Tirdas, 25th Sun’s Dusk, 4E 205

One of the peculiarities of The Throat of the World is how quickly its weather changes.

As we inspected the two tables, a severe snowstorm turned day into night. The bitter cold of high-altitude winds replaced the warmth of the Sun.

  • Wulf: Swordmaster Dhali, I suggested we speak outside as mealtimes are rather loud inside.
  • Dhali: And now the wind makes it hard to hear outside and unpleasantly cold.
  • Wulf: I suggest we go inside and concentrate on talking with food to follow. We can sit at a table furthest from the Dragonguard.
  • Dhali: Is there a table for Khao and P’Sua?
  • Wulf: With all due respect, Swordmaster, I am not one for protocol. If, as I suspect, they are to be here for months, if not years, then they should be as The Dragonguard. Noble ranks are of no importance amongst friends. I only request obedience in battle or when infiltrating enemy territory.
  • Dhali: I am comfortable with that concept, but you may have to persuade these two.
  • Wulf: What do you say, Khao and P’Sua, will you sit at the same table as Swordmaster Dhali?
  • P’Sua: We know Swordmaster Dhali’s noble rank within Ka’Po’Tun. The tenets of our order forbid us to sit at her table.
  • Khao: Except, P’Sua, if we are on a diplomatic mission. Then we must adhere to our host’s protocols.
  • P’Sua: Do you regard this as a diplomatic mission, Khao?
  • Khao: Dragonguard Valdr, are you aware of any Ka’Po’Tun nobility ever visiting Tamriel?
  • Wulf: I cannot say this is the first time. But it is not stretching the truth too far to say Swordmaster Dhali is here on behalf of Emperor Tosh Raka.
  • P’Sua: You think this is so even before Swordmaster Dhali tells of our purpose?
  • Dhali: P’Sua, you will soon learn that Dragonguard Valdr’s intuition and logic are unsurpassed. However, linking our visit with Emperor Tosh Raka does not take great thinking. You are two of his cherished Royal Guards.
  • Wulf: As a General of the Imperial Legion, I am permitted to represent His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Titus Mede II, in diplomatic discussions. When we talk, it will be a parley between The Imperial Empire and The Tiger-Dragon’s Empire.
  • P’Sua: Then I am content to follow local protocol.
  • Wulf: Good. Now that is sorted, let’s go inside before you get icicles on your whiskers.
  • P’Sua: Your Tsaesci is fluent, but that sentence is nonsense. It is too warm in my helm for icicles!
  • Dhali: Dragonguard Valdr, you will have to introduce the concept of humour to P’Sua slowly. And whatever you do, leave sarcasm till one of the last lessons.
  • Wulf: The Royal Guard do not laugh?
  • Khao: The mages do. However, the warriors find their helms do not allow the opening of mouths for laughing.
  • P’Sua: Was that humour?
  • Wulf: It might be easier to teach P’Sua the languages of Dovahzul and Ayleidoon!
  • Dhali: You and the young Blades made even the sternest of The Dragonguard laugh. I look forward to P’Sua’s laughter.

We made our way inside, and I commandeered a table. All food, and hungry Dragonguard, were promptly shifted elsewhere. My friends tried to keep their volume lower than usual, and others shushed those who strayed.

  • Wulf: On behalf of His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Titus Mede II, I welcome our honoured guests from Ka’Po’Tun.
  • Dhali: Can we please have your titles?
  • Vayu: I am Vayu, Shaman and Grandmaster of The Dragonguard and The Blades.
  • Celestine: I am Celestine, Master Mage, Dragonguard and Princess of Camlorn.

P’sua gasped at Celestine’s noble rank. I know what Dhali was doing. She wanted the Royal Guards to respect the barbarians sitting opposite their noble charge. Ultimately, the aim was for them to obey me as their superior if they were to accompany me.

  • Dhali: Dragonguard Valdr, I fear you might let humility restrict your answer. I request you supply all of your titles, which I have no doubt are many.
  • Vayu: We should have eaten first. We could starve!
  • Celestine: Shush!
  • Wulf: I am General Valdr Septim, Dragonborn and Champion of The Divines. I am Thane of Eastmarch, Falkreath Hold, Haafingar, Hjaalmarch, The Pale, The Reach, The Rift, Whiterun Hold and Winterhold. I am the champion of Daedric Princes Azura, Boethia, Hermaeus Mora, Malacath, Meridia and Sheogorath. I am Lord of Highreach, Hero of Solitude and Ysmir, Dragon of the North.
  • Dhali: My, you have been busy!

Khao laughed as P’Sua’s mouth opened and closed like a fish out of water.

