FULL DISCLOSURE

Loredas, 1st Sun’s Dusk, 4E 201

I teleported us from Fahlbtharz to the interior of Raven Rock’s Temple.

Elder Othreloth raised his eyebrows as we materialised but was not overly disturbed. He walked over to greet us.

  • Wulf: Good morning, Elder Othreloth.
  • Othreloth: Good morning, Azura’s champion, daughter and friends. Please explain the daughter part. Attendant Galdrus said he hesitated to ask after embarrassing himself with ill manners.
  • Rigmor: Lady Azura has been watching over me for many years. She kind of adopted me. I was her champion till kidnapped by The New Order. Then Lady Azura anointed Wulf as her champion and tasked him to rescue me.
  • Wulf: I would have rescued Rigmor without the urging of Lady Azura. But first, I had to survive being shot in the throat with a poisoned arrow and stabbed several times with swords. Lady Azura lent me her strength, and my willpower and love for Rigmor brought me back to Nirn as I skirted The Void.
  • Rigmor: Wulf then had to fight dozens of enemies, go into Oblivion, and face a god and his minions to rescue me.
  • Othreloth: I might be old and past my courting days, but I can see a powerful love exists. That is a strength that should never be underestimated.
  • Rigmor: We know how strong it is. Nothing can withstand it.
  • Wulf: We have killed every person who was inside the heretic’s temple only because they attacked us without provocation. I rescued one False Tribunal devotee from bandits. Her name is Curate Melita, and I doubt she shall return to their temple.
  • Othreloth: Later today, Attendant Galdrus will visit the temple with some Redoran Guards. They shall recover the bodies for internment within our tombs.
  • Wulf: One of the deceased spent decades making a statue of Saint Almalexia. It is magnificent, and I implore you not to destroy it.
  • Othreloth: As I have said previously, I won’t allow symbols of the three saints within this temple. We shall leave the statue for those who want to show their respects. However, we will maintain a presence in that temple to watch for heresy.
  • Wulf: I will let others figure out if Almalexia and Sotha Sil have returned. But I doubt they have and think a Daedric Prince led the heretics astray. Lady Azura thought that was likely, but didn’t seem concerned about which one it may be.
  • Othreloth: I also doubt they have returned.
  • Wulf: We have some other problems to resolve, but hopefully, I can return to Skyrim tomorrow.
  • Rigmor: Goodbye, for now, Elder Othreloth.

We exited to another Ash Storm.

Azura’s statue was covered in ash.

“Lady Azura, this statue is filthy!”

“Perhaps I should task Attendant Galdrus with its cleaning as penance?”

“We have done what we can to stop the plans of the heretics.”

“I thank you all for what you have done.”

I bowed slightly, and then we headed onto the main street of Raven Rock.

As per usual, Captain Veleth was easy to find.

  • Wulf: Captain Veleth, I need to speak to you about Vavhus Dalsrara.
  • Veleth: He failed to show for muster this morning. Do you know where he is?
  • Wulf: There is a trapdoor in the ruins of Old Attius Farm. You will find his corpse in the room below, along with an Imperial.
  • Veleth: Was it reavers?
  • Wulf: No, I killed him in self-defence. Vavhus was trying to sell a relic of The False Tribunal, and I stopped him from doing so. I gave him a chance to walk away. Instead, he decided to stalk and attack.
  • Veleth: Why would you care if he sold the relic?
  • Wulf: It wasn’t his to sell. He was supposed to deliver it to the heretics. I wanted to keep it from the heretics and save his life, for they would kill Vavhus.
  • Veleth: It isn’t easy when somebody you recruited decades ago and nurtured suddenly decides to break his oath. He was a good and solid member of the Redoran Guard.
  • Wulf: He wanted more out of life and expected The Restorations to provide him with wealth and a wife for his twenty years of service. The temptation to sell the mask was too much when they didn’t.
  • Rigmor: Twenty years is a small percentage of a Dunmer lifespan. He had plenty of time to seek those things without being dishonest and an oath breaker.
  • Veleth: Twenty years would have earned him a good pension to aid his transition to civilian life.
  • Wulf: I am sorry he didn’t take the chance I gave him.
  • Veleth: You wouldn’t have mentioned his indiscretion.
  • Wulf: No, I wouldn’t, and I told Vavhus that.
  • Veleth: Then he was a fool. Still, he deserves a proper Ashlander funeral. I will send somebody to fetch him.
  • Rigmor: Can you please try and find out who the Imperial is? His family should be informed.
  • Veleth: Of course.

We teleported to Skaal Village.

Baldor was working at his forge.

  • Wulf: Baldor, I am relieved and pleased to see you healthy and back home.
  • Baldor: It is good to see you again, my friends. Did you find the elves at their ship?
  • Rigmor: Unfortunately for them, yes.
  • Baldor: I don’t suppose they just apologised and handed the map over?
  • Rigmor: We didn’t bother asking.
  • Baldor: Oh!

I handed the map to Baldor.

  • Baldor: I know you faced great danger to bring this map to me. There are no words to tell how glad my heart is. Thank you. I name you friends of the Skaal.
  • Wulf: I am glad we could help, but we were not in much danger from a few Thalmor.
  • Baldor: Frea told me what dangers you faced with Miraak., so I can understand that.
  • Rigmor: Divines bless you and your village.
  • Baldor: Walk with The One.

Tharstan ran to us.

  • Tharstan: Are we going to Vahlok’s tomb now?
  • Wulf: Did you read the book I gave you?
  • Tharstan: Several times. It has made me even more eager to explore Vahlok’s tomb.
  • Wulf: You must follow us. You must not touch anything. You must run from any enemy that gets past us. Agree to these things, and you may accompany us.
  • Tharstan: I agree.
  • Rigmor: Is your wife okay with this?
  • Tharstan: When Fanari married me, she married my profession. I do this type of exploration, and she might be worried, but she understands the need.
  • Rigmor: Okay, but Wulf neglected the most important rule. Do not step in front of him in combat.
  • Tharstan: I will be standing far back.
  • Rigmor: Good, I hope we don’t miss any hidden Draugr who sneak up on us.
  • Tharstan: Oh.

Tharstan returned my book, and I read it to my friends again.

“One of the more intriguing legends found on the island of Solstheim is the story of a mythical figure whose name is long forgotten but whom time remembers as ‘The Traitor.’

Confident that this myth is rooted in history, I learned what I could and perhaps piece together a presumptive account of the events that gave rise to the legend.

The tale is remembered best by the shamans of the Skaal, that unique tribe of Nords whose culture evolved along an entirely divergent path than that of their brethren in Skyrim.

I spoke at length to Skaal Village’s shaman, a wise and hospitable man named Breigr Winter-Moon. He described an age long ago when dragons ruled over the whole world and were worshipped as gods by men. Presiding over this cult of dragon-worshippers were the Dragon Priests, powerful mages who could speak the dragon language and call upon the power of the Thu’um, or Voice.

