Skyrim quests: The Book of Love.
Skyrim mods: Rigmor of Bruma.
Rigmor and I finally let go and just stood facing each other once more.
I said, “They wanted us to be away from each other for years!”
“That would never have worked!”
“They realised that fact after I almost went insane.”
“A few hours after I awoke on that carriage till the time you crossed the border, you were my life! Twenty-four hours per day every day! At first, you were a task given by The Divines. What the Divine Task was I had no idea, but from the time I saw you curled up at the bottom of the cliff, I was determined to see you safe and well. Everything I did from that moment on was focused on that task. You laughed as you rode through the gates and then you were gone. My life, my love, my purpose for existing faded with that laugh. I woke over an hour later, face in the snow, no memories except one.”
Tears started to flow at the recollection, and I was visibly shaking. Rigmor took hold of my hands. We were enveloped in that mysterious, incredible peace we share. Her smile encouraged me to continue.
“That one memory was you. I could not even picture your face! All I knew is that I am supposed to be your guardian and that I loved you. That you had crossed the border and I needed to find you. To keep you safe. From what I did not know.”
Rigmor said, “It was so hard for me to keep riding. We hadn’t been told why the restriction about you entering Cyrodiil was important. We just had some vague warnings via Sethri and Baa’Ren-Dar’s letter. From the moment this peace we share faded, I felt like my life was no longer my own. I was riding away from you, and for what? I was terrified as I headed for Bruma! If you had called me back, The Divines could not have stopped me turning Ben around.”
“So it was lucky my face was buried in the snow then!”
We laughed and kissed once more, which could quickly have turned into an afternoon in bed. I glanced at Mara’ shrine then said in my head, “Yes, this can wait. Sort of.”
I stepped back from Rigmor again then said, “I have put your robes on the bed. Please put them on. I will wait for you outside on the back decking with a warm mead. I am sure you will find your way.”
Rigmor started undoing the buttons on her dress while staring into my eyes. I gulped then quickly made my way upstairs. I poured two pints of Black-Briar mead from my barrel then warmed them slightly with Magicka. I stepped outside and waited.
About ten minutes later, Rigmor came to join me. I rewarmed the meads and handed her one. She sat on a stool, and we continued our conversation.
Rigmor asked, “What stopped you crossing the border?”
“I was a few steps away from crossing when I remembered your laughter. Then all my other memories came flooding back like I was reading my journal a page a second. All in order, along with associated emotions. I was in danger of going blank again when I got to the memory of you crossing the border. I might have already stood there and repeated that cycle a few times, and I did not know. But at some stage, I realised I needed to prevent myself from going blank. I needed the only memories I had that did not involve you.”
“No… oh my beloved!”
“I replayed all the deaths of those I killed in rapid sequence one after the other. I stood and screamed. After that, I vaguely recall being at the top of the hill. It was dusk, and I looked at the Imperial City. My next memory was staring into a fire I had built at the rest stop. Then he appeared. He told me he was going to visit you as well.”
“The old man who told me about the need for secrecy and why you shouldn’t cross into Cyrodiil?”
“Yes. How did he come to you?”
“He brought me a pint at my favourite inn, the Tap&Tack in Bruma. I felt comfortable with him and did not think it weird he started talking mumbo jumbo and gobblygook to me while drunks and revellers surrounded us.”
“Do you know who that was?”
“No, but I remember Lydia telling me about some old man who had sent her to help you bring me home from Dawnstar. I wondered if it was the same person.”
“Not a person but a god. That old man is an avatar of Talos, and he has been helping us from the day I awakened. I remember seeing him across the lake from Rose’s camp. Just staring at me.”
“That had better not be a joke!”
“No, Rigmor. I told you a couple of times I recognised the face on the Talos statues.”
“But he did not look like the statues!”
“No, but I knew him, and I loved him dearly. He is the one that spoke to me when I was dying. I think the statues depict him as a young warrior.”
Rigmor thought about it, took a large swig of her mead then asked, “Will he continue to help us?”
“I think he may.”
“Lady Mara gave us the rings.”
“Dinya, the one Sethri lied about knocking boots with, told me all of The Divines are now behind these meetings.”
“Did she tell you about our important friend?”
“The one who arranged for you to be away from court for a few days? No, but she hinted at some powerful mortal.”
“Titus Mede II is that powerful mortal. He knows it all but assures me nobody else does. His religious advisors from several of the major temples sat down and explained to him what is at stake. He also knows about the Greybeards naming you Ysmir.”
