Middas, 8th Frostfall, 4E 201

& Turdas, 9th Frostfall, 4E 201

I had a spa, broke my fast and was ready to head out.

I was speaking to Sakiya when fighting broke out.

Two assailants had entered the Safe House via the museum. They must have been hiding inside because it doesn’t open to the public for another hour.

They stood no chance against The Dragonguard and lasted seconds.

One assailant was a female Dunmer. Around her neck, she wore an Amulet of Boethia in Mer style. The other assailant was a male Nord, and he wore an Amulet of Boethia made of silver.

I used my Thu’um so all inside the Safe House would hear me.


Since neither assailant had any helpful information on them, I can only speculate about the attackers’ motive or purpose. For now, it was a mystery low on my priority list.

I gathered my squad for today: Vayu, Kharjo, Jo’rassa, Daenlyn and Inigo.

We teleported to Riverwood’s entrance.

I summoned Nafaalilargus who landed on the entrance archway.

  • Wulf: Nafaalilargus, we are taking The Rift from Ulfric.
  • Nafaalilargus: You will be walking to one of the Imperial Rift camps?
  • Wulf: They have more than one?
  • Nafaalilargus: Yes, but one of them is more of a staging area for the final assault of Riften
  • Wulf: I only have one marked, which is nowhere near Riften, and that is where we are headed.
  • Nafaalilargus: General Tullius has sent reinforcements to that camp. There are also a lot of Stormcloaks trying to return to Riften. The two groups may clash.
  • Wulf: If we encounter a battle, we will kill The Stormcloaks. My concern is the number of bandits that may decide that five armed and armoured people are an easy target.
  • Jo’rassa: Bandits attack you? How stupid are they?
  • Kharjo: They are stupid and cowardly. Khajiit enjoys killing them as they are parasites.

As we made our way to the northern exit of Riverwood, I laughed at Dorthe watching Frodnar chop wood.

  • Inigo: Something amuses you, my friend?
  • Wulf: Rigmor has this thing about watching me chop wood.
  • Jo’rassa: That is perfectly natural. A display of male physicality is appealing to many females.
  • Inigo: Most males are fascinated with female jiggly bits.
  • Daenlyn: Jiggly bits? Oh, there must be a song I can write about jiggly bits!
  • Inigo: Ode to Jiggly Bits!
  • Daenlyn: Maybe a three-part play?
  • Wulf: Daenlyn, I haven’t forgotten the promise about finding your lute.
  • Daenlyn: I do not feel complete without it.

Not far out of Riverwood, I paused and looked over a cliff.

  • Vayu: Is this where Rigmor jumped into the tree?
  • Wulf: I don’t know the exact spot but down below is where she landed.
  • Vayu: Have you ever wondered what forces arranged for you to find her that day?
  • Wulf: It was simply a coincidence, Vayu. No immortal entity arranged for us to visit Helgen and Alduin to attack it or for me to find the dead adventurer whose journal miraculously survived Dragonfire. No being then planned for Celestine and me to search Helgen Keep and tunnels for survivors leading to Hadvar and a trip to Riverwood. To believe such a sequence of events was planned is to deny free will. Celestine and I made a series of choices.
  • Daenlyn: So, each Kalpa, Rigmor and you just find each other by accident?
  • Wulf: I don’t know if we always find each other. Very few beings remember previous Kalpa, and I am not one of them.
  • Jo’rassa: You can waste a lot of time wondering why instead of enjoying what is.
  • Daenlyn: There is much wisdom in you, Jo’rassa.
  • Jo’rassa: Then why have I involved myself with Inigo once more?
  • Vayu: The heart rarely listens to the brain.
  • Inigo: Hello, this blue Khajiit has ears!
  • Jo’rassa: And this Khajiit knows just where to scratch those adorable ears to get you purring.

Nafaalilargus growled, “Bandits heading your way!”

He then proceeded to kill most of the bandits before we could.

Inigo remarked, “Our scaly friend is very efficient.”

A while later, we came upon a travelling merchant and her guards. They had stopped as a Spriggan and ensorceled troll were fighting and blocking the intersection.

I walked over and could not see the Spriggan controlling the troll. The easiest thing to do would be to kill the adversaries, but that was unnecessary.

I told everybody, “It has been years since I cast this spell. It should make them stop fighting.”

I cast Harmony, and it worked!

The fighting stopped, and the Spriggan ran away.

Seconds later, a Spriggan Matron and the troll followed.

The merchant thanked me and continued on her way.

As we approached Helgen, I hoped no bandits were desecrating the place.

We entered Helgen, and Nafaalilargus landed.

  • Nafaalilargus: Alduin treated this town and its people as if The Dragon War was still being fought.
  • Wulf: There was never a declaration of war or truce.
  • Nafaalilargus: I am sure the defenders did what they could, but protecting non-combatants and the wooden buildings made this battle unwinnable.
  • Vayu: The defenders had no experience fighting Dov.
  • Inigo: Because we have been killing the dragons, the only ones who have experience now are the guards and soldiers in Solitude.
  • Wulf: We shall recruit and train people for The Blades.
  • Nafaalilargus: There will always be Dov who want to conquer. The Blades will not be idle, Dovahkiin.

I was relieved no bandits had replaced the last lot we killed in Helgen.

Sometime later, Nafaalilargus advised, “There is a Stormcloak camp ahead. Do you want to bypass it or eliminate it?”

I answered, “They have made their choice.”

We ran to the camp and completely surprised The Stormcloaks. They had barely drawn their weapons before Unrelenting Force killed most of them.

Nafaalilargus killed the remainder.

Nafaalilargus landed and then said, “There is a large battle ahead. I cannot help as I would harm Legionnaires.”

We hurried towards the battle.

Vampires slowed our progress.

We quickly disposed of them and then continued.

The battle came into view. It looked like Imperials heading towards The Rift were ambushed.

I turned to my squad and told them, “No mercy. No prisoners.”

We charged into battle.

Out intervention changed an even contest into a quick victory.

I surveyed the carnage.

Then I fell to my knees in despair. These deaths are not what The Nine or I want, but they continue accumulating.

After a few seconds, I stood and silently continued our journey.

As we arrived at the Imperial camp, Nafaalilargus advised, “There is a large band of bandits in the nearby Dwemer ruins. I believe they intend to ambush the camp.”

I replied, “We shall take care of them, Nafaalilargus. Meanwhile, I want you to check the various forts in The Rift and let me know who occupies them.”

“I can tell you already. Bandits and Stormcloaks populate Fort Greenwall. The family living in Treva’s Watch seem to have been displaced. A man with several guards is sitting outside the castle grounds.”

“Then I ask you to do a bit of general scouting in The Rift. I don’t want any more Imperial forces caught by surprise like that supply convoy.”

“Okay, as I leave, I will swoop over the ruins, so you know where they are. That should scatter the bandits as well.”

Nafaalilargus did as he said but couldn’t resist a single attack before flying away.

The bandits had scattered but attacked in numbers when we arrived.

We soon disposed of them.

I stood before a strange-looking Dwemer construct.

  • Kharjo: Khajiit thinks that is art, but the Dwemer did no art.
  • Wulf: I have no idea what it is. I can’t see an entrance into the ruins, so perhaps it is some kind of lock.
  • Inigo: That is a mystery for another day, my friend.
  • Vayu: Legate Rikke will be wondering why we ran away!

We returned to the camp and met with Legate Rikke.

