Skyrim quests: The Forsworn Conspiracy, No One Escaped Cidhna Mine.
We were a bit more sedate on the ride down Silverpeak’s path this time. The snowstorm abated by the time we reached the road.
Some bandits were attacking pilgrims.
We killed them all then Celestine healed a guard who had been stabbed by a bandit.
The rest of our ride to Whiterun was uneventful.
Kharjo and Iona volunteered to lead the horses while the rest of us piled into a carriage. I have noticed they are getting rather chatty with each other. Iona is from a very traditional, and therefore racist, Nord family. If they do get romantically involved, I would be both amazed and delighted.
The talk amongst my companions was lively on the trip to Markarth.
Inigo was even less impressed with the ancient city than Rigmor and exclaimed, “What a dull place!”
I commented, “Yes, it is very dull unless you dislike heights. Then it is terrifying.”
We entered Markarth and headed for Understone Keep.
As we walked towards the throne room, a wall leaning Nord said, “You there. Are you another Imperial puppet? Answer me!”
“Look at what I am wearing. The big red diamond in the middle should give you a clue.”
“Your Empire is destroying everything Skyrim stands for. Honour. Pride. Mighty Talos. If you are meeting Jarl Igmund tell him that the Silver-Blood family won’t tolerate his cowardice for much longer.”
“You are the first Silver-Blood I have met. Interestingly, you think the Jarl would care what you thought. Why would he?”
“We own Cidhna Mine. It is the best prison in Skyrim and the source of half the wealth in this city. We keep The Reach safe. We flood Markarth with wealth, but does the Jarl listen to us when we want a say? No! He forgets that Ulfric Stormcloak saved this city from the Forsworn. Ulfric was a hero, not a damn criminal.”
“Oh, please tell me about Ulfric’s heroic rescue of Markarth.”
“He used the Thu’um and shouted those Forsworn down from the walls. Then he led a band of Nord warriors in to take the city. Just like Talos himself at the Battle of Old Hroldan, they were reclaiming The Reach from those heaven natives. That’s a true Nord hero. A legend. So great that The Divines themselves lifted his soul into the heavens and made him a god. He founded The Empire, and now they’ve turned their backs on him ao as to appease the Elves. Elves! Do the Elves rule Skyrim, or do the Nords?”
“You are an ignorant bastard, aren’t you? The Reach is not safe! The number of bandits and Forsworn that we have had to kill proves that to be a lie. The number of beggars on the streets of Markarth makes your claim about wealth a lie as well. And it is also your Empire since Ulfric was put down like the traitorous dog he was.”
“How dare you…”
I used the Thu’um to whisper, “SHUT UP AND LISTEN!”
He looked into my eyes and knew who he faced.
“Yes, I am the Dragonborn. I am also Champion of The Divines. Do you think what I revealed about Ulfric before slaughtering him in a duel was a lie? Answer me!”
“But he saved Markarth! You never said anything about that!”
“Rescuing Markarth was part of his plan for a civil war. He did not care about the people of this city or the worship of Talos. He was not wearing an Amulet of Talos when I killed him. Many of the Legionnaires and Stormcloaks who died in that senseless war did wear one! He slaughtered far more citizens of Markarth than the Forsworn did! It is well documented on how innocent elderly, children and women were murdered because they refused to take up arms against the Forsworn. He was responsible for far more deaths of Talos worshippers than the Thalmor.”
“You, the so-called Champion of The Divines, think it is OK to ban Talos!”
“I have seen the reports in the news-sheets, and I assume you have as well. They tell everybody what Talos told me. The head priest in Windhelm’s Temple of Talos has verified what I said. Talos does not want people dying over the ban! He has never asked for people to die over it! There is no reason for people to die over it! Ulfric was as much a blasphemer as the Thalmor and hijacked Talos for his ambitions, not for any concern about worship or religious freedom!”
Silence. The Silver-Blood just stared into my eyes.
“What you said about your Jarl was very close to a threat. Notice the markings on this armour. I am also a Legion General. It is my duty to kill any who attempt to usurp the rightful leaders of this land. Will I have to kill you?”
“No, it is just anger talking. I promise.”
As I walked away, I heard a sharp intake of breath from the Silver-Blood. I would not have cut him down, but it does no harm for him to think otherwise.
Jarl Igmund was in a heated discussion with his advisors,
- Raerek: Igmund, we need to talk about the Silver-Blood family.
- Igmund: What about them, Raerek? They seem loyal enough.
- Raerek: Loyal? Thongvor supported Ulfric and his Stormcloaks! We should imprison the entire family as a precaution.
- Faleen: I second that, Igmund. Who knows what that family will do for power? They could be working with the Forsworn, for all we know.
- Igmund: Enough! We can’t imprison the very people that own the jail we would be throwing them into. The Silver-Blood family are to be left alone, am I clear?
- Faleen: Yes, my Jarl.
- Raerek: Yes, my Jarl.
I stood before the Jarl and joined in the conversation,
- Wulf: The Silver-Blood family need to be watched closely, but jailing without conviction is against Imperial law.
- Igmund: And who are you to dare approach me so?
- Wulf: I am General Valdr, also known as The Dragonborn.
- Igmund: Dragonborn or not, there are protocols, and you should have asked for an audience!
- Wulf: If I had not heard that idiotic comment about the Silver-Blood family being loyal I might have!
- Igmund: What do you mean?
- Wulf: I was contacted by two acolytes of The Divines who were here spreading Lady Mara’s word.
- Faleen: I met them. Charming people.
- Wulf: They mentioned an incident in the marketplace. One of the acolytes saved a woman called Margret from an assassination attempt.
- Igmund: My guards told me. Poor Margret. Witnesses report that the attacker was shouting some nonsense about being a Forsworn. I want to make things clear. Markarth has its troubles, but there are no Forsworn in this city. They’re only a threat in the hills and along the roads, where they live. Everywhere else, we are in control.
- Wulf: If you were in control, Emperor Titus Mede II would not deem it necessary to have spies in Markarth. One of them targeted by an assassin who everybody knows was Forsworn except for you. Did the guards even investigate who the assassin was? Have they come up with a reason why he would claim to be Forsworn and try and kill a visitor from Bruma?
- Igmund: You dare tell me my guards know of Forsworn in the city and that The Empire, who I have been very loyal to, is spying on me!
- Wulf: Why would the Forsworn worry about a spy in your city if they have nothing to hide in Markarth? If Margret is here to investigate your activities, I assume you have nothing to hide, Jarl Igmund?
- Raerek: General Valdr has a point, my Jarl. A thousand spies would find nothing but a loyal man in you.
- Igmund: And my guards?