“I am not surprised. So how does it work? How does he get you away from Bruma?”
“There are countless balls and other celebrations at the Imperial Palace. I have a room there in the guest wing. A word from Lady Mara in his sleep and he sends an invitation.”
“The people we meet doing Lady Mara’s tasks might know we are coming as she is known to leave messages inside dreams.”
“Yes, I was told that. But she still needs mortal agents to get things done. As you explained to me, the gods do not have much power on Nirn.”
“Do you need to at least make an appearance at these events you are invited to?”
“Many last for days, and it is not unknown to arrive early and leave late. I need to attend at least one of the major parties or hunting trips or tourneys when there. When I do, I will talk to the gossips. I will wear beautiful clothes at one event and then a fashion disaster at another. They will not be able to stop talking about me.”
“What about politics?”
“Let’s not talk about that. Sufficient to say, I have to learn quickly. We have made it known I am not interested in any suitors at the moment. That reduces some of the stress.”
“Yes, let us not talk about that.”
‘You have nothing to fear. Nobody could ever take me from you.”
“I know that. I just don’t think some of those nobles will give up pursuing the hand of a Countess very easily.”
“Speaking of nobility, The Emperor told me you are also Thane of Riften.”
“Yes, I will tell you the story as we walk. But it is better if I do it chronologically.”
Rigmor downed the last of her mead then we headed out of Riften. As we walked to Ivarstead, we had periods of silence and quick bursts of conversation. Just like all the other times that we have travelled together.
I said to Rigmor, “Talos also sent Lydia and Meeko to join me at the border. I was so glad to see them.”
“Where are they?”
“Meeko is guarding my new estate. Lydia is recovering from Sovngarde.”
“She went with you to fight Alduin?”
“Chronological order or it will get too confusing.”
“The Emperor mentioned the new estate as well.”
“It is huge and is called Silverpeak Lodge.”
“So that is three houses you own now.”
“Just before I crossed the border, the Greybeards called your name once more.”
“That is where I headed with Meeko and Lydia. The leader of the Greybeards, a dragon, called Paarthurnax, told Arngeir to warn me Alduin was approaching full strength. Remember when we walked the seven thousand steps and read the Emblems? One of them told us how they defeated Alduin.”
“Yes. One of them said they ‘Shouted’ Alduin out of this world.”
“The Greybeards did not know the Shout so I decided I would see if Delphine knew of any scholars or other Blades who could help.”
“First, we stopped at Silverpeak. Not only did I want to see the place, Lydia told me somebody wanted to travel with us. Her name is Celestine, and she is a young Master of Restoration. Her family are rich merchants from Daggerfall. She has excellent skills in all the schools of Magicka and wants to use them for the betterment of others.”
“She could be sitting at home counting money, but instead she is travelling with you fighting dragons and other nasties?”
“That is right. She is a devout follower of The Nine, and I was happy to welcome her aboard.”
“What happened to your hair?”
“I did not want to be recognised as the Guardian General. So, I have several sets of new armour, and I cut my hair.”
“And are growing a beard.”
“Yes. Are you keeping your hair short?”
“You saw how well the wig fitted. I have a few to disguise myself easier when coming to see you. The short hair helps make the wigs look more natural.”
“I will arrange a few sets of armour and weapons for you as well. We can’t rely on every trip being without conflict. The whole idea is to make it seem the Dragonborn has many women admirers.”
“Many lovers would be more fun.”
“Now that sounds like a plan!”
We passed some Thalmor, and Rigmor asked, “What are those dumb looking things?”
“Not those dumb looking things. I meant the pink ones.”
“Have you had trouble with the Thalmor since we defeated the New Order?”
“Chronological order, remember?”
“So, the answer is yes. Oh look, a Not Pink Flamingo!”
I laughed and once again thanked The Divines for letting Rigmor back into my life.
Rigmor prompted, “So you checked out Silverpeak and met Christine. Did you then go and visit Bitchface?”
“Yes, and her attitude had changed. Delphine was very co-operative and told me how she had plotted the resurrections done by Alduin. She predicted the next one would be from the burial mound near Kynesgrove.”
“We passed that one, near Yngol’s Camp.”
“That is the one. For some reason Delphine doesn’t ride so she jogged there while we rode our horses. Remember those two towers on either side of the river and the bridge between?”