According to the legend, one such Dragon Priest was seduced by a dark spirit named Herma-Mora, an unmistakable analogue for the Daedric prince Hermaeus Mora. Lured by promises of power, this treacherous priest secretly plotted against his dragon masters.

One of his contemporaries discovered the Traitor’s plot, another Dragon Priest who legend named The Guardian. The two fought a mighty battle that lasted for days, hurling terrible arcane energy and Thu’um Shouts at the other.

Great and terrible forces were unleashed in this contest, causing Solstheim to be sundered from the mainland of Skyrim. Here, the myth descends into the realm of pure fantasy.

The Guardian, whom the legend presents as a paragon of loyalty and nobility, finally defeats the despicable Traitor, who seems to represent all that is corrupt and evil in men. Their epic duel is representative of a greater struggle between good and evil. Perhaps this timeless quality has kept the tale alive for so long.

Unlike many similar myths, The Guardian and The Traitor’s tale does not feature a suitably heroic ending. Herma-Mora snatches The Traitor away just as The Guardian is about to strike the killing blow.

The dragons appoint The Guardian ruler of Solstheim, but not before he is compelled to swear an oath of vigilance to watch for The Traitor’s return. By all accounts, his reign was a time of peace and prosperity for the island’s people, and he is remembered as a wise and just leader.

No further mention is made of The Traitor, but neither is he thought to be dead. The legend ends on a cautionary note that the people of Solstheim, the heirs of The Guardian, must remain wary, lest the dark influence of Herma-Mora, or even The Traitor himself, return someday.

Although no physical clues exist now on Solstheim to suggest the dragon cult’s presence, it is hardly difficult to believe that it might once have flourished here. Perhaps some hidden tomb still waits to be discovered that will tell the tale’s truth.

There are other tantalising clues, though perhaps these connections strain the bounds of credibility. For example, is it possible that the Skaal deity, the All-Maker, is some distant echo of mighty Alduin, the World-Eater of the ancient Nord pantheon?

Perhaps not, but one thing is certain: Solstheim’s history is riddled with unanswered questions. Perhaps future generations will pull aside the veils of mystery. The truth about the origins of the Skaal and the identities of The Guardian and The Traitor may be revealed.”

We then headed for Vahlok’s tomb and encountered a few reavers on the way. Tharstan proved very efficient at finding something or somebody to hide behind.

Tharstan was excited as we stood before the entrance.

  • Tharstan: Remarkable, isn’t it? This tomb has been hidden for… well, who knows how long. Many centuries, I would think.
  • Wulf: It is from the time of the Dragon War. In other words, it is from before Year Zero of the First Era. The Merethic Era. We will be the first to enter the tomb for over twenty-five centuries.
  • Tharstan: Oh. Then it is even more remarkable!
  • Inigo: Don’t be surprised if Wulf starts yawning. What is exciting to most is boring to him.
  • Wulf: I respect the antiquity, but these ancient tombs all start to look alike.
  • Rigmor: Maybe there are new ways of dying horribly in this one?
  • Wulf: Now that would be interesting! Draugr trying to eviscerate me is tedious.
  • Inigo: My friend, I think you are scaring Tharstan.
  • Wulf: He should be scared. This exploration is no picnic.

I Shouted Dragon Aspect. Tharstan almost wet himself.

  • Felix: Tharstan, you will soon stop jumping out of your skin.
  • Tharstan: No wonder they are called Shouts.
  • Rigmor: That was a quiet one.
  • Wulf: I will be using Unrelenting Force quite a bit. That is very loud.
  • Rigmor: Wulf, why are you carrying Riekling spears?
  • Wulf: If I get bored, I might use them instead of my bow.
  • Tharstan: Have you used them before?
  • Wulf: No, but I have found the best motivation to learn is when a Draugr is coming towards you.
  • Lydia: I find Draugr interesting with their beady, glow-in-the-dark blue eyes, rotten teeth and guttural snarls.
  • Inigo: Nothing is interesting about zombies.
  • Tharstan: Draugr are not zombies.
  • Inigo: They are zombies! Do not argue further, or I will be forced to hurt you!

We stood before the doors, and I asked Tharstan, “Do you know what the carving on these doors signifies?”

“I have seen it on other ruins, but I have no idea what it signifies.”

“It signifies that this place is the tomb of a Dragon Priest.”

“But I have never encountered a Dragon Priest.”

“Many Dragon Priests have been destroyed. But not Vahlok.”

We entered, and I yawned.

  • Rigmor: Bored already?
  • Wulf: The stonework is identical to many tombs in Skyrim. Boring!
  • Rigmor: I recognise the similarities to Bleak Falls Barrow.
  • Tharstan: I find it amazing despite your blasé attitude.
  • Wulf: And you have every right to be amazed and excited. But let me spoil your mood by asking an unanswered question.
  • Lydia: Here we go!
  • Wulf: Who has lighted the torches and brasiers and why? The Draugr do not need them!
  • Tharstan: Ahh… umm…
  • Rigmor: And Wulf ruins another scholar’s life by asking that question.
  • Tharstan: Yes, well… mmm…
  • Wulf: Let’s keep going before Tharstan realises we are all insane and runs screaming back to Skaal Village.

The corridor led to a large chamber. A dais with an etched tablet on top and a twist handle below attracted our attention. Locked gates blocked exits to the left and right, and front. In the middle of the room was a pit with swingling grates above. Molten rock at the bottom of the pit generated tremendous heat.

I had a quick look at the message on the tablet. It was written in Dovahzul. I stood aside and let Tharstan have a look at the inscription. He started to compare the script with a large and cumbersome translation book.

  • Tharstan: The message is in dragon language. Let me interpret it for you.
  • Wulf: Aan zahrahmiik fen drun hi wah hin paar.
  • Lydia: Wulf is fluent in Dovahzul.
  • Wulf: This is an example of something that irritates me more than sand in my underwear. Here we have a simple puzzle with an obvious solution.
  • Rigmor: My dear, a Tamrielic version is needed.
  • Wulf: A sacrifice will bring you to your desire.
  • Rigmor: That is an easy puzzle!
  • Tharstan: It is?
  • Rigmor: On the ground is a trapdoor over a firepit. I bet that twist handle opens the trapdoor.
  • Lydia: So, a sacrifice needs to fall into the fire. I volunteer Inigo for that honour!
  • Inigo: I will have to decline due to severe allergic reactions triggered when burning alive.
  • Wulf: I suggest we first try one of the numerous corpses littering the floor. Then maybe a Sweetroll or something else before Inigo. There is nothing to imply it has to be a living mortal that is sacrificed.
  • Lydia: Please, not a Sweetroll! Try sacrificing Inigo before you take that drastic step!
  • Tharstan: She isn’t serious, is she?
  • Wulf: I don’t know. Lydia hasn’t been the same since we fought Alduin in Sovngarde.
  • Tharstan: She what?
  • Inigo: Hey, I was there as well and am perfectly normal. Just ask Ralph.
  • Tharstan: Who is Ralph?
  • Rigmor: His six-foot-tall invisible rabbit. Wave to Tharstan, Ralph. Good boy! He is so cute.
  • Inigo: Tharstan, you had better wave back, or Ralph might start crying.

