Middas, 22nd Sun’s Dawn, 4E 205
I spent the last few hours of the night battling with my Dovah for control. I not so much won as he relented. I have made it easier for him to take over by teleporting as my mortal half was damaged even more.
My Dovah says we killed many hundreds of Leyawiin troops last night. I hardly remember any of it. I know I used spells I have refused to use in the past. I know my Guardian General armour was almost destroyed and needs much repair. I know my Dovah only stopped when bored.
I was rescued from self-contemplation by Rigmor calling me. It was only then I noticed the bells were tolling. Time for more death, if there are any Leyawiin troops left.
I approached Rigmor and said, “A Bruma Knight wore that armour during the Oblivion Crisis. She retired in Skyrim, and the armour made its way to my collection. I hope you like it.”
“It’s great, and thank you for Azura’s Bane. I didn’t get to use it much before…well…you know.”
“Before I let you down.”
“I hope that one day you will stop blaming yourself.”
“The bells are tolling, Rigmor.”
“Wulf, about what happened.”
“That is history. Today we begin to take back the initiative.”
“The garrison is mustering. What shall I say to them?”
“Ahh…use the pointy end of the weapon to stab the other side. Don’t get killed.”
“It takes practice.”
“Are we still good?”
“I don’t know, Rigmor. I think you will see what my oath meant, and I am afraid of what you will think.”
“What do you mean?”
“Let us hurry, and perhaps it will be self-explanatory.”
“Okay, let’s do this!”
We exited Rigmor’s house to sunshine. But I could see that a snowstorm was quickly approaching.
The two mercenaries had turned up.
Rigmor stood before the assembled troops and looked every bit their Countess ready for war.
In a voice full of confidence, Rigmor ordered, “Captain Grimbold, prepare to sally forth. We need to destroy the trebuchets and the gate ram. We also need to assist Yngol’s men.”
Grimbold replied in the affirmative and then started issuing orders.
Rigmor addressed all gathered, “Now is our time! If we lose this city, we stand to lose everything. Our allies from Skyrim have come to our aid in our time of need. Let us not waste this moment. It is time to push our enemies back down into the valley where they belong, for this is our home, not theirs, for this is our land, not theirs. For we are Bruma!”
Loud, enthusiastic cheers erupted. When it died down, Rigmor asked, “Are we ready?”
More cheering as those involved in the first wave of the assault made their way out the front gate.
When the first wave was assembled, Rigmor yelled, “Follow me! For Bruma!”
I used Whirlwind Sprint to get far ahead of the others.
Ser Robere had managed to scrounge up a few troops. I stopped in front of the killing zone and used my Thu’um.
“HEY, WHERE IS YOUR ARMY?”
A line of New Imperials charged.
Unrelenting Force turned them to ash.
I killed the remaining Leyawiin forces before Inigo, and the others arrived.
Yngol’s men engaged a few New Imperials.
They were all dead in less than two minutes. The battle for Bruma was over in less than five minutes.
Inigo approached me.
“My friend, what happened to their army?”
“Last night, they met The Dragonborn. He killed hundreds before he got bored.”
“You were not in control, were you?”
“No, the mortal me was locked away. My Dovah had full reign to do as he pleased.”
“And just then, you slaughtered what was left without pausing. You killed at least another sixty or seventy before I caught up with you.”
‘It is what I do, Inigo. I kill so others can live.”
“That is not all there is to you. You must find your balance once more.”
“Inigo, I cannot do that while enemy after enemy is put before me.”
“I tried to tell you last night, but your Dovah wasn’t one for conversation.”
“Tell me what?”
“The last thing we did in Bostin was dropping Casius off at his camp. He is waiting for you.”
“Okay, that is good.”
“When you attack Table Mountain, there are some of us who wish to be with you. Bruma can do without us now Yngol is here.”
“When I am at Quintus’ camp, I will summon you, Lydia, Celestine and Jordis. That is all I am willing to take from Bruma’s defence.”
I addressed the mages,
“Masters J’zargo, Vitani, Brelyna and Onmund, please head back to Bruma city and see if anybody has injuries. The arseholes managed to launch a few rocks before we silenced them.”
As the mages headed back, Rigmor demanded my attention.
“Wulf, talk to me! What happened to Bobby’s army?”
“And I will cleave flesh and bone and rend asunder all who would harm you. And I will turn rivers red with their blood!”
“How many did you kill?”
“I don’t know. My Dovah says many hundreds. You will have to ask Ser Robere how many died and how many deserted.”
“Did you kill Bobby?”
“No, he was nowhere to be seen. But I would have and without hesitation. Let’s go look in his tent, and perhaps Ser Robere is hiding under his bed.”
We walked to Ser Robere’s command tent, but he was not there. Neither was the letter from his father.
I turned to Rigmor.
“He is not here, but I think he came back last night. There was a letter from his father on the table, and it is gone.”
“Do you think he ran away?”
“He could be one of the ash piles. I don’t know.”
“Well, we will worry about him later. Let’s head for the mustering point so I can organise our defence.”
The weather turned for the worst when we reached the mustering point.
I said, “Inigo, please return to your post. Lydia, inform Lady Sigunn of our victory and wait in the meeting room for our debrief.”
I told Rigmor, “Look at your city, my beloved. Not a column of smoke or fire to be seen. You have truly helped your people today and should be so very proud!” Tears started to form as relief washed over her.
As my two friends wandered off, Rigmor started issuing orders.
“Captain Grimbold, get the men ready to help reinforce the heights. Build overhanging stockades and place the archers behind them. Let’s get some wood stakes on the road and build a barricade.”
From behind me, I heard the unmistakable voice of Yngol, “Go back to the rear and bring the supply wagons. We will be here for as long as it takes. Get the wounded into the castle and bury the fallen. Oh, wait, there are no injured or fallen. Did anybody get a scratch? I have to give somebody a medal for being wounded in battle, as I had a bunch of them made!”
I turned and smiled when I saw Ser Robere with hands tied.
I walked up to Yngol.
“Wulf, where is the army we were supposed to help you defeat?”
“I killed most of them last night.”
“You aren’t joking, are you?”
“Yngol, you have read the legends of other Dragonborn. Have you ever wondered why they never lost a battle? The Divines need an efficient killer, and that is me.”
“By Talos, I would have liked to have seen you in action!”
“No, you wouldn’t. There was nothing glorious in what I did. It was a slaughter, and the Leyawiin troops might as well have been naked and unarmed.”
“What are these piles of ashes?”
“What is left of some of those I killed. A lot of the ashes got blown away. Ser Robere’s troops have removed the many corpses.”
“You are Talos’ son, aren’t you?”
“Well, more accurately, Tiber Septim’s son. My mother is also a god, but I am mortal and can die, as I have proven twice.”
“You are the rightful Emperor.”
“I don’t want to be, but who knows what The Divines have planned? Anyway, let us concentrate on the task at hand. I don’t know if it is good that you caught Ser Robere as he might prove more of a hindrance than a help.”
“Well, I caught the scumsucker cowering behind some rocks, away from the fighting.”
