THE NOOSE TIGHTENS

Sundas, 12th Frostfall, 4E 201

to Tirdas, 14th Frostfall, 4E 201

I received a message from General Tullius to meet him before heading for the camp in The Pale.

Vayu, Seiko, Jordis and Lydia were to accompany me.

We teleported into Castle Dour and made our way to the map room.

  • Wulf: You wanted to see me, General Tullius.
  • Tullius: The coup in Falkreath is over. The city’s citizens killed the Stormcloaks and reinstated Jarl Siddgeir. They would have lynched Dengeir, but his nephew intervened. So, they feathered and tarred him instead.
  • Wulf: I expect we shall see similar reverence for The Stormcloaks in Winterhold.
  • Lydia: We should resume the pressure on Ulfric. He has had a bit of a hiatus while we dealt with The Dark Brotherhood.
  • Wulf: What do you say to this idea, General Tullis. Today we take Winterhold. Tomorrow, we retake Morthal. The day after, we take Fort Amol.
  • Tullius: Taking Fort Amol would allow us to mass for the attack on Windhelm.
  • Wulf: Ulfric Stormcloak will die on the 15th. I will kill him and any who oppose me without mercy.
  • Jordis: Will that be the end of the civil war?
  • Wulf: As an organised rebellion, yes. I will let it be known that Ulfric has lost, and any remaining Stormcloaks have a three-day grace. Then I shall fly on a dragon, find any remaining camps, and obliterate them.
  • Tullius: I expect that for years to come, people calling themselves Stormcloaks will cause problems in Skyrim. They will find dingy caves and ruins where the delusional hold clandestine meetings and plan for a rebellion already lost.
  • Wulf: The best thing His Imperial Majesty can do is declare Stormcloaks outlaws. Don’t give them any protection under Imperial Law.
  • Tullius: It may well come to that.
  • Wulf: We shall return later with news of Winterhold.

To get to the Imperial Camp in The Pale, we first teleported to the Khajiiti caravan outside Dawnstar.

I then summoned Nafaalilargus.

“Your orders, General.”

“Legionnaire Nafaalilargus, you are to scout for us. We are heading across the icefields to our camp near Winterhold.”

“Yes, Sir!”

“Nafaalilargus, I know you are a proud Legionnaire, but please, I am Wulf, not General.”

“Perhaps, Sir, you might be interested in some Thalmor sneaking towards you. I don’t think they are friendly.”

A Justiciar was not too pleased he had been discovered and started casting Destruction spells.

I Blinked and was instantly in front of him.

In less than a second, he was hit by multiple arrows, burnt to a crisp by Nafaalilargus and stabbed through the chest by me.

We quickly eliminated the rest of the Thalmor

Then I searched the Justiciar and found a message on Thalmor Embassy letterhead. I read it and sighed. Then I read the message to The Dragonguard.

“Be on the lookout for Wulf, The Dragonborn. He is an enemy of The Dominion and has severely disrupted our activities and caused great harm. If spotted, you are to destroy him with extreme prejudice.

Be advised that he is extremely dangerous and quite capable of defending himself. If local authorities catch you, we will not be able to offer assistance.

For the glory of the Aldmeri Dominion!”

  • Vayu: He is quite capable of defending himself? Wulf wiped out the entire embassy by himself!
  • Lydia: Get rid of one lot of assassins. Attract another.
  • Wulf: I think I am going to revisit the embassy and have a chat with them.
  • Jordis: Having that on official letterhead is not the smartest thing.
  • Seiko: It is not the smartest thing to target Wulf.
  • Wulf: I shall deal with this Thalmor idiocy after Ulric’s head rolls.

We continued towards the Imperial camp.

Seiko asked, “Wulf, what is that tower?”

“It is a fort used to defend against the Akaviri and abandoned soon after. The locals call it The Tower of Dawn. It has another moniker, Nightcaller Temple, but I don’t know why.”

“Nafaalilargus isn’t warning about bandits or others occupying it.”

“No, he isn’t, so we shall ignore it as it has no strategic value.”

Nafaalilargus flew past and said, “It is all clear to the camp.”

“Can you please scout between the camp and Winterhold? You are not to participate in the attack on the city.”

“Yes, Sir. Immediately, Sir.”

Not long after, we reached the camp and entered the command tent.