“Dozens of them. Celestine proved to be more than capable in a battle with both her silver dagger and her spells. I tried a new Shout I had learnt. It sucked the bandits high up and through a hole to The Void. It was not pleasant for them and one of many Shouts I will hesitate to use in the future.”
“Did Delphine help fight?”
“She got to the tail end of it. I think when she saw the carnage, she realised how hollow her threats towards me had been. Dozens of dead lay strewn about and we hadn’t even gotten out of breath.”
“Did you get to Kynesgrove before the dragon was resurrected?”
“We got there in time to watch Sahloknir being resurrected. Alduin hovered over the top of the burial mound and used the lifeforce he had absorbed in Sovngarde as well as a Shout to bring him back to life.”
“Did Alduin attack you?”
“No, he was still cautious. He observed the battle like he did at the watchtower. I deliberately did not use any Shouts that would have let Alduin know how powerful my Thu’um was. After we defeated Sahloknir, Alduin flew away.”
A noblewoman and her mage guard passed us going the other way.
Rigmor stared at them then declared, “Yep, next time we have to trek across Skyrim, I am going to be the stuck up noble, and you will be my guard.”
“You could ride my Unicorn!”
“Are you being a pervert again?”
“No, although I would have to do whatever milady ordered.”
“Yes, that has possibilities…”
“So, who is the pervert?
“Batman, explain about this Unicorn!”
“Yes, milady. That is what Hashire is. I recently discovered he has many disguises.”
“Next you are going to tell me Meeko is a dragon.”
“Well, he certainly isn’t a dog.”
“Speaking of dogs, did Delphine know anything about the Shout the Tongues used or know somebody who did?”
“I didn’t prompt her that I was looking for a Shout. I just told her any dragon scholars she knew of might be able to help. We decided that other Blades might know more about the ancient Tongues. Delphine did not know of where any other Blade was hiding, but we both thought the Thalmor might.”
“You visited their embassy, didn’t you? One of my first meetings with the Emperor was interrupted by a very angry Dominion Ambassador. He barged into the throne room and demanded the Emperor kill all of the Nord barbarians in Skyrim immediately.”
“What did he tell Mede?”
“He said a mob attacked and killed defenceless Dominion citizens then stole priceless artefacts. How brave Thalmor troops fought and died defending guests at a party from certain death at the hands of the unwashed mob.”
“I am not a mob, and the only ones I killed were not civilians and far from the party.”
“The Emperor already had a report from Jarl Elisif describing it from the guests’ perspective. He told the ambassador that no guests were in danger and to come back when he had the real story.”
“The real story is I killed over three dozen armed Thalmor. I had already discovered evidence of how they helped plan the civil war and how Ulfric was their puppet. They are planning a Second Great War and were deliberately making sure the civil war dragged on. They helped Ulfric escape Helgen! One of the people inside the Embassy was a Bosmer whose entire family had been killed in one of the Thalmor cullings. I decided the more Thalmor I killed there and then, the less we will have to kill later.”
“The Emperor needs to know this!”
“Mede would know that a second war is almost inevitable. I am happy to hand you the evidence about Ulfric next time you visit, but I intend to make it public knowledge first.”
“Would you have killed them if I was with you?”
“Probably not, but my Dovah half is much stronger when you are not with me. I was their judge, jury and executioner, and I have no regrets.”
“Did you find information on any other Blades?”
“Yes, there was one hiding in Riften. We are almost at Ivarstead so I will tell you about that on the walk back.”
I asked a local where I might find Fastred. I was pointed to a young woman attending to some cabbages.
She turned as we approached, and our robes announced who we were.
- Fastred: Are you the ones sent by Lady Mara?
- Wulf: Did she tell you to expect us?
- Fastred: I prayed to Mara, and she spoke to me in a dream. She said some acolytes of The Nine would appear to help me. Are you those acolytes?
- Rigmor: Yes. Now can you please explain what the problem is?
- Fastred: My parents are impossible. Bassianus wants to marry me, and I think I love him. But he wants to move to Riften afterwards, and my father won’t allow it. He only cares about this stupid town, but Bassianus makes me happier than anyone ever has. My mother’s not any help, either.
- Wulf: You said that you think you love him. It is too late to realise you do not after you have made the vows.
- Rigmor: You are of age and can make up your own mind. But the advice of your parents needs to be listened to and considered.
- Wulf: The decision is yours, but we will talk to your parents. Then we can give advice based on more information.