An angry, “Bobby, you bastard! I’m gonna kill you!” announced Rigmor’s discovery of our prisoner.
I turned, and Rigmor had Azura’s Bane in her hands and was shaking with rage.
Yngol pleaded, “Rigmor, no!”
I manoeuvred myself so that I could block any attack by Rigmor. If she killed Ser Robere, we would have to kill the other captives. The other ‘nobles’ would not accept a bound noble being murdered. Also, Rigmor would probably have ongoing issues if she killed the man who she once loved and probably still does.
Sir Robere, in his pathetic squeaky voice, said, “Go on, do your worst, you little gobshite. My father will piss on you peasants. I am nobility!”
I used Frost Form, and a coating of thick ice silenced Ser Robere.
I knelt in front of him.
“You, Ser Robere, are no noble. Either is your father or the little guy with the funny beard pretending to be Emperor. I, on the other hand, have Septim blood. My father is Tiber Septim. That means that when I fart, I expel more nobility than you will ever have. Then there is Rigmor, my beloved. Tried and convicted of the terrible crime of having Mede blood. So, she, too, is far nobler than you pretend to be.
You are a coward who lost his whole army while inflicting three casualties on ours. It will go down in history as one of the most one-sided military defeats, and you will be mocked. People will say, ‘He did a Robere!’ whenever somebody completely messes something up.
The ice will melt soon, and you will either be escorted to Rigmor’s dungeon or handed a sword and given a chance to die with some dignity.”
All Ser Robere could do was blink.
I walked over to Rigmor, who had sheathed Azura’s Bane.
”Rigmor, you heard what I told Ser Robere. What is it to be? Does he go to prison or be given a sword?”
Rigmor replied, ”Stick him in the Dungeon. Count Bruce de Medalius will not dare attack while we have his son as hostage.”
“That is a wise choice, Rigmor. The Count will sit his army in the valley, and we hold the upper hand now.”
Rigmor commanded, “Okay, let the other prisoners go.”
As the freed Leyawiin troops ran home, Rigmor asked, “Yngol, did you bring Sorella?”
“Yes, Rigmor, she’s coming. Now that we have secured the border and hold the heights, it is safe for her. She will join us shortly with Grom and Tiny escorting her.”
“Don’t you think for a second, Yngol, that I have forgiven being spied upon!”
Yngol laughed then said, “But Rigmor, you should feel special to have had two spies assigned to you.”
Rigmor growled, “Ahhh! Okay, I will lose my temper if I hear any more about how special I am, or any more about prophecies, or any shit of that kind!”
“Wulf, what is Rigmor talking about? I never mentioned any prophecy.”
“According to The Alessian Prophecy, Rigmor is ‘The Chosen Queen of Tamriel’.”
Rigmor moaned, “Agh! I swear you two, I…agh! Can we just get back to the castle, okay? We can plan our next move there. Ugh!”
I bowed and said, “Okay, Chosen Queen. There is no need to throw a royal tantrum.”
Rigmor went stomping off, and Yngol and I followed at a safe distance. He said, “Haha! ‘The Chosen Queen’ is an old wives tale made up by drunkards and dreamers. Don’t let that old rubbish get inside her head, Wulf. Rigmor needs to focus.”
“Yngol, you can be an ignorant bastard at times. Do you remember this prophecy?”
- When misrule takes its place at the eight corners of the world
- When the Brass Tower walks and Time is reshaped
- When the thrice-blessed fail and the Red Tower trembles
- When the Dragonborn Ruler loses his throne and the White Tower falls
- When the Snow Tower lies sundered, kingless, bleeding
- The World-Eater wakes, and the Wheel turns upon the Last Dragonborn.
“Yes, Wulf, but I don’t understand half of it.”
“The second last line refers to the Skyrim civil war. Alduin and I appeared out of nowhere during that war. Prophecies can come true, so don’t dismiss them out of hand. Our enemy believes in the prophecy of The Chosen Queen, and this war with Count Bruce de Medalius is just a small part of the big picture.”
We walked the rest of the way to the dining room in silence.
Then we sat, and I tried to make the discussion as brief as possible.
- Malesam: Ahhh! Guardian, Yngol, let’s make haste and get down to business.
- Sigunn: Yngol, there are no words to express our gratitude for your help. I just want you to know.
- Yngol: Sigunn, your problems are my problems. I would never turn your back on you. Ragnar would never forgive me.
- Rigmor: Sorella will be well cared for, and I give you my word Yngol, on my life.
- Yngol: I know you and the Guardian will take good care of her, and she’ll be in good hands. However, I want Casius to take responsibility for her welfare once you meet up. He is to keep her out of harm’s way, never leave her side, and not partake in the main battle. This is not negotiable, and I want your word on it.
- Rigmor: Of course, you have my word.
- Wulf: That is a perfectly reasonable request, Yngol. He might object if he thinks it was our suggestion since he would most likely want to lead his troops. Coming from you, though, he will agree to it.
- Yngol: Angi understands and does not blame either of you for putting Sorella in danger. We thought both of you would be targets for the enemy and probably very occupied just staying alive. Having Casius as her guardian was the most comfortable solution.
- Cerys: The mages told me Quintus is on our side and that Casius is waiting at his base camp.
- Freathof: You will need to cross the ridge and trek down through the highlands to the source of the Brena River. Keeping to the southern side, you’ll follow the river and make your way to Quintus’ Headquarters. The journey is not without its dangers. Redguard border raiders inhabit the region, so you must all be vigilant.
- Lydia: Rigmor and Wulf have traversed many enemy territories and need no advice on doing so from one who has never done similar!
- Wulf: Calm down, Lydia. Freathof is simply trying to help.
- Lydia: My apologies, Freathof. I am still rattled by what Wulf did without The Sentinels there to protect him!
- Wulf: We will talk about it another time. The battle is over. Let us concentrate on what is next.
- Freathof: I understand. We are all rattled by what he did, Lydia.
- Wulf: Before anybody says it, both Rigmor and I are aware that Sorella is not a big hairy barbarian but is, in fact, a child. For that reason, one of us will always be beside her if we encounter any hostiles. I am taking Meeko with us. He can warn us of any danger long before we see, smell or hear it. Along with Casius, we are a very competent team of killers capable of making it to Quintus safely.
- Rigmor: Can anybody think of a better guard for Sorrella than Wulf?
- Yngol: No, Rigmor, I can’t. So that old goat has become a mountain goat. Hahaha, I am looking forward to meeting him again. But why not just travel down the Gold Coast, via Skingrad, or use your airship?
- Wulf: A favourite tactic of mine is to surprise the enemy. I also need to recover somewhat from what I did last night.
- Malesam: Ahh, The Guardian is correct. A medium-sized party would stand out, plus the road to Anvil had many New Imperial patrols. The element of surprise is vital, as we don’t know the full extent of Morag Sethius’ powers.
- Wulf: Malesam, I know full well the extent of Morag’s powers. Where did you get the idea she has some extra powers? Certainly not from The Sentinels, who are far more qualified to assess an enemy than you. Morag is not some big scary monster but merely a second-class vampire with no more power than the hundreds I have cut down in the last few years. If we are close to her when she has access to the Bridge of Sighs, we might well be wise to be wary of her. Until then, she is a non-entity except for her ability to order troops around. Being sneaky also makes Sorella safer.
