Sundas, 2nd Rain’s Hand, 4E 205
Rigmor refused to enter the quarters once used by Morag and Ariel Sethius. So, I met her at the exit to the Royal Suite.
“When can we build the place that I want?” she asked.
“We can’t just knock down walls of The White-Gold Tower! I have told you we will make a small room at the back of the throne room and figure the rest out later.”
“How can you stand to sleep in there?”
“My dear Rigmor, there is not one piece of furniture or fitting leftover from when they used the rooms. And there have been far worse occupants than those two. If we worry about the history of every room in which we sleep, we might as well buy a tent!”
“Well, no matter what, I am giving birth in Bruma’s keep!”
“Yes, dear, we agreed on that and discussed who should be the midwife. Celestine was delighted to be asked. Several other top Restoration Mages in The Empire will also be attending. However, that is a long way from now, so let’s concentrate on today, shall we?”
“Yes, of course. I saw nothing but Sentinels on guard duty on the way in.”
“I asked for it to be that way. If somebody is out to get us, they are not going to hire run of the mill assassins. They would send their best, so we need the best as protection.”
“They can move into their new houses, well, refurbished houses next week.”
“We have six squads plus an extra four mages. We might need more if we are going to insist on twenty-four-hour coverage.”
“If YOU insist on twenty-four-hour coverage.”
“Rigmor, like it or not, we are targets. Kintyra is a target.”
“I know, I know. And The Sentinels are very good at being discreet. I suppose if we can find others equally as proficient, we should.”
“More worries for another day. Blackwell awaits us in the Royal Mausoleum.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he sleeps in there. It kind of suits his personality.”
We greeted Sentinels as we walked. They had adapted to the new routines well, and Blackwell had nothing but praise for them.
We stopped outside the entrance to the mausoleum, where Rigmor asked, “Well, here it is. It sounds a little creepy to me. It makes you wonder why he wants to meet here, Wulf. Should we be on our guard?”
“Blackwell is our ally, Rigmor. If you don’t trust him by now, you never will.”
“I know, but a mausoleum?”
“There is a lot of history in there. For Blackwell to ask us here on such a busy day, it must be important.”
“Well then, after you.”
“Well then, after The Sentinels.”
The Sentinels entered, and after Aranea stuck her head out and gave the all-clear, we followed.
Blackwell was at the far end of the main chamber. It was hard to ignore the number of sarcophagi of various sizes as we walked, including some that could only be for children.
We stopped in front of Blackwell, but it was not him that drew my attention. I could sense Father, a bit past the Lord Chancellor.
- Wulf: Good morning, Lord Chancellor.
- Blackwell: Your Majesty, I know you must be wondering why I asked to meet you here in this place of death. Be assured there is a good reason. You see, this is the Royal Mausoleum, and I have been attending to it for many years.
- Rigmor: We know what this place is, Lord Chancellor.
- Wulf: Ignore Her Highness. She hasn’t had her morning coffee.
- Rigmor: I am not addicted to coffee!
- Wulf: Good, then I shall have The Sentinels remove all traces of it from Bruma’s keep.
- Rigmor: You wouldn’t!
- Wulf: Lord Chancellor, you do The Empire a great service with your dedication to maintaining this sacred place.
- Blackwell: I have studied and kept records of the dynasties that have come and gone, that have sat upon the Ruby Throne. You might want to read my works. There are copies near the entrance.
- Wulf: I found a set and read them weeks ago. However, Rigmor could probably benefit from reading them.
- Rigmor: That sound’s riveting.
- Wulf: The first thing you will realise, my dear Queen, is that your Mede heritage is not very rare at all. I already knew that before reading them, but they confirmed my theory that Sethius was very picky when it came to prosecuting you.
- Blackwell: You did well to point out the absurdity of the charges again Rigmor at the trial.
- Rigmor: I liked the part where Wulf said, ‘I am defending a Mede being persecuted for being a Mede by those who want to call themselves Mede whilst honouring a Royal Decree issued by the founder of the Mede Dynasty.’
- Blackwell: I did not think Your Highness remembered much of that day?
- Rigmor: No, I don’t. But I read Wulf’s journals.
- Blackwell: Of course.
- Rigmor: The books are one thing, but why are we here, Lord Chancellor?
- Blackwell: As you know, all of the guests who can make it have arrived. Notable representatives from the major powers. Interestingly every Jarl from Skyrim is here or wrote apologies full of genuine regret. I have heard and read of your popularity there, Your Majesty, so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise, I suppose. Not a single one of them was going to attend Sethius’ coronation.
- Wulf: I bet he was a little displeased at being snubbed by barbarians. After all, he was of the best bandit breeding.
- Rigmor: Forgive His Majesty, Lord Chancellor. He was dropped on his head as a child.
- Wulf: As far as I can tell, not a single Jarl of Skyrim or King or Queen of High Rock entered Cyrodiil whilst Sethius sat upon The Ruby Throne. Their meetings with ambassadors and so on were done outside of Cyrodiil. War would have been inevitable if any senior diplomat had visited Cyrodiil and reported what they found here.
- Blackwell: We teetered on that edge, which forced Morag to accelerate her plans. She had to get things done before the house of cards came tumbling down.
- Rigmor: Who is of immediate concern amongst the attendees?
- Blackwell: As expected, Count Camaeus has arrived to represent the Aldmeri Dominion. However, a leading member of the Elder Council, Amaund Motierre, was not expected. Count Camaeus demands, not requests, that Councillor Motierre be present at the coronation.
- Wulf: I have not revoked the exile of the Elder Council nor invited a member to the coronation. Therefore, Councillor Motierre is not protected by Diplomatic Immunity or the Laws of Parley as long as we give no official approval for his attendance.
- Rigmor: He is breaking the law by entering Empire territory.
- Blackwell: That is correct.
- Wulf: Motierre is a reasonably powerful family of Breton merchants. They have estates in Chorrol. Do I remember correctly?
- Blackwell: Yes, Your Majesty. They have had holdings in Chorrol since before the Interregnum.
- Wulf: And Councillor Mortierre was a member of The Elder Council during Emperor Mede II’s reign?
- Blackwell: He was the youngest and least powerful member at first.
- Wulf: But now you say he is a leading member.
- Blackwell: Amaund was one of the most influential members when they deliberated who would be the next to sit upon The Ruby Throne.
- Wulf: Too bad I don’t have time to discuss Councillor Motierre with Emissary Baa’Ren-Dar. Your spy network is excellent, Lord Chancellor, but so is his.
- Blackwell: I believe he has far better and more extensive connections within Alinor.
- Wulf: Sentinel Aranea.
- Aranea: Yes, Your Majesty.
- Wulf: Tell The Sentinels that an arrest may be required. Any Sentinels on duty may be summoned to The Throne Room without notice.
- Aranea: Understood. I will teleport over to Serana, and the word will spread from there.
- Blackwell: I have found the mages assigned to me to be invaluable. But I am still getting used to having them and often waste time doing things the old way.
- Wulf: It will be even better when we set up the network of portals.
- Rigmor: Lord Chancellor, Wulf told me they once had portals all over Tamriel that the citizens could use.
- Blackwell: Yes, thousands of years ago, they could jump aboard a horse and carriage and be anywhere in Tamriel within the hour.
- Wulf: Unfortunately, most of the Termini were destroyed, so it would be of great expense to reconstruct. But it is a thing we can consider implementing in the future.
- Rigmor: I hope the guests all stick to protocol and do not try and negotiate as if it was a private parley!
- Blackwell: Most of them have requested private audiences over the next two days. Count Camaeus has not.
- Wulf: If he wants to parley in a public environment, he should expect my answers to be public.
- Rigmor: I know we have agreed on our response, but he wouldn’t dare ask for The White-Gold Concordat to be reinstated! Or would he?
- Wulf: Remember, he has a bargaining chip that he thinks gives him the upper hand.
- Blackwell: You are positive he has the diamond?
- Wulf: Yes, Father said he has. I don’t question the honesty of The Divines, Lord Chancellor.
- Blackwell: Of course not. Forgive my impertinence, Your Majesty.
- Wulf: As agreed, I will never allow The White-Gold Concordat to be reinstated. The Thalmor have never had Divine guidance telling them Talos worship is a blasphemy. It is a fact Father is a Divine, and Count Camaeus knows it. I am the Champion of The Divines. I will never tolerate a law that is blasphemy. Understand?
- Blackwell: Yes, Your Majesty. You have made that blatantly clear from day one.
- Rigmor: Baa’Ren-Dar said Camaeus would probably offer The Elder Council in the hopes of influencing you, Lord Chancellor.
- Blackwell: The Thalmor think I have far more power than I have in influencing Your Highness and Your Majesty.
- Wulf: I might be willing to allow them to return to Cyrodiil, but not as my council members. We shall see.
- Rigmor: Pffft, the only good thing Sethius did was kick The Thalmor out.
- Wulf: Not true. He reduced the tariff on imported sugar, making Sweet Rolls cheaper.
- Rigmor: Okay, only one of two good things Sethius did was kick The Thalmor out.
- Wulf: The Dominion will be invited to open an embassy in Cyrodiil and other provinces. But there will be no Thalmor patrols hunting the innocent.
- Rigmor: Is there anybody else we should be aware of, Lord Chancellor?
- Blackwell: No, I believe everybody else will wait for private audiences before discussing political matters. There is one interesting guest from Morrowind, however. A Lord Neloth of House Telvanni.