Tharstan waved back to the invisible, non-existent, six-foot-tall rabbit, accompanied by the laughter of my companions. As the realisation that he was the target of a prank dawned on Tharstan, I made my way down to the firepit.

I placed one of the desiccated corpses on the grill over the pit.

I then returned to the dais and used the pull handle.

The body fell into the pit.

Clicks, followed by the grating sound of opening gates, came from the left and right.

  • Tharstan: Excellent! It seems we now have progress available in two directions. Wulf, since you seem to know what you are doing, tell us which way to go.
  • Wulf: I can sense two Word Walls, one in each direction.
  • Tharstan: I know what Word Walls are, but what do you mean when you say sense?
  • Wulf: I can hear them. The noise they make increases as I get closer.
  • Tharstan: They emit a noise that others cannot hear?
  • Wulf: The noise may not exist, but merely how my brain interprets the phenomena.
  • Tharstan: Why would a Word Wall do that?
  • Wulf: Most Word Walls can teach a Dragonborn a Word of Power for use in a Shout. Does that make sense? Are you familiar with the basics of the Thu’um?
  • Tharstan: Yes, I have read several treatises on the subject. I don’t recall any of them mentioning Word Walls. It is valuable knowledge that I must mention in my next published book.
  • Rigmor: So, Dragonbum, which way, left or right?
  • Wulf: Let us proceed to the right since I am always right.
  • Rigmor: Yeah, right, pfft! As the Champion of The Divines, should you not always speak the truth?
  • Wulf: I am also Boethia’s Champion and Meridia’s. They would expect me to lie.
  • Celestine: He makes a fair point.
  • Lydia: I am so sad. The furry blue thing survives.
  • Inigo: Keep that up, Lydia, and I will refuse to father your children!
  • Wulf: Before we head to the right, I want to look at the front gate.

We inspected the front gate.

  • Wulf: Logic time, Rigmor. How do we open this gate?
  • Rigmor: We need a dragon claw cut in half. Since there is a left and right exit, I think half of the dragon claw will be recovered from each direction.
  • Tharstan: Do we have to cut up a dragon?
  • Wulf: No, the dragon claws are a type of key often used in these tombs. They are relics shaped like a dragon’s claw. They can be made of any hard material.
  • Inigo: My friend, can you read that tablet from here?
  • Wulf: Yes. It is another puzzle and says, ‘Stay your course. To idle is to die.’
  • Meeko: Woof!
  • Wulf: Yes, Meeko, I can hear the water. It might have something to do with the puzzle. But that will have to wait till we have opened these gates to find out.
  • Inigo: Mr Dragonfly is worried because we are idle.
  • Tharstan: Wulf speaks to a dog, and Inigo speaks to a dragonfly in a jar! You are all insane, but I won’t run back to Skaal Village.
  • Meeko: Woof?
  • Rigmor: No, Meeko, I don’t think Tharstan is implying you are insane. He is referring to the two-legged lunatics.

We climbed some stairs to the right and then along a short corridor.

Another door led to a chamber with many fire traps set on the floor with a dais in front.

As before, a tablet with Dovahzul runes provided a clue for the puzzle.

  • Wulf: This is another easy puzzle! How stupid do they think people are?
  • Celestine: Perhaps they thought if you seek Vahlok, you must be stupid.
  • Lydia: Half as stupid as Inigo?
  • Inigo: My friend, what is the puzzle?
  • Wulf: Continue along the path. Do not tread where you have been.
  • Inigo: Do you want a week to figure it out, Lydia?
  • Lydia: I have figured it out already! Wulf has to walk up one line of the firetraps, step to the next and walk back along that line of firetraps, then step to the next, etcetera. That way, he will walk on all the firetraps without stepping on a single one more than once.
  • Wulf: Inigo, would you like your humble pie hot or cold?
  • Tharstan: Are we keeping score? Lydia is way ahead of Inigo at the moment.
  • Rigmor: Inigo had an excellent streak yesterday. I think they are about even for the week.

I did as Lydia suggested, and a portcullis barring our way lowered.

Before proceeding, I said, “Tharstan, we have not met the guards so far. This place is the tomb of a Dragon Priest, and there will be many Draugr. They will be powerful and most likely users of the Thu’um. The most powerful will be in the coffin in front of the Word Wall. Be prepared.”

I stepped into the room, and Draugr emerged from their coffins.

I cut one Draugr down, pivoted and plunged my sword through the centre of another.

The Draugr from the central coffin was preparing to use its Thu’um.

I disintegrated it with Unrelenting Force, which also killed a weaker Draugr behind it.

The last Draugr left was female. I yelled, “Inigo, Miss Draugr wants to know if you are single.”

“Not funny, my friend!”

We killed the female Draugr.

Then I approached the Word Wall. Everybody stood and watched as I absorbed the Word of Power.

  • Tharstan: What just happened?
  • Wulf: As I said before, Word Walls teach Dragonborn Words of Power. This one taught me ‘Shaan,’ which means inspire. It is the third Word of the Shout called Battle Fury. I already knew the Word and its meaning and how to use it in a Shout.
  • Rigmor: The Word Walls teach Wulf the Words of Power but not how to use them.
  • Wulf: Normally, I would have to absorb a dragon’s soul to obtain the knowledge needed to use the Word. Some gods and the Greybeards can gift the knowledge to me. People who are not Dragonborn may have to study a Word of Power for months or even years before using it in a Shout.
  • Tharstan: How many Words of Power do you know?
  • Wulf: Probably more than any other Dragonborn before me. But I did not have to kill many Dov to gain the required knowledge. Kyne gifted me the Words of Power and how to use them in a Shout and the Shouts.
  • Tharstan: You seem so relaxed with the fact you commune with gods.
  • Wulf: It is what I have to do if I wish to keep the mortals of Nirn safe. I have learnt much about the Daedric Princes and other gods. That preparation allows me to be somewhat prepared for their peculiarities. Speaking to Boethia is not the same as talking to Azura. Meridia tries to bully me. Talos tries to be patient with me but can get angry if I am stubborn. With Sheogorath, it is wise to show respect as he is one of the few gods that can make your life unpleasant. His insanity makes him unpredictable.
  • Rigmor: What is the message on this Word Wall?
  • Wulf: ‘Nonvul bron mahfaeraak dahmaan sahrot Vahlok wen lot ahkrin shaan ney muz ahrk Dovah.’ Roughly translated, it says, ‘Noble Nord, forever remember mighty Guardian whose great courage inspired both men and dragon’.
  • Felix: Wulf, you look a bit puzzled over that message.
  • Wulf: It refers to Nords long before the descendants of the Atmoran were called that. It is as if it is written for today’s people, not back when it was first chiselled into the stone.
  • Felix: Gobblygook?
  • Wulf: Yes, that is one hundred percent, undiluted gobblygook.
  • Tharstan: I take it that means some premonition was involved.
  • Wulf: I don’t know. Hence the gobblygook.
  • Tharstan: What is gobblygook?
  • Rigmor: We needed a word to explain the workings of the gods.
  • Tharstan: Understandable.

