Skyrim quests: First Lessons, Under Saarthal.
Skyrim mods: Inigo.
“So, how do I look?”
“What you are wearing is all top quality but mismatched. Like a poor mage who has purchased different parts of clothing over time.”
“That is the look I wanted to achieve. How about my face when wearing the cowl… do you think I will be easy to recognise?”
“Wulf, relax! We did not speak to anybody apart from Faralda, the Arch-Mage, Malesam and Cerys, which seems like a long time ago! The Arch-Mage may recognise you when speaking face to face but nobody else would and certainly not the Thalmor if they are still there.”
“I need to be regarded as one of the students until l I know what the Divine Task is.”
“Are you planning to tell the Arch-Mage?”
“A new student would not have an entourage of guards with him, and I may require The Sentinels at some stage. I will need Arch-Mage Aren’s assistance with that. So, I will have to reveal who am I to him and why I am there.”
“He knew you as my Guardian and therefore The Guardian General. If you reveal yourself to him, he will know that General Valdr and The Guardian General are the same.”
“I will tell Aren Savos that knowledge puts you at risk.”
“Which is true. Since the College of Winterhold is duty-bound to protect me, he would keep the secret.”
“For similar reasons, we must assume any Thalmor at the College are ignorant of Malesam’s dual role as your advisor and appointed protector. I have no doubt he tells Aren all about you. He is a well-paid snitch.”
“Do you mean if I started showing romantic interest in somebody, Malesam would report that to the Arch-Mage?”
“He thought he had the right to dictate when you were told about your heritage. Is it a surprise that he may think he has the right to discuss any suitors behind your back? Who knows what he has fed Aren in his reports? I wonder if the Arch-Mage will let me have a peek?”
“I am not surprised. I try to treat Malesam purely as an advisor. I suppose I am uncomfortable thinking about the other duties he performs.”
“Never forget, it is not just the Arch-Mage to whom Malesam reports. He would feed Boethia information that is not necessarily detrimental to you but would be of interest to her.”
“I have been careful about which meetings I allow him to attend. The last thing I would want to happen is confidential information from another county, province or country to leak from my court.”
“Enough politics and intrigue, it sours my stomach.”
“Is the Divine Task no more urgent this morning than it was last night?”
“Not at all. I will pick up Inigo from Langley’s and then investigate the Dovah causing problems in that area. If the Divine Task becomes more urgent, then it will get priority.”
“Inigo and Kharjo are veteran dragon fighters. Ashni and Anahbi will learn from them. It is cool you have four Khajiit in your Sentinels Squad.”
“Celestine can’t come as she used to be a student at the College and will attract attention. I promised the Khajiit ladies they would accompany me on my next Divine Task. Kharjo was keen to accompany the ladies. Inigo has been at Langley’s since returning from Solstheim and is probably getting bored to death. I also want to speak to Langley. Can you guess why?”
“You want to test his premonitions. His foresight as you call it.”
“Your smarts are only surpassed by your beauty, milady!”
“Sounds better than brains or intelligence does it not?”
‘You will be glad to know your weird words and colloquialisms have started spreading from the Court of Bruma to the far reaches of Nirn.”
“There can never be too many Albatrosses!”
“It is a pity your rest has come to an end, but at least you have had a few days without having to kill, risk your life and be away from home.”
“I have managed to spend a lot of time with the children, which has been a blessing.”
“Olette realises she doesn’t have to wear her armour when at home, doesn’t she?”
“She says she is ready to protect her family, which is more than a little heart-warming. The novelty will wear off eventually.”
“Well, my randy Dragonborn, I had better head back to Bruma. I have an exciting day on the throne to look forward to.”
“You are the one who attacked me as soon as you teleported!”
“It had been a couple of days!”
“My life would be in danger if I was away from you for any longer!”
“Death by nookie would be an interesting epitaph.”
“I promise to fill you in with what the Divine Task is as soon as I know.”
I gave Rigmor a goodbye kiss then she vanished into the ether.
“I am at home. See you again soon.”
“Bye, for now, my beloved.”
With Rigmor gone, the peace we share ended. Our peace muffles the sense of sequential time, and its return is always a shock. It is like walking from darkness into bright sunlight. It takes time to adjust to time, you may say.
As soon as I entered the main living area, Olette came running to me.
“Hey Captain, do you think the mask will help me hide better?”
“Who said that? Is that you Olette? Where are you?”
