DANCING THROUGH SAVANNA GRASS

Morndas, 13th Sun’s Dawn, 4E 205

Rigmor slept while I prepared breakfast.

Just after 7:00 AM, I went to wake my beloved but ended up just staring at her. Rigmor owns my heart and soul (even if damaged).

I woke Rigmor by gently stroking her face. She swatted my hand and mumbled, “Go away. You are going to make me walk miles and miles, and I am warm and don’t wanna.”

“Breath in. Can you smell the coffee and rabbit?”

“Rabbit for breakfast?”

“There wasn’t any bacon, and it will be good for your stamina, so yes, rabbit for breakfast.”

Rigmor sat up and looked no more alive than a Draugr!

I handed her a mug of coffee.

The potent brew soon had its desired effect.

Rigmor blurted, “I had a dream, but it wasn’t a nightmare, and we were looking at a strange mountain, which was, I dunno, kind of squarish and children were playing…many, many children, and a little girl left the others and came towards me then she pointed to the mountain.”

“Was it the little girl who swapped Jenny for your sword? Did she say anything?”

“Nah, it wasn’t that little girl, and she didn’t say anything.”

“It has been some time since your foresight showed you anything.”

“Yep.”

“I can usually tell when you are dreaming, but I didn’t notice anything.”

“Were you awake all night?”

“Yes, and I didn’t sleep on the boat for two days either. I had to sleep every night for the first week or so after returning to Nirn. Now it seems a bit elusive.”

“Isn’t it strange this dream, premonition or whatever entered my head despite us being surrounded by our quiet?”

“Perhaps it happened while I was outside doing my morning ablutions.”

“Speaking of which…is there a piss pot in here?”

“Nope. You will have to take note of the wind direction and make yellow snow.”

“Brown snow.”

“Ahh, thanks for that, my beloved.”

“I am just making room for that rabbit, which does smell good!”

“There is absolutely, positively no Royal Princess around here!”

“Excuse me, my good Sir, but I have to go lighten my load!”

“I have thawed out some old news sheets near the fire. You can wipe your bottom on the headline about the signing of The White-Gold Concordat.”

“You always think ahead. Be back soon!”

By the time Rigmor returned, I had finished spicing the rabbit as it did taste a bit gamy.

A strange breakfast it may have been, but Rigmor devoured the rabbit as if she was starved.

We cleaned the place, extinguished the fire, then started on the day’s journey.

After about two and a half hours of battling against a headwind, it finally died down.

Rigmor said, “Yanno, this is what it must be like on Atmora. That is the most northern landmass. Did you know that Men originated from there? Well, that’s what Freathof told me. It wasn’t always ice and snow but used to have green fields. Then it all went cold…brrr!”

I replied, “Many scholars would say Freathof has it wrong, including me. I believe the Nedes, or Nedic People, did not migrate from Atmora. Their exact origin is unknown, but they existed in Tamriel long before the migration of Men from Atmora. There were five main tribes named Kothringi, Al-Gemha, Men-of-Ge, Al-Hared and Men-of-Ket. They interbred with Nords from Atmora, and that is the origin of Imperials. Saint Alessia was Nedic, but her tribe is unknown.”

“What did you think of Freathof?”

“I can tell he is a very learned man. I look forward to discussing esoteric and seemingly worthless knowledge with him. It has to be done right, in front of a roaring fire with lots of wine and cheese.”

“That sounds like an excuse to get drunk.”

“That is the only way some old books make sense!”

A few hours later, Rigmor declared, “Yanno, if we get caught out in the open by a storm, the best thing to do is dig a hole. Then cut blocks using the snow from the hole and place them around a pelt. And…then…we get inside the hole and snuggle up. Hehe…you know, keep each other warm with our body heat, tee hee….”

“A bit of movement, some friction, would warm us up even more!”

“Pervert.”

“Yep, Princess Rigmor would not think of nooky in such a situation.”

“Yeah, but I am no princess, so we would risk melting the ice blocks!”

“It would be embarrassing to be found frozen to death in the middle of it!”

“Not for us. We would be laughing from Aetherius.”

The wind started blowing hard against us once more, and it took all our strength to keep moving forward.

When the wind died once more, I burst into song and started skipping whilst holding Rigmor’s hand.

