Walk with me

Sundas, 9th Sun’s Dusk, 4E 201

Not long before dawn, I was enveloped in light. I knew its touch, for it was Mother’s embrace.

“My dear Dragonchild, I have left part of me behind, and this has taken all the strength I can muster. Therefore listen, for this must be brief.”


“Listen, Valdr!”

I fell silent, for Mother only used that tone when I was in trouble.

“There is no monster inside of you. However, there is a soul of pure goodness. It is a soul created by the laws of the Aurbis, not by your Father and me or The Divines. It is a soul that seeks an intertwined soul each Kalpa and doesn’t always find it, but this time, you have. The Nine will guide you on your path, but Rigmor will give you the strength to walk it. Together you can achieve the peace you foresaw. If there is such peace, this Kalpa will never end, as Alduin will not need to perform his duty. I will speak to your Father and Rigmor. I have done what I can, for now, Dragonchild. Always remember, your Father and I love you.”

The light dissipated, and so did Mother’s presence.

Mother said she left part of herself behind. I can understand her being able to do it, for she is not one of The Nine but is still a god and can manipulate Creatia. But why? If she is battling with Molag Bal, she would need all her Lifeforce to win.

There I go again. I am worried about the minutiae instead of the whole. The how and why are interesting puzzles, but the important thing is that Mother talked to me, and I felt her love, something missed and precious.

As I sat and contemplated what Mother said, one of the few beings I allowed into my mind shouted his presence.

“Wulf, I believe I am now the fastest being on four legs ever!”

I walked over to Hashire, and his relief was tangible.

“Hello, Hashire, my second favourite unicorn. If you stop shouting into my brain, there is a slim chance you could become my favourite unicorn.”

“Silah is about to appear. She had to make a short trip to Aetherius.”

Silah came roaring out of the ether.

She circled and said, “I will land over here, so I don’t blow snow and dirt on Al-Esh.”

I walked to where the Jill landed.

“I am very pleased to see you again, Silah.”

“Let me change into my spirit form, and we can talk near the shrine.

Silah changed, and we walked over and stood in the shadow of Mother’s shrine.

  • Silah: We could feel your distress, Wulf.
  • Wulf: I didn’t mean to upset anybody. I just…I just fell into a far more profound and darker despair than I imagined possible. I’m sorry.
  • Hashire: Stop being Wulf!
  • Wulf: Pardon?
  • Hashire: I am sorry you love me and got upset when I wasn’t well. That is being Wulf, so stop it!
  • Silah: Lord Talos proved he is as much a mortal as a god, for his despair was as deep as yours. The Divines were at a loss because they did not know how to console him. Then he contacted me, and when I saw him, he was smiling. I then knew that you would be somewhat recovered.
  • Hashire: Would somebody like to share with me what created this miracle cure?
  • Silah: Al-Esh spoke to Wulf, Lord Talos and Rigmor.
  • Wulf: I wouldn’t say it was a cure, Hashire. I have been dragged out of my darkness and told how to prevent this from happening again.
  • Hashire: But Saint Alessia is battling Molag-Bal?
  • Silah: Al-Esh is a god, a mother and the most potent soothsayer there has ever been. She left an avatar behind, knowing that Wulf would need her help. The trouble is, she foresaw that help being needed years from now and of a different kind. She did not foresee this mental anguish and used what energy she had in a desperate attempt to help Wulf, Lord Talos and Rigmor. Let us hope that energy is replenished before the next time Wulf needs her if there is such a time.
  • Wulf: Has this weakened her? Has it put her in more peril against Bal?
  • Silah: No, Wulf. Her Lifeforce can join her in that battle, but none of it can leave the battleground.
  • Wulf: She can get reinforcements but never retreat.
  • Silah: That is a good analogy.
  • Wulf: The avatar Mother left behind is what I saw when I shared childhood memories with you.
  • Hashire: Ahem. There is an ignorant third party here!
  • Wulf: I moped after ending the civil war when Silah came to my rescue. We went for a flight to keep despair and worry at bay, and I shared memories of Mother with her.
  • Silah: In one memory, Wulf did not see Al-Esh as she was back when he lived in Roscrea. He saw Al-Esh as the avatar left behind. That avatar does not know it is Al-Esh, but Wulf’s distress has triggered a response.
  • Hashire: Wulf’s memory did not show Saint Alessia as she was, but the avatar placed after he left Roscrea?
  • Silah: Yes, and that is the problem with Wulf. He is doing things for which we have no explanation. I did a poor job of protecting Wulf this time. I let other things distract me from the task Al-Esh gave me.
  • Wulf: Poor Rigmor! What did she feel through our Amulets of Talos?
  • Silah: I expect she was more than a little anxious. Would you like to put her mind at ease?
  • Wulf: Yes, I think I might teleport into her bedroom.
  • Silah: That is an option, or you can wear this.

Silah held out an Amulet of Talos. When I took it from her, it was the one my parents gifted to me when I was barely out of diapers.

  • Wulf: How? I melted this!
  • Silah: And I collected the molten blob and then handed it to Lord Talos, who reversed the damage and voila, your amulet is as it was.
  • Wulf: You went to Elenwen’s room?
  • Silah: There was nobody alive at the embassy, Wulf, including Elenwen.
  • Wulf: Did I inadvertently kill her as well?
  • Silah: Did you put the noose around her neck and push her from the balcony, thereby snapping her neck?
  • Wulf: No, I did an empathetic link and showed her love and peace and then compared it with the carnage at the temple.
  • Silah: Then, as Hashire told you, stop being Wulf! You showed Elenwen some of the damage her actions have caused. You are not responsible for those actions or the overwhelming guilt she was forced to confront. She could have used her guilt as an incentive to seek atonement. Instead, Elenwen chose another path. Her inability to handle the guilt and subsequent despair killed her, Wulf. You didn’t!
  • Wulf: Did Father say anything?
  • Silah: You need to talk to him, Wulf. You will find he doesn’t know as much as you assume. However, he is willing to answer what he can about his apotheosis.
  • Hashire: Before anything else, talk to Rigmor.

I placed my Amulet of Talos around my neck, then held it, as I have done since childhood.

“Wulf? Oh, thank The Divines and Saint Alessia!”

“I am.…”

“Do not dare apologise, Wulf! Just don’t!”

“Can I apologise for trying to apologise?”

“Aggh! You are irritating, which means you are better than you were.”

“You must have been frightened.”

“Mum and Cerys have been with me, trying to assure me you would be okay. They were worried when I went from a blubbering mess to smiling in so short a time.”


“Yes, Wulf. Saint Alessia assured me you were not so deep in despair anymore. Then said you have a difficult path to walk, and I will need to walk it with you.”

“You can’t do that and be Countess of Bruma.”

“To use one of your favourite terms, bollocks!”

“We can’t ask Sigunn to lie more than we have.”

“We must trust Malesam with some, but not all, of our secrets. We will find a way to make this work. We have to.”

“You would be putting yourself in harm’s way.”

“Correct. I would be putting myself in harm’s way. That is my decision to make, Wulf. Think of me as your Guardian.”

“I have heard they are perverts who seduce their charges.”

“Ha de ha. We shall discuss this in more detail later. Meanwhile, many will want to know you are better than you were.”

“Yes. I had better see to that.”

“You also need to speak to your father, Wulf.”

“I think I need you with me for that.”

“Then summon me when needed. Now I had better discuss our plan to make plans with my two worried cohorts!”

“That sounds…weird!”

“You would know.”

“Felix is not with you?”

“Felix says paranoia makes for better preparations. He has taken a platoon of Bruma guards and is inspecting our borders. They are surveying possible entry points from Skyrim and Cyrodiil Counties and are expected back in a day or two.”

“I will summon you soon. We will sit with Father, and then you can help me explain things to Olette.”


“And I am sorry I made you worry! Haha…got it out!”


I found myself smiling, something impossible not long before.

  • Hashire: See that smile? That is Rigmor’s magic.
  • Silah: Al-Esh has the same effect on Lord Talos.
  • Wulf: I need to tell Olette and Meeko that I am okay. They can tell the others.
  • Silah: And you need to tell Olette about her family. Blood relative, she isn’t, but her adoption has placed her in danger.
  • Wulf: I know. Did I have the right to do that?
  • Hashire: He is Wulf again.
  • Silah: I think he has an incurable case of Wulfitis.
  • Hashire: I am no seer, but here is my prediction. Olette will tell you that nothing can diminish the astounding fact that she is now your daughter. She adores you!
  • Silah: One thing you must remember, Wulf, is that those who love you accept the dangers included with that love. There is the danger that you may be taken from them one day. Then there are the dangers of being associated with you and travelling with you. All dangers accepted using that free will thingy that you champion so often.
  • Wulf: Okay, I will teleport to the valley and talk to Olette and Meeko.
  • Silah: I will accompany you, as sometimes Meeko has to be assured in Ayleidoon. He trusts that language.
  • Wulf: No, he finds it amusing when people speak it, and a goofy grin accompanies that.
  • Hashire: I will take a leisurely stroll to Silverpeak Lodge. That will give Sune longer to worry about me and perhaps realise her deep love for me.
  • Wulf: You have left her alone with that incredibly handsome stallion!
  • Hashire: Perhaps I can run even faster on the way back?