  • Wulf: Good morning, Legate Rikke.
  • Rikke: General, I received a missive outlining what you and The Dragonguard have done with the assassins. Once more, The Empire owes you a debt.
  • Wulf: No, Legate, it owes us nothing. Anyway, what is the situation with Winterhold?
  • Rikke: We have a sizeable force blocking the main road. We have been waiting on you and the Dragonguard before proceeding with the attack.
  • Wulf: How long would it take those soldiers to reach Winterhold?
  • Rikke: Oh, a minute or two.
  • Wulf: So they are well within the range of The Voice.
  • Lydia: Are you planning to teleport us into the middle of a hostile city?
  • Wulf: No, of course not. I plan to teleport us to the fringe of a hostile city and attack. If I use The Voice to order the Legionnaires, they will arrive soon enough to stop us from being surrounded.
  • Jordis: We could probably cut down half the defenders before they arrive.
  • Rikke: You are insane, Sir.
  • Wulf: It is a calculated risk that will reduce casualties.
  • Seiko: Let’s make Ulfric sweat even more!

We stepped outside the tent.

Then I teleported us to the entrance of Winterhold.

I used the Thu’um and said, “LEGIONNAIRES, THIS IS GENERAL WELKYND. WE ARE IN THE CITY. COME, JOIN US IN REMOVING THE BLASPHEMOUS TRAITORS!”

As a roar came from the city’s outskirts, the killing began.

Some locals watched. Many joined in the cleansing of their city.

I healed several civilians. The number of Stormcloaks was surprising, and we took casualties.

Halfway through the battle, a dragon appeared overhead. He flew away without attacking.

I had to laugh at the blacksmith who tried to ignore the carnage on his doorstep. He grumbled, “The arseholes have been hiding in my home. Now they put their blood and guts on my steps! Rude bastards!”

The fighting suddenly stopped, and Stormcloaks dropped their weapons. I headed towards The Jarl’s Longhouse, stepping around piles of corpses as I went.

Korir seemed resigned as he waited for me to approach.

  • Wulf: Korir, I am General Welkynd. Do you surrender this city?
  • Korir: Yes, damn you all. I can’t believe I am driven out of my own home!
  • Wulf: You decided to rebel against your rightful Emperor. You believed the blasphemies of Ulfric Stormcloak, and your actions have brought harm to the citizens who trusted you.
  • Korir: It isn’t enough that the College still stands? Now the damnable Empire has Winterhold. I hope you all freeze to death!
  • Wulf: I have heard you are such an idiot you blame The College of Winterhold for The Great Collapse. You don’t have the slightest piece of evidence of such nor a motive.
  • Korir: Winterhold used to be the seat of power in Skyrim. Now it’s a shell.
  • Wulf: The presence of the College made it the seat of power. It could still be a great city with a Jarl who stops blaming mages for a natural disaster. You were never going to be that Jarl, so in a way, it is fortunate for Winterhold that you were stupid enough to follow Ulfric.
  • Korir: I demand safe passage for my family and retainers to whatever hole you will shove us into.
  • Wulf: Unfortunately, I am not allowed to remove your treasonous head. But I can punch you in the face. If you dare to demand anything again, I will do so. If you suggest that we might break Imperial and international laws, I will punch you. I will now inform your wife and son of your survival. The Legion will allow you to prepare for your safe journey. Legate Rikke will soon arrive and tell you your place of exile.
  • Korir: You must be a stinking mage. You are all alike!
  • Vayu: General Welkynd is not the only mage here. I am also a mage capable of smashing your face to a pulp. Therefore, I advise you to shut your mouth and hide your teeth while you still have some.
  • Wulf: I will investigate the cause of The Great Collapse. And when I prove it was not the fault of mages, you will look like a bigger fool than you already are.

I used The Voice, “LEGIONNAIRES, SOME STORMCLOAKS WHO SURRENDERED IN OTHER PLACES HAVE THEN MURDERED THEIR GUARDS. YOU ARE TO BIND THEIR HANDS. IF THEY OBJECT, KNOCK THEM SENSELESS AND THEN BIND THEIR HANDS. KORIR IS TO BE BOUND AFTER HE HAS HELPED HIS WIFE AND SON PREPARE FOR EXILE.”

I left the spluttering Korir and entered the longhouse.

