Fredas, 17th Sun’s Dawn, 4E 205
I did not wake but became conscious. It was not sleeping I experienced but the same catatonic state I was in during my time in Aetherius. I remembered many more things about my childhood, as if the block in my mind was gone.
It took a while for my eyes to focus, and I could see two blurry figures talking. It was Allie and Rigmor, and I listened as I waited for my head to clear.
- Rigmor: You spent many years as a slave? How did you deal with it, and how did you make it through?
- Allie: Easy, if someone got my back up, I would kick them in the cobblers!
- Rigmor: Hahaha! Yeah, they couldn’t hold me down either. But it didn’t prepare me for the cruelty that would eventually happen to me.
- Allie: Don’t feel sorry for yourself, Rigmor. Pull your shoulders back and keep your head high. Don’t let them see weakness as it only adds flames to the fire of their vindictiveness. You must dominate them through your confidence. A half-hearted thrust from the enemy is their demise.
- Rigmor: Hah, you sound like my dad.
- Allie: I’ll take that as a compliment.
Rigmor turned and saw me smiling at her.
- Rigmor: Hey, you’re awake.
- Wulf: Am I? I thought I must be dreaming to see something so beautiful.
- Allie: As you can see, Wulf, Rigmor has made a full recovery. And my word, some of the things she has told me about you!
- Wulf: Rigmor, you are going to feel so mortified.
- Rigmor: Why?
- Wulf: All will be revealed, milady.
- Rigmor: See what I mean, Allie? He is weird and a pervert.
As I walked over to continue the conversation, Allie chuckled.
- Wulf: Allie, I am a keen alchemist myself. I can understand the use of Blood Wort, deer antler and Namira’s Rot, but I have no idea what use the rabbit legs were.
- Allie: Oh, they were for my lunch!
Allie and Rigmor laughed, and I joined in. It was a reasonably good prank, even though it delayed me returning with the reagents. It wouldn’t have been so jolly if that delay cost Rigmor her life. But there I go, being morose when humour is always good for the recovery of any illness.
- Rigmor: I don’t suppose there is a recipe to make my hair grow overnight? Pffft.
- Allie: Actually, there is.
- Rigmor: What? No way!
- Allie: For rapid hair growth, two reagents are needed. The first is the heart of a werewolf, as the extracted blood will provide accelerated growth. The second is a lock of your hair that will act as the catalyst.
- Rigmor: Ah, that sucks! Oh well, it is good to know, though.
I removed the lock of Rigmor’s hair from my journal case and held it up.
- Wulf: Oh, look, a lock of Rigmor’s hair. How convenient!
- Rigmor: Where did you get that?
- Wulf: From Morag after I turned her into an ice statue. She was going to give it to me as some sort of taunt for not protecting you.
- Rigmor: That bitch! I wish I had two swords to shove up her arse!
- Wulf: And I know where there is a werewolf. I shall visit him.
- Rigmor: Dragonborn, a werewolf is no threat to you, but the Akaviri are out there!
- Wulf: I can always summon help if I need to. But you will remain here as this is the safest place you can be.
- Rigmor: We’ve wasted enough time as it is. Sure, I want my hair back, but it’ll grow in time.
- Wulf: I have other reasons for heading that way. There are memories I want to revisit.
- Rigmor: Oh, then that is different. But please don’t kill the poor werewolf just for some hair tonic!
- Wulf: Rigmor, I will not harm the werewolf if it doesn’t pose a danger to people.
- Rigmor: Yes, I know that. I shouldn’t have suggested you might.
- Wulf: Allie, I am sure I know where the lair is and will be back as soon as possible. You and Rigmor can find more interesting topics to discuss than a specific, handsome, debonair Dragonborn.
- Allie: Yes, but would other topics be as much fun? From what Rigmor described, your stamina must be phenomenal!
- Rigmor: Allie!
- Wulf: Rigmor!
- Allie: Hahaha!
Allie’s laughter lasted until I made my way outside. Then I heard the ladies start a discussion about stupid things their partners have done.
I stopped at the memorial Allie made for her partner, Talos, and her son, me. I found it a bit creepy visiting my tomb!
I headed in a straight line for the sea and sat, staring into the water and the light shining off it.
I closed my eyes and let the memory come.
I had earned the fishing trip with Anna and my mother. I had found that I could ignore the pain in my arm and hold the wooden sword in position for extended periods with commitment.
Father was impressed, and after one session with the wooden sword, I tried a steel sword. It was not as easy, but still, I held it in position long enough for my father to praise my effort.
Anna had just caught her second salmon and was admiring its size. That made the salmon count two to one in her favour, but I had hooked the huge Slaughterfish.
“I am still ahead, Anna. Look at the size of my fish!”
“But all three of us has to beach that monster, so you can’t claim it as your catch.”
“I quite like the taste of Slaughterfish.”
“Yes, but you have to be careful from where you catch it. My cousin enjoyed Slaughterfish until he found a person’s toe on his plate.”
“That is not a problem if you gut them properly.”
“So, if you were gutting the Slaughterfish and found part of a person, you would still eat it?”
“That depends. If the part came off a jester, I wouldn’t eat the fish because it would make it taste funny!”
“That joke is so bad you should wear a burlap bag over your head in shame.”
“You should wear one, so you don’t scare the fish away.”
That earned me a punch in the arm, but then I had a tug on my line and forgot about the ache as I landed another salmon. Two each!
I stood to continue my journey to the werewolf when I noticed the green tinge of the water. Another memory assailed me.
I was sitting on my father’s shoulders, staring out to sea, when I asked, “Father, why is the water sometimes green and sometimes blue?”
“Can you remember the experiments we did with water and glass cubes of different shapes?”
“Yes, there was the phenomena we called refraction. It is how rainbows are made. Different substances bounce back parts of the spectrum and absorb others. That is why we see different colours. That is called reflection.”
“Correct. Seawater is mostly blue because it absorbs the red part of the spectrum and reflects the blue part.”
“Okay, so, when the water is green, it is absorbing more of the blue part of the spectrum.”
My mother laughed and said, “Not many children your age could have figured that out so quickly.”
“Why? It is just logical deduction based on the knowledge I already have.”
“Okay, then, Valdr. Why would the spectrum absorption of the water change? And no clues from you, Hjalti!”
“There must be something in the water that changes the refraction. Something not visible but large enough to cause that change and probably comes and goes with the tides or times of the year. The water here changes quite often, so I would say it is tidal for this part of the sea.”
It was father’s turn to laugh, then he said, “Correct again. There are very tiny things in the water that aren’t quite plants or animals. Some of the biggest animals on Nirn, whales, feed on them.”
“I read about flying whales. It would be bad enough to have dragons and Minotaurs pooping on everything from the sky! Imagine your house being crushed by flying whale poop! Or losing your grandmother whose legs and arms stick out from under the whale poop!”