Silah and I teleported to the valley. Meeko and Olette ran over and took turns welcoming me with hugs and kisses. Well, no hugs from Meeko, but he did stand on his back legs and wash my face with his disturbingly moist tongue.

When Olette finally noticed Silah, she hugged her as well. Luckily, Silah’s spirit form is solid enough to allow a hug!

  • Olette: Is Cap’n going to be stupid, Silah?
  • Silah: Wulf wants to apologise for upsetting you, but he won’t. It is not like he planned to be so ill.
  • Olette: Yes, apologising for being unwell is beyond stupid.
  • Meeko: Woof!
  • Wulf: Olette didn’t know what was wrong at first because you were too distressed to tell her. Oh, Meeko, that must have been terrible for both of you!
  • Olette: Meeko was howling and repeating your other name over and over. I held him tight while I prayed to The Divines, and he eventually calmed down enough to explain how sad you were.
  • Wulf: I was sad because I have killed so many people, Olette. Sometimes in ways I think are unnecessarily cruel. Sometimes with little justification.
  • Olette: There are beggars in Riften and Solitude that were once soldiers. I used to talk to them, and occasionally they could tell their tales. Their minds have gone from the stress of battlefields plus the violence they saw and participated in. I was worried, Cap’n, that you would be like them and never recover.
  • Silah: Wulf is surrounded by love, Olette. We will never let him end up like those unfortunate people.
  • Wulf: I said I would tell you about my family and why I am sometimes called Valdr. Rigmor will join us at Silverpeak Lodge, and we shall discuss that together. But first, I have to visit my father and have a long talk with him.
  • Olette: Your father is alive? How come I haven’t met him then?
  • Silah: Olette, you will understand when Rigmor and Wulf explain it later. It is quite a tale.
  • Olette: And do you know this tale, Meeko?
  • Meeko: Woof.
  • Olette: That’s okay. If you were told to keep it a secret, there must be a good reason.
  • Wulf: I will summon you later, Olette.
  • Olette: All I have to do is accept the summons as we have practised.
  • Silah: I will join you soon, Wulf. Speak to your father in private first.
  • Olette: Silah, Izvenyah and Kreindeinvith seem agitated, and you are not even in dragon form.
  • Silah: They are typical males, Olette.
  • Olette: Obsessed with sex?
  • Silah: Yep.
  • Wulf: Excuse me, Silah, but I would not like such generalisations given credence!
  • Olette: Cap’n is a lot better, isn’t he? He fell for that prank like the idiot he is.
  • Meeko: Woof!
  • Wulf: You and I, Meeko, will have a long talk about whose side you should be on.

I gave Olette another hug and Meeko a scratch behind his left ear. Then I willed myself to my Aetherius Room.

Father looked tentative, so I took the initiative and grabbed him and hugged him.

I then laughed and said, “I forgot to summon Rigmor. I can’t do it from here!”

“Wait for a second, Son. I had better do this in person, avatar, or whatever you want to call it.”

Although Father could have sent an avatar and simultaneously been with me, he chose to vanish and reappear a minute later with a grinning Rigmor.

My beloved flew into my arms, giggling.

Father summoned Silah, and we sat around a table. Rigmor was sitting next to Father and didn’t feel uncomfortable. She was used to the presence of a Divine.

  • Wulf: Okay, Rigmor, why the big grin and giggles?
  • Talos: My fault. I appeared in the middle of Rigmor’s bed chamber when her maid was helping her dress for a day of court.
  • Rigmor: Cerys was about to call for the guards and prepared a spell to zap Hjalti. I quickly told her who Hjalti was and that I was fully dressed anyway. Instead of being amazed and humbled, Cerys started lecturing him on proper etiquette and manners and how an emperor should know these things.

I had to laugh at the mental picture of petite Cerys lecturing The Ninth Divine. Silah joined in with guffaws of her own.

Father smiled as well. I know he did not expect this meeting to start with laughter. I let the light mood last for a few seconds, then began the serious matter.