Korir’s wife and son looked worried.

“Lady Thaena, Master Assur, Korir is alive and unharmed. You are now prisoners of The Empire and will be treated with respect and dignity. You will be allowed to prepare for your journey into exile. Legate Rikke will arrive soon to organise a new Jarl and repair damage caused by Korir’s rash decision.”

Thaena snarled, “I’d rather see the Sea of Ghosts swallow Winterhold entirely than have it run by the Empire!”

“And that proves that you and your husband were not worthy of your roles. Do you think The Dominion would pat you on the back for treason? When they invaded, you would die and your son enslaved. It is The Empire that prevents that, not Ulfric Stormcloak. I hope Assur receives a better education than the drivel his parents provide. Otherwise, he will be a forgotten casualty of this insurrection!”

I exited the longhouse and saw a line of Legionnaires waiting for me. They cheered and carried on, and although uncomfortable with the adulation, I let them.

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

I told General Tullius, “Winterhold is ours. Unless you have other orders, we will head for our Hjaalmarch camp early tomorrow.”

“I received a report of a large bandit gang operating out of Bannermist Tower. They have been attacking small patrols and runners. We believe Ulfric is paying them a bounty.”

“We will eliminate them. Not tomorrow, as I want to concentrate on retaking Morthal. Probably the day after tomorrow.”

“The noose is closing around Ulfric’s neck.”

“In Winterhold, many civilians helped us. I wonder if Ulfric realises how unpopular he is with the average citizen. We have yet to encounter one fighting for him.”

“I have written to our Emperor, suggesting he make Stormcloaks outlaws after their defeat. I think he will agree.”

“I hope he does. Things are much easier when you don’t have to deal with prisoners.”

We returned to our houses, and I spent a wonderful afternoon with Meeko and Olette. I taught her more advanced lessons on the lute and a few songs. Meeko insisted on howling whatever tune we sang. Skritch tried to eat the sheet music.

After a good meal and bath, I headed for bed and spoke to Rigmor.

“My beloved, we took Winterhold today.”

“How long before you take Windhelm?”

“We don’t have to worry about Falkreath. Its citizens removed The Stormcloaks and false Jarl. So, when we take Morthal tomorrow, all the Holds but one will be in The Empire’s hands.”

“Then what?”

“We shall take Fort Amol, which will allow a safer massing of troops outside Windhelm. On the 15th, we shall take Windhelm and kill Ulfric.”

“How long can you wait before leaving for Solstheim?”

“A week at the most. I think Vittoria Vici might have her wedding during that week. I doubt The Moot will assemble in that time. Jarl Elisif will probably be made High Queen while I am in Solstheim.”

“When we are in Solstheim, my dearest Dragonborn.”

“We could be there for some time, Rigmor. How would you justify your absence?”

“Baa’Ren-Dar visited today, and I had a private talk with him. I told him about the trouble in Solstheim and how you will have to go there and deal with it. Over dinner, he made up this wonderful story about how Solstheim is short of much of the produce and products Bruma trades. He said the civil war demonstrated Bruma’s economy’s vulnerability because we relied on trade with Skyrim. He said the prudent thing to do would see about making a trade agreement with Solstheim.”

“Did they take the bait?”

“They certainly did! When I suggested I would visit and make a trade agreement, there were instant claims I couldn’t do so and that I no longer have you to keep me safe, blah blah blah.”

“You are allowed an escort of Legionnaires to the border of Skyrim. They should hand you to another squad of Legionnaires for your time in Skyrim.”

“Yes, but the Legionnaires would not be allowed to accompany me into Solstheim. We had a veteran visit Bruma yesterday. He fought beside my father in Hammerfell, and Mum knows him. She is pushing for me to make him my bodyguard.”

“If he fought beside your father, he would be mid-forties at least.”

“He has Altmer blood and looks much younger. He is quite handsome, to tell the truth.”

“But one guard? Would that be enough to satisfy your advisors?”

“If I said I was to hire some respected mercenaries, they would acquiesce.”

“This personal guard would have to be let in on our secret. Let me check him out before we go any further.”

“His name is Felix Decimus Varrus. He served as a sergeant in The 10th Legion. He claims he is from a long line of Legionnaires stretching back to The 2nd Legion, led by Duke Varen of Kvatch who later became emperor.”