Both of my parents laughed, and life was good.
I continued my walk towards the werewolf lair and admired how pointy the mountains were on this island. There must be a reason for that and something the child Valdr would have contemplated for ages.
I stood on a slope leading to the beach.
Yet another memory surfaced.
I had recently turned eighteen years of age. My father had asked me to accompany him. He wanted to tell me about where the Dragonguard would pick me up for my trip to Akavir.
He pointed and explained, “They will come from that direction. Their ship will have to anchor beyond the sandbars. At the moment, we don’t know when they can risk the trip, so you will have to visit here each day at high tide and see if they have arrived. If we can, we will let you know via what you have decided to call your Divine Compass, but that depends on me being able to place it.”
“How much of a risk are they taking?”
“The other Tsaesci think they are all dead. If they discover them, they will be. The route has been chosen to provide a combination of fast access to this island with less chance of discovery.”
“Why would the Tsaesci turn against the Dragonguard? After all, they invaded Tamriel just to find a Dragonborn.”
“You will learn of these things from the Dragonguard. You should wait till then.”
“That seems to be the answer I get for many questions lately. Wait, Valdr, and you will eventually learn.”
“It is vital, my son, that you rely on your logic, intuition and emotions. The Nine have no control over the free will of mortals and cannot see into Oblivion. Therefore, the best way of resolving Divine Tasks is by using your skills when deciphering the problems first hand and reacting to the unravelling mysteries.”
“The Nine do not know all.”
“That is an understatement, but the Daedric Princes are equally in the dark.”
I made my way to the overhang over the werewolf’s den.
It was here I came when my Divine Compass said the Dragonguard had arrived.
I watched the Akaviri ship drop anchor, and then they lowered a rowboat.
I looked around. This island is all I have ever known. If I were heading for Skyrim or even High Rock, the culture change would be severe. But I am heading for Akavir, which is guaranteed to be utterly foreign in culture and people.
I am not afraid, but I will miss my home.
I made my way down to the sand, where I met the Dragonguard.
Even from this distance, I could smell the werewolf, but I ignored him as I remembered.
The three Dragonguard aboard the rowboat were Tsaesci. Before approaching me, they turned the boat to face outwards in case a quick getaway was needed.
I stood still as the Dragonguard approached. When a yard in front of me, their leader uttered ‘kneel’ in Tsaesci. The two behind drew their katana, knelt, placed the tip of their sword in the ground and bowed their head.
The leader then knelt, bowed his head, then said, “Dragonborn, I am Grandmaster Yru. Behind me are Swordmaster Azylin and Swordmaster Rirdaxah. We are honoured to escort you to the ship and be your companions in Akavir. I ask that you make haste, for we fear our countrymen have heard of your existence from their master and will be eager to shorten your stay on Nirn.”
“Is my mother in danger?”
“No, she is protected. Do not concern yourself.”
“Then let us go. I am sad to say goodbye to my home but also eager for new experiences.”
“I can guarantee, Dragonborn, that few mortals will experience what your future holds.”
From the moment I stepped into the boat, a block was placed. That is where my memories of the Akaviri end. My following memories are the carriage ride to Helgen.
I made my way to the werewolf’s lair.
I could see a lighted fire, tanning rack, fish drying racks and a recently killed elk. There were many crates with markings of The East Empire Company. No feral werewolf lived here!
I approached the overhang and used my Thu’um to call, “Hello, are you home?”
I was answered by a growl below and watched a large werewolf run towards me.
He stopped in front of me, but I did not change my relaxed posture.
“Oi, what are you doing in my cave?”
“I have come visiting, and I am not in your cave.”
“Did that old crone send you here to kill me?”
“Her name is Allie, and no, she does not want me to kill you.”
“Well, you tell her I had nothing to do with her son’s death and that she can keep her nose out of my business. So, why are you here?”
“My name is Wulf. May I have yours?”
“My name is Davinius Carvesius, but people call me…well…people used to call me Dave.”
“May I have a seat, Dave?”
“Be my guest.”
I sat on a box, and Dave towered over me.
“You have an Imperial name and accent. Are you from Cyrodiil?”
“Yes, I grew up in Chorrol. My parents did their best to raise me right, but I ended up in the wrong crowd. I did a bit of this, and a bit of that, then ended up in Skyrim. That is where I got bitten.”
“How did you end up on this island?”
“After I had turned a couple of times, I knew I had to get away from civilisation. I didn’t want to hurt anyone and had no control over the beast inside me.
I stole a sailing boat from Solitude docks and ran aground here. Perfect, so I thought. An almost uninhabited island where I could not harm anybody.”
“You have made quite a comfortable home here by the looks of it.”
“I have been here for years now. There are plenty of elk and deer and millions of rabbits. Ships run aground on the rocks from time to time, and I salvage the wrecks.”
“Am I correct to assume that you were afflicted by the Akaviri and are therefore stuck in wolf form?”
“Yeah, those Akaviri dogs. It all happened by accident. I was having one of my turns, as you do, and ran into a patrol of them. Maybe they were scouting the island out? I can only remember some red mist, and when I awoke or came around if you like, I was stuck in wolf form. However, I have complete control like any other sentient being. I have been like this ever since.”
“How often have the Akaviri been visiting this island?”
“That patrol was the first time I saw them, and that was in 4E 195. They swarmed all over the island for weeks after that. Then they left for a few years and returned in 4E 201. They left again about three years ago and returned about two weeks ago.”
“What can you tell me about Allie?”
“When the Akaviri first arrived, she would come out here, calling out her son’s name in the forest and along the beaches. I guessed something was up, but after some time, she stopped coming.
Then when the Akaviri returned in 4E 201, she was back. One time she found my cave. I hid and watched her snoop around and then leave.”
“Did you ever see her son?”
“I knew somebody was coming up here every day, but I knew I hadn’t killed anyone. I saw him a few times from a distance. He was a youth, not yet fully grown, and was always in ancient armour. He would stand on the ridge above, look out to sea for some time, and then leave.”
“What name did Allie call out?”
“It was in some weird language. Probably an ancient dialect as I can’t recall hearing similar in Cyrodiil.”
“Now, I can’t roll my R’s as well as a native speaker, but was the name, ‘Vuallderrrr’?”
“It had been some time, but yes, that is it.”
“Well, that is the Ayleidoon word for wolf.”
“Ayleid? There must be a story behind this.”
“The Akaviri were looking for me years ago and are looking for me once more. When I leave this island, which will be soon, you probably won’t see them again. I am Allie’s son, and she will soon know you had nothing to do with my disappearance.”
“You used a bit of Thu’um earlier, and I can smell something different about your blood. Are you Dragonborn?”
