Tirdas, 25th Sun’s Dusk, 4E205
It was a pleasant morning to be outside. Silverpeak Lodge will never be the warmest of places due to its altitude. However, the children were content to sit around the open fire while Celestine read some popular children’s books.
I was helping Olette tend to her menagerie.
Several of my friends were doing other activities, including archery practice, chopping firewood and honing weapons.
Looking around, I could not help but feel relaxed amongst those who love me and whom I love in return.
Meeko was sitting amongst the children and only moved every few minutes to let another take a turn at scratching his ears. He suddenly stood and cocked his head to the left and right.
“Earthquake. A big one!” cautioned Hashire.
Sune advised, “Make your way to the children. They will be frightened.”
Frost became frantic and would have run away, except Hashire and Sune hemmed him in. They knew he risked injury if he hurtled down Silverpeak’s path in a panic.
I thought I would have time to walk calmly to the children, but that was not the case. The earthquake did not start with a low rumble and build to a crescendo. It started so violently that I found myself on my knees and trying not to end face-down in the snow before taking three steps.
Even above the noise of the earthquake, I could hear the terrified screams of the children.
The earthquake was relatively short. About twelve seconds after it started, it stopped just as suddenly.
My friends rushed over to help Celestine calm the children while I helped Olette to her feet. She was not frightened but concerned for her animals and quickly inspected them.
As I helped Olette check the animals, I had my back to The Throat of the World. Olette was facing the mountain, and a look of fear crossed her face. She pointed and said, “Father!”
I had never seen Olette scared, and she had never called me father. With dread in my heart, I turned, and coming down the mountain was a wall of death. An avalanche was hurtling toward Silverpeak Lodge, and I knew I could not rescue everybody, if anybody.
I wanted to wake up. I did not want to see those I love obliterated. I wanted to wake up but decided not to. It seemed important I watch, so I did.
The rocks, dirt, ice and snow hit a barrier and vanished. I could see that the barrier was a dome by the shape of the void it created. Otherwise, I would not have known it was there. The main debris from the avalanche did not decrease in magnitude for two minutes. Then it slowly started to diminish until, about six minutes after the quake, nothing else rolled towards Silverpeak.
I noticed the children had stopped screaming and crying and were watching the spectacle with the same fascination as me.
I woke with a start and then tried to untangle my limbs from Rigmor’s without waking her. I needed to think and do that best standing outside, under the stars.
Rigmor woke and said, “Again? I thought you were worn out.”
“No, Rigmor, it is not that.”
“Oh, the privy. Off you go then.”
“I had the vision again.”
“But you are not upset. Hang on. You are confused. That is what I am sensing via the amulets.”
I replayed the vision to Rigmor via an Empathic Link.
She asked, “Would you have seen that if you hadn’t woken last time?”
“I assume so. I can’t be certain.”
“Silah would know and can probably tell you why the barrier is there.”
“I can speculate on that with confidence. Lady Kynareth placed it there when we started redecorating the existing property. I never asked, but I bet an avalanche has never harmed High Hrothgar.”
“What wouldn’t they tell you about it?”
“We know that The Divines, or any god for that matter, have a limited ability to influence the physical world directly. But we are on the side of Monhaven, The Throat of the World, which is the epicentre of Lady Kynareth’s power.”
“Oh, like the Black Diamond mine was Azura’s!”
“I am certain that Lady Kynareth has created that protective shield.”
“So, why didn’t they tell you it is there?”
“I have always been told that I can’t rely on intervention by The Divines or aid from them. Now I suspect Lady Kynareth created and maintains that barrier. We know Father removed your scars, but that was in Aetherius, where he could use Creatia. His aid to The Betrayed was verbal only. I think The Nine were concerned I would start to rely less on my skills and intuition and more on them.”
“But you are not stupid and know that The Divines and other gods can sometimes help with particular things. What they can help you with depends very much on where you are. Lady Azura helped keep you alive because you were where she had the most power.”
“I was going to ask Silah about Snow Lodge. I will also ask her about the vision and barrier.”
“When you summoned Nafaalilargus, he agreed that Snow Lodge was no longer stable. How sure are you that it will vanish?”
“I am fairly certain. I think the dweomer placed on it depended on Snow Elves in stasis arriving there. I think they had to do something to anchor it in place. After some time, the dweomer started to return Snow Lodge to stasis. I think anything inside would be put in stasis, including us.”
“You discussed that with the other mages, and they also thought that would happen, although they can’t sense time.”
“It wasn’t worth the risk of leaving anybody there.”
“Now it might be redundant anyway if that barrier exists.”
“But isn’t it tragic we didn’t get to keep those huge barrels of booze?”
“I’ll recover from the loss. Umm…now we are awake….”
Rigmor attacked me, and despite my strong defence, she managed to ravage me. Well, minimal defence. Okay, I surrendered without a fight.
After a spa and breaking our fast, I went outside and summoned Silah.
She did her usual graceful landing and then changed to spirit form.
“Good morning, Wulf. Where are Sune and Hashire?”
“They decided they like each other and have gone somewhere for privacy.”
“Oh, what brought about the change?”
“Olette had a long talk with both of them. What she said, I don’t know.”
“That girl is wise beyond her years.”
“She is like an adult on occasion. However, when she plays games with the orphans, all I see is a young girl acting her age.”
“You are going to ask about that Snow Elf place, aren’t you?”
“How did you know?”
“What am I constantly worrying about?”
“Ahh…your hair? What dress to wear? Are the other Jills talking about you behind your back?”
“You worry about time anomalies as you don’t want to miss another Dragon Break.”
“I worry about time anomalies as I want to prevent Dragon Breaks. No blame can be attached to me for the ones that have occurred.”
“Snow Lodge caused enough of an anomaly that you needed to investigate it.”
“Yes, but it is no longer of concern because it has almost dissipated. Whatever dweomer was used takes care to put things in their right place and time. The buildings have gone, but some of the landscape was still transitional an hour ago.”
“It is fascinating but lost magic. That happens when Jills fall asleep on the job, and we have Dragon Breaks.”
“Putting sarcasm aside, you are back to square one in your search for a new home.”
“Nope. We can stay here.”
I told Silah about a repeat of the vision and how it ended.
Silah was shocked and said, “That barrier must have been there when you had the first vision. I knew nothing of it, Wulf. Otherwise, I would have told you about it when you first mentioned the vision.”
“I believe you, Silah, and I understand why The Nine didn’t tell me.”
“I suggest you visit her shrine and ask Lady Kynareth about it.”
“She hardly ever speaks to mortals.”
“I am certain that she will speak to you.”
“It is worth a try.”
“A heads up on a potential problem. There is an anomaly inside some Dwemer ruins in The Reach. I haven’t been able to approach it very closely as it is at the bottom of a well. I investigated another anomaly in the same place seven years ago, but it was very brief, and nothing has happened there since. If anything, it feels like the Time Wound did on Monhaven.”