- Fastred: I don’t want to choose! They are both so amazing.
- Rigmor: You have more than one suitor?
- Fastred: Oh, yes. I was very keen on Klimmek, but then he seemed to have lost interest. I don’t know why.
- Wulf: Klimmek the fisherman?
- Fastred: Yes.
- Wulf: Are your parents at home?
- Fastred: Mother will be. Father will be enjoying a mead or two at the inn.
- Wulf: And their names?
- Fastred: Boti and Jofthor.
- Rigmor: We will help you figure it out. Lady Mara’s blessing upon you.
Fastred wandered off to another part of the farm.
Rigmor pondered, “I wonder if her father has anything against Bassianus or if he is just worried about his daughter moving away.”
“He wouldn’t be the first parent to dread their child leaving home.”
“We were not the best at telling each other our feelings. Perhaps poor Klimmek is just shy or lacks confidence?”
“Let us speak to Fastred’s mother and go from there.”
I knocked on the door to the farmhouse. Fastred’s mother said, “Come in.”
Boti was busy stirring some stew and glanced over at us.
She said, “You must be pilgrims on the way up to High Hrothgar. There is no other reason to pass through here.”
Rigmor replied, “We are here on behalf of Lady Mara and your daughter. Can we please speak to you?”
Boti stopped the stirring then faced us.
- Boti: Oh my. Probably something about the men. We all wish we had her problems.
- Rigmor: What is your opinion of the two?
- Boti: Now, don’t tell my husband, but I don’t have any problem with Bassianus. Even if it means leaving Ivarstead, I want Fastred to be happy. If they just snuck out of town together, I could manage my husband.
- Wulf: You suggest they elope? Would that not break Jofthor’s heart to miss out on his daughter’s wedding?
- Boti: Well, yes, I suppose it would break both our hearts.
- Rigmor: Would Bassianus elope if he knew he had your approval?
- Boti: If they snuck out of town together, I could manage my husband. Bassianus is still so terrified of Jofthor. If he knew that I’d keep my husband from hunting the poor boy down, he’d take Fastred to Riften without a second thought.
- Wulf: Don’t you think that if Bassianus’ love is true, he will risk your husband’s wrath without your intervention?
- Rigmor: Threats from your husband are just that. Let us say they eloped, had their wedding and consummated the marriage Would Jofthor then risk jail by beating up his son in law or even making his daughter a widower?
- Fastred: No. Jofthor would be disappointed but would not hurt the boy.
- Wulf: Bassianus lacks the courage to stand up to your husband, and he can’t see the truth that it is all bluster from Jofthor. He would need to hide behind your skirts before eloping.
- Rigmor: He should, if he genuinely loves Boti, be willing to stand up to your husband and ask for her hand in marriage. Only then should he consider eloping.
- Wulf: It may even be that such a display of courage is what Jofthor is waiting for and may very well bless the union if such courage is displayed.
- Rigmor: What about Klimmek?
- Boti: He is a fine man but would condemn Fastred to life in this dead town.
- Wulf: Your decision on a suitable son in law is based on bias against Ivarstead?
- Boti: Well, partly, I suppose.
- Wulf: Boti said a bear recently attacked her and that Klimmek came running with just his boning knife in his hand.
- Rigmor: She did?
- Wulf: Yes, she did.
- Boti: Oh, yes. Some of the guards were having a terrible time then a stranger came running faster than my eyes could follow, jumped the fence and killed the bear before Klimmek could get there.
- Wulf: But Klimmek was willing to risk having his head ripped off by a full-sized bear to protect your daughter.
- Boti: Yes, he was.
- Wulf: Thank you for your time Boti. I am sure Fastred will make a wise and educated choice.
We left the house and headed for Vilemyr Inn.
Before entering Rigmor asked, “That was you who killed the bear, wasn’t it?”
“Yes. Not long after we beat Alduin for the first time.”
“In chronological order, my beloved.”
“I am going to shove that chronological order up your backside in a minute.”
We entered Vilemyr Inn then I asked the barkeep which patron was Jofthor, she pointed and said, “That grumpy one leaning against the post.”
We walked up to Jofthor and his scowl left no question of his mood.
- Wulf: Excuse us, can we please have a quick word with you?
- Jofthor: I am not guaranteed to be good company. My daughter’s driving me crazy, so forgive me if I’m a bit on edge.
- Rigmor: Fastred asked us to talk to you.