Olette ripped her mask off. Then she stood with her arms crossed wearing a scowl that Rigmor would struggle to outdo.
“Why did I bother asking you a serious question? Not everything is a joke, you know!”
I stood bemused as Olette stomped off in a huff.
I walked over and asked Ashni, “Are you ready to leave?”
“This one thinks it will be exciting if we have to fight a dragon.”
“I will be sad if we have to. I hate to kill but more so with Dov.”
“Is it because they are part of your kind? Like this one dislikes killing other Khajiit more than killing smelly Thalmor?”
“Maybe there is a bit of that. I know Dov can be very noble and good friends to mortals. I fail to understand why some still want to test themselves against me and die. It seems senseless.”
“Perhaps battle is like Skooma to some. They cannot easily give it up.”
“You are probably right, Ashni. Not all of them can overcome those base instincts, and I should not think it to be an easy choice.”
Aventus had been waiting to talk to me.
“Good morning, Aventus!”
“Don’t you dare say that to Olette, or she might stab you!”
“Do you see her walk away from me in a grump earlier?”
“Wujeeta and other ladies warned me that she might be like that all day today and maybe tomorrow and I should not get upset if she yells at me.”
“I think I know the cause. Maybe you need to sit down with Constance so she can explain it better than I. Don’t worry, Olette will be OK, and she is still your friend.”
“Why can’t you explain it to me?”
“Because I am unsure how to word it properly for somebody your age. I do not know how much Constance has already taught on the subject.”
“The difference between boys and girls and how babies are made.”
“Oh, that stuff. When we are not giggling, which the girls find annoying, we boys learn a lot from those lessons. Constance says that us boys will start to have questions better answered by you.”
“Umm… yeah… maybe…”
“Well, thanks for the talk. I feel much better now.”
“I am glad one of us does.”
I walked away from Aventus, knowing a shocking fact. I face the most powerful and evil of beings without fear. However, the idea of talking about bodily functions with growing boys terrifies me!
Lestat walked past carrying that most precious of commodities, the morning porridge for the children. The long talk I had with him about his vampirism was upsetting. He has only been one for a short time, but he knows that eventually, he will be an adult trapped in a child’s body. I promised to investigate if there is something that can be done.
Wujeeta called me over, so I went to talk to her.
“Do you know when Inigo will be returning?” she asked.
“Well, he will be helping me for a few days at least. Sorry, but I don’t know exactly.”
“It is just that he understands my struggle and is good to speak to about it.”
“You mean your withdrawal from Skooma?”
“Yes. I still have terrible cravings as he sometimes does. He helps me reinforce the reasons why I shouldn’t ever use it again and how to cope.”
“I assume advice is more valuable from one who has experienced the same things?”
“Yes, that is correct no matter how much I admire other people here. I hope I do not sound rude or insulting. It is hard to explain.”
“I cannot fully empathise with your addiction or the problems you face during your withdrawal for I have not experienced similar. Inigo would understand without you struggling to describe something because he recognises it. Only those whose ego is larger than their empathy would find insult in that.”
“Please do not worry about me using Skooma. I love the people here, especially the children, too much to return to that life.”
“I know that, Wujeeta. Inigo has indicated it will be a lifelong battle for him as it may be for you. It is like my dragon friends who fight their base needs so they can live in harmony with mortals.”
“I have read your journals. I know that you have to control those as well. You do not have another Dragonborn to help you.”
“There was one I spoke to for a brief time before I killed him. That wasn’t much help.”
“Is it wrong that I find humour in that?”
“Sarcasm and dark humour are coping mechanisms of mine. Recognising sarcasm requires intelligence. You found the humour because you are too smart to have wasted your time cleaning fisheries.”
“Now I help clean up after smelly children!”
“A slight improvement over smelly fish, don’t you think?”
“Well, the fishes were dead and never said thank you. So yes, it is a slight improvement.”
Wujeeta rushed away to stop Francois and Hroar flinging porridge at each other.
Olette was baking the day’s bread.
I told her, “Olette, the mask would help you hide. It is a good addition to your armour, and I am glad there was enough Netch leather left over to have it made.”
Without looking up, Olette quietly replied, “Please be careful, Captain. We all worry when you go away.”
Erika has blossomed since arriving from Solstheim. Meeko helps her adjust by acting as her handkerchief when she feels like crying. The Divines must have sent him to us. I wonder if a dog can be sainted?
“Good morning, Erika.”