  • Dhali: All that makes my rank of baroness seem tiny, doesn’t it, P’Sua?
  • P’Sua: This must be humour!
  • Wulf: I assure you, P’Sua, what I said is true.
  • P’Sua: Milady, you never mentioned we would be in contact with The Dragonborn to Emperor Tosh Raka.
  • Dhali: It was irrelevant to our mission, P’Sua. Our Emperor fears few mortals, and The Dragonborn is one of them. He may have perceived Valdr as a threat and asked you to assassinate him. I am fond of you and would hate to see you die needlessly.
  • P’Sua: You think he is capable of defeating me?
  • Dhali: P’Sua, I read your report about watching The Dragonguard destroy two large groups of expensive mercenaries. You spoke to Valdr on two occasions, and when you reported to Emperor Tosh Raka, you were full of praise for The Dragonguard. You expressed great admiration for the skill of their leader. Imagine those skills honed by far more battles and with the power of The Voice added. However, Valdr has even greater powers than those bestowed upon Reman Cyrodiil, the Worldly God. The Tsaesci bent their knees to Reman, and from that recognition of Divine Power, The Dragonguard were formed. Valdr could kill you with a sword, magic, Thu’um or destroy your soul with a single thought.

P’Sua was the Royal Guard I spoke to years before. It is not a coincidence he sits opposite me today.

  • Wulf: I am pleased to make your acquaintance once more, P’Sua.
  • Khao: You already looked stunned, P’Sua. Therefore, I ask myself, should I make your forehead crease even more and eyes even wider by voicing a suspicion? The answer is yes, as I love those ‘told you so’ moments. I think there is a secret to Valdr Septim yet to be revealed. Nobody would dare use the name Septim unless they are of that bloodline.
  • Dhali: You may have to wait for your satisfaction, Khao. Now the introductions are over, and I am sure The Dragonborn has questions that need answering.
  • Wulf: Vayu was the last ex-Blade to leave the battle within our headquarters. What did you see, Vayu?
  • Vayu: The Swordmasters were taking a heavy toll on the invaders. However, the enemy also deployed Swordmasters and, although of lesser skill, were numerically superior. Combined with the Blood Magic being used, there was no chance of victory. Fear the foe. Heed the teacher. The teacher was you, Swordmaster Dhali. You yelled those words at me as I hesitated to leave as ordered. The last thing I saw before fleeing was you seconds from being overwhelmed.

The words in Tsaesci are “Udu ewat pikra natsei vrin.” It is the beginning and end of one of the mantras we learned as we endured Dragonguard training.

  • Fear the foe, heed the teacher
  • Claws of adamant, voice of end
  • Fear the foe, heed the teacher
  • Move as wind, bend as river
  • Before victory, there is survival
  • Hate injury, shun death
  • Fear the foe, heed the teacher
  • Dhali: Dear Vayu, Celestine and Nirn needed you alive. Do not forget the other mantras. They are not words in the wind. They are why The Dragonguard continued to survive when so many tried to eliminate us.
  • Vayu: We all bear the scars of following the mantras, Swordmaster Dhali.
  • Dhali: Do not use titles as an expression of bitterness, Vayu.
  • Vayu: I apologise, Dhali. All the Blades who became Dragonguard will express shame and regret for abandoning our teachers.
  • Dhali: As will be made clear, the Swordmasters were asking you to forget honour, as dragons do. We suspected we were being targeted by a newly formed faction within the Tsaesci. The Tsaesci were always trying to find and eliminate us, but this new faction seemed fanatical in their desire to do so. They were adept at finding our agents, and we soon lost more in a few months than we had in decades. We knew we were being hunted but were still blindsided by their attack.

The Dragonguard are not expected to die if escape is possible. The Tsaesci words are “Ret ashtu zin fong dan lo.” It means “Forget honour, as dragons do”. The mantra is,