“The anomaly is staying put?”
“At the moment, yes. The longer it is there, the more concerned we are.”
“At some point, you might want me to investigate.”
“Yes, as it may need our mortal champion to do what I and The Divines cannot. I will try and gather more information before then.”
“Could it cause a Dragon Break?”
“Many time-related phenomena have that potential.”
“Well, I won’t worry about it until you tell me I need to investigate.”
“If we are finished, I need to return and ensure they are not talking about me.”
“What about that bitch, Silah? I know! Who does she think she is? I heard she makes the bulls pay to service her. She is so ugly she should pay them. Hahaha!”
“That was excellent! Have you been spying on them?”
“I think that level of pettiness is universal across all species.”
Silah laughed, turned into her Dov form and flew away roaring.
I told Rigmor via our amulets, “Silah didn’t know about the barrier. I will visit Lady Kynareth’s shrine in High Hrothgar and ask her.”
“Are we going to Windhelm?”
“Yes, after I have visited Keeper Carcette and High Hrothgar. Tell Olette to dress warmly.”
“Matching fur dresses again. Okay!”
I summoned Nafaalilargus, who landed with more grace than a rock but not by much.
He asked, “Where are Hashire and Sune?”
“Somewhere private for a romantic dinner.”
“Ha, good luck to him. I am not getting far with Silah.”
“Silah said the Snow Elf house has vanished. I would like to have a look.”
“Then you were wise to abandon it. Climb aboard!”
I will never tire of the vista seen from a dragon’s back as the wind buffets and tries to dislodge me so I can plunge to my death.
Refugee’s Rest came into view, and just beyond that was the landscape, including trees, that existed before Snow Lodge appeared.
Some of the trees looked like they were still transitioning to this time, and we could feel the anomaly was still there.
Revna and two puppies were where the front of the building used to be. I assume the pack of Huskies was expanding. Wolves would probably ignore a small Husky family, but a larger one risks being regarded as a rival pack.
Nafaalilargus commented, “I don’t blame the Snow Elves for such extreme paranoia. After all, Dov became experts at hiding.”
“I suppose being hunted would make anybody paranoid. The Dragonguard were when they arrived in Skyrim.”
“So, do I keep flying in circles till you get dizzy and fall off, or do you want to go elsewhere?”
“Stendarr’s Beacon, please, Nafaalilargus.”
“Oh good, I get to make some Vigilants soil themselves!”
Nafaalilargus landed down the hill from the beacon. I dismounted and asked him to wait as I would not be gone for long.
A Vigilant told me Keeper Carcette was still recovering, and her eye had responded to treatment.
She was on a bedroll resting when I entered the beacon.
She sensed me standing over her, opened her eyes and then stood.
She said, “Do you have news about the Volkihar Clan? I was told that Isran was leading a group of Dawnguard to attack the castle.”
“The Dragonguard, Dawnguard, Serana and I attacked the castle midday yesterday. Lord Harkon and the rest of the Volkihar Clan are now in the gentle hands of Lord Bal.”
“Harkon’s daughter fought against the clan and her father?”
“Yes, and she is a Daughter of Coldharbour. Her parents allowed her to be raped by Lord Bal. They were already Vampire Lords after sacrificing a thousand innocents to gain his favour.”
“No wonder she participated in their downfall!”
“Three Elder Scrolls needed to be read to decipher the prophecy. It is a long tale, but we had to visit The Soul Cairn to retrieve one of them. Then I had to read it because the Moth Priest we rescued from vampires became blind after reading the other two scrolls. I also retrieved Auriel’s Bow, as that is what the vampires needed if they were to block out the Sun. It turned out the prophecy was wrong and was invented by another vampire who mistook what the bow could do.”
“A vampire inserted a false prophecy into an Elder Scroll?”
“Yes. A Snow Elf vampire.”
“Okay, I can imagine it is a long and complex tale to be told.”
“I will be glad to visit again and tell it.”
“What is going to happen to Castle Volkihar?”
“I will discuss that with Her Highness. I have let Serana’s mother occupy part of it.”
“She sacrificed innocents!”
“Paarthurnax slaughtered hundreds of thousands of mortals during the Dragon War. The Divines gave him a chance to redeem himself. I could do no less for Serana’s mother. Lord Stendarr urges us to offer mercy, does he not?”
“Yes, you are right.”
“I will visit soon and discuss the plans your engineers and architects produce for The Hall of the Vigilant.”
I exited and walked back to Nafaalilargus.
He asked, “Where to, Talos Crotch Spawn?”
“Can’t you just teleport there?”
“I thought the sun had come out, and I would enjoy flying with my fifth favourite dragon.”
“After Silah, Odahviing, Paarthurnax and Durnehviir.”
“Why am I your fifth favourite?”
“Because I haven’t made friends with another dragon. Oh, wait, I have three new dragon friends from Solstheim. That makes you my eighth favourite!”
“Your father was never so rude to me!”
“He sent you to Hammerfell, where you were killed.”
“True. Come on then, hurry up!”
We flew slowly, enjoying the views and chatting about nothing in particular.
An Aether dragon came towards us and said, “That fool wants us to control our instincts. Why, when it is more fun to fight?”
The dragon Shouted, and pure Magicka hit Nafaalilargus on the tail.
- Nafaalilargus: What are you doing, Boziikkro?
- Boziikkro: Proving that Paarthurnax is an idiot.
- Wulf: Your name means bold sorcerer. I would change it to complete moron if I were you.
- Nafaalilargus: What has needlessly dying got to do with Paarthurnax?
- Boziikkro: His Way of the Voice is nonsense. The Dov that surround him will eventually succumb to the joy of battle.
- Wulf: Let’s test that theory. Follow us if you can.
- Nafaalilargus: Monhaven’s summit?
- Wulf: Yes. This experiment will be interesting.
As we turned, Boziikkro strafed us. Nafaalilargus snarled.
We flew into the fog, and Silah joined us.
- Silah: Who is that chasing you?
- Wulf: Boziikkro.
- Nafaalilargus: He rejects The Way of the Voice and tries to prove that dragons can’t control their urge to fight.
- Wulf: I am guessing none of the dragons surrounding Paarthurnax will defend me.
- Silah: Why is that?
- Wulf: They will only use the Thu’um when necessary. They know we are capable of defeating Boziikkro without their aid. Therefore, they will enthusiastically watch the fight but not participate.
- Silah: Well then, Nafaalilargus. Get moving!
When we arrived at the summit, Nafalilargus flew low and slow, and I leapt off him, landing in front of Paarthurnax.
Odahviing, Paarthurnax and other dragons didn’t get a chance to ask questions before Boziikkro made an appearance.