“As far as I know, Varrus Aquilarios was Duke of Chorrol. His nephew was Duke of Kvatch. That doesn’t matter, as the records of that time are often dodgy. However, if Felix claims a blood tie to Varrus and not through a bastard line, he would be related to another famous figure. Nafaalilargus knew both Varrus and this other person.”

“I don’t think he claims to be descended from Varrus.”

“He wouldn’t want that to be common knowledge, but you know how suspicious I get. You have given me enough information. The Legion’s service records are excellent, and it should be easy to trace Felix’s family. I might even seek out Casius at the Solitude Docks and ask his opinion.”

“You don’t know if he will be there. But you know where Yngol is.”

“Yngol is the last person on Nirn I would voluntarily visit, Rigmor.”

“Was Varrus a good emperor?”

“I disagree with why he usurped the existing emperor, but he was a courageous man who helped save Nirn from Molag Bal. If Felix is related and has inherited the best features of Varrus, he will prove to be a fine personal guard. A new Guardian?”

“I went mad at Mum when she suggested he could be my guardian. He would be my guard, Wulf. You were and always will be my weirdo Guardian.”

“Did you speak to Baa’Ren-Dar about Felix?”

“Yes, and he will also use his resources to check Felix out.”

“We can arrange false contracts for you, Countess. What would you like your mercenaries to be called?”

“Ooh, I will have to think about that. I promise you that it will be something sensible!”

“We really should see about an actual trade agreement while you are there. Perhaps you can introduce your citizens to Ash Yams!”

“We have potatoes wasting in warehouses. Perhaps I can introduce potatoes to Dunmer?”

“I am sure we will find something to trade.”

“Tell me about your day, Wulf. Apart from Winterhold, what else did it entail?”

I told Rigmor about my afternoon with Meeko, Olette and Scritch. She told me about some of the minor and major problems presented by supplicants to her court.

A couple of hours later, Rigmor once again fell asleep mid-sentence. I soon joined her in deep slumber.

The next morning, I gathered the day’s squad of Celestine, Lydia, Jordis and Iona. They knew the plan for the day and were confident of our success.

I teleported us to one of Kynareth’s pillars. Directly across from us, bandits were arguing with a rogue wizard.

We approached, and the wizard hit me with an Ice Spear.

I stuck my sword a few inches into his face and asked, “How do you like it?”

I then cut his head off.

The Dragonguard had eliminated all the bandits but one.

I cut him down.

We continued on our way.

We soon reached the Imperial camp and entered the command tent.

Rikke whined, “I have only just arrived here. I bet you had a good sleep!”

“You’re a veteran, Legate Rikke. Surely you can fall asleep on a horse and not fall off!”

“Most of the time. It is the some of the time that hurts!”

“Do we have men blockading Morthal?”

“Yes, awaiting your arrival and ready to attack.”

“Then we will join them and take back Morthal.”

We arrived at the Imperial mustering point without incident.

Instead of announcing our approach, I ordered the Legionnaires to attack in my normal voice, not via the Thu’um.

I easily outdistanced The Dragonguard and Legionnaires.

The defenders were few. I caught the first one by surprise and cut them down.

I then used my Thu’um and said, “I AM WULF, THE DRAGONBORN. I RECLAIM THIS CITY ON BEHALF OF JARL INGRED REVANCRONE. DROP YOUR WEAPONS OR DIE!”

We scythed through the Stormcloaks with ease. A few citizens helped, but many just stood by, dazed by their lovely city’s change of fortune.

Sorli and her housecarl, an Argonian named Teeba-Ei, emerged from Highmoon Hall. I don’t think Teeba-Ei has ever visited Windhelm, or he would not be fighting for Ulfric.

I plunged my sword into Teeba-Ei’s back, and he dropped dead.

I parried Sorli’s axe and growled, “Surrender or join Teeba-Ei in death!”

Sorli sheathed her axe and looked distraught at Teeba-Ei’s demise.

Stormcloaks ran past, trying to escape.

I used The Voice, “HALT! YOU ARE PRISONERS OF THE EMPIRE. NO FURTHER WARNING WILL BE GIVEN!”

I waited two seconds and decided that was enough.

Unrelenting Force killed the Stormcloaks and an unfortunate horse in the way.

Some who the horse shielded continued to run.