- Wulf: Wizard-Lord Neloth is Clan Leader of House Neloth. He rarely leaves the safety of Tel Mithryn. I am genuinely honoured he would take such a risk for our coronation.
- Blackwell: You are a member of House Telvanni. I suppose it is an honour for them to have one of their own become emperor.
- Wulf: Is he acting as Emissary for Morrowind?
- Blackwell: Yes, that is his title.
- Wulf: What representatives from High Rock are attending?
- Blackwell: Lord Malakai and Princess Potema.
- Wulf: And they represent King Pjofr Ice-Blade as the High King of High Rock?
- Blackwell: Yes, but his claim to be High King is tenuous at best.
- Wulf: Even though no other provinces of High Rock are attending, it is premature to assume that King Pjofr Ice-Blade is the accepted High King. I have been reluctant to ask that question directly to the other Kings and Queens of High Rock.
- Blackwell: A wise move, because the leaking of an official l answer from one of more may cause instability.
- Rigmor: Wulf and I discussed this in length. We are treating High Rock with great caution as the political mess in that country is challenging to unravel.
- Blackwell: It is more stable in terms of internal wars being extinct. However, it would not take much for one province to feel insulted by another and armed conflict be the result.
- Wulf: We will have to get some stability in High Rock before the arrival of the Akaviri.
- Blackwell: Agreed, Your Majesty.
- Wulf: If there are no other guests of concern, are there other matters needing this gloomy environment?
- Blackwell: Yes, Your Majesty, I would like to show you both something. Please, this way.
We approached a shrine with a set of golden armour on top.
- Blackwell: This is the armour…
- Wulf: …of my Father, Tiber Septim. His presence through it has been battering at me since we approached this end of the mausoleum.
- Rigmor: Wasn’t it destroyed when Martin Septim sacrificed himself?
- Blackwell: All we know is that it was returned here shortly after his martyrdom. Titus Mede II last wore it.
- Wulf: Rigmor, how many identical Jenny dolls do we have.
- Rigmor: Oh, I am silly. Gobblygook answers all things.
- Wulf: Nearly all. Albatross answers the rest!
- Blackwell: More damage from landing on his head, Your Highness?
- Rigmor: Now you know why The Divines wanted me to supervise him.
- Blackwell: The armour now belongs to Your Majesty. It is customary to wear it at the coronation. However, it fitted Titus Mede II perfectly, and he was of much smaller stature than you, and it is too late to have it altered. I should have thought of that earlier.
- Wulf: Do not concern yourself, Lord Chancellor. It will fit perfectly.
- Blackwell: Gobblygook?
- Rigmor: Yes, but only minor gobblygook.
- Wulf: Father had many sets of armour. This set differs from the set in Sancre Tor which is Colovian in design.
- Rigmor: Imagine if we stayed for Sethius’ coronation and he came into The Throne Room in your father’s armour?
- Wulf: It will adapt to me but not have fitted him. He would have looked ridiculous.
- Rigmor: If he did wear it, it would have been a test of your self-control.
- Blackwell: I would never have told him about the armour. He knew nothing of this place.
- Rigmor: You continue to surprise me, Lord Chancellor.
- Blackwell: As for you, Your Highness, please, this way.
We walked to a sarcophagus in the middle of the west wall of the mausoleum.
“This is the burial place of Rigmor of Cyrodiil. Before Titus Mede had the infant Morgan sent to Winterhold, he organised for Rigmor to be laid to rest here. She died in childbirth due to complications, and Mede was heartbroken. Some say he never fully recovered from losing her.”
Rigmor asked, “What do you know about her?”
“She was initially a mercenary, and rumours have it she played a big part in the Oblivion Crises by helping the Champion of Cyrodiil close many of the gates. After the martyrdom of Martin Septim, she joined the ranks of the Colovian Warlord Titus Mede and helped him wrest control of Cyrodiil from the hands of Thules the Jibbering. His dying wish was to be reunited with her, here in this small anti-chamber. Attrebus reluctantly complied, and it was a well-kept secret. There is no mention or record of it. The official sarcophagus for him lies empty. Titus Mede’s remains are within, alongside that of his true love.”
“That is so sad”, whispered Rigmor.
I said, “I doubt Attrebus would have argued the point as he married a commoner.”
“Perhaps you are right. The crowning outfit Rigmor never got to wear is preserved in this chest. I think it would be fitting and respectful to her memory if you would wear it to the coronation, Your Highness.”
“Will it fit?”
“The outfit was sent for cleaning and altered to fit you, Your Highness. Rigmor of Cyrodiil was of a more robust build.”
“And the crowns?”
“They have been polished and handed to a Priest of The Nine whose only function is to place them upon your heads.”
As I approached Father’s armour, Blackwell turned to me and said, “Your Majesty, Your Highness, I will leave you both to get dressed. Take your time as I will be visiting the guest rooms one by one to inform the occupants to make their way to The Throne Room.”
I asked, “This was at the request of Lydia, I assume?”
“Yes, she believes that any attempts on our guests’ lives would be far less likely to succeed if individually escorted to the coronation.”
“Lydia had been of immense help from the day we met her in Whiterun.”
“Majesty, it is customary to engage with and greet the guests before taking your places on the thrones. When you arrive, I shall introduce you to whom I think requires special attention.”
“And only when we are both seated will the ceremony begin, is that correct?”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“Thank you for your efforts, Lord Chancellor. We shall try not to tarry.”
Blackwell bowed then made for the exit.
I said to The Sentinels, “Ladies, please help Rigmor get prepared. Aerin, you are to assist me.”
Since Rigmor’s outfit was simply a change of clothing, the ladies acted as a modesty shield more than anything else.
Getting into Father’s armour was another matter. It was pretty old fashioned and had a lot of buckles and straps with which to contend.
About forty-five minutes later, I was finally encased and comfortable.
I walked over to Rigmor.
“Well, my darling wife, what do you think?”
“It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen!”
“Oh, is my fly undone? My apologies!”
“Very droll. Anyway, what do you think of mine?”
“You look stunning, but that is to be expected.”
“Should I have done something with my hair?”
“Not at all, but I am worried it is still growing at an accelerated speed.”
“Yeah, perhaps your Mother’s tonic worked too well?”
“Let us go and cause some chaos, my Queen.”
“You have no intention of following Blackwell’s lead in there, do you?”
“He will introduce people according to his perception of their importance. Me, I will greet my friends first, including Elisif. She is equal to you on the noble scale, and nobody else will take precedence.”
“You are going to piss off Camaeus before you even speak to him.”
“Yep. I expect assclown to dominate proceedings once we give him a chance.”
Rigmor laughed, and we left the Royal Mausoleum hand in hand.
When we stepped outside, I said, “Whoa, hang on till my eyes get used to this sunshine!”
“It is a beautiful day, my Dragonborn. We should have had a picnic instead.”
“Oh, I am sure this will be more entertaining and less dreary than you think.”
“Do you think it is wise to have no Sentinels or other guards in the chamber?”
“I have banned all weapons. Not even a butter knife will pass the scrutiny of our mages.”
“The widows might kill you with their stares.”
“No, I think they realise the fate of their husbands was not my doing. They chose their path when they sided with Bruce de Medalius.”
We held hands once more as we walked towards the Imperial Palace.
I had to laugh when a cross-armed and grumpy Blackwell flanked by equally grumpy Jordis and Celestine greeted us.
- Wulf: Somebody has made themselves popular.
- Blackwell: Princess Potema is a bit awkward, Your Majesty.
- Celestine: She is a pompous little cow who only thinks the sun shines when she bends over!
- Rigmor: Celestine! Silent and scary, remember?
- Celestine: Sorry, Rigmor, but sometimes we have to say things out loud or explode!
- Jordis: We had the unfortunate duty to escort her and that milk-drinker from their quarters. If an assassin had appeared, Celestine and I might have cheered!
- Wulf: The milk-drinker being Lord Malakai, I assume?
- Jordis: He is supposed to be an excellent tactician and general. However, he sounds like a boy whose knackers are yet to drop.
- Wulf: Now think, Jordis. If you were in charge of Princess Potema, how would you sound?
- Jordis: Yeah, I suppose she might have bitten his balls off!
- Rigmor: Lord Chancellor, we had better enter before Jordis slanders our esteemed guests any further.
- Blackwell: Be aware that Princess Potema may be the High Queen of High Rock one day.
- Rigmor: Would that make her title ‘Her Royal Highest’?
- Wulf: And you call me droll?
- Blackwell: Majesty, Highness, this way if you please.
We followed Blackwell inside and stopped not far into the chamber.
When we stopped, he shouted, “Can we have quiet please!”
Blackwell waited for the murmurs and whispers to cease.
Blackwell announced, “I present to you Emperor Wulf Septim the First and High Queen of Cyrodiil, Rigmor Morgan-Mede.”
I observed those who enthusiastically clapped, who pretended to be enthused and those who did not care or showed disdain.
All the Jarls except Maven Black-Briar were genuinely welcoming. She had her usual look as if she smelt something foul. Probably her black soul.
All of the Emissaries were enthusiastic.
All the Counts showed some enthusiasm, but the two new widows stared daggers.
Camaeus stared and displayed Thalmor arrogance at its finest. Amaund Motierre looked as if he wished he was elsewhere.
Lord Malakai politely clapped and his charge, the mysterious Princess Potema, was a mini version of Maven.
Blackwell waited for me to finish my scan, then said, “This way if you please, Your Majesty.”
We followed Blackwell further in till we were in front of Lord Malakai.
Blackwell announced, “Please, Your Majesty, let me introduce you to….”