I said, “You are wrong, Boziikkro. You will die knowing the truth, and I will absorb your soul. The lesson taught will be lost for eternity.”
Boziikkro’s Shout stung, and he proved to be quite agile in the air. Silah uttered very unladylike things when her fiery Shout missed him.
Dragonrend made him crash to the ground.
Boziikkro was more powerful than most dragons I had fought. I hit him many times with my katana, and he reared up in agony but did not die.
Nafaalilargus and Silah strafed him with Dragonfire, yet he continued to fight.
I cut deeply into his snout, and Boziikkro’s head snapped to his left.
He tried to grasp me in his jaws, but I dodged them easily.
I cut deeply into his snout, and his head snapped to his right.
I smiled and said, “Time to end the lesson!”
Boziikkro tried to impale me with his horn.
I used it to swing around and land on his head.
He thrashed wildly, trying to dislodge his doom. Silah hit him with Dragonfire.
I said, “I am out of practice. A Dovah is rarely stupid enough to challenge me.”
It would have been easier if Boziikkro’s horn wasn’t threatening to skewer me.
My katana entered Boziikkro’s brain, and I leapt off him as he died.
Nafaalilargus provided the coup de grace with Dragonfire.
“Thank you for your assistance. Point proved, but the student is dead.”
“He was strong.”
“Yes, he was a worthy opponent but a fool. You are free to go, Jewel of The Empire.”
Nafaalilargus took off and flew close to Silah, who snarled, “Yes, you were impressive but are nowhere near earning a mating flight, so don’t ask!”
As other dragons, including Odahviing, flew with my two allies and discussed the battle, I approached Paarthurnax.
“Drem yol lok, Dovahkiin. Boziikkro was proven wrong, but as you implied, a wasted lesson.”
“I knew the other Dov would watch the fight with interest and am not surprised they found it entertaining. But they didn’t join in, despite a natural tendency to do so.”
“Correct. Even Odahviing at least agrees with that part of our philosophy. He saw no need to use his Thu’um, so he didn’t.”
“It might be that he just wanted to enjoy the spectacle.”
“True. Was there a reason for your visit apart from testing our commitment to The Way of the Voice?”
“I recently asked about earthquakes and avalanches. You said several have occurred that would have destroyed Silverpeak Lodge.”
“That is correct.”
“Did any of them harm High Hrothgar?”
“No, because Kyne protects it.”
“Lady Kynareth has also erected a barrier to protect Silverpeak Lodge.”
“I am not surprised. The Nine, Dovahkiin, love you.”
“Do you know Durnehviir?”
“Yes, he was last seen about a thousand years ago.”
“He is alive and was a prisoner in The Soul Cairn. He thinks that if I summon him to Mundus, he will have to return to that realm of Oblivion.”
“And what do you think?”
“My knowledge of souls is intuitive. Without any experience, for this is a unique scenario, I think his soul will be free of The Soul Cairn if he spends enough time in Mundus.”
“I agree, but my knowledge is not based on anything but logic. You may have to summon him several times for his soul to become attuned to Mundus, not Oblivion.”
“He has learned snippets of history for the thousand years he has been in The Soul Cairn. He may have many questions.”
“He is welcome to visit. I assume he is starved for tinvaak.”
“Very much so.”
“I shall not try and turn him into a convert, Dovahkiin. He needs to experience Nirn as it is today before he can make an informed choice.”
“Are you curious as to why I visited The Soul Cairn?”
“Soon, I will learn about the task that necessitated your visit there from other sources. In the meantime, I must ask, what were your impressions of that realm?”
“It was the bleakest, most depressing place I have visited. At least Malacath’s Ashpit had a bit of colour and activity. Even Apocrypha seemed livelier.”
“Did you interact with The Ideal Masters?”
“No, I did not seek them out. We wouldn’t get along if their realm reflects their personalities.”
“Boziikkro’s corpse bothers me. His soul is lost, so his skeleton is worthless. One of the others will carry it away and drop it into a volcano. That is the best way of disposing of the soulless corpses of Dov.”
‘I will visit again soon, Paarthurnax.”
I teleported into High Hrothgar.
I went to Lady Kynareth’s temple and stood before her altar.
I asked, “Lady Kynareth, have you placed a protective barrier around Silverpeak Lodge?”
Familiar probing that of a god trying to talk telepathically let me know the Divine had heard my question.
I said, “Do not be insulted, Lady Kynareth, but I don’t open my mind for gods to talk telepathically. It is a rule I adhere to for my protection.”
Lady Kynareth’s voice was reminiscent of wind through a canyon. It was beautiful but very unusual.
“Dragonchild, I understand and am not insulted. Others have told me that opening your mind to my silent lessons was a significant display of trust on your behalf.”
“I had a repeat vision of an earthquake and subsequent avalanche. The avalanche is prevented from destroying Silverpeak Lodge by a barrier. Please tell me, have you placed the barrier and when?”
“I placed the barrier when your friends and artisans started renovating Silverpeak Lodge. It will remain there as long as mortals occupy the property.”
“Then I struggle to express how grateful I am.”
“There is no need to thank me, Dragonchild. The Nine love you, and we need your presence in Mundus, so it was no great burden.”
“The avalanche material is not vaporised, is it?”
“That would require significantly more Magicka and generate great heat. The barrier is a portal. The material is deposited deep underground where there are pockets of emptiness.”
“It has been an honour to hear your voice, Lady Kynareth.”
I bowed and then teleported into Silverpeak Lodge. Olette came running over.
“Are we going now?”
“And Meeko is coming?”
We teleported into Hjerim.
- Olette: Are you sure there are no body parts?
- Wulf: Priestess Helgird removed all the body parts and interred them in The Hall of the Dead. I then paid a lot of money to have the house thoroughly cleaned. Only when I was happy with the cleaning did I allow the renovations and delivery of furniture.
- Olette: Can’t we see the Jarl and miss out on the tour of this house?
- Rigmor: Olette, you must look around the house to remove your fear.
- Wulf: I am sorry you saw what Calixto did to those ladies. He is dead, and this is a lovely home. I am not used to seeing you frightened, Olette.
- Olette: And you think this will help me, Rigmor and Cap’n?
- Wulf: Yes, Olette, we do.
- Meeko: Woof!
- Olette: Thank you, Meeko. I appreciate your support.
We did a house tour, and Olette stood and stared into the room where Calixto had cut up several women.
- Meeko: Woof!
- Olette: Yes, it looks like a lovely, ordinary bedroom.
- Wulf: That’s because it is a lovely, ordinary bedroom. There are no ghosts left behind. The souls of the murdered moved onto their afterlives.
- Rigmor: Meeko would let you know if anything remained of the deceased.
- Olette: Well, Meeko?
- Meeko: Woof!