  • Dancing through savanna grass
  • On light feet, we glide
  • Hey, hey, Baandari boy
  • Tap your heels in stride
  • Hey, hey, Baandari girl
  • Swing your tail beside
  • Val Vijah Va Rhook, Baandari
  • Carrying our world in packs
  • Val Vijah Va Rhook, Baandari
  • Our kingdom on our backs
  • Home is on the move again
  • On wagon wheels, we go
  • Hey, hey, Baandari boy
  • Where the wild winds blow
  • Hey, hey, Baandari girl
  • Our caravan in tow
  • Val Vijah Va Rhook, Baandari
  • Carrying our world in packs
  • Val Vijah Va Rhook, Baandari
  • Our kingdom on our backs
  • Walker, we can teach the steps
  • We’ll be your guiding star
  • Hey, hey, Baandari boy
  • Keep close, and we’ll go far
  • Hey, hey, Baandari girl
  • Our vagabond bazaar

We stopped. Rigmor laughed then asked, “Are you trying to make me think of nice, warm Elsweyr?”

“Not really. The freedom expressed in that song appeals to me.”

“Yeah, who needs castles and lots of gold and gems?”

“Yeah, who needs warmth, comfortable privies, soft beds and dry clothes!”

“Ahh, I wouldn’t mind some of those things.”

“Can you remember when I last sang you that song?”

“Yes, you rushed me to High Hrothgar after Miraak’s goons attacked the Riften Temple of Mara. You sang me songs while I lay in bed.”

“I started to feel overwhelmed with the New Order, Alduin, The Civil War and then Miraak.”

“You thought I would be better off leaving you.”

“Now I know my soul would find you if you left me. I am afraid you are stuck with me.”

“Bobby had no hope once I saw you in The Roxey.”

“Maybe we can replay that one day and I get a hug instead of….”

“Where the hell have you been?”

We laughed once more as we continued our journey.

The wind mocked us. We would get a reprieve for maybe thirty minutes at most, and then it would decide to try and blow us back towards the prison.

Just over three hours since we skipped and sang, the wind and blinding snow eased. I was optimistic I could see trees in the far distance.

Rigmor told me, “Did you know if you get frostbite on your fingers and toes, they can fall off? Not just those, but other dangly bits too! I hope you are covered up.”

I turned to face my beloved.

“So, dear Rigmor, to save my dangly bits, I need a nice warm hole and some friction.”

I turned and continued walking. Unsurprisingly, a snowball smacked into the back of my helm.

Rigmor laughed and said, “Don’t you get any weird ideas!”

An hour later, we were walking along a dirt path.

Rigmor exclaimed, “Whoa! We made it! Look at that snow forest, Wulf!”

She ran to the edge of an overhang then turned towards me.

She asked, “Will it be dark soon?”

“Yes, we wouldn’t reach the mountains for many hours. I don’t fancy walking through a dense forest with a tired Rigmor at night.”

“Let me try something!”

Rigmor turned back to the forest, cupped her hands then started howling and yipping like a wolf.

After doing that for thirty seconds or so, a large pack of wolves answered her.

Rigmor concluded, “Well, that does it. We should wait until tomorrow. Where is the shelter?”

“I don’t know. Let’s get off this overhang and have a look.”

Under the overhang was a pair of chairs, a campfire, piles of wood and an axe.

Rigmor asked, “Is this the cave?”

“I suppose so. It might be okay with the fire blazing and the wind blowing the right way.”

Rigmor sat on one of the chairs and commanded, “Batman, we seem to be short of the required amount of firewood to keep me warm. Be a good boy and start chopping.”

I glared at Rigmor, who smiled and batted her eyelids. I removed my helm, picked up the axe and started splitting some wood.

It wasn’t on a farm, and Rigmor did not have a cold drink in her hand and one on a table for me, but she enjoyed the show anyway.

“Teeheehee. Choppity chop…Hehehe.”

“Now, don’t overdo it. Back straight, batman! Pfft, hahaha!”

I walked over to Rigmor, bowed, then said, “If Princess Pervert wants a proper fire, I humbly suggest she gets off her royal backside and finds some kindling.”

“Okay, keep your hair on. And don’t you dare, Wulf!”

“I don’t find what Morag did to you a laughing matter, Rigmor. Not in the slightest.”

“Pffft! That bitch! The first chance I get, I’m gonna ram my sword right up her arse.”

“Your hair long, short or covered by one of the many wigs you own is good enough for me. It is you that I love, Rigmor Ragnarsdottier, not your follicles.”

“That was romantic, except for the follicle bit.”

“Kindling?”

“Ugghh! Okay, okay, getting off my royal backside.”

“Here is a lantern. Now off you go. Hoppity, hop!”

“Pfft, yeah, right…whatever.”

I returned to chopping wood without the commentary.

Then I heard, “Wulf, over here…quick!”

I placed the axe on the chopping block and ran, grabbing my helm as I passed, thinking Rigmor was in danger.