  • Rikke: You are later than expected, General.
  • Wulf: The Imperial supplies and extra troops were ambushed. We arrived in time to save many troops, but most of their horses were killed. It may take some time for them to sort out the mess.
  • Rikke: When you did arrive in camp, you ran off!
  • Wulf: A large group of bandits was in the nearby Dwemer ruins. Nafaalilargus said they were planning to attack, so we wiped them out.
  • Rikke: What is your plan for taking The Rift?
  • Wulf: We could probably march on Riften immediately and meet little opposition. However, I think it is prudent we take the two forts nearest the city first. Treva’s Watch we shall take by ourselves. A squad of Legionnaires should make their way to Fort Greenwall. Nafaalilargus says that Stormcloaks as well as bandits garrison that fort.
  • Rikke: Okay, I will send a platoon to Fort Greenwall. They will wait for you here.

Legate Rikke pointed to a place on the map not far from Fort Greenwall.

  • Wulf: Okay, we shall take both forts.
  • Rikke: With those under our control, the attack on Riften will be free of possible flanking or counter-attack.
  • Wulf: I expect the Riften resistance to be minimal. The Jarl sent a lot of soldiers to die at Whiterun.
  • Rikke: Will Jarl Law-Giver surrender if asked?
  • Wulf: No, she won’t. Jarl Law-Giver has disinherited her son, Saerlund, for daring to support The Imperials. She even claims he must be possessed! She has always been a weak Jarl, easily manipulated, and Maven Black-Briar has run circles around her. The Jarl couldn’t even handle some Skooma dealers and manufacturers without our help. Yet she sent most of her guards to Whiterun!
  • Rikke: We are to place Maven Black-Briar in the position of Jarl. That instruction is from His Imperial Highness since there is no High King or Queen.
  • Wulf: It will be temporary if I have my way. She is not fit to be Jarl.
  • Rikke: I will leave the politics to others.
  • Wulf: Okay, we shall return in a few hours. Then we will join the Legionnaires and take Fort Greenwall.
  • Rikke: I hope some of that supply convoy reaches us. We could do with the men, arrows and food.

We left the tent and started our trek towards Treva’s Watch.

Hours later, it came into view and was crawling with bandits.

Raised bars blocked the only visible entrance.

I killed a couple of sentries with Unrelenting Force, hoping they would lower the portcullis and sally forth.

Instead of attacking us, the remaining sentries hid from view, so we looked for another entrance.

We came upon a small camp where a civilian and two guards looked quite miserable. I approached the civilian.

  • Wulf: Good afternoon, I am Wulf, and these are The Dragonguard.
  • Stalleo: I am Stalleo. Are you here to help?
  • Wulf: Can you tell me what is happening?
  • Stalleo: Finally, reinforcements have arrived. I was expecting more, though, so you’d better be good.
  • Wulf: You are making assumptions. I ask again, what is happening here?
  • Stalleo: We left to help with the war, and those filth bags swooped in and seized the place. My family was in the fort. The bastards killed them!
  • Wulf: I won’t ask which side you went to help. However, I must ask, do you know the leader of the bandits?
  • Stalleo: His name is Brurid. There’s been bad blood between us since the king’s death. But to invade my home, kill my family…
  • Wulf: That sounds like more than bad blood
  • Stalleo: You ask a lot of questions for a mercenary. Just get in there and open the gate and then we’ll try and provide help once that’s done.
  • Wulf: I am no mercenary! I am The Dragonborn and will take the fort on behalf of The Imperial Empire. The Legion will garrison it until the hostilities cease. Then you can negotiate its return.
  • Stalleo: The Dragonborn?
  • Inigo: Yes, Wulf is The Dragonborn. Do any of us look like mercenaries to you?
  • Stalleo: No, come to think of it.
  • Wulf: You were expecting reinforcements. Have you tried taking back the fort?
  • Stalleo: Yes, we lost a lot of good men. That is when Brurid threw the bodies of my family from the ramparts.
  • Wulf: I am sorry for your loss. You will be avenged, but that is not our primary purpose. We shall take the fort and kill all inside.
  • Stalleo: The front gate is locked, so you’ll need to use the mine entrance behind us. Open the front gate, and we’ll try and give you some support.
  • Wulf: We defeated Alduin and destroyed Ulfric’s army at Whiterun. When we open the gate, be assured that everybody inside and outside is already dead.
  • Stalleo: Ulfric lost at Whiterun?
  • Inigo: His entire army was destroyed, and no guards or Legionnaires were killed.
  • Stalleo: Then wishing you luck is a bit redundant.
  • Wulf: I assume you have posted a reward, hence the mercenaries. Do not insult us by offering it when we are successful

We entered Treva’s Watch via the mine entrance.

I told The Dragonguard, “We shall try stealth, but if it takes too long, we will simply advance and kill quickly.”

When we finally entered the fort, Inigo was furious at those we killed in the mine.

“They are nearly all Khajiiti!”

“So far, yes. It is not unusual to find Khajiiti bandits.”

“They were okay with a family being murdered. Perhaps that is the cause of my anger?”

“We shall kill them all, Inigo, but that will not bring Stalleo’s family back.”

“No, and that makes me angrier!”

A bit further on, I retrieved a musket from my journal case.

A bandit was busy hammering at a workbench, so he did not hear us approach.

Inigo asked, “What is that thing?”

“It is a new type of weapon developed by the Tsaesci. I think the Redguard have invented something similar. It uses Black Powder to propel a metal ball at great speed. I have added a small explosion to each projectile and am curious about its effectiveness.”

“You are going to experiment on these bandits?”

“Arrow, sword, Thu’um or metal ball, they will die. So yes, I have no qualms testing this weapon on bandits who murdered a family.”

Inigo stood aside, and I fired the musket.

A loud crack was heard simultaneous with a blinding light.

The projectile hit the bandit and exploded.

Inigo exclaimed, “Woah! That was impressive but not good for stealth, my friend.”

The next target was a Khajiit standing on a bed to adjust some candles.

The projectile blew a large hole in the centre of the bandit.

I used the musket several times and then placed it back into my journal case. It was an effective weapon but too slow to reload and too noisy. It needs refinement.

We quickly killed all bandits inside, including Brurid, their leader

We exited onto the roof of a tower. A bandit charged me.

Unrelenting Force sent him flying into the distance.

We soon killed all the external bandits.

I pulled a lever to raise the portcullis.

Stalleo and his guards approached.

I said, “The fort is clear. Imperial troops will soon arrive and garrison it.”

“You killed them all? That quickly?”

“We are very good at what we do, Stalleo.”

“Thank you for your help.”

“We did it for The Empire, Stalleo, but I am glad we avenged your family.”

We teleported to the Imperial camp and walked into the command tent.

  • Rikke: The remnants of the supply convoy arrived with several injured.
  • Wulf: I will look at the injured and see what I can do for them.
  • Rikke: The officers said it wasn’t an ambush. They came upon troops fleeing from Whiterun. The fleeing troops were offered the chance to surrender and appeared to do so. However, when escorted back towards Whiterun, they overpowered their guards and attacked the convoy. They first killed horses and then anybody who came close.
  • Wulf: Not an unusual occurrence. That is why it is good practice to bind the hands of prisoners.
  • Rikke: A lesson learnt too late for some.
  • Wulf: Okay, I will see to the injured.

The lives of the three injured were not in danger. Otherwise, I would have summoned Celestine. I cast Grand Healing and left them to the Imperial surgeon to look after.

We made it to Fort Greenwall without incident.

I said to The Dragonguard, “The same as before. No mercy. No prisoners.”

We joined the Legionnaires.


We killed quickly and efficiently and, unfortunately, routinely.

Once we were sure all enemies were eliminated, we teleported back to the Imperial camp.