- Olette: Okay, there is nothing in there that will harm me.
- Wulf: We know you saw some horrible things while living on the streets. But what happened in there was a shock to us all and unexpected. I am sorry you saw what you did.
- Olette: It wasn’t your fault, Cap’n. The bad guy got what he deserved, which is more important than my fear.
- Meeko: Woof?
- Olette: Nope. I am no longer scared, and this is a lovely house.
- Wulf: That’s good because we are sleeping here tonight. That will be your room!
- Rigmor: Hold him, and I will hit him. Or do you want to do the hitting?
- Olette: Let’s take it in turns. Five punches each turn.
- Meeko: Woof?
- Olette: You get to bite him at the end of each turn.
- Wulf: You don’t want to get blood all over the place. It took me ages to hide the last lot!
- Olette: Does that qualify as weird, Rigmor?
- Rigmor: Well, he is laughing at it when nobody sane would.
- Olette: Weird it is, then.
After the ladies had seen enough, we exited and headed for The Palace of the Kings.
We encountered Priestess Helgird in her favourite place, the cemetery.
“Good day, Priestess Helgird.”
“Oh, look, it’s Thane Welkynd. That means I am guaranteed fresh bodies to embalm and bury. Oh, goody!”
“Yes, I am well, thank you for asking. Have a nice day!”
Olette started laughing.
Rigmor nudged her, then put her finger to her lips whilst nodding at the graves.
They looked into each other’s eyes, and then Olette went cross-eyed.
Both of them burst out laughing hysterically. Helgird walked away, shaking her head.
An Argonian dressed in rags casually walked by. If he had tried that when Ulric was Thane, he would have been severely beaten, if not killed.
At the front of the palace, I asked one of the Legionnaires, “Is the Jarl present.”
“Yes, Thane. Be aware some of those you helped remove, such as ex-Jarls and their lackeys, might be encountered. Please resist decapitating any of them, no matter how rude they get.”
“Can I punch them till they crap their teeth next bowel movement?”
“That would be acceptable and probably welcomed by the guards inside. You have no idea how much vitriol they spew our way.”
“I can imagine.”
We entered, and thankfully, no sore losers were encountered as I walked the hall’s length.
- Wulf: Good day, my Jarl.
- Brunwulf: The same to you, Thane Welkynd.
- Rigmor: That is a fine suit of armour! You must have had an important Colovian warlord in your family.
- Brunwulf: You are very well educated on armour Lady…?
- Wulf: Jarl Brunwulf Free-Winter, I am honoured to introduce Lady Yrsa Ramsbottom.
- Olette: Lady Bear Bum for short.
- Wulf: And I am not so honoured to introduce Lady Olette Welkynd, my daughter and continual source of embarrassment.
- Brunwulf: I am delighted to meet you both. Now tell me, Lady Ramsbottom, how did you know the origin of this armour?
- Rigmor: Lord Talos was wearing similar when we had a long talk recently.
- Brunwulf: You talked to Lord Talos?
- Rigmor: Yes, he is a good friend of Wulf’s and likes to chat.
- Brunwulf: That is an honour, but you don’t seem overwhelmed by it?
- Rigmor: Lord Talos has a way of making you feel welcome, Jarl. Yes, it was an honour, but Wulf seemed casual when speaking to him. I was not overawed.
- Brunwulf: You, young lady, must be ten or eleven.
- Olette: Eleven.
- Brunwulf: Thane Welkynd seems too young to have a daughter your age.
- Olette: I am adopted, Thane.
- Brunwulf: Okay, my curiosity is sated. Is there something I can do for you, Thane Welkynd?
- Wulf: I am in Windhelm to speak to Angrenor the Quiet. Where can I find him at this time of the day?
- Brunwulf: I would have said the tavern a couple of months ago. However, Angrenor has been cleaning Aretino Aventus’ house for the last few days. He told me he couldn’t do a proper restoration job unless it were thoroughly cleaned.
- Wulf: Did you give him a key to the house?
- Brunwulf: No. He has had a key for a long time. As I said in my letter, Angrenor and Nasia became close.
- Wulf: Lady Welkynd says both Aventus and Sofie had kind things to say about Angrenor.
- Brunwulf: Sofie is living with you, but how do you know Aventus, Lady Welkynd?
- Olette: I was living on the streets of Riften, Jarl. I used to speak to Aventus and the other orphans within Honourhall Orphanage.
- Wulf: We shall visit Riften after speaking to Angrenor and ask Aventus if he would accept Angrenor as his adoptive father. Whatever happens, the deed to the house should remain Aventus’ That is my condition for funding any restoration.
- Brunwulf: Yes, I already informed Angrenor that would be the arrangement.
- Wulf: Then we shall be on our way, my Jarl.
We walked past Skald, the ex-Jarl of Dawnstar, on our way to the exit. He wisely kept his mouth shut.
An assassin was hiding behind a column near Skald. He leapt out, and before taking two steps, Meeko tackled him.
Skald was old but fast, and between him and Meeko, the assassin was kept busy.
I walked up and cut the assassin’s head off.
One of the guards had also hit the assassin with an arrow.
I searched the body, but there was no contract or anything to identify him.
I gave Meeko a good scratch, thanked Skald and the guard and headed for the exit.
Brunwulf ran over and intercepted us.
- Brunwulf: My apologies, Thane Welkynd.
- Wulf: There is no need for an apology. Many people want me dead, my Jarl. They will attack wherever I am.
- Meeko: Woof!
- Wulf: Meeko says he noticed the assassin follow us in, and his body language was suspect. Therefore, he kept a close eye on him.
- Olette: Yes, Jarl, we all speak to Meeko. He is not just a dog if he is one at all.
- Wulf: I often bring Meeko with me when visiting the cities. It is not the first time he has detected danger long before I do.
- Brunwulf: Yes, well, giant talking dogs and an attempted assassination. Forgive me if this is a bit of a shock.
- Wulf: There was nothing on the assassin to say who hired him if anybody. He could be a disgruntled Stormcloak. Even without Meeko, I would have sensed his approach before he reached me. He hesitated too long, so he is likely not a professional.
- Brunwulf: Okay. My steward will try and get an identity, and we will let you know if we do.
- Wulf: Thank you, my Jarl.
When we exited, I said to Rigmor, “I saw you place that battleaxe back on display. It was Ulfric’s.”
“Oh, I was hoping you didn’t notice.”
“It was your choice to come here unarmed and unarmoured. However, you instinctively wanted to defend me and grabbed the nearest weapon. We are warriors, Rigmor, and fine clothes won’t change that.”
“But I can pretend to be a lady out for a stroll.”
“You are a lady, but one that can chop people to pieces.”
“You are so romantic sometimes.”
We knocked on the door of Aventus’ house. After a few seconds, there was no answer, so we entered.