- Yngol: Yeah, of course. The less risk to Sorella, the better.
- Rigmor: I know the Great Forest like the back of my hand. We can pass through the forest and make it to Chorrol without being detected.
- Wulf: We will stay away from the walls of any big cities like Chorrol. We will eliminate any patrols that see us, and, depending on the circumstances, we may hide their bodies. These things are standard procedure and expected from any half-competent army recruit. What is unknown is the inside of Table Mountain. How dangerous the Bridge of Sighs is might not be known till we are within sight of it. It will be me if anybody approaches close to the Bridge of Sighs. Sorella will only be allowed to enter the chamber if she can shoot the soul gem from a distance that I feel is safe from the crystal’s effects and a potential explosion.
- Yngol: One shot is all she needs, Wulf.
- Wulf: If there is a clean line of sight, I do not doubt. Sorella will be whisked away to safety immediately after the soul gem is destroyed. She will not be in danger for one second more than is required, and you have my word! Bostin, my airship, will be waiting just outside the ruins.
- Yngol: I trust you, Wulf and Rigmor, to do the right thing. Otherwise, I would not risk Sorella.
- Wulf: I will be in charge once we fight towards and inside Table Mountain. It will not be by committee. We can have pleasant meetings and plan strategies for the military side of things. However, nobody else has even a tiny smidgen of my experience regarding magic, Daedric Lords, Oblivion, and vampires. We are dealing with unknowns that will take snap decisions to survive. Decisions only I am capable of under the circumstances. I will emphasise, once again, there is far more to this than just the Bridge of Sighs!
- Yngol: Is this the sort of crap you dealt with for the last few years?
- Wulf: Yes, and it is why I am on Nirn. I was given my gifts by Lord Akatosh and trained to do this. I know that, and I am comfortable with it.
- Rigmor: I know the truth of what Wulf says. He has had to make many choices, and each was a potential trigger for disaster. Day after day. Year after year. We are still alive, proving he knows what he is doing.
Sorella walked in accompanied by Grom and Tiny. I was amused as Tiny took up Olette’s position, and they stared at each other. I know that Olette would win that contest as I could never outstare her.
Sorella was dressed in leather and fur. The outfit was perfect for the mountains where Angi has her hut and hunt together. Xenia’s Wrath was strapped to her back.
Sorella sat to my left and looked at each person on the table.
- Sorella: Hello Dad!
- Yngol: Hey there, kiddo. You remember everyone here, don’t you?
- Sorella: Rigmor still looks the same, haha. So does Sigunn and Lydia. I like your beard, Wulf.
- Sigunn: My, how you’ve grown, Sorella, and you’re such a big girl now.
- Sorella: Hi Sigunn. I’ve missed everybody so much. By the way, Mum says hi. It is so cool to see you all again.
- Rigmor: It is good to see you again, Sorella. I’m just sorry it has to be under these circumstances.
- Sorella: They are waiting for me.
- Freathof: Who is waiting for you, Sorella?
- Sorella: The children. The children in the glass house.
- Freathof: Did these children speak to you somehow? What did they say?
- Sorella: You Freathof, aren’t you?
- Freathof: Yes, I am.
- Sorella: Sofia told me about you.
Freathof leapt out of his chair. He was perturbed by what Sorella was saying.
- Freathof: Now then, my child, please don’t play games… what… how…
- Malesam: You had better sit down Freathof…
- Sorella: I have a message for you from Sofia.
- Freathof: What is it she wants to tell me, child?
- Sorella: She said to tell you not to blame yourself. It wasn’t your fault, and she misses you.
Freathof cried out, then fell to his hands and knees. He had been carrying the burden of guilt for years, and Sorella’s words lifted it.
- Sigunn: Freathof!
- Yngol: What kind of sorcery is this?
- Sorella: Freathof, Sofia knows you never gave up looking for her. She says you should not be sad anymore.
- Freathof: Sofia!
- Sorella: She is happy and is going home soon. They are all waiting for her.
Sigunn was concerned for Freathof and stood next to him.
- Sigunn: Freathof, do you want to retire? I’ll help you to your room.
- Freathof: No, no. I just want to sit a while…
- Sigunn: Then everyone, please excuse me. I have heard enough. Sorella, if you need anything, do not hesitate to ask.
Sigunn left the room. She had aged since Skyrim. I think the burden of running the County in the absence of Rigmor has taken its toll.
Sorella looked at me, and I saw many similarities to Olette. Both were orphans, and both have grown into formidable warriors. I hope I can prevent her from having to kill on our journey.
- Sorella: Hey Wulf, I’ve still got your bow, look, and the ring you gave me.
- Wulf: It is good to see you healthy and happy, Sorella. I am so sorry you have got mixed up in all this. Can you tell me how you learned about the glass house and how Sofia talks to you?
- Sorella: About a year ago, I took the ring off. The voices had stopped. When I was dreaming, Xenia came and took me to the glass house.
- Wulf: In the Bloodlet Throne, I brought Xenia’s spirit back to Nemiel, her mother. Nemiel was a courageous lady who tracked the vampires down and tried to rescue her daughter. She was killed, but Xenia must be strong-willed, for she had avoided going where the other children had gone. I saw Xenia’s and her mother’s ghost walk hand in hand into the afterlife. She waved goodbye to me, which was a lovely thing to see, and I was glad I could help them.
- Sorella: Xenia told me about that and asked me to thank you. She is a free spirit and showed me the glass house. Sofia is there with all the other children. I know what to do, Wulf.
- Wulf: You are a special girl, Sorella. You want to help these children even though it might be dangerous. You are very generous and very brave.
- Sorella: Try telling that to my Mom. Hahaha!
- Malesam: Let us reinforce our positions here. I also expect some response from the enemy once they realise that we have Count Bruce de Medalius’ son. Come, Cerys, it has been a very long day, and I wish to eat dinner in our room.
- Yngol: I need to return to the encampment and get to work on those positions. Grom and Tiny will be guarding Sorella. Does she have a room ready?
- Rigmor: Sorella can stay with me.
- Yngol: That is all I need to know. Grom, Tiny, keep watch outside Rigmor’s room.
- Wulf: Grom and Tiny, I appreciate what you have both done in looking after Milady when I could not. Sorella is now fortunate to have you two as her guardians. My room is next to Rigmor’s, and her safety is my responsibility. If there is any danger, just make a lot of noise, and I will be there to help.
Rigmor came over to collect Sorella.
- Rigmor: Hey Sorella! Didn’t you look after me once? Well, now it is my turn. You can stay with me in my room. We have so much to catch up on.
- Sorella: Hey, that would be cool, Rigmor.
- Wulf: Goodnight, young lady.
- Sorella: Goodnight, Wulf. Oh, and I still have the pony. Hahaha!
- Wulf: Don’t your feet touch the ground when you try and ride him?
- Sorella: Hahaha, I haven’t grown that much!