  • Wulf: Father, have I compromised Mother with my foolishness?
  • Silah: I told Wulf her avatar’s assistance would not weaken Al-Esh.
  • Rigmor: It seems, as usual, it was in one ear and then out the other.
  • Talos: Son, it did not compromise Alessia in her battle with Molag Bal. Her avatar is a separate entity. I don’t understand how it responded the way it did.
  • Rigmor: It was love, Hjalti. We keep getting told it is the most potent force. Yet we seem to question how it does things that logic fails to explain.
  • Talos: You have missed your calling, Rigmor. You would make an excellent Priestess of Mara.
  • Wulf: Can you answer some questions for me, Father?
  • Talos: As best as I can, Son. But first, you must know that I am ignorant of much that occurred in preparation for apotheosis. I honestly can’t tell you how the metaphysics of it worked because I don’t know. The only one who does is Lord Shor. We rarely talk, but if I asked the specifics, he would not tell me. Therefore, I understand your worry about what you are.
  • Wulf: I assume he must have aided you and Mother to live as you did on Roscrea.
  • Talos: He designed Mundus and knows more about metaphysics than any other god. Despite what was done to him out of anger, he loves what he helped create and aided us, as you surmise.
  • Rigmor: When Wulf first started worrying about his identity, I began to read many books about you, Hjalti. There is confusion from the beginning to the end of your mortal life. Can I ask questions to clarify that?
  • Talos: That is an excellent idea, Rigmor. Please, go ahead.
  • Rigmor: Which is true, the orthodox or heretical teachings about your life and origin?
  • Talos: The truth can be found within a specific combination of both. I was born in Atmora and named Hjalti Dufey. I regard myself as Atmoran, as Atmora was the land of my birth. By blood, I am half Breton and half Colovian. I am not a Nord!
  • Rigmor: The Nords think it is blasphemy to claim otherwise.
  • Silah: Why let historical facts interfere with fantasy?
  • Talos: My father was a Breton name Brucinere Dufey from Alcaire in High Rock, and he was a Knight of the Flame. My mother was Romana Gawey, a Colovian noble from Anvil. My father met my mother when she was visiting Alcaire for an extended period, and he was assigned as one of her guards. They fell in love, married, and my elder brother Agnorith was born within a year. A couple of years later, I was conceived. Soon after, my mother’s entire family was slaughtered by assassins of The Dark Brotherhood.
  • Rigmor: Oh my! Why did that happen?
  • Talos: It was chaos, Rigmor. There was constant feuding over control of The Empire, Counties, Holds, Kingdoms and even areas without borders like The Gold Coast. This chaos resulted in political assassinations becoming a standard weapon. The Gawey family was slaughtered because one noble thought they supported a rival noble in a land dispute. The fact is, they were neutral. The Dark Brotherhood was hired to kill all my mother’s family members, but they never found her.
  • Rigmor: Did your family hide from them?
  • Talos: Yes, my father resigned from the Knights of the Flame, and we moved to Atmora, where I was born in 2E 828. My mother died from complications during childbirth. A few years later, my father was killed defending an Altmer child from a pack of wolves. The parents of that child brought up my brother and me. I was only three at the time of my father’s death, so I have few memories of my father and, of course, none of my mother.
  • Rigmor: Then you understand something of Wulf’s search for identity.
  • Talos: Yes, and I can sympathise. I know the history of what happened, and my brother remembered our parent’s kindness, but who they were was a mystery to me. I have since spoken to them, but I grew up wondering.
  • Wulf: I have the advantage of knowing who my parents are. Mother never knew who hers were.
  • Rigmor: Why? Because she was enslaved?
  • Silah: Yes, Rigmor. Al-Esh was sold as a babe from good breeding stock. She knew her parents must have been valuable enslaved people as her owners often complained about the cost of the good-for-nothing Nede girl and wondered if they got value for money. Al-Esh knew that somewhere there must have been a record of who her parents were. After all, the slavers had to bargain her worth at the slave market. Unfortunately, during The Slave Rebellion, a lot of those records perished. All Al-Esh knew was that she was of the Nedic people.
  • Rigmor: That is terrible!
  • Talos: Alessia often said her high price saved her life. She might have ended up a Flesh Sculpture if she was worth less or suffered some other unsavoury end.
  • Rigmor: I am a bit confused. I thought Atmora was completely frozen over by the time of your birth.
  • Talos: Although the last known mass migration from that now-frozen land to Tamriel occurred in 1E 68, there were still rich farmlands and green pastures in the centre. It was an ideal place to hide, so my parents chose it. Mer and Man lived in harmony and refused to let the prejudices of others infringe on the truth of common ancestry. Those who remained in Atmora refused to join Ysgramor in his genocide or follow in its wake.
  • Rigmor: What was the name of your Altmer family?
  • Talos: The child my father saved was Yanrion Caemor. He was a few months older than me. He had an older sister, Elamia, who was four days older than my brother. Yanrion’s parents were Aureya and Lanriil. We lived on a farm, and that life appealed to me. I dreamed of owning a farm and having a house full of children. Alas, things changed when racism finally arrived.
  • Rigmor: That must have been confusing for you and Agnorith.
  • Talos: It was confusing for all of us, for we never thought of ourselves as Man or Mer. We were just people. The violence increased and became untenable for all Mer families, not just Altmer. The result was a mass exodus over a short time. Agnorith and I moved to Alcaire with the Caemor family. Not long after the last Mer left Atmora, the ice and snow claimed the whole continent.
  • Rigmor: You were back in your father’s place of birth. Did he have any family there? Did anybody recognise you?
  • Talos: Father became a pariah to the Dufey’s when he left The Knights of Flame. They thought it prestigious when he was accepted. It was made clear that my brother and I were not considered part of the Dufey family. As far as I could determine, they were nobles without any nobility, so it was no significant loss. The Caemor family had the morals and work ethic that I admired.
  • Rigmor: Was it unknown for a Knight to leave the order?
  • Talos: It was not common but not unknown, and the knights understood why my father left. I was fascinated by The Knights of Flame and often watched their martial training. When they learned who my father was, the swordmasters took me under their wings and taught me for free. Because I had no noble family to sponsor me, I could not become a knight. The cost of the armour alone would pay for a decent-sized farm!
  • Rigmor: Did the Caemor family purchase a new farm?
  • Talos: No, they had no money and few possessions when they fled Atmora. They worked as farmhands for a sympathetic landowner, but I could see it was a massive blow to them. Yanrion was becoming involved with the less savoury elements as his ambition always had been to be a farmer and inherit his family farm. I was trying to figure out a way of helping them when I saw King Cuhlecain’s recruitment notice.
  • Rigmor: He was King of Falkreath, wasn’t he?
  • Talos: Yes, he was, but he had grander ambitions. His recruitment notices were posted all over Tamriel and other lands. He offered good wages, citizenship and excellent chances of promotion in the new army he built. Agnorith and I discussed it and decided we could earn some money, send it to the Caemor family and aid their dream of owning another farm. I am pleased to say that plan worked, and our adopted family became proud landowners a few years later.
  • Rigmor: You weren’t mercenaries?
  • Talos: No, we were enlisted soldiers who signed for seven years of service.
  • Rigmor: Is that where you learned how to lead soldiers?
  • Talos: Yes, I met many chieftains who taught strategy and logistics. It turned out I was good at killing and a natural-born leader. I quickly worked my way up the ranks of King Cuhlecain’s army. Although I learned much from the older soldiers, I also developed unique tactics and strategies. They were new and innovative, allowing me to become a general very young.
  • Rigmor: And Agnorith?
  • Talos: He was neither a killer nor a good tactician. However, his organisational skills were superb, and he climbed through the logistic ranks. It is not an exaggeration to say our victories were due to his ability to find and equip our troops more than the quality of generals or soldiers. Those skills certainly helped when he became Emperor.
  • Rigmor: You weren’t a Dragonchild, were you?
  • Talos: No, I was born a Dragonborn because I was of Saint Alessia’s bloodline, but my soul was untouched. Lord Akatosh blessed me later in life.
  • Rigmor: You are descended from Saint Alessia?
  • Talos: Indeed I am. You could regard Saint Alessia as a great times many grandmother of mine, but that can lead to nightmares.
  • Wulf: Father! That is a vision I worked hard to remove!
  • Talos: I know, but Rigmor is smiling, so expect inbred jokes in your future.
  • Rigmor: Do you remember Lord Akatosh blessing you and changing your soul?
  • Talos: No. There was no ceremony or warning. I only realised I was blessed when I discovered I could read a script and understand a language I had never been taught. Each Word of Power I learned from the Word Walls had a complex meaning that gave them power. Histories told of Wulfharth, and Reman and logic told me I was also Dragonborn. I taught myself how to use the Thu’um.
  • Rigmor: Did The Greybeards teach you anything worthwhile?
  • Talos: No! Like Wulf, it was when I Shouted for the first time they realised I existed. Something different with my Thu’um marked me as blessed by Lord Akatosh. I was much further away than Wulf when they summoned me. They knew me by name and called it so loudly that an avalanche killed many below the Throat of the World.
  • Rigmor: Okay, thanks, Hjalti. I will leave it to Wulf now, who will politely ask some questions vexing him, won’t you, dear?
  • Wulf: I am no longer angry with Father, Rigmor. My emotions were all over the place, but you sitting next to me has helped me put things in perspective. Therefore, I will ask my questions and accept what Father can tell me.
  • Talos: Son, I knew unanswered questions would lead to uncertainty. Part of the problem is I don’t exactly know how I was prepared for my apotheosis. I was unwilling to admit that, as I didn’t want you to think The Divines force us into things. I wanted to ascend to strengthen what The Divines had created. I was not concerned about learning the exact details of how it was to be achieved. Lord Akatosh and Lord Shor know more about metaphysics than I or the other Divines.
  • Rigmor: Oh, it is like somebody relying on a physician to fix their ailment. They don’t need to know how they did it!
  • Wulf: Except apotheosis is more like the physician has sewn on an extra limb or two.
  • Rigmor: Hey, I liked my comparison and am sticking to it!
  • Talos: It is a valid comparison, Rigmor. Wulf needs to understand I permitted the extra limbs to be sown on.
  • Wulf: Lucky Meeko is not here because he would also agree with Rigmor.
  • Silah: Well, it is valid, Dragonchild.
  • Wulf: Okay, Father, were you ever an assassin?
  • Talos: No, and I have no idea where that theory originated. I might ask the authors who stuck it in their histories.
  • Rigmor: Dragon Break?
  • Silah: Another excellent theory, Rigmor. I would have to look back through many threads of time to see if that is the reason, and quite frankly, I am almost falling asleep thinking of that excitement.