I rushed around the corner to find Rigmor staring into a cave.

I stood beside her and said, “Well, that looks more like proper shelter. Fortunately, I sent you to find it! Now, in you go.”

“Well, go on then. You go first ‘cause I hate caves.”

“And what if there is a bear in there, unhappy I interrupted their sleep? You are the one with the magical bear powers!”

“And what is there is a family of giant spiders in there, waiting for their supper to drop in?”

“I will tell them not to bother with me and that Royal Princesses taste much better.”

“Go on, batman, in you go!”

I made my way inside. Rigmor soon followed.

I knelt by the fire and used Magicka to light it.

Rigmor exclaimed, “Oh my days, Wulf, look at the cave paintings.”

I lit a torch and handed it to Rigmor.

Rigmor held up the torch to highlight a painting of hunters stalking bison.

With the sense of wonder and awe I adore, Rigmor exclaimed, “These are so wonderful. They must be ancient!”

“I don’t know. The stick figures look like modern Bruma residents to me but better dressed.”

“Idiot! Anyway, these are amazing, and I’ve never seen anything like them before.”

“Yes, they are amazing. It makes you wonder how many people have sheltered in this cave over thousands of years.”

Rigmor moved to another painting. This one was reminiscent of artwork that the Giants of Skyrim create.

Rigmor said, “Oh my, giants. I have heard tales of Ice Giants inhabiting these islands. I hope we don’t run into any.”

“The Frost Giants we encountered in The Hidden Valley were more territorial than the normal giants of Skyrim. If Ice Giants are territorial like the Frost Giants, we need to respect their homes and not approach them. It is not like they are small and capable of hiding behind rocks.”

“I suppose you’re right. We just have to respect their homes.”

Rigmor continued marvelling at the cave paintings while I warmed up some beef jerky and spiced wine.

When they were ready, we sat, Rigmor on a bed, as usual, and myself on a chair.

Rigmor struggled to bite into the jerky, but she enjoyed it nonetheless.

I remarked, “The jerky is well smoked. It is probably as old as those paintings but still edible.”

“I don’t think the Imperial Legion was around then.”

“I wonder what all those spiders I killed preyed upon? It is not like idiots wander across the island regularly.”

“They only need the occasional big idiot, like you, to keep them fed for months.”

“You are too kind.”

“How long do you think it will take them to find out I am not in prison?”

“Well, the Akaviri would have sent another lot over sooner than later. I assume they thought it was to be a short mission, and they were to do it before any Imperial forces see them.”

“Was that Oxi thing going to kill me?”

“No, I think they were supposed to take you and any of their casualties with them.”

“Oh, and you would have been blamed for the deaths as you rescued me!”

“Maybe, if they haven’t said I perished in the fire.”

“The Akaviri would have removed their dead by now and cleared out.”

“Morag would have to wait till a supply ship or other Imperial vessel arrived and the massacre discovered. Even if they don’t blame me for the deaths, you going missing would give them an excuse to attack Bruma. I think that gives us about five days to a week before Sethius can act against your county.”

“What will they do?”

“They will besiege Bruma. Count Bruce de Mesalius would be given that duty as Blackwell, and Sethius would recognise him as a potential threat. If he lost a lot of soldiers taking Bruma, it would be to their benefit.”

“Would Bobby be part of the Leyawiin forces attacking my people?”

“He needs to prove he is more than a bandit. His father wants him to marry an Imperial noble, and at the moment, I don’t think he will find anybody willing to hand their daughter over to his son. If Ser Robere fought gallantly against Bruma and was successful, he could put forward a legitimate claim to Sethius for consideration as the new Count.”

“The phrase ‘hand their daughter over’ is appropriate. That is what my mother and the others were trying to do. It is disgusting now that I think about it.”

“It goes against the principles taught by Lady Mara. The Empire either adheres to the Ten Commands of the Nine Divines or stops pretending to worship them! I told Malesam that you are never to be treated as a trading commodity ever again. Aaarghh! I get so angry just thinking about the idiocy of it all!”

“Do you think Bruma can hold out?”

“Yes, especially with The Sentinels and a few Master Mages decimating any attacking force. Your mother and the others know I want to keep any war local, county versus county. But I will drag The Empire into a civil war if I think Bruma will fall. At some stage, you have to stop worrying about collateral damage and end the evil before it takes root.”

“But you do not want to be Emperor.”

“No, and I would not want to weaken The Empire either. Therefore, it would be a balancing act if it ever came to such an extreme measure.”

“We never did figure out exactly what to do if you rescued me.”