“Can you see I have Dad’s sword? They found it on one of those murderers you killed. It has our family name on it, so they knew who it belonged to.”
“It was kind of them to send it to you.”
“Yes, it was very kind. Olette has been helping me write a letter to thank them.”
“In just a short time, Olette’s reading and writing have improved dramatically.”
“She told me she wants to be a bard, and that is why she works so hard to learn.”
“And do you know what you want to be?”
“I want to be a mum, of course. But I can do other things at the same time, can’t I?”
“Absolutely, and don’t you let anybody tell you otherwise! Some old-fashioned people think mothers should do nothing but raise their children. Ignore them.”
“What is the easiest way to do that?”
“Stick your fingers in your ears and go ‘Blah blah blah blah…’”
I left a giggling Erika to gather my Sentinels Squad, minus one, for the trip to Winterhold.
“Anahbi, can you please tell Kharjo and Ashni that it is time to go. I will be in the stables arguing with Hashire.”
Hashire changed his appearance and equipment to what I wanted. My threat to leave him at home and take one of the ‘nice’ horses convinced him to co-operate. More than a week after my return, he is still angry that I had not used him in Solstheim.
It was not long after 8:00 AM when we started our ride to Whiterun.
Travellers are gathering in larger groups before venturing out. Although bandit activity is far less since the civil war ended, they have become more violent, and many are ex Stormcloaks. Some mages make a good living by offering their services as guards. They complement the traditional guards and are now a common sight on the road.
We had no violent encounters on the way to Whiterun, and I hired a carriage to Winterhold. The ladies and I rode in the carriage. Kharjo led the horses not far behind.
The two newest Sentinels were full of questions about fighting dragons. I explained that the best way is to let me deal with the gnashing teeth inside the giant jaws and for them to concentrate on the flanks. I also told them not to stand too close together otherwise a breath weapon or Shout used by a dragon may take them both out.
It is easy to forget some of my friends are killing machines like me. Both Khajiit wanted to know specific points of weakness and where to stab and where to slash. I was uncomfortable describing the best way to kill my celestial brothers, but their lives and those of others could depend on the knowledge I shared.
We set out for Langley’s within minutes of our arrival in Winterhold.
Not far out of the city, we came upon a skirmish between trolls and goblins.
I knew Kharjo was a competent horseman but was interested to see how the ladies fared.
Two-handed swords can be cumbersome on horseback. Anahbi expertly steered her horse and was deadly with the large weapon she wielded with ease.
Ashni surprised me by using a sword instead of one of her axes. I had not tempered it for her, and it did not have the usual dweomer. Still, she cut down enemies quickly enough with it.
A bear entered the scuffle on our side. Just as I thought that was unusual, since Rigmor was not with us, it tried to bite Kharjo.
It quickly paid with its life.
There was a Word Wall on our way to Langley’s. It was as good a place as any to look for the rogue Dovah.
There was no dragon present, but an Altmer in robes seemed fascinated by the Dovahzul inscription.
Without dismounting I said out loud, “In Dovahzul it says, ‘Sigruuf wahlaan qethsegol briinahii vahrukt Lanal wen brit luft los ol kinzon ahrk sot ol nus dwiirok nol nahlaas ozinvey.’”
Ashni replied, “This one wishes to know what that means.”
“I always say the Dovahzul first. It helps me with the translation. It roughly translates to, ‘Sigruuf raised this stone for his sister’s memory, Lanal, whose beautiful face was as sharp and white as a statue carved from living ivory.”
“This one thinks that a sharp face would make kissing painful.”
Anahbi added, “Especially kisses down below. Ouch!”
I shook my head. The ladies were lustful, and it will take some time to get used to their candour.
I dismounted to get closer to the Word Wall and thereby absorb the Word of Power quicker.
The Altmer turned then, without a word, attacked me with Lightning Bolt.
I had already started to absorb the Word of Power, and his attack was more distracting than dangerous. I quickly cut the idiot down.
The Word of Power was ‘Nus’ which means statue. It was the third Word in the Ice Form Shout. I already knew it and the Shout.
- Anahbi: Khajiit only knows of what just happened due to reading the journals. It is a thing of wonder to witness.
- Kharjo: It must be a clever dweomer to recognise the Dragonborn.
- Wulf: Indeed, I have no idea how such a dweomer is possible. How, when and who placed it are also mysteries.
- Ashni: Sigruuf placed the Word Wall. After Lanal, that one’s sister died.
