I didn’t want to leave Silverpeak Lodge for any reason, but I could not ignore Baa’Ren-Dar’s request. After all, Talos told me not to deny aid to a friend, no matter how far from home I had to travel. Well, Elsweyr is a fair distance!
I spent last night with Rigmor and the Khajiit Sentinels at Lakeview Manor. We had our breakfast and cleared the table as we awaited the arrival of the furry emissary.
A soon as he knocked on the front door, Rigmor ran and let him in. Baa’Ren-Dar was dressed in a red striped monk outfit and would easily pass as an elderly Khajiit pilgrim. He immediately sat at the dining table, and we got down to business.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: It is good to see you again, Dragonborn.
- Wulf: And I cannot help but smile seeing you again, my dear friend.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: Ri’saad has told me about these Sentinels. Are you Kharjo?
- Kharjo: Yes. This one is honoured to meet you, Emissary.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: The one with the giant sword is Anahbi. Am I correct?
- Anahbi: Yes, Emissary. This one is Anahbi.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: And that leaves Ashni.
- Ashni: This one looks forward to going home for even a short trip, Emissary.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: Rigmor said Inigo, and you, decided he should not be involved as his unique appearance would be noted by the Thalmor.
- Wulf: It would be commented upon wherever he went. There are some in Elsweyr who would consider him a bad omen or other superstitious rot.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: Yes, it would be folly for him to be part of this. I can guarantee the Thalmor will not forget or forgive. That is why it is advantageous these Sentinels will blend in and can quickly remove themselves from Elsweyr when the task is complete.
- Meeko: Woof!
- Baa’Ren-Dar: I agree, Meeko. You are a fine addition to the squad!
- Rigmor: A large white dog is an unusual sight in Elsweyr, but his ability to sense danger will be helpful.
- Kharjo: The white one needs to help with the occasional task. Much moping occurs if not.
- Meeko: Grrr…
- Kharjo: This one can growl too. It does not erase the truth of your moping!
- Wulf: As you can see, our old armour makes us look like wealthy and well-armed caravan guards. There is no hint of our Penitus Oculatus connection.
- Rigmor: The Sentinels look like guards. You look like a noble businessman who probably made his money sending respectable Khajiit traders broke.
- Wulf: Then I have succeeded in achieving the required look.
- Rigmor: Letting your hair and beard grow a little does work as a good disguise.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: It is a Moonpath caravan, so the moon dictates its travel time. The earliest it will cross the border from Cyrodiil into Elsweyr is the morning of Middas, the third day of Evening Star.
- Rigmor: Baa’Ren-Dar will pick me up from Bruma. The cover story is I am going with him to a cultural exhibition in Arenthia. The caravan will meet us just over the border.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: I own a small dwelling in Arenthia where Rigmor can mark her safe room. After you have used Mara’s rings to join the caravan, Rigmor can use hers to teleport back to the safe room.
- Rigmor: I can then get rid of my armour, dress nicely and accompany Baa’Ren-Dar to the exhibition. I will make sure I am introduced to as many VIPs as possible.
- Wulf: That is an excellent alibi. You would think a particular Khajiit was experienced in such sneaky subterfuge.
- Kharjo: This one does not know what VIPs are.
- Wulf: Very Important Persons. A VIP is a Very Important Person.
- Kharjo: Sometimes Rigmor is almost as strange as Wulf.
- Rigmor: VIP and VIPS are commonly used amongst Cyrodiil nobles!
- Ashni: This one is sad to tell Rigmor, but that does not make them less weird.
- Rigmor: When Baa’Ren-Dar visited Bruma, he told Mum he would be taking me to the exhibition to cheer me up and interrupt my sulking over that immoral Dragonborn.
- Ashni: This one has heard many stories about his insatiable lust!
- Kharjo: This one has heard rumours that a series of books where the Lusty Argonian Maid meets the Dragonborn will be published.
- Anahbi: This one has heard females are given a number, and the Dragonborn will attend to them in order. It will take some time at only five per night.
- Wulf: Having fun, are we?
- Baa’Ren-Dar: Probably not as much fun as the Dragonborn. It is a wonder he has time to fight the countless battles the cheap story-sheets and even reputable news-sheets describe.
- Rigmor: Malesam mentioned the printed stories about his debauchery but said they are so explicit he dares not show me an example.
- Wulf: What does Cerys think?