  • Wulf: Did Wulfharth think The Greybeards summoned him?
  • Talos: No. That myth comes from the fact that he was also named Ysmir. The Greybeards called me by name, told them by Lady Kynareth. They did not summon The Dragon of the North or Ysmir, as they had not yet given me that title. It was silly that they did not call your name but summoned Dovahkiin. There was no guarantee you realised or knew you were the Dovahkiin.
  • Wulf: Wulfharth did not drag himself from Aetherius to visit the Greybeards and get killed for his insolence.
  • Talos: No. That is a total fabrication, as far as I know. Now that Rigmor has mentioned Dragon Breaks, I think it is foolish to assume some things did not happen in other time streams.
  • Wulf: I want you to answer from your knowledge, Father. Not what might have happened in a time stream that is no longer valid.
  • Talos: Okay.
  • Wulf: Did Wulfharth appear to you the night before The Battle for Old Hroldan?
  • Talos: Yes. He did not aid in the battle as some histories claim. Lady Kynareth sent him to teach me my first complete Shout.
  • Wulf: Some histories say that The Greybeards summoned him to help you.
  • Talos: That is total bollocks. And yes, Rigmor, I am responsible for Wulf using that term.
  • Wulf: Some histories also say you could never use the Thu’um, and an assassin never cut your throat.
  • Talos: Giant bollocks! My Thu’um was stronger than yours currently is, but I never learned many Words of Power. I was too busy being a general! A trusted advisor turned out to be an ensorceled agent for a foreign power and cut my throat. It was a sad event, and his name has been kept from the histories as he was not at fault. I did not miss The Voice as much as you would, for it was not needed to accomplish my goals. In a way, it helped as I did not want to end up like some Tongues and not be able to talk to people!
  • Wulf: Are you an oversoul of Tiber Septim and Wulfharth?
  • Talos: The people who write about oversouls, Mantling, CHIM and so on are perpetuating theories not supported by evidence or real gods. Yes, Vivec did mention some of these things, but he was a manufactured god, not one who created Mundus and Nirn. I do not believe I am an oversoul of anybody. My name changed several times for practical reasons, and there has only ever been one soul from the day I was born till now, as far as I am concerned.
  • Rigmor: But you did not know Lord Akatosh blessed you and changed your soul.
  • Talos: No, I didn’t. As I said, Lord Akatosh and Lord Shor have more knowledge than the rest. Therefore, logically, it could have been done without my knowledge if there had been further manipulations of my soul. The aim was apotheosis, and I didn’t care about the method as long as it was ethical.
  • Wulf: Did you mantle Lorkhan?
  • Talos: No, and I don’t think mantling is possible. It makes no sense, even if you accept much metaphysics is a mystery to gods.
  • Rigmor: Silah, can you please explain mantling? Wulf tried once, and it sounded silly.
  • Silah: The theory is this. Imagine a deceased entity, god or mortal, did three things, a, b and c. If you replicated those things in both result and methodology, you could replace that entity. Somehow time is so stupid it gets confused. History is changed without a Dragon Break.
  • Rigmor: That is as silly as I thought.
  • Wulf: Father, are you a Shezarrine?
  • Talos: I would like to definitively say no because, once again, it makes no sense for them to exist. If you follow the logic of those who believe Shezarrine exist, then free will is removed, and the individual is doomed to repeat a pattern of accomplishment followed by abandonment. Shezarrine are also supposed to be the defender of Man against Mer. I prefer to think I championed all people of The Empire. However, I could be a Shezarrine and not know it. It’s a manipulation of the soul.
  • Wulf: I will take that as a definite no but maybe.
  • Talos: Can you understand my reluctance to speak about this? I will still leave you with questions about my identity and yours.
  • Wulf: Yes, Father, but a shared mystery is better than thinking you are keeping secrets out of shame or because you thought I would be offended. You are unsure about some of these things, which is, in a way, comforting. I want to think The Divines are still on a voyage of discovery and maintain a sense of wonder.
  • Talos: Some of The Nine like mysteries. Some shrug their shoulders and accept what is without questioning why.
  • Wulf: Did you murder Emperor Cuhlecain?
  • Talos: Before I answer, what do you think?
  • Wulf: The person who brought me up would be incapable of murder. But is that the real Talos or a constructed personality to mould me into who The Divines need?
  • Talos: That, Son, is a grave insult to Alessia and me. I can’t prove what I say is true, but I ask you to think long and hard. If your heart doesn’t tell you what I say is true, then we have failed as parents.
  • Wulf: Tell me, Father, did you murder Emperor Cuhlecain?
  • Talos: No. The Greybeards, via Kyne and Paarthurnax, were told a prophecy that I would become Emperor. I had no ambition to sit upon that uncomfortable throne. The manipulations of mortal and immortal politics put me there. I was ruthless in war but never a murderer. Have you ever murdered somebody in cold blood?
  • Wulf: Yes, last night I killed dozens of Thalmor with no proof every individual deserved to die. I argue against generalisations yet apply my own with fatal consequences. Thalmor killed the pilgrims, so illogically, I decided all Thalmor were guilty of that crime and needed to be executed.
  • Talos: Every person who wears their uniform has sworn to obey orders threatening peace and religious freedom. They persecute my followers and the citizens of other provinces, such as Elsweyr. Not a single person in that uniform is innocent, even if they are yet to partake in their barbarity. You did not commit murder, Son. You fought back against a threat to the mortals you desire to protect. You do not have to wait for evidence of their guilt when their intentions are spelt out in their oath of office.
  • Wulf: Did you murder Wulfharth?
  • Talos: No, although Zurin Arctus may have, without my knowledge or consent. Many considered Wulfarth a traitor for abandoning us at that crucial time.
  • Wulf: Did you send the Numidium to kill entire families who held no animosity towards you or harbour ambitions to remove you from the Ruby Throne?
  • Talos: I used that thing sparingly and only in battle. It became autonomous and decided on who and what posed a threat. The souls of the two mortals who would become the Worm King were trapped within the Mantella that powered it. Perhaps that was the cause of its unnecessary violence. I take responsibility as I ordered its reconstruction, but I never gave it those orders. Did I invade Hammerfell or Morrowind? The way those two provinces became members of The Empire should tell you I did not use brute force when subtler and less violent means were available.
  • Wulf: You would have invaded Hammerfell, but Cyrus threatened a war of attrition. Therefore, a compromise was made out of necessity, not an initial desire for peaceful negotiation.
  • Talos: Son, you are making judgments with minimal information and without the nuances of the moment. Please do not presume to know my desires!
  • Wulf: Did you authorise the displacement of many Khajiiti and seize their land to build the Numidium?
  • Talos: Yes, and I regretted doing so long before I died. I did not always make the correct choices, but they were genuine mistakes and not a product of callousness or indifference!
  • Wulf: Did you make Barenziah abort your child?
  • Talos: Logic, Son, use it! There had been concoctions available for millennia before then that could have aborted the child without Barenziah even knowing it had been slipped into a drink or meal. Why would I force the woman I loved to suffer an unwilling abortion via Magicka? Those who accused me of such a thing never said who I was protecting! What heir to the throne did they think was endangered by the child? What happened to that heir, and who was the mother? There is no record of who Pelagius’ parents are. The histories are right that call him my son and not grandson. Barenziah knew she was needed elsewhere after the birth, but she could not leave her child and me. She asked for the knowledge of Pelagius’ birth and blood relationship to be erased, and The Divines did as she desired. People knew she had been pregnant, so we could not simply say nothing. When The Divines removed the knowledge as requested, the story of the abortion was substituted. That eliminated the chance she may remain in love with me.
  • Wulf: But the timing is wrong if you consider the year Pelagius was crowned.
  • Talos: You can speed and slow down time in your Aetherius Room. Guess what? So can The Divines! What better way to remove suspicion of Barenziah being Pelagius’ mother than to move his maturity to a later date?
  • Silah: Wulf, think about what your father did. He allowed Barenziah to live another life, marry somebody else and hate him! He allowed himself to be accused of forcing a barbaric abortion on an unwilling woman.
  • Talos: But even with all our manipulation, Barenziah became close to Pelagius. Deep down, she recognised her son.
  • Wulf: I don’t know anything! We talk about what gods are capable of, yet you expect me to drop all suspicion about things I find unpalatable.
  • Talos: What I expect, Son, is for you to think about the years in Roscrea. Did you ever think that your mother or I were not genuine in our actions or teachings in those eighteen years?
  • Wulf: No, Father, not for a second. You taught by example, not rote, and I was blessed to have such loving parents.
  • Talos: Your cynicism and suspicions result from the stress you feel. Stress that we can work together to reduce. If you think you went too far last night, figure out a different way of delivering such a warning. I can guarantee you this. The Thalmor will never again plan such a massacre of innocents if there is any chance you may discover such activity. They will continue such activities hidden away in Elsweyr or other provinces but not within The Empire. You did not seek revenge! You acted out of a desire to prevent a repeat of such barbarism by The Thalmor.
  • Rigmor: Wulf, am I a monster? I massacred everybody in the Bruma Embassy, and that was revenge. Were my actions forgivable because of what The Thalmor did to my family?
  • Wulf: Your actions were understandable when considering the events leading to that point. You didn’t even know if Sigunn was still alive. Understanding leads to forgiveness in that instance. No, you are not a monster, Rigmor.
  • Rigmor: Then apply the same criteria to yourself and stop thinking you are a monster. If you do that, you can stop searching for why you became this non-existent monster! Best of all, you can stop suspecting your father of deception and moral conduct contrary to what you know is the truth.
  • Talos: Wulf, what did Alessia say to you?
  • Wulf:  Mother said there is no monster inside me, but there is a soul of pure goodness. She said that soul was created by the laws of the Aurbis and not by my parents or The Divines.
  • Talos: You know how it was to feel her touch after so many years. It calmed me as quickly as it calmed you. Alessia told me your path is difficult and almost impossible without Rigmor by your side. I agree, but I also think both of you will need to share the burden with your many friends. When you enter Cyrodiil as The Guardian General, we will need preparation time to remove evidence of him being The Dragonborn. We can do that with our many mortal agents.
  • Rigmor: As I told you earlier, Wulf, Saint Alessia told me the same. You need me to travel with you along that path to peace, and I accept the dangers.
  • Wulf: Father…I am…I am…