- Rigmor: Goodnight, Wulf.
- Wulf: I wish you pleasant dreams, Milady.
As people left the room, I felt redundant. I am nervous about not being closer to my beloved, and I think Rigmor will miss our quiet as I will be too far away. I had to put aside my knowledge that guards outside doors are not enough. Although the Dark Brotherhood has been decimated in Cyrodiil and Skyrim, there was still Cicero on the loose. The Morag Tong were still quite active in Morrowind, and Solstheim and Grey Writs are far from unknown. After their defeat, it was probably too early for the enemy to organise a contract, but I would still prefer to be with Rigmor.
I stood and said to Lydia, “Thanks for sitting in again, Lydia. You are free to go.”
“Wulf, we shall sit down soon and discuss what you did to Ser Robere’s army.”
“Yes, Madam, as you command.”
“Inigo came to me, and I have never seen him so worried about you.”
“I will have to sit and chat with him as well.”
As Lydia left, I noticed Freathof staring into infinity. The common pastime of those in deep thought.
I sat to Freathof’s right and said, “Excuse me, Freathof. Can we please discuss something vital?”
Freathof turned to me and replied, “Uh?”
“Freathof, it is urgent I talk to you about something.”
“I’m too upset for talking right now.”
“I understand Freathof, but I need your counsel on a matter related to the safety of Rigmor. Sofia would want you to give me such counsel, would she not?”
“Yes… yes, you are right. What is it you wanted to ask?”
“What do you know about The Alessian Prophecy and The Chosen Queen of Tamriel?”
“Ah! You’ve come to the right man. The Alessian Prophecy isn’t written in parchment but rather passed down by word of mouth by scholars and scribes. It all comes from hearsay mostly. It isn’t officially sanctioned.”
“You know that ‘officially sanctioned’ means nothing when determining the truth of something. All the great libraries of Tamriel are full of lies, propaganda and misdirection.”
“Wulf, why do you think this prophecy is not documented?”
“I think there are two reasons. Firstly, The Divines did not want me to know the full prophecy but to discover it bit by bit. Secondly, an oral prophecy can be more easily changed according to circumstances. A slight change is passed from one scholar to the next as influenced by The Divines. A while ago, I would have said that is beyond their power, but recent revelations suggest they can do such things.”
“That seems reasonable.”
“I am not going to be gentle with my opinions, Freathof. It does not mean I do not want to hear what you think the prophecy is.”
“I understand. You have your view on things.”
“Views based on facts, Freathof. Feel free to counter anything I say with proof.”
“Now then… let me see…When Lord Akatosh failed to save the beast races from the persecution of men, Al-Esh cursed the land. Tamriel would never have peace and prosperity until all her children were returned to her.”
“That is garbage, Freathof. Saint Alessia would not hold Lord Akatosh responsible for the actions of mortals. She would also know he could not intervene as The Divines cannot manifest on Nirn except as avatars or aspects if you prefer that term. What happened to the Minotaur was the doing of mortal free will, not the actions of The Divines.
Not only that, Saint Alessia could not place a curse on Tamriel. That is not possible for any god and especially one that is not one of The Nine or a Daedric Prince.
But even if Saint Alessia could place a curse, she wouldn’t. Why would she force generations of mortals to suffer for the actions of their predecessors? Saint Alessia is known for her empathy and compassion, not some cold vindictive streak.
Saint Alessia had foresight. She foretold of much misery and war if people treated others like they did the Minotaur. It is your word of mouth prophecy that blamed her for the actions of others over thousands of years!
Saint Alessia foretold that only by eliminating such evil will peace prevail. Your word of mouth prophecy also turned that into something else!”
“The Minotaur have been extinct for centuries which makes the accuracy of the fable suspect. There should be peace already. But yet again, we are locked in a perpetual struggle.”
“This is where some scholars fail miserably. If something does not have physical proof, it must be wrong. What do your officially sanctioned histories say about Snow Elves?”
“That they sought refuge with the Dwemer during the Nord genocide. That the Dwemer turned all of them into the blind and savage Falmer.”
“I have met living Snow Elves. Your officially sanctioned information is flawed, and that is one of many examples I could give you. Take the official history of Rigmor’s father that for many years said Ragnar was a war criminal and caused the massacre at the Brema River. That is yet another example of flawed, officially sanctioned information.
The prophecy is not specific. There are wild and savage Minotaur in various parts of Tamriel. Do we have to slaughter all of them as well?
I met the last Cyrodiilic Minotaur, and his name was Lord Mor’Bel-Harza. He had been trapped in a labyrinth underneath the Imperial City. He had lived for thousands of years under the noses of all those scholars writing the officially sanctioned bullshit.”
“By The Nine, what came to pass… how?”
“He told me of The Alessian Prophecy and begged me to release him.”
“So, you slew him?”
“I could have escaped the Labyrinth by other means, so it was not for that reason. Neither was it to kick off a prophecy. I killed him because he had suffered enough for the petty jealousies and racism inflicted by others.
That sort of mindless hatred has resulted in the Snow Elves being at the brink of extinction. It has almost wiped out all dragons in Skyrim. It has destroyed the Ayleid civilisation. It made Khajiit pitch tents outside some of the cities in Skyrim.
That mindless hatred needs to be eliminated to bring the benefits mentioned in the prophecy.
Lord Mor’Bel-Harza had suffered enough, and I felt obliged to comply with his request out of pure decency and other more personal reasons. That is why I slew a being that meant no harm, which has haunted me since.
He said his death would result in the coming of The Chosen Queen. I have since pursued more information about the prophecy, directly relating to my Divine Task and Rigmor.
“Do you think Rigmor is the ‘Chosen Queen’?”
“I do not know enough about the prophecy to say for certain. I know that Molag Bal wants Morag Sethius to be The Chosen Queen. It may even be my Divine Task to ensure Rigmor becomes The Chosen Queen.”
“Well, she is certainly poised for greatness, especially with her royal bloodline.”
“Rigmor is not royalty and has a very diluted royal bloodline! There are dozens of people with closer ancestral relationships to Titus Mede I and II.
Talos told me that our lives are entwined, and the fate of not just Tamriel but Nirn and even Mundus is at stake and that Rigmor and I need to be together to save all. I do not know the ultimate goal of The Divines, what needs to be resolved, or how to resolve it. That is often the case when given a Divine Task.
All I know is The Bridge of Sighs is part of something that leads to a crucial point in the future, beyond which even Lord Akatosh can’t see. Rigmor and I have a role in deciding what occurs beyond that point.
Rigmor is not destined for greatness as she is already great by any measurement you wish to apply, even if you choose to ignore the fact that she fought by my side to defeat the New Order on the battlefield! She has fought by my side against many enemies that threatened the people of Nirn.
She is still the loving and compassionate woman you have got to know and love despite the expectations of The Divines pushing and pulling her in many directions that she does not desire.
Rigmor is without peer, and her Mede blood has nothing to do that fact!
“I beg your pardon, Wulf, you are correct. Do you know of The Chosen One?”