- Rigmor: She said that some of the things written are anatomically impossible.
- Wulf: Now I know what ‘various research materials’ means on the last invoice Malesam sent the College. Maybe I should demand more details from him?
- Rigmor: You are a cruel man, Wulf.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: I am sorry I cannot provide information on why the Thalmor are an issue and what part of Elsweyr the caravan will take you.
- Wulf: You asked for help, and that is enough information for me. The Divines have forbidden me to enter Cyrodiil, and this plan negates that need. I will be ready on the morning of the third to join the caravan in Elsweyr whenever Rigmor summons me.
- Kharjo: Ri’saad tells this one the news from home. If helping Elsweyr and hindering Thalmor, then this one is happy to be involved.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: You may learn of or even suspect a well-hidden secret while doing this thing. The Khajiit you will meet are trusting you with their lives and even the future of Elsweyr.
- Wulf: The Thalmor already hunt Ashni and Anahbi. Those morons would not be surprised to find they are hiding amongst ‘criminals.’
- Baa’Ren-Dar: Ri’saad suggested their wanted status would help with the cover story if any of you are captured or killed.
- Rigmor: I’m not too fond of it when that possibility is mentioned as if it is nothing of consequence.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: The Thalmor will not be in large enough numbers to pose much danger.
- Wulf: I will go with The Sentinels to meet the caravan just outside of Falkreath. After they have started their journey as caravan guards, I will make my way back to Silverpeak Lodge and relax as I intended to do after Solstheim. Unless dragged away by a Divine Task, I do not want to leave home again till summoned by Rigmor.
- Rigmor: A Divine Task could interrupt our plan, but that is an unavoidable risk.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: It is a pity we can’t spend much time together, Dragonborn. Maybe we can find a way to meet again soon.
- Wulf: You can always visit the Arch-Mage at the College.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: Of course, I often visited Arch-Mage Aren!
- Wulf: And hopefully, I will have teleports installed soon. That will make discreet meetings far easier.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: You have been most diplomatic not prying into my speedy travel secrets.
- Wulf: I enjoy the fact The Thalmor have no idea how a particular Khajiit emissary seems to pop up all over Tamriel!
- Baa’Ren-Dar: Yes, you would think the people who claim to have some mastery over Dawn Magic would also be able to pop up all over Tamriel!
- Wulf: I suspect the Khajiit we are aiding also question their claims to have restored the moons.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: Nobody in Elsweyr believes it.
- Wulf: It is time we get going. I believe the caravan has to move out soon
- Rigmor: I will now return to Bruma and spend a few days in the throne room growing homicidally bored.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: I shall be in Bruma on the second to take you to the exhibition.
- Wulf: I shall be at Silverpeak Lodge studying portals, preparing Olette for her Bards College exam and preparing to move to Solitude and Dragons Keep.
- Baa’Ren-Dar: Wait at least fifteen minutes before leaving for Falkreath. This pilgrim needs to sneak away.
I walked Baa’Ren-Dar to the door while Rigmor continued chatting with The Sentinels.
I then kissed Rigmor goodbye. She teleported to her house in Bruma.
Kharjo told me it is customary with Moonpath caravans to speak to the senior male first, but the senior female was actually in charge.
The caravan was parked just outside of Falkreath. Both caravan owners were aware of who we were, so we put on a bit of a show for any spies who may be watching. I approached the male first.
- Wulf: You must be Ku’rana.
- Ku’rana: That is so. And that one is Marcus?
- Wulf: Yes, and these are the four guards I have chosen and paid to accompany you. Daho, Vahara and Matani.
- Meeko: Woof!
- Wulf: And Vinr is the fourth guard.
- Ku’rana: This one expected another Khajiit, not a rian!
- Kharjo: I have travelled with Vinr many times. You will find him a most helpful guard.
- Ku’rana: This one trusts Daho’s judgement on this matter. I hope Vinr does not chase cats!
- Wulf: He does not like the taste of Khajiit unless very hungry.
- Ku’rana: Your trade goods will arrive safely, and fair barter is already agreed. If the moons allow, we will return with the bartered cargo on the eleventh.
- Wulf: Are you almost ready to travel?
- Ku’rana: Yes, Khajiit will soon step on the warm sands of our homeland once more. However, you must first speak to Verina, my mate. If you fail to do so, it will be as if you insulted our Clan Mother. Verina will be angry with this one, and warm sand on the feet is not as good if there is no warm body on other parts.