“Yes, I am the one who defeated Alduin.”
“I thought the Akaviri revered Dragonborn?”
“Some do, but some follow a dark path and want me enslaved or dead.”
“Is this why you visited, to ask about the Akaviri?”
“No, Dave, I came here to get some of your blood. Allie is an alchemist and needs werewolf blood to create a potion, or tonic if you prefer, to restore the hair of a friend.”
“So, you came out here for a hair tonic?”
“My friend’s hair was shaved by the vampire in charge of the Akaviri. It would help her regain confidence and self-esteem if her hair grew back. The quicker, the better.”
“Your friend sounds very special to you.”
“I love her dearly, and she is going to be my wife one day.”
“We all owe you, Wulf, for saving us. What is a little blood compared to that debt? Wait here.”
Dave went into his cave. He had his back to me, so I didn’t see him cut himself. The choice cussing that followed was rather inventive.
Dave returned with a small vial of his blood then handed it to me.
“Here, take this to Allie. I hope it is enough.”
“I think it is plenty enough. Thank you, Dave.”
“May I ask a favour?”
“Please put in a good word for me at Sonje, the fishing village. Tell them I would like to trade meat, pelts and other goods. Also, perhaps you can return for a visit one day?”
“Milady’s name is Rigmor. She is the Countess of Bruma and likes to boast of her drinking expertise. She would love to visit you, Dave, and we shall bring some new drink we recently discovered called Ye Olde Special Brew.”
“Hey, now that is something I can look forward to. We can make a huge bonfire on the beach and get shitfaced. Me, you and Rigmor.”
“I can’t get drunk, but I can have fun watching you two get shitfaced!”
“Your Dragonblood, huh?”
“Yep. Now, what do you want me to tell the Sonje villagers?”
“Just tell them they have nothing to worry about, and if they like, send someone up to trade goods. I can provide elk, deer and rabbit skins and meat. No wolves, though, hahaha. I’ll trade them for provisions and beer.”
“I will put in a good word for you, Dave. Thanks for the blood and the information. I had better get back before Allie comes here with a big stick looking for me.”
“Take care, Wulf. May the gods be with you.”
“They always are, Dave.”
I jogged back to the hut.
When I entered, I interrupted another gossip session between Allie and Rigmor.
I walked up to Allie and said, “The werewolf’s name is Dave. We had a good chat, and he gave me a vial of his blood. I can also assure you that he had nothing to do with your son’s disappearance.”
“Oh, that is good to hear. My son is lost to me, but at least he did not die the gruesome death I imagined.”
I handed Allie the vial of blood then said, “If you will excuse us, Allie, Rigmor and I need to talk while you prepare the tonic.”
“Of course, you have some plans to make, I’m sure.”
“We will be just outside if you need us.”
Rigmor followed me outside, and I took her to the tomb and shrine.
“Rigmor, did Allie tell you about her son?”
“Yes, so sad. I wonder what happened to Allie’s son and partner.”
“Whose shrine is that?”
“Talos was her partner and my father. Allie is an aspect of my mother, Saint Alessia. I hope you didn’t discuss anything too embarrassing with her?”
“Oh! Oops…you know how women talk about these things.”
“Yes, apparently, it is their favourite subject.”
“Ahh, but she doesn’t know you are her son, so no embarrassment involved.”
“When this aspect is rejoined with the rest of Saint Alessia’s soul, her memories will be transferred.”
“Well, remind me to be embarrassed then.”
“I am not going to tell her I am her son. I will tell her that we know him and that he is safe.”
“That is a good idea, but why is she here, Wulf?”
“I can only speculate. I will have to think it through or maybe even ask my father.”
“This must be so weird for you.”
“Yes, it is weird having a small part of my mother, who doesn’t even know who I am, so close.”
“What about your memories?”
“I have them all up to when I board a boat for Akavir. I will explain it to you when I get the chance.”
“Okay, let’s cheer up your mother!”
We entered the cottage and walked up to Allie.
Allie said, “Here, Rigmor, drink the potion. It might seem as if it hasn’t worked yet, but soon your hair will grow to at least the length it was quite rapidly. You will go to sleep as you are and then wake with a full head of hair.”
Rigmor gulped down the potion. I decided it wasn’t prudent to tell her she just swallowed werewolf blood.
I walked closer to Allie and said, “Allie, I have something important to tell you.”
Allie turned to face me.
“When I was talking to Dave the werewolf, he told me of seeing your son board a strange ship he thought came from Akavir. He told me you would walk around the island calling out for your son. Dave tried hard to pronounce his name, but I think it was Valdr.”
“Yes, yes. That is how others pronounce it.”
“I know your Valdr. He is a good friend of Rigmor and me.”
“You know him? Please, Wulf, tell this old woman what you can to ease her worries.”
“He was taken from this island just after he turned eighteen years of age. I do not know who took him or where he went, but he was trained to be a warrior of exceptional skill as well as a Master Mage. He arrived in Skyrim a few years ago and helped Rigmor and I stop an invasion and thwart the plans of a god who was an enemy of Mundus. Valdr has since tackled other gods and evil to assist his Lord Akatosh to maintain the Sacred Covenant. He is well-loved by many. His concern has always been for the welfare of the mortals on this planet. His father has visited and given him advice when needed the most. He loves The Nine, and he knows they love him.
Very recently, a person whose destiny is entwined with his told him something Valdr knows is the absolute truth.
She told him that it would take loving and dedicated parents to make him the man he now is. It took parents who instilled in him his compassion, morals, and willingness to sacrifice that were taught not just by words but also by their deeds.
Valdr has found love in all its forms to be the most precious thing. The love of friends, orphaned children, and his beloved is the only reward he has ever needed.
You should be proud of him, Allie. He is doing what The Divines require of him, and your love shines through him, and it blesses those around him.”
Tears streamed down Allie’s cheeks. She had what she wanted, which was news of her precious son.
Rigmor came over and gave Allie a much-needed hug.
Then Rigmor said, “Thank you, Allie, for everything. We won’t forget you.”
“It has been my pleasure. Travel safely, my children.”
I said, “Blessings of The Divines, Allie.”
I also hugged Allie, and she squeezed me tight and only reluctantly let me go.
As I stepped back, Allie said, “May The Divines be vigilant in watching over both of you.”
We walked outside and started to walk away from my childhood home.
We heard my mother say, “Wulf, wait….”
We turned, and my mother stood on the front doorstep. I knew it was another aspect, but my heart didn’t care, for she was beautiful, and I smiled.
My mother went inside the cottage and closed the door.
I whispered, “Rigmor, please stay here.”
I entered the cottage, which now looked as if it hadn’t been occupied for many years.
Just then, I heard the snarling of a wolf.
The protection around the cottage was no longer there. Wild animals could now tread where it was once impossible. A wolf attacked Rigmor.