“No, I don’t. Are The Chosen Queen and The Chosen One the same person? If not, what is the relationship?”
“The Alessian prophecy speaks of ‘The Chosen Queen of Tamriel’, and Rigmor could indeed be her. It would explain the keen interest of gods, both The Divines and Daedric Lords. Her bloodline to a Royal Dynasty helps make that theory credible. But the ‘Chosen One’ is half-beast. So Rigmor cannot be the Chosen One. When you put two and two together, it is apparent how your destinies are entwined.”
“Mede blood has no unique properties. Lord Akatosh did not bless Titus Mede, so you shouldn’t think it has the same significance as those descended from Saint Alessia.
It is not apparent how you conclude our destinies are entwined, as I am yet to be informed of the connection between the two titles. I am knowledgeable but not omnipotent! What are you trying to say, Freathof?”
“The Chosen Queen is to deliver, give birth to, The Chosen One. That child is to be of royal blood and Dragonchild.”
“A child of Rigmor and I would have Dragonblood. They would not be Dragonborn as the gifts of Akatosh are bestowed later and not at birth. Unless, and this is an assumption, the term Dragonchild indicates an infant blessed during gestation or even conception.”
“May I interject and ask you a very personal question?”
“I have noticed Rigmor is very fond of you. Have you two had… relations?”
“I am amused you have to ask. It is no longer a secret that we have been lovers for years! In Skyrim and here, we have celebrated our love by making love. We have celebrated the Divine gifts of Dibella wrapped within the Divine gifts of Mara. We feel no guilt or shame! Tell me, Freathof, what is the relevance?”
“The Last Dragonborn is a half-beast. The Minotaur Lord spared you because that too is in the prophecy. That only a half-beast brother or sister could release the curse?”
“I am not a half-beast! I am a mortal with the soul and blood of a dragon! That terminology generated hatred and reduced compassion for both dragon and Minotaur! Dragons are not beasts, neither are Minotaur.
A Minotaur Lord is not as strong an adversary as Alduin or The Underking or numerous other foes that I have defeated. He would have been no match in combat, but that is irrelevant.
Saint Alessia told Lord Mor’Bel-Harza that I would be coming and met the prophecy’s criteria. Far more than you realise, for Lord Mor’Bel-Harza did not refer to a half-beast brother. The trouble with oral prophecy is it can vary from person to person.”
“You love Rigmor, don’t you? It’s alright. I have no qualms about you and her being as one.”
“Yes, Freathof, with a strength of love admired by gods.
But we don’t care who approves and give no weight to you having qualms or not! Rigmor is an adult and can choose who she wants to love.
You continually told her the main criteria for her partner should be nobility. That was wrong and barbaric! That concept being shoved down her throat by you, Sigunn and Malesam caused her great grief and is contrary to Rigmor’s values as well as the teachings of The Nine. She loves all her citizens and does not differentiate their value according to this artificial class system!
That stupidity caused her to choose Ser Robere as he met your criteria even though he is nothing more than a bandit and the son of a bandit. The exact type of scum I have slaughtered endlessly. The type Rigmor killed in great numbers while travelling with me.
I have many noble titles earned through my deeds, not bestowed for slaughtering and raping innocents like Ser Robere!
There is none more royal than mine if we talk about royal blood!
All of that is irrelevant, and our love should be welcomed and celebrated as it makes Rigmor happy. That should be the only criteria!”
“I can see what we drove her to, and I apologise. Your love for each other is all too obvious. Many have ignored it as a fad. There is nothing more than I would like to see than Rigmor happy. Even Sigunn is not, how we shall say it, too uncomfortable with the notion of you two being together.”
“I should hope not since her daughter loves me! As for being a fad, how idiotically insulting!”
“Sigunn thinks the world of you. How could she not after everything you have done for her and Rigmor? Know this: if you asked her for her blessing, I am sure it would be forthcoming. However, I must tell you that this prophecy comes with a heavy price.”
“Bearing a Dragonchild would… ahem, I am afraid Rigmor would be destined to die in childbirth.”
“No, you have it wrong as with much of this prophecy. There is no reason for a woman bearing a Dragonchild to die in childbirth.”
“Her body is a vessel to be discarded, sacrificed for the whim of the gods. Only useful for bearing them their Chosen One.”
“That is heresy, Freathof! The Divines love all mortals and would do no such thing!
The Divines do nothing but sacrifice for the good of the mortals they created and love!
I sacrifice as I honour theirs.
But if such a thing were to occur, it would defeat the prophecy. If Rigmor were to die at their whim, I would be such a force of vengeance there would be no hope of peace. The Divines desire peace but would have war instead.
They could not stop Pelinal Whitestrake after his beloved was killed. They would not stop me.
Your interpretation continues to be flawed. I can see now why in a society based on The Nine, none would put such blasphemous garbage to print!”
“Apart from Saint Alessia, every woman who ever tried to bring into the world a half-beast child has perished. None has survived, including your… ahem, forgive me, I have spoken too much already.”
“I was not born a Dragonchild but received Lord Akatosh’s blessing as a child of eight years.
You know nothing of my mother, Freathof. I have met her, and she did not die in childbirth. She would not allow Rigmor to die in childbirth and saved her life once. She not only loves Rigmor, but she also would not allow such pain to be inflicted on me. We are owed a life of happiness after what we have endured. You are so very wrong.”
Freathof did not ask what I meant or about my mother. He seemed distant as he stood up to leave.
“I am so sorry, Wulf. However, I must retire. It has been a very long day.”
“Goodnight, Freathof, and I thank you for your assistance. Please forgive my anger at some things. We must discuss them sometime soon over chess and wine.”
Freathof walked towards the exit, then suddenly stopped and turned to face me.
He said, “Maybe you should try finding solace at the Cathedral. Ask the priest within of what we have discussed. It may help you find what you are looking for.”
Freathof told me how cruel the gods are, and seconds later suggests I seek solace from them. That seemed odd enough for me to take his advice. Plus, The Divines owe me some answers, and they had better be good ones!
Olette was standing with her arms crossed and blocked my exit.
“Cap’n, would The Divines do such a thing?”
“No, never. The whole prophecy is full of rubbish. Saint Alessia would not and could not curse the land. The Divines would not allow Rigmor to die because she gave birth to a Dragonchild. I would dismiss the whole prophecy, except I know Molag Bal believes it to have some substance.”
“Sorella was the first orphan you saved, wasn’t she?”
“Yes, before I met you. We found Sorella within a Thalmor prison, and they were going to kill her.”
“Is Sorella accompanying you and Rigmor to where Morag Sethius and her vampires are?”
“Yes, we will do our best to protect her, but a lot of things are hidden from us. We are unsure as to the dangers we will face at Tabletop Mountain.”
“Okay, you better go see the priest, and this is not the exit to do that!”
“I was going to thank Grom for passing information on to me.”
“You can do that after talking to the priest who, I hope, confirms that Freathof’s interpretation of the prophecy is a load of bull…ah…droppings.”
“Do you think I am half-beast?”
“No, but you have half a brain. Now, go, Cap’n, and get the truth so we can both stop worrying!”