Amongst the ashes of the most powerful Draugr was the right half of an amethyst dragon claw.

  • Rigmor: Wulf, there is no combination on the bottom.
  • Wulf: Perhaps the symbols are on the left half of the claw?
  • Meeko: Woof?
  • Celestine: You are correct, Meeko. Perhaps there is no Dwemer Puzzle Door, so the combination is unnecessary.
  • Tharstan: You speak to dogs as well?
  • Celestine: Meeko is not a dog. Don’t ask what he is. We don’t know.
  • Tharstan: Is the dragonfly really a dragonfly?
  • Inigo: Mr Dragonfly is insulted, Tharstan. He wants me to let him out so he can bite you.
  • Tharstan: Ahh, why is a combination needed?
  • Lydia: I suggest you wait till you see the door, if there is one, before asking more about combinations and dragon claws.
  • Tharstan: That sounds like wise advice.
  • Wulf: Perhaps the front gate is the only place we have to use the dragon claw, but I doubt it.
  • Rigmor: We will see. There is no use guessing.
  • Celestine: Rigmor, you sound more like Wulf every day.
  • Rigmor:  What a nasty thing to say!
  • Lydia: Maybe Celestine can concoct a potion to cure your affliction?

A false back to one of the vacated coffins led to a tunnel. It was a shortcut to the entrance chamber.

We crossed the entrance chamber and climbed some steps on the left side.

We then proceeded down a corridor towards the Word Wall that beckoned me.

After passing through several doors, we arrived at a burial crypt full of the deceased.

I whispered, “I will kill as many as possible with The Voice. However, once I use it, all the Draugr here will look for us.”

I was adept at distinguishing Draugr from corpses. As soon as I spotted a Draugr, I Shouted Unrelenting Force and killed it.

I managed to kill several more before roused Draugr found us.

We killed ten Draugr before reaching a lowered gate operated by a pull chain.

  • Wulf: Relax. There is a puzzle ahead and no sign of more Draugr.
  • Tharstan: You can see in the dark and distinguish which corpse was a Draugr?
  • Wulf: I have the eyesight of a dragon. I can see in the dark and detect living creatures through walls and doors. I can also zoom in on things, like a Dwemer looking-glass.
  • Tharstan: This tomb is remarkably well preserved. Fortune has indeed smiled on us.
  • Rigmor: You might change your mind when we encounter Vahlok.
  • Tharstan: You have a unique way of dampening one’s enthusiasm.
  • Rigmor: I tell it as I see it.

I pulled the chain, and the gate was raised. I walked over to the dais and read the inscription.

Then I turned to Tharstan.

  • Wulf: Roughly translated, this one says, ‘All men must die, often by their own means.’
  • Tharstan: That is a bit grim!
  • Wulf: It does not have much relevance to the solution to this puzzle. The clues are on the central pillar, and once again, I wonder how stupid they think people are.
  • Tharstan: I am not stupid, but I see no obvious solution.
  • Wulf: The central pillar has three sides. There are three corresponding pillars on the perimeter of the circle. Do you recognise the purpose of the smaller pillars?
  • Tharstan: The glowing stone at the top of each may be what other archaeologists have described and sketched. I think they called them ‘Impact Stones’.
  • Wulf: So, what do I use if I am to hit the stones? Look at the red side of the central column.
  • Tharstan: Oh, a sword. On that side, you would hit the Impact Stone with a sword!
  • Rigmor: This sort of puzzle irritates Wulf. The solutions are always simple, which makes us wonder what type of idiot they are to stymie. Why go through the effort of constructing them in the first place?
  • Wulf: And the answer to those questions is?
  • Rigmor: Gobblygook!
  • Lydia: It was nice of whoever or whatever to light those candles around the pillars.
  • Tharstan: You evil woman! I had forgotten that paradox, and then you reminded me of it again.
  • Lydia: There is no need to thank me. It was a pleasure.
  • Inigo: Argh! Lydia, do not stand so close. I thought you were a zombie!
  • Lydia: One of these days, I will punch you in that big nose of yours.

The blue side of the central pillar showed an silhouette of a staff. On a pedestal in front was a Staff of Flames.

I turned to the corresponding pillar and Shouted Fire Breath at the Impact Stone.

The centre of the pillar rotated till a glowing blue symbol appeared.

The red side of the central pillar had a silhouette of a sword.

I turned to the corresponding pillar and hit the Impact Stone with my sword.

The centre of the pillar rotated till a glowing red symbol appeared.

The green side of the central pillar had a silhouette of a bow. A hunting bow sat upon a pedestal.

I turned to the corresponding pillar and hit the Impact Stone with an arrow.

The centre of the pillar rotated till a glowing green symbol appeared.

A portcullis lifted, which allowed access to the cavern with the Word Wall.

  • Rigmor: I can see three horizontal coffins and one against the wall. The toughest Draugr will be in the middle one.
  • Tharstan: Is it that predictable?
  • Wulf: YAWN!
  • Rigmor: Unfortunately, they are predictable for Wulf, who has visited many of these tombs.
  • Wulf: If some horrible beast doesn’t kill me, the boredom will.

I entered the cavern, and three Draugr emerged from their coffins in front of me.

A single Unrelenting Force Shout killed all three.

My friends disposed of a fourth Draugr as I approached the Word Wall and absorbed the Word of Power.

  • Wulf: The Word of Power is ‘Vur’, which means valour. It is the second Word of the Battle Fury Shout. The inscription reads, ‘Qethsegol vahrukiv vur do faal Vahlok nonvul aar se Dovah wen dez lost wah qahnaar tahrodiis Miraak.’ That roughly translates to, ‘This stone commemorates the valour of The Guardian, noble servant of the Dragons, whose fate it was to vanquish treacherous Miraak.’
  • Rigmor: I find it interesting they still made commemorative Word Walls for Vahlok even after he turned evil under Alduin’s influence.
  • Wulf: I think the Skaal would have remembered what he once was via their verbal histories.
  • Tharstan: It is a generous thing to do. Would they have set these puzzles with which you are less than impressed?
  • Wulf: I doubt it. The Skaal would have asked for external help to set those. There is minimal mention of Magicka being utilised by them. They do harness the magic of the All Maker.

I searched the Draugr in the centre coffin.

I recovered the left half of the amethyst claw. There were no animal totems on the bottom.

Like the other Word Wall room, a hidden passage opened at the back of one of the vertical coffins. We quickly moved through the secret passage and were soon in the central chamber.

I approached the locked gate and inserted one half of the dragon claw into the right-hand lock, then twisted it until I heard a click.

I inserted the other half of the dragon claw into the left-hand lock and twisted it until I heard a click.

The gate then swung open.

I approached the dais. Underneath the plaque was a twist handle. In front of us was a moat with black skeletons patrolling the shallow water. There was no bridge to the opposite archway.