We quickly looked around, and I saw that Angrenor had done a fine job cleaning the house. We could also see there was a lot of damage needing repair. I know some of it was once hidden by carpets and strategically placed furniture.
Angrenor entered and challenged us, “Who are you, and what are you doing in this house?”
I walked out of the shadows and closer to him, and then he realised who I was.
- Angrenor: My apologies, Dragonborn.
- Wulf: You saw strangers in this house and challenged them. That is understandable, and no apology is required, Angrenor.
- Angrenor: It is an honour to meet you, Dragonborn.
- Wulf: Please, call me Wulf.
- Olette: Ahem!
- Wulf: Hey, I was getting to it. Sheesh! The impatient child is my daughter, Lady Olette Welkynd. The nice patient woman is a visitor from Cyrodiil, Lady Yrsa Ramsbottom. The large drooly thing is Meeko.
- Angrenor: Ahh, glad to meet you ladies, and Meeko.
- Wulf: Okay, I know your story, Angrenor, and I don’t care that you were a Stormcloak. The incident with Suvaris is in the past, and I know the circumstances leading to it. You want a chance to redeem and reform, and I will be pleased to help.
- Rigmor: What are your plans, Angrenor.
- Angrenor: Well, at first, I wanted to be the caretaker of this house till Aventus came of age. But then I remembered how well we used to get along. He will always miss Piluren, his father, but I began to be a substitute, and we became close. I love that boy as if he were my own, and I would be pleased if he were adopted. However, I think we would be happier if we adopted each other.
- Wulf: I am glad you recognise that adoption is a two-way process. It doesn’t work if the child doesn’t recognise the adopter as their parent.
- Rigmor: We understand how you developed a bond with Aventus, but why do you want to adopt Sofie?
- Angrenor: We both suffered due to Stormcloak indifference, creating a solid bond. I helped Sofie as much as I could. Now I would like to help her more, plus I think a second child in the house will be good for Aventus.
- Rigmor: You would understand our need to be cautious when an unmarried man wants to adopt a young girl.
- Angrenor: Yes, of course, but I swear on The Nine, Sofie has nothing to fear from me.
- Olette: I think we can trust Angrenor. Children share warnings or concerns about predators or suspected predators. Neither Aventus nor Sofie have ever voiced concerns about Angrenor.
- Wulf: Okay, Angrenor, here is what I propose. I shall give you the funds required to repair the house. We shall meet again in a week. At that meeting, I shall decide if your adoption offer is acceptable.
- Angrenor: I only need three days to repair the house.
- Wulf: Okay, we shall meet again four days from today. The New Order invasion, dragons and civil war have caused widespread damage. Therefore, materials can be hard to obtain as people rebuild.
I reached into my journal case and retrieved a small chest. I handed it to the wide-eyed Angrenor. His eyes grew even larger when he felt the weight of the chest.
- Wulf: There are sufficient funds in the chest for any timber, nails, hinges, etcetera you need. We shall discuss more funding for furniture when we meet again. Get yourself a few sets of decent clothes as well.
- Angrenor: You are placing a lot of trust in me, Wulf.
- Wulf: At the moment, I am trusting you with money. I will make a judgement about trusting you with the children when I next visit.
- Angrenor: I am sorry for the good soldiers I killed. Some fought beside me in The Great War.
- Wulf: We cannot change the past, Angrenor. All we can do is admit our errors and try to do better. Only you can judge if your atonement is sufficient. The Nine will not judge you. Sovngarde, if that is your choice of an afterlife, allows any soul to enter. Ulfric’s soul will be in the Hall of Valour even though he was a traitor and blasphemer. However, he will have regrets. He will know the fullness of his crimes and have eternity to feel guilt and remorse. Death brings knowledge and wisdom.
- Angrenor: When I die, am I to be my judge?
- Wulf: Yes, even if you don’t achieve all you wanted before death, you will know how hard you tried. It won’t determine if you enter Sovngarde or not, but what thoughts haunt your afterlife. You will be able to weigh all aspects and make a fair judgement.
- Olette: Cap’n says that some souls that become ghosts and spirits are not ready to enter their afterlife. They have some unfinished things that they regret not completing.
- Wulf: Yes, and such souls need to be guided to Aetherius. Sometimes completing a task for them is all that is needed.
- Angrenor: I will do my best to fix up this home for Aventus and prove to you I will be a good father.
- Wulf: We shall see, Angrenor. I will be fair in my assessment, with the children’s best interests of paramount importance.
- Rigmor: Be assured, Angrenor, that Wulf will not judge you on past deeds.
- Wulf: Blessings of The Nine, Angrenor. I will see you in four days.
Angrenor sat at a table and unrolled a list of items needed. He then counted the money I gave him and started ticking off each item that could be purchased. I know he will find excess funds because that is part of the test. When we discuss the subsequent funds required, I hope he admits he still has plenty left.
Rigmor said, “I felt helpless when that assassin attacked. Before we go to Riften, I would like to change into my armour.”
“Okay, Silverpeak Lodge it is.”
When we teleported into Silverpeak Lodge, Rigmor went with Olette to our room. It is always easier to put on armour with helping hands. It stops the need for awkward contortions as you reach for belts and buckles.
I wandered around and chatted with a few people.
After some time, I entered our room, and Rigmor was ready.
I knew the first thing Rigmor would notice and comment on in Honeyside. We teleported there, and I was correct.
- Rigmor: A bar!
- Wulf: The Dragonguard who use my houses said they wanted bars in them, so they got bars.
- Olette: Have you renovated all the houses?
- Wulf: Most of them. The Dragonguard want to relax and enjoy themselves, so I am happy to provide what is needed for that to happen.
- Rigmor: It is a pity that Vayu and Celestine’s house is not happening.
- Wulf: Part of my plans for Dragonmount includes a separate house. I don’t know how much space I can allocate inside the castle for The Dragonguard, as my priority is facilities for the orphans. I will have a better idea when I meet with the architects.
- Olette: The mages can teleport people between Dragonmount and Silverpeak if necessary.
- Wulf: Or I can install portals. I should practice making them, as they are far more complicated than teleport spells.
- Olette: Could I be a mage?
- Wulf: Anybody can be a mage. However, if you don’t have sufficient Magicka, it is a frustrating experience. Some people have a lot of Magicka naturally. Some have to boost what they have with relics and other magical items. At the moment, you don’t have much.
- Rigmor: Wulf’s mother, Saint Alessia, was not a mage, but she could do amazing things with alchemy.
- Wulf: Many of the greatest alchemists couldn’t summon enough Magicka for even the simplest spells.
- Olette: I watch Cap’n, and some of The Dragonguard make potions, and it doesn’t look complicated. You have to be careful to follow the recipe.