I killed them as well.

Rikke arrived with another platoon of Legionnaires. I didn’t want to speak to Sorli, so I left the mess to the Legate to resolve.

We teleported to Castle Dour and reported to General Tully.

I said, “There is no need to stand, General Tully. Enjoy your meal knowing that Morthal is once again in Imperial hands. I have had enough of killing for today. Therefore, we shall take care of Bannermist Tower tomorrow.”

We returned to our homes, and the afternoon was almost a repeat of yesterday. The exception was Olette, and I concentrated on the flute instead of the lute. Since Olette could not sing and play the flute simultaneously, Meeko howled along with the instrument.

I only spoke to Rigmor briefly and tried to be cheerful. I knew Rigmor could tell that the killing was taking its toll.

The next morning, I gathered my squad for the day. Dae, Jo’rassa, Seiko, Daenlyn and Inigo would be accompanying me.

We teleported to the entrance of Falkreath Sanctuary.

I turned to The Dragonguard.

  • Wulf: After dealing with the bandits at Bannermist Tower, I have decided we shall take a slight detour on the way to the Imperial camp.
  • Inigo: Where to, my friend?
  • Wulf: A place I should have visited before now.
  • Dae: How long will it take to walk to Bannermist Tower from here?
  • Wulf: It should take about two hours. It is a wild part of Skyrim, so it should be fun!
  • Daenlyn: Is Nafaalilargus scouting for us?
  • Wulf: No. I want us to rely on our senses for a change. We have become too reliant on our scaly friend.
  • Inigo: It is a good day for a walk.
  • Wulf: Yes, my furry blue friend, it certainly is.

It was an enjoyable walk, so we were not surprised when a suicidal dragon tried to ruin it.

As he flew overhead, he said, “I am Hinddaanik. I challenge you, Dovahkiin!”

I didn’t bother replying. When Hinddaanik hovered above us, I hit him with Dragonrend.

Hinddaanik crashed to the ground and soon regretted his foolishness.

Within seconds he was dead. Millenia of life ended in stupidity.

We continued for some time then Inigo asked, “My friend, what is wrong?”

I turned to my companions.

  • Wulf: Inigo, my soul is weary. The walking today is to remind me of the beauty of Skyrim.
  • Jo’rassa: You miss all of this when zapping around with teleportation.
  • Wulf: Exactly. So, Inigo, do not worry. The civil war will soon be over, and I will have a small respite before heading to Solstheim.
  • Seiko: Rigmor will lift your spirits.
  • Wulf: Yes, she will. As we walk, I look around and imagine what Rigmor would say about a particular animal or plant. But I cannot see all the beauty she does. She often points out what I missed, and I see it every time after that.
  • Daenlyn: It sounds like she has the soul of a poet or bard.
  • Wulf: I think her darkness was so deep that anything of beauty stands out in sharp contrast.
  • Daenlyn: That is quite poetic in itself.
  • Wulf: Come on, before the bandits die of old age.

Sometime later, we reached Bannermist Tower.

I used The Voice and said, “HELLO SCUM OF BANNERMIST TOWER, WE HAVE COME TO PLAY. ASK YOUR MUMMIES FOR PERMISSION, AND THEN COME JOIN US!”

We charged and killed a couple of dozen bandits in minutes.

When we searched the tower, we found many severed heads of Thalmor. It seems the bandits weren’t all that bad after all!

I teleported us into Honeyside.

When we exited, there was no sign that the civil war had touched Riften. A fog blanketed the city, making it seem much later in the day.

When we exited, I was surprised to see a guard in Riften uniform.

Not far outside of Riften, I summoned Nafaalilargus to scout for us.

I told my friends just past Fort Greenwall, “We go cross country from here. This part of The Rift is swarming with bandit gangs. That is why I asked Nafaalilargus to scout for us.”

We passed another of Kynareth’s pillars. I could have teleported us to it, but I was determined to walk, even in silence. It was a way to keep my Dovah personality at bay, for he had threatened to flare in recent days.

I looked closely at a warthog as we passed it. I am sure Rigmor could think of something nice to say about it. All I could think was how yummy bacon is.

We reached what I had avoided visiting. A colossal statue of Mother stood, reaching for freedom.

I turned to my friends.