  • Wulf: The inscription says, ‘Stay your course. To idle is to die.’
  • Rigmor: The fall would not even wind you, and I doubt those skeletons pose much of a threat.
  • Wulf: No, I could kill them from here using spell and Thu’um. I could also reach the archway using Whirlwind Sprint or Blinking, but the rest of you can’t.
  • Inigo: You could summon us from the other side.
  • Wulf: That leaves Tharstan, and it would be unfair to leave him behind.
  • Lydia: Twist the handle, and maybe a solution will be provided.
  • Wulf: My thought precisely. Let’s observe what happens before taking further action!

When I twisted the handle, a walkway made of the same Magicka substance that Telvanni lifts use appeared. However, the individual stepping stones were not permanent.

  • Tharstan: By The Nine! I’ve never seen anything like this. They appear to be platforms made entirely of magical force. Absolutely remarkable!
  • Wulf: This is not a rare dweomer. All they have done is make it visible and include a condition that makes them dissipate over time.
  • Celestine: Wulf is also a Master Mage in all the schools of Magicka.
  • Tharstan: Is there anything he can’t do?
  • Lydia: He can’t touch the tip of his nose with his tongue. Can you?
  • Tharstan: If you think I will give you the satisfaction of laughing as I try, you are sadly mistaken. I will wait till you are not looking.
  • Celestine: Such tongue skills would make you very popular with the ladies.
  • Tharstan: Why is that… unless you mean… oh… oh my!
  • Rigmor: What a pretty shade of red! It suits you, Tharstan.
  • Wulf: Only three of the stepping stones can exist at once. The first one that materialises of four will dissipate.
  • Rigmor: We could tie your hands and feet, and you could still wriggle across the platform in time!
  • Wulf: We need a way for Tharstan to cross. I will use the magic bridge and see if there is a solution on the other side.

The bridge zig-zagged and was not a direct route to the other side.

As soon as I stepped onto the other side, the temporary pavement vanished, and a permanent and direct route bridge came into being.

We had to cross several more moats. The speed at which the bridge sections were created and erased increased with each one. Some of the skeletons in the moats were armed with bows, so I took care of them with Unrelenting Force as I found arrows flying past my head somewhat distracting. The last bridge required me to run and not hesitate at all.

After everybody had crossed the last bridge, we entered a room with a Dwarven Puzzle Door at the end.

  • Rigmor: Calm down, Wulf. We know you hate these things.
  • Wulf: They make no fucking sense!
  • Lydia: We know that. But here it is, and we don’t have the combination.
  • Tharstan: Why doesn’t Wulf like these doors?
  • Rigmor: For many reasons.
  • Wulf: There is no combination on the bottom of the claw. Therefore, I will try one combination at a time in a systematic manner. Another idiotic part of the design is it allows me to do that. I wish I could go back in time and throttle the inventor of this moronic thing!
  • Tharstan: You mean the combination is usually on the bottom of the dragon claw, the key?
  • Lydia: Yes, and that defeats the purpose. If you need two things to open the door, a key and a combination, why have them together? That provides no more security than just having a key or a combination.
  • Tharstan: That is extremely…
  • Wulf: STUPID! That is what it is. STUPID!
  • Tharstan: Well, maybe the murals give a clue about the combination?
  • Wulf: No, they don’t. Give me a couple of minutes, and it will be open.
  • Tharstan: How many combinations are there?
  • Wulf: This door has three pictures per wheel. They can have up to six. Therefore, the number of possible combinations for this door is three times three times three.
  • Lydia: That makes twenty-seven possible combinations.
  • Tharstan: Is there a penalty for entering the wrong combination?
  • Rigmor: Sometimes you get set on fire, or poison darts are fired at you. Occasionally creatures will attack you.
  • Wulf: There are no traps attached to this door that I can find but stand back just in case. This idiocy should not take long.

Five minutes later, as I systematically tried combinations and found the right one, the door slowly lowered in a puff of dust.

We entered the newly revealed tunnel, and the Word Wall’s tone increased in volume as we walked.

We reached the final chamber. I opened a gate via a pull chain then we peered inside.

  • Wulf: That is Vahlok’s sarcophagus, just after the pool of water.
  • Tharstan: Will Vahlok be powerful? You had no difficulty bringing down the two Draugr who had the dragon claw halves.
  • Wulf: Despite the book mentioning a terrific battle between Miraak and Vahlok, I doubt he is a match for me. He is a Lich, though, so not somebody to be treated lightly.
  • Tharstan: I think I will stand here and watch.
  • Rigmor: A good idea. Many Draugr may be waiting to defend their master.
  • Wulf: All of you will stay here. None of you has protection against the Thu’um. It may become a battle of The Voice.

I slowly walked toward the sarcophagus.

When Vahlok emerged, he did not attack immediately. He watched me approach, so I tried talking to him.

“Drem Yol Lok, Vahlok. Zu’u los Wulf. Dovahkiin ahrk viik do Alduin ahrk Miraak.” (Greetings, Vahlok. I am Wulf. Dragonborn and defeater of Alduin and Miraak.)

“Miraak los dilon?” (Miraak is dead?)

“Nid. Rok los nu dii grah-zeymahzin.” (No. He is now my ally.)

“Ruz hi fen dir!” (Then you must die!)

“Zu’u los thur do Dov. Zu’u los hin in!” (I am Overlord of dragons. I am your master.)

“Dinok los dii in!” (Death is my master!)

Vahlok prepared a spell, and he was investing an impressive amount of Magicka in it.

Unrelenting Force ripped through him and turned him to ash.

The others approached as I got closer to the Word Wall and absorbed the Word of Power.