- Wulf: I am the one who says the smartarse remarks around here!
- Ashni: This one has never met a smart bottom.
- Kharjo: Who was that dead one?
I searched the corpse and found no clues as to his identity.
- Wulf: I have no idea who he is. Maybe he didn’t like my translation?
- Ashni: Or maybe speaking Dovahzul revealed Dragonborn identity. The dead one could be Thalmor.
- Wulf: Good point. But I refuse to treat all Altmer with suspicion even if some Thalmor hide amongst them.
- Ashni: There is an altar of Riddle’Thar nearby. May Khajiit visit and pray there?
- Wulf: Yes, of course. I am surprised such an altar survives in Skyrim.
- Ashni: It takes a lot of effort and risk to travel here. Maybe Nords are too lazy or scared to come here and vandalise it?
- Wulf: Or maybe, despite all their bluster, they still respect the religions of others.
The altar was only a short distance from the Word Wall. I had a quick look at it then waited below while The Sentinels showed their respect and prayed.
As we neared Alftand, I was worried it might have spat out more mechanical dragons since we last passed by. It hadn’t.
High Queen Elisif has been reluctant to declare any remaining wearers of the Stormcloak uniform as outlaws. They are still offered the rules of combat drilled into every Legionnaire. Patrols of Stormcloaks roam the countryside as if Ulfric was alive and their cause just.
Three of them saw us. The Stormcloaks did not know who I was. The Sentinels did not wear Legion uniforms. They attacked because Khajiit dared walked freely in Skyrim.
“Skyrim is for the Nords!” yelled the first to draw and release.
Within seconds they lay dead.
As we cleaned and sheathed our weapons, Kharjo replied to the corpse, “Skyrim is for the living!”
Close to the steps leading to Langley’s a patrol of goblins attacked.
They lasted no longer than the Stormcloaks.
We hitched the horses and climbed the steps to Langley’s front door. I knocked, and the walking ego opened it to let us in.
Inigo looked down from the loft that Langley had made.
- Inigo: I am surprised to see you, my friend. I thought you would just summon me.
- Wulf: We had to come this way for two reasons so I thought we might visit my good friend Langley.
- Langley: You needn’t have bothered. I haven’t missed you at all.
- Wulf: I thought you might be able to help. Perhaps I was wrong?
- Langley: The mighty Dragonborn needs assistance? I thought you were some sort of god according to the stories Inigo made up. What could I possibly do to help?
- Kharjo: Leap off a cliff would be this one’s guess.
- Inigo: Kharjo! What would your Clan Mother say?
- Kharjo: Make sure the cliff is high.
- Wulf: Sorry for that Langley. I did try and write nice things about you in my journal.
- Langley: I am amazed any of your friends can read.
- Ashni: Can I hit that one with my closed paw?
- Wulf: Calm down all of you! Langley, be civil and receive civility in return. I don’t need your help, but I am giving you the chance to do so.
- Langley: How can I help?
- Wulf: Have you had any visions about me?
- Langley: Yes, last night. I saw you discovering a great magical artefact, by mistake, of course! It’s large, and round, and extremely dangerous in the wrong hands.
- Wulf: You could have just told me the facts of your foresight, but instead you had to add an inane comment.
- Kharjo: Does that rude one know about the museum?
- Langley: What museum?
- Anahbi: The huge one in Solitude called Dragonborn Gallery.
- Kharjo: At the last count, over six hundred important artefacts have been accidentally found by General Valdr. They have been documented and are ready to be put on display for the public.
- Anahbi: The artefacts were found when saving the lives of ungrateful morons and some from hours scouring marketplaces.
- Kharjo: This one thinks he knows of one ungrateful moron.
- Inigo: If The Dragonborn finds this dangerous artefact, it will because he searches for danger and puts himself at risk so you can continue living. It will not be by accident. I thought we had an agreement when General Valdr was last here that you would stop this jealous nonsense.
- Wulf: Inigo fought Alduin by my side, and in doing so, he helped save every life on Nirn. You should show pride in your friend and not jealousy towards me!
- Langley: OK. Alright. Once again, I did not think before I spoke, and I apologise.
- Wulf: I thought that if you have had a vision that proved accurate, you could become an ally that I can rely on when doing these tasks for The Divines. You can be a contributor instead of a spectator.
- Inigo: That sounds like a good deal to me.
- Langley: Yes, I would like that opportunity.