Father dragged me out of my chair and embraced me as I cried like a child into his shoulder. How could I ever have doubted him? My need to apologise was an ache he would not let me soothe.

“Son, you have done so much in such a short time. Please, don’t think you are at fault for finding the strain too much. Crumbling under such enormous pressure was neither immoral nor deliberate. We can all learn from this and move forward without needless apologies.”

I stood back from Father and nodded. The crisis was over, and our normal relationship resumed.

Everything makes sense when you feel the love of your Father, Mother and beloved. Plus, I was surrounded by Our Quiet, which has a unique way of telling me to stop being stupid and obstinate.

Silah said, “You should have that meeting with Olette now. She will be wondering why there is a veil of secrecy.”

Hold onto my shoulder, Rigmor. I can’t teleport you reliably. However, I can will you back to Nirn.

“But you will still be teleporting me?”

“There are subtle differences in the methodology.”


Rigmor placed her hand on my shoulder, and a second later, we were in Silverpeak Lodge.

I summoned Olette, and she accepted almost immediately. When she appeared in front of me, she loudly exclaimed, “That is always so cool! As in amazing, not cold, Cap’n!”

“Rigmor’s already seated. Please sit opposite her.”

“Why can’t I sit next to Rigmor?”

“Because I will see both of you staring at me at once. It is disconcerting.”

“But we will both be staring at you no matter where I sit.”

“Yes, but I can pretend you’re not.”

“Weird. Just Weird.”

Despite her reluctance, Olette sat opposite Rigmor.

I sat and pondered where to start.