Rigmor killed the wolf.
I walked over and said, “Rigmor, please come with me.”
We entered the cottage, and Rigmor gasped.
“What is going on, Wulf?”
“The reason for Allie being here is gone. The lifeforce that sustained Allie has returned to my mother to aid in her battle with Molag Bal.”
“And you knew who Allie was from the start, didn’t you?”
“Yes. I knew, but the exact reason Allie was here is still speculation on my part. I feel it has something to do with my time travelling as well as The Alessian Prophecy. But I need more bits of the puzzle.”
‘You felt safe leaving me with her because of the protection around this cottage.”
“Yes, can you imagine me leaving you here otherwise?”
“When Allie told me how you left the cottage to find the stuff for the cure, I thought that was unlike you. When you left me with her today, I started to suspect you knew something I didn’t.”
“As soon as Allie left, so did the protection around the cottage.”
“And that is why a wolf could attack me!”
“There is a note on the table, Wulf. And a ring on top of it.”
“I know the ring. It was given to me for my eighteenth birthday. I was born on the 29th, Sun’s Height, 4E 177.
Considering that I did not age for three years, I am physically twenty-four years of age. I am twenty-seven years of age if you count the time jump years.”
“So, you are not as ancient as you look!”
“Thanks for that.”
“Are you going to read the note?”
I picked up the ring and placed it into my gem bag. The ring’s dweomer decreased the time between Shouts but was weak compared to the one on my Talos amulet. I may wear it on a chain when I have time to select one.
I picked up the note, read it, then handed it to Rigmor.
Rigmor looked at the note then asked, “What language is this?”
“Ayleidoon. It says ‘I’m sorry.’”
“Sorry for what?”
“Sorry for the crap you and I have had to endure and will continue to endure.”
“The plan has not changed. Now we head for Sonje, the fishing village.”
We walked in silence. Rigmor knows me well enough to recognise when I was deep in thought. She also knows I will not keep secrets and will discuss things with her.
Then I said, “Oh!”
“Wulf, what is it?”
“Do you see the windmill ahead? That is the farm where Anna lived. She probably wouldn’t recognise me, but I don’t want to see her, Rigmor. If she does recognise me, she will ask awkward questions for which I have no answers.”
“Anna would be twenty-eight years of age. She probably has a husband and lives with him somewhere else.”
“You are probably right. We can’t afford to skirt around the farm, as it is rather large. Okay, let’s take the risk.”
As we walked through the farm, I gasped at an impossible memory.
Before us stood Child Me, staring at Adult Me! A few feet in front of Child Me was Anna with her back to him.
Child Me said, “I like the beard, but I thought I would have been a bit taller. The lady with you is beautiful! Anyway, Wulf, I must tell you this. Prophecy is being invented as you unravel it, and you will see evidence of manipulation. I have no idea what that means, but I know right now that needs to be said. I wonder if I will ever remember this?”
Anna said, “Valdr, are you talking to yourself again? Grab a hoe and head for the vegetable patch!”
Child Me answered, “Yes, I am talking to myself. It is the only way to get sensible answers.”
Child Me then whispered to Adult Me, “Duty calls, Wulf. I hope our time with Anna is full of fond memories.”
The memory of helping Anna that day was pleasant.
Rigmor said, “Wulf, you have gone very pale. What is it?”
“We need to get away from the farm, and then I will try and explain.”
We quickly moved to some rocks that blocked the view of the farm. I fell to my knees, and Rigmor knelt beside me.
“Rigmor, I will try and explain this as clearly as I can, but I have never been so confused.”
“We often figure things out together, so it is worth a try.”
“When I was nine years old, I was helping Anna around the farm. It was something I did pretty often and not just because I liked being with Anna. My parents would send me or accompany me on many errands to help others on this island.
That day I saw you and me walking through the farm. What we just did was a memory hidden from me but now unlocked. I can remember seeing us as we are now.”
“Wow! It makes me kinda dizzy thinking about it!”
“Child Me said, ‘Prophecy is being invented as you unravel it, and you will see evidence of manipulation. I have no idea what that means, but I know right now that needs to be said.’”
“You as a kid gave you as an adult that message? Okay, I understand your confusion but forget the message for a moment. Think about who would want you to hear it?”
“Do you have any suggestions?”
“Allie said she was a soothsayer. She said, ‘I have had many dreams and visions of possible permutations for the future of this world. Some are good outcomes, but by far, most are not.’”
Rigmor stated, “If Allie had all of Saint Alessia’s memories, she would know that she has been accused of placing a curse on Tamriel and is held responsible for the terrible outcomes.”
I surmised, “Seer, soothsayer, witch, prophet and many other words are used to describe somebody with foresight. Throughout history, people who predict a terrible event are often accused of creating the terrible event. That is why many with the gift are afraid of it and never reveal it.
I don’t think Saint Alessia placed a curse. I think she foresaw the issues facing Nirn and what was needed to make what she called ‘good outcomes’ more likely.”
“You are saying that Saint Alessia created the Alessian Prophecy to resolve the problems, but she did not create the problems.”
“Maybe she didn’t create the prophecy but provided information which others used to create it.”
“You said The Alessian Prophecy is word of mouth. So, over the years, The Alessian Prophecy changed, and she is accused of placing a none existent curse. In reality, the prophecy is concerned with fixing problems that are not of her making.”
“Yes, that sums it up.”
“Wulf, we are making progress, which we usually do when tackling a problem together.”
“The wording of The Alessian Prophecy, the parts that I have been told, is full of ambiguity. I believe the fate of the Minotaur was used as an example of why there will be so much ruin, decadence and perpetual war.”
Rigmor understood, and speculated, “Alessia hears the grief of the Minotaur and says something like, ‘While that sort of thing can happen, there will be much ruin, decadence and perpetual war.’”
“Yes, Alessia pointed out a symptom of the disease, not the cause of the disease. Stopping atrocities such as what happened with the Minotaur is a step towards achieving the good outcomes that she saw. Sending Lord Mor’Bel-Harza’s soul to join her ended one atrocity and was a step towards ending all such atrocities. But what if rescuing the children’s souls at Table Mountain is also required? That might also be considered freeing her children.”
“Oh, that means those who think that part of the prophecy is complete could be wrong!”
“We are dealing with an oral prophecy that is being changed as circumstances change. The Divines have a way of making the ‘good outcomes’ more likely and is using The Alessian Prophecy and us as parts of an overall plan. As per usual, the truth will reveal itself, and we have to be ready for whatever that truth is.”
“Your mother would want you to be aware of the manipulation of the prophecy so that you are better equipped to recognise what is happening.”
“Hence, the message she somehow implanted in the Child Me.”
“Well, my dear Dragonborn, can you think of any other candidate that might have manipulated the child you?”