  • Wulf: The Word of Power is ‘Mid’, which means loyal. It is the first Word of the Battle Fury Shout.
  • Rigmor: And the inscription?
  • Wulf: ‘Het nok faal Vahlok wo kron pogaas moro fah ok unslaad mid rok aav dilon voth lot zin.’ That roughly translates to ‘Here lies the Guardian who gained much glory. For his eternal loyalty, he joined the dead with great honour.’
  • Inigo: Was he different from other Dragon Priests you have faced?
  • Wulf: He seemed curious and waited for me. I have never had one talk to me before.
  • Tharstan: You destroyed him with a single Shout!
  • Wulf: And yet I am nowhere near my potential in the Thu’um.
  • Tharstan: How amazing! An authentic Dragon Priest! In all my years as a historian, I never thought I would see anything like that.
  • Wulf: I would like to have met them before they were corrupted. Vahlok sounds like a person once worthy of admiration.
  • Lydia: Why do they attack you, a half-dragon?
  • Wulf: The first Dragonborn Lord Akatosh created was Miraak. I don’t think he made much of an impression on most Dragon Priests. Plus, they are Lich and dislike those who are alive.
  • Tharstan: What did you say to each other?
  • Wulf: I told Vahlok I defeated Alduin and Miraak. He was pretty upset I let Miraak live. Then I told him I was his overlord, his master. He would have bent his knee to me if he was still a mortal. Alas, as I said, as a Lich, he didn’t like the living.
  • Celestine: Even from where we were standing, I could tell the Magicka he was about to unleash was huge.
  • Wulf: Yes, and I have no idea what the spell was.
  • Tharstan: Do you think Vahlok had this entire place built for him to maintain his vigil, even after death?
  • Wulf: Maybe. Other Dragon Priests have elaborate tombs built around them. They may have been waiting for Alduin to become Overlord once more. It would have been ironic if Vahlok or his Draugr guards had managed to kill me before I defeated Miraak. Vahlok could not combat him in Apocrypha, and by the time Miraak crossed over to the mortal plane, he would have been considerably more powerful than their previous encounter. Killing me would have ensured Vahlok failed in his task if that this why this tomb was constructed. Of course, that concept is pure speculation.
  • Tharstan: I knew that the Dragon Priests were thought to have been powerful men of strong will, but I had no idea.
  • Wulf: If Vahlok left this tomb, then all the Redoran Guards on this island would not be enough to stop his rampage. He would have sought vengeance for the defeat of the dragons.
  • Tharstan: I must be more careful. I did not realise the dangers my curiosity could pose to others.
  • Rigmor: Are you heading back to the Skaal Village?
  • Tharstan: No, I think I will spend some time studying this tomb. What a book this will make!
  • Wulf: I am not leaving you in this place and will teleport you to the village. There is no guarantee we have disposed of every Draugr.
  • Tharstan: Well, teleporting will be another new experience.
  • Inigo: When you write your book, don’t forget to mention the incredibly handsome Khajiit who accompanied you on this challenging journey.
  • Lydia: Make sure you spell his name correctly. I… D… I… O… T.
  • Wulf: Place your hand on my shoulder, Tharstan. Don’t be frightened.
  • Tharstan: What will happen?
  • Wulf: You will experience absolute darkness and cold for a second or two. Then you will be in the village.
  • Celestine: I will teleport the rest of us to Severin Manor.

Tharstan put his hand on my shoulder, and I teleported him to Skaal Village. Fanari came running over and embraced him. I was smiling as I teleported to Severin Manor.

Rigmor came up to me and looked worried.

“Relax, Rigmor. I have every confidence in your ability to bleed Raven Rock dry.”

“Ha de haha.”

“I will tell Councillor Morvayn to expect you in a couple of hours. Then we shall go to the Safe House, and you can spruce up. Felix can change back into his Bruma Paladin armour.”

“This high-level negotiation stuff is a duty of a Countess. I must get good at it for the sake of my citizens.”

“That’s right. Do the best you can for your citizens, and you can’t go wrong.”

I left Severin Manor and walked briskly to Morvayn Manor.

I entered and approached Councillor Morvayn.

“I will leave Raven Rock for some time as there are pressing matters elsewhere. However, there is one vital task that needs completing.”

“Oh, and what is that?”

“One of the people who have aided me is not part of The Dragonguard. She is Countess Rigmor Ragnarsdottier of Bruma.”

“One of the young women armed to the teeth is a countess?”

“Rigmor is the finest greatsword exponent I have ever seen. She is also my beloved, and because of that, Rigmor is in constant danger. There are many reasons why she is travelling incognito with me. I ask that our secret be kept. Lady Azura would also appreciate discretion as she is quite fond of Rigmor.”

“I swear I shall be discreet, but why tell me this?”

“Rigmor wants to establish a trade deal with Solstheim. I will leave all the details for the negotiating table, but I think you will see advantages over current agreements.”

“I look forward to speaking to Rigmor. If you see the Second Councillor, please inform him of the meeting. Shall we say, two hours from now?”

“That will be fine. I will not be accompanying Rigmor, but her bodyguard will. He has also been masquerading as a Dragonguard.”

“This should be entertaining. The Second Councillor regards himself a nimble negotiator.”

“I am looking forward to Rigmor running rings around him.”

Councillor Morvayn was chuckling as I left the manor.

I spotted the Second Councillor and headed his way.

“Wulf, the treasure has arrived safely. Counting and getting quotes on some of the items will take many days. However, our clerks estimate close to two hundred thousand in value!”

“That is good to hear. I am glad to help Solstheim recover from their neglect.”

“Neglect?”

“Your Grand Council has ignored Solstheim. They might pay more attention now that the mine is operational, but you will still rely on unreliable supplies at inflated prices and field fewer Redoran Guards than needed. Now you have a chance to thrive, but only if you get a fair price for your ebony and have reliable trade partners.”

“We have depended too much on The East Empire Trading Company. Anybody would think they still own the mine and Raven Rock!”

“Councillor Morvayn requires you to attend a trade negotiation. The Countess of Bruma will meet with you and the First Councillor in two hours. Listen to what she has to say. Use the opportunity to unshackle Solstheim from East Empire.”

“Bruma? It will be interesting to hear what they have to offer.”

The Second Councillor headed for Morvayn Manor. I continued towards Severin Manor.

When I entered the house, Inigo and Ko’rassa approached me.

  • Wulf: Ko’rassa, it is nice to see you.
  • Ko’rassa: I helped Vayu escort the treasure.
  • Inigo: My friend, I wanted to ask if Ko’rassa and I can stay in this house for a few days next week.
  • Wulf: Yes, of course, you can. I will need everybody to help guard the coronation, but that is weeks away.
  • Ko’rassa: I want to see the sunset and aurora from here. I have heard the dust can make them spectacular.
  • Wulf: I am sure you will be pleased.

I noticed Taku talking to Lydia, so I went to them.

  • Wulf: Did you enjoy escort duty, Taku?
  • Taku: It was a bit more relaxing than those in Akavir.
  • Lydia: Taku was telling me what they have done to Silverpeak Lodge. I can’t wait to return and make it our home.
  • Wulf: Before leaving for Solstheim, Jarl, or should I say, High Queen Elisif, wanted me to visit all the holds. The Jarls want to thank me personally for all we have done. I do not doubt we will end up with new potential Dragonguard members as they make me Thane.
  • Lydia: You will be Thane of every hold. I wonder if that has ever been done before?

I talked with Lydia and Taku for a few minutes, and then Felix and Rigmor came over.

“Rigmor, they will meet with you in just under two hours. You usually take three hours to put on your makeup and choose a dress. You will have to hurry and hope for the best!”

“Let’s go, my silly Dragonborn. I must soak in the spa for at least thirty minutes!”

I teleported us to the Safe House. Felix and I were banished from my rooms until Rigmor had her bath and dressed in her chosen finery.

Felix changed into his Bruma Paladin armour but kept the katana. We chatted as we waited for Rigmor.

Finally, Rigmor contacted me via our amulets.

“Okay, Wulf. I am ready, I think.”

I went to my room, and Rigmor took my breath away.

“You, my dear Rigmor, look stunning!”

“I wanted to make it seem that Bruma is rich. In their eyes and attitude, I also wanted to separate the sword-wielding Rigmor from The Countess of Bruma.”

“No matter what you wear, my beloved, you will always be Rigmor. Tonight, you will prove that you can wield words as skilfully as your sword.”