- Wulf: They are covering up the existence of Forsworn in Markarth. That would take a lot of coins for bribes, and there is only one family who could pay such sums.
- Faleen: The Silver Blood traitors!
- Wulf: I just had a conversation with one, but I don’t know his name. He was standing near the entrance.
- Faleen: Thongvor.
- Wulf: Thongvor implied that you, Jarl Igmund, should be replaced. He said that to me, a stranger he met seconds before. If you think that family is loyal to you, then I suggest you remove your head from your arse and take a look around!
- Igmund: How dare you!
- Wulf: Why do people ask that? I dare to tell the truth! You inherited your position; you have not earned it. I owe you no respect, so don’t expect any. Earn it if you want it! Do you like that nice comfortable throne? What if the spies do find something illegal in Markarth? You can be the one who gave me the authority to investigate or the one who tries to convince the Emperor he knew nothing of unlawful activities uncovered.
- Raerek: Even if you convinced The Emperor of your innocence, you would be someone who did not know what was happening in his city. You would be regarded as a poor leader of his people.
- Igmund: I suppose you will snoop with my permission or not?
- Wulf: The Empire already has people doing that. I could have done this without your knowledge, but after the civil war, Skyrim needs strong leaders. Make it look like my investigation was your idea.
- Raerek: He should be given an official capacity.
- Igmund: Are you suggesting I make him Thane?
- Raerek: Can you think of a better person to have as our Thane? The other Holds will be envious!
Inigo started to have a coughing fit behind me. That is what happens when you try and suppress a good guffaw.
- Igmund: We can’t afford to give him Vlindrel Hall, and there is no other house currently available!
- Raerek: The laws of Skyrim state that you cannot be Thane unless you own property in the city.
- Wulf: How much for the house? And do not dare try and make a massive profit from me. Just remember, you would be dead if I hadn’t defeated Alduin!
Raerek quickly whispered to Igmund. He looked sour but agreed with his advisor. Raerek told me the price, and I signed the ownership papers. I paid for Vlindrel Hall with the money Mede had given General Valdr although there was more than enough in the Wulf account.
- Igmund: Now that is settled, I name you Thane of Markarth. I grant you a personal Housecarl, Argis the Bulwark, to watch over your home. I also present you with ‘The Hammer of Markarth’ to serve as your symbol of rank.
- Wulf: I am honoured to be named Thane of Markarth, my Jarl. Is there anything I can do for you?
- Igmund: I have heard rumours of Forsworn in my city! I need you to investigate for me.
- Wulf: Yes, my Jarl. I will start my investigation immediately.
We left Understone Keep and made our way to my new house.
Vlindrel Hall is large but of the same bland architecture that makes up the rest of Markarth.
I said to Argis, “My other Housecarls live with me at Silverpeak Lodge. Do you have a horse?”
“Yes, my Thane”
“Stay here with the others for now. I will give you instructions when I return.”
“As you wish, my Thane.”
I told my companions, “I am doing the investigation solo. I have a feeling that the Silver-Blood family are up to something, and I do not want to scare them away with a show of force. I want them to think they are dealing with a single, arrogant Empire agent. I will let their arrogance make them careless.”
Lydia replied, “Only a fool would regard you as no more a threat than any other.”
“In my experience, wealthy nobles are such fools. I will also get them very angry, and that always works.”
“So, we are to remain in here till you return?”
“Nobody is to leave this house, no matter what you think is happening to me!”
All of them agreed, so I left Vlindrel Hall to start my ‘investigation’. First stop was the Temple of Talos.
Several cities in Skyrim have Temples and statues dedicated to Talos. For some reason, their removal and destruction weren’t demanded in the White-Gold Concordat.
I recognised Eltrys but pretended I didn’t. I prayed in front of the shrine then walked over to him.
I held out the letter he had handed to Rigmor and asked, “Excuse me, do you know who wrote this note? It was given to me by an acolyte of The Divines who also told an interesting story about Forsworn assassins in Markarth.”
“I am sorry if I sound paranoid, but why would I trust you?”
“I am the man who killed Ulfric Stormcloak and defeated Alduin.”
“You are The Dragonborn?”
“Yes, I am General Valdr and am investigating what happened on behalf of the Jarl. What is your name?”
“Please Eltrys, tell me what you know.”
“I’m sorry to drag you into Markarth’s problems, but after that attack in the market, I’m running out of time.”
“Do not be nervous. We are simply looking for answers.”
“You want answers? Well, so do I as does everyone in this city. A man goes crazy in the market. Everyone knows he’s a Forsworn agent yet the Guards do nothing. Nothing but clean up the mess.”
“And he warned the young acolytes not to ask too many questions. That is why they came to me. One of them just killed an assassin, and the guards didn’t even question them about it.”
“This had been going on for years. And all I have been able to find is murder and blood. I need help.”
“And that is why I am here! I believe the assassin’s name was Weylin?”
“Yes, and the woman he attacked is a visitor from Cyrodiil. Margret is her name.”
“Where will I find Margret?”
“Visitors to the city usually stay at the Silver-Blood Inn.”
“And Weylin was a citizen of Markarth?”
“He was one of the smelter workers. I used to have a job down there myself, casting silver ingots. I never knew much about Weylin, except he lives in the Warrens, like all the other workers.”
“The Silver-Blood family are worth a fortune, but their workers live in slums?”
“You sound surprised.”
“That is not what people in other holds tolerate. It seems the Silver-Blood family rely on cheap labour and convicts. From what another resident told me the convicts are not necessarily guilty of a crime.”
“No, and the Jarl seems to tolerate that.”
“Jarl Igmund is guilty of ignorance, but I am yet to uncover anything more sinister. Have you been doing your own investigations?”
“Yes, it started when I was a boy. My father owned one of the mines. Rare for anyone who isn’t a Nord.”
“He was a Reachman?”
“Yes, and he was killed. The guards said it was just a madman that did it. Once again everybody knew otherwise and that the murderer was a member of the Forsworn. I have been trying to find out why he was murdered ever since. I have got nowhere so far, and then I got married. I have a child of my own on the way.”
“That complicates things!”
“I swore I was going to give up, for my child’s sake, but it’s like my father’s ghost is haunting me. Asking me, ‘Why?’”
“Do you feel safe in this Temple?”
“Even though I believe in the Old Gods, I doubt even Forsworn would murder within this holy place.”
“Where is your wife, and what is her name?”
“Her name is Edwinna. We live in The Warrens.”
“Do you think Edwinna is safe where she is?”
“Weylin lived across the way from us. The Warrens police themselves and most residents keep to themselves. That is why I knew so little about him. Edwinna should be safe there.”
“I will check on her. You stay in the temple.”