“No need, Lord Chancellor. The High Queen of Skyrim and I have been good friends for many years!”
I walked past Blackwell, whose mouth hung open in mid-sentence, squeezed past Maven and Camaeus making sure both got a bit of shoulder and stood before Elisif.
Rigmor stayed where she was with a smile on her face. She knows I have been waiting to tear apart the needless formality of the court.
Elisif went to bow, and I quickly said, “No, Your Highness, friends need not bow to each other. Just a smile upon greeting is more than adequate.”
“I sent a Viscount and find an Emperor has taken his place.”
“Have you booked a private meeting for tomorrow?”
“Yes, and I am so looking forward to catching up with Rigmor.”
“Elisif, you look so much younger than when I saw you last. Only eighteen or so compared to the ancient twenty or so that I am used to!”
Elisif laughed and replied, “It is probably the unusual lighting in this wonderful room. Or perhaps it is my new hairstyle.”
“Until tomorrow, Your Highness. Please, enjoy the show.”
I glanced over at Lord Malakai and Princess Potema. The young girl was pouting as if greeting a Queen before she was an insult.
I moved over to Casius and Yngol.
“Count Varon, Jarl Yngol, don’t you find it odd the protocol states I follow one honorific with a given name and the other with a surname?”
Yngol replied, “I find many things strange in Cyrodiil. Like how a goat herder can become a Count.”
“Count Varon, did those funds arrive?”
“Yes, Your Majesty. The repairs and dock building are underway.”
“Splendid. I will catch up on the details later.”
Ignoring the desperate look on Blackwell’s face, I next approached Neloth.
“Wizard-Lord Neloth, it is a great honour and pleasant surprise to see you representing Morrowind.”
“The powers that be originally wanted Councillor Morvayn to attend. However, he was adamant that I deserved to be the representative. For House Redoran to suggest that House Telvanni have the honour was more of a shock than Red Mountain exploding!”
“I hope the sea voyage was pleasant.”
“Oh, none of that. I insisted that your airship be sent to collect me. It seems you rotate the mages operating that wonderful device. My three times great-grandniece was not too pleased she ended up with me as a passenger.”
“Brelyna has proven to be an excellent mage whose potential I saw from day one of her apprenticeship.”
“Yes, I did praise her, which you know is a scarce thing for me to do. But even something more amazing occurred.”
“And what was that?”
“Brelyna made a perfect cup of Canis Root Tea! It must be her ancestry.”
“Have you booked a private meeting for tomorrow?”
“Oh no, we have a weedy little ambassador for that sort of monotony. He is probably crying right now because he couldn’t come to this, hopefully not dull, coronation.”
“Oh, I think it will be anything but dull.”
“Good, I left a fascinating experiment with earwax to come here.”
I nodded to Neloth then moved on to the Countess of Kvatch, Lassita Aquilarios.
“Countess Aquilarios, I am so pleased to meet you finally.”
“Well, Your Majesty, you did pass my first test.”
“Getting rid of Coverture?”
“Yes, and you just passed my second test.”
“You looked into my eyes, not at my cleavage.”
“Oh, don’t mistake that for chivalry. Have you ever seen High Queen Rigmor use a greatsword?”
“No, that is not it. You value people for what they are, and you have taken my measure by scrutinising my face as we speak.”
“Correct, and what I see is honesty and intelligence, two important traits of a high ranking noble but nowhere near as crucial as empathy and compassion. From the reports I have read, you have both of those in abundance. Your citizens are enamoured of their Countess.”
“As the citizens of Bruma are for ‘Their Rigmor’. I am sure Countess Frostreaver will be equally as adored.”
“I believe you and High Queen Rigmor will get along very well.”
“Oh, if she is half as delightful as The Sentinels, then I have no doubt.”
“Do we have a private meeting with you tomorrow?”
“Yes, which is a right that Sethius and the blood-sucking cow did not uphold.”
“Then I look forward to sitting down and seeing what we can do for Kvatch.”
I moved over to the Counts of Anvil and Skingrad.
“Count Hassildor, Count Umbranox, I would like to thank you both personally. Your co-operation during the transition period has been essential and appreciated.”
Count Umbranox replied, “We fully support what you are trying to achieve, Your Majesty. We both have meetings with you and High Queen Rigmor on the morrow and look forward to them.”
“Have you found good guardsman amongst the New Imperials?”
Count Hassildor replied, “Most of them might do well with some Imperial Legion discipline. But we both managed to find enough that had the right qualities for garrison duty.”
“I am glad. The Counts and Countesses have the chance to do something for their people. In return, they will earn their respect and love. They are the greatest riches in all of Nirn.”
The two men nodded acknowledgement. Maven Black-Briar snorted.
Blackwell looked hopeful, then dejected as I ignored his silent pleas and walked over to Maven Black-Briar.
“Jarl Maven Black-Briar, it is well known that you believe the right to rule is only for the strong and that accumulating wealth is the objective.”
“That is the natural order of things.”
“Is it? I am far richer than you and have achieved that through self-sacrifice and service to the people of Nirn.”
“Yet, here you suddenly are, Your Majesty, the Emperor of The Empire.”
“And how did I achieve this position? Are you suggesting I did anything of questionable morality?”
“No, of course, I would not be so silly to accuse you of so doing publicly.”
“Jarl Black-Briar, you sit on your throne, not through your actions but mine. Let us hope you use your business skills and understanding to assist in the war effort if the Akaviri invade and help your people. That is what High Queen Elisif and I expect from you. Falkreath is prospering under new leadership. Learn from that and realise you are not as secure in your seat as you think. I also apologise. Doing profitable business deals must be so much harder after I wiped out the Dark Brotherhood.”
Maven snarled. However, the other Jarls laughed.
I looked past Maven to Kewlian Maejki, the Emissary of Hammerfell.
“Emissary Maejki, I am honoured to greet a true friend of The Empire.”
“Your Majesty, I see you wear the ring of Ragnar Fjonasson. As a young man, I was in awe of that great warrior. Many celebrations were held across our land when we heard you were Emperor and that Ragnar’s daughter, Rigmor, was High Queen. It is time for the sins of the past to be put aside. Greater co-operation between Hammerfell and The Empire is to begin from today.”
I heard Camaeus snort at that reply.
“Your Excellence, I assume we have a meeting tomorrow?”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“Terrific! That will allow us to discuss in detail how we can defend Hammerfell against threats from the Akaviri and others. Just because an enemy failed the first time miserably that they invaded does not mean they won’t try again.”
“True, Your Majesty, and that applies to the Akaviri as well.”
I smiled at Kewlian as that not so subtle barb will get right up Camaeus’ nose.
“Till tomorrow, Your Excellence.”
Kewlian did a slight bow of the head, and I turned toward the other group of guests.
Blackwell did not even try to intercept me as I crossed the divide. He is quickly learning I have my way of doing things, and idiotic protocol can take a flying leap.
Rigmor said via our rings, “This is so entertaining. It is hard to tell who is the most pissed off. Princess Potema or Camaeus.”
“What kind of backward protocols would have Blackwell introducing lesser nobles first?”
“Protocols of politics, not respect.”
“Well, let’s continue to do things our way and drag everybody into the future.”
“Ah, Serana has just appeared near the door. You had better see what she wants.”
“Okay, you just make sure you catch Blackwell if he faints.”
I heard Rigmor’s laughter echo, and it was glorious even if it earned a few stares.
I looked over, and Serana was standing patiently. Of all The Sentinels, she seemed to embrace the silent but scary attitude the best.
I walked over to her in no great hurry.
“Wulf, I had a most interesting visitor, and we need to talk urgently.”
“Then follow me to a dark corner and away from prying eyes.”
We went to where I had spoken to Rigmor about Robere’s proposal plan. I couldn’t help but chuckle at the memory.
Serana looked at me worriedly and asked, “Are you okay? The stress hasn’t shaken a few marbles lose?”
“No, Serana. I remember the last time I spoke to somebody here, I was called all sorts of names and told they never want to see me again.”
“Ah, let me guess. Would that have been Rigmor?”
“Good guess! Now, what is this all about.”
“A young girl, she appeared to be ten or eleven years of age, in a pretty dress and large frilly hat approached me. She looked me up and down and then said, ‘It is hard to believe you were one of the most powerful vampires on Nirn.’”
“You must be used to people knowing of your past. The Sentinels are subjects of many news sheets and even a book or two.”
“The girl was a vampire. An ancient vampire that is probably as old as my parents. You have warned The Sentinels and guards about the remaining Dark Brotherhood assassins.”
“Ahh…I see. What happened?”
“I said to her, ‘Babette. I hope you are not here to guarantee The Dark Brotherhood becomes extinct.’
She replied, ‘No, Mother says our days of Emperor exterminations are over. They never turn out well for us. Oh, I am Listener now.’”
I speculated, “It seems The Night Mother warned both her and Cicero to make themselves scarce before I arrived at their sanctuary.”
“I don’t want to keep you away from the coronation too long. We can talk about what else Babette said another time. But she handed me these to give to you. A note from Cicero and an Elder Council Amulet.”
Serana handed me the amulet and sealed note. I looked closely at the amulet and smiled.
“Serana, do you know who this amulet belonged to?”
“The uninvited guest you warned may need arresting, Amaund Motierre.”
“Let me read out the note from Cicero. An interesting individual is he and not the sanest.”
“Kind stranger, do not worry, for we are no threat to you or those you love. The Dark Brotherhood has always accepted or denied Black Sacrament requests. We have already ignored many directed towards you.