“Not really, but I don’t think it is important who put Child Me up to it. The warning is what is important as it confirms what I already suspected.”
“Come on, Wulf, get up and let us head for the fishing village.”
“Rigmor, how would I ever get things done without you?”
“I have no idea.”
I laughed as I stood up, and we continued to Sonje, which is not far from Anna’s farm.
A group of locals was standing outside Sonje’s inn, called The Fishermen’s Friend.
- Gunther: Hey, you two. Get over here, quick!
- Rigmor: It looks like we are expected.
- Wulf: They had better watch their manners.
We walked up to the group.
- Wulf: Evening, I am Wulf and this is Rigmor. May I have your names?
- Gunther: Why?
- Wulf: I hate punching strangers in the face, that is why. I like to know the rude person whose teeth I just caved in.
- Gunther: Oh…ah…I am Gunther.
- Lars: And I am Lars.
- Nils: I am Nils the Elder.
- Hanna: I am Hanna.
- Wulf: Good, now that we are the best of friends, what seems to be the issue?
- Nils: Go and sort out your stinky friend! He stinks like shit and has emptied my inn. And he is half-naked.
- Rigmor: That must be Sethri. We will deal with him.
- Wulf: As milady said, we will deal with him. But first, have you heard of the werewolf located north along the coast?
- Nils: Yeah, the beast has never been down here, thank the gods.
- Wulf: I sat down and had a good talk with him earlier today.
- Nils: I find that hard to believe, considering you’re still alive and they don’t talk.
- Wulf: So, Nils, have you travelled all over Nirn and met dozens of werewolves and know for sure that werewolves can’t talk?
- Nils: Ahh…no.
- Wulf: And do you think I will lie to an insignificant twerp like you because I have nothing better to do?
- Nils: Ahh…no.
- Wulf: Then shut the fuck up and listen like a polite person would do.
- Nils: Ahh…okay.
- Wulf: The werewolf’s name is Davinius. He is an ordinary person who is unfortunately stuck in werewolf form. He has never harmed an islander and would like to trade with the locals. He can offer furs, meats and other items for barter.
- Nils: Well, that would be a first. I doubt anyone would want to risk a confrontation, but I’ll let the others know and keep what you said in mind.
- Wulf: See how easy it can be to behave with manners. Now we will talk to Sethri and get him to behave.
- Rigmor: Get some helpful information out of Sethri before throttling him.
- Wulf: If I have to.
We entered ‘The Fishermen’s Friend’, and Sethri was sitting at a table in his underwear. I was not in the mood for fart jokes and mucking around.
Rigmor ran over and sat down.
I joined them at the table.
- Rigmor: Oh my, Sethri, you are a stinker. Hahaha!
- Sethri: Greetings, Wulf, Rigmor. I knew you would be coming here and have waited since yesterday.
- Wulf: What is the date?
- Sethri: The seventeenth of Sun’s Star.
- Wulf: As I thought. Rigmor, Allie kept you asleep for two days and me unconscious for that time.
- Rigmor: Oh, we both must have needed time to heal.
- Wulf: I needed my memories to sort themselves. Remember what I said about them all coming at once.
- Rigmor: Yeah, that makes sense.
- Wulf: Sethri, drop the illusion. I know you are wearing a College of Winterhold robe, which I hope you have earned. Also, put a plug up your arse.
- Sethri: Good beans, Wulf, good beans.
- Rigmor: Sethri, you’re unbelievable and really are something. These poor people need to be able to come back into their inn.
- Sethri: I’ll behave. Tell them the coast is clear…hahaha!
- Rigmor: Hahaha, it is good to see you again, Tendril Sethri.
Rigmor got up to tell the locals that they could return.
- Wulf: Sethri, I am in no mood for juvenile jokes. Rigmor and I are in danger as once again we try and save everybody’s arses. When Rigmor returns, try and stick to the task at hand.
- Sethri: Malesam warned me not to irritate you.
- Wulf: That is excellent advice! Now let us wait for Rigmor, and then we can start.
A few seconds later, Rigmor returned and sat in her chair.
- Wulf: Okay, Sethri, what’s the news?
- Sethri: Have you ever heard of Table Mountain?
- Wulf: Yes. Morag Sethius sent some Akaviri to kidnap or kill Rigmor and take her to Table Mountain.
- Rigmor: And I had a dream about it.
- Wulf: Did you find it in Hammerfell?
- Sethri: Yes, it is just over the border, north of the Brema River.
- Wulf: That is the area of the border that Quintus’ Army is situated.
- Sethri: Yes.
- Rigmor: And that is where Morag’s coven is?
- Sethri: I suppose you could say that. It is undoubtedly the place where she goes to rejuvenate her youth.
- Wulf: And how does she accomplish that?
- Sethri: She basks in the rays of a living soul gem. It stands on a plinth below the mountain in the catacombs. To get to the catacombs, you climb the mountain and enter some ancient Ayleid ruins at the top.
- Wulf: There is no such thing as a ‘living soul gem’.
The locals returned to their inn with threats aimed at Sethri.
- Sethri: It is called ‘The Bridge of Sighs’ and contains the children’s souls that Morag Sethius had brought to the table of the Vampiric Defilers.
- Wulf: The ‘Vampiric Defilers’ in The Bloodlet Throne were pathetically weak. I think you will find the souls inside the ‘The Bridge of Sighs’ are not those of children consumed by The Defilers. They will be those marked by Morag. The souls of those consumed are in Coldharbour unless protected by Arkay or a similar god.
- Sethri: The energy within the gem emits rays, and because of its nature, trapped children’s souls, it can never diminish, only grow stronger. When Morag Sethius basks in the rays, the gem becomes more powerful and unstable. Morag is eternally connected to it via a ‘bridge’.
- Rigmor: Wulf, you look agitated.
- Wulf: Let Sethri finish, and then I will become unagitated
- Sethri: Yes, well, Morag may be eternally young in Coldharbour, but here, in the mortal world, she is over three hundred years old. The gem is used to maintain her youth to beguile unsuspecting mates and place herself in positions of power.
- Wulf: That is the most significant load of crap I have ever heard! It is even worse than Morag’s speech at the Noble Decree signing!
- Rigmor: Lecture time!
- Wulf: Sethri, did you consult with any of the Master Mages at Bruma or just make up that bullshit?
- Sethri: Malesam and I discussed it.
- Wulf: Was Cerys part of the discussion, or did she stand behind Malesam like a silent servant?
- Sethri: Well…um…
- Rigmor: Wulf, it seems like Cerys was in silent servant mode.
- Wulf: Souls do not change from childhood to adulthood. If they did, I could not have overlayed my adult soul over my child soul. Morag used children as they are easier to ensorcel.
- Sethri: Oh.