  • Forget honour, as dragons do
  • Instead, fight as prey
  • Run and hide, strike from ambush
  • Wound with a thousand cuts
  • Deceit triumphs over pride
  • Forget honour, as dragons do
  • Wulf: Did Emperor Tosh Raka send you here because he thinks we may know something of this new faction?
  • Dhali: He thought The Dragonguard might know more than his advisors, which is why I survived.
  • Khao: We were sent to speak to The Dragonguard. We knew the location of your headquarters via scrying using Hydromancy. It is one of our advantages over the Tsaesci. Very few mages have the skill. We did not make the scrying basins as they are from The Dawn Era and made by the Ehlnofey.
  • Wulf: You need to know the description of a living target for the scrying to work, do you not?
  • Khao: Yes, we needed an accurate description of a Dragonguard. We could not find you, Valdr. We thought you might be dead, too far away, or physically changed from two years earlier. I don’t know if Khajiiti have the same problem, but Ka’Po’Tun find it challenging to tell one Man from another. Vayu was the next target, as he was unique for a Man. Vayu’s red eyes, height and glowing tattoo, were what I used to locate him and find your headquarters.
  • Wulf: Can you spy using Hydromancy?
  • Khao: I have no doubt others more proficient could do so. No Ka’Po’Tun mage has enough skill. All we can do is locate the subject within a mile or two.
  • Vayu: You must have been with P’Sua when we fought those mercenaries. That is how you knew what I looked like.
  • Khao: That is correct. There is usually one mage for every three warriors in a Royal Guard squad. It is advantageous to keep consistent squads as they are more effective at combined tactics. So, I have been beside P’Sua for many years. We lost two squad members inside the Dragonguard headquarters.
  • Wulf: Okay, you had a rough idea where our headquarters were. There was still a large area to search for a small, well-hidden entrance.
  • P’Sua: We just followed the stream of Tsaesci who were queuing to use that small, well-hidden entrance.
  • Wulf: Let me speculate on the scenario.
  • Dhali: Do you still have that annoying habit?
  • Celestine: Valdr has lots of annoying habits.
  • Dhali: The one where he gathers small bits of information and somehow constructs an exact and detailed sequence of events.
  • Celestine: Yes, Dhali, he still has that annoying but helpful habit.
  • Wulf: You and this new Tsaesci faction arrived at our headquarters simultaneously, give or take a few minutes. While the Tsaesci had eyes forward, where they were fighting The Dragonguard, your squad managed to sneak past most of them. You wanted to rescue at least one of The Dragonguard. I doubt your priority would have been the Tang Ho or Tsaesci Dragonguard. When you saw several Ka’Po’Tun fighting, you targeted one of those.
  • Khao: Impressive!
  • Wulf: The trouble was that when you tried to recruit Dhali, you moved in front of the Tsaesci. If you wore your Royal Guard armour, some Tsaesci may have ignored orders and attacked you instead of The Dragonguard.
  • Khao: Correct.
  • Wulf: You had to quickly convince Dhali that it was a case of forgetting honour, as dragons do.
  • Khao: We don’t know the words of your mantras, but we did explain that Emperor Tosh Raka was concerned about the faction killing her friends. Dhali realised the truth of our words, for we were in our Royal Guard armour, so she no longer fought a good fight before death. She fought beside us for a chance to avenge The Dragonguard. Several other Dragonguard realised what was happening and also fought beside us.
  • Dhali: Revenge was one motivation, but a greater one was the fear for those who fled to Tamriel. I wanted to warn you, Valdr, but it took some time to avoid detection and make our way here.
  • Vayu: We thought they might pursue us. Plus, until recently, The Blades were outlaws within The Imperial Empire and hunted by The Thalmor. Therefore, we were extraordinarily paranoid and arrived in Skyrim as widely scattered individuals who looked nothing like Dragonguard or Blade.
  • Wulf: It is impressive that you fought through the Tsaesci and avoided their pursuit.
  • P’Sua: The Tsaesci were pushing forward, losing many troops to The Dragonguard. Once we were beyond their front line, we had the advantage of surprise. We would suddenly appear where no enemy troops should have been. We did not care if we killed or maimed as long as the momentum was maintained. When we exited, two of our squad and several Dragonguard delayed the Tsaesci at the entrance. Their sacrifice allowed us a head start on pursuers. Ka’Po’Tun can run much faster than Tsaesci, plus we can leap over obstacles that require them to clamber over. We soon left our pursuers behind and made our way to Ka’Po’Tun.
  • Dhali: That is how I escaped. I assume your mind has conjured many relevant questions, Valdr.

I had many questions to sate my curiosity. But I had to concentrate on what was needed to protect The Dragonguard and Tamriel.