Mother says you are vital to the future of Nirn and the mortals upon it. Plus, we do not want the anger you demonstrated with the Morag Tong directed at us.
Yes, I killed Emperor Titus Mede II, or should I say, he took the poison I offered him. His death was quick and painless.
He asked a favour of me. He wanted those who hired us to be brought to justice. After listening to his story, I could not refuse.
The amulet was a down payment for our services. It in itself is worth tens of thousands of shiny, clinky coins to collectors, so rarely do they become available.
I do not know if Motierre acted alone, but I doubt even his family could afford the fee we charged.”
I said to Serana, “The note was not signed, but I found Cicero’s journals inside Falkreath Sanctuary, and I am certain the handwriting matches. Plus, only Rigmor and I would know he called me ‘kind stranger’.”
“Do you want Motierre arrested inside the chamber?”
“No, I changed my mind about that. It would cause unrest amongst the guests even if Motierre is not protected by The Laws of Parley or diplomatic immunity. As soon as he exits the Imperial Palace, he is to be taken into custody and told the charge is treason. He is to be taken to The Imperial Prison, and they will take it from there.”
“Take the amulet with you and return to your post. Ask one of the other mages to retrieve The Amulet of Kings from my safe aboard Bostin. They all know the unlock dweomer, I hope. Place both in a small casket and place it next to the throne.”
“Okay, have fun!”
Serana vanished, and I made my way quickly back to the guests. My eyes were drawn to the Priest of The Nine as I did so.
I laughed as I used zoom-vision.
My Father was watching the proceedings. He would be the one to place the crowns on our heads.
He nodded when he realised that I had recognised him.
Rigmor asked via our rings, “Serana seems to have amused you.”
“Oh, I am not laughing because of Serana. You will find out what amuses me soon enough.”
“Okay then, what did Serana want?”
“We now know who murdered Mede and who hired the assassins.”
“What? Are they here?”
“Yep. Just let this play out, Rigmor. It will be more fun if you wait for the revelations.”
“Let’s put Blackwell out of his misery.”
I approached Blackwell and said, “Lord Chancellor, can you please introduce us to our friends from High Rock.”
A relieved Blackwell said, “Your Majesty, this is Lord Malakai, envoy of the King of High Rock and Princess Potema, Heir Apparent to the throne of Jehanna.”
In a somewhat effeminate voice, Malakai said, “Majesty, it is my honour to meet you in person finally. On behalf of the King of High Rock, we hope to strengthen our relationship and bring wealth and prosperity to the northern peninsula. We also hope to fortify our friendship with Solitude and look forward to further talks in the near future.”
“I am confused, Lord Malakai. Have the other provinces of High Rock agreed that King Pjofr Ice-Blade is, in fact, the High King of High Rock?”
“Well, nothing has been signed to that effect.”
“So, to be precise, you represent the Kingdom of Jehanna, not the entirety of High Rock.”
“Then I welcome you, Lord Malakai, Envoy of Jehanna.”
Before Malakai had a chance to recover from his embarrassment, Potema coughed loudly.
“Oh, and this is the King’s eldest daughter, Princess Potema. She insisted on accompanying me to this most important of events.”
I approached the girl and did a slight head bow.
“Welcome, Princess Potema.”
“Well met Uncle. I do hope you can visit us sometime. As you may or may not know, my father is frail as of late, and his health is waning, even more so every day.”
“Forgive me, Princess Potema, but I did not know my half-brother, Emperor Belharza the Man-Bull, had a daughter. You hide your horns well, or do they not grow till later.”
Potema looked shocked then quickly checked her head for signs of Minotaur horns. This reaction was met by laughter from all but Lord Malakai. He could see disaster looming and could do nought to avoid it.
“Relax, Princess Potema, and forgive me for my jest. If you are a Septim, you would be related to me along my uncle Agnorith Septim’s line as my other half-brother, Emperor Pelagius, was unfortunately assassinated, leaving no known heirs. Of course, there could be bastards unaccounted for like Emperor Martin Septim. Anyway, if you are a Septim, you would be a cousin many times removed. However, the Septim bloodline is just an extension of my Mother’s, so perhaps you are not a Septim but can trace your roots to Saint Alessia? Either way, you would be a cousin, and I am pleased to meet you.”
I will give the girl credit as she recovered pretty well from the first clash of wills.
“Oh, please, forgive me. I seem to have forgotten my manners with that slip of the tongue. It is my high honour to be in the presence of the Emperor by Divine grace, and of course, the Lady Rigmor Morgan-Mede.”
“I am Emperor by Divine Right, being Dragonborn. But I am also Emperor by right of combat as I lopped the other guy’s head clean off. You are standing where it landed!”
Potema looked down in horror.
“Princess Potema, it is important you address nobles by their correct titles. You are not in the presence of Lady Rigmor Morgan-Mede but the High Queen of Cyrodiil, Her Highness Rigmor Morgan-Mede. You are to address her as Your Highness.”
“My apologies, Your Majesty.”
“No harm, Princess Potema, as long as you learn.”
Potema turned to Rigmor then asked, “Your Highness, when do you think I will have the honour of meeting my little cousin?”
Rigmor looked my way with a bemused look, and I smiled.
Lord Malakai desperately tried to rescue the situation and said, “Princess Potema, this is not the time nor place.”
Rigmor grinned, and anybody with sense would have run. She said, “No, Lord Malakai, it is fine and only natural enthusiasm and curiosity on behalf of Princess Potema.”
Rigmor seemed to count on her fingers while muttering, “Mmm, it could have been that time. Three times that night, if I remember. Or perhaps that other time when we didn’t sleep at all. It is so hard to know when conception took place.”
Potema’s eyes widened as Rigmor continued to mutter about our lovemaking sessions. She quickly looked at me, turned red, then stared at Rigmor.
I said, “Rigmor, it was one of those times in the tent on Roscrea, according to Lady Mara.”
“Oh, then let me think….”
A few seconds later, she said, “Princess Potema, Kintyra is due in twenty-seven to twenty-eight weeks.”
Potema was not skilled enough at these games to realise she was outclassed. Malakai was starting to sweat.
Potema asked, “And isn’t the child, by the grace of the gods, to be a Dragonchild?”
“Kintyra was conceived the normal way. I do hope you know how babies are made! She will be a Dragonchild due to the combination of my and His Imperial Majesty’s unique heritage.”
In a meanspirited voice suitable for playground taunts, Potema said, “Please, and I mean no offence….”
Malakai was in full panic mode as he exclaimed, “Princess Potema!”
Rigmor commanded, “No, Lord Malakai. Allow the Princess to speak!”
Malakai’s mouth dropped open as he watched the girl dig a big hole and fall in.
Potema smirked then said, “Then please allow me to give you my most heartfelt and deepest condolences should anything untoward happen during the birth.”
There were gasps all around, but it was not so terrible a thing to say as far as I was concerned.
Rigmor said via our rings, “Please, deal with this. The poor girl is being misled.”
“Okay, I will educate her.”
I explained, “Princess Potema, The Alessian Prophecy as told by most scholars is wrong and misleading. No mortal woman has indeed survived giving birth to a Dragonchild. That is because no mortal woman has ever given birth to a Dragonchild! But we know for certain that Kintyra is no more dangerous to Rigmor’s health than a child not blessed by Lord Akatosh. Do you want to know why we are certain of this?”
Potema nodded her head.
“All women are at some risk during childbirth. That is natural. But Kintyra does not increase that risk. I was told this by my Father, Lord Talos. Lady Mara told both Her Highness and me this. Lord Akatosh had not spoken to a mortal in thousands of years. However, he spoke to Her Highness and told her that Kintyra poses no additional risk. Therefore, we are nervous, as any expectant parents should be, but with the best Restoration Mages in attendance, we think there is minimal risk to Rigmor from childbirth.”
Potema stared at me with her mouth agape.
Then she stammered, “Oh, please, I meant no offence. I just thought….”
“You thought because you were advised incorrectly that Rigmor’s life was forfeit due to the prophecy. Use this as a lesson. Your advisors were wrong, and if I were you, I would start wondering what other advice from them is questionable.”
Lord Malakai knew the depth of the disaster unfolding. Potema is less likely to be a puppet from this point forward.
He said, “Forgive us, Your Majesty. Princess Potema is young and can be thoughtless at times.”
“Princess Potema is not at fault, Lord Malakai. She simply lacks competent direction from her advisors.”
Rigmor nodded, and Blackwell was about to say something. I cut him short by moving in front of and addressing the two widows.
“Attendance to this coronation was not compulsory. Therefore, let me state, without any other meaning than the truth, that I am pleased to see you, Countess Debenfall, and you, Countess Longstride, here on this historic occasion. For today is another important step in a new beginning.”
Both Countesses did a respectful curtsy but said nothing.
As I went to move away, I heard one of them whisper, “Murderer!”.
I stopped and faced them once more, “You took our advice and visited the site where innocent families crossing the border were slaughtered and placed in mass graves. The women and children were not simply killed. They were brutally raped!
You have been told of the thousands of children lured from their homes and feasted upon by Morag Sethius and her brood. Like the slaughter of the innocents on the border, this horrendous crime was allowed to occur by Emperor Sethius. Your husbands and probably other senior nobles of Cyrodiil know of these crimes yet did not protest.
Morag Sethius had civilians kidnapped. They were put in chains and placed in cages within Imperial war galleys. Then they were handed to Akaviri forces as food, like cattle.
Her Highness and I did not fight for land, prestige or riches.
We fought for the people of not just Cyrodiil, The Empire or Tamriel. We fought for all the people of Nirn.