- Wulf: Vampires do not need ‘rays’ from ‘living soul gems’ to maintain a younger appearance in Mundus. I have met vampires thousands of years old. Serana is much older than Morag, and so is her mother, and so was her father. They and no vampire I have ever met has aged beyond the day they became vampires. Oh, Serana was a mighty Vampire Lord and chose to age a few years, but she is an exception. We have child vampires in my orphanage who will remain in a child’s body forever. One of the best assassins known is a vampire many hundreds of years old with the appearance of a pretty, pre-pubescent girl child. All vampires look the same in Coldharbour as they do in Mundus.
Sethri was looking uncomfortable, and so he should.
- Wulf: Molag Bal and Alessia are engaged in a battle of wills, and the Dark Lord is slowly overpowering the Saint. Saint Alessia is trying to prevent Molag Bal from utilising the energy of the children’s life forces but is losing. Hence the ‘Bridge of Sighs’ seems to be increasing in power. This battle of wills has prevented more souls from being absorbed, which is why children stopped vanishing about ten years ago.
- Sethri: Then what use does Morag have for the ‘Bridge of Sighs’?
- Wulf: Morag’s is part hagraven. She uses a tiny part of the power to hide her hagraven features. Molag Bal could make her look normal permanently, but then he wouldn’t have any leverage over her.
- Rigmor: Molag Bal would not go through all this trouble just to make Morag prettier!
- Sethri: Molag Bal is in an eternal struggle with Akatosh. With the lifting of the Alessian curse, he intends to bring the mortal world to Coldharbour. As a matter of fact, he makes no secret of it. Azura informed me of his bragging.
I shook my head and told my Dovah to stay quiet.
- Sethri: The ‘Bridge of Sighs’ will eventually grow so powerful, it will open a rift, a kind of bubble between the mortal plane and Coldharbour. Once the rift is opened, Molag Bal will be able to pass through it. He plans to drag whole cities into the abys.
- Wulf: STOP! Leave the mumbo jumbo and gobblygook to those who know about these things! You are mixing half-truths with fiction and have come up with crap!
- Rigmor: Keep it under control, Wulf, and explain.
- Wulf: As I said, the power of the Bridge of Sighs is increasing as Saint Alessia slowly loses her battle of wills with Molag Bal. The energy stored within the life forces of many souls is immense. With the right dweomer, the souls can be used to open Oblivion Gates. At least get the terminology correct, Sethri. Nobody calls them a kind of bubble! The New Order was going to open an Oblivion Gate by using the life force of a single individual, namely, Rigmor. Boethia was going to open one by using most of the population of the Imperial City during the great war. Her plan was called ‘The Culling’.
- Rigmor: Keep going!
- Wulf: If Molag Bal manifests in the mortal plane, it will be to rule and dominate, not to enable the dragging of cities anywhere. He almost dragged the entirety of Nirn into Coldharbour in the past. He has successfully dragged cities into Coldharbour in the past. He did not need to manifest in Mundus to do these things! And the abyss is not Coldharbour!
- Rigmor: What else, Sethri?
- Sethri: Wulf, did Morag Sethius get you to kill the last Minotaur?
- Wulf: No! I chose to kill Lord Mor’Bel-Harza out of mercy as he begged me to do.
- Sethri: And the prophecy comes to pass…except ‘The Chosen Queen of Cyrodiil’ has been usurped by Morag Sethius. ‘The Bridge of Sighs’ is almost at its zenith, and we are running out of time.
- Rigmor: Morag hasn’t usurped anything. She is trying to take the title from me and is yet to do so.
- Sethri: Oh, you know then?
- Rigmor: Sethri, Wulf figures these things out and tells me.
- Wulf: You differ from the prophecy as spoken by Lord Mor’Bel-Harza, the Minotaur Lord. He said, ‘The Chosen Queen of Tamriel’, and you said, ‘The Chosen Queen of Cyrodiil’. They are two completely different things. One is the queen of a province, and the other is the queen of a continent.
- Rigmor: Wulf says that oral prophecies are not reliable as people change the words and meaning.
- Wulf: Sethri, the keyword is ‘chosen’. How is the choice made? If both Rigmor and Morag are candidates for the role, what is the deciding factor?
- Sethri: I don’t know.
- Wulf: Well, I have a good idea how but I will not discuss it with you now. I have my reasons.
- Rigmor: Oh, okay, then I shall keep quiet about that part as well.
- Wulf: We need to destroy the ‘Bridge of Sighs’ and free Saint Alessia and the souls.
- Rigmor: Would that hurt Morag?
- Wulf: If, as Sethri said, she has some connection to it, then its destruction may kill her, injure her or simply revert her to hagraven ugliness.
- Rigmor: Good!
- Wulf: The crystal lattice of the Bridge of Sighs could release a tremendous amount of power when destroyed. I would not like to hit it with my sword!
- Sethri: Yes, releasing that much power might be enough to open an Oblivion Gate long enough for Molag Bal to travel into Mundus.
- Wulf: I don’t relish the idea of Molag Bal stomping on me. I am severely allergic to being toe jam!
- Sethri: Well, it just so happens we have a backup plan if Molag Bal should step through the Oblivion Gate.
- Wulf: This should be interesting.
- Sethri: Malesam would be best to let you know about what that is when you return to Bruma. Let’s just say Molag Bal has an old friend who is hungry to meet him… literally. We are pooling our resources.
- Wulf: Do you know how Boethia is going to help, yes or no?
- Sethri: Ahh, not precisely.
I stood then summoned Serana. She popped out of the ether about ten seconds later. A few of the locals swore and gulped down their mead.
- Serana: Hello, Rigmor!
- Rigmor: Oh, hi Serana. How’s life as a mortal?
- Serana: Well, I have fewer Vigilants of Stendarr trying to kill me.
- Rigmor: What is happening in Bruma?
- Serana: They are moving their troops into position for the siege. I think they became rather annoyed when a bunch of mages appeared and Fireballed their half-finished trebuchets.
- Rigmor: Are they Leyawiin troops?
- Serana: Yes, and scouts report that Ser Robere is leading them.
- Rigmor: Wulf predicted that. If he captures Bruma, he can argue with Sethius about being the Count.
- Serana: They have no hope, Rigmor. Including Cerys, who can now use the most potent Destruction spells, there are eight Masters of Destruction ready to litter the ground with thousands of corpses. All Imperial Battle Mages are with the real legions, not these dressed up bandits, so we face no countermagic.
- Wulf: Is there any more information on The Alessian Prophecy?
- Serana: Freathof knows a version of it.
- Wulf: I will get his version from his mouth.
- Rigmor: Do you know how Boethia plans to aid us?
- Serana: Malesam said he would only discuss it with you two. That is an order from his Mistress.