- Jofthor: I’m sure I know what this is about. She thinks she is in love with Bassianus and wants to leave town. With him.
- Rigmor: You have reservations?
- Jofthor: Let me tell you how I see it. Until a few months ago, the girl was head over heels for Klimmek. She wouldn’t stop talking about him. Now if I thought she was really in love with Bassianus, that would be one thing. But she’s a child. It will pass.
- Wulf: With all due respect, Fastred is now a woman, not a child.
- Jofthor: That is easy to say if you are not a father. If you ever settle down to have children, think twice before you do it.
- Rigmor: Apart from your concern that Fastred does not love Bassianus, what is your objection to him?
- Jofthor: Look around here. There’s not much left. Ivarstead used to be a good-sized town, but folks have been moving to Riften for a while now. If all the young people leave, what happens to Ivarstead?
- Wulf: There will always be people who prefer the quiet of Ivarstead over the noise and crime of Riften. But the fate of Ivarstead should have no bearing on who you approve of your daughter marrying!
- Rigmor: You think that Fastred would get over Bassianus?
- Jofthor: You know how children are. Her fancies change with the moon. And like always, the boy lacks any kind of spine. He’ll need some convincing. A little push and this would all be simpler.
- Rigmor: You have not threatened Bassianus?
- Jofthor: No. Fastred would not forgive me if I scared him away.
- Rigmor: Do you know where we can find Bassianus?
- Jofthor: He is about six feet away, the one with the long brown hair.
- Wulf: Do you like Klimmek?
- Jofthor: I like both of them. They live in the same house. People often hear them arguing, and I wonder how much of that has to do with my daughter?
- Wulf: Lady Mara herself sent us here. She does not regard your daughter as a child. If she thinks that Fastred is a grown woman, perhaps you need to re-evaluate your opinion.
We walked over to Bassianus,
- Bassianus: Is it absolutely necessary for you to bother me right now?
- Wulf: That is a rather rude greeting for two acolytes of The Nine. Maybe you follow a Dark Lord instead?
- Bassianus: No, no… sorry for my abruptness.
- Rigmor: We are here on behalf of Lady Mara to talk to you about Fastred.
- Bassianus: Oh, my love. I long to take Fastrid away from all of this.
- Wulf: All of what? Her family and friends? A quiet, peaceful town that seems untouched by the recent wars? If you had taken her to Riften and the civil war continued, it would have been a place of death and destruction as the Imperial Army laid siege. What benefit would be there for Fastred in Riften?
- Bassianus: She would not have to work on a farm. I could provide for her!
- Wulf: You are a fisherman like Klimmek?
- Bassianus: All of my life.
- Wulf: Bolli controls the fishing around Riften. Do you know him? Have you spoken to him about working in Riften as a fisherman?
- Bassianus: Ah… no. Should I?
- Rigmor: Blessings of The Nine, Bassianus.
We walked a fair distance from Bassianus and Jofthor before speaking.
Rigmor said, “If Fastred is a child, so is he. I don’t think he understands all that is involved in a move to Riften.”
“He might learn quickly, but their start in Riften might be a bit difficult.”
“No wonder poor Fastred is confused. But the most important thing is she ‘thinks’ she loves Bassianus while her father said she used to be enthusiastic about Klimmek.”
“Well, he should not be hard to find. Let’s go talk to him.”
Klimmek was salting some fish when we approached.
- Wulf: Klimmek! How have you been?
- Klimmek: Well, look at you two. I never thought you were the religious types.
- Wulf: Very much so.
- Rigmor: How has the fishing been?
- Klimmek: Excellent even if Bassianus thinks otherwise.
- Wulf: But you have failed to reel in the most important catch, haven’t you?
- Rigmor: We heard you lost Fastred.
- Klimmek: Oh, Fastred. I’m not sure what happened. One moment she is smiling at me, the next I can’t even meet her eyes. I’ll bet Bassianus would know what is going on. He understands women.
- Wulf: I think we know what happened. You didn’t tell Fastred how you felt. You were scared that she might not feel the same.
- Rigmor: You need to be assertive!
- Klimmek: I should be what?
- Rigmor: You need to be bold!
- Wulf: It is easy. Tell Fastred, ‘I love you’.
- Klimmek: Wait… you mean I should just… tell her? Tell her how I feel?
- Wulf: Poor Fastred is so confused. You owe it to her and yourself to tell her how you feel.
- Rigmor: What have you got to lose?