- Wulf: Before we head to the Divine Task, we need to investigate a rogue dragon after General Tullius asked politely.
- Kharjo: Polite? This one is unsure if, ‘Get rid of that fucking dragon before it eats more of High Queen Elisif’s loyal subjects.’ is polite?
- Wulf: It is quite polite for Tullius.
- Inigo: And the lovely ladies are now part of the team?
- Anahbi: Yes, and the team has a name.
- Wulf: ‘The Sentinels’ is the name for those who aid me.
- Inigo: An apt name for we are to guard you, as the Penitus Oculatus guards The Emperor.
- Wulf: They do that not just by being by his royal side. They perform many duties to ensure the Emperor’s safety.
- Kharjo: The Sentinels do many things to safeguard The Dragonborn.
- Inigo: Langley, you heard. We are heading out to spank a naughty dragon.
- Langley: Cheerio then. Do try to stay alive. I spent a lot of time making that loft!
We headed outside. Kynareth had marked a cheeky fox that had been following us for some time. I had no intention of killing it and let it be.
As we rode across the frozen wastes, Inigo ‘blessed’ us with a song.
“Riding, riding, riding. My bottom is subsiding. Chat them up, put them down, feed them hay, run away. Find a bride, be denied. Sore hide!”
The report delivered to me from General Tullius indicated an area north-west of Langley’s was where the rogue dragon had been causing issues. We turned north, and a dragon’s roar could be heard in the distance.
A tiger snarled and threatened violence. I used the Kyne’s Peace Shout then it lay down and watched instead of attacking.
At the end of the north passage, we came upon a destroyed wagon and three fresh corpses.
We got off our horses to inspect the scene.
- Inigo: They have not been burned or chewed.
- Wulf: It looks like he used Unrelenting Force to kill the people and horses.
- Inigo: Is this what he has been doing and why General Tullius sent the message?
- Wulf: Sometimes he eats people. Sometimes he just destroys and murders. He will keep doing it out of spite.
- Ashni: Or to attract The Dragonborn.
- Wulf: Yes, it could be a lure to get me here.
- Inigo: Are you aware of a Dovah powerful enough to challenge you with some hope of victory?
- Wulf: Any mortal, myself included, can be killed if ambushed. But a Dovah would not do that! Other dragons would ignore any victory he claimed, and he would be a pariah. I don’t know of any individual dragon that could defeat me in a traditional fight.
- Inigo: How will he know you are The Dragonborn. You are not recognisable as General Valdr in those clothes.
- Wulf: He will sense who I am if he is close enough.
- Ashni: Do we ride around inviting that winged one to attack?
- Wulf: That is the plan. Be aware he might land close to make sure who I am before issuing the challenge. I ask that nobody attacks him before a challenge is made or he attacks us first.
- Kharjo: Khajiit will be ready and will follow those instructions.
We rode around for several hours before a Dovah started to fly circles around us. After a few minutes, he landed in front of me. He took a big sniff then said, “Dovahkiin. Zu’u los Naarzii. Krif zu’u fod hi los ni aan nikriin.” (Dragonborn. I am Naarzii. Fight me if you are not a coward.)
I replied, “Bo gein laat tiid us hin dinok, Naarzii.” (Fly one last time before your death, Naarzii.)
I allowed Naarzii to circle and issue a roar of challenge. Then I hit him with Dragonrend.
Naarzii did not land with the same precision, control or dignity of seconds earlier.
As I concentrated on the biting end, Anahbi leapt upon Naarzii’s back.
Inigo yelled, “Anahbi, what are you doing?”
“Killing this winged one.”
Anahbi started firing arrows into Naarzii’s neck.
As I dodged the giant maw, I yelled, “Remember what I told you about an area just before the wing joint is ideal for slashing with a sword. Like that huge one you carry!”
“Yes, this one remembers now. Sword it is.”
Naarzii bucked to dislodge the pest on his back.
Anahbi laughed then said, “This winged one is tricky. I almost fell!”
I sliced into Naarzii snout. He then concentrated on me while Anahbi regained her balance.
I heard the scrape of her sword as it left its sheath. I fended off another lunge with my shield.
Anahbi swung her sword with all her might.
Simultaneously I hit Naarzii with a second Dragonrend. He reared up, and I plunged my sword deep into his underside.
I am sure Naarzii’s death roar could be heard for many miles around.
Inigo yelled, “Anahbi, leap off and get clear. He may thrash around a bit.”