  • Wulf: Legate Rikke, Fort Greenwall is now ours. No casualties on our side.
  • Rikke: When should we attack Riften?
  • Wulf: Tomorrow, around 7:30 AM. That will give us plenty of light and ensure the marketplace is mostly empty. Trebuchets and catapults will not be used on the city but only for softening the external defences. There is no need to damage Riften or risk civilian casualties.
  • Rikke: Won’t the civilians seek shelter once the battle starts?
  • Wulf: I think a few will be fighting beside us. The Jarl’s decision to back Ulfric is not as popular as she thinks.
  • Rikke: We shall be in place, General.

I teleported us to the Safe House.

  • Wulf: Vayu, our two new Dragonguard did well.
  • Vayu: Very well! But then again, there was not much gobblygook thrown at them.
  • Wulf: No, it was killing with no exploration or other purpose.
  • Jo’rassa: It was still an education watching how you operate as a team.
  • Daenlyn: I look forward to travelling with you again, Wulf. Hopefully, in the future, it will be more of an educational outing.

In a repeat of the night before, everybody headed to the overcrowded dining room for supper. Once again, laughter and talking filled the room.

When I went to bed, my conversation with Rigmor was brief. There is not much to say about a day of delivering death. However, we did arrange for Rigmor to visit when I returned from Riften.

The following day, after a spa and meal, I headed to Proudspire Manor with Inigo.

I told Jordis, Iona and Lydia they were to fight beside me as we took Riften.

I then walked over to Olette.

“Good morning, young lady.”

“Good morning, Cap’n.”

“When we return from today’s unpleasant duties, I might need something to make me smile.”

“I can help with that!”

“Yes, you can. How would you like to go clothes shopping with Rigmor?”

“That would be the bee’s knees, Cap’n!”

“Wujeeta and Lydia will come shopping with us, and then we might have a meal at The Winking Skeever.”

“Can I buy more than one set of clothes?”

“Olette, you can buy what you like. I am sure the ladies will help you with the styles and so on.”

“I have only ever had scratchy, cheap clothes. I will look like a real lady, won’t I?”

“You will make the boys swoon.”

“That is supposed to work the other way around, Cap’n.”

“You are too sensible to swoon over a boy.”

“We will make you smile, Cap’n.”

I walked over to Wujeeta, who was drinking a strong coffee.

She said, “It’s safe to talk to me, Wulf. I have had my morning coffee.”

“You need new clothes, Wujeeta. Therefore we will be visiting the Radiant Raiment this afternoon with Olette, Rigmor and Lydia.”

“I need practical dresses.”

“I am sure they can provide aprons to protect any dresses you desire.”

“Will they have clothes to fit an Argonian?”

“You would hope so with Solitude being so cosmopolitan! And Wujeeta, I will be paying for them. There is no need to touch your wages.”


“Wujeeta, I want you to choose what you like and don’t worry about the cost. It will make me smile to see you and Olette happy.”

“We are happy, Wulf, but I understand.”

I walked over to Inigo, who seemed displeased with Skritch.

“Is there something wrong, Inigo?”

“This rodent keeps giving me the evil eye!”

“How can you tell, Skritch’s eyes point in different directions?”

“He must think I want to eat him, which is not true, my friend.”

Scritch stood on his hind legs as I addressed him.

“Scritch, Inigo is a friend of Olette’s and won’t eat you. Therefore, you should also try and be friends, okay?”

I received a non-committal squeak for my efforts.

We teleported to just outside of Fort Greenwall’s entrance.

  • Wulf: Iona, will you have difficulty facing guards that you know?
  • Iona: No, Wulf, I will not! If they bear arms against The Empire, they are my enemy.
  • Wulf: Their guard towers will be well populated. I will concentrate on clearing the enemy outside of the towers. I want The Dragonguard to aid the Legionnaires in clearing the enemy inside the towers.
  • Celestine: You could outdistance us by quite a bit.
  • Wulf: I intend to progress non-stop and wait at the entrance for you and the Legionnaires to catch up. I suspect many guards will run for the entrance, and I will be there to stop them. I will give myself some extra protection.

I Shouted Dragon Aspect and was surrounded by the magical armour.

  • Inigo: My friend, that is rather creepy. Especially the glowing eyes.
  • Wulf: It is supposed to intimidate as well as protect.
  • Jordis: It is undoubtedly intimidating!
  • Wulf: We must be careful as civilians may get involved with skirmishes.
  • Iona: I suspect many will get involved. There was growing opposition to the Jarl’s stance on the civil war.
  • Wulf: I will be fighting my way to the palace as quickly as possible. The sooner I arrest the Jarl, the sooner the fighting stops
  • Lydia: Don’t worry, Wulf. We shall look after the civilians whilst you do what is necessary.

We approached the gathered Legionnaires and Legate Rikke.

“What is the situation, Legate?”

“There are several barriers flanked by watchtowers. We can expect deadly bow fire from the watchtowers as we try and bypass the barriers.”

“The barriers will not be a problem for me. I will concentrate on eliminating the enemy outside the watchtowers and destroying the barriers. The Dragonguard will help the Legionnaires eliminate those inside the watchtowers. I will clear a path to the entrance and wait for you to arrive.”

“Do you want to do a speech, General?”

“There is no need. Everybody knows why we are here.”


I was rewarded with a roar from our troops.


Another roar signalled our attack.

I destroyed each barrier with Unrelenting Force and hardly paused as I killed all who opposed me.

As predicted, civilians attacked the guards.

Within minutes the defenders had routed, and I killed them as they tried to retreat inside the city walls.

As soon as Legate Rikke caught up, we entered Riften.

There was little resistance inside the city. Maul attacked the guards as he would benefit from Maven becoming Jarl.

Marise Aravel attacked a guard, yelling, “I am not just a filthy grey skin, you n’wah!”

I decapitated her opponent. Celestine tried to heal Marise, but the meat vendor had attacked another guard.

I cut that guard down, and Marise finally stopped long enough to get healed.

I continued towards Mistveil Keep and found many guards already dead.

I entered, and it took a second or two for Jarl Laila to realise I was there.

  • Unmid: Where’s Anuriel?
  • Laila: She’s watching over the others. Look alive now.
  • Unmid: Stop right there! Where I can see you.
  • Laila: Riften denies the Emperor. You are here illegally. Stand down, and you will be arrested and tried in the morning. Resist, and you will die.
  • Wulf: I am Wulf, The Dragonborn, Champion of The Divines, and on The Nine, I swear that I can kill you all and will defend us if you don’t lay down your weapons. Do not test me on this, Lady Law-Giver.
  • Unmid: She is the Jarl, you honourless traitor!
  • Wulf: History will show who are the traitors here. Will it be The Dragonborn who saved everybody more than once and is the instrument of The Divines? Or will it be brainless knuckle draggers who followed a kingslayer into an insurrection? As for honour, mine is intact. I doubt yours ever was.
  • Laila: Kill them!
  • Unmid: As you wish. Protect the Jarl!

The enemy charged.

I did a half-strength Unrelenting Force Shout.

The enemy was thrown against the far wall.

I said to Celestine, “Some may live. Heal those that do!”

Celestine ran to the far end and healed Laila. She would have died if I used a full-strength Shout.

Laila’s sons were both dead. So were Unmid Snow-Shod and all Laila’s guards.

Laila was placed under arrest and taken from the throne room. She was dazed and unaware of the death of her sons.

She said, “We have surrendered. Give me a few hours to gather my household, and I’ll depart. You have my word.”

“Both of your sons are dead, Lady Law-Giver. So are your guards and Unmid. I restrained the power of The Voice, or you would also be dead.”

“You murderer!”