- Klimmek: Ysmir’s beard, you’re right! No fish was ever caught by staying away from the shore. I’m off to see Fastred!
Klimmek ran to see Fastred. Rigmor and I followed. We had to make sure the issue was resolved before leaving Ivarstead.
He ran up to Fastred and gently touched her on the shoulder. She turned, and they stood facing each other.
- Klimmek: Fastred, I have something to say to you.
- Fastred: Klimmek… what is it?
- Klimmek: I don’t want you to leave Ivarstead.
- Fastred: Why not?
- Klimmek: Because… I would miss you.
- Rigmor: Klimmek… say the three words!
- Klimmek: Um… Fastred… ah… I love you!
- Fastred: But I thought you only cared about your fishing!
- Klimmek: What good are fish if you have to eat them alone?
- Fastred: Oh, Klimmek…
What followed was a reasonably good kiss. Rigmor and I made a hasty retreat knowing our task was complete.
We stopped on our way out of Ivarstead to talk about what we had just done.
Rigmor said, “The way we worked together is amazing! We started each conversation with no plan and just knew what to say.”
“It is like when we fight next to each other. We just know what the other is going to do.”
“Except we are not killing. We are helping people, and it feels so good, so right.”
“Can you get that feeling being Countess?”
“I have to deal with the pettiest of disputes to major decisions that can affect my many citizens. I think I will get great satisfaction from helping my people.”
I smiled then kissed her.
I said, “Yes, Countess, they are your people, and soon they will realise how lucky they are.”
“I am sorry if I seem reticent to talk too much about what is happening. It will be a while before everything is calmed down and I can start being the Countess. You were right at the border. I am going to have to prove myself and assert my authority. But please, can we not talk about all that for now.”
“I wonder if Klimmek has shown Fastred his rod yet?”
“Well, I don’t call it wedding tackle for nothing.”
“Maybe Fastred should have chosen by the size of the bait?”
“Now my weird perverted acolyte, you were telling me about a Blade hiding in Riften?”
I continued the tale of Alduin as we walked back to Riften.
I said to Rigmor, “We arrived in Riften, and I let the ladies do some shopping. I sat down to wait for them and struck up a conversation with a little girl. She made up a story about being lost and then pickpocketed me. Her name is Olette, and her father is a sailor who has bastards in every port. Her mother was a Skooma addict who Olette had found dead the day before. I could not leave her to the mercy of the streets, so I offered her a place to live. She is a little bit older than Sorella and very streetwise. She stole here and there but mainly made coin by exchanging information. A dangerous thing for anybody to do.”
“Does she live at Silverpeak?”
“Yes, along with Wujeeta, my Argonian housekeeper and two Khajiit guards. Wujeeta was a Skooma addict who I also rescued from Riften. The two Khajiit guards needed somewhere to hide from the Thalmor. They were being hunted for helping me kill a bunch of New Order Altmer and Imperial traitors in Falkreath.”
“I remember that in your journal. That is where you wiped out information relating to Angi.”
“And even though they only killed New Order, the Thalmor decided they were criminals?”
“Harming any Altmer for any reason is taboo. With the Thalmor hunting them they presented a danger to their caravan so came to me for help.”
“What did you do? You couldn’t look for this Blade with a young girl and an Argonian Skooma addict with you.”
“I gave Wujeeta some money, keys and instructions so she could hire a carriage to Whiterun and then walk to Silverpeak. I placed Olette with Dinya, and that is when I suggested I might like to do this acolyte work as payment for all Mara’s Temple had done for Baa’Ren-Dar and us.”
“Then you were free to find this Blade?”
“Not quite. Remember Ri’saad?”
“The owner of the some of the caravans?”
“That is him. He told me that both he and Baa’Ren-Dar had heard of a heroic Khajiit who was paying to stay in Riften jail! Ri’saad suggested I might want to talk to this mysterious Khajiit as he might be a good companion to have on the road.”
“So why would he pay to stay in jail?”
“I will tell you his story later. His name is Inigo. He is a remarkable individual, and I consider him a close friend. He has also been severely affected by Skooma. I made up my mind we would find this Blade and then wipe out Riften’s Skooma trade.”
Rigmor spotted some fireflies and ran to them.
She said, “We used to have competitions to see who could catch the most fireflies in a jar. Children ran all over the place, laughing and chasing them. They were not easy to trap, and I never won. At the end of the counting, we would stand in a circle. Then we all opened our jars at once. Hundreds of fireflies would buzz around our heads flashing with excitement at their restored freedom.”