“I have said all along, as I always do, we see what develops and make plans accordingly. Getting to the fishing village is a logical first step.”

“Yanno, being out here in the wilderness with you, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. We are free here, and for the first time since I left Bruma, I feel safe.”

“This is what Lady Mara wanted. I could have summoned one of the mages then Bostin, and we could have been back in Bruma in hours. But I am not yet healed, and you needed this peace before we enter the chaos once more.”

“Was Lady Mara worried about me?”

“I feel a bit guilty as I have not spoken to Lady Mara since Evermor. But Silah passed on her message. Like me, Lady Mara is worried about your ordeal at the hands of Morag and how it made you regress. At the trial, you were like the time I rescued you from the sacrificial altar. My Rigmor was in there somewhere but buried deep and hiding.”

“I didn’t think I was going to make it. I thought they were going to hurt me. But after Morag almost tore my dress completely off, she just left me there, crying and calling out for you.”

“Morag saw the scars on your back, and they moved her.”

“How do you know?”

“Blackwell described what happened as he witnessed it. He was almost crying when he told me. Then, as I said last night, I let Morag talk to me while I was in the pit. She was talking about you being her lover, and she was to be your guardian. I believe Morag was, like Serana, used by her mother to gain favour with Molag Bal. Her virginity was offered to the Dark Lord in that terrible ritual. I doubt Morag enjoys the company of males. She wants to take my place, Rigmor.”

“No way!”

“That is what Morag said.”

“That bitch cut off all my hair and ripped my clothes, but I sat there and just…just let her. It’s like you have absolutely no control over your life or what will happen to you, and numbness tries to protect you. I felt like I was standing there beside her, looking on.”

Rigmor did not notice the tears I shed. She was staring into infinity, which is what she does when recalling memories.

Rigmor continued, “I started to cry and not because I felt sorry for myself. I was crying for her, the girl I used to be. The girl I was trying to be again, but fate wouldn’t allow it.

Destiny had not taken its course and still had my life in its hands, laughing at my suffering.

I stood there in rags, with my head shorn, in that filthy cell. Yanno what the weird thing is? It was almost like home to me. I had been there before, and I had felt worse pain.

There was nothing they could do to me, and I just didn’t care anymore.”

I said, “And you called for me, but I didn’t help you!”

Tears came unbidden, and I desperately tried to control my emotions. Guilt, anger, sadness and empathy battered me with relentless force.

I finally managed to say, “It is all my fault, Rigmor. I am the one who is supposed to tackle the Morag’s and Aedriath’s of this world. But while you are near me, I will drag you into the thick of the evil and bullshit, and you will never be safe! This damned Alessian Prophecy is just the latest, and it won’t be the last. Dark Lord’s will always be plotting. Mortal megalomaniacs will always be plotting. And The Divines will let me know about these plots. I will be their mortal agent until I fail and you lose me. They will find another mortal agent. Our love and our plans will be acceptable collateral damage of this perpetual war of the gods. And I can’t fault them, Rigmor, for I am a frontline soldier and expendable. But you are not me. You are simply a woman who wants peace and to help her people.”

“We have discussed this several times. It is my choice to be with you and share the burden! Sometimes I feel I am being singled out for special treatment by fate, destiny, whatever you want to call it. But we are supposed to be together. You proved that by finding the fourteen-year-old me in that cell. Even The Divines are ignorant of how you managed that feat and are awed by it. You know we are supposed to be together to resolve whatever the problem is that scares The Divines. Please, Wulf, I understand why you could not help me after Morag’s treatment. Don’t feel guilty.”

“But it was my fault. Morag told me she was mad at me for what I said and did when we met after your arrest. She said she thought of me as she hacked away your hair and ripped your dress. Look what it did to you! The closest my Dovah got to taking control was when Malesam told me they no longer torture defendants. Cutting your hair, sticking you in a cell, that was torture!”

“Morag chose to channel her anger at me. That is not your fault!”

I battled for control, not with my Dovah, but my mortal self. The one where emotions override cold logic.

Rigmor smiled and said, “Tell me about The Alessian Prophecy. I want to understand why this shit is happening.”

“Okay, I need to talk to somebody about it. It might as well be the woman I love more than life itself. Almost as much as a sweet roll, if you can believe that!”

“Prophecy, Wulf, before you go off on one of your tangents.”

“Okay, this is what Lord Mor’Bel-Harza said about the origin of the prophecy.”

“I, Lord Mor’Bel-Harza, gathered the last of us, and we rode up to defend our very existence. But they were too many! All but a few, including the little ones, perished. They captured and enslaved the rest of us.