“Yes, Olette. As you command, so shall I do. It seems all the ladies in my life wish to order me around today.”
“Us ladies feel sorry for mere males. You should thank us for helping you.”
“This is my fault. I let you stay amongst The Sentinels instead of getting a proper education.”
“See, you are under the delusion that you had a choice. You poor thing.”
I made my way outside to a reasonably bright night with only a little snow.
I noticed Jimmy Ten Fingers was wearing rags and looked cold.
“Why are you outside, Jimmy, instead of being in front of a warm fire at home?”
“I can’t afford the coal. Usually, I get given a pension to tide me over, but I think I have been forgotten.”
I handed a coin bag to Jimmy.
“If I find you have spent this in the Tap&Tack, I will be more than a little angry. Buy some coal and a new fur outfit.”
“Why would you help me like this?”
“Why did you leave Riften and come to Bruma?”
“I could see something special about the Countess when you were together that day in Riften. She was kind to me even though she seemed a bit poorly. When I saw her picture in the news sheets, I thought Bruma must be a better place than Riften, especially after that Black-Briar bitch took over. So here I am.”
“I help you, Jimmy, because that is what The Divines ask of us. It is the right thing to do, and I gain satisfaction from seeing worry turn to smiles.”
I left Jimmy counting his coins with his dog looking on.
I made my way to the temple and entered.
I could see no priest in attendance, so I sat on the front, left-hand seat and waited.
After a couple of minutes, the familiar voice of my father echoed in the empty temple.
“When your strength fails you, you can trust in The Nine.”
My father emerged from behind a column. It was a much older aspect of him wearing a familiar robe. I watched him as he approached and could not see the joy that meeting his son should create.
He stood before me.
“I sense you carry a heavy burden, my son.”
“I always do, father. But I am more confused than anything else.”
“Let Lord Akatosh help carry the load, if only for a short while.”
“What is this, father? Are you only allowed to speak to me in mumbo jumbo?”
“May I sit so that we can talk as equals?”
“Of course. Please do.”
My father sat on a seat to my left.
“Father, I am looking for answers, not riddles, so I hope you provide them. I believe most of the prophecy to be wrong as other’s interpret it. Are you allowed to confirm my suspicions?”
“The light will always find a way into every aspect of the dark. Tell me what is troubling you, my child. Speak freely, as this is a place of sanctuary and truth.”
“Did my mother place a curse?”
“No, she is a soothsayer and predicted what will happen and why.”
“Are The Divines planning to interfere with the natural conception of Rigmor’s children sired by me?”
“No, any child will develop without interference.”
“Will our children be born with Lord Akatosh’s blessings already bestowed?”
“Yes. There has never been a Dragonchild born to a mortal where the gifts of Lord Akatosh are bestowed from divine lineage, and not as a blessing after birth.”
“Is Rigmor going to die because our child would be a Dragonchild? I need assurance that it will not kill her.”
“How can you be sure it would not save her?”
“It is a pity I have to rely on this thing before me rather than my mother for the answers I seek.”
“All you have to do is look to her and ask what it is you want, and it shall be so.”
“Too bad she is unavailable to me, then isn’t it. Even if she was, she is not one of The Nine and has not the power to save Rigmor’s life. You are talking without answering and forcing me to make choices without all the knowledge I require.”
“A weary traveller carries a heavy burden and comes upon a fork in the road. There are many untrodden paths, but they can only choose one. They know not where the paths lead, but they will arrive at the same destination.”
“Did Lady Mara write that bit? It sounds like her mumbo jumbo. What if I decide I don’t want to choose a path and turn around instead? Your analogy is worthless, and I demand answers.”
“There is always a way out. This Cathedral is a hallowed place, and The Divines are listening. Ask them what it is you wish for, in the hope that it will be forthcoming.”
“NO! I will not ask, and I will not hope! I demand you tell me that Rigmor will not die giving birth to our child! Give me that certainty, or I shall lose all faith in The Nine.”
“Mother and child will be blessed. Go forth and fulfil your destiny, knowing that you are also blessed.”
“That is a load of crap, and you know it! There is no destiny but an outcome that The Nine hopes will happen. And you are forcing me towards that outcome because you fear my free will!”
“Have faith and trust in The Nine. Rigmor will need to know the truth, and both of you must decide as one. If your love for each other is true and the bond between you unbreakable, then anything is possible.”
“You have not given what I demanded, father. And that is because you fear my reaction to the truth. You burden me with this, assuming I will simply carry out the Divine Task.”
“When you carry loads for others, as well as your own, The Nine shall help carry your burden.”
My father stood and walked away.
“STOP! The Nine have added to my burden and not helped carry it. They add more and more and hope I don’t buckle, but it is too late. I am buckling, and you are refusing to help.”
Father stopped and turned to me. His eyes bored into my soul.
“Be assured your mother, and I look upon you always and are proud of our son and are well pleased.”
Father continued to walk and then vanished.
The question is, did my faith in The Nine vanish with him? How do they think I will react to this threat to Rigmor? I cannot but feel my father was told what he could say, and that is why Lord Akatosh insisted he used that particular aspect. In a way, the aspect I just spoke to is the equivalent of my Dovah half. It is less likely to succumb to mortal empathy and the love for a son.
I exited the Cathedral, and some of The Sentinels enjoyed their dinner outside. I have not spent any time with them, but they will know how busy I have been.
I made my way through the front gates.
I found a rock to stand upon and looked up to the stars not far from the city. The murmuring of many voices assailed my ears.
“Mother, I doubt that you can hear me, but I plead to you anyway. Rigmor is my reason for living, and if she were to die, so would I. There would be an empty husk instantly occupied by a hatred beyond description. I would no longer be Wulf but something dark. Please, do not let my beloved die.”
A voice behind me said, “Lady Mara wishes you would speak to her, Wulf.”
I turned and spoke to Erandur.
“Erandur, I have had enough mumbo jumbo from my father. I do not want more.”
“They will not allow Rigmor to die due to birthing a Dragonchild. However, there are risks to every childbirth, and they cannot guarantee they can protect her against the natural order of things. Having a good healer on hand will greatly reduce that risk.”
“And how will they protect Rigmor?”
“Lady Mara says that will be revealed soon and that you are to be patient.”
“So why didn’t my father say that Rigmor would be okay?”
“Because he could not promise the safety of Rigmor to be one hundred per cent. Lady Mara guessed this would be your reaction, and as soon as you entered the temple, she told me to find you when you exited. Other Sentinels pointed me to where you went.”
“So Rigmor’s risk at childbirth is the same as any other mothers?”
“Better than many, for she will be healthy and well-fed when she is with child. At the time of birthing, you will have Masters of Restoration present.”
“I suppose that is the best I can expect.”
“Please, Wulf, speak to Lady Mara. She is at a loss as to why you haven’t.”
“I don’t know the answer to that, Erandur.”
“I had better head back to my post before I get accused of desertion!”
“Oh, I’m sure with a character reference, I could get you life in prison rather than execution.”
Erandur rushed away, and I stared at the stars for another few minutes. Then I headed back to the castle and my room.
