, a simple life without fear.
- Yngol: Goodbye, Guardian, it’s been an honour to fight alongside you. If you ever need me, for anything, you know where to find me.
- Wulf: And what about you, General Casius Varon?
- Casius: I shall retire from the Legion, maybe see what adventures and fortunes are to be had on the high seas.
- Wulf: Captain Varon. Sounds like fun!
- Casius: Yes, it is something I have always wanted to try. If you ever need my help, seek me out by the Solitude docks.
- Wulf: I’ll remember that offer, Casius.
- Casius: It has been an honour to know you, Dragonborn. Farewell until next time.
It was a relief they were both retiring. I would hate to think they would have to face each other in the civil war. I would hate to have faced Yngol. I have no doubt he would try his best to kill me, and I would have had to reciprocate.
I approached Captain Vitalis and told him, “Captain Quintus, you are in command now.”
“Guardian General, I strongly advise you to rethink going alone to Blacklight Tower. It will undoubtedly be heavily guarded.”
“Do you know many people, undead and Draugr I have killed since the seventeenth of last month?”
“No idea, Guardian General.”
“Over seven hundred have died at my hand. I could have added hundreds more today but restrained myself. There is nothing between Aedriath and me that will even delay me.”
“What about the Orc Brigade? It might have retreated there awaiting evacuation.”
“They also might be giving Casius’ camp a hard time. If I were you, I would muster some men and go check that out.”
“Good advice. I will take what is left of our force and travel to General Varon’s camp.”
“You do that. I will say goodbye after you have the men assembled and ready to go.”
The Captain saluted then went off to muster his men.
Baa’Ren-Dar came running up, yelling, “Dragonborn, Dragonborn, she won’t go!”
I approached Rigmor and could see she was healthy.
“If you want to join me, I am going to hunt down Aedriath. It is a long ride, and we may have to hack through a few Orsimer.”
“Yes! Let’s end this!”
“Get ready and wait near Quintus.”
“You take me to the nicest places!”
“Nothing is too much for Countess Rigmor.”
Rigmor laughed then headed off to collect Ben.
I approached Baa’Ren-Dar and said, “Can you please let Sigunn know we are fine and not to worry. We will join you later.”
“Do you intend to join Rigmor in Bruma?”
“You know I would like nothing better, but I have to stay here and defeat Alduin.”
“This one knows it will be hard for you both to say goodbye.”
“We know it will not be forever. We just don’t know how long.”
“Just keep faith, Dragonborn. This one knows the gods want only the best for you both.”
“They are yet to tell me or prove that to me, Baa’Ren-Dar.”
“Be careful Dragonborn. This one hopes it is not too long before we are all reunited.”
Lydia was waiting to talk to me.
“You are not going to chase after Aedriath without Meeko and me!”
“I wouldn’t think of it, and I thank you so much for protecting Rigmor.”
“Her transformation was amazing. I have seen many commanders over the years, and none have her charisma and confidence.”
“That woman was always there. It took herself as a child to remind her.”
I jumped on Hashire and rode to Quintus and Rigmor.
I said to Quintus, “We are heading to Blacklight Tower immediately. I want you to head straight to General Varon’s camp.”
“Then take my sergeants as well.”
“We don’t need them but you might if the Orsimer are looking for a fight.”
“As you order.”
“Take care of yourself, Captain Quintus.”
“It has been an honour, Guardian General. Farewell.”
Quintus started barking orders to his men. I led Rigmor, Meeko, and Lydia away from the battlefield as quickly as I could. I was not interested in seeing the carnage of dead and broken bodies left behind.
The news of the victory did not travel as fast as we did, and the roads were still deserted. We rode past the Windhelm Stables just after 5:00 PM.
We rode in silence. I found it weird we were travelling another part of Skyrim we had not been to before.
Meeko ran ahead. He had seen some bandits hiding in a cottage.
We caught up and helped clear them in seconds.
I just shook my head, and we continued on our way.
When I saw some damaged carriages, I said to Rigmor, “It looks their pace was too much for parts of the baggage train. We may be catching up on some New Order lagging now they have to walk.”
Not much further on a platoon of Orsimer tried to ambush us.
We killed them, and I said to Lydia and Rigmor, “They were good troops. It looks like Aedriath took some of the best as personal guards.”
We mounted our horses and continued our progress towards Darklight Tower.
We finally saw the ship and tower.
I said, “Watch out for an ambush. These idiots have been so predictable so far.”
Meeko growled, and the idiots did not surprise us at all.
I said, “Leave the horses here. We walk the rest of the way.”
Some more troops decided to charge us up a steep hill which was senseless and suicidal.
I told my allies, “Stay behind me on the narrow bridge and stairs!”
Some archers fired at me from the far end of the bridge.
Unrelenting Force knocked them down, then I ran up and despatched them.
Some Altmer came running down the stairs, and they suffered the same fate.
I asked Rigmor, “Are you ready? He will be hiding in this tower somewhere.”
“I am OK at the moment. It might be different if I see him.”
“I am looking forward to having a good talk with him.”
We entered the tower, and I said to my allies, “It looks like quite a few on the bottom floor and more on the stairs and upper level.”
Lydia asked, “How would you know?”
“I forgot you have not fought beside me till today. I can see body heat like a dragon can.”
We rushed in, and Unrelenting Force knocked the enemy flying.