“It was your choice to attack me despite my warning. The deaths of your sons are you doing, not mine. Go and grieve but remember there are many sons and daughters killed by the insurrection you supported! That includes just about every soldier you sent to attack Whiterun. Their parents will also grieve! So don’t you dare accuse me of murder! Take responsibility and seek redemption for the deaths you caused!”

Laila ran back into the room, and despite disowning him, she cried over Saerlund as much as Harrald.

A few minutes after the fighting was over, Maven Black-Briar strolled into the room and headed for the throne whilst antagonising Laila. Although struck with grief, Laila’s anger towards Maven was in evidence.

  • Maven: I think I’ll like living here.
  • Laila: Maven Black-Briar enters, the glint of Imperial coin in her eyes. So, tell me, what’s the price for a woman’s integrity these days?
  • Maven: You never could see the forest for the trees, could you?
  • Laila: We Nords were proud warriors once. And we still could be, as was evidenced by the men and women who fought and died bravely today. You could see if you had any faith left in your black heart. But no, you are content to snatch scraps falling off the Emperor’s table. Fine. Take my home. Take my city. May it burn down around you.
  • Maven: A bit melodramatic, even for you, Laila. Pack your things and go.
  • Laila: One day, when you can see past your own interests, you will come to see that we were right. And this… This is all wrong.
  • Wulf: Lady Law-Giver, everything you just said is utter bullshit. The Nords are more than the proud warriors they still are! You speak of faith yet oppose the will of The Nine. You valued the ambitions of a kingslayer, traitor and blasphemer more than peace and The Empire that has kept you safe. The blood and gore on my armour and sword are your contributions to the welfare of your people. So shut up and pack up!
  • Rikke: General…
  • Iona: Don’t you dare say the General is being too harsh, Legate Rikke. I just had to kill several friends who thought their Jarl must be right. After all, she is supposed to be looking after her people!
  • Wulf: There is much to be done, Jarl Maven Black-Briar. Put your government together rapidly, or there will be rioting in the streets. You and Legate Rikke must move quickly to prevent further violence.
  • Maven: Jarl Maven Black-Briar. I must admit, I do like the sound of that. And don’t worry about any rioting, Dragonborn. I have it under control. We will soon begin publicly executing captured men. That should send a clear message to the people.
  • Laila: Yes, but not likely the one you intend.
  • Maven: Oh? I don’t expect anyone to miss my meaning. Come, Legate Rikke, as there is much to do.

I growled, “Lydia, Jordis, don’t let this piece of shit any closer to that throne!”

Lydia and Jordis blocked Maven’s progress.

She looked at me and then recoiled.

I poked her forehead with my finger and growled, “The Empire is law. The law is sacred. If a single captured soldier is tortured, killed or harmed in any way, I will drag you in chains to The Imperial City. You will be placed on trial for murder or torture, and if the death sentence is given, I will swing the axe myself.”

Maven continued to peek over her arms but was wise enough not to say a word.

I continued, “Until the relevant infrastructure is in place, this city’s guards will be Legionnaires. You will have no authority over those soldiers, so your desire to murder prisoners isn’t possible anyway. But hear me, Maven Black-Briar, for I promise that you will not sit on that throne for long. Laila may have been naïve to follow Ulfric, but at least she was honest and suitable to be a Jarl. You are not! I will prove this to His Imperial Highness, and you will be thrown out of here like the criminal you are. I will now hand you over to Legate Rikke. It is not my duty to clean up the mess of this war. I have to win it.”

I had noticed another Legate make his way to the map room. I entered, and he saluted.

“Stand at ease, soldier. What is your name?”

“Legate Fasendil, General. I will be in charge of the troops stationed here.”

“You are Altmer?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“There must be a story as to why an Altmer joined the Legion?”

“My parents were travelling merchants, eventually settling in Bravil in Cyrodiil. I must have inherited their wanderlust. I joined the Legion to see the world. I know, that’s just one of those things people say, but it’s completely true in my case. It wasn’t long before I saw more of the world than I bargained for.”

“Do you miss your home?”

“Home? Home to me is a hot cup of ale at the end of the day and five minutes without someone needing something from me. Cyrodiil is a beautiful place full of diverse peoples and histories. But so too, Hammerfell and Skyrim, and every other place I’ve been. Don’t get me wrong. Every country has its dark corners. But that’s why we’re here. To bring order and civilisation, and to protect the people.”

“Protecting all the people of Nirn is my full-time concern. However, not everybody realises they are being saved, especially in a civil war.”

“Ulfric and his thugs are stirring up trouble for their selfish agenda. The Empire is the only thing keeping The Dominion from walking all over Skyrim. It matters little if some people here are ignorant of that truth. They are still citizens of the Empire. It’s our solemn duty to protect them.”

“Well said, Legate Fasendil. It can be difficult dealing with the dark corners and often a thankless endeavour.”

“The life of a soldier is full of hardship. That’s nothing. But they send the Legion to places that have gotten too bad to be settled without violence. What’s hard is seeing good people warped by evil. And I’ve seen the face of evil. It was in the air above Sentinel on the Night of Green Fire.”

“Ah, I have read about that. In 4E 42, wasn’t it. I would like to hear the history from one who witnessed it.”

“Yes, it was in 42, and I was stationed in Hammerfell. Whilst on leave in Sentinel, I tried to track down some refugee relatives who had fled persecution in Alinor. Suddenly, there was an explosion of magic in the refugee quarter. Thalmor mages were attacking the Altmer dissidents who resisted with their own magic. I ran to the scene with other Legionaries stationed there, but the entire quarter was a smoking ruin by the time we arrived. Everyone was dead. Wholesale slaughter. The Dominion, not content with killing dissidents at home, came to Hammerfell to finish the job. We’re supposedly at peace now, but I put in to be stationed here to keep an eye on The Thalmor. I felt they’re behind this unrest in Skyrim, and you confirmed it with your speech over Windhelm.”

“They are partially behind it. This civil war needed somebody whose ambition overrides any sense of honour and decency. Luckily for The Dominion, they found Ulfric.”

“I heard what you said to Jarl Black-Briar. Do not worry, General, for, as you said, we are not under her command. All prisoners will be treated with the respect and dignity required by International and Empire laws. Most of them are good people warped by evil.”

“I am a believer in redemption, Legate Fasendil. Most of those captured will return to their homes wiser from experience. Some will prove intractable and end up working in prison mines.”

I saluted the Legate, who said, “For the glory of The Empire.”

I returned the salute saying, “For the wellbeing of all mortals.”

I gathered The Dragonguard, and we teleported to Castle Dour.

We made our way to the map room and General Tullius.