Whilst we were fighting an evil that threatened your very existence, your husbands took advantage of our absence to try and steal Her Highness’ home and kill her people.
I did not kill your husbands. Their greed was their undoing, and the laws of The Empire were applied fairly and in public. I sincerely hope you quickly come to terms with that fact and use the opportunity gifted to look after your citizens and rise above the selfish ambitions of those who fought against us.
If we had lost, Molag Bal would be your master and misery your reward for the betrayal of your husbands!”
I turned to Blackwell and said, “Lord Chancellor, I will greet our other guests before Count Camaeus. He will have our attention in due course and not before.”
Blackwell nodded, and I made my way to the Emissary of Black Marsh.
“Greetings, Emissary Androsesh.”
“And heartfelt greetings to you, Your Majesty.”
“Please, do not be offended, but I must clarify. Do you represent An-Xileel, and if not, who is the leader of Black Marsh?”
“An-Xileel believe they control Black Marsh, but Saxhleel listen to The Hist, as it never gives false advice and is not driven by greed or ego. So, I am here as a member of An-Xileel, but my loyalty is to my people as a whole, and The Hist will guide our actions.”
“We have made all nations aware of what we think is the threat of invasion from Akavir. In the past, Saxhleel forces have combined with traditional enemies to oppose the Akaviri.”
“Apart from assisting with the Akaviri problem, The Ebonheart Pact also aimed to wipe out Molag Bal worship within The Empire. We might have worked with the Nords from Eastern Skyrim, but we were not friends of The Empire as it was then. However, that was a long time ago, Your Majesty. Now is a different time, and our intelligence network tells us you deal fairly with everyone. I was surprised to see your private security forces include Saxhleel, Khajiit, Dunmer and even Altmer. However, on reflection, that shows you judge on deeds, not race.”
“As would be evident with some of my earliest decrees placing targeted groups under the protection afforded by citizenship.”
“I am instructed to inform you we will share intelligence and co-operate in forming cohesive plans for the defence of Tamriel. This mandate is not of the An-Xileel but that of The Hist.”
“Are we to meet tomorrow?”
“No, I am to watch what happens today, then organise our first round of talks soon.”
“I look forward to working with you, Emissary Androsesh.”
“As I with you, Your Majesty.”
I next greeted Bravil’s Count.
“Good morning, Count Terentius. How are the splinters?”
“Splinters, Your Majesty?”
“The ones you got from all that fence-sitting during the recent unpleasantness.”
“I had incomplete information on which to make crucial decisions.”
“Relax, Count Terentius, I only jest. You did the right thing when uncertainty clouds such a situation.”
“Of course. We are not used to levity in this place since Emperor Mede II vanished. His court was not always so glum as Sethius’”
“The entertainment is about to ramp up a few levels.”
“Then I will watch with anticipation.”
I moved on to the Jarl of Hjaalmarch.
“Good morning, Jarl Idgrod.”
“The Nine told me you were destined for greatness, Your Majesty.”
“I hope you have learned to listen to your people with the same respect you show The Nine.”
“Yes, I have learnt that via Joric. He is proving to be quite sensitive to the needs and wants of our citizens.”
“So, all those bad dreams he was having were due to innate empathy?”
“Yes, that is what Falion concluded and has been proven right. Joric will sit and listen for hours and then summarise a problem for me. It is quite a skill, and his sleep is undisturbed.”
“You were always free with your advice, Jarl Idgrod. What should I be aware of?”
“I know you speak to The Divines, so have probably been told this. If your eyes and your ears are open and your mind is free of judgement and expectation, you might learn much in this chamber.”
“That is why I am speaking to other guests before Count Camaeus hijacks the proceedings.”
“There are words spoken, and words unspoken. Beware The Thalmor, for they are adept in both languages.”
“Oh, I will soon reveal that fact to all who agreed to send him to Table Mountain.”
“The Empire is in good hands with yourself and Her Highness.”
“Thank you, Jarl Idgrod. I hope to do a tour of Skyrim soon and look forward to visiting your beautiful city once more.”
I walked over and embraced Balgruuf in a typical manly Nord way, which involved many pats on the back and gentle shoving. He caught on to what I was doing and played his part well.
“Jarl Balgruuf the Greater, greater than what you never said, it is very pleasing to see you again.”
“Your Majesty, are you allowed to remain Thane of Whiterun? My citizens are proud to call you that.”
“Yes, apparently, I can keep my Thane titles. It took some dusty old scholars to find the relevant laws in even dustier old tomes.”
“That is excellent! Is there anything I can do for you, Your Majesty?”
“Well, High Queen Rigmor and I would appreciate it if the lifelong ban from The Bannered Mare was lifted. Her Highness was not going to shove a lute up the bard’s chute. Well, I don’t think she was.”
“Consider it done, and we can share a mead or two there the next time you visit.”
“That is a deal, my old friend. But perhaps we should enjoy the meads on your balcony? I am sure Odahviing would love to visit and chat about the old days.”
“That would be fun, especially if we invite Farengar and don’t warn him.”
I turned my attention to the Jarl of The Pale.
“Jarl Brina, I believe you finally married Horik.”
“Yes, Your Majesty, so I am now Jarl Brina Halfhand. I am a bit old fashioned and took his name as mine.”
“Military expertise such as you possess will be of vital importance if the Akaviri invade.”
“I am just an old, retired Legate, Your Majesty.”
“You did not earn that amulet you wear for just being a Legate. Besides, you once told me that above all, you are a soldier first.”
“Did I? Well, I suppose I am when thinking through problems.”
“I am sure your advice would be welcomed by General Tullius or whoever is in charge of the defence of Skyrim.”
“I think he was ready to retire and then heard of the possible invasion. He has already visited me and said the same as you, Your Majesty.”
“Until we speak again, Jarl Brina.”
I saluted Brina, who smiled and saluted back.
I moved over to the smiling Baa’Ren-Dar.
“Emissary Baa’Ren-Dar, I hope that your stay in Cyrodiil has been enjoyable.”
“This one has not stopped smiling except to belch after fine Elsweyr Chowder.”
“I heard that Sentinels Ashni and Anahbi have helped keep you entertained.”
“This one does not speak of such things, although proud of his ability to keep them entertained.”
“Countess Frostreaver, doesn’t your daughter look magnificent in that coronation outfit!”
“Ragnar would be so proud of her. Not because of her status but how she conducts herself.”
“Hammerfell’s Emissary recognised Ragnar’s ring. He is still a legend amongst The Redguard.”
“It is good he is remembered, but I would give all to have him with me once more.”
“As would Rigmor. All we can do is make sure no others are sacrificed for political expediency. So now I go to deal with those responsible.”
I walked towards Blackwell and nodded my head. A look of relief crossed his face.
“Your Imperial Majesty, it is my pleasure to introduce Count Camaeus of Lillandril, who represents the Aldmeri Dominion and The Elder Council in exile.”
Camaeus started badly when he said, “Majesty, Lady Rigmor.”
I snarled, “It is Your Majesty, Your Highness.”
Camaeus ignored the rebuke and continued, “It is my honour and pleasure to meet you both once again under these special circumstances.”
We remained silent.
“The Dominion and The Elder Council in exile hope a lasting alliance can be forged to meet the upcoming threat. Of course, before such an alliance can be agreed to, there are a few important things we need to discuss.”
Rigmor and I knew what he wanted to discuss, but we did not know if he had the diamond.
Rigmor asked, “Such as?”
This thing was supposed to be of the upper class and sophisticated yet showed the manners of a common drunk. Camaeus stood between my Queen and me, pushing her as he did so. This manoeuvre was such a blatant political statement as to make it comedic in its execution.
Camaeus thinks all decisions will be mine alone and that Rigmor can be ignored. He knows very little about Rigmor and me, which does not bode well for him walking away with any dignity. Already many watching noisily expressed their distaste for his actions.
Rigmor said, via the rings, “Assclown just stood on my toe!”
Camaeus said, “Cyrodiil needs….”
“Count Camaeus, before you continue, move to where you were and address both my Queen and me. Even young Princess Potema knew that basic etiquette!”
He looked abashed as he complied. I nodded, and he continued.
“Cyrodiil needs to return to its former glory before the events of that usurper Ariel Sethius.”
“He was no usurper, Count Camaeus. Nobody came forward to claim the absent throne via blood, and The Elder Council deliberately procrastinated in announcing a new Emperor. They were too busy counting the many bribes of potential candidates. They also failed to declare stewardship as was their duty. So, in the absence of their leadership, Ariel Sethius made their decision for them.”
“A long-lasting and true alliance can be obtained by the restoration of the White-Gold Concordat and return of the Elder Council here in the Imperial Palace.”
“This is not the appropriate occasion to discuss this, Lord Camaeus. Feel free to arrange a private audience as many others in attendance have.”
“I disagree! We have the right to make our terms known. After all, The Dominion was instrumental in destroying Sethius, so we should see the benefits of our involvement.”
Rigmor replied, “His Majesty did not say you do not have the right to discuss terms. Although terms for what, I am at a loss. Terms for a peace treaty? Terms for the return of something?”
Camaeus looked stunned at the question.
I added, “Count Camaeus, your help was not needed, and neither Queen Rigmor nor I asked for it. The forces of the New Order were far superior in numbers and quality than the New Imperials, and we demolished them with considerably fewer troops. They were the best Dominion troops ever fielded and almost accomplished in days what the rest of The Dominion failed to do in years of effort.”