  • Rigmor: Olette, Wulf doesn’t know where to start.
  • Olette: Well, he doesn’t have to begin where his parent’s knocked boots or when he popped out of his screaming mother. He can start just after that when they become his parents.
  • Rigmor: Not all births involve screaming.
  • Olette: Oh, I didn’t realise some ladies can pass a pumpkin through their birth canal and not scream.
  • Wulf: Ahem.
  • Rigmor: Wulf’s forehead is no longer crinkled. That usually means he has stopped thinking.
  • Olette: I never noticed that, but now you mention it. That is the truth!
  • Wulf: Are you two finished?
  • Rigmor: Are we finished, Olette?
  • Olette: Yeah, I suppose we are.
  • Wulf: Olette, the name I was given at birth is Valdr Septim. Does the Septim surname mean anything to you?
  • Olette: You were named after a coin!
  • Wulf: The coin was named after my father, Emperor Tiber Septim the First.
  • Olette: He died a long time ago, Cap’n.
  • Wulf: Yes, indeed, and then he became Talos, the Ninth Divine.
  • Olette: Your father is Talos?
  • Wulf: Yes. I know it is a bit of a shock, but…
  • Olette: COOL! That is what it is. It is the coolest thing I have heard since Rigmor taught me the word cool!
  • Wulf: It does not make me a god.
  • Olette: The Tenth Divine, Valdr, God of Weird.
  • Wulf: I said that I am not a god.
  • Olette: You are to me.
  • Rigmor: Oh, great, as if his head isn’t big enough already.
  • Wulf: I don’t mind some light banter, but this is a very serious subject!
  • Olette: Sorry, Cap’n. I know you were worried about telling me this, and I didn’t want you to worry.
  • Wulf: That is very thoughtful of you, Olette, but who I am, my true identity, is a secret only a few can know. You need to understand why that is.
  • Olette: Gotcha. Please, Cap’n, continue.
  • Wulf: My father is the Ninth Divine, Talos. My mother is another god. Have you heard of Saint Alessia?
  • Olette: Yes, I have because she is a hero amongst the oppressed. She was enslaved, fought to free her people, and then made The Empire. It took time to sort the truth of Saint Alessia from the many wild claims I heard. I can say for sure that many on the street pray for Alessia to fight for them.
  • Wulf: Indeed, Mother is a figure of hope for many who think their circumstances are beyond their control.
  • Olette: Saint Alessia died a long time before Talos.
  • Wulf: Thousands of years before. But once you are dead, age is meaningless.
  • Olette: How do two gods make a mortal baby?
  • Wulf: I was born on Nirn. Usually, no god can physically manifest on Nirn.
  • Olette: Huh?
  • Rigmor: The gods can only appear as avatars, a type of spirit. Wulf can’t hug his father’s avatars as they are made of energy, not flesh.
  • Olette: Why could your parents manifest on Nirn?
  • Wulf: The god who designed the Aurbis and Nirn, Lord Shor, helped them.
  • Olette: He would know more about how everything works than anybody else.
  • Wulf: Yes, and both my parents were once mortals. So, with Lord Shor’s help, they could physically manifest on Nirn.
  • Olette: Why did they want to do that? Didn’t that take a lot of effort, and were they in danger?
  • Wulf: They wanted to do it because they fell in love and desired to have a child together. Nobody knew I would be born a Dragonchild. All my parents desired was a healthy, mortal child they could raise to adulthood.
  • Rigmor: It did take a lot of effort, but the other gods wanted Saint Alessia and Talos to be happy. They had done so much for mortals while alive, and The Divines love mortals.
  • Olette: Where on Nirn were you born?
  • Wulf: On a small island near a vast island called Roscrea. Mother and Father wanted a place far from crowds where they could live peacefully and be close to nature. With an empress and emperor as parents, you would think I would live in a luxurious palace with many servants and solid gold privy seats.
  • Olette: That would be cold on the rear end, Cap’n, and hard.
  • Wulf: Okay, how about a luxurious palace with many servants and magically heated gold privy seats that were amazingly squishy and comfortable?
  • Olette: I guess you didn’t have any of that?
  • Wulf: No, we lived in a very tiny wooden hut ten miles from our nearest neighbour.
  • Olette: Were you lonely?
  • Wulf: Not in the slightest. My parents had frequent visitors from all parts of Nirn. I had a close friend, Anna, who was a few months younger than me. We spent a lot of time playing, working on her parent’s farm and enjoying each other’s company. I also made frequent trips to Sonje, the nearest town, doing deliveries for Mother and greeting visitors at the docks.
  • Olette: And you had Meeko.
  • Wulf: Yes, indeed, and he looked a lot different then. He was a big hound dog and managed to look even goofier than he does now. I had other pets, but they all had average lifespans.
  • Olette: Did you know your parents were gods?
  • Wulf: Yes, but it was just another part of the enormous tapestry that made them who they were. On my thirteenth birthday, they took me to Aetherius, and we floated amongst the stars. That is when I started to realise they were a bit different.
  • Olette: What were they like?
  • Wulf: They were the best parents a child could have! They taught me through actions and example, not just rote. Although the locals didn’t know they were gods, my parents were loved and admired by all. They showed infinite compassion and empathy and helped many people through periods of grief and illness.
  • Olette: Do you have any siblings?
  • Wulf: Mother had a child thousands of years before I was born. His father was Lord Morihaus, a Demi-God Minotaur. His name was Belharza, and he became emperor when Mother died. He was called Belharza the Man-Bull because he was half Minotaur.
  • Olette: Your mother knocked boots with a Minotaur?
  • Wulf: Before your imagination fills your young mind with disturbing images, he could transform into mortal form. He was very Nord-like in appearance.
  • Olette: Including his wedding tackle?
  • Rigmor: Olette!
  • Olette: What? I am merely curious.
  • Wulf: For some reason, probably the impropriety of it, I have never asked Mother about that.
  • Rigmor: And Olette, if you ever meet Saint Alessia, you will not ask her either.
  • Olette: Was Belharza born with horns? Childbirth is supposed to be painful enough without sharp horns digging into your nether regions.
  • Wulf: When bulls are birthed, their horns are small, round stubs that cause no pain or damage. Mother told me Minotaur horns are hardly visible till they reach puberty.
  • Olette: So, they are another specie that gets horny at puberty.
  • Rigmor: What have you done to this innocent child, Wulf? What kind of literature have you left lying around?
  • Olette: Rigmor, do you think the prostitutes of Riften wandered off to find a secluded spot before servicing a customer? Children on farms learn about reproduction by watching animals mate. Well, so did I, except these animals walked on two legs. And if I didn’t educate myself, I would have fallen prey to those who prefer children to adults.
  • Wulf: That was quite a funny pun.
  • Rigmor: Yeah, I suppose it was.
  • Wulf: Olette, Saint Alessia is considered the Mother of Minotaurs. Not because she gave rise to the species, as some idiots claim. No, the truth is, Mother is full of love and compassion, and Minotaur were her favourite specie. Minotaur worshipped her above all other gods.
  • Olette: I have only heard that they are savage beasts who kill for sport.
  • Wulf: They were once a beautiful people whose art, music and architecture were equal to any then or now. Racists hijacked Mother’s Name and started two thousand years of rule by The Alessian Order. During that time, any species not Man was persecuted. The Minotaur was hunted almost to extinction. The ones remaining are not the same as those of the past. They have lost their intelligence and resort to savagery. But their numbers are few, and I don’t think they have been encountered in Skyrim for over one thousand years.
  • Olette: Was Belharza a good emperor?
  • Wulf: He was troubled by the precursors of The Alessian Order and forced to fight wars he deemed unnecessary. He died in a battle against an army of Mer.
  • Olette: Do you have other siblings?
  • Wulf: Yes. Father sired a son, Pelagius, with Barenziah, who later became Queen of Morrowind. Most histories say Pelagius was Tiber Spetim’s grandchild. That is wrong.
  • Rigmor: The written histories of Tiber Septim and Barenziah are full of misinformation. Some historians claim that Tiber Septim forced Barenziah to have an abortion using Magicka.
  • Olette: Even an eleven-year-old like me knows local apothecaries carry pills and potions to abort unwanted children. I made septims purchasing them and delivering them discretely. Why would an Emperor with unlimited resources do that to a young woman?
  • Rigmor: Those who write the false history say Tiber Septim regarded Barenziah’s child as a threat to his own.
  • Olette: And do they name what children Tiber Septim was protecting?
  • Wulf: No, they don’t because there weren’t any.
  • Olette: Was Pelagius a good emperor?
  • Wulf: He was very popular, but in his third year of reign, he was assassinated by The Dark Brotherhood. Nobody hired them to kill him. They didn’t like his reforms to law and order.
  • Olette: Being an emperor or empress sounds very dangerous. You are not going to be one, are you Cap’n?
  • Wulf: I have no intention of doing so, although I am the most qualified to sit on The Ruby Throne after Emperor Titus Mede II dies.
  • Olette: Because of who your parents are?
  • Wulf: Yes, and the fact I am Dragonborn.
  • Rigmor: A Dragonborn Septim would unite all the factions of The Empire.
  • Olette: What if The Divines wanted you to be emperor?
  • Rigmor: They would need to convince me why it is needed and provide a way to do it bloodlessly. The Skyrim civil war was terrible. Wars over The Ruby Throne are many times bloodier and more prolonged.
  • Olette: You were going to explain why Lady Mara called you Dragonchild.
  • Wulf: It gets confusing, but I will try. When Saint Alessia was fighting The Ayleid, a race of Mer who enslaved her people, she was at a disadvantage. The gods who created Nirn, amongst them The Nine, could not manifest on the planet they made.
  • Olette: We discussed manifest before. You are saying they couldn’t appear in flesh and blood on Nirn.
  • Wulf: Correct. But the gods called Daedric Princes could manifest, and when they entered a battlefield, they wreaked havoc and caused mass casualties and destruction. Despite this advantage, The Ayleid still lost to Mother and her allies.
  • Olette: How did they manage to beat an enemy who fielded gods?
  • Wulf: Determination, numbers, morale, good generals and several Demi-Gods.
  • Olette: Like Lord Morihaus?
  • Wulf: Yes, and another infamous one called Pelinal Whitestrake.
  • Rigmor: Wulf fears becoming like Pelinal. He was constantly berserk in battle and slaughtered indiscriminately. This personality change happened because he went insane when his beloved, a male spearman, was killed.
  • Olette: You could never be like that, Cap’n!
  • Wulf: I think I could, Olette. But let’s leave that discussion for another time.
  • Olette: Okay, Saint Alessia and her friends kicked Ayleid arses and won. But I bet she was unhappy with how many people she lost to the other side’s gods.
  • Wulf: Correct. The Ayleid once worshipped the et-Ada, the gods of The Nine and other pantheons. They were prosperous but still had greedy nobles who wanted more than they had. Some Daedric Princes, also called Dark Lords, offered powers and riches the et-Ada couldn’t. It would be best if you remembered that not all Daedric Princes desire immoral practices from their followers.
  • Rigmor: For instance, I have a giant statue of Lady Azura at the entrance to my castle. She saved Wulf’s life once and made Khajiiti from wandering spirits.
  • Olette: Well, if she made the Khajiiti, then I like her lots!
  • Rigmor: What about saving Wulf’s life?
  • Olette: That is okay but not as cool as making Khajiiti.
  • Wulf: In that case, you can live with the Khajiiti caravans, and I will find another child to adopt.
  • Olette: You know I am joking, Cap’n. The proof is the amount of crying I did last night!
  • Wulf: Yes, of course. I know you are joking. But anyway, back to the worship of Dark Lords. People incorrectly call them evil or good, but that is wrong. I like to use wolves as an example. If wolves killed a child and ate them, was that an act of evil?
  • Olette: No, it wasn’t. The wolves were acting as wolves do. They did not kill the child for fun or out of hatred.
  • Wulf: The Daedric Princes are set in their ways and cannot change. Molag Bal does what he does for the same reason as the wolves. It is his nature. However, the people who worship him choose to do evil things. Such subservience gains Molag Bal’s approval, and the worshippers are rewarded.
  • Olette: Oh, the Ayleid, who were once nice, became evil to please their chosen gods.
  • Rigmor: There you go again, Olette. Many people would struggle with that concept.
  • Olette: It is easy so far.
  • Wulf: Saint Alessia asked Lord Akatosh if he could do something about the Daedric Princes manifesting on Nirn. Lord Akatosh created things called Dragonfires that needed the blood of Saint Alessia or her descendants to light. Lord Akatosh blessed Saint Alessia’s blood, and she was then known as Dragonborn.
  • Olette: How do the Dragonfires stop the Dark Lords from manifesting?
  • Wulf: They maintained a barrier between Oblivion, the realm where Daedric Princes live and Mundus, the mortal realm that includes Nirn. This barrier is called the Liminal Barrier.
  • Rigmor: That evened the influence of et-Ada and Daedric Princes. Neither one had an advantage anymore.
  • Olette: There was no need to worship one over the other for the power-hungry nobles.
  • Wulf: Many people worship Daedric Princes because they still make promises of power. People also think if they disobey a Daedric Prince, something terrible will happen to them
  • Rigmor: Wulf hates it when a Daedric Prince tries to order him around. He can be vulgar to them when that happens.
  • Wulf: People choose to obey the Daedric Princes. They are not forced to obey.
  • Olette: What are some of the powers people seek?
  • Wulf: The most common is Vampirism, an invention of Lord Molag Bal, and shape-changing. Werewolves are the invention of Lord Hircine.
  • Rigmor: Some people who suffer from foresight become devotees of Lady Azura. She interprets their premonitions.
  • Olette: Okay, I understand all this without my head exploding. Please, Cap’n, explain why your identity has to be kept secret.
  • Wulf: The Thalmor want to stop everybody from worshipping Talos. They know he is the Ninth Divine and constantly lie when they claim he isn’t. They want to destroy Talos as he strengthens Aurbis and Nirn. The Thalmor believe they would be immortal if The Nine collapsed and linear time was removed.
  • Olette: Is that true? Is it achievable?
  • Wulf: It is neither true nor achievable. But The Thalmor will continue persecuting Talos’ worships for eternity in their pursuit of an unobtainable goal.
  • Olette: So, the pilgrims killed yesterday died for a lost cause, a Thalmor lost cause.
  • Wulf: Correct.
  • Olette: Arseholes!
  • Wulf: Also correct.
  • Olette: If The Thalmor knew who you were, they would try their hardest to kill you.
  • Wulf: Yes, and if they didn’t think that was achievable, they would harm the people I love.
  • Olette: Oh. That is not good for me, Rigmor or anybody else in Silverpeak Lodge!
  • Rigmor: So, young lady, that is one reason to keep Wulf’s identity a secret.
  • Wulf: Another reason is some Daedric Lords would not be pleased I exist. They can’t tell what I am, even if I am in Oblivion, so they could only find out by somebody blabber mouthing. Lord Sheogorath seemed to know who I was, but others, such as Lady Boethia and Lord Hermaeus Mora, did not.
  • Olette: Okay, I promise not to tell any Daedric Lords I am chatting to.
  • Wulf: Another reason is people would either want me to be the emperor or try to kill me so I can’t be.
  • Rigmor: Emperor Titus Mede II had two sons and a daughter, but they all died. He is yet to name an heir, but many would want Wulf to sit on The Ruby Throne even if he does. Even if Wulf said he didn’t want to be emperor, a civil war could erupt.
  • Olette: If The Divines wanted you to be emperor, and that could be achieved without violence, would you accept the position?
  • Wulf: Yes, if The Divines thought it would be helpful for whatever tasks lay ahead.
  • Olette: Would I become a princess?
  • Wulf: You would only be a princess if I placed you into the line of succession. Otherwise, you would be a Lady unless I gave you lands. Then you might be a Baronet or similar.
  • Olette: Are there any more reasons to keep your identity a secret?
  • Wulf: Yes. The Divines told us there is a future danger to Aurbis and Nirn. Only Rigmor and I together can save everybody. The future enemy shouldn’t plan for me to make our success more likely. If The Dragonborn is not associated with Rigmor, they will have to scramble and change plans if I suddenly appear.
  • Rigmor: The Guardian General was Wulf’s identity when he escorted me before I went to Bruma. The Guardian General dumped me at the border crossing. I haven’t seen that good-for-nothing layabout since! The Dragonborn then appeared, and very few people know Wulf is both.
  • Olette: I talked to some of The Dragonguard about The New Order, and they mentioned how their plans fell apart when Wulf started helping Rigmor. This other plan is similar.
  • Rigmor: Yes. We will have an advantage if they don’t plan for Wulf.
  • Olette: Cap’n, you still haven’t explained what a Dragonchild is.
  • Wulf: The Liminal Barrier was held in place by the Dragonfires, which needed people of Alessia’s bloodline, Dragonblood, to keep them lit. These people were called Dragonborn. Then another type of Dragonborn came about. With those Dragonborn, Lord Akatosh blessed both blood and soul. That is the type of Dragonborn people think I am.
  • Rigmor: Dragonborn can receive their blessings from Lord Akatosh at any time in their life. Wulf was born with those blessings, hence the name Dragonchild.
  • Olette: That makes sense.
  • Wulf: The Nine gave me other blessings, which makes my race Ningheim. I am probably the only Ningheim alive.
  • Olette: Can you explain the blessings?
  • Wulf: Those from Lord Akatosh allow me to learn Shouts quicker and absorb the souls of Dragons. My soul is that of a dragon, not a mortal.
  • Olette: Cool!
  • Wulf: My blood is also that of a dragon, but it is no longer of use because The Dragonfires no longer maintain the Liminal Barrier. Emperor Martin Septim sacrificed himself and released the tremendous amount of power stored in The Amulet of Kings to make the Liminal Barrier permanent and independent of The Dragonfires.
  • Olette: There must be a story behind why he did that.
  • Wulf: There is, Olette. Have you heard of The Oblivion Crises?
  • Olette: Dimly.
  • Wulf: I shall give you some books on the subject, and then you can ask any questions after reading them.
  • Olette: Okay.
  • Wulf: Another blessing I received allows me to read people’s souls. I can tell if they are good or evil and if there is a chance for redemption. I can make people read my soul and see the power I wield. That is good for shutting up loud mouths who boast about what they will do to me. I can Blink from one place to the next. It is a bit like teleporting, except I only have to think of where I want to be as long as I can see the destination. I can do an empathetic link where others can share my memories or what I am seeing and hearing at the time.
  • Rigmor: When Wulf had a premonition about the slaughter of the pilgrims, I saw it via our amulets.
  • Olette: All of these blessings don’t change who you are, Cap’n. You are my father and the kindest person I know.
  • Rigmor: I hope I am a close second!
  • Olette: You, Rigmor, are the coolest person I know.
  • Rigmor: Yes, I am the champion of cool!
  • Olette: Cap’n, what made you so ill last night?
  • Wulf: I started to question my morality, Olette. I was beginning to think I was a monster without compassion. In reality, I was not using the love and help of those around me.
  • Rigmor: Wulf and I have a special bond. The Divines say our souls are intertwined. I will be with him often to help Wulf cope with the future.
  • Olette: You are going to live at Silverpeak Lodge?
  • Rigmor: Quite a bit, yes. I still have the County of Bruma to look after.
  • Olette: Doesn’t that put the whole secret affair thing in danger?
  • Wulf: We shall be discreet, and The Divines have all sorts of people, who they call Mortal Agents, who can help us keep the secret.
  • Rigmor: My friend Cerys knows the teleportation and summoning spells. Therefore, I can arrive in Bruma in seconds if need be.
  • Olette: When we visit the Holds, will you come with us?
  • Rigmor: I would love to, but I will be another Dragonguard as far as anybody else knows.
  • Olette: You should have a different name. There are not that many Rigmor around.
  • Rigmor: You think of a good name for me, which I will use when travelling with Wulf.
  • Olette: Thank you, Cap’n and Rigmor, for explaining all this to me. I am sure a lot of it is far more complicated than discussed, but I understand the need for secrecy.
  • Wulf: Do you want me to take you back to the dig?
  • Olette: Nah, I am going to have a bath. Vayu will fetch Inigo and Ko’rassa and then take me to the dig.
  • Wulf: Okay. Rigmor and I are going to Bruma. Other people need to know some of these secrets. That will make it easier for Rigmor to spend more time with us.