  • Wulf: What can you tell us about this new faction?
  • Dhali: Not much. Our spies were found and killed soon after we learnt of their existence. Emperor Tosh Raka’s agents met the same fate. How they found them when the regular Tsaesci didn’t is a mystery.
  • Wulf: Was there anything different about this new faction? There must have been something to distinguish them from regular Tsaesci troops.
  • Dhali: The few reports we got from our agents verified some information that Emperor Tosh Raka received. What was odd about the forces that attacked our headquarters, Vayu?
  • Vayu: There were many non-Tsaesci amongst them. However, they were not mortal thralls but vampires. Some of them commanded platoons of mixed Tsaesci and non-Tsaesci.
  • Wulf: We have discussed this and thought of possible scenarios where the Tsaesci might gather large numbers of Man and Mer. From Vayu’s description, most did not look like the native Man species of Akavir.
  • Dhali: And what did you conclude?
  • Wulf: There are no native Mer of Akavir. The native Man species are easily identifiable as they generally have more diminutive stature than Imperial or Nord and have distinctive eyes. Therefore, the non-Tsaesci vampires were likely captured at sea or were unfortunate enough to land on parts of Akavir patrolled by this new Tsaesci faction. I also thought, and this is wild speculation triggered by their apparent large numbers, that Emperor Uriel Septim V provided many potential recruits during his idiotic invasion of Akavir in 3E 288.
  • Dhali: Emperor Tosh Raka’s advisors came to similar conclusions. When the Tsaesci ate the native Man species, they gained a great deal of knowledge regarding them. That allowed them to target their Blood Magic more effectively and enthral many natives. We have rarely encountered vampires who are not Tsaesci.
  • Celestine: Valdr would like to bite the scholars who declare Man on Akavir is extinct because the Tsaesci had them for dinner.
  • Dhali: Valdr, you know many languages. Therefore, you should understand how literal translations lead to such misguided conclusions.
  • Wulf: Understanding and accepting are not entwined, Dhali. Scholars should put forward such things as theory and conjecture, not facts. They have nothing to support their claims apart from the literal translation. But we are straying from what is essential. Is this new Tsaesci faction a danger to Tamriel? Are they a danger to me and those I love?
  • Dhali: We don’t know, Valdr. P’Sua and Khao are to report any information The Dragonguard might have to Emperor Tosh Raka. There is no time limit imposed on their information gathering. They should use discretion on what they deem of sufficient importance to risk the trip back home.
  • Wulf: At the moment, we know nothing more than Emperor Tosh Raka.
  • Khao: Then we remain until you do.
  • Dhali: Ka’Po’Tun’s war against the Tsaesci will not end for many years, if ever. Great battles are won or lost with little effect on the strategic situation. Both sides breed or turn enough new soldiers to maintain the status quo. If the Tsaesci were to invade Tamriel, they would have to sacrifice ships and troops that keep that status quo. They would risk losing their homeland. Therefore, Emperor Tosh Raka doesn’t think another invasion of Tamriel is likely. However, you recently fought a war against The New Order. Whilst The Empire was watching The Dominion, The New Order almost snuck in undetected.
  • Celestine: This new Tsaesci faction might try the same thing!
  • Dhali: Precisely. And that is why they would want to eliminate an independent and ruthlessly efficient group, such as The Dragonguard, that could discover and announce their plans.
  • Wulf: There is, potentially, another reason to eliminate us. The Blades were reduced to scattered individuals after The Great War. There was no expertise on dragon fighting left, except for The Dragonguard. I know the Ka’Po’Tun lost all their dragon allies, whom they called Black Dragons. As in the past, any invasion of Tamriel by Tsaesci would likely involve their Red Dragons. Even this new faction would most likely rely on Red Dragons.
  • Vayu: That is another literal translation that the scholars mangle. Odahviing and Nafaalilargus are the only red dragons ever to exist. Some scholars insist that Tsaesci recruited dozens of them.
  • Dhali: Yes, Valdr, that is another possible reason for targeting us. Wipe out any organised defence against dragons.
  • Celestine: At least at the beginning of the invasion. The Khajiiti quickly learned how to defend against dragons without a Dragonborn to aid them.
  • Wulf: Nafaalilargus had a great deal to do with their success. However, he did make a crucial mistake that cost the life of a close friend.
  • Celestine: It isn’t easy to reconcile the dragon we know with the one who fought for Tiber Septim and aided Elsweyr.
  • Dhali: You know Nafaalilargus?
  • Wulf: Yes, I have a few Dov friends, including Nafaalilargus, Odahviing and Paarthurnax.
  • Khao: I would hate to be the one to tell Emperor Tosh Raka that he would face The Dragonborn, two of Alduin’s lieutenants and the legendary Nafaalilargus.
  • Wulf: I know Emperor Tosh Raka has expressed his desire to invade Tamriel one day. He would be soundly defeated.
  • Dhali: Not to shock the Royal Guards, but Emperor Tosh Raka does speak a lot of bullshit.

Khao laughed, but I thought P’Sua might faint. When Dhali looked at him and smiled, he smiled back. I am no expert on Ka’Po’Tun body language, but it looked like a potential romance was brewing. That is if one did not already exist.

What kind of guard falls in love with their charge?