Rigmor growled, “We both know why you were at Table Mountain and joined the march to the Capital City. Some here will be shocked to learn it wasn’t to aid Tamriel or as an apology for what was done to my family!”
Many of those who signed the paper entreating that we accept his help started protesting and asking for clarification. Baa’Ren-Dar chuckled.
I turned to the guests and said, “Please, let him continue. We shall answer questions later if need be.”
Amazingly, Camaeus’ Thalmor arrogance allowed him to continue as if most guests were not staring at him with unhidden distaste.
“All we ask is the White-Gold Concordat be restored, and the Elder Council reinstated, and the lands of Southern Hammerfell be handed back over to The Dominion as they are legally and rightfully ours.”
Rigmor asked, with genuine disbelief, “Do you expect us to consider these demands seriously?”
“Rigmor is no lady!”
The chamber echoed with laughter, and the tension was relieved, which was my aim. Plus, I was sick of assclown’s poor etiquette.
“Ahem, Your Highness, you must think of the greater good. I will take it upon myself to make sure the returning Justiciar act fairly and openly.”
“Yeah, right, whatever!”
“Plus, it will put me in the perfect position to return something of importance.”
I used my Thu’um so all could hear, and my question would echo for added emphasis.
“Count Camaeus, you retrieved the Red Diamond and instead of handing it to me, as instructed by Auri-El, or Lord Akatosh if you prefer, you desire to use it as a bargaining chip. Is that the case?”
“All I ask is you discuss what I have mentioned, delay any knee jerk decisions, and after some serious thought, reach out to us. The future of Tamriel depends on a newfound friendship of tolerance and diversity.”
I could not help it. That last sentence coming from the mouth of a Thalmor cracked me up, and once I broke protocol and laughed, many others joined in as it was comedic.
I noticed my father had removed his hood. He has not spoken to me via my mind, but I knew what he wanted.
I placed myself between Camaeus and Amaund Motierre. Camaeus had no choice but to move or be shoved out of the way.
“Councillor Motierre, are you aware that I have not revoked the exile of The Elder Council?”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“Did you receive an invite to this coronation?”
“No, Your Majesty.”
“You are in Cyrodiil illegally and are not protected by The Laws of Parley or under diplomatic immunity. Did Count Camaeus explain this to you? Were you aware of this fact?”
“No, Your Majesty. Count Camaeus said that I was within my legal right to attend. I did not question his assessment.”
“No, you did not question because you are his prisoner, as are the rest of The Elder Council.”
Before Camaeus could object, I turned and got within inches of his face.
I whispered, “Don’t you dare deny it, Camaeus.”
“Shut up, you worm. Take a close look at the priest between the thrones.”
Camaeus looked, and recognition dawned.
“Yes, that is one of the aspects of the priest who has guided your entire life. It is my Father, Tiber Septim. You were given a chance to create peace between Man and Mer. Instead, you have chosen to be a fool who I am about to expose to those you betrayed.”
I leapt up onto the platform that many an Emperor and Empress have used to address others.
I once again used a bit of Thu’um and said, “Count Camaeus demanded we discuss terms for The Dominion’s co-operation as if this was a private meeting and you were all gathered here to listen to his nonsense. I let him voice The Dominion’s demands, and here are our answers.”
There was silence, and all heads were pointed my way.
“Count Camaeus, all items you asked for were predictable and the topic of many long discussions between my Queen and me, our advisors and The Divines. Understand that this is no knee-jerk reaction but well thought out answers and our last word on these matters.”
Camaeus started to look nervous. Perhaps there is a limit to Thalmor arrogance?
“Many of the people here signed the recommendation that we accept your assistance at Table Mountain because they were told a lie. You were not there to atone for the barbaric treatment of my Queen. You were not there as an apology for the New Order or to clean up the remnants of that invasion force. You were not there to ensure our victory against the evil of Molag Bal.
The Elder Council told the signatories these lies as part of their deal with you.
You promised The Elder Council that after Table Mountain, Her Highness and I would, with your vital assistance, march on The Imperial City and take it by force. You told them we would eliminate Lord Chancellor Blackwell, and they would end up with a weak and young woman on The Ruby Throne. A puppet to be manipulated when they return to Cyrodiil.
You lied to The Elder Council, who in turn lied to the Jarls, Counts, Countesses, Kings, Queens, Emissaries and other nobles who signed that paper.
You knew we would not take the Ruby Throne by force. You knew that my Queen would never have been a weak and easily manipulated Empress.
But your lies did not end there. Auri-El gave you a sacred task. And you lied to him, which in turn is lying to all gods who cherish mortal free will and the existence of Nirn.”
All eyes turned to Camaeus, and he stood trapped.
“Count Camaeus has been following the orders of Lord Akatosh. Orders were delivered to him verbally by what he admitted he thought was another god. Delivered to him by an avatar of my Father, Talos of the Nine Divines!”
I could see Camaeus wanted to flee, but he couldn’t. He demanded the right to put forward the Aldmeri Dominion’s terms and, therefore, was obligated to remain for the answers.
I watched Camaeus squirm for a few seconds, then continued, “There were two fundamental reasons Count Camaeus wanted to accompany us to Table Mountain.
The first reason was to ensure the safety of Queen Rigmor. Not because he felt any obligation after their brutal treatment of her family. Any regrets expressed on that were pure theatrics and without an ounce of sincerity.
He wanted Rigmor to live as she is carrying an extraordinary child that not just The Divines but all gods who value mortal life wish to be born. This child, the daughter of Rigmor and I, will have the ability to unite all of Nirn and eliminate poverty and war for all time.
Her name is Kintyra, and she will rule as Kintyra Septim the Third and is the granddaughter of Tiber Septim and Saint Alessia. Count Camaeus, why would The Divines reward a false god with the boon of his dynasty being resurrected?”
The guests stared at Camaeus but did not expect an answer. They knew he did not have one.
I continued, “The second reason why Count Camaeus wanted to accompany us was to retrieve a soul gem created when The Bridge of Sighs was destroyed. We call this soul gem the Red Diamond as it has similar properties to the Chim-el Adabal, the gem in the centre of The Amulet of Kings.
The Red Diamond only exists because my Mother, Saint Alessia, risked her soul battling Molag Bal. In a battle of wills lasting ten years, Saint Alessia fought for the thousands of souls of the children consumed by Morag Sethius and her brood.
Ariel Sethius knew of the murders of these children, but the lure of The Ruby Throne throttled all protest. Many nobles of Cyrodiil were also complicit with their silence.
I am sure that many of you know of people who lost children to these evil creatures! Their souls were saved by Saint Alessia, my Queen and the brave soldiers who fought by our side. They were saved by a young girl who faced the horrors and fired an arrow accurately from her bow. They were saved by me, who fought Molag Bal and ended up in The Void once more.
The Divines were not sure I would survive my encounter with Molag Bal. Count Camaeus was a backup. He was to retrieve the soul gem, the Red Diamond if I could not. Some of his men did so whilst I was still in The Void. With stealth, they retrieved it as my Queen and our allies fought the forces of the opposing Counts and marched to the outskirts of the Imperial City.
I have spoken to several Divines and have confirmed that Count Camaeus was instructed to hand the Red Diamond to me. Now he wishes to ignore the instructions of Auri-El and play games with the future of not just Tamriel but all of Nirn.
Count Camaeus, now that others know of your deception and lack of moral worth, I will answer each of the demands you just tabled. These are the joint decisions of my Queen and I and not negotiable.”
The chamber was dead quiet. Camaeus’ stupidity, driven by Thalmor arrogance, handed me the perfect audience.
“The Thalmor have never had Divine instruction telling them that worshipping Talos was blasphemy. They have known all along he is the ninth Divine. The evidence of his ascension is irrefutable. Consulting a Priest or Priestess of Lord’s Syrabane, Phynaster, Jephre, or Auri-El would confirm his status, as they have my claim to be his son.
Lady Mara, a shared deity amongst most people of Nirn, would defend Talos and me with vigour as she has been fundamental in my survival and the chance for The Alessian Prophecy to be fulfilled.
The reason for The Thalmor opposing Talos worship is complex. They have a long-term plan to destroy The Nine, and the Aedra of their pantheon, in a bid to become immortal. Talos stands in their way.
I am Dragonborn and Champion of The Divines. I am the son of the first god The Thalmor aim to destroy. I have witnessed what they have done to innocent civilians whose only crime was to express freedom of worship. Yet Count Camaeus demands we allow the return of The Thalmor blasphemy!”
I used a lot of Thu’um, which, as with the last time I used it within The Throne Room, caused a cloud of dust to fall from the roof slowly.
“HIGH QUEEN RIGMOR AND I, EMPEROR WULF SEPTIM THE FIRST, WILL NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, AGREE TO THE RESTORATION OF THE WHITE-GOLD CONCORDAT. THIS OATH I SWEAR TO ALL PRESENT, NOT PRESENT AND THE NINE!”
A roar of approval came from the Jarls, Counts and Countesses.
I put my hand up for silence, and it came quickly.
“Now for your idiotic demand that we hand you southern Hammerfell.
It was a difficult decision by Emperor Titus Mede II to do so under the White-Gold Concordat. If you haven’t noticed, Count Camaeus, that decision led to Hammerfell seceding from The Empire. Therefore, we don’t own it and could not give it to you if we wanted to!
Your legal right to those lands vanished when you lost them in war.
The Aldmeri Dominion attempted genocide in that region. Many brave soldiers joined my Queen’s father, Sir Ragnar Fjonasson, to aid the people of Hammerfell. Two of those brave men are standing only feet from you, Count Camaeus, and would gladly throttle you for the lies I have exposed.