  • Jo’rassa: Who is that?
  • Wulf: She has many names. Those in awe of her named her Al-Esh, which means ‘the high high’. From that name, many variations resulted, including Aleshut, Esha and Alessia. When crowned, they named her Paravant, which means ‘the first.’ From that name, the variations Paraval, Pevesh and Perrethu followed. Her first husband called her Paravania. Titles given to her include First Empress, Lady of Heaven and Queen-ut-Cyrod.
  • Jo’rassa: What do you call her?
  • Wulf: I call her Mother. This statue is of Saint Alessia, who is now a god residing amongst the infinite stars of Aetherius.
  • Inigo: You mentioned she is your mother but have yet to speak to us of her.
  • Wulf: Let me read the plaque, for it says much about her.
  • Daenlyn: What language is that?
  • Wulf: Nedic. It is a very efficient language when written. Not so when spoken. I will give you a rough translation as I have not spoken, read, or heard it in years. The book near the plaque is a weatherproof copy of ‘The Trials of Saint Alessia.’

“The plaque reads, ‘Saint Alessia, through her purity and wisdom, earned the love of all good beings, mortal and immortal. At Sancre Tor, she prayed to Lord Akatosh for the liberation of her people, and the Time Dragon granted her Three Visions to guide her in this task. Though the road was long and filled with hardship, her faith sustained her. When at last, all three visions had come to pass, and her people were freed of Ayleid domination, her purpose was fulfilled, and she was called to Apotheosis. Then was she inducted into sainthood by Lord Akatosh himself, and granted the Amulet of Kings, for the sacred rulers of The Empire to wear forever and beyond.’

  • Seiko: For what is she reaching?
  • Wulf: Mother is reaching for the freedom promised by Lord Akatosh. She can’t quite grasp it until she completes her task. I have seen statues where Mother is a bit older, and her outstretched hand holds The Amulet of Kings.
  • Inigo: Is the statue a good likeness? You said Talos objects to some of his.
  • Wulf: Father objects to the crow’s feet on many statues. He hates being depicted with a greatsword, for he was a board and sword warrior. This statue is of Mother when she first went to Sancre Tor. It is reasonably accurate based on other paintings and sculptures Father showed me. I know her as an older woman.
  • Daenlyn: Wulf, why haven’t you visited this shrine before?
  • Wulf: It does not fill me with the joy it should. It reminds me of my emptiness, for I have not seen her for over four years.
  • Daenlyn: Why is that?
  • Wulf: She is doing something that The Divines will not reveal to me. I have learned not to ask as it creates tension between the gods I love and me. Mother and Silah are close friends, so the Dovah also misses her. Father is also suffering in her absence.
  • Daenlyn: I cannot imagine having two gods as parents.
  • Wulf: They were normal in every way, except for our occasional trips to Aetherius and the unusual visitors to our humble abode. They taught by example, not rote. Mother’s compassion and empathy are infinite, echoing in all the lessons she taught me.

I looked up at Mother once more, and the clouds cleared.

I laughed and said, “Thank you, Lady Kynareth, but the sunshine doesn’t make her any more beautiful than she is. That would be impossible.”

My companions remained silent as I stared at Mother’s likeness with sorrow in my heart.

After a few minutes, I said, “Come, we have another long walk to the Imperial camp. I will teleport us to North Windcaller Pass, where I first hunted for the stolen relics of my museum.”

We come out of the ether at the entrance to the cave.

I said, “We shall take a path I have never used before.”

As we walked, Inigo exclaimed, “This world is incessantly magnificent.”

There were no objections to that truthful observation.

We climbed some steps to a giant encampment known as Gulden Rock. A cave was used for storage by the giants. The two resident giants watched us but weren’t aggressive.

The giants had built a fire on a flat platform and encircled it with containers of mammoth cheese. There were no mammoths in sight. Perhaps they sheltered within the cave? That would be a wise precaution now dragons are a constant sight in the skies of Skyrim.

Not far from Gulden Rock was a Shrine of Rajhin. Offers from devout Khajiiti had been placed at its base.