Before Naarzii stopped moving, I started to absorb his soul.
In mere seconds all that remained of a once magnificent Dovah was his bloodied skeleton.
I turned to Anahbi.
- Wulf: Anahbi, that is not an easy thing to do, riding a Dovah like that.
- Anahbi: It was a quick kill. That is what that one wanted, no?
- Wulf: Yes. Like any unpleasant task, it is best to get it over with as quickly as possible.
- Ashni: There will be no boasting over meads such as Nords do.
- Anahbi: They would say they killed a mighty beast.
- Ashni: But dragons are not beasts but are people like us.
- Wulf: He did not just die. I absorbed his soul, so he has no afterlife, not even in The Void. He has ceased to exist.
- Inigo: You will once again feel guilt over something beyond your control. The Dov who challenge know their possible fate yet still do so. They give you no choice but to kill.
- Wulf: We need dragon slayers who can do it without this finality that I cause. We need The Blades.
- Inigo: Have you spoken to them since the fiasco with Alduin’s Wall?
- Wulf: No, but I must bury my anger and offer Delphine the opportunity to rebuild The Blades. If they desire to do so, they will operate under a new rule. Before being hunted and killed, a dragon must have committed crimes against The Empire that would result in their execution if Man, Mer, Khajiit or Argonian. That will be a rule they abide by, or I will throw them out of the temple then seal it with blood. They will be executioners carrying out legal sentences and not senseless hunters of Dov.
- Inigo: What if Delphine recruited enough people to start hunting dragons simply because they exist and claimed it was her duty as a Blade?
- Wulf: The Blades became outlaws as part of the White-Gold Concordat, and she has been hiding under rocks ever since. Delphine would never have the courage to make her presence known to the Thalmor independent of my protection. If any group started hunting dragons for being what they are and not for what they have allegedly done, I would first appeal to the Emperor to ban such practices. If he were unwilling to do so, I would kill to defend innocent Dov, the same as I kill to protect innocent mortals.
- Kharjo: Are we heading to Winterhold now?
- Wulf: No, I thought we would have a meal and sleep at the Nightgate Inn. It is not far up the road.
- Inigo: We should have no problems getting rooms. It is never very busy.
- Wulf: I have never visited it. It is not on any of the major roads so I can understand why visitors may be few.
We mounted our horses and slowly rode past the remains of Naarzii.
A group of locals seemed to be deliberately heading to where the fight was.
One of them asked, “Have you seen the dragon? We heard the Thu’um so The Dragonborn must have come to kill the beast.”
“Dragons use the Thu’um as well. How would you know if it was The Dragonborn or a dragon that used it?”
“Oh. Um… so the dragon could still be around?”
“The dragon is dead, and his name was Naarzii. You will find his remains a bit further along this road.”
“Did you see the fight?”
“Yes. We saw the whole thing.”
“Was it as glorious as the stories say?”
“There is no glory in violence.”
“Only a milk-drinker would say such a thing. I see your friends are cats. No wonder you are such as coward!”
“YOU ARE AN IGNORANT FOOL!”
The idiot fell onto his backside with the force of my Thu’um. We continued onwards while his friends laughed.
A while later we hitched our horses outside of Nightgate Inn then made our way inside.
Inigo approached the barkeep as he had dealings with him in the past.
- Inigo: Greetings Hadring, remember me?
- Hadring: You look familiar. But blue Khajiit are so common around here I can’t be sure.
- Inigo: I see Fultheim is in his usual place. Have you nailed him there?
- Hadring: He is still trying to drink away a lifetime of bad memories. I take it you found Skooma not able to do the same?
- Inigo: It did help with the bad memories, but it also stopped me from gaining any good ones. I decided to accept the pain and stop the Skooma.
- Wulf: Hadring, this is a beautiful inn but in such a remote part of the province.
- Hadring: It was built and run by my Great Grandda. It has been passed all the way up the line to me. It is in my blood, so I have accepted its inadequate income. Passing traffic has been improving since the end of the civil war. Unfortunately, a dragon has been flying around here recently eating my customers.
- Wulf: The dragon is dead. We saw The Dragonborn kill him.
- Hadring: Now, that is good news!
- Inigo: We need rooms for five. We are happy to put our sleeping rolls on the floor and still pay you a fee.
- Hadring: No need as there are rooms and beds enough for all of you. Will you need food?
- Ashni: Oh, yes! Much food is needed!