The combined forces of Sir Ragnar and Hammerfell drove The Dominion out of those lands.
That is why The Thalmor hated Ser Ragnar and were terrified of his daughter. That is why your leaders falsely accused him of the very war crimes the Aldmeri Dominion committed. That is why you murdered him under the pretence of just punishment.
The Dominion lied to this great man and reneged on the deal you made for his false confession. You made slaves of his wife and daughter! But that was not enough. You whipped and tortured High Queen Rigmor till she was barely alive. A fourteen-year-old girl who you wisely feared and now stands before you beloved by The Divines and her Dragonborn and her people.
So, Count Camaeus, we would never hand the territory of the good people of Hammerfell over to The Dominion even if it was ours to give.
Also, tell your leaders we will help defend that territory on behalf of its inhabitants if asked.
That is our answer to your moronic demand.”
More cheering followed, led loudly by the Emissary from Hammerfell.
I let the noise continue as I retrieved Amaund Motierre’s amulet.
I returned to the platform and stood staring at Motierre with his amulet dangling from my hand. He turned very pale, and I thought he might faint.
The chamber went quiet once more.
“How dare The Dominion tell us how to govern The Empire! If we find we do not want a bunch of backstabbing, useless pieces of trash cluttering up our palace, that is not a thing to be dictated by a foreign power! It is entirely up to the Queen and me to implement mandates and policies.
But forgive me, Count Camaeus, for that was not your intention, was it?
You have offered us The Elder Council not because you think we will allow them to resume their positions. You have offered them as a sweetener for Lord Chancellor Blackwell. You thought his desire to find those responsible for Emperor Titus Mede II’s disappearance would make him influence our decisions.
You have grossly underestimated the Lord Chancellor’s political intelligence. My Queen and I saw through the ruse. Lord Chancellor Blackwell is far better at this game than us!
We will allow the ex-councillors to return to Cyrodiil, reunite with their families, and run their businesses. But they will never be allowed to resume positions on The Elder Council. We have plans for a new type of Elder Council that will be revealed soon.
But when they return, they will have to answer questions over the assassination of Emperor Titus Mede II.
Amaund Motierre, do you recognise what I am holding?”
All eyes turned to Motierre, who was having a bad day. He just learned The Thalmor offered The Elder Council as bait and saw the amulet in my hand as his death sentence. He remained silent, but he shook with fear.
I continued, “What I have in my hand is the amulet gifted to Amaund Motierre by Emperor Titus Mede II. It was given when Amaund was promoted to The Elder Council. It is a symbol of a Councillor’s rank and the trust given them by the person upon The Ruby Throne.
Amaund Motierre gave this amulet to The Dark Brotherhood as a deposit for the assassination of the very emperor who gave it to him.
I am not just going to take the word of assassins on this matter. So Amaund, I suggest you find a good attorney and prepare a defence while The Penitus Oculatus investigate further.
Combining this evidence and what I told you about The Elder Council’s subterfuge with Count Camaeus, I am sure it is no surprise what our answer is to The Dominion’s demand.
Count Camaeus, tell your leaders our answer is one word.
Once again, dust fell from the ceiling. During the echoes and laughter, I retrieved The Amulet of Kings.
I asked Father, “What will happen when I put The Amulet of Kings around my neck?”
“Any remaining Tel Var Stones will react to it. It may take a minute or two for them to get in harmony with the Chim-El Adabal, but it will happen. However, this chamber, and not all of it, is probably the last place Tel Var Stones remain. It will make for a spectacular demonstration, but it might weaken the structure. We don’t know with certainty, so be cautious and not leave it on too long.”
“But even without me wearing it, its presence strengthens the White-Gold Tower?”
“Yes, not necessarily structurally but its influence on the natural order, The Convention. Each tower has a stone. The Chim-El Adabal is this tower’s stone.”
“And returning this tower’s stone will help thwart the plans of The Thalmor.”
“Oh, yes. The Thalmor will not be pleased when Camaeus reports what you wear.”
“Do you approve of how I am handling Camaeus?”
“You do what you think is right. It is your Empire to govern as you see fit. You do not need my approval.”
“No, but it would be nice to have.”
“He has betrayed not just The Nine but his gods. The destruction of his reputation I approve of wholeheartedly.”
“I will hurry the proceedings along. It must take a lot of effort to remain here for so long.”
“It is not easy, but I can achieve it where the other eight cannot.”
I placed Amaund’s amulet into the casket and retrieved The Amulet of Kings.
I returned to the platform with the ancient symbol of the Septim dynasty around my neck.
A few people noticed and pointed. As each person saw what I wore, they became silent and stared in wonder.
I said, “Count Camaeus, you play politics when the fate of Nirn, Mundus and all mortal life hangs in the balance.
As you told me yourself, your whole life led to your meeting with us at Quintus’ Camp. Your life’s purpose was to ensure my Queen’s safety and retrieve the diamond for Kintyra and me.
You have failed your life’s purpose by withholding the diamond, Count Camaeus!
You could have gone down in history as the Mer who helped mend the hatred and rift with Man. Instead, you have proven yourself a liar, devoid of all moral worth and an idiot.”
As I finished the sentence, like a perfectly timed punctuation, the dull grey stonework of the stairs and throne platform turned gleaming white with green veins.
I stared at Camaeus, smashed my fist into my hand and growled, “The Red Diamond belongs to me and may be vital in the upcoming war against the Akaviri. Only I and my unborn daughter can use its powers.
The upcoming war is not just for the governance of Tamriel but for the very existence of mortals on Nirn.”
I did not hold back as my fury was genuine. Some people staggered as I roared,
“YOU DARE WITHHOLD THE DIAMOND FROM ME AND THUS ENDANGER ALL LIVING THINGS WITH YOUR THALMOR ARROGANCE!
YOU DARE LIE TO AURI-EL!”
Rigmor said via our rings, “My beloved. Calm down. You do not want your dragon to surface.”
“Yes, you are right. If we were not in parley, I would send him back to Alinor in several parts.”
“Then get this over with and him out of your sight.”
“Yes, my Queen.”
I still used my Thu’um, but at a moderate level. I looked around and made sure everybody was recovered and paying attention.
“Count Camaeus, when you return to Alinor, tell your superiors these things.
I have the original Amulet of Kings, and you have seen its power.
I welcome the return of ambassadors and Dominion embassies, even if staffed by Thalmor.
Warn them that if the Red Diamond is not handed to me by the time of our daughter’s birth, I will regard that as an act of war.
We must prepare for the Akaviri, and if I have to come and take that diamond, I will not hold back!
Keeping that diamond is a threat to me, my family, every person in this room, Nirn and Mundus!”
Camaeus was not popular. If looks could kill, he would be a bloody pulp twitching on the floor.
I removed The Amulet of the Kings, looked at Blackwell and nodded. He called out, “Let the ceremony begin!”
Rigmor and I had been told the drill. We were to be seated, then Rigmor would be crowned first.
By the time I put the amulet in the casket and sat on The Ruby Throne, the stonework had returned to its dull grey colour.
As my arse protested once more, I decided I didn’t care how inappropriate and would get us some cushions. They can be red and diamond-shaped as long as our posteriors are happy.
Blackwell asked, “Your Majesty, Your Highness, is there anything you need to ask before we get underway. It may be hectic afterwards.”
“If you want to avoid a war, Lord Chancellor, find that diamond. I would rather destroy one castle or fort than a whole nation retrieving it.”
“Of course. I will ask Emissary Baa’Ren-Dar for assistance.”
“I am sure he will help but will report to me. He cannot be seen as friendly with you, Lord Chancellor. It is precarious for any high ranked individual who lives in Dominion territory.”
“There is one thing I must do before we start.”
I stood and pointed to the doors.
My voice echoed with the power of the Thu’um as I said, “Count Camaeus, your presence is not wanted during the ceremony. Remove yourself from the chamber and take your pet with you.
From this moment on, you are not welcome anywhere within The Empire. If you ever enter it again, you will not have diplomatic immunity.
The Dominion will have to send other representatives for any future discussions.”
Camaeus stormed out of the chamber. Amaund Motierre took a few seconds to figure out what he should do. Eventually, he followed assclown. All Thalmor arrogance was stripped away by the jeering and threats of reprisal from those duped by Camaeus and The Elder Council.
I sat down again and watched them exit with a sense of disappointment. Camaeus could have been a catalyst for peace. Instead, he will cost many lives with his dishonesty.
Blackwell asked, “Was it wise to let Motierre go?”
“The Sentinels are waiting till he exits The Imperial Palace. They will arrest him for treason and take him to The Imperial Jail.”
“And I cannot question him without his attorney present?”
“Not unless he agrees in writing to allow it.”
Rigmor said, “Lord Chancellor, we need to know more about Princess Potema.”
“Not long ago, she washed up on the shore from a shipwreck claiming to be a distant relative.”
I said, “If she has Septim or Alessian blood, she may have been kept as a potential claimant to this throne. But if so, why not make that claim when Emperor Titus Mede II vanished?”
“Unknown, Your Majesty, but it is not a coincidence the King has been taken ill with some unknown malaise since.”
“I don’t see it in her to be a cold-blooded killer, Lord Chancellor. I think she has been isolated and pampered and needs some education. However, that does not make her like her namesake. At fourteen, which I assume is the Princess’ age or close to, Potema had set up an advantageous marriage by herself and was soon married with one child. That takes cunning and determination.”