  • Wulf: Treva’s Watch, Fort Greenwall and Riften are now under Imperial control, General Tullius.
  • Tullius: Casualties?
  • Wulf: Quite a few in the supply convoy were lost fighting Stormcloak prisoners. They had escaped custody and launched a surprise attack on the convoy. We didn’t lose any taking the forts or Riften.
  • Inigo: It is like my friend predicted. There were few defenders of Riften, and many tried to run rather than fight.
  • Wulf: Many Rift civilians inside and outside the city attacked the guards and Stormcloaks.
  • Tullius: Ulfric is not speaking for all Nords as he claims.
  • Wulf: Far from it. But many Skyrim citizens who are not Nord are sick of the racism displayed by Ulfric’s supporters. That was the catalyst for the civilians uprising in Riften.
  • Tullius: Did the Jarl surrender?
  • Wulf: I warned her not to attack me, but she did. I didn’t use the full strength of my Thu’um, but still, all her guards, her housecarl and her sons were killed when I Shouted. Lady Law-Giver was severely wounded, but we healed her.
  • Tullius: Taking control of The Rift was a great victory. Ulfric must be somewhat nervous with us so close to his doorstep. However, we have had some setbacks.
  • Wulf: Setbacks?
  • Tullius: The Jarls of Falkreath and Dawnstar have been deposed. Ulfric had agents ready to strike, and both Jarls were kidnapped and most of their city guards murdered in their barracks.
  • Wulf: We gain one hold and lose two. I thought we were winning this, General Tullius?
  • Tullius: Both holds will have few defenders, and the citizens will not be pleased.
  • Wulf: Who are the pretend Jarls?
  • Tullius: Sorli the Builder deposed Jarl Idgrod Ravencrone. Dengeir of Stuhn deposed his nephew, Jarl Siddgeir.
  • Wulf: Sorli, I do not know. Dengeir used to be the Jarl, didn’t he?
  • Tullius: Yes, and I was told he resigned due to age. Perhaps there was more to it, and he was persuaded to step down, but nothing had reached my ears if that was the case.
  • Wulf: Have they threatened the Jarls with harm?
  • Tullius: They wouldn’t dare. They know they will most likely be offered exile if we retake the holds, but only if the lawful Jarls are unharmed.
  • Inigo: The Jarls are their protection from the headsman.
  • Tullius: Exactly.
  • Wulf: Guards were murdered. The fake Jarls deserve a murderer’s death!
  • Tullius: That decision is not ours, Dragonborn.
  • Wulf: What Hold is next to be taken, General Tullius?
  • Tullius: The Pale. Our camp is here…

General Tullius pointed to a spot in the icefields.

  • Wulf: We shall head there in the morning.
  • Tullius: First, you must report to Commander Maro of the Penitus Oculatus. That order comes from His Imperial Highness, though he didn’t say immediately, so rest.
  • Wulf: They must have found something when searching The Dark Brotherhood’s sanctuary.
  • Inigo: My friend, we are still in a much stronger position than Ulfric!
  • Wulf: Those coups mean more killing will be required, General Tullius. I know we will win, but I was hoping to do so with minimal deaths on both sides.

We walked to the Safe House, and I immediately headed for the spa. I emerged, dressed in a Komodo and summoned Rigmor. We then picked up Wujeeta, Lydia and Olette from Proudspire Manor.

Lydia also had a spa and dressed in a beautiful blue Komodo.

We emerged from Proudspire Manor into the sunshine.

  • Wulf: If you ladies could be patient for five minutes, I would like to check on the museum. The thieves trashed it, and I want to ensure Auryen has everything under control.
  • Olette: You promise it will only be five minutes, Cap’n?
  • Rigmor: We shall make sure it is only five minutes, Olette.
  • Lydia: Any longer, we shall head to Radiant Raiment without Wulf.
  • Olette: Nah, I think we can visit that boring place later. Isn’t that right, Cap’n?
  • Wulf: I am Cap’n, yet you are issuing orders. So, Olette, what rank are you?
  • Olette: The cute little girl rank.
  • Rigmor: Olette outranks you by a lot, Cap’n.
  • Wulf: Yes, I see. Forgive me for my insubordination.
  • Olette: What?
  • Wulf: He is apologising for being an idiot.
  • Olette: Oh, there is no need for that, Cap’n. We all make allowances for your terrible accident.
  • Wulf: I was not dropped on my head!
  • Lydia: I told you, Olette, that the trauma removed the incident from his memory.
  • Rigmor: But not the dent in his skull.

Olette giggled, and that made the day so much brighter. We headed for Radiant Raiment as ordered.

A couple of orphans from The College of Winterhold came running past.

  • Rigmor: That tall Khajiit is a kitten?
  • Wulf: Yes, and no older than Olette.
  • Rigmor: How did they end up at The College of Winterhold?
  • Wulf: The Imperial Battlemages visited several orphanages in Cyrodiil. They were looking for children with natural magical talent. The idea was to train them from an early age as Battlemages.
  • Olette: Most Imperial Battlemages were killed at Helgen, and the College of Winterhold offered to look after the children.
  • Wulf: Unfortunately, the college found it didn’t have the resources to look after them as well as they needed. The children solved the problem by turning up here and almost filling the new orphanage.
  • Rigmor: Will they return to the college one day?
  • Wulf: Yes, when they come of age. That will be more staggered rather than a large influx. I think the college will cope with that.
  • Rigmor: The children in Bruma never stop running. It seems that the disease has spread to Solitude!
  • Olette: I must be immune because I like to dawdle and look at things.
  • Rigmor: As do I, Olette, but Wulf is always in a hurry.
  • Olette: If you put your arm through his or hold hand, he has to go at your speed.
  • Rigmor: What a clever idea! I shall try that in the future.

More children came running past.

While others were making a living running stores at the market.

We entered Radiant Raiment in the middle of an argument.

  • Taarie: Sister dear, could you try sewing those sleeves a little tighter? We can’t have our customers looking sloppy because of your work.
  • Endarie: Oh certainly, dear sister. We couldn’t afford to have our customers look like the simple pigs they are, could we?
  • Taarie: Good. And while you’re at it, perhaps you should sew your mouth shut when our fine customers are within earshot, hmm?
  • Wulf: Good afternoon, ladies.
  • Taarie: What can we do for you, Thane?
  • Wulf: This piglet and the sows would like to purchase clothes. Do you have ones in stock for scaly pigs?
  • Taarie: I must apologise for my sister’s poor choice of words. We do indeed have clothing suitable for our Argonian friends.
  • Wulf: Oh, there is no need to apologise. We weren’t offended, were we, Olette?
  • Olette: Oink!
  • Endarie: We have only recently received a delivery of fine clothes for the young. Are you looking for something in particular, Olette?
  • Olette: Some furs, but not boring ones. Something fancy for when Wulf finally takes me to visit the Jarl. Some clothes that are nice but I won’t mind getting dirty. Something pretty just to make me feel prettier. Why don’t we see what you have and if I like something, Wulf will buy it, won’t you?
  • Wulf: That is what I promised.
  • Endarie: And the ladies?
  • Lydia: I am just looking for something formal at the moment. I like wearing a Komodo when relaxing.
  • Taarie: We have seen Komodo on several citizens lately. Perhaps we should stock some, sister?
  • Endarie: Perhaps. May I ask where those Komodo are made?
  • Wulf: They are made from the silk of moths in Akavir.
  • Endarie: Expensive?
  • Wulf: Oh yes, they are very expensive.
  • Rigmor: I am not purchasing today. I get everything tailor-made in Cyrodiil.
  • Taarie: Including that fantastic leather and silk outfit?
  • Rigmor: Yes, it comes with many accessories, including the most comfortable silk-lined hood.
  • Taarie: Marvellous!
  • Wujeeta: I want something light that can be worn with or without an apron.
  • Endarie: That is not as uncommon a request as one might think.
  • Taarie: Come to the back room and try on what takes your fancy. We can make alterations and deliver for free within Solitude.

The ladies vanished out the back. For the next three hours, the laughter and chatter coming from the back room were non-stop. Even though I was alone most of the time, I didn’t get bored as I closed my eyes and listened to the sounds of life.

Olette would come and show me something she chose, and I didn’t care how many costumes she wanted. She was happy and smiling, which is worth far more than money.

When the ladies finally finished, I asked Endarie for the bill. She handed it to me with a concerned look on her face.

I retrieved a few gems that covered the bill and a generous tip.