“I don’t want to make a fool of myself.”

“Then don’t! Be confident and sure of yourself, fair but firm and polite but forceful. Only resort to cutting them in half if they disagree.”

“Ha de haha. Felix, you can come up now!”

“Do me a favour and walk away from me.”

“Okay, weirdo, one Countess of Bruma walking away.”

When Felix arrived, Rigmor turned and walked away.

I said, “Aha! You like that dress because it makes a swishing sound when you walk!”

“Just like your daughter’s dress.”

“I miss Olette. Let’s go. I will teleport outside of Raven Rock. It is best that you not be seen arriving with me or exiting Severin Manor.”

Several of us enjoyed a few meads and a meal in The Retching Netch as Rigmor met with the councillors. When they had finished, Rigmor contacted me via our amulets.

“Wulf, will you please attend Morvayn Manor.”

“How was it?”

“It was fun! It wasn’t hard to sound better than The East Empire idiots.”

“I will be there soon.”

I entered Morvayn Manor and was surprised to see the First Councillor by himself.

  • Wulf: First Councillor, I thought the Second Councillor would attend the negotiations.
  • Lleril: Oh, he did but has left to supervise the treasure counting.
  • Wulf: Milady, you look pleased.
  • Rigmor: It was amazing! It is a bit like sparring with swords, except with less bruising and a reduced chance of accidental decapitation.
  • Wulf: Councillor Morvayn, I hope you two were gentle with Rigmor. It was her first time.
  • Lleril: Countess, was that the first trade deal you have ever negotiated?
  • Rigmor: Yes. I am relatively new at this countess stuff.
  • Lleril: That news will make Adril even more amazed.
  • Wulf: I take it that Rigmor did well?
  • Lleril: She had us on the back foot from the start, then relentlessly hammered our defences until… we had a very fair and equitable trade deal outlined in less than ten minutes!
  • Wulf: I have been drinking mead and chatting for almost an hour! What did you do with the rest of the time?
  • Morvayn: The Countess told us what occurred in Skyrim with the invasion and Malacath.
  • Wulf: Please remember that The Guardian General is a separate entity from The Dragonborn and that The Dragonborn has not been travelling with Rigmor.
  • Morvayn: We understand, and even though we would love to tell others of what you two have accomplished, we will keep the secret.
  • Wulf: Well, Countess, are you ready to go home?
  • Rigmor: Yes.
  • Wulf: First Councillor, I will return to Raven Rock when circumstances allow. Until then, Blessings of The Nine on you and your people.

We teleported to Rigmor’s bedroom in Bruma Castle. Felix immediately left the room to fetch Sigunn and Cerys. He was not to tell them why they were needed.

“I feel so guilty, Wulf. I would never have lied to Mum if it wasn’t necessary.”

“She will understand. It is not like you deceived Sigunn for selfish reasons.”

“And now we will ask her to deceive Malesam and Freathof.”

“That is necessary, and once again, Sigunn will understand.”

“Full disclosure, including your parents?”

“Yes.”

We chatted as we waited for Sigunn to arrive.

It was not long before Felix, Cerys and Sigunn entered. Sigunn walked up to me and hugged me tightly. Then she stood back and waited for me to talk.