I left the temple and made my way to The Warrens.
I approached a Breton leaning against a wall.
He said, “The Warrens isn’t a place for your type. What do you want?”
“I am General Valdr, and you are?”
“My name is Garvey. Now, what do you want?”
“Tell me about The Warrens.”
“It’s where you go if you can’t afford a room anywhere else. About the time they opened the mines, someone got the idea to throw beds in here. Labourers. The sick. The lame. We’re all here.”
“Not a great example of following the Ten Commandments of The Nine is it?”
“That’s right. Welcome to Markarth, traveller. Thank The Divines you can choose to live somewhere else.”
“Did you know Weylin?”
“Yes. I know everyone who sleeps in the Warrens. Kind of the one who passes the keys around. I guess someone else will be taking his room now.”
“May I have the key to his room.”
“Sorry, but you don’t exactly belong here.”
“I am looking into the corruption of this city. Either you want something done about that and voluntarily give me the key, or I order you to as Thane of Markarth. I would trust me if I were you.”
“Trust is hard to come by here, but all right.”
Garvey handed me the key, then I asked, “Is Edwinna, Eltry’s wife, here?”
“No. She is a washerwoman when she can get the work. She was offered some this morning and left an hour or so ago. And before you ask, I do not know who she was doing the work for or where.”
“Which one was Weylin’s room?”
“Furthest one on the right.”
The Warren was dirty, smelly and full of misery. It made the Grey Quarters of Windhelm look like paradise. I entered Weylin’s room then picked a lock on his chest.
Inside was the following note,
You’ve been chosen to strike fear in the heart of the Nords. Go to the market tomorrow. You will know what to do.
I have no idea who ‘N’ is, but I am positive he will not like me snooping around.
When I left the Warrens, a Breton thug was waiting for me.
I was at least eighteen inches taller, in ebony armour and a trained warrior. He was in cheap leather armour and had probably never seen a battle in his life.
“You’ve been digging around where you don’t belong. It’s time you learned a lesson.”
I looked him up and down then laughed. It was not a fake laugh but a genuine, full-on belly laugh.
His face turned red then he started trying to punch me! I thought he would at least have used a weapon.
I dodged a couple of punches while saying to him, “Did they tell you I was The Dragonborn?”
His face registered shock but he still kept throwing punches and missing.
I killed Weylin when I used too much power in a spell. I hit the thug too hard, and he dropped dead. Oops!
I searched the corpse and found a note he wrote for a friend,
Got to deal with a certain nosy visitor in the city. Nepos the Nose wants him roughed up in the usual way, but I can grab a pint at the Silver-Blood Inn afterwards.
Should be easy.
So, ‘N’ on Weylin’s note is Nepos the Nose.
I made my way to the Silver-Blood Inn.
It was just as dull as the rest of the city.
I asked the barkeep if Margret was in residence. He pointed to her, and I thanked him before heading her way.
“Hello, I am General Valdr and have been asked to investigate the attack at the market.”
‘Oh, I thought they wouldn’t bother.”
“Why do you think Weylin attacked you?”
“I don’t know. I was just buying jewellery for my sister in Cyrodiil. I’ve never seen that man before.”
“And what are you doing in Markarth?”
“Just visiting. I had some business here. That’s all.”
Margret looked a bit shocked then said, “Was it that obvious? Damn, I must be losing my touch.”
“It was not too difficult to figure out. The Forsworn would not waste an asset like Weylin on a random visitor from Cyrodiil. If you are an agent of The Empire, Blackwell would have sent you. Maybe you have a liaison in Skyrim as well.”
“Yes, I am one of General Tullius’ assets. I was sent to investigate the Treasury House and the Silver-Blood family. They own Cidhna Mine, one of the toughest jails in Skyrim.”
“And who do you think was behind the attack?”
“Mark my words. Thonar Silver-Blood was behind that attack in the market. Somehow.”
“You think the Silver-Bloods can order Forsworn assassins to kill nosy Imperial agents?”
“Like I said, somehow.”
“Before coming here, were you told of any suspected links between the Silver-Blood family and the Forsworn?”
“No, not even a hint that might be an issue.”
“Do you have a tourist map of Markarth?”
Margret retrieved one from her pouch.
“Can you show me the location of The Treasury House?”
Margret pointed to a place on the map not too far from my new house.
“And do you know a Nepos?”
“Yes, he is one of the treasurers for the Silver-Bloods. His house is here…”
Margret pointed to a place very close to my new house.
“I suggest you leave immediately and either head to Tullius or back to Cyrodiil. Thanks for your help Margret and I am glad you survived the attack.”
I left the inn to find another moron waiting to threaten me. A Markarth City Guard this time.
“You. I’ve seen you snooping around. Asking questions.”
“As a General of the Legion and your Thane, I have every right to investigate attempted assassinations. I advise you to tell your colleagues that. I will find out what is behind both the attack and who is bribing you lot!”
“Back off! You don’t want to know what happens to troublemakers here.”
“I am curious. What do you think you can do to an Imperial General and your Thane?”
“This is your last warning. We keep the peace here. Stay out of our business.”
“This security of this city is my business. Do you think you have power? I could cut you down where you stand, and nobody would ask me why.”
I put a hand on my sword hilt and stepped towards the guard. He suddenly decided he had somewhere important to go.
Logically the guard and Dryston were sent by two different people. Nepos would not send a second warning until he had a report about his first. I decided to ask a Silver-Blood.
The Treasury House looks secure, which is to be expected if it contains a large quantity of silver.
I entered then approached the desk clerk.
She said, “The Treasury House is just for patrons of the Silver-Blood family. You don’t belong here.”
“Do I look like a beggar to you? Tell me, what kind of patrons do you have if I am not suitable?”
“For one, the landowners of The Reach. It goes without saying that they rely heavily on us for our silver and support. All the miners, farmers and labourers in the Reach get their daily wages through us. Nepos the Nose handles that part of our business. He has a way with the workers.”
“Who is in charge here?”
“You want Thonar Silver-Blood. He handles all the family business. If you are here to talk politics, though, you’d want his brother Thongvor. You might find him in Understone Keep.”
“I wish to see Thonar.”
“I’m afraid he’s asked not to be disturbed. He has important business.”
“Too important to speak to the Thane of this city?”
“Oh! No, I’m certain it isn’t. You may go right in.”
I barged into the back room. Thonar was writing in a journal which he quickly hid under a plate.
He turned to me then grumbled, “What are you doing here? I told them no visitors.”
“You also told them you were conducting important business. Instead, I find you enjoying some cheese and wine. Didn’t your mother ever tell you that lying is naughty?”
“What do you want?”