  • Endarie: The extra was not expected after my rude reference to Solitude’s citizens.
  • Wulf: Endarie, you have a reputation for an acidic tongue. If I found it offensive, I would not have entered the store.
  • Wujeeta: I look after the Thane’s houses. Your pig remark was entirely accurate.
  • Wulf: Hey, I am not the messy one!
  • Wujeeta: You have a habit of leaving your soiled socks and underwear in the spa room.
  • Olette: Yeah, sometimes we must pick them up with a stick!
  • Wulf: It’s hard, sweaty work fighting dragons and stuff.
  • Wujeeta: And you are so worn out you can’t place things into your laundry hamper?
  • Olette: Sometimes Cap’n does put them in the hamper. But when you lift the lid…yuck! Even Skritch looks ill from the pong!
  • Endarie: Skritch?
  • Olette: My pet Skeever.
  • Endarie: Of course. Every noble young lady should have a pet Skeever.
  • Olette: I ain’t no lady and proud of it!
  • Endarie: Oh.
  • Rigmor: Come, Wulf. We are hungry, and I am keen to have you banned from The Winking Skeever.
  • Taarie: They wouldn’t dare ban a Thane!
  • Rigmor: They did in Whiterun, and I didn’t even have to try hard.
  • Wulf: Thank you again for your assistance, Taarie and Endarie.
  • Taarie: It was our pleasure, Thane.

We assembled out the front of The Winking Skeever.

  • Wulf: Okay, my drift, let us head for Dragonborn Gallery before having supper at the inn.
  • Olette: Cap’n, what is a drift?
  • Lydia: Drift is the name for a group of pigs.
  • Olette: Oh, well, then lead us on, Cap’n Swine.
  • Rigmor: Yes, before we get boar-ed to tears.
  • Lydia: That was quite good!
  • Rigmor: I have my moments.
  • Lydia: Wulf was quite ill the other day.
  • Rigmor: Oh, what happened.
  • Lydia: Celestine had to give him some oink-ment.
  • Wujeeta: Olette, why are stories about pigs so interesting?
  • Olette: Dunno.
  • Wujeeta: There is always a twist in the tail!

I decided the only way to end the pig puns was to start walking.

A young blond woman walked toward us.

  • Olette: Aww, they didn’t have any dresses like that at Radiant Raiment.
  • Wujeeta: I wonder what happened to the bottom half?
  • Wulf: That is Eris, and she is a pirate. And Olette, I would not buy you a dress like that.
  • Olette: It would cost half as much!
  • Rigmor: Olette, they probably charge more. Anything controversial is costly.
  • Olette: I wonder if she is wearing underwear?
  • Wulf: I could trip and check.
  • Wujeeta: WULF!
  • Rigmor: WULF!
  • Lydia: WULF!
  • Olette: Teehee!

I gave Olette a high five. Eris looked at us as if we were weirdoes.

Two little Mer girls ran past us.

  • Olette: That is Arria and Piper. They are the two newest orphans that I know.
  • Rigmor: Do you visit the orphanage often?
  • Olette: Yeah, I visit nearly every day. I like to welcome the new children.
  • Wulf: I should have checked the orphanage in Riften!
  • Rigmor: You didn’t lob fire into the city as Ulfric did with Whiterun. They would have been safe.
  • Lydia: Besides, you were covered in…stuff.
  • Olette: Guts and blood? No, not many children would like to see that, Cap’n.
  • Wulf: I wonder if they have finished the renovations?
  • Olette: Honourhall Orphanage now has privies and baths. Imagine that!
  • Wujeeta: How did that horrible lady get away with it?
  • Olette: Out of sight, out of mind. That is what Ma used to say.
  • Wulf: Unfortunately, that is true. Orphans, beggars and Skooma addicts are only a problem when you can’t ignore them. Children hidden in an orphanage are soon forgotten.
  • Olette: Yeah, the children couldn’t run around Riften. They were forgotten, as Wulf said.
  • Rigmor: But you never forgot them, Olette.
  • Olette: My life was miserable but nowhere near as bad as theirs.

A Forsworn girl ran past.

  • Olette: Oh, she is a new one. I dunno her name.
  • Wulf: It won’t be long before somebody complains and demand they ‘civilise’ her.
  • Rigmor: You mean they would take away her furs and feathers?
  • Wulf: I don’t think the Headmistress will listen. We provide a home and education and are not trying to make the children conform.
  • Olette: They had better not try to make her change!

Just outside The Bards College, I stopped to chat with one of the orphans I sent to Kings Hall.

  • Wulf: Hello, Nahasa. Why are you still carrying a sword?
  • Nahasa: When the dragons stop attacking, this one will stop carrying a sword.
  • Eveesa: Hello Olette, is this your father?
  • Olette: No yet, Eveesa. I am still working my way into his heart.
  • Rigmor: Olette, you are well and truly lodged in Wulf’s heart.
  • Khissi: Khajiit thinks that Wulf should hurry and adopt that one!
  • Wulf: Can’t I adopt Skritch instead? He is much cuter and less annoying.
  • Khissi: Skritch is cute for a Skeever.
  • Eveesa: Did Wulf buy you that pretty dress, Olette?
  • Olette: Yes, he brought me heaps of dresses.
  • Eveesa: Then it is only a matter of time, Olette.
  • Lydia: Wulf, they are planning your downfall.
  • Wulf: I know. I will just have to suffer in silence.

 We entered Dragonborn Gallery, and Olette yawned loudly.

  • Wulf: Olette, have you seen The Gallery of Fashion?
  • Olette: No, but it sounds exciting! Can we have a look? Pleeeeaaase?
  • Wulf: Sorry, we can’t because it doesn’t exist.
  • Olette: I should have known there would be nothing remotely interesting here.
  • Wulf: You ladies can do as you wish while I find Auryen. I will be quick, I promise.
  • Rigmor: Let’s face a blank wall, Olette. That might be interesting.
  • Olette: Good idea.
  • Lydia: I have already seen the walls. I might try staring at the floor this time.

I approached a guard who saluted and stood to attention.

“At ease, Soldier.”

“Can I help you, General?”

“I am looking for Auryen.”

“He was in the library not long ago.”

“Are you enjoying your tour of duty here?”

“It makes a pleasant change from hacking into the enemy. I quite like the young mages who visit. They are full of questions and find everything fascinating.”

“Well, I had better find Auryen, or the ladies I am with will get grumpy.”

“We wouldn’t want that, Sir.”

I headed for the library and came upon one of the orphan mages.

He asked, “You’re The Dragonborn, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I am. And you are?”


“Do you like the museum, Marz?”

“Yeah, but hurry up and remove that Ulfric person so you can find more artefacts.”

“I am doing it as quickly as possible, so fewer people lose their lives.”

“Yeah, I suppose that is important as well. Anyway, see ya!”

As Marz abandoned me for the library, another young mage stepped forward.

“Hello, Dragonborn. My name is Oaks.”

“Glad to meet you, Oaks. Perhaps you can answer a question for me?”

“Sure, ask away.”

“Why are you all wearing Destruction robes?”

“Because that is what the Battlemages wanted to teach us. Duh!”

“Wouldn’t they need Restoration mages as well?”

“Yeah, but when us kids were given a choice of blowing things up or healing things, guess what we all chose?”

“I hope you diversify when you get to return to The College of Winterhold.”

“We will, but only after we master Destruction. BOOM! There go the bad guys!”

“It is not as much fun as you think, Oak.”

“If I can prevent other children from being orphaned, it will be fun enough.”

“Sometimes the enemy are also parents.”

“Then they should be at home with their children.”

“As you get older, you will find things are far more complex than good guys and bad guys.”

“Maybe, but from my current perspective, the distinction is clear.”

“Enjoy the museum, Oak. Hopefully, I can add new artefacts soon. That is so much more fun than, ‘BOOM! There go the bad guys.’”

I was walking away from the library when Auryen came rushing out and called my name. I turned to greet him.