They tore off our wings! Then they imprisoned us in these ancient labyrinths. Our anguished cries, sounding the passing of our kind, rose up into the heavens. Al-Esh heard our cries and was angered. Then she cursed the land.

All that sought to reign over it would never find peace until her children were free. Tamriel would plunge into ruin, decadence and perpetual war everlasting. Lord Akatosh pleaded for her to release the curse while Molag Bal laughed.

Now, I am the last. Al-Esh is calling, and I have been waiting for the coming of a half-brother.

One of my kind is here to free Lord Mor’Bel-Harza and end the curse. And it will signal the beginning of a new golden age and the arrival of The Chosen Queen of Tamriel.”

Rigmor thought about what Lord Mor’Bel-Harza said, then her eyes opened wide, and she asked, “Al-Esh is another name for Saint Alessia, isn’t it?”

“Yes, one of her many names.”

“And the Minotaur Lord called you a half-brother.”

“Yep.”

“Does that mean your mother is Saint Alessia?”

“It would seem so, but I would need more confirmation than one conversation.”

“Wow! Talk about royal blood!”

“Yeah, maybe, but the prophecy does not ring true. Saint Alessia could not lay such a curse, for she hasn’t the power to do so. Even if she did, forcing millions of people to suffer for the sins of their forbears is not what the founder of our religion would do, plain and simple. Also, there hasn’t been ‘ruin, decadence and perpetual war everlasting’!”

“There have been periods of ruin and decadence, and you said the war between the gods is eternal. The wording is overdramatic and unclear, as it is in many prophecies. You have complained about that on several occasions.”

“Yes, I suppose that is possible. But I need to find out more.”

“Is that bitch The Chosen Queen of Tamriel?”

“She thinks she can be and wants me to rule with her. The clue is in the wording of the title.”

“The Chosen Queen?”

“How is the queen chosen and by whom? Molag thinks she can be The Chosen Queen, and I think you can.”

“Oh…so it’s like gods on both sides have chosen their candidates.”

“I don’t think it is that simple. A final choice has to be made, and I believe that is a function of mortal free will, not simply fulfilling parts of a prophecy. That would explain why The Divines don’t know the outcome, and the future is dark to Lord Akatosh.”

“And are you the mortal to make that choice?”

“I don’t think Morag believes she can achieve her ambition without me. There is no reason she would be condemning me for killing her brood one second and offering me joint rule the next unless I was critical in the selection.”

“But what is special about The Chosen Queen? How does mine or Morag’s arrival stop ruin and decadence? How does it stop the perpetual war?”

“I don’t know. There must be much more to discover about the prophecy. Remember how complicated is the one foretelling my arrival?”

“Well, we must stop Morag, prophecy or no prophecy. Let war descend on Tamriel for millennia rather than she be allowed to reign as The Chosen Queen.”

“It wouldn’t be her ruling, Rigmor. It would be Molag Bal.”

“Me as Queen of Tamriel? Nah, you must have it wrong.”

“I may very well be wrong. Just know that I will be by your side, even if I am a blubbering barbarian far too often lately.”

“Wulf, what are we going to do? What will happen to us?”

“We are sticking to the plan and taking one step at a time, together and inseparable… well, mostly inseparable.”

“This spiced wine is good after that salty meat!”

Rigmor finished her wine, and I finished mine.

Rigmor said, “Now we are alone again, just the two of us on a lost island in a sea of ghosts. We are sheltered from the storm in a world that doesn’t care.

Everything I have been through, I would do again, just to be here with you…for this moment.”

I sat next to Rigmor.

“Lady Mara’s advice was excellent! This alone time is doing wonders for us both.”

“Well, how about some of Lady Dibella’s teachings?”

“What are you suggesting, Milady?”

“This!”

Rigmor attacked, and I did not put up any determined resistance.

I know not what time I fell asleep.

I know that the love of my life had her head on my chest, slowly breathing the familiar rhythm of her sleep, and I was content with the world.

4 thoughts on “DANCING THROUGH SAVANNA GRASS

  1. Loved it. Seeing as they both need healing they should stay in the cave for at least another night, ha ha. I hope you will have a great deal of conversation between Rigmor, Wulf and Sigunn when they reunite back in Bruma. You said that the Sentinels will tell all of them at Bruma about Rigmor”s adventures in Skyrim with Wulf. Specially after Rigmor called him all the bastards she could think of and the only time Sigunn would swear was when talking about that guardian. Should be interesting.

  2. How many times is a piece of the puzzle picked up and put down as it doesn’t fit. When the picture becomes clearer, the choices become wiser. Thank You Mark

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