  • Wulf: Sigunn, it makes me glad to see you again, and in the finery you deserve.
  • Sigunn: Felix would not tell me why I had to come to Rigmor’s room. The first time you visited us, I thought we would gather around a table and talk. Why the secrecy?
  • Rigmor: I haven’t been totally honest with you, Mum.
  • Sigunn: Oh? I know you have let others think that you and Wulf parted at the border and a romance no longer exists. You told me otherwise and asked me to keep that secret. Is there more?
  • Wulf: The whole of Nirn must think that The Guardian General and Rigmor parted ways at the border. People, and gods, cannot know that The Guardian General and The Dragonborn are a single entity. They cannot know Rigmor is my beloved. That is why we are meeting in Rigmor’s room and not around a table over a hot meal.
  • Sigunn: Can you explain why?
  • Wulf: The Divines have foreseen a potential end to all there is. The gods, Nirn, all mortals. Everything! They believe Rigmor and I are crucial in preventing this outcome. I already have many enemies. Their number will increase, especially if my parentage becomes known. If my enemies can’t hurt me, they will hurt those I hold dear.
  • Sigunn: Rigmor accepted how your life together would be. She accepted the danger and the uncertainty. Upholding this secret prevents you from enjoying the life together you both deserve and desire. There must be more to it than the increased danger to Rigmor.
  • Wulf: The New Order did not expect The Dragonborn and Dragonguard to be Rigmor’s allies. They did not have time to formulate plans to deal with our presence. They made mistakes as they tried to adjust to unforeseen circumstances. That surprise was not planned, but it worked in our favour. There are countless examples of such surprises turning the tide of individual battles and wars.
  • Rigmor: The Divines want Wulf to be a surprise to who they believe is the future adversary. If together, we are crucial to preventing the end of all things, then we need to prevent the adversary from planning for our togetherness. Does that make sense?
  • Sigunn: Yes, I understand the concept. But you have been meeting since the border crossing.
  • Rigmor: How do you know that?
  • Sigunn: You told me Wulf could not visit as he was busy with the civil war and Alduin. Yet he can teleport. I was already keeping the secret that you had not said a permanent goodbye at the border. However, you did not pine over his extended absence. The clues were obvious. Besides that, such secrecy is no match for a mother’s intuition!
  • Cerys: Rigmor, I told you that Sigunn would figure it out.
  • Sigunn: It can’t have been easy for you, Cerys, being a co-conspirator.
  • Cerys: The guilt was tremendous.
  • Sigunn: Wulf, you found Rigmor when she was fourteen and saved her life. You did so by doing something that The Nine find astounding and struggle to explain. Baa’Ren-Dar told me how the gods are in awe of your love and how you are indeed soulmates. You are meant to be together, and no plans of The Nine will change that. Have they relented and allowed you to be together?
  • Wulf: The Nine have risked all by allowing us to see each other. His Imperial Majesty will aid us and understands the need for secrecy. He does not know all the details of why the secrecy and pretend separation are required. Likewise, High Queen Elisif is aware of the circumstances and will aid our charade.
  • Sigunn: Why would knowledge of your parentage increase the danger to you and, therefore, Rigmor?
  • Wulf: I told you and Baa’Ren-Dar that I am of noble blood.
  • Rigmor: Which is a huge understatement!
  • Wulf: I am the son of an Empress and an Emperor. I am the son of two gods. My father is Tiber Septim, and my mother is Saint Alessia.
  • Sigunn: How can that be? You almost died in that mine!
  • Wulf: I am mortal, Sigunn. So were my parents once. I was conceived and born the same way as all mortals.
  • Sigunn: Then you are a Septim!
  • Wulf: Yes.
  • Sigunn: Oh my! That means you should be emperor after Mede!
  • Wulf: That is another reason why my parentage must be kept secret. I do not desire to be the emperor. I would find it challenging to help the mortals of Nirn while dealing with that burden. But even if I do not desire to sit upon The Ruby Throne, I would become a target for those that do. Assassins would be queuing up to accept writs for my demise.
  • Sigunn: And who is the adversary that has The Nine so concerned?
  • Wulf: They think it is Molag Bal. His plans are unknown. It was only near the end did we find Malacath was behind The New Order. Similarly, Molag Bal’s plans are concealed from The Nine and us.
  • Sigunn: It might not be Molag Bal?
  • Wulf: The Nine will not tell me when the danger peaks. I have no idea when Rigmor and I will be needed to help thwart disaster. Molag Bal’s plans might be a catalyst for the disaster and not the purpose of his plans. He could set in motion events he did not intend. Gods are far from infallible.
  • Sigunn: Is Rigmor aiding you and not just visiting?
  • Rigmor: Yes, Mum, I occasionally help Wulf with his tasks. There is danger, but the presence of The Dragonguard minimises it.
  • Sigunn: The existence of us all depends on both of you remaining alive. Therefore, I am mystified why Rigmor risks her life when others are already accompanying Wulf.
  • Rigmor: When I accompany Wulf, I increase his chances of survival. When the future problem occurs, I would still be a competent warrior rather than a soft noble! I prefer to assist Wulf and all the mortals on Nirn than twiddle my thumbs. I want to support Wulf when he deals with darkness. I would rather not sit at home worrying if Wulf survives.
  • Sigunn: Relax, Rigmor. I knew the answer but wanted to hear these things from you. I do not object to you helping Wulf. Please explain why Freathof and Malesam were not asked to this meeting.
  • Wulf: We must minimise the number of people who know. I do not trust Boethia. Therefore I cannot trust Malesam. Freathof does not need to know. That means, on occasion, we will have to deceive them.
  • Rigmor: Telling a few white lies is no significant burden. Not when Wulf and I are giving up our chance to marry!
  • Sigunn: Cerys, how do you feel about deceiving your father?
  • Cerys: Father would not intentionally betray Rigmor. However, I accept the need to deceive him. We do not know what Boethia can glean when he speaks to her. She could use some of the secrets to manipulate or bribe Wulf. When Rigmor’s life was in immediate danger, Boethia played games with Wulf.
  • Wulf: Molag Bal is Boethia’s nemesis. That doesn’t mean she wouldn’t do as Cerys suggested.
  • Rigmor: If I say I am going to Skyrim to visit High Queen Elisif or to an event organised by His Imperial Majesty, why would my advisors object? If I say I am going to The Imperial City for a few days, it is not their place to enquire further. I am Countess Rigmor Ragnarsdottier, not their underling!
  • Sigunn: They will first whine and stick their noses where they are not required. I will back you up, and they will soon learn.
  • Rigmor: Thank you. That would make things easier for us all.
  • Sigunn: Did you have trade talks with Solstheim? Was that even where you were?
  • Rigmor: Yes, I was in Solstheim, and yes, I had trade talks. The First Councillor is writing a contract for scrutiny and discussion with my advisors.
  • Wulf: From this point on, Sigunn, you will always know Rigmor’s actual destination. We hope you understand the reasoning behind Rigmor’s previous dishonesty. I sincerely apologise for its necessity.
  • Sigunn: There is no need for an apology, Wulf. I assume a crisis in Solstheim took some time to resolve.
  • Rigmor: Another Dragonborn planned to enslave all the people in Solstheim and the rest of Nirn. Once again, Wulf had to travel to Oblivion and confront great danger.
  • Wulf: Sigunn, I do not take others into extreme danger. Every melee we fight is a risk, but it is minimal with the armour and weapons I provide Rigmor and The Dragonguard. There is often a point where I ask those accompanying me to wait and allow me to deal with a threat.
  • Rigmor: I have not and will not let my time with Wulf interfere with my duty to Bruma. Rarely would I be away for more than a day or two.
  • Cerys: And I can summon Rigmor if we need her presence.
  • Sigunn: You can?
  • Cerys: Yes, Wulf gave me a spellbook to study. We have practised it a few times to ensure I can do it correctly.
  • Rigmor: You should also know that Wulf and I can talk telepathically. That is how we have been arranging my trips to Skyrim. Lord Talos gave me a special amulet to let us do that.
  • Sigunn: You have spoken to Talos?
  • Rigmor: Wulf has a room in Aetherius. Talos took us there to tell us about the future threat.
  • Sigunn: Have you met Saint Alessia?
  • Wulf: Mother is fighting Molag Bal in a battle of wills, not weapons. She has been doing so for over four years.
  • Sigunn: Oh, Wulf, does that mean you haven’t seen your mother in four years?
  • Wulf: Yes, but at least I know she is alive. Unlike Rigmor, who had to live with the fear that you may be dead.
  • Sigunn: Can she die if she loses?
  • Wulf: The Divines can die. Molag Bal could claim Mother’s soul if she loses. I try to suppress my fear, but even Talos can’t suppress his.
  • Sigunn: I have no objection to any of this. You two are doing what is needed for the sake of us all.
  • Rigmor: You are not mad at me?
  • Sigunn: Rigmor, you are not a compulsive liar or guilty of immoral behaviour. I am not mad at you. On the contrary, I am very proud of you. I have many questions I need you to answer. After all, I can’t have my daughter gallivanting around with just any son of gods!
  • Wulf: I am eager to see my new home and get a hug from my daughter.
  • Sigunn: Daughter?
  • Rigmor: Wulf adopted a young girl called Olette. She is almost eleven years of age, and we have formed a strong bond.
  • Sigunn: It has been wonderful to see you again, Wulf. You are family, so please visit when you can.
  • Wulf: It warms my heart to hear that. Felix, I will put my usual dweomer on your armour if you can leave it with me for a few hours.
  • Rigmor: Next time I visit, I will bring it with me.

I gave Rigmor a polite peck on the cheek and then teleported to my private room in Silverpeak Lodge.

It is the only part of the estate built to my specifications and was completed before I left for Solstheim.  As I changed into a kimono, there was a knock on my door.

“Yes, who is it?”

“Your forgotten daughter.”

“Wait a minute while I change. Then I will hug you till you beg for mercy.”

“Cap’n, aren’t you going to ask how I knew you were home?”

“A large, white flea paradise sensed my arrival.”

“Wait till you see the house!”

“You can show me around. Just be patient!”

When I opened my door, Olette flew into my arms. I was home.

4 thoughts on “FULL DISCLOSURE

  1. I love reading these for the pure enjoyment your writing gives me. I laugh and I cry with my family again. Thanks Mark.

  2. I’m not going to start reading reading them all again, I’ll have to wait for next entry like everyone else. Really like Silverpeak lodge but for the life of me I cannot get the mod to work, in SSE anyway, have moved the bloody thing all over the load order, down loaded it again, nah. I dont think I could trust it to stay stable to use anyway and yet its fine in LE. I now have the two Miraak mods, thanks for that, I was like Peter, didn’t know they existed.

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