On my bed was Rigmor’s latest poem.
“The Dragon and the Bear
The snow blankets itself around us, and the bitter wind chills me with one gust. Blood stains red, those that hurt me dead. The Dragonborn, my guardian and protector, my one anchor, the one who is always there. The Dragon and the Bear. Woe to those who cross the dragon’s eyes, suffer and die. Shadow and hunt lie within. Only I see what lies within, calloused hands gently hold, kind whispers amongst the cold, beneath the dirt. To The Divines I thank thee above, for this is love.”
I was reading it for at least the tenth time when there came a tentative knocking at my door.
I was surprised when I opened it and found my beloved standing there.
“I thought you and Sorella were having a girl-to-girl gossip and general catchup session?”
“She fell asleep, bless her little heart. Grom and Tiny are watching over her, and I wanted to come and see you.”
“Well then, I had better be a gentleman and invite you in!”
Rigmor walked past the perfectly functional and comfortable chair and plopped her backside on my bed.
I sat next to her.
“I see you got my poem. Do you like it?”
“I love it, truly.”
“I…I wrote it after what you said in the Tap&Tack. I want you to know, Wulf, that I will never doubt you again.”
“Even after I butchered all those people?”
“You did as you swore to do. And you were right. I knew all along what you would do to those who threaten me.”
“You were in a dark place, and I meant everything I said.”
“You swore it on The Nine, Wulf. How could I ever doubt you again after such an oath? But your eyes! At first, they were dragon eyes but yellow. Then they were black with flames.”
“It was different, Rigmor. My Dovah half locked my mortal half away and only let me out hours later!”
“And you teleported!”
“Yes, that was not a smart move, but my Dovah wanted to do something and didn’t care of the consequences.”
“Wulf, you still love me, don’t you?”
“We were just discussing that sacred oath, and you ask that? I might get it tattooed on my forehead! Yes, Rigmor, I love you now and forever.”
Rigmor stood, so I stood with her.
“I know I am so annoying, and I keep asking you and telling you, but since Bobby betrayed me and called me all those things and because of my nature, I need to be constantly reassured and don’t ask me why because I can’t even explain it myself.”
“Woah, take a breath before you faint!
Rigmor, I will tell you as many times as you ask because I like to express it to the world. I have never stopped loving you, even for a second. I will love you to the end of my days and beyond.”
“Hehehe. I’m sorry.”
“Say sorry one more time, and I might have to growl!”
“Hahahaha… I… oops…”
“Wulf, there is something else.”
“If you want to ravish me, go ahead. I will feign resistance for at least ten seconds.”
“With my ex-chaperones within hearing range? I don’t think so.”
“Damn. What is it then?”
“Don’t be angry with me.”
“Come on, spit it out.”
“I want to see Bobby.”
“You want to see Bobby hung, or beheaded, maybe set on fire or castrated? Perhaps all of those? Your wish is my command, Milady.”
“I want to hear the truth from his mouth. I need to know why! It has been playing on my mind, and I need to end this. I trusted him. I even thought I loved him. I know it’s not what you want to hear, but I need to hear it for myself. I hope you understand. Will you come with me?”
“Of course, I understand and predicted this. You still can’t accept there are people so devoid of empathy they could do such a thing. You need closure, and I will be there to pick up the pieces. He will undoubtedly make you cry, but hopefully, this will extinguish any doubts.”
“I knew you would.”
“Rigmor, there is also something important we need to talk about.”
“What, what is it?”
“It concerns another part of The Alessian Prophecy, but let us get this Ser Robere thing out of the way first.”
We headed for the cells, and I knew what the outcome would be. Rigmor will shed more tears, but hopefully, the last she ever wastes over Ser Robere.
Captain Grimbold had put himself in charge of keeping Bobby caged up. I approached him and said, “Captain, have the prisoner ready for an audience with the Countess.”
“Right away, Sir.”
As Grimbold went to do as ordered, I turned to Rigmor.
“I know you too well to think you will keep your composure. I hope this is the last time this man makes you cry, for he is not worth your love or further thoughts. Are you ready?”
“Yeah…Okay…Yep, I’m ready.”
As we approached Ser Robere’s cell, Captain Grimbold barked, “Front and centre prisoner. Milady Rigmor, Countess of Bruma, wishes to speak to you.”
Ser Robere slowly made his way to the cage door, and then it began,
- Robere: Have you come to gloat? Then go ahead and gloat!
- Rigmor: No, Bobby. I…I came to ask why.
- Robere: Why? Surely, it’s so very obvious why. But then again, you were never very bright, were you?
- Rigmor: What happened to you, Bobby? This isn’t the person I once knew.
- Robere: Come on, Rigmor, open your eyes and wake up! This is the real world, a cruel, heartless existence where power is held by those that can kill without mercy. Ask your friend. He knows exactly what I am talking about. Hahaha! Next, you will tell me that we had something and loved each other.
- Rigmor: We did! We did have something, and I did love you.
- Robere: You’re pathetic. You were there to be used as I was there to be used when you accepted my hand in marriage, you little hypocrite! Standing here all hurt when you were prepared to use me to buy yourself time.
- Rigmor: No! That is not true. I never wanted to use you or hurt you.
Rigmor had sunk to his level and played their game. We both did.
- Robere: Trouble is you never understood the game. You should have been killed in that fire, but Morag Sethius had to go fuck it all up for whatever reason. She had it all, you in a boat on the way to Roscrea and your ‘Guardian’ play acting the tough protector, caught with his dick in his hand instead of a sword. Ain’t that right, Dragonborn?
- Rigmor: Shut your filthy mouth!
- Robere: You could have had it all, Rigmor. Marrying me would have solved all your problems. I would have made it a quick, painless death. Let’s face it that has got to be better than being a bird on a wire for the rest of your life.
- Rigmor: What do you mean?
- Robere: You know, like a sparrow tethered to a post that tries so desperately to be free. To fly away but only end up beating itself to death in a bloody fucking mess!
- Rigmor: You’re disgusting!
As predicted, Rigmor ran away crying. Hopefully, Rigmor will never think of this piece of shit as worthwhile ever again.
Ser Robere yelled, “That’s it, run, run away, you little skank. It is all you are good for!”
I approached the cage and said to Robere, “Thank you, Ser Robere. Rigmor needed to hear the truth from you. You had done an excellent job of fooling her.”
“The best place for her is a long way away from me, Dragonborn. I am scum and deserve everything coming my way, and I don’t give a fuck. Whether it be freedom or death, that is the price we pay for the game we play.”
“You care for her, Ser Robere and genuinely do not want Rigmor to be a casualty of this stupid game you play.”
“I don’t pretend I do not know what will happen to me if we lose the war. You had better hope we don’t win it, and if we do, you just make sure Rigmor disappears for good.”
“You don’t have a hope of winning. We have The Divines on our side, and you saw what I did to your army. And that was without using all the Master Mages I can call upon and dragons. And if need be, I can take control of all the Imperial armies in Skyrim and High Rock. Your father will die, and so will those that side with him.”