  • Wulf: Khao and P’Sua, if you are to live with us for an extended period, what do you propose to do with your time?
  • Khao: I need to understand the causes for which The Dragonguard fight. If they are morally acceptable, I am willing to offer my assistance.
  • P’Sua: The same with me. However, if Dhali fights beside you, we are obligated to fight beside her, no matter the cause. That is one of Emperor Tosh Raka’s orders.
  • Wulf: Did he also order you to report on the defences of Tamriel?
  • Dhali: Neither of them will deny that, Valdr.
  • Wulf: If I were worried about espionage, I would restrict their movements. The New Order learned that Imperial Legions are quick to move and deploy. We do not rely on static defences.
  • Khao: Are we to live, eat and sleep in this abode with The Dragonguard and those noisy cubs who seem to have consumed their meal rapidly? Why are they whacking those dummies with knives and swords?
  • Dhali: Living with The Dragonguard is what I desire. We shall not ask for unique accommodation or treat anybody as barbarians. Do you swear to be civil are all times?
  • Khao: On my honour, I will treat all persons in this house respectfully.
  • P’Sua: On my honour, I will treat all persons within this house with respect.
  • Dhali: The cubs are learning to defend themselves. Skyrim is not as safe as Akavir.
  • Wulf: Do either of you speak Tamrielic?
  • P’Sua: No, for we have never had reason to learn it.
  • Wulf: All of The Dragonguard who were once Blades can speak Tsaesci. Some Dragonguard who I have recruited since arriving from Akavir and they do not speak Tsaesci. I don’t think it will take long for you to learn Tamrielic to a conversational level. Secrets are spoken of openly within this house. I cannot ask my friends to watch what they say on the off chance you may hear and understand what is said. Therefore, I will tell you some of those secrets. I will not discuss why some of this is kept secret. You will learn of the reasons in due course.
  • Dhali: P’Sua and Khao, Valdr is placing great trust in you. Your status as Royal Guards does not sway him, and while speaking, he has observed and passed judgment on your character. It is a skill he demonstrated as a child and one of the reasons The Divines chose him as their mortal champion. It is a skill necessary for him to live long within that role.

P’Sua and Khao nodded to me. It was all the confirmation of their confidentiality that I needed.

  • Wulf: Dhali said I have greater powers than those bestowed upon Reman Cyrodiil. That claim is valid. He was Dragonborn, as I am. However, I am also Ningheim. The Divines have blessed me with powers in addition to those bestowed by Lord Akatosh. Dhali said I could destroy a soul with a single thought. That is one of the powers bestowed. However, being Ningheim is not a secret.
  • Celestine: This will be interesting.
  • Wulf: Our main gods are The Divines or The Nine, as some call them. Eight of them are Aedra, who helped build Mundus and Nirn. The ninth divine is Emperor Tiber Septim, who attained apotheosis after death. He is now known as Lord Talos.
  • Khao: He is the one that The Dominion claim is not a god.
  • Wulf: The Dominion as a whole does not have an opinion. The Thalmor makes that claim, and it is not for religious reasons.
  • Khao: They believe he stands in their way of achieving immortality and returning to the stars.
  • Wulf: Yes, that is the reason they are trying to suppress his worship. They know he is a Divine and has taken his rightful place within The Nine.
  • Khao: It seems like an impossible thing to achieve.
  • Celestine: It is, but that doesn’t stop The Thalmor from trying.
  • Wulf: Another mortal to achieve apotheosis is the founder of The First Empire, the Slave Queen, Saint Alessia.
  • Khao: Saint Alessia is admired by many Ka’Po’Tun. She exemplifies determination and willingness to risk all for a cause. Our cubs are taught of her struggles and final victory.
  • Wulf: I am mortal. Despite blessings from The Divines, I can die from wounds inflicted in battle. Similarly, an assassin or accident can end my life. Saint Alessia and Lord Talos desired a mortal child they could raise to adulthood. With the help of other gods, they achieved their desire. I am their son. That secret must be kept for the sake of all mortals.

Even Khao’s eyes went wide at that revelation. P’Sua just shook his head and then looked at Dhali. She nodded her head, confirming the truth of what I said.