  • Wulf: So, my Khajiiti friends, is that an accurate depiction of Rajhin the Purring Liar?
  • Jo’rassa: He isn’t always shown as a shapeless monolith!
  • Daenlyn: As with many Khajiiti gods, it is hard to separate fact from fiction regarding Rajhin.
  • Jo’rassa: Much Khajiiti history is oral and embellished when spoken around a campfire.
  • Wulf: The story of The Shadow of Rajhin is true. Auryen is sure The Bards College in Solitude has the instrument hidden somewhere.
  • Seiko: Can you tell us that tale?
  • Daenlyn: A bard once wished for his music to seduce anybody he desired. Rajhin, in his god form, granted him his wish and made him an enchanted lyre. The lyre worked but unfortunately caused much jealousy and hatred amongst those whose wife or husband or chaste daughter, etcetera were seduced by the bard who ended up being murdered. The lyre passed from bard to bard with the same inevitable outcome. If The Bards College do have it, I doubt any member would be foolish enough to play it in public.
  • Jo’rassa: There are countless tales about Rajhin’s exploits, both before and after his ascension. But as a mortal who became a god, he is frowned upon by The Thalmor.
  • Wulf: One day, the Khajiiti will throw The Dominion out of Elsweyr.
  • Daenlyn: Although Bosmer and Khajiiti don’t always get along, my people would gladly help.
  • Jo’rassa: And I have no doubt the Khajiiti would help your people free Morrowind from The Dominion.

We climbed down the cliff and onto the White River Road.

We had hardly started walking away from Valtheim Towers when Inigo said, “Whoa, my friend!”

I turned and asked, “Yes, Inigo. Is something bothering you?”

“Those towers are full of smelly bandits!”

“They always are. You clear the bandits out, and more replace them. They should place a squad of Legionnaires in there.”

“Well, we should clear them out once more!”

“Yes, you are right. Those bandits prey on people using this road.”

We turned around and approached the towers.

A bandit demanded, “Who are you? I advise you to leave while you can!”

“We are Skyrim Pest Control. We remove vermin from public buildings, such as these towers. Not furry, four-legged vermin but smelly, two-legged bandit vermin, like you.”

The two sentries ran at us and died.

I killed another sentry inside, then ran outside. Two bandits were preparing to fire arrows at me from the bridge spanning the two towers. I pointed to the sky and yelled, “Hey, look at that huge dragon!”

One of the bandits asked, “How stupid do you think we are?”

Nafaalilargus replied, “This stupid!” then roasted them.

We soon cleared Valtheim Towers and continued on our way.

Miraak’s Goons were hiding under some trees and out of Nafaalilargus’ sight. They ambushed us as we passed.

We soon took care of them, but then Nafaalilargus said, “Bandits are attacking a Khajiit. Up the stairs, quickly!”

We made our way up the stairs and found a young Khajiit holding her own against four attackers.

We helped her finish them off.

She smiled and said, “All Khajiit wanted to do was look at Hillgrund’s Tomb. Those ones said they have made a claim and will rob it, not this one. They did not believe Khajiit was only sight-seeing.”

“Many of the tombs in Skyrim are infested with bandits, necromancers, vampires and other unsavoury characters. I can see you are young and probably inexperienced about such things.”

“That one is Dragonborn, yes? And the others, including the infamous Inigo, are Dragonguard. Anjaia has heard many tales, some unbelievable, from other Khajiiti. This one is honoured to meet Dragonborn and Dragonguard.”

“Yes, I am Wulf, The Dragonborn, and these are some of The Dragonguard. Where are you headed, Anjaia?”

“Khajiit is to join Ri’saad in Whiterun and become a guard.”

“Then I advise you to head straight there and do not visit old tombs.”

“Khajiit thinks that is wise and will do so. Blessings of the moons, Dragonborn.”

As Anjaia wandered off, I had to laugh at Inigo’s expression.

He asked, “Why are you laughing, my friend?”

“You are upset because Anjaia called you infamous. You have whined about it on other occasions.”

“I will be famous one day! Infamous? No!”

Not long after that minor delay, we entered the Imperial camp and headed for the command tent.

“Good afternoon, Legate Rikke.”

“You are later than usual, General Welkynd.”

“We took a few detours on the way. So, are your Legionnaires ready to take Fort Amol?”

“Yes, and they are eager to take Ulfric’s last fort from him.”

“Then bark your orders, Legate Rikke.”

I placed a Mark in the camp. Rikke’s barked her orders, and the Legionnaires followed us out of camp and along the road to Fort Amol.