Olette gave Rigmor and me goodbye hugs and then made her way to the spa room.

I told Rigmor, “We shall teleport to your bedroom. Then you must collect Sigunn, Cerys, Malesam and Freathof for our talk.”

“You can wait at the head of our table while I gather them.”

“Okay, let’s go!”

I felt awkward as the others slowly filtered in. Malesam and Freathof stared at me with unhidden curiosity. When everybody was seated, I began.

  • Wulf: Thank you all for meeting with me on such short notice. If it were not necessary, I would not impose upon you.
  • Freathof: I am pleased to meet you, Dragonborn.
  • Wulf: Please, Maester Freathof, call me Wulf.
  • Freathof: Then you must call me Freathof.
  • Wulf: First, I would like to apologise for an ongoing falsehood that was necessary but uncomfortable.
  • Rigmor: Wulf and I did not stop seeing each other after I crossed into Bruma. However, our enemies must think we did.
  • Malesam: My mistress did not mention this to me.
  • Wulf: For the umpteenth time, Malesam, Lady Boethia is not omnipotent. She couldn’t even tell I was Dragonborn.
  • Malesam: Did you know about this, Cerys?
  • Cerys: Yes, I did. But it was none of your business, so I was not compelled to tell you.
  • Malesam: Humph!
  • Cerys: Wulf, I hope Lord Talos was not upset when I told him off earlier.
  • Wulf: He was contrite and knew he did wrong, Cerys.
  • Freathof: You spoke rudely to one of The Nine?
  • Cerys: He appeared in Rigmor’s bed chamber when I was helping dress her for the day.
  • Freathof: Does this often happen, Rigmor? Do you often converse with The Nine?
  • Rigmor: Lord Talos, or Hjalti as I call him, is the only one whose avatar appears to me. However, we did have a long discussion with him this morning in Aetherius.
  • Wulf: It would be easier, Freathof, to accept my connections to gods, both of The Nine and others, is out of the ordinary. Otherwise, we could get bogged down by your incredulity.
  • Freathof: Yes, it seems I will have to do that. Oh my!
  • 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.
  • Freathof: I assume there is an excellent reason for this secrecy.
  • Wulf: The Divines have foreseen a potential end to all there is. The Aurbis, Nirn, Aetherius and all mortals will cease to exist. I don’t know if Oblivion, or certain realms of Oblivion, will survive.
  • Rigmor: The Divines have told us that Wulf and I are crucial in preventing this disastrous outcome. We are the only hope.
  • Malesam: That is a heavy burden to bear!
  • Wulf: Yes, it is. Other tasks I have completed have taken their toll on me. I must continue protecting what The Divines made and all mortals, but I cannot do so without Rigmor.
  • Rigmor: Wulf and I have a special bond beyond ordinary mortal love. The Divines say our souls are intertwined and seek each other every Kalpa. Wulf needs me close to him as he delves into darkness.
  • Freathof: Rigmor, you told me how Wulf found you when you were fourteen and saved your life. He did so by ethereal travelling without ever being taught how. I suspected such a bond would not vanish at the border but was too gentlemanly to ask.
  • Malesam: How often will Rigmor travel to Skyrim?
  • Rigmor: As often as my duties here allow. I have been living this double life since day one.
  • Sigunn: For instance, Felix and Rigmor were with Wulf for many days in Solstheim. The trade deal was a front for their actual purpose.
  • Wulf: Rigmor helped me stop all mortals from being enslaved. That was the reason we were in Solstheim.
  • Malesam: Wulf, you have yet to tell us why the subterfuge is needed.
  • Rigmor: The Divines want Wulf to be a surprise to 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?
  • Malesam: Ahh…like The New Order did not plan for Wulf to be your guardian. The surprise put them on their back foot, and mistakes were made.
  • Rigmor: That’s the strategy.
  • Malesam: If you are with each other more often, the task of hiding your relationship becomes impossible.
  • Wulf: My new estate, Silverpeak Lodge, is isolated. Nobody can see who comes and goes. When travelling with me, Rigmor will wear the armour of The Dragonguard. There will be nothing to indicate she is Countess Rigmor Ragnarsdottier.
  • Malesam: What about Rigmor’s duties here? Bruma County cannot run autonomously.
  • Sigunn: As a member of the Ragnarsdottier family, I can legally be Countess in Proxy when Rigmor is absent.
  • Cerys: I know the teleport and summoning spells that Wulf uses, and if need be, I can summon Rigmor. She could arrive within seconds of that summoning. Also, Father, I don’t remember you asking about this ring I wear. It was a gift from Wulf and increased my ability in all Schools of Magicka.
  • Rigmor: I will be here to greet V.I.P and so forth. I will not be sitting on the throne listening to nonsense. Instead, I will be helping Wulf keep you all safe and free.
  • Malesam: As The College of Winterhold’s representative, I cannot allow Rigmor to place herself in mortal danger!
  • Rigmor: Excuse me, Malesam, but you forget that Wulf is also a college member and outranks you.
  • Wulf: Objection denied, Malesam.
  • Malesam: Sigunn, are you comfortable with Rigmor galivanting who knows where while facing who knows what dangers?
  • Sigunn: Rigmor is a grown woman capable of making decisions independent of me, Malesam. She has accepted the dangers of travelling with Wulf, and nobody has the right to tell her that she can’t do so!
  • Wulf: I would tread carefully, Malesam. Do you think Rigmor is a child?
  • Cerys: It is terrible enough, Father, that you treat me like a mindless infant. Don’t continue this idiocy!
  • Malesam: Did you know about this before this meeting, Sigunn?
  • Sigunn: Yes, but Wulf has good reasons for keeping you in the dark, Malesam. Something must have dramatically changed for him to be telling you even these secrets.
  • Wulf: There are secrets that Sigunn and Cerys know, but you will not be privy to, Malesam. Do I have to spell out the reasons for this?
  • Freathof: Does this concern Malesam’s faith?
  • Wulf: Yes, Freathof. Malesam is a devotee of Lady Boethia, an enemy of mortals. Occasional cooperation from that Dark Lord is always offered when she can benefit and not out of concern for mortals. She played games as Rigmor lay comatose on The Altar of Sacrifice. Another minute delay and Rigmor would have died, and we would be fighting a God-King.
  • Malesam: I have told you I would never do anything to harm Rigmor.
  • Wulf: Can you guarantee what I tell you will not become known by Boethia?
  • Malesam: No, I cannot. Even if I don’t tell her, she can access my mind when we communicate.
  • Wulf: Therefore, keeping you ignorant of specific facts is the safest thing. Do you agree? If you don’t, I can get a replacement mage sent from the college.
  • Malesam: Yes, I agree.
  • Wulf: Good. This whole thing might need some fine-tuning, but again, I stress that I need Rigmor with me more often than before.
  • Freathof: Can you give us examples of some tasks you have undertaken?
  • Wulf: After Rigmor became Countess, I defeated Alduin, won the civil war, saved His Imperial Majesty from an assassination plot and prevented people from being enslaved by Hermaeus Mora’s champion. I have travelled to Oblivion on many occasions and faced many Dark Lords in their realms. Last night I killed dozens of Thalmor in retaliation for their slaughter of unarmed pilgrims.
  • Freathof: Are you a noble?
  • Wulf: By birth, I am of extremely high noble status, which must remain hidden. But I have since earned many more noble titles.
  • Rigmor: So, Freathof and Malesam, you can stop nagging me about finding a suitable noble husband.
  • Freathof: But you cannot marry until this future crisis is over.
  • Rigmor: Then we shall continue to be a modern couple who knock boots without marriage bands on our fingers.