“That is a beautiful story, and thank you.”
“For being you.”
Rigmor gave me a wonderful smile. We continued our walk and talk.
“We killed the biggest dealer in Riften and discovered where the Skooma was being made. But we had to find the Blade before the Thalmor did so went looking for him first. He was hiding in what they call the Ratway. It is supposed to be full of criminals, but most had fled because the Thalmor were in there searching for the Blade. We killed the criminals who attacked us and any Thalmor we encountered while rescuing the Blade. I knew from the information I found at the embassy that he was a scholar. Supposedly the Blades foremost expert on dragons. In reality, he is a doddering old fool in his seventies who proved to be useless in the end.”
“Did he accompany you to wipe out the Skooma makers?”
“No, we deposited him at Mara’s Temple as well. As we left the temple, a Khajiit assassin was waiting for me. Meeko spotted her and attacked before I knew she was there. Inigo is an excellent marksman and shot her in the head from quite a distance. I threw her body into the canal.”
“Who hired her?”
“The Thalmor Ambassador to Skyrim.”
“Are you sure?”
“I have the assassination order on embassy letterhead. Yes, I am sure.”
“Was this in retaliation for your embassy incursion?”
“Yes. Delphine had organised a false invitation to get me into a party at the embassy. It seems the Thalmor figured that out and who I was. They had no idea I was the Dragonborn when they hired the assassin.”
“What are you going to do about it?”
“I might give the ambassador a visit and show how easily I could dispose of her if she misbehaves. That will either scare her into leaving me be or make her more determined. It will be interesting to see which way it goes.”
“And the Skooma factory?”
“Destroyed and a bunch of bandits killed.”
We came across a patrol of Stormcloaks crossing a bridge.
Rigmor asked, “Why do they keep fighting?”
“I suppose some refuse to believe that Ulfric was a Thalmor puppet. They no longer have a leader, and they have no chance of achieving anything but their death. Jarl Laila Law-Giver was a supporter of Ulfric which made these lands happy hunting grounds for Stormcloaks. She is now under house arrest, has lost her Hold and title, and these Stormcloaks will likely lose their lives. All because a kingslayer convinced them he was fighting for them.”
“Did she make you Thane?”
“Yes, as a reward for stopping the Skooma and for being the Guardian General. Her pet Stormcloak general told her who I was.”
“How are they going to hide the fact that my guardian, and the Guardian General, is the Dragonborn?”
“There are many things you would think to be well documented. For instance, the family trees of Emperors are mostly unknown. Any paperwork mentioning the connection will be hunted down and made to ‘vanish’ by loyal servants of The Divines.”
“You used your Thu’um during the Battle for Whiterun. All the soldiers that day knew who you were. You announced it to the New Order troops.”
“But the official documentation of the battle will neglect to mention that fact. If asked if they saw me using Shouts, every single soldier could honestly say they didn’t. All I did was use a booming voice to scare the enemy troops with wild claims about being Dragonborn.”
We entered through the Riften South Gate then headed straight for Mara’s Temple.
Even though it was late, we knew Dinya would be waiting for us. When we entered the temple, she was busy cleaning a statue of Mara.
She saw us approaching and waited patiently for our report.
- Rigmor: We helped the young lovers in Ivarstead. Well, one young and one not so young.
- Dinya: How wonderful. Like the sea, their love roils and swells, but brings life and nourishment to all.
- Wulf: Yeah, I think parts of Klimmek were swelling, and there is probably some roiling going on by now.
- Rigmor: Wulf!
- Wulf: What?
- Rigmor: Ignore this brute. Is there any more we can do for Lady Mara?
- Dinya: I see you are eager to carry the light. As you venture, Mara fills my mind with ever more visions of love in peril. Embers lie nestled in stone, needing only fuel to bloom a flame that will warm all around them. Go to Markarth. There you’ll find Calcelmo, wise, acid and reclusive. Help him to emerge and state his intentions. This is the prayer heard by the goddess and relayed to her servants.
- Wulf: Markarth it is. We should be able to do that one in a day as well.
We headed to Honeyside, and I asked Rigmor, “Food or bath first?”
Rigmor was waiting for me in the spa, and when I walked in, she stared at specific parts of me then said, “Well, somebody has missed me!”
We never did have a supper that night.
I know not what time I fell asleep.
I know it was in the arms of my Rigmor as it should always be.