“What did Margret do that was worth her life?”
“The Imperial agent? That’s right. I knew. How many dogs is the Empire going to send after me?”
“This is my business and my city. You Empire lovers should learn to stay out of it. Now get out!”
There was a scream behind me. I turned to see the elderly cleaner had stabbed a woman and was moving in for the kill. I rushed over and cut her down.
Another person was attacking a young clerk. I disposed of him as well.
Thonar came rushing over and snarled, “My wife. They tried to kill her! Damn Madanach. Damn his Forsworn backside!”
“The King of Rags did not die twenty years ago? That would explain a lot. Did he double-cross you?”
“The Forsworn are my puppets. I have their ‘king’ rotting in Cidhna Mine. He was supposed to keep them under control.”
“So, you do have a deal with the Forsworn?”
“When their uprising was crushed, I had Madanach brought to me. He was a wild animal, but a useful one. I offered him a stay from execution if he used his influence to deal with any annoyances that came up. Competitors, agents, idiots. I’ve let him run his little Forsworn rebellion from inside Cidhna Mine. Now he’s out of control.”
“Maybe he got tired of being unjustly imprisoned for twenty years? I think with a bit more digging I will have enough evidence to make sure you take his place.”
“You already got what you wanted you damn hound. This is your fault.”
“You are a typical Breton merchant who has no morals and counts coins as his only friends. If I were not here, those two Forsworn would have cut you all down! You are a powerless worm. Now, if you don’t mind, I will save your wife’s life by healing her. I will send you the bill later.”
“You and Madanach are animals, and I’ll see you both rot to death in Cidhna Mine!”
I laughed at Thonar, which made his temper grow to epic proportions.
As the enraged Thonar barked orders at his employees, I cast Grand Healing on his wife. I then walked into the back room and ‘borrowed’ the journal he had been writing in.
His last entry read,
“Madanach is becoming unruly. You’d think that 20 years in prison would calm a beast like him down a bit. Maybe I should have let the Jarl execute him after the uprising after all.
Still, he’s been invaluable in getting rid of several ‘problems’ over the years. Maybe I’m overreacting. No one knows about our little arrangement. Not even the Forsworn. I wonder how they would react knowing their ‘King in Rags’ was one of my most important assets?
This little shadow rebellion of his better not start to include me, though. If I find out he’s even thinking about double-crossing me, I’ll make sure he dies inside Cidhna Mine, like the animal he is.”
I now had enough evidence to have Thonar hung, so I headed for Nepos’ house to see why he had sent a thug to threaten me.
I entered, and an obvious warrior dressed as a maid approached me.
She demanded, “Excuse me. What’s your business here?”
“And who are you to demand an answer to such?”
“If you must know, I’m the maid. The master of the house is old and needs his rest.”
“If you are a maid, then I am the Emperor. I am here to see Nepos so get out of the way.”
The ‘maid’ quickly stepped aside as I marched into the house.
I walked up to Nepos, and his nose was rather prominent. He did not even have the courtesy to look at me when speaking.
He said, “I’m sorry about my housekeeper. She is a little protective of me. Now, what is it you want?”
“I know you organised Weylin to kill Margret. I know you sent Dryston to rough me up. I want to know if Thonar ordered these actions or Madanach?”
“Ah, yes. You’ve proven to be a real bloodhound. Well, you’ve sniffed me out. I’ve been playing this game for almost twenty years, sending the young to their deaths. All in the name of the Forsworn. And I’m tired. So tired.”
“Oh, you poor old thing. Now answer me, who gave you the orders?”
“My king told me to. I don’t know how, but he lives. I get his messages, and I hand out his orders without question. Madanach stokes the passions of the oppressed in this city. Directs them to kill the enemies of the Forsworn in our name.”
“The Silver-Blood family have made it easy for you and Madanach to find recruits. If they had shared their wealth instead of hoarding it, then all of this murder and illegal imprisonment would have been unnecessary.”
“True. And all done from inside Cidhna Mine. A Nord prison. The irony is quite thick.”
“And now I have to decide what to do about it all. Thank you for your co-operation, Nepos.”
“My dear boy, what makes you think you’re getting out of here alive?”
“Don’t do it, Nepos. Retire, live a little. Who knows, I might even release Madanach.”
“We can’t take that risk.”
“You have no idea who I am, do you?”
“You are just another Imperial lapdog. We have killed many before you.”
I stood back and let them attack me.
Then I unleashed my Thu’um.
Unrelenting Force killed Nepos. I quickly dispatched the other three.
I searched Nepos and found his journal. The last entry read,
“I grow guilt-ridden in my old age. So many of the young sent to their deaths. All in the name of Forsworn. All in the name of Madanach.
My king. Who watches us from behind the iron bars of Cidhna Mine, how long have I served you? Since the uprising of the Nords? Was there ever a time when all that violence hasn’t over-shadowed our destinies?
What choice do I have but to do as I am instructed?”
I said over his broken body, “You had mortal free will, Nepos. Blindly obeying a monarch is no different than blindly obeying a Daedric Prince. It does not excuse your sins.”
It was time I returned to Eltrys and ensured him and his wife’s safety. I had enough to end the Silver-Blood family and give him the answers he sought.
I entered Talos’ Temple and could see Eltrys dead at the foot of the statue.
It was my Dovah that walked down the ramp to confront the guards.
There were three of them. One stepped forward and said, “We warned you, but you just had to go and cause trouble. Now we have to pin all these recent murders on you. Silence witnesses. Work. Work. Work.”
“How did you find Eltrys?”
“Let’s just say his wife was persuaded to tell us where her husband was. She was very loyal, so much so she did not survive the questioning. Looking for a heathen in such a holy place never crossed our minds.”
“You dared to kill innocents, one of them in this most sacred of places and the other with child! You are dead. Every fucking guard in this city is dead!”
The guards drew their weapons.
There was no Wulf the mortal in what they faced. I have never been so enraged.
I killed the three guards in seconds.
More guards poured in from outside.
I killed them as well.
I looked at Eltrys, and my anger had no chance of subsiding.
I yelled at Talos, “Are you proud of your mortal killing machine?”
I killed another dozen guards on my way to their barracks.
I entered, and they attacked.
They all died at my hands.
Dozens of deaths were added to my tally. But there were still more guards that needed to be removed. None of them deserved to live! Then the Silver-Bloods would meet my sword!
“Wulf, what is wrong?”
Rigmor’s voice was in my head. It was if she was standing next to me. The rings! She must have detected my mood via them.
“They killed him inside the Temple of Talos! They killed his pregnant wife! I will slaughter them all. Every single one of them!”
“Who did they kill?”
“Eltrys, the man who handed you the note.”