“For what it’s worth if she was in my place, she had better hope it is me standing where you are and not that bitch Morag Sethius.”
“You have no idea of what little consequence your pathetic bid for Bruma was in the big picture and are ignorant of the stakes for which we play. You know nothing about the real world as it is not as you described. It is a world where evil people like you become easily manipulated fools in the hands of the Daedric Lords and their lackeys. It is a world where people like Morag work to do evil for their masters and where people like Rigmor and I fuck up their plans royally, if you pardon the pun.
Rigmor and I are fighting for the very existence of every mortal on this planet. We have already saved every soul on Nirn, including yours, more than once. We have defeated armies much more significant than your father could ever imagine.
If Morag wins, then Molag Bal wins. You, your father and everybody else you have ever known would die or be enslaved even if you took Bruma. Your time as Count would be short-lived, I can assure you of that!”
I said to Captain Grimbold, “Make sure the prisoner has some soap and water and clean out his slop bucket. I am sure his father will send a negotiator, and we don’t want them fainting from the smell.”
“I am confused, Sir. I thought that the young man is a noble and therefore his shit would smell like roses.”
“His shit is the noblest thing about him as it will be used to fertilise healthy crops. His piss can be used for curing hides. Therefore, Ser Robere is not quite a total waste of space.”
“Understood, Sir. Do you think the negotiator would notice a few broken bones?”
“I am afraid so.”
I found Rigmor waiting for me in the main hall.
“Hey there, beautiful, are you okay?”
“He is right, you know, about the bird on the wire.”
“No, he is not, for you are not tethered to anything. You are free within the limits of your responsibilities, the same as I and everybody else are. His whole talk was a load of crap. For instance, did I play the tough protector, or was I one?”
“Hahaha, and I doubt you had your dick in your hand.”
“Except when shaking hands with your best friend over the side of my sneaky boat.”
“You know, taking a leak.”
“Wrestling the one-eyed trouser snake?”
“Uhuh…still no idea.”
“Having a piss over the side of the boat.”
“Well, why didn’t you say that.”
“Did you know my boat won the Tamriel Hide and Go Seek championship for 4E 205?”
“Ha de haha.”
“Ser Robere did say something true. We did deliberately lie to him and intended to use him.”
“I know. I was upset about that as much as the rest of what Bobby said.”
“We should try to avoid sinking to their level in the future.”
“Wulf, I’m scared.”
“Rigmor, I would be surprised if you weren’t.”
“We have been in similar positions before, haven’t we?”
“Yes, but only once before have you been the target of such a plot.”
“I wish I could stay with you tonight.”
“As do I.”
“You know, when this is all over, we can get married, have children. Live normal lives, well, sort of normal lives.”
“Bahahaha! When I am Count, I can change the furniture around and paint MY castle a bright orange!”
“Joking aside, you do still want to get married, don’t you?”
“Yes, of course. Now, we must discuss something about the prophecy.”
“Okay, Wulf, but you know it is not my favourite subject.”
“You, my dear, are going to be The Chosen Queen. What that entails, I do not know. I do know that The Chosen Queen will give birth to a child known as The Chosen One.”
“They could have worked on the titles a bit more.”
“The Chosen One will be a Dragonchild, meaning it carries the blessing of Akatosh in the womb and not blessed later in life like every other Dragonborn.”
“I would have to be careful burping it then!”
“According to the version of the prophecy that Freathof knows, any mortal giving birth to a half-beast will inevitably die due to complications during delivery.”
“But our children would not be half-beasts!”
“No, but it is a common description of a Dragonborn used by the ignorant. Other things in Freathof’s version of the prophecy are also wrong. However, what he said created doubt and concern. As he walked away at the end of the discussion, he stopped and advised me to seek answers from the priest in the Cathedral.”
“And did you?”
“Yes, but it was my father in attendance, not the usual Priest of The Nine. He used an aspect that made him look older and spoke mumbo jumbo. Freathof had been manipulated. I guarantee he has no memory of giving me that advice.”
“Did your father tell you anything useful?”
“Yes, my mother did not create a curse, and you would give birth to a Dragonchild. However, he would not guarantee your safety at childbirth.”
“Erandur gave me a message on behalf of Lady Mara. She says that father would not guarantee your safety because no childbirth is one hundred per cent safe. Every woman’s life is at risk during labour. However, the risk will not come from the child being a Dragonchild.”
“So, what do we do about this?”
“I trust The Divines, Rigmor, but it is up to you. We have never been ‘careful’ to avoid pregnancy. We have always thought it intrusive on intimacy. I know there are potions you can take to keep from getting pregnant and others some women take the morning after.”
“No, Wulf. Every time we make love, there is a chance a child will result from something beautiful and right. I like it that way, so, no potions or any other method.”
“What about the risk at childbirth?”
“If, as you said, there is no greater risk, then there is no issue. The dangers of childbirth are not going to stop me from being a mother!”
“I wonder if your attitude will change after we have had six or so?”
“None, one, twenty is not the most important thing. As long as I have you, I am whole and complete. You are my best friend, my soul mate, my Guardian and my love.”
“Only the gods know how much I love you. So, who do we invite to the wedding? Balin has to be first on the list!”
“No way! Anyway, I had better get back to my room and try and get some sleep.”
“Yes, my beloved. It may be some time before you see a real bed again. But I think we both need our quiet. Therefore, I would like to sleep in the reasonably comfy chair next to your bed.”
“Ha, you also want to be my Guardian once more and won’t sleep if you aren’t.”
“You know me well.”
“Come on then. We have to be quiet and not wake Sorella.”
We made our way to Rigmor’s room, and as she entered, I spoke to Grom.
“Grom, I will be sleeping in the chair in Rigmor’s room. I do it quite often as her Guardian and, to be frank, you and Tiny are no protection against assassins. Think of it as extra protection for Sorella as well.”
“I understand and couldn’t object if I wanted to, could I?”
“Ahh, no. I take my role as Rigmor’s Guardian very seriously.”
“What is happening with Bobby?”
“He is in the Bruma jail, and we will wait to see what they offer for his return. I think he is worth only one sweet-roll. Rigmor is determined to get at least two.”
“He is scum, and I was itching to kill him. I bet you are as well.”
“If I met him on a battlefield, he would die. But now he is our prisoner and is safe from my wrath.”
“He was clever the way he manipulated Rigmor. But the things he said when she was not near were terrible.”
“Thank you for your warning at the Roxey, Grom. I had to be careful how I dealt with Ser Robere because of my feelings for Rigmor. I could not let that bias what I did.”
“Yngol explained why you are not mustering others to fight. From what I have heard, you did not need help to crush Ser Robere’s army.”
“It is not the way I like to do things. Anyway, I had better claim my spot on the almost comfortable chair.”
“Both Tiny and I grew quite fond of Rigmor. Bobby is an idiot!”
I entered Rigmor’s bedroom, and she was already asleep next to the snoring Sorella. Her armour was scattered along the ground. In time, her bedroom in the castle risks resembling the bedroom in her house.
I sat close enough for our quiet to envelope Rigmor and me.
I know not what time I fell asleep.