  • Auryen: Marz said you were here.
  • Wulf: Yes. I wanted to check if the repairs and transition to Imperial guards went okay.
  • Auryen: The guards have been outstanding. They listen in on my tours and become proficient at answering general enquiries. All is repaired and, in some cases, better than before as I have added improvements to the displays.
  • Wulf: That is good to hear.
  • Auryen: Oh, I sent a bundle of information about Miraak to the Safe House a few hours ago. It took quite a bit of digging to find, I can tell you. It is incredible how much history is not so much lost but filed somewhere without an index.
  • Wulf: I am sure your army of researchers hate reading dusty old tomes and parchments.
  • Auryen: Most of them have far more patience than me.
  • Wulf: We had some Boethia cultists attack us in the Safe House. Please ask the guards to be extra vigilant in checking for those who may hide inside after closing.
  • Auryen: The cultists might be looking for Goldbrand and think you possess it since you are Boethiah’s champion.
  • Wulf: I have a replica, not the one created by Nafaalilargus. Boethiah was equipped with a golden katana, so I assumed that was the original.
  • Auryen: I will inquire and see if any scholars think the original is not with Boethiah.
  • Wulf: The only way the cultists would know I am Boethiah’s champion is if she told them.
  • Auryen: Boethiah is not known to leave her champion unchallenged.
  • Wulf: Yes, I should talk to her and see what will keep the lunatics away.
  • Auryen: How goes the civil war?
  • Wulf: We are winning the battles easily, but Ulfric’s lack of honour keeps tripping us up.
  • Auryen: Should we make a display when it is over.
  • Wulf: Of course, but it cannot glorify anything that occurred. The horror of war is bad enough. A civil war multiplies that horror.
  • Auryen: I will speak to the guards about people hiding and their possible hiding spots. Be careful, Wulf.

I collected the ladies.

And we headed for The Winking Skeever.

The Winking Skeever gets incredibly busy at suppertime. So much so that seats are hard to find, and it took some bargaining to get a table for five.

The conversation was difficult over the noise, but we still enjoyed the food and atmosphere.

The crowd tends to thin out somewhat before another surge of patrons arrives to drink and seek some company for the night.

When I said, “Let’s go!” the ladies thought I meant home. We surrendered our seats, but to my companions’ surprise, the bard stopped singing and handed me a lute. I had spoken to them earlier as I wanted to surprise my company.

I plucked a few cords to get used to the borrowed instrument, and a murmur rippled through the room.

When I started to play and sing, my companions stood mesmerised. I had not exercised my bardic skills for some time, but years of practice soon came to the fore.

I got people on their feet and dancing with one of my favourite Khajiiti tunes called ‘Val Vijah Va Rhook, Baandari’. It is a song about the enjoyment Baandari Pedlars enjoy with their simple and nomadic lifestyle. Of all Khajiiti, the Baandari are the most victimised and despised.

The Baandari follow a strict code of conduct as explained in their three bylaws.

The Bylaw of Salvage: Sometimes objects are loose and uncontained, being neither in pocket, in drawer, nor in hand. Such objects are abandoned and may be lawfully salvaged, for clearly, no one cares enough about them to see them properly contained. It is meet and commendable for a Baandari to salvage an object thus abandoned, for a Baandari is thrifty and deplores waste.

The Bylaw of Prophecy: Frequently, Town-Biders offer Baandari payment in return for advice and prophecy regarding events yet to come. In this transaction, a client must be told that which would be most pleasing to hear, for it is a serious breach of etiquette to offend a client with words that are unkind or unwanted. To prevent such a breach, it is meet and commendable for a Baandari to spend time with sharp ears in the local inn or tavern so as to ascertain what advice might best please potential local clients.

The Bylaw of Guarantees: A true Baandari sells only the finest goods and wares, for the Town-Biders wish to purchase only the finest goods and wares. There is no pride like that of a person who has just spent a deal of money upon a fine, new purchase, and a Baandari wants above all things for a client to be proud of having driven a hard bargain and acquired an item of the highest quality. Therefore, it is meet and commendable to provide a client with the highest guarantees of an object’s provenance, rarity, and desirability.

The Bylaw of Salvage is what makes the Baandari unwelcome. If an object is not in somebody’s possession, it is salvaged, not stolen.

This is the song, and the Khajiiti in the audience enjoyed it immensely.

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

The cheering and clapping would have continued for longer, but an instant hush enveloped The Winking Skeever when I started my second song. It was written in Aldmeri, and I translated it to Tamrielic. I like it because it shows the Altmer people to be no different than others. The average citizen of Alinor desired the same simple pleasures as a Nord or Imperial. Believing they are all like The Thalmor is a grave injustice.

  • Eyes of polished amber, hair swept like a comet’s tail
  • Soul alight with love and joy under pregnant golden sails
  • My star-eyed bride of Alinor
  • Lost in storm and spray
  • My star-eyed bride of Alinor
  • That cruel fate took away
  • White swan feathers fluttered from her ivory bridal gown
  • And unsung vows slipped from her lips, eager to be found
  • My star-eyed bride of Alinor
  • Gone beneath the waves
  • My star-eyed bride of Alinor
  • The sea became her grave
  • The clouds they gathered overhead, ripping sail from the mast
  • The hull creaked like a coffin’s hinge as the captain yelled, ‘hold fast!’
  • My star-eyed bride of Alinor
  • She never made it home
  • My star-eyed bride of Alinor
  • Drowned in brine and foam
  • Lightning crashed upon the sea; the wind howled with the swells
  • I strained to reach her glistening hand, but into the depths, she fell
  • Upon the beach, I wander still to gaze out at the sea
  • Hoping to see her shining face smiling back at me
  • My star-eyed bride of Alinor
  • Whose last words were my name
  • My star-eyed bride of Alinor
  • I still weep from the shame
  • My star-eyed bride of Alinor
  • Lost in storm and spray
  • My star-eyed bride of Alinor
  • That cruel fate took away
  • That cruel fate took away

I could hear a few sniffles from the audience, and Olette was one of the snifflers.


Within seconds of me starting, the Nords in the room joined in singing this song.

  1. I climbed Shearpoint Mountain,
  2. Drinking my store of mead.
  3. My vision got so blurry,
  4. I couldn’t hardly read.
  5. I found a warm, dry cave,
  6. Never saw a sign or warning.
  7. Curled up with an old frost troll,
  8. Which surprised us both come morning.
  9. Mead, mead, mead, mead!
  10. It’s all you really need.
  11. It’s sweet, and it’s strong,
  12. So good it can’t be wrong,
  13. Mead, mead, mead, mead!
  14. I gave that troll a bottle,
  15. She drank it down right quick.
  16. She danced around me happily,
  17. Then hit me with a stick.
  18. The old troll was snoring,
  19. When I woke hours later.
  20. She’d drunk up all my mead,
  21. But I couldn’t really hate her.
  22. Mead, mead, mead, mead!
  23. It’s all you really need.
  24. It’s sweet, and it’s strong,
  25. So good it can’t be wrong,
  26. Mead, mead, mead, mead!
  27. It’s all you really need.
  28. It’s sweet, and it’s strong,
  29. So good it can’t be wrong,
  30. Mead, mead, mead!

Laughter filled the air, mixed with calls for more mead.

Eventually, the room quietened, and I looked at Rigmor as I sang without an instrument.