Rigmor added, “For King Pjofr Ice-Blade to accept Potema being a relative, there has to be quality proof of that claim.”
Blackwell replied, “It could be King Ice-Blade’s mental faculties are severely impacted by whatever malaise he has. Potema’s puppeteers could claim she is Saint Alessia and an ill monarch nod his head in agreement.”
I suggested, “We shall send a formal offer to provide the best Restoration Mages in The Empire to visit and help with King Pjofr Ice-Blade’s diagnosis and treatment. If the offer is refused, I will send them anyway.”
Blackwell said, “It did not take long for you to learn the tender art of International Politics, Your Majesty.”
“Okay, those two issues are the priority, for now, Lord Chancellor.”
“As you desire, Your Majesty.”
Rigmor said, “Let’s get this done. I can see our guests want to ask a million questions over food and drink.”
Blackwell turned and announced, “Behold, by the grace of The Divines, the High Queen of Cyrodiil, Rigmor Morgan-Mede the First!”
As my father lay the crown on Rigmor’s head, there was tremendous cheering and clapping. But even over the din, I heard Rigmor gasp.
She asked via our rings, “Do you know who the priest is?”
“I would hope so since he is my father.”
“He just told me, inside my head, that he welcomes me into the Septim dynasty and that The Divines love me.”
“It is inevitable they love you. You are kinda cute.”
“Cute and cuddly?”
“I wonder if anybody has even bonked on the Ruby Throne?”
“Here we are, in the middle of a sacred ceremony, and all you can think about is nooky.”
‘You fault, wife of mine. You corrupted me.”
“How does my crown look?”
“It looks like it belongs, my Queen.”
The cheering finally died down, and all eyes turned to Blackwell once more.
“Behold, Wulf Septim the First! Ysmir, Dragon of the North and wearer of the Stormcrown. Dragonborn and Champion of The Divines. Emperor of The Empire by Divine Right. All hail His Imperial Majesty.”
As Father placed my crown, he said, “My son, listen to your people cheer. Those here know you and Rigmor are the path to a better future. I could not be prouder.”
As expected, the Jarls and Counts all cheered loudly. I did not expect the Countesses who, minutes before, thought me a murderer to cheer just as loud. I was also amused to see Baa’Ren-Dar and Sigunn yelling and cheering. What moved me the most was seeing the emissaries also enthusiastically joining in. It gave me hope we could make a coalition against the Akaviri.
I stood and bowed as a thank you for the warm approval.
Potema moved to the middle of the guests and stood with her arms crossed. The chamber suddenly went quiet as everybody stared at her. I decided to act when she grunted dismissal while looking at Rigmor.
I turned and said, “It is time the young girl learned to fear us. I only hope she realises quickly that those around her are using her.”
I used Whirlwind Sprint and stood inches from Potema before she could blink.
There was a deathly silence in the chamber, and all could hear me say, “Princess Potema, you have a choice.
You can live a long life as a pampered noble who never has to worry about food, money or a roof over her head. Or you could end up dead, a footnote in The Empire’s history.
Or perhaps you could become the legitimate High Queen of High Rock. Our approval of that would depend on your method to achieve it.
If you think you have a claim to The Ruby Throne, then I must ask, why did you not make it when Emperor Titus Mede II disappeared? Why did your advisors not recommend that be done?
You have no concept of what you owe my Queen and me. You have no idea how powerful we are with The Divines supporting us. You do not want to make enemies of us.
Tonight, when all is quiet, and you lay in your bed, listen, and you may hear the screams of Queen Potema.
I cast her down for the last time, and now her soul drifts in the endless, colourless void.
She is screaming and begging for mercy, but there will never be an end to her torment.
The Divines leave her there as punishment for her sins. The Daedric Princes are tired of her fruitless attempts to gain the throne I now sit on and will not rescue her.
What you do with your life is your choice, Potema. Do not let those who advise you ruin it for their selfish gains.”
The girl looked distraught. I had probably burst every dream she had been fed since an infant. It is best I frighten her now than she loses her life to a noose or headsman’s axe.
I moved onto the platform and announced, “The boring bits are over. Please, relax and talk. Food and drink will soon be served in abundance. High Queen Rigmor and I will be happy to discuss today’s events but please, leave negotiations where they should be, in private conversation.”
I went to step away but stopped and said, “And I advise, for your safety, do not impede Emissary Baa’Ren-Dar’s path to the Elsweyr Chowder.”
Lord Malakai gathered his weeping Princess, and they left. Blackwell asked one of The Sentinels to inform the domestic staff that the food and drinks were required.
Rigmor and I started to mingle with the guests. We were engaged in hours of discussion about what was just witnessed. I marvelled at the ease with which Rigmor did this. I can only hope to become a fraction as good as she in this essential diplomatic skill.
Many hours later, Rigmor and I had discarded our coronation armours and returned to Bruma. We had a full day, or two, of meetings scheduled and wanted some quiet time at ‘home’.
Rigmor will eventually have a home within The White-Gold Tower, but she will only sleep in Bruma’s keep until then.
As we were preparing for bed, a knock was heard on our door. I said, “Enter.”
In came Valdimar with a grim expression. He was currently assigned as Blackwell’s assistant. Four mages rotate that duty on a set roster.
“Wulf and Rigmor in private, please, Valdimar.”
“Wulf, Lord Councillor Blackwell sent me to inform you Councillor Amaund Motierre is dead. The Dark Brotherhood assassinated him inside his cell in The Imperial Jail. Another prisoner has escaped who we speculate was Cicero.”
“Do you know the sequence of events?”
“Earlier today, a short man of suspected Imperial heritage was arrested for urinating on the statue of Uriel Septim III in the Market District. The arresting city guards simply thought him a drunk as his speech was slurred and incoherent. They placed him in a cell to sober up before bringing him in front of a magistrate on the morrow.”
“He did not fit the description of Cicero circulated to all guards?”
“No, he didn’t. Blackwell was satisfied the man was searched correctly and did not resemble Cicero in looks or manners.”
“How did Amaund die?”
“A careful inspection of the corpse revealed a small puncture wound into the main artery of the neck. A quick test of Amaund’s blood showed traces of Jarrin Root. Amaund would have died silently within seconds of a small amount being injected into his neck. I would say enough was administered to kill dozens of people.”
“How did Cicero escape?”
“We suspect he had a Ring of Recall hidden, most likely swallowed and regurgitated.”
“What makes Blackwell certain it was The Dark Brotherhood?”
“This sealed message with their symbol is addressed to ‘The Kind Stranger’. You had informed Blackwell earlier that was Cicero’s name for you.”
Valdimar handed me the message. I broke the wax seal and found two pieces of paper inside. I read them, and Rigmor could see I was visibly upset. She said to Valdimar, “Please inform Lord Chancellor Blackwell that we will discuss the contents of the message before court commences tomorrow.”
Valdimar bowed then vanished.
I turned to Rigmor and said, “Another has died because of me. Let me read you the note from Cicero.”
“Kind stranger, the killing of Amaund Motierre was to fulfil a Black Sacrament contract.
Emperor Titus Mede II was not surprised when I entered his cabin aboard Katariah. He guessed who sent me and co-operated by placing a Ring of Recall on his finger when asked.
Upon arrival at our temporary sanctuary, he asked if he could make a contract before I completed the one to kill him.
I agreed, and The Black Sacrament was performed with my assistance.
The majority of The Elder Council opposed a decision he made. But he was adamant it was the right thing to do even though you were lost. He had great faith in The Nine due to events he detailed to me and was told you would return.
Amaund Motierre was the target, but I could not get close to him whilst he was incarcerated in Alinor. However, we have well-paid snitches in The Dominion, and one of them told us of his imminent arrival here for the coronation. Babette and I quickly came up with a plan, and it worked a treat.
I am sorry for involving you in this, but at least you now know what happened to Mede and why if you read the other piece of paper.
I can assure you Emperor Titus Mede II died with dignity and without pain or suffering. A small consolation to those who loved him but such is the result of my profession. His remains can be found within the abandoned Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary on the coast north of Dawnstar. ‘Innocence, my Brother,’ will grant access.
Rigmor asked, “Why was he killed, Wulf?”
I handed Rigmor the other piece of paper. It was a signed decree naming me as Heir Presumptive to The Ruby Throne.
Rigmor read it and said, “It is not your fault, Wulf!”
“It never is, Rigmor. I attract death by existing.”
“You can’t blame yourself for this, and I will not allow you to!”
“Yes, my Queen, you are right. Deaths are inevitable as we pursue the peace promised by prophecy. I can’t take the blame for the actions of others. Especially since I will knowingly be sending people into danger, and deaths will result from those orders.”
“But why name you Heir Presumptive and not Heir Apparent?”
“I assume he always hoped his direct bloodline would resurface. They never did find the bodies of his wife and daughter when supposedly lost at sea.”
“No, his daughter, Adilessia, was ten years old when she vanished with her mother. That was in early 4E 191, so she would be twenty-three or twenty-four years of age if she survived. Potema claims some blood connection with me, and the Mede family have none. I am afraid Potema will remain a mystery for now.”
“This has upset you, but it further legitimises your claim on The Ruby Throne.”
“I would rather be assisting a live Titus Mede II, Rigmor. Then when he died of old age, I would gladly take his place if that was his desire.”
“I know, my Dragonborn. Let us go to bed and share our quiet. It won’t be long before you can feel Kintyra kicking!”
“That would make me feel guilty if we continued to make love. We would be keeping her awake!”
I know not what time I fell asleep.
I know it was with the world in my arms, namely, my wife and unborn child.