- Wulf: Sethri, Serana is almost seven hundred years old. Vampires do not age!
- Serana: We all laughed when we heard the theory about Morag needing some special ray to keep her young!
- Wulf: Sethri, I know you and Malesam are trying your best, but honestly, learn to use the resources available to you.
- Sethri: Duly noted, Wulf.
A villager came bursting through the door and said, “The village is under attack!”
“Sethri, get rid of the illusion and make your way outside. Come on, Serana and Rigmor, it sounds like the Akaviri are here.”
I made my way outside and used night-vision.
Many Akaviri saw me and attacked.
I Shouted Slow Time then started cutting them down.
Serana, Rigmor and I cut down eight in a matter of seconds.
I could see more Akaviri approaching from the other direction and, due to Slow Time, I engaged them well ahead of everybody else.
Dave entered the fray and knocked Akaviri flying.
I cut down the last and said to Nils, “You can relax. I think a few of your citizens have some scratches, and some were afflicted by Blood Magic. Our healers will help them.”
“Who are you? You cut down a dozen at least while the rest of us got maybe another six altogether.”
“I am Wulf, The Dragonborn.”
“And that was Davinius who helped us?”
“Yes, at great risk to himself.”
“I fought beside The Dragonborn and a werewolf. Now that tale is going to earn me a few pints!”
I approached Rigmor.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah, but I saw some of the villagers get afflicted. Allie prepared a few more potions while you were looking for Dave. They only need a small sip each.”
“Give the potion to Serana. She and Sethri can help with the injured and affflicted.”
“Allie also wrote down the instructions to create more. I can’t make heads or tails of it.”
“An alchemist can. It is not just a case of throwing the reagents together. There are precise measurements, heating instructions, sequence of steps, etcetera. Give the formula to Serana as well. Meantime, I will look for one of the Tsaesci and see if he has written orders.”
I found a Tsaesci and turned him over.
Rigmor, Sethri and Serana approached as I searched him.
I found some orders, written in bad Tsaesci.
- Wulf: Morag needs to practice her Tsaesci. This order looks like it was written by a drunk child using their feet. And she couldn’t find a Tsaesci word for Dragonslayer, as there isn’t one.
- Rigmor: What does it say?
- Wulf: Kill the Dragonslayer or die trying. Fools! M.S.
- Serana: So, we can add Tsaesci to your languages now?
- Wulf: Yes, since I got my childhood memories back.
- Serana: That is fantastic news, Wulf! The other Sentinels will be pleased.
- Sethri: Why would you learn Tsaesci?
- Wulf: My parents made me learn it quickly in preparation for my training in Akavir. It is just another variant of Aldmeri and not too hard to learn. As far as I know, I spent six years in Akavir being trained by the Dragonguard and Psijic Order.
- Serana: I will have to break all of the revelations slowly to The Sentinels. We don’t want them fainting!
- Wulf: Sethri, where do the vampires created from Men come from? There have been no Men on Akavir for centuries. A…god…told me they are called Remnants.
- Sethri: Yes, like the ones you encountered in The Bloodlet Throne.
- Wulf: No, Sethri. They were far weaker and were called Defilers. You even called them their correct name earlier.
- Sethri: Oh! Anyway, the Remnants are mainly Imperial Legionnaires captured during Uriel Septim’s disastrous invasion of Akavir. Others are poor souls shipwrecked on Akavir.
- Rigmor: Wulf, why would Morag want you dead? I thought…
- Wulf: Shh! Morag does not have the same theory as me. The one we won’t mention.
- Rigmor: Oh, yeah. Sorry!
- Serana: The reason for the secret?
- Wulf: Silah warned me not to corrupt other people’s interpretation of The Alessian Prophecy by saying too much about my theories.
- Sethri: Well, you destroyed mine.
- Wulf: Some atrocities cannot be ignored.
- Serana: What are you two doing next? Do you want me to bring a Beacon so you can summon Bostin?
- Wulf: No, we both need more healing, so we are not in a rush to get back to the chaos. If we had rushed back, we would have missed vital information. Who knows, a slow trip back may provide more clues to my Divine Task.
- Sethri: Divine what?
- Serana: I will explain it to you as we heal the locals.
- Rigmor: We will use a ship to return to Dawnstar, which should take two days according to my intrepid sailor friend who doesn’t know how to moor boats properly.
- Wulf: Then we will pay a visit to Jarl Hairy Knuckles and see if he wants to, discretely, lend us a hand.
- Rigmor: You have never liked Yngol, have you?
- Wulf: Don’t be fooled, Rigmor. He was Ulfric Stormcloak’s man and was willing to kill Legionnaires. So no, I don’t like him. His aid at Whiterun does not erase that stain on his soul. Not by a long way.
- Rigmor: We are trying to keep the rest of The Empire out of this war, Sethri. Wulf could cross the Cyrodiil border with the Imperial Legions following to destroy Sethius and his bandit armies. But neither of us want a civil war. If others think it is a county vs county dispute, we might be able to win with minimal damage to Cyrodiil and relatively few civilian casualties.
- Sethri: Malesam said you used the surname of Septim at the trial.
- Wulf: Yes, I am Wulf Septim.
- Sethri: Malesam said he asked Boethia who you are.
- Wulf: Molag Bal and other Dark Lords know. So, what did Boethia tell Malesam?
- Sethri: That you are the son of Tiber Septim.
- Wulf: Yes, I am. But I bet she didn’t tell him the identity of my mother.
- Sethri: No. If I ask Azura, will she know?
- Wulf: I doubt it. I will keep that secret for now as it may prove a helpful surprise later on.
- Rigmor: Definitely!
- Wulf: We shall make our way from Falkreath to Bruma over, under or through the mountains. We shall figure that out later. I want to destroy Ser Robere’s army and scare the crap out of his father. Plus, Freathof may have helpful information if he is a scholar that knows The Alessian Prophecy. Oh, and we must talk to Malesam about his Mistress.
- Rigmor: What about Casius? He might be able to round up some of his old comrades.
- Sethri: Forget Casius. He disappeared two years ago. But it is good you are visiting Yngol, as you have to pick up Sorella anyway.
- Rigmor: What! How is Sorella involved in this?
- Sethri: The ‘Bridge of Sighs’ can only be destroyed by a child tainted by the calling. And by a silver arrow fired from ‘Xenia’s Wrath’. Yngol is guaranteed to want to come along and protect Sorella.
- Wulf: Yes, he and Angi were going to adopt her.
- Sethri: She is now called Sorella Storm-Bow, and Angi has turned her into a crack shot. A marksman. She only needs one shot.
- Wulf: You have no idea how far Sorella will have to fire from or how large the target is, or even if it is in the open. So, we will regard, ‘She only needs one shot’ as pure, unsupported speculation. Both Inigo and I are better marksmen than Angi and guaranteed to be better than Sorella.