  • Khao: Shall we learn why this is a secret and how secrecy protects all mortals?
  • Wulf: Yes, you will learn those things eventually. It is complex and will require some understanding of other matters.
  • P’Sua: Is your title of Ysmir also a secret?
  • Wulf: Yes, as is my name. I cannot be known as a Septim.
  • Khao: I told you so!
  • Wulf: I am, for most people, known as Wulf Welkynd. Wulf is a name Father sometimes uses when his avatar visits Nirn. Welkynd is my legal name and means Star Child or Sky Child. Mother prefers the Star Child interpretation.
  • Vayu: The next secret will come as a surprise to Dhali.
  • Wulf: Mother and Father have intertwined souls. That means they will seek the other soul subconsciously each Kalpa. If they meet each other, love will result no matter their relationship status. Therefore, intertwined souls do not guarantee happiness.
  • Dhali: I can imagine many sad scenarios.
  • Wulf: Dhali, can you remember what I achieved at fourteen? It was something that puzzled even my Divine parents.
  • Dhali: Without training, your soul travelled the ether to a girl. She was a prisoner of The Thalmor and was almost killed as they whipped her without mercy.
  • Wulf: That girl was called Rigmor. The day Alduin told me of his return, I found Rigmor in Skyrim after she was severely hurt. She was being pursued by The New Order and leapt off a cliff into some trees to escape. Rigmor is now the Countess of Bruma, and she is my intertwined soul. Our relationship is a secret for reasons that, similar to the others, will be revealed in due course.
  • Dhali: I am glad you found love, but being so far apart must be difficult.
  • Wulf: Much knowledge has been lost over time, mainly due to Dragon Breaks. Teleportation and portals were once common and even used by carriage drivers. I have rediscovered teleportation. I am still learning new ways of using it. For instance, I can now teleport a squad of Dragonguard with me. At first, I had to teleport and then summon each Dragonguard individually. All of the Dragonguard Mages have learnt the spells.
  • Khao: There is no history of teleportation or portals on Akavir.
  • Wulf: Yes, that is surprising and intriguing. All the races of Tamriel developed them in some form.
  • Dhali: You can teleport to Rigmor or summon her here.
  • Wulf: Yes, but I cannot be seen with Rigmor in Cyrodiil.
  • Dhali: For reasons that will be revealed eventually?
  • Wulf: How did you guess?
  • Celestine: You will meet Rigmor soon. We have not named her Swordmaster, as we thought another Swordmaster should do that. However, none of us doubt she is of sufficient skill.
  • Dhali: Wulf is a Swordmaster.
  • Vayu: As Grandmaster, I cannot allow Wulf to declare for Rigmor. That is an old rule of The Dragonguard.
  • Dhali: A rule that was not onerous when other Swordmasters were available for judging.
  • Wulf: The title would be meaningful to Rigmor to acknowledge the training her deceased father provided.
  • Dhali: Then I would be pleased to judge Rigmor. What is her fighting style?
  • Wulf: Rigmor is the finest wielder of the greatsword I have seen. She has recently transitioned to kai-katana, which has increased her lethality.
  • Dhali: We have no greatsword Swordmaster for Rigmor to spar. However, I regard P’Sua as of sufficient skill to measure her worth.
  • P’Sua: I would be honoured to participate, but the speed of a kai-katana would give Rigmor an advantage.
  • Dhali: Swords of equal weight and material are used for Swordmaster evaluations. You would have the choice of style and material. Rigmor will have to adapt if it is something unfamiliar to her.
  • Vayu: The sparring is only one aspect of the evaluation.
  • Dhali: Sword forms are equally as important.
  • Wulf: Rigmor’s sword forms are mesmerising and precise. I will watch with pride.
  • P’Sua: May I ask, Wulf, how many you have slain in combat?
  • Wulf: I remember everyone I kill with a bow or sword. The number of mortals I have killed with those weapons is over three thousand. The number of undead eliminated with bow and sword is half that many. It is impossible to say how many more I have killed with Thu’um and spell.
  • P’Sua: You remember them?
  • Wulf: Celestine, give me a number between one and three thousand.
  • Celestine: One thousand two hundred and thirty-three.
  • Wulf: She was a bandit in good quality leather armour and armed with a battleaxe. We were not far out of Riften when her gang attacked. Lydia, Rigmor and you, Celestine, were with me. She was skilful, but her weapon of choice would always be a handicap in terms of speed. I let her swing, pushed her axe aside and then decapitated her. She blinked as her head flew, and she slowly closed her eyes as her head rolled on landing.
  • P’Sua: You remember them all in such detail?
  • Wulf: Yes. It was a decision I made when I feared my Dov impulses. I was also concerned that I had the potential of insane butchery like Pelinal Whitestrake. My memory is unnatural in how accurately and in what volume it retains things. That was not a gift from The Divines, but a natural gift present from birth.
  • Khao: We watched you dance amongst some of the best mercenaries money could hire. It was mesmerising but frightening. Eight squads, thirty-two Royal Guards, were stunned into silence. They drew straws to decide who would negotiate with you. P’Sua was the lucky one!
  • P’Sua: Wulf made all the right moves when he approached. He valued the rules of parley, so my apprehension soon dissipated.
  • Dhali: I would like a chance to evaluate my pupil’s progress and see him use the Thu’um.
  • Wulf: A large group of bandits infests a nearby cave system. It seems like every time the Legion clears them out, a bigger group of bandits moves in. They irritate me as I can see their sentries from my balcony. Tomorrow morning, I propose that you three, plus Kharjo, a Khajiiti Dragonguard, help me clear them out. We also use four per squad, with at least one of them a mage.
  • Dhali: Is there a reason you have chosen Kharjo over other Dragonguard?
  • Wulf: Of the Khajiiti Dragonguard, he is the most traditional. Others are more Cyrodiil in view than Elsweyr. I have no doubt he has many questions about your people, as will all the Dragonguard. However, being Khajiiti, he would want to know if there is a racial connection to Ka’Po’Tun. I also think he is surprised at the depiction of the moons on your armours. A pleasant stroll to a cave will give him time to ask questions.