- Wulf: The difference is, if you make a mistake with a cooking recipe, you aren’t going to blow yourself up or poison somebody.
- Olette: I don’t know about the poison bit. Have you tried Lydia’s Apple Cabbage Stew? She got one letter wrong. It should be spew and not stew.
- Rigmor: I hope you were polite when Lydia asked if you liked it.
- Olette: I was very polite. I turned my head and projectile vomited on the floor, not Lydia, and I didn’t say a bad word about it.
- Wulf: That’s because you couldn’t stop gagging for five minutes.
- Rigmor: Poor Lydia! She loves Apple Cabbage Stew and is mystified why nobody else does.
- Olette: Some Dragonguard love it as much as Lydia. It is love or hate. It is one of those things where there is no middle ground.
- Wulf: Deluded or detest.
- Olette: Weird or normal.
- Rigmor: You two are being very judgemental.
- Wulf: Yes, and your point is?
- Rigmor: Let’s visit the orphanage while you can still walk, Dragonbum!
- Meeko: Woof?
- Rigmor: Yes, Meeko, you are a very good boy for not being judgemental.
- Wulf: Hypocrite mutt! You gagged longer than Olette. Then, when Lydia next asked if you wanted a bowl of Apple Cabbage Stew, you growled at her!
- Rigmor: Did you, Meeko?
Meeko unleashed his sad puppy eyes on Rigmor, and she fell for it.
Rigmor knelt and patted Meeko, saying, “Aww, I am sure you didn’t mean to be nasty.”
Olette and I just shook our heads and exited the house.
When we walked past Mistveil Keep, Rigmor commented, “I like the new banners.”
“The new Jarl has rearranged the whole place. Many of the Jarls have redecorated after the civil war.”
“A sign of a new beginning, perhaps?”
“Yes, I suppose it is.”
Honourhall Orphanage didn’t look any different from the outside besides fresh staining on the wood and chinking to keep the wind and canal smells out.
We entered, and there were fewer children than I expected. The orphans we saw were clean, happy and well-fed. There were toys for them to play with, which Grelod would never have allowed.
Most of the children knew Olette, and while she chatted with them, Rigmor and I spoke to Constance. Meeko, even when sitting, towered over many of the children. He had to lie down to give access to his ears, which were scratched by many little hands, and he sighed with contentment.
- Wulf: I finally get to visit! Honourhall looks like it should, and the children seem happy.
- Constance: Welcome, Wulf.
- Wulf: Constance, I am honoured to introduce Lady Yrsa Ramsbottom. She is visiting from Cyrodiil and has shown great interest in the orphanages I am supporting.
- Rigmor: I am pleased to meet you, Constance. Wulf has praised you so often I feel like I know you already.
- Constance: Really? I don’t think I have done anything praiseworthy.
- Rigmor: Nonsense. Lady Welkynd says you helped the orphans when that horrible woman was in charge.
- Constance: Lady Welkynd? Oh, you mean Olette. You can see the affection the children have for her. She was also excellent support for them during those dark days.
- Rigmor: Lady Welkynd is an inspiration to adults and children. She is quite remarkable.
- Constance: Is there a lack of orphanages in Cyrodiil?
- Rigmor: I think that is a problem in all provinces. Most Counts, Jarls, etcetera are short on funds. Wulf wants to show orphanages can be self-funding for the most part. Not smaller ones like this, but the larger ones should be able to produce enough income to cater for the smaller ones.
- Constance: Isn’t the forced labour of children abhorrent?
- Wulf: There is no forced labour, Constance. The mages, blacksmiths and other craft teachers can make items for sale. The children can produce cakes etc., that are part of their learning.
- Constance: Oh, I see. It will be interesting to see how much income is generated.
- Rigmor: There are fewer children here than we expected.
- Constance: The children are being adopted at a much higher rate than ever before. It helps when they look clean and well-fed. I think some of them sabotage their chances as they like it here. That’s okay. It should always be the child’s choice where adoption is concerned.
- Wulf: They are excellent judges of character.
- Constance: They are undoubtedly adept at detecting the sleazy type and will not hesitate to tell me so.
- Rigmor: Those people must be mentally ill. How can you view a child as sexually desirable?
- Wulf: Many, not all, were victims of abuse. Early experiences can significantly influence sexual preferences. Still, they know what is morally right, so I can’t accept their abuse as an excuse.
- Rigmor: But why prey on orphans? There are plenty of homeless children on the streets.
- Constance: Who knows their reasoning, Lady Ramsbottom? All we can do is be careful and listen to a child’s judgement of an individual.
- Wulf: Do you know where Aventus is?
- Constance: He was in the classroom finishing an essay on Third-Era events. He has proved most studious and has even suggested he might consider another profession over assassin.
- Wulf: Are you finding the workload too much? We can afford an assistant governess.
- Constance: At the moment, the workload is bearable. However, an assistant might be advisable in case I become ill. Also, I often deal with one child when another decides they urgently need me. Is it okay if I interview some prospects myself?
- Wulf: Yes, of course, the decision is entirely yours.
- Constance: The current level of funding is sufficient, Wulf. I know you were going to ask and then insist on increasing it. There is no need to do so.
- Wulf: But…
- Rigmor: Listen to Constance, you oaf! She knows what is needed, not you!
- Wulf: Yes, Lady Ramsbottom.
- Constance: That tone of voice is perfect! Are you a teacher, Lady Ramsbottom?
- Rigmor: No, but Mother was.
- Wulf: Okay, Olette has extracted herself from the ingratitude. There is no need to interrupt your routine. We shall do our tour ourselves, Constance.
- Rigmor: Ingratitude?
- Wulf: That is the collective noun for children.
- Rigmor: Yeah, right. Pffft!
- Constance: Wulf is correct, Lady Ramsbottom.
- Rigmor: Don’t you dare raspberry me again, Wulf!
Ignoring the threat of dismemberment, I did a very loud and long raspberry. The children laughed loud, and Rigmor had no choice but to laugh with them.
There were many more beds than before and of higher quality.
We found Aventus in the classroom.
- Aventus: Hello, Wulf, the pretty lady in cool armour and Olette.
- Olette: I am to be addressed as Lady Welkynd, you little guttersnipe!
- Aventus: Very good! Do you have plums in your mouth?
- Olette: No, I pretend to have a stick up my arse.…um, rectum.
- Aventus: Oh yes, jolly good. I can see how that works, but how in blazes is one supposed to walk?
- Olette: Very carefully. It is advisable to check the imaginary stick for splinters before insertion.
- Wulf: The pretty woman is Lady Yrsa Ramsbottom. She is very good at chopping bad people into pieces with her sword.
- Aventus: That is so neat!
- Olette: Aventus, you have told me about Angrenor in the past.
- Aventus: It gets me angry when I think of how he was treated!