Freathof spluttered as the rest of us burst out laughing.

  • Wulf: Part of our decision to include Freathof and Malesam in some of the secrets is to aid Sigunn and Cerys. We had already asked them to lie on occasion. We could not ask them to lie even more!
  • Rigmor: When I am absent from court, we do not need to explain to our citizens where I am and why. There is no need to lie to them.
  • Freathof: Please, Wulf, clarify what has changed. Why do you need Rigmor with you more often?
  • Wulf: My tasks lead me to a dark place within my soul, Freathof. Last night, I almost lost myself to madness. Rigmor’s presence helps keep the dark thoughts at bay.
  • Rigmor: When we fight together, we are a formidable team. We intuitively know what the other is doing and combine our attacks to devastating effect.
  • Wulf: Without Rigmor by my side, I am only the second deadliest warrior on Nirn.
  • Rigmor: Wulf will not take The Dragonguard or me into the most dangerous areas, such as Oblivion. So yes, there is danger, but with The Dragonguard and Wulf with me, it is lessened considerably.
  • Cerys: The love shared by Wulf and Rigmor is celebrated by The Divines. Wulf constantly puts himself in mortal danger, so the more time they can spend together, the better.
  • Wulf: That is a morbid but valid point, Cerys.
  • Rigmor: Now you are all aware of what will happen. I will spend far more time with Wulf and ensure my duties here are not neglected. I will not place too much of a burden on Mum. It may take some juggling at first, but I am sure we will get into a routine.
  • Malesam: What other news can you share, Wulf?
  • Wulf: I adopted a child called Olette. She was a street-urchin selling information on the streets of Riften.
  • Rigmor: She is a remarkable young woman who is very mature for her age. Surviving on the streets of Riften forced that maturity upon her.
  • Wulf: I am sponsoring several orphanages. There are several more I have to visit and see if they can do with my assistance.
  • Rigmor: And don’t forget Wulf’s museum. It is enormous and will be officially opened soon.
  • Freathof: You must have wealth to do these things.
  • Wulf: I am wealthy, Freathof.
  • Rigmor: You don’t think I like him for his looks and personality, do you?
  • Freathof: Wulf, can I ask you about the vampires who captured Sorella?
  • Wulf: Yes, if you wish.
  • Sigunn: Are you sure, Freathof. This subject is almost guaranteed to bring on tears and melancholy.
  • Freathof: Yes, Sigunn. I need to know more, and this is my opportunity.
  • Sigunn: Okay, tell Wulf your tale, and ask your questions.

Freathof stared into the distance. Whatever he was about to say pained him.

  • Malesam: Continue Freathof, it’s alright, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Freathof was the tutor to the former Lady of Bruma and her daughter, Wulf.
  • Wulf: He is not ashamed, Malesam, but the memories are painful. Please, take your time, Freathof.
  • Malesam: Rigmor said you could read people like a book.
  • Wulf: A necessity for my survival.
  • Freathof: For many years, I served Count and Lady Carvain. I schooled Lady Carvain and, later, their only child, a daughter, in the ways of nobility, etiquette and math.
  • Wulf: Count Carvain lost his life in a riding accident.
  • Freathof: Yes, and then…and then…
  • Wulf: Take your time, Freathof. Construct the sentence, practice them in your head and then speak.
  • Freathof: I can’t bring myself to say her name…one night, Sofia just disappeared. Oh, how we searched! I never gave up, but as the weeks turned into months, Lady Carvain became withdrawn. She lost the will to live and died of a broken heart.
  • Wulf: And thus ended the long line of Carvain rulers of Bruma.
  • Freathof: When milady Rigmor arrived, she told me all about what had befallen her in Skyrim. She described how you had rescued Sorella and how a similar thing that happened to Sofia also happened to Sorella. That she, too, had terrible dreams and heard voices calling her. Oh, how I wish I had taken more notice of the poor child.
  • Wulf: Freathof, many children have nightmares when they experience trauma and loss. Sofia had recently lost her father, and nightmares would be an expected result. You had no way of knowing their origin or the danger they presented. As I tell people, everybody is wise after the event! The ensorcellment used on the children is named The Calling and is undoubtedly an invention of Lord Molag Bal.
  • Freathof: Rigmor told me how you rescued Sorella from a coven of vampires.
  • Wulf: Every single Vampire died by my sword, Thu’um and spells. But it was not all doom and gloom. A young girl’s soul resisted the vampires, and I reunited her with her mother’s soul. Perhaps Sofia also resisted the vampires. Plus, I know a god fights for these children at significant risk to herself.
  • Freathof: Which god?
  • Wulf: Saint Alessia. It is a battle of wills. If Saint Alessia loses, she will die or become a thrall of Molag Bal.
  • Rigmor: Wulf, are you sure of that conclusion?
  • Wulf: I doubt there is more than one vampire clan collecting children. Logically, the children who fell victim to The Calling are who Saint Alessia fights to save.
  • Freathof: After investigating the disappearance of children in Cyrodiil, I discovered it stopped altogether when the Skyrim coven was destroyed. Sofia was the last.
  • Wulf: The leader of the clan is called The Broodmother. I think there were multiple covens spread over Nirn. It is valid speculation to assume Molag Bal and The Broodmother have collected enough children for whatever purpose they need them.
  • Freathof: Can you guess what that purpose is?
  • Wulf: Molag Bal is always trying to drag parts of Nirn into Coldharbour or manifest in the mortal plane.
  • Freathof: Malacath only needed one soul, Rigmor’s, to bypass the Liminal Barrier.
  • Wulf: Different methods are tried by Molag Bal each time. Boethia needed every person in The Imperial City sacrificed for her portal to work.
  • Malesam: Is Molag Bal the cause of the future disaster?
  • Wulf: Some of The Divines think so. I think it is too early to speculate. It may also be something unintended. Molag Bal wants to dominate, not destroy, while other Daedric Princes want to eliminate Mundus and Nirn.
  • Malesam: I assume you know my mistress’s animosity towards Molag Bal?
  • Wulf: Yes, I do, Malesam. It is wise to be well-informed before dealing with the Daedric Princes.
  • Malesam: Which Daedric Princes have you dealt with?
  • Wulf: Many. I am the Champion of Azura, Boethia, Hermaeus Mora, Malacath, Meridia and Sheogorath. Vaermina hates me, and I am sure Molag Bal will never be a friend.
  • Rigmor: Some of the others will hate Wulf once he meets them.
  • Freathof: How did you become Malacath’s champion after thwarting his plans?
  • Wulf: I recently helped an Orsimer tribe. Also, Malacath appreciates that I did not tell Orsimer of his betrayal. He assures me he would have eliminated the Altmer and raised the Orsimer, but would they have believed him if I told of his plans?
  • Rigmor: Okay, Wulf, I think that is enough for now. You go home and get some rest. I will join you tomorrow.
  • Wulf: And before you ask, Rigmor will be in no danger. We are doing an archaeological dig and visiting the various Holds.

Rigmor gave me a huge hug, and I then teleported to Silverpeak Lodge. I was immediately set upon by Inigo, who wanted the details of my meltdown. I was happy to sit with my friend and tell him about it.

5 thoughts on “Walk with me

  1. Sometimes, we ourselves, are our worst enemy. Those who we call “True Friends” sometimes know us better than we do. Thank You Mark

    1. I am glad you liked it. I wrote this one between fever dreams as my temperature was around 38.3. After dodging it for the entire epidemic, COVID finally got me. I am in the high-risk category so even after four vaccines it was a worry getting it. I think the new anti-bacterial kept me out of hospital.

  2. Hi Mark, it’s been a while since I commented here. The previous entry had me in tears I had to read this one quickly to see what happened. This journal entry was very enlightening, for me anyway, so thank you for that. I would like to point out when rigmor asked Talos if the Greybeards taught him anything,Wulf replied, it should have beenTalos replying. One more to go and I have caught up.

  3. I have all four shots but still caught it, sore throat was the only symptom but a couple of weeks later I caught a cold, boy oh boy did that give me curry, shit I was crook for a few weeks. Look after yourself Mark.

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