- Wulf: I see you are a branch for the Imperial Mail. Arrange with Inigo the price for the food and lodgings, then I will transfer the funds.
An amount was quickly agreed upon, and I transferred the money to the inn’s account.
- Inigo: Since my friend is paying for the stay, can you please show him to the best of the rooms.
- Hadring: Certainly, come this way.
I followed Hadring to a very decent room. Far better than most inns provide.
I returned to the common room and sat with my friends. We enjoyed a hearty meal and excellent meads. Even Ashni managed time to laugh between mouthfuls.
I retired to my room earlier than the others so I could write today’s journal entry. Before I commenced writing, I contacted my lady.
“My beloved, are you free to talk?”
“I am soaking in my bath. Cerys is such a sweetie. She knew I had a terrible day listening to annoying supplicants and had it ready without me having to ask.”
“And we are certain Malesam has been her adoptive father since she was barely out of nappies?”
“He adores her but is very strict and set in his ways. Malesam and I are at each other’s throats quite often which Cerys finds amusing.”
“Does Cerys have any suitors?”
“The couple of young men she has introduced to her father have not continued their relationship. I think he deliberately goes out of his way to embarrass her.”
“He would not be the first father to do so.”
“It would have been interesting to see my father’s reaction to you.”
“I would have been terrified. But Ragnar’s approval, if it were forthcoming, would have meant the world to me.”
“He would have grilled you as his favourite Staff Sergeant did to recruits. He used to make me laugh when he put on the gruff voice and ordered me around as if I was a soldier. He would often salute mom when she told him to do something.”
“We killed the dragon. He was weak and stood no chance.”
“And I can sense you are angry and upset at the need to kill another Dovah. I wish our peace worked over the rings.”
“So do I.”
“Where are you?”
“We are staying at the Nightgate Inn. It is one the nicest, and quietest, I have been to.”
“How have the newest Sentinels coped?”
“They are superb fighters on the ground, on horseback and even atop a dragon. In her first-ever encounter with a dragon, Anahbi jumped on its back and fought from there!”
“It is good they are as competent as the others. They expressed to me how much they wanted to help you but were afraid they would not be good enough.”
“It is more than just fighting ability that is important. The desire to help others is paramount.”
“Did you speak to Langley?”
“Yes, and I think his foresight has given me a clue as to the Divine Task. I think we are about to discover a powerful artefact that poses a great danger in the wrong hands.”
“Thalmor hands? It is the sort of thing they would be hanging around the College for as they pretended otherwise.”
“Some things are dangerous in the hands of any mortal, not just the Thalmor. Until I know what it is and where it is, I will have no idea what danger it poses and what is to be done with it.”
“Langley’s vision is useful, but not overly?”
“That’s it in a nutshell.”
“Any other news?”
“Do you mean gossip?”
“What is the use of gossip if I can’t pass it on? Therefore, I pretend anything you tell me is important news.”
“No news but a question. Who taught you about reproduction and the change?”
“Certainly not my father. He would have rather have faced a thousand angry Thalmor armed with a stick than talk about ‘that stuff’ with his daughter.”
“I have no idea what it is like to go through the change. I know only antidotes I have read.”
“And you think as the male figure, you will have to talk to the boys?”
“That is what they have been told. Others teach the basics and the specifics by me as the father of the house. For a start, how do I explain why menses can cause mood swings to the young boys? It is important that it not become a topic for ridicule or shame. There is also a thing called night emissions. I read about them in a very droll parenting guide. Who knows if I ever had those?”
“Are these issues already or is this in preparation for a dreaded future?”
“Olette almost chewed my head off this morning, and Aventus is wary of her. He wanted to know why his best friend turned into a moody monster.”
“Perhaps you can sit down with Constance and field questions from both genders.”
“That would be good, but I can’t answer any of the questions via personal knowledge.”
“Perhaps you need a male version of Constance?”
“Where will I find one of them?”
“Why not visit the Temple of Dibella and ask for guidance from the Sybil. Reproduction and the body, including the change, are some of the topics on which she provides expert advice.”
“I wonder if they have books that I can hand a boy asking awkward questions then run away?”
“With all you have to deal with, your main worry is the children and their welfare. You are a beautiful man, my dear Dragonborn.”
“Enjoy your bath. I will let you know more about the Divine Task when I can.”
“I love you.”
“I love you too!”
I wrote this journal entry then climbed into bed.
I know not what time I fell asleep.