  • Khao: Are there books that cover such questions?
  • Celestine: Vayu and Wulf mentioned two examples where scholars misinterpret things. Kharjo would be unwise to believe all that is said in books not written by Ka’Po’Tun.
  • Khao: What do you think, Wulf? Is there are common ancestry between Ka’Po’Tun and Khajiiti?
  • Wulf: I have not read anything to support my conjecture. However, the phases of the moon and other pictures on your armours increase its plausibility. I believe the Po’Tun, as you were initially called, were created from the same free spirits as the Khajiiti by Lady Azura. You were the eighteenth Furstock. For some reason, the Po’Tun migrated to Akavir and was never mixed with the other seventeen Furstock. It is a terrible expression, but your Furstock remained pure. The other seventeen Furstock interbred and eventually settled in Elsweyr. The Khajiiti pantheon consists of Aedra, Daedra and mortal Khajiiti who have reached apotheosis. In parallel with the gods, the Lunar Lattice forms an integral part of their religion. Every town, village or city has a Two Moon Temple. Moon Sugar is still consumed, although no longer required. After many generations, the dweomer of Moon Sugar became part of a Khajiiti’s physical presence. So intertwined is Khajiiti physiology with the three moons that their phases determine their Furstock during labour. The Dark Moon initiates the birthing of their traditional leaders, the Manes. The Po’Tun, and now Ka’Po’Tun, still revere the moons and take notice of the Lunar Lattice. However, their physiology is not influenced by moon phases.
  • Khao: What you say is not conjecture but fact. Is there anything you can deduce from Dhali’s, P’Sua’s and my physical characteristics?
  • Wulf: A sample of three is not enough. But I remember the thirty-two Royal Guards, whose armours covered everything but their tails. Of the thirty-two, eight had white tails and were mages. No white tails could be seen amongst the twenty-four warriors. The logical conclusion is that all Royal Guard mages are white, and all Royal Guard warriors are orange.
  • Celestine: Only Wulf would remember the colour of tails from years ago!
  • Wulf: All of the warriors were about the same height as P’Sua, and all were taller than the mages. Using another term I am uncomfortable with, it seems your roles are determined by selective breeding. It would be wasteful to rely solely on random variations.
  • Khao: I am impressed, for you are correct once more. On average, those born with white fur have larger reserves of Magicka than those with orange fur. They are also of lighter build than those with orange fur. When Emperor Tosh Raka desired the creation of the Royal Guards, it was decided to refine the desired characteristics of mage and warrior via, as you surmised, selective breeding. A permanent bond in the form of marriage was required, but my sire would not be allowed to marry a female with orange fur! When orange and white procreate, orange fur is far more prevalent than white in the cubs. White mating with white is guaranteed to produce white-furred offspring. However, not all such offspring are accepted into the training for Royal Guard. Several rounds of tests are performed over several years. The highest-rating candidates are accepted into the Royal Guard until the quota is full. The rejected cubs are free to choose their careers and who they marry. My parents learned to love each other, but many fellow mages come from loveless unions.
  • Wulf: I assume the breeding for warriors focused on size and strength.
  • P’Sua: Yes, and our average height has reached its maximum. It has not changed for hundreds of generations. The average strength rises and falls in a seemingly random sequence.
  • Celestine: Are there penalties or social stigma for white fur Ka’Po’Tun breeding with orange fur Ka’Po’Tun?
  • Dhali: No, but there are substantial financial rewards when cubs are accepted for Royal Guard training. The mixed fur parents would negate any possibility of receiving such rewards. It might be rarer amongst those who want to breed for Emperor Tosh Raka’s Royal Guard, but love can still flourish. I still find the whole thing distasteful.
  • P’Sua: Similar declarations in the past are why you are regarded as a trouble-making rebel.
  • Dhali: Emperor Tosh Raka didn’t bite me in two when you introduced me.
  • Khao: You might have given him indigestion.
  • Celestine: What about noble and commoner?
  • Dhali: There are no rules. Only the breeding of potential Royal Guards places restrictions on partners. Marry for love, social status or whatever reason you concoct.
  • Wulf: I think we have covered enough ground for this meeting. Please, partake of our plentiful food and refreshments. Be merry, but too much mess will incur the wrath of Wujeeta, our Argonian housekeeper. Can somebody be declared a Broom master?
  • Dhali: What time tomorrow do we leave for this cave of bandits?
  • Wulf: II would like to leave around about eight o’clock. I have nothing else planned for the day, so that time is flexible. The morning meal starts at six, but people tend to dawdle as their body tells them that bed is better than food.
  • Dhali: There will be many foods unfamiliar to us. Is there anything we should avoid?
  • Wulf: Lydia’s Apple Cabbage Stew is a divisive dish. At least try it once.
  • Celestine: I will show you where your beds are. You will be at the far end of the dormitory, somewhat protected from the after-effects of rich food.
  • Khao: It couldn’t be any worse than the Royal Guard barracks.
  • Celestine: I will also show you the many bathing facilities inside and outside and privies. The Dragonguard, well, most of them, are unconcerned about nudity.
  • P’Sua: They would be the ones used to barrack life.
  • Celestine: Correct. But we have some who are shocked by nude members of the opposite gender, plus we have children who use the facilities. Therefore, undergarments are to be worn. We have ample clothes, including underwear, that you are welcome to peruse and choose.
  • Dhali: Wulf, you undoubtedly have questions that need answers to soothe your curiosity.
  • Wulf: You know me well and have volunteered to answer them during supper.