“Who killed him?”
“Markarth Guards. I have killed dozens of them. But I haven’t finished yet. The Silver-Bloods will pay for their crimes as well.”
“Have you killed only those who have attacked you?”
“Of course. I am not a murderer!”
“But you could be if you do not control your anger. Listen to yourself. You are planning murders!”
Rigmor was right. I could not justify what I was planning.
Rigmor said, “This talking is difficult through the rings, and you will need your strength. Stop and think. Plan your next move. Don’t do something you will regret and remember, I love you.”
I replied, “Just your voice has calmed the beast. I love you.”
I stood amongst the dead guards and closed my eyes. I had to find my way to Madanach without further bloodshed and decide what to do from there. Talking to the Jarl will only get Madanach killed. Igmund is an incompetent moron, but he would know the political value of the Forsworn King’s demise.
Storming the jail would only result in more deaths.
There was a way into the jail that put me at significant risk. I would let them arrest me and put me in there. They will not consult the Jarl on the matter. It was late, and by the time Igmund is aware of my incarceration, they would have fabricated enough evidence to convince him. He is not the brightest.
Within hours The Emperor and the rest of Skyrim would know that The Dragonborn has been jailed and that would result in this whole thing being exposed and further chaos.
No jail could hold me, but the Silver-Bloods are so arrogant and so used to using Cidhna Mine to remove troublemakers they would not even consider my escape as a possibility.
If there are any guards alive, they will attack me on sight. I decided the guards inside Understone Keep were the most likely to be loyal to the Jarl so headed for it.
As soon as I entered two guards ran towards me with their weapons drawn. I stood calmly and waited.
One of them said, “Halt! You’re under arrest for murder and conspiracy against the city of Markarth!”
“I know I have been a very naughty boy and deserve to be spanked.”
“This is the part where you take me Cidhna Mine while claiming I will never see the light of day again.”
“That’s right. You’ll never see the sun again. No one escapes Cidhna Mine. No one.”
“Do I get a spanking? I was looking forward to that!”
Imperial law says that a suspected criminal is to be placed in a holding cell until trial. Instead, I was stripped then escorted to Cidhna Mine.
They tried to remove my ring, but it would not budge. I just smiled, and they knew it wasn’t friendly. The ring stayed.
The Warden came to give me a welcome speech. She was an Orsimer wearing useless armour. The whole idea is to protect your flesh, not emphasise it!
She snarled, “All right, prisoner. You’re in Cidhna Mine, now and we expect you to earn your keep. There’s no resting your hide in a cell in this prison. Here, you work. You’ll mine ore until you start throwing up silver bars. You got it?”
“Maybe you should ask for a pay rise? It is sad you work so hard but can’t afford a complete set of armour.”
“Don’t get smart with me. I’m in charge. You keep it up, and I’ll have your toes cut off.”
I glared at her then growled, “Threaten me one more time, and I will rip your tusks out!”
She quickly stepped back, then ordered another guard, “Open her up!”
I stepped into the prison, and the door clanged shut behind me. The brave warden had almost run to get away from my stare.
Ah, just like the old days except for no chopping block!
I could hear prisoners chipping away at ore down several tunnels. An Orsimer was standing guard. I guessed he was a foreman or other authoritative figure. Another prisoner sat idle in front of a fire. I doubt other prisoners would slave away and let him laze about unless he was also somebody of authority.
I approached the sitter. He was a Breton and probably a Reachman.
He asked, “What are you in for, new blood?”
“I am innocent of any crime.”
“Innocent? I was innocent of the first one. The other murders were all me.”
“I did kill twenty-nine guards earlier tonight. Maybe that got them mad?”
“Pull the other one. It has bells on it. My advice? Serve your time at the pickaxe and get out. You don’t want to end up getting a shiv in the guts over a bottle of Skooma.”
“I need to speak to Madanach. Do I have to get past the green guy?”
“If you’re asking, that means you’re a new lifer. Tough luck, friend. Those guards sold you out but good.”
“They think they sold me out. I am here because I need to speak to the King in Rags. I can leave whenever I wish.”
“No one talks to Madanach, I’m afraid. Not without getting past Borkul the Beast. And you don’t want to talk to Borkul the Beast.”
“He will open that gate or give me the key within seconds of talking to him.”
“That I would like to see.”
“I am Valdr.”
“And I am Uraccen.”
“What are you in for, Uraccen?”
“A Nord nobleman I served was stabbed in the night. Wasn’t me, but I knew I’d be blamed. So, I ran. I joined the Forsworn and started killing for them. I got caught, and now I’m here.”
“I assume the guards are Silver-Blood employees.”
“Yes, they used to be mercenaries. They come in here once a week to clean out the bodies, grab any ore we’ve mined, and beat down on the troublemakers. That’s the only time when we get food. If there isn’t enough ore mined, we don’t get any.”
“Thanks for the information Uraccen.”
I walked over to Borkul.
He said, “It’s the new meat. So soft and tender.”
“Look, it’s an idiot trying to intimidate somebody a foot taller and wider.”
“What was it like killing your first one, huh?”
“The first mortal? The same as when I killed number eight hundred and eighty-three earlier tonight. It was not pleasant, but at least I have yet to murder somebody.”
“Am I? Tell me, Borkul the Least, what are you in for?”
“Borkul the Beast!”
“Oh, sorry. What are you in for Snorkel the Beast?”
“Comedians don’t live long here!”
“Did I hurt your feelings and there is no milk to help drown your sorrows?”
“OK, that was funny! I am here for Murder, banditry, assault, theft and lollygagging.”
“I hope you got life for lollygagging!”
“No, but I have served twelve years. I was running a good group of bandits until I was caught and thrown in here. But these Forsworn are nothing like the men I cobbled together. They are real killers! But this prison is not so bad. There are fewer complaints when I kill people.”
“Well, thanks for the nice chat, Borkul, but I need to see Madanach now.”
“You want to talk to the King in Rags? Fine. But first, you got to pay the toll. How about you get me a shiv? Not that I need one, but it’s nice to have one in case I need to do some ‘shaving’. Haha.”
“How about you let me through before I break your neck?”
“Wait, there is no need to get violent! Go on through but don’t try anything. Madanach knows more than you think.”
Borkul unlocked the cage door then I headed down a narrow tunnel.
Madanach was sitting at a table writing. He did not bother looking up when he spoke to me, just like the recently deceased Nepos the Nose.
He said, “Well, well, look at you. The Nords have turned you into an animal. A wild beast caged up and left to go mad. So, my fellow beast, what do you want? Answers about the Forsworn? Revenge for trying to have you killed?”