- Wulf: Do you call him Angrenor the Once-Honoured?
- Aventus: No! He was and always will be Angrenor the Quiet to me!
- Rigmor: Was your mother fond of him?
- Aventus: It took a long time for her to stop feeling guilty about loving another man. Father had been dead long enough, and he would have wanted her to be happy, especially since Father and Angrenor were close friends. Angrenor said the bond between soldiers is powerful. He understood why I was confused when he killed some soldiers he knew during the civil war.
- Wulf: Do you think Angrenor was fighting for Ulfric?
- Aventus: No, he was fighting for the right to worship Talos. He didn’t like Ulfric very much. Maybe Ulfric knew that, which is why Angrenor was mistreated when he got injured.
- Olette: Ulfric treated lots of injured Stormcloaks the same way. He treated the children of Stormcloaks just as badly when they were orphaned.
- Aventus: Yeah, Angrenor was sad for Sofie, a little orphan who used to sell flowers. Her father was a Stormcloak, and Sofie was thrown onto the street when he was killed.
- Wulf: Did you ever speak to Sofie?
- Aventus: Yes, a few times. Once I went with Angrenor, and he brought all Sofie’s flowers. That made her smile, and that made Angrenor smile. He told me it was okay that he had an empty, rumbly tummy because Sofie’s smile was worth it.
- Wulf: I have given Angrenor some money to fix up your house. He will repair the broken floorboards and holes in the walls etc.
- Aventus: Does he want to live in it? It is okay if he wants to.
- Olette: He wants to live in it with you and Sofie.
- Aventus: Adopt us?
- Olette: Yes, dopey.
- Aventus: Mother and Father would like that. I would like it too because I want to help him become Angrenor the Quiet to all the people in Windhelm. Well, lots of them because there are a gazillion people in that city.
- Olette: He would want you to go to school.
- Aventus: I wouldn’t be trying to write this essay if I didn’t like to learn.
- Olette: Good point.
- Wulf: Would you get along with Sofie?
- Aventus: Orphans understand each other without words. The loss of parents creates a special bond, so I have no doubt we would get along.
- Olette: I know all about that special bond.
- Aventus: That is why you helped us in Riften. You were like our big sister.
- Olette: I am glad you said big and not old.
- Aventus: Hey, your breasts are getting bigger, so you must be ancient.
- Olette: Pervert.
- Aventus: Yep!
- Wulf: I am not promising that Angrenor will be allowed to adopt you, Aventus. I will take your opinion into account as well as that of Sofie.
- Aventus: That is fair enough. However, I have not wanted to go with other people who have shown interest in adopting me.
- Wulf: I can tell you are fond of Angrenor. As I said, your thoughts will be taken into account.
- Aventus: He would have been my father if he hadn’t got injured. Then Mother got sick and, well, you know what happened.
- Olette: Angrenor would have to disappoint Wulf, and I don’t think that will happen.
- Aventus: So, you think Angrenor will get the nod, but you won’t say so.
- Olette: Wulf won’t promise anything other than he will consider the possibility.
- Aventus: I think the word is procrastination.
- Wulf: No, the word is caution.
- Aventus: Okay, I won’t pretend it is happening till you tell me it is.
- Wulf: It is okay to hope, Aventus. Making a promise that I might not be able to keep is not okay.
- Aventus: Oh, I understand now.
- Wulf: Good, but I am sad that you might not become an assassin.
- Aventus: Really? You spent a lot of time telling me that was a bad idea.
- Olette: Wulf knows that. He is being sarcastic because he is a bast… lousy person.
- Aventus: You were going to say bastard, Olette!
- Olette: Yes, but I am a lady now and must watch my p’s and q’s. Plus, it is challenging to say bastard with a plum in my mouth.
Aventus had a fit of giggles as we continued our inspection of Honourhall.
We were impressed by the bathing and toilet facilities.
Overall, we thought the orphanage was not overcrowded with furniture. There was plenty of room for the children to run around and play games, the classroom was excellent, and there were plenty of toys and books.
I took Olette back to Silverpeak Lodge and gathered Felix. I returned him and Rigmor to her ‘apartment’ as she likes to call her old house. Sometimes she prefers to be taken there rather than to her room in the castle. It gives her time to relax before Freathof, Sigunn, and Malesam demand her attention.
When I returned to Silverpeak, I went outside and summoned Nafaalilargus. He landed with surprising grace on the roof. I could see Silah high up.
I said, “I am about to summon Durnehviir from The Soul Cairn. I want him to fly around as his soul needs to become attuned to Mundus. After a few summoning, his soul will not force a return to that realm of Oblivion.”
“Okay, sounds good, but then I have never been much of a student of time. You dying those dozens of times hurt my brain.”
“At least that is proof you have one!”
“Just summon the mouldy Dovah.”
I summoned Durnehviir, and he slowly materialised as he crossed between planes. Directions must be reversed in The Soul Cairn, as the dragon had to turn around to speak to me.
- Durnehviir: Ah! The free air of Vus at long last.
- Nafaalilargus: Woah! It looks like you left half of yourself behind, and the rest is melting!
- Durnehviir: I am surprised you are here, Nafaalilargus. I thought nothing interfered with you staring into a mirror and boasting about how pretty you are.
- Nafaalilargus: What can I say? Some of us are blessed with beauty, whilst some lack eyeballs.
- Wulf: During your incarceration, did you hear how a single mortal defeated Nafaalilargus with a curved sword in battle? A curved sword!
- Durnehviir: That sounds like a tale worth hearing over and over again.
- Nafaalilargus: Okay, let’s not go there. I am pleased you can fly the skies with us again, Durnehviir.
- Durnehviir: I can feel the pull of The Soul Cairn, Dovahkiin.
- Wulf: Fly until you can’t resist the pull. After I have summoned you a few times, your soul will attune itself to Mundus. Well, that is my theory.
- Durnehviir: What do you think, Nafaalilargus?
- Nafaalilargus: I bow to Wulf’s superior knowledge of souls. Ask me about gold coins, and I can tell you their weight, distinguishing features and which are the best to bathe in.
- Durnehviir: I, too, bow to Dovahkiin’s knowledge of souls. It is a sad fact I spent a thousand years in The Soul Cairn and learnt nothing new about them!
Durnehviir lifted and roared with joy. Bits of him flacked off, but still, it was a heart-warming sight.
He said, “I rejoice in my freedom, if only for a moment!”
After six minutes, he faded from Mundus as his soul sought The Soul Cairn.
I gave it a minute, then summoned him again.
As before, he materialised facing the wrong way and had to turn around to talk.
- Durnehviir: I can feel my strength returning. Perhaps that will be so each time I am set free from that prison!
- Nafaalilargus: You have eyes and are not so mouldy.
- Wulf: It seems my theory is proven.