  • There is a small child lost in the dark.
  • In her dreams, she’s still there
  • She has fallen, and she waits.
  • Will someone come?
  • Might someone care?
  • Her heart she’ll give you
  • Her love be true
  • Where’s her Dragonborn to save her?
  • To never let her go?
  • Where’s her Dragonborn?
  • Where’s her Dragonborn, to never let her go?
  • In my dreams, she rides the breeze into a burning sky.
  • She takes my hand and leads me to the light.
  • Running barefoot, laughing, she picks up a bloodied sword.
  • She turns her smiling face to me and cries, FREEDOM!
  • I am her Dragonborn.
  • I am her Dragonborn, and I will never let her go.
  • There is a grown man.
  • He is lost in the dark.
  • Where’s his beloved to save him?
  • To catch him when he falls?
  • In my hopes, she rides the breeze into a burning sky.
  • She takes my hand and leads me to the light.
  • A girlchild runs barefoot, laughing through the wheat.
  • She jumps into my arms and cries, FREEDOM!
  • I am their Dragonborn.
  • I will never let them go.
  • I am their Dragonborn.
  • I must kill so they can cry, FREEDOM!
  • I bowed to the audience, handed back the borrowed lute, and promised to join The Bards College one day.
  • Olette: The girlchild is not me.
  • Wulf: No, Olette, it is a little girl Rigmor, and I have seen in a possible future.
  • Rigmor: A future without wars, freeing everybody from fear and poverty.
  • Olette: But that is only a possibility.
  • Wulf: Yes, but it is a possibility we can work hard to achieve.
  • Olette: I have been told why Rigmor was alone in the dark.
  • Wulf: Rigmor wrote most of that song. I just added to it.
  • Rigmor: And you can tell by my sniffles, it was terrible!
  • Olette: Why do you have to be apart?
  • Wulf: Our gods think there is a danger coming. And that we have a better chance of overcoming that danger if I am a surprise to the bad guys.
  • Rigmor: If Wulf and I were together all the time here and in Cyrodiil, the danger would know of him and make plans accordingly.
  • Wulf: I also have many enemies and will gather more as I do what is needed to protect people. Those enemies might want to hurt those I love. We can protect you, Olette, and my friends protect each other, but Rigmor is far away.
  • Olette: It’s not fair!
  • Wulf: Soldiers have to leave behind those they love for long periods. They know they have to do it to protect the ones they love. So Rigmor and I not being with each other all the time is a small sacrifice compared to all those soldiers.
  • Olette: Can we go on trips together? And not boring ones like visiting your museum!
  • Wulf: How about I take you and Rigmor to the highest mountain in Tamriel?
  • Olette: Ooh, I would have to wear my new fur coat and mittens.
  • Rigmor: You certainly would.
  • Wulf: I might even take you to a place called Blackreach. It is like another country, but underground. It has giant glowing mushrooms that float and other odd things.
  • Olette: That sounds cool!
  • Rigmor: It certainly does.
  • Olette: Do you have to do more fighting tomorrow?
  • Wulf: I might, but I must see somebody with a message from our Emperor first.
  • Rigmor: Oh, what is that about?
  • Wulf: I don’t know, but I was not going to attend to it this afternoon. I am not a machine.
  • Olette: I am more important than the Emperor!
  • Wulf: Reminding myself why I have to fight was more important.
  • Olette: And I am one of the reasons you fight?
  • Wulf: You and all the other children and people who just want peace and to be left alone.
  • Rigmor: But you are his favourite child, Olette.
  • Wulf: Yeah, I almost like you as much as Sweet Rolls!
  • Olette: Is this more falling on his head stuff, Rigmor.
  • Rigmor: Is he dribbling?
  • Olette: Nah.
  • Rigmor: Then it is only his terrible sense of humour.
  • Wulf: It is time for you to go home, feed Skritch and get some sleep.
  • Olette: Okay, Cap’n. When you have finished fighting, you promised to help me learn the drum, flute and lute.
  • Wulf: And I will do so, Olette. I always try and keep my promises.

Olette hugged Rigmor and left with Wujeeta and Lydia. Rigmor and I teleported from the centre of The Winking Skeever, which I am sure became a talking point for the sober and just another illusion for the pickled.

Rigmor sat and lay by the fire as I wrote my journal entries. She knew I did not want to speak about the violence. I have thought about Laila’s sons quite a lot since taking Riften. I would have been wracked with grief over their deaths not long ago. Neither had drawn a weapon. But this new Wulf knows the choice was Laila’s. Her sons would be alive if she didn’t order her men to attack. I could have killed the attackers with my sword, but why should I risk my life doing so? No, she left me no choice, and I did not use the full strength of my Thu’um.

Is this new, practical Wulf an improvement? I will let others decide. I am sure the verdict will not be conclusive.

We retired to bed and made love. The universe became us, and nothing else consumed our thoughts but each other.

We fell asleep with limbs entwined. We were then the centre of the most potent force in the universe.

Our love is unstoppable!

14 thoughts on “TAKING THE RIFT

  1. As always man, the power of your su’um is incredible..
    I really loved all of the journal but most of all the banter with the children. Olette can be very entertaining as most of the children of her age in the real world.
    I never asked: are some of your characters, starting with Bethesda’s original ideas, based on real persons?
    I Long to see your journal on Blackreach

    1. I have always been involved with children, my own, nieces and nephews etc. But my wife and I also used to look after State Ward children. Child prostitutes, street kids, physically and sexually abused kids and so on. Children have an infinite amount of compassion and bond and support each other and lend each other strength. It was heartening to witness. So Olette is a conglomeration of the abused and street wise children I have known. Rigmor is a flawed character. She is not perfect which makes her so compelling. I try to have flaws in all the characters as nobody is a saint. Wait till you see who I have as a companion soon! Remember, Wulf believes in redemption.

      1. My man, I grew up with four younger brothers and I acted sometimes as a father. Many times, to be fair. They see me like that and I keep feeeling it. I had my experience one year in a kindergarten as well where this private association took care of the ‘misfit’ children for my City Council. So I definitely understand, I definitely do. Despite I am not lucky enough to be married I keep working with children in a smaller way than I used to. My computer doesn’t stand the mod with Olette otherwise, I’d have have adopted her already. You showed me her, at first. Anyway, we shall see what you are preparing for us.
        May you and your fsmily have a nice day/ night? Whatever your time of day is.

  2. When Wulf interacts with the children, he tries to set an example of life, never sugar coating it. Most times children need all the hands possible to help guide them through life. As much as I hated weeding our garden growing up, the most memorial times was spent helping to weed my neighbors garden, because she needed the help. We talked a lot of mostly just small things but she usually found extra raspberries to give me at the end of the day. Nothing else mattered during those times. Life’s lessons come to be remembered far later in life. The small moments add up. Thank You Mark

  3. The Winking Skeever scene was well done. I have been able to adopt Olette, the dialog never comes up and in some profiles Olette doesn’t show up either. The blue stones for the road in Riverwood looked a little odd, was that deliberate? Great read, thanks Mark.

  4. Oh, I didn’t kniw that. Also what I meant to say, I have never been able to adopt Olette. Proof reading skills are a little slack.

  5. So, I’m finally caught up again. I really enjoyed this, although it was sad Laila had to resist so vehemently. Looking forward to your next entries, although I can’t promise I’ll have time until I finish testing the Babette mod. Thanks, Mark!

  6. What do mean real life getting in way, I thought your journals were real life. Ha ha. I reasoned that there may have health issues. Just finished reading all of the “old journals” again, you did a good job with them.

  7. What do you mean real life getting in way, I thought your journals were real life. Ha ha. I reasoned that there may have health issues. Just finished reading all of the “old journals” again, you did a good job with them, enjoyed them again.

  8. Dunno what happened there. Sent twice. Slowly catching up again, you have had me laughing and crying again even when I knew what was coming up, to me that is proof of your writing skills, thanks Mark.

Leave a Reply