“I am trying to decide if you or the Silver-Bloods or both should pay for their crimes. Committed against the citizens of Markarth and The Reach. Both Nords and Forsworn have a lot to answer for.”
“Do we? What about you? What right did you have to meddle in my affairs? Kill my people? Was it worth it?”
“I did not kill except in self-defence. I even told Nepos I just wanted to talk to you, but he and his cronies attacked me and died for their stupidity. You asked what right I have to meddle in your affairs.”
I used my Thu’um and said, “THIS RIGHT!”
My voice echoed throughout the mine. Then I said, “I am the man who killed the Bear of Markarth. It is my sacred duty to protect all people. I do not distinguish between Nord or Reachman when undertaking that duty.”
“You are the Dragonborn?”
“I allowed myself to be thrown in here and can get out whenever I want to. But I need to know what has been happening. Like it or not, your fate and that of the Silver-Blood family is now in my hands! That is why I am talking to you and not slaying you as others would.”
“Do you know what it is like to have the boot of the Nord stepping on your throat? Maybe if you understood that, I could help you.”
“I am willing to listen to evidence, not propaganda.”
“Then speak to Braig. Besides me, he’s been here the longest. Tell him I sent you. Ask him why he is here. I want you to know how widespread the injustice of Markarth is.”
“I will. But first, tell me about Thonar.”
“I had Markarth. My men and I drove the Nords out. We had won, or so we thought. Two years later, retribution was swift. I was captured, quickly tried, and sentenced to death. But my execution never came. Thonar Silver-Blood stopped it. He wanted the Forsworn at his call so that I would point their rage at his enemies and spare his allies.”
“But you were biding your time. The arrogant little turd started to believe he had you cowed. He became careless.”
“Yes. It was humiliating at first, but I knew he would let his guard down eventually. That he would come to trust I was under control.”
“Reachmen grievances against the Nords are well documented.”
“This was our land. We were here first. Then the Nords came and put chains on us. Forbid us from worshipping our gods. Some of us refused to bow. We knew the old ways would lead us back to having a kingdom of our own. Now we are The Forsworn. Criminals in our lands. And we will cut a bloody hole into the Reach until we are free.”
“Do you know how close you were to having a new kingdom?”
“What do you mean?”
“I suppose they have denied you of how your uprising was seen in Cyrodiil?”
“All they have ever given me are the histories as written by the victors.”
“Nobles and rich merchants knew that Emperor Titus Mede II was preparing to declare a new nation of East and West Reach and probably Orsinium as well. He had seen how you governed for those two years. How you allowed religious freedom, removed bandits from the countryside and was on the verge of eliminating poverty. You proved that Reachmen and those who worshipped The Divines could live in harmony if mutual respect is shown.”
“I thought The Empire sent Ulfric and that the talks we were having with Mede were just diversionary.”
“Ulfric was hired as a mercenary by those nobles and rich merchants. But he did not do it for the money. It was a way for him to recruit more Nords for the civil war he was planning. He did not represent the wishes of the Emperor or even most of the Jarls.”
“All this suffering had been caused by Ulfric’s selfish ambitions?”
“I have shown that Ulfric was a puppet of the Dominion. A traitor to the people of Skyrim and not a hero. The true history of the uprising and Ulfric is now being told.”
“I will have to think about what you have said.”
“And I will go and talk to Braig.”
I asked another ‘prisoner’ who pointed me towards Braig.
When I approached, Braig said, “Don’t reach for a shiv around me, or we’ll both regret it.”
“Relax Braig! I am Valdr. Madanach suggested that I should hear your story.”
“My story, huh? Everyone in Cidhna Mine had a tale. Let’s hear yours first. When was the first time you felt chains around your wrists?”
“When I was on a carriage along with others on the way to Helgen. I had my head on a block waiting for the axe to fall when the dragon attacked.”
“So, you know what it’s like to have your life in someone else’s hands. Why should they get to decide? Isn’t judgment for the gods?”
“The gods will judge you in death. They cannot and do not judge you in life.”
“Do you have any family? Anyone waiting for you outside?”
“I have many friends and a woman I love more than life itself.”
“I had a daughter once. She’d be twenty-three this year and probably married to some hot-headed silver worker or maybe on her own while learning the herb trade. The Nords didn’t care who was and who wasn’t involved in the Forsworn Uprising. I had spoken to Madanach once, that was enough. But my little Aethra didn’t want to see her papa leave her. She pleaded to the Jarl to leave me alone and clung to my leg. After they made me watch as her head rolled off the block, they threw me in here to dig up their silver.”
“Jarl Igmund ordered this atrocity?”
“He was as vicious as Ulfric. He was seeking revenge for the death of his father, the Jarl before him, a criminal who murdered Reachmen for decades.”
“And the cycle repeats over and over! There will be many more Aethra! There will be many more Braig and Ulfric and Madanach. Everybody forgets the important things and argues over land that can be shared, gods that do not want you to fight over worship and wealth that is shallow. A roof over your head, family, a fair wage for fair work and friends are what is important.”
“There are no innocent onlookers in this struggle. Just the guilty, and the dead.”
“A struggle that need not be. I will do all I can to stop this lunacy.”
“You are a prisoner. What can you do?”
“I am no prisoner and can do more than you can imagine.”
I returned to Madanach and said, “I listened to Braig.”
“Imagine hearing a story like that, over and over. Each time a different family. Each time a different injustice. Your meddling above ground reminded me of how removed I’ve been from the struggle. My men and I should be in the hills, fighting.”
“What about the innocent travellers of Skyrim? The pilgrims, farmers, travelling merchants etcetera. They are not suppressors of the Reachmen! They are not your enemy yet Forlorn slaughter them in great numbers. Is that what you wanted when you captured Markarth? Is that what you are promising to do more of if you escape from here?”
“You know we didn’t do that back then.”
“But now you think your people are justified to continue the injustices. The Nords will fight back, and more innocents will die. This will never end until one side or the other shows there is another way. If you only kill to defend and stop making innocents the victims then maybe Emperor Mede might consider a new nation once more.”
“If I gave you my word that is how we will try and live, would you get us out of here?”
“Did Jarl Igmund give you to the Silver-Blood family?”
“Yes. I was to be executed, but then Thonar sweet-talked him into handing me over.”
“Skyrim is without a High King or Queen at the moment. There is nobody I can quickly reach who has authority over the Jarl. If I approached him with the idea of releasing you, he would have you killed. Or at least try since I eliminated about 90% of his guards.”
“What if I escaped instead?”
“That would be ideal as it would ruin the reputation of this jail and the Jarl would not get involved. But it would have to be done in a way that I could not be accused of planning the escape.”