- Durnehviir: I can still feel the tug of The Soul Cairn. Let’s see how long I can enjoy this glorious day before being dragged back into that bleak place.
Nafaalilargus joined Durnehviir in flight. Silah observed from up high. I know she would report what she saw to Lord Akatosh. He will be pleased a Celestial Son has returned after so many were lost.
Odahviing and other dragons also hovered and watched Durnehviir revel in his freedom.
He triumphantly announced, “The skies of Keizaal are mine again!”
A full ten minutes passed before Durnehviir faded back into Oblivion.
As per the previous two summons, I got the arse end of Durnehviir when he materialised. Silah hovered lower to inspect the rescued Dovah.
- Durnehviir: Dovahkiin, you have given me freedom from the enslavement of the Ideal Masters. Thank you.
- Wulf: You don’t feel the tug of The Soul Cairn?
- Durnehviir: Not at all.
- Nafaalilargus: Your two-tone green and grey are lovely. Stop going and returning before you are as handsome as me.
- Durnehviir: You would still tell your reflection how handsome you are.
- Wulf: Fly free, Durnehviir. I suggest you enjoy the thermals at the summit of Monhaven.
- Durnehviir: That is an excellent suggestion. Do you care to join me, Nafaalilargus?
- Nafaalilargus: Of course, but expect to look clumsy if Silah joins us.
- Durnehviir: Teasing the males instead of stopping Dragon Breaks again?
- Silah: Name one Dragon Break that I missed. Just one!
- Durnehviir: The Jills, a collective noun that includes you, have missed several.
- Silah: And there I was, thinking poor Durnehviir probably needs some relief after a thousand years of staring at dusty old bones. But it seems I was mistaken.
- Nafaalilargus: What? Would you offer him a mating flight yet refuse me every time?
- Silah: A Jill has to have some standards.
The squabbling continued as the dragons flew to join the others circling the summit.
I was about to enter Silverpeak when two figures appeared at the top of Silverpeak Lodge’s path.
I used Zoom Vision to have a closer look.
To my astonishment, the strangers wore the armours of Tosh Raka’s Royal Guards. One was a warrior, the other a mage.
Tosh Raka is the living God-King of the Ka’Po’Tun, the Tiger People of Akavir. He had ‘eaten’ enough knowledge to turn himself into a dragon. Supposedly he is the largest dragon in existence.
Eaten on Akavir means learnt about, i.e. absorbed the knowledge of. When it is said the Tsaesci of Akavir ate all the men, it means they learnt all they could about the species of Man they encountered. Think of eating as gaining knowledge, not consumption. To the people of Akavir, I eat the dragon when I absorb its soul. It amazes me how many scholars think that Man is extinct on Akavir after being gobbled up by the Tsaesci. Idiots!
I had only encountered Royal Guards once before. We were helping a Ka’Po’Tun noble defend his land from bandits. After defeating two attacks of well-armed and armoured bandits, we thought our mission was complete. We celebrated with the ecstatic noble when a small band of Royal Guards appeared. The noble started to tremble as a sole warrior approached.
I talked to the Royal Guard, and he said that Tosh Raka wanted the land and hoped to either kill the noble or purchase it at a bargain price. After discretely observing our destruction of the mercenary bandits, the Royal Guards decided to find out who we were.
The Dragonguard were regarded as valuable rebels to be tolerated or outlaws that needed eliminating. Many factors decide which one we were to a particular group. When I told the Royal Guard who we were, he said he would seek guidance from Tosh Raka.
We spent an uneasy couple of days waiting for a decision. The Royal Guards camped within sight, which unsettled the noble terribly. We assured him we would not abandon him even though fighting Raka’s elite was not in our original agreement. We said we would protect his land, and we would do so.
After four days, the spokesperson for Tosh Raka approached. I thought the noble would faint. When I spoke to the Royal Guard, he said that Tosh Raka did not want to harm The Dragonguard as we were efficient Tsaesci killers. He did want the land and made an offer to the noble, which was well above its value. The noble was pleased to sell for such a sum and keep his head.
We would have prevailed against the Royal Guards, but I have no doubt some of us would have died.
Using my Thu’um. I said in Tsaesci, the most used language of Akavir, “HALT AND IDENTIFY YOURSELVES!”
The Royal Guards stared in my direction but didn’t flinch. Vayu and others exited Silverpeak, and I told them, “All of you except Vayu, back inside. There will be no arguments or discussion!”
Some of The Dragonguard who lived with me in Akavir, and had keen eyesight, knew who our visitors were. I could hear them telling others as they entered Silverpeak.
Vayu and I moved a bit closer so he could identify them.
He said, “Normal Ka’Po’Tun are rarely seen in The Empire, especially Skyrim. I doubt Raka’s Royal Guards have ever set foot on Tamriel.”
“Perhaps they are emissaries?”
“They haven’t identified themselves, which seems odd if they are diplomats.”
“All Ka’Po’Tun speak Tsaesci, as do the Tang Mo and the Kamal. That is why I never learnt their native languages.”
“Perhaps try Tamrielic?”
“Okay, I might as well.”
I used my Thu’um a small amount to ensure my voice carried. I said, “Please identify yourselves. This is private land, and you are trespassing.”
Laughter came from further down the path. Then a familiar voice said, “Valdr Septim, I hope I am welcome in your home.”
Vayu exclaimed, “I thought they all died! Thank The Divines they haven’t!”
We walked quickly towards the Royal Guards as a dear friend stepped between them and waited for us.
I smiled and asked, “How are you alive? And how did you find me? And why do you have two Royal Guards?”
“We might be in barbarian lands, but correct form is still required, Dragonguard Valdr.”
I placed my sword hand over my heart, bowed my head and said, “Welcome, Swordmaster Dhali.”
Dhali returned the salute and said, “Dragonguard Valdr, I request hospitality. I vouch for Khao and P’Sua.”
“Yes, we are about to start our evening meal. However, it is hard to hear yourself think over the noise. We shall sit outside where ample food and drinks will be provided.”
“If Dragonguard Celestine is available, I require her to join us.”
“Grandmaster Vayu will bring Celestine and arrange the meals.”
“Khao and P’Sua are not permitted to sit with me or you, even if they are ignorant of your noble rank.”
“There are two tables close together. They can sit on one, see us on the other table and be satisfied with your safety.”
“Okay, I shall follow you. Oh, and Grandmaster Vayu, congratulations on the promotion.”
Vayu bowed and said, “Thank you, Swordmaster Dhali. It is hard to be proud of a position earned because many above me died.”
Vayu departed to arrange Celestine and the meals.
Dhali and the Royal Guards followed me to the tables. As we walked, I started thinking of and eliminating possible scenarios leading to this scenario. I soon concluded that I couldn’t think of a logical reason.