- Rigmor: Sethri, who told you that Sorella needs to use a silver arrow and Xenia’s Wrath and that a tainted child is required?
- Sethri: Malesam? No, it was Azura! No, wait, maybe Freathof.
- Wulf: Manipulation.
- Rigmor: Yes, it is absolutely manipulation.
- Sethri: What?
- Wulf: The Divines want Sorella involved. I guarantee I could destroy the Bridge of Sighs using a normal arrow from my bow.
- Serana: I agree with Wulf. No dweomer could need such a specific set of requirements to bypass or destroy it! That list violates the fundamental laws of Magicka.
- Rigmor: Sethri, don’t you think it is convenient that we have all the elements needed? What are the odds of having the right bow plus a child who is an expert marksman and tainted?
- Wulf: We had to rescue Sorella from The New Order when we weren’t even searching for her. Then she was tainted by Morag Sethius after Sorella went searching for Rigmor. Rigmor was on the sacrificial altar because another boy with the blood of an Emperor had accidentally died. Xenia’s mother had to find the coven in The Bloodlet Throne and die with Xenia’s wrath with her.
- Sethri: I see it now. Yes, too many things had to fall in place for what I said to be true.
- Wulf: If The Divines want Sorella there, it will be for a reason of which we are currently unaware. So, Sorella will be there if we can make it safe enough for her to use her bow.
- Rigmor: Wulf also thinks the child, Xenia, is involved. Her soul did not end up in Coldharbour.
- Serana: Oh, that is the ghost child in your journal entry!
- Wulf: Yes, and Rigmor had one of her premonitions.
- Rigmor: Xenia showed me Table Mountain and pointed to the children trapped in the soul gem.
- Wulf: Rigmor also had another premonition where Molag Bal is holding his mace and a soul gem. He is watching Lord Akatosh wrestle a serpent. Now we know what the soul gem signified.
- Rigmor: The Bridge of Sighs.
- Sethri: Wulf, that was the first time I have seen you in a fight. Well, I sort of saw you. You were a blur and cut the Akaviri down in seconds.
- Wulf: Yes, Sethri, I am a very efficient killer. It is purely a necessity and not something I enjoy or find glory within.
- Serana: Sethri, we had better attend to these villagers.
- Sethri: Where did you get the potion and its recipe?
- Wulf: From my mother.
- Sethri: I will probably see you next at Table Mountain, or if Quintus is on our side, at his camp.
- Wulf: Lady Azura wants you to scout out the place some more?
- Sethri: Yes. The more information I can gather, the better our chances.
- Wulf: Serana, you will only find Blood Wort deep inside The Great Forest.
- Serana: Yes, I remember Valerica taking me there once to gather some.
- Wulf: Blessings of The Nine, Sethri. I hope to see you safe and healthy in a few days. Oh, and I apologise for not being very subtle or gentle. We are fighting for the survival and freedom of all mortals and must stick to facts, not speculative fiction.
- Sethri: No need for the apologies, Wulf. We really should have talked it through with Serana and the others.
- Wulf: Yes, it is amazing what wrinkly, ancient mages know.
- Serana: I know how to set a rude Dragonborn alight!
- Rigmor: Serana, tell my mum we will be back in Bruma in a few days.
- Serana: Yes, and I won’t mention you almost died from Blood Magic.
- Rigmor: How did you know?
- Serana: Ex Daughter of Coldharbour. DUH! Plus, the alchemical recipe had a note saying how little was needed to cure Rigmor’s affliction.
Everybody had a good laugh as Serana and Sethri headed to The Fishermen’s Friend to aid the locals gathered inside.
Rigmor asked, “Wulf, do you have any memories of Sonje?”
“Bazillions, like the time I met my first Khajiit. I will tell you about them aboard the ship. That is if we can hire a passage. Or perhaps I will have to buy another boat since you lost my last one.”
“Mooring ropes can also be used to strangle annoying Dragonborn.”
“Or you could tie them to the bed and have your wicked way with the naughty Dragonborn. Repeatedly.”
“In your dreams, Dragonbum.”
We could only see one fisherman at the docks, and he looked familiar.
“Ahh, is your name Mikael?”
“Yes, do I know you?”
“Oh, an old friend called Valdr told me about his childhood friend who worked as a fisherman from an early age.”
“Now, that is a name I haven’t heard of in a long time. He used to come out with my dad and me occasionally. He was as strong as any man when hauling in the nets or the tuna on the rods. How is he?”
“Very good, except his taste in women has proven to be a disaster. He is almost deaf from all the nagging from the latest one.”
“Anna was devastated when he told her he had to go away. They never got into any sort of physical relationship, probably because Anna’s dad would have hung Valdr up on one of his meat hooks, but everybody thought they would marry one day.”
“Valdr knew that Anna was not the one for him from an early age. He was devastated at Anna’s distress and did not realise at the time how strong her feelings were. He was naïve back then. Do you know how Anna is fairing?”
“She owns the mill and farm now. Her parents moved to Roscrea’s main island and gifted it to her and her husband, Meleric. She now has two daughters. Caefia is five years old, and Lalisa is three.”
“Valdr will be happy to hear that she is doing well.”
“So, do you randomly accost fisherman, or is there something I can do for you?”
“We urgently need passage to Dawnstar or Solitude. We have plenty of coins to pay for our passage, and I am happy to help with any chores.”
“No need for your money or your labour. I ran as fast as I could when I saw the fighting, but you and your friends wiped out the enemies in mere seconds. I have never seen anything as brutal! You saved our village, and I was heading to Dawnstar tonight anyway. You two are welcome to my cabin, or the lady can use it, and you sleep on deck for the duration of the trip. The tides are friendly, so with even half-decent winds, we should get there in a day and a half.”
“I must warn you the enemy were Akaviri, and they are hunting us. There is an Akaviri ship anchored in a small bay close to here. Do you think you could outrun us if it gave chase?”
“Aye, there’s a good chance. My boat is lighter and faster than large ships, plus I know the waters between here and Dawnstar like the back of my hand.”
“Then it is a deal!”
I offered my hand, and an excellent quality diamond just happened to be transferred to Mikael during the handshake.
He looked at it and said, “What is this?”
“Payment for risking your life and livelihood for us. To refuse it would be considered a grave insult from where I come from.”
“Where is that?”
“About ten miles from here!”
Mikael laughed and pocketed the diamond. When he turned and started walking towards his boat, Rigmor kicked me in the shins. But I have armour on, and it was she who yelped in pain.
“What was that noise? I am almost deaf from all the nagging!”
“Just wait, Dragonbum. Just wait, and my revenge shall be sweet.”
As we walked hand in hand along the jetty, I wondered when I would be able to revisit my childhood home.