- Wulf: I had better speak to Verina then. Other parts may fall off in this cold Skyrim weather if not warmed sufficiently!
Ku’rana laughed as I made my way to the other side of the wagon. I stood before a diminutive Khajiit and could instantly tell she commanded respect. Very much like my not very large beloved.
- Wulf: Are your Verina, Ku’rana’s mate?
- Verina: He called me his mate? Perhaps I am, mostly, but all cats stray from time to time.
- Kharjo: Some more often than others.
- Wulf: I am Marcus. These are the four guards I have chosen. Daho, Vahara, Matani and Vinr. Are they suitable?
- Verina: Let Verina think. Do, Dar, Jo, no matter, they look strong. We can use the extra claws. Two is too few to travel safely! I accept your generous offer to pay so they can fight and die for us if need be at no cost to us! They can stow their gear in the back and jog alongside for the many miles we will be travelling before rest.
- Kharjo: Khajiit, and the rian, are humbled and promise we will bleed and die without making a mess of your wagon.
Verina laughed, then walked up to Kharjo. She then pocked him in the stomach.
- Verina: It will do you good, my chubby friend. You are fat! I thought running from dragons and mean Nords would have made you skinny.
- Kharjo: This one is not fat! Do insult one who has taken many scars for you!
- Verina: Only little scars.
- Kharjo: This one showed you once. They are not little!
- Verina: They are very small, but I suppose that they seem big when they are compared to other parts of Daho.
- Kharjo: This one does not remember you complaining about the size, just mewing like a cub.
- Verina: That is true. It will be good to have Daho walk with us once more. That one was always the bravest of them all.
- Ashni: Kharjo is also excellent at making customers pay way too much and have them walking away thinking they have a bargain. That one’s fake cries of mercy when bartering are a thing of legend.
- Verina: I know of you two. Brave guards, and is this one correct? Are you also bedmates?
- Ashni: Yes, for many years now.
- Verina: Oh, Daho, that reminds this one. You have taken a Nord as your mate, and I have always been curious about that. After all, there are no folds of fur on the neck to sink your teeth into when mating. How do you get the correct rhythm going?
- Wulf: I can testify he has no problems. Time after time after time.
- Verina: With you as well? Daho’s tastes have changed since last we met!
The Sentinels laughed along with Verina.
- Wulf: I hope you all get a flea infestation!
- Verina: I was told our dear friend’s lost cub has grown to become a Den Mother. When in Torval, I often visited, and for a long time, she would either stare ahead or have her head in my lap. That cub would never say a word. Then on one glorious visit, she flew into my arms and talked till my ears bled. It was apparent that one heard and saw all and had a keen mind. Our dear friend said it was a visit to a library that brought her out of that dark place. The transformation brought tears to many of us who had learned to love that hairless, silent cub. As have you, it seems.
- Wulf: I was unaware you knew of the connection.
- Verina: For the business deal to be a success, we had to know.
Khajiit are very perceptive. If Verina knew Rigmor as a child, then she would recognise the love we share. It seems the circle of people who know of our ongoing relationship is ever-expanding.
- Wulf: It seems there are many things we will discover that need to be kept from our competitors.
- Verina: Indeed. We must be away now. We travel with the Ja’Kha’jay moonstrings, first through Cyrodiil. This is easy, but past Riverhold, the khaj begins, and we will need Ja’Kha’jay Raht.
- Wulf: Azura bless you all, and I look forward to hearing of a successful trip.
We had agreed on no sentimentality between myself and The Sentinels for this goodbye. They were, after all, just some mercenary guards I had hired for the caravan. As they started to hitch the therium or mooncow, as Khajiit call them, to the wagon, I started walking back to Lakeview. Meeko could not resist one goodbye bark. It made me smile.
Just outside of Falkreath, I made myself invisible. It was the best way not to bump into trouble until I get the portals working.
Once inside Lakeview, I changed into my Penitus Oculatus uniform and summoned another Sentinel Squad.
We made our way to Silverpeak Lodge without incident. I was glad to get back to my portals study, playing games with the children and helping Olette prepare for the Bards College.
The orphanage was almost completed, and the museum almost ready for opening. It would be a busy month ahead with, I hope, far less killing than the last one.