I walked over and offered Dhali my arm. She held my wrist as we made our way to a pack of ravenous animals known as The Dragonguard.

It was good that all three Ka’Po’Tun were willing to forget protocols under our roof. That is the way it is supposed to be.

When I tell Rigmor via our amulets, she will be eager to meet Dhali, if only to gather gossip about my years in Akavir. Silah will be a delighted recipient of such gossip.

Another whose absence leaves a void is Inigo. He wanted to spend time with Langley. I hope I don’t discover one or both strangled and lifeless. Inigo has more patience than me, but I can’t imagine Langley as a pleasant housemate.

8 thoughts on “Ka’Po’Tun

  1. This is a lore break. And what a lore break! I am deeply fascinated by the KaPoTun empire. I never read before most of what you wrote today and I am supposed to read it again. Or is this more, Mark? Connected to real world Japan perhaps? But still I can sense Wulf and yours love for the Khajiit world as your fondness for our friend Inigo. Looking forward for the next episode.
    May the Moon watch over you all.

    1. There is very little written about the KaPoTun and a some of it is contradictory. My interpretation is a logical one. Daedra cannot create life, they can only convert what the Aedra have made. Azura changed some forest spirits into the Khajiiti and Bosmer. Why not the KaPoTun? Why not another Furstock? The way Moon Sugar has crept into the Khajiiti physiology is mentioned but never expanded upon.

      1. I wasn’t trying to object your interpretation. I definitely had no idea this kingdom even existed. I started playing with Oblivion and most of what I know comes from the site of Elder Scrolls online. (I delved into the Great War, 10th Legion and some religions stuff, not too much) Thus most of what is in there is contradictory. I really appreciate your logic conclusions man!!! And definitely would make sense if there was a common fil rouge between all Elder Scrolls…anyway, my eyes can’t stand the pixels and I am stuck with Skyrim. Would you mind giving me a suggestion on Taneth? After the second treaty of Stros’M’kai is back to the Redguards or still under Thalmors’ control?
        I am writing the aftermath of killing Ulfric and I really need some hints. In my fanfiction reality would work for many reasons if it is still under Thalmor occupation. Thanks

  2. Part of the second treaty was the complete withdraw of The Dominion from Hammerfell. Taneth has a connection with Skyrim with the barmaid Saadia thought to be the noblewoman called Iman. Iman is accused of spying for The Dominion which led to Taneth’s capture. To me, that is one of the morally questionable quests in the game. There is not enough evidence to hand her over to a foreign government. They should apply for extradition if anything.

    1. I never accept the moral doubt. I destroy all Alik’r, without a second thought. It simply makes no sense to me. If there was a chance to order them to leave, I would take it but, unfortunately, there is no way to have a third option.

  3. I protected Saadia as well ,she not broken any laws in Skyrim and the Alik’r were going about trying to find her was wrong. I have found them all over Skyrim, even turning up at the Thalmor prison asking about her, that got him killed, lol. This is an intriguing journal entry, smells like for shadow of RoT entry or the updated RoC. You have me thinking trying to figure out what you are thinking.

    1. I am weaving plot threads as I go. How they develop with be dynamic as I have vague ideas where to take them. Logically, Tosh Raka would want to aid Tamriel defeat any Tsaesci invasion.

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