“I have had a plan for a long time. Come with me. I think it’s time I announced it to the others.”
“Your word first.”
“I swear on the Old Gods that I will try and live peacefully. That I will only kill in defence.”
“Good enough. It is impossible to tell how the other Forsworn will react to such a decree. But somebody has to try and end this cycle of hate.”
I followed Madanach into the main chamber. Word quickly spread and within minutes, all the prisoners gathered to hear the King in Rags.
- Uraccen: What’s going on, Madanach?
- Madanach: My brothers, we have been here long enough. It’s time to leave Cidhna Mine and continue our fight against the Nords.
- Wulf: Madanach has come up with a new plan to end the cycle of death and retribution. Don’t think the fight against the Nords means slaughtering the innocent. I will not allow it!
- Uraccen: I asked you before. What can you do? How could you stop our blood revenge?
I used my Thu’um.
“AS THE DRAGONBORN I HAVE A LOT OF INFLUENCE AND CAN GATHER SUPPORT. OR I CAN KILL YOU ALL.”
- Uraccen: You? Did you kill Ulfric?
- Wulf: And Alduin. I am a high-ranking Noble and Legion Officer who has the ear of the Emperor. I will probably have some influence with Jarl Elisif the Fair once they call the moot and put her on the throne. I am also Champion of The Divines.
- Duach: I am called Duach and am proud to be called Forsworn. I wonder why would you want to help us ‘heathens’?
- Wulf: Those who truly follow The Divines live by the Ten Commandments of The Nine. Religious intolerance is not part of those Ten Commandments. You can worship who you like as long as innocents are not harmed. I am Boethia’s Champion as well as that of Azura and Meridia. The Divines have not objected to that fact.
- Madanach: We proved we can live peacefully with the Nords for those two glorious years we controlled Markarth.
- Wulf: If you do not try and restrain the want for revenge, The Empire will trample you into the mud. They can be your best ally or your worst enemy.
- Madanach: Through a gate beside my quarters is a tunnel. It leads right through the old Dwarven ruins of Markarth and into the city.
- Wulf: I have killed nearly all of the Markarth City Guards. There will be very little if any opposition. If I see one of you harming an innocent, it will nullify the deal I have made with your king. I will kill you all without breaking a sweat. You are to leave the city immediately!
- Madanach: Well, what do you say, my brothers?
Madanach turned to me and said, “Let’s go!”
We followed Madanach through the tunnels and into a Dwemer ruin.
As we ran through the ruins, a giant spider almost had Madanach for lunch.
I killed the spider with Lightening and then noticed Madanach had a spell of protection around him. I had forgotten he was a Witchblade. The Forsworn equivalent of a Battlemage or Spellsword.
Another giant spider was ready to pounce on Madanach, so I killed it with Lightening.
Some Dwemer automatons came out to play and outclassed the Forsworn. They would have been slaughtered if I was not there.
I could feel some fresh air. We were nearing an exit.
A young Forsworn was waiting for us.
She said to Madanach, “Madanach, I’ve brought what you asked for.”
He replied, “Good work. Distribute it while I talk with The Dragonborn.”
Madanach turned to me and said, “I had Kaie recover all the things the Nords stole from you. They sold them to her as they do with all the prisoner’s equipment. You better get ready before we break out into the city.”
We spent ten minutes getting kitted up.
Malacath then said, “Now I announce to all of Markarth that I have returned. It will take years, but I’ll gain control of the Forsworn again and organise this peace you said may work. Maybe it will, and then we will have a kingdom, a country, of our own.”
“You have no hope otherwise. A weakened Empire is still a different proposition than Skyrim alone.”
“Until then, let me offer you a warning. Beware the Forsworn. Not all will immediately agree to this idea.”
“And I will kill all that don’t. That is not a warning but a promise. I am giving you a chance Madanach. A chance to do what is right for your people.”
“Then, finally, it is time to see the sky once more!”
We followed Madanach outside and found ourselves confronted by Thonar flanked by two Markarth City Guards.
- Thonar: Madanach! Do you think you can escape my prison? You will pay for what you have done to my family!
- Madanach: Your family? You’ve poisoned The Reach with your tainted silver for long enough!
- Wulf: Guards, as Thane of Markarth I order you to return to the barracks.
- Thonar: I pay them more than the city does. They are mine to command.
- Wulf: Are they the only two you could muster after I killed dozens? I am The Dragonborn and have confronted gods, killed hundreds and defeated Alduin. Yet you stand there thinking you can stop me?
The guards were nervously shuffling their feet and glancing around. They would rather be anywhere but standing in front of me.
- Wulf: Thonar Silver-Blood, as a General of the Imperial Legion and as Thane of Markarth, I hereby place you under arrest for murder, extortion and slavery. You have a right to a trial, but we both know that with the evidence I have gathered, your head will roll within a month.
Thonar reached for his sword. The two guards followed his example.
“YOL TOOR SHUL!”
Dragonfire consumed Thonar and the guards. They briefly screamed before the extreme heat killed them.
I watched the Forsworn run straight for the city exit. They passed some startled early risers, but nobody was harmed.
I entered the Cidhna Mine. There were still murderers on the loose.
I yelled, “Hello, I have an appointment to have my toes cut off.”
The mercenaries attacked and died.
The streets were getting busier as another day in Markarth began. People crowded around piles of dead Markarth City Guards, but I heard no lamenting. They were not popular it seems.
I entered Understone Keep. Thongvor Silver-Blood waited for me.
I stood in front of him and waited for him to say something.
Thongvor eventually said, “My brother told me the Forlorn were escaping from Cidhna Mine and he went to confront them. Is he OK?”
“No, he is dead.”
“Damn those Forsworn. Think they can kill people in my city? I’ll have Madanach’s head!”
“I killed your brother. Do you want to try and take my head?”
“You killed him? Why?”
“I tried to arrest him, and he drew a sword. Are you ignorant of what your brother had been doing? I will pretend you are for now as there are many people out in The Reach relying on your family for their wages. Cidhna Mine will be confiscated, but I am sure you have many others. Your sister in law is still alive, thanks to me, and so are the rest of your staff except for Nepos the Nose. He had a nasty fall and died. So, if I were you, I would go and collect your brother’s corpse then go to Treasury House. Start running your family’s business but be aware you will be watched very closely. It would be easy for you to emulate your brother then spend the rest of your life in Cidhna Mine.”
I stormed up to Jarl Igmund.
- Igmund: Madanach has been found to be the real murderer of Markarth. On behalf of the city, I apologise for your wrongful imprisonment.
- Wulf: Madanach did not kill Eltrys and his wife. Madanach did not have the Markarth City Guards frame me for those murders. So, I do not accept your apology.
- Igmund: Then who did these things? I send you to find out about the Forsworn, and a trail of bodies followed wherever you went.
- Wulf: Dozens of guards lie dead in the streets, the Temple of Talos and their barracks. Every one of them loyal to Thonar Silver-Blood. They killed Eltrys and his wife. I killed them when they attacked me.
- Igmund: And that old man and his servants?
- Wulf: They were Forsworn warriors, not servants. And yes, I killed them when they attacked me.
- Igmund: Well, what am I supposed to do when given pages of evidence and sworn statements?
- Wulf: You do what you are supposed to do under Imperial Law. You give the accused a trial and place them in your holding cells until that trial.
- Igmund: I am getting tired of you telling me how to run my city!
- Wulf: You have not been running this city. The Silver-Bloods have! You are incompetent and a child murderer!
- Igmund: Faleen, arrest this man. He is no longer Thane of my city!
- Wulf: Faleen, your loyalty to your Jarl does not mean you have to be stupid. How about you listen to what I have to say before you draw your weapon and break the sacred rules of parley?
Faleen did not make a move towards me.
- Wulf: Jarl Igmund, you cannot revoke my rank without submission to the High King or Queen outlying your reasons. Ignoring the fact there isn’t a monarch at the moment, what would you say? The Dragonborn hurt my feeling by telling the truth?
- Igmund: You just called me a child murderer!
- Wulf: When Ulfric Stormcloak defeated the Forsworn, he went on a rampage of murder. Anybody who had not helped him fight the Forsworn was deemed a collaborator and killed. But at least he only targeted those old enough to wield a weapon. But you, Jarl Igmund, was more than happy to join in the slaughter of your citizens and did not care for their age.
- Igmund: What proof do you have of this?
- Wulf: Watch his face Faleen. Watch that of his uncle for he was his advisor and knew of these crimes.
- Raerek: Don’t worry Igmund. He has no proof.
- Wulf: Ulfric had citizens tortured until they informed on other citizens. Somebody said a young father called Braig had once talked to Madanach. That was enough to have him thrown into Cidhna Mine for life. His three-year-old daughter clung to him. An innocent little girl called Aethra. What did you have done to that little girl, Jarl Igmund?
- Igmund: Guards! Guards! Remove this man!
Two guards approached without much enthusiasm.
- Faleen: Stand down and return to your posts! I will cut you down myself if you get any closer!
The guards halted, and relief crossed their faces. They returned to their posts that were out of hearing range.
- Wulf: Tell us Jarl Igmund, what happened to that little girl? What did you do to Aethra?
- Igmund: They butchered my father!
- Wulf: Your father had ordered the murders of countless innocent Reachmen for decades. Angry Reachmen killed him in retaliation. But the conquerors did not butcher innocent citizens of this city, did they? You and Ulfric are guilty of that. You watched as your citizens were put to the torture and slain. Aethra, a three-year-old girl, did not kill your father. Neither did her father. What did you do to that little girl?
- Igmund: I don’t remember.
- Wulf: You probably can’t. She was just one atrocity amongst many after all. How is poor Jarl Igmund supposed to remember them all? Shall I remind you? It is important these things are recorded for history, don’t you think?
- Faleen: Answer him, my Jarl. I would like to know the real man I have sworn to protect with my life.
- Wulf: He won’t answer for he is too much of a coward. So, I will tell you, Faleen. He had that little girl dragged away from her father. They made Braig watch as they removed Aethra’s head as ordered by Jarl Igmund. One of the last things Braig saw under the sky before being thrown into Cidhna Mine for the rest of his life was his little girl’s head rolling on the ground!
- Faleen: My Jarl, I can see by your face what The Dragonborn says is true. What about you, Raerek? Did the Jarl do these things under your advice?
- Raerek: We had to show no sympathy for the Forsworn, or we would have been killed as well. We had to match Ulfric’s butchery to survive.
- Wulf: Jarl Igmund, do you think your actions that day were justified?
- Igmund: A Jarl should be willing to die for his people. I did not stand up for them and even killed them. I am a coward and not fit to rule.
I stared at the Jarl. His remorse was genuine. He had probably been living with extreme guilt for two decades. I could bring up other crimes, but I had achieved what I wanted.
- Wulf: Both sides of the conflict are guilty of atrocities against the innocent. Madanach is going to try and stop this endless cycle of murder and retaliation. What about you, Jarl Igmund?
- Igmund: I will do what is needed for the people of the Reach.
- Wulf: For Nord and Reachman?
- Igmund: Yes.
- Wulf: Then I suggest you let the Silver-Blood family keep their business but make sure their workers are paid enough to live somewhere other than the Warrens. Have you ever visited them?
- Igmund: No, but I will. I need to see what I have allowed my city to become.
- Wulf: Confiscate Cidhna Mine as compensation for the crimes the Silver-Bloods have committed. Run it with convict labour if you wish or hire your citizens as miners.
- Igmund: With what do I charge Thonar Silver-Blood? Do you have proof of his crimes?
- Wulf: Yes, I have proof, but he can’t go to trial. I killed him when he attacked me. I think his brother knew some but not all of the illegal activities. But you need him and Thonar’s wife to run the company. Give Thongvor a chance at redemption as well.
- Igmund: How many of my guards lay dead?
- Wulf: They were never your guards! Twenty-nine traitors died at my hands. I would investigate any that remain and see if they have been living beyond what their guard salary allows. It is up to you what to do with those who accepted money from Thonar. The mercenaries who ran the prison also died at my hands.
- Igmund: What are you going to do?
- Wulf: Nothing unless I see the lesson has not been learnt. Madanach knows I will bring him down if he does not do as he swore to do. I will do my best to bring you down if you do not help your people. The first step is to stop this cycle of killing and retribution.
- Faleen: I will remain by your side, my Jarl. I know you are no longer the man that ordered those atrocities.
- Raerek: I am as guilty as you are nephew. It would be good to make amends before I die.
- Igmund: Then if you don’t mind, General Valdr, I have a city to run.
- Wulf: Of course, my Jarl. One thing before I leave. Make sure Eltrys has a proper burial according to the beliefs of his people. It would be good if you can find his wife as well. They should be together in death as in life. Maybe if you find some of the guards on the take, they can bargain for the information.
- Faleen: I suppose I had better start asking questions then. And start a recruitment drive!
I bowed then left the Jarl to his redemption.
I went to my house and gathered my companions.
My new Housecarl, Argis, would leave after securing the house and then head for Silverpeak Lodge.
The rest of us gathered our horses for a ride to Solitude.
My compass had started when I was in Cidhna Mine. The Divines needed me to visit the capital of Skyrim.