Fredas, 29th Last Seed, 4E 201

I gathered the Sentinel squad of Iona, Gregor, Rayya and Valdemar.

I briefed them on what we found at Sky Haven Temple. They were to accompany me as I checked on the orphanage in Solitude and visited the museum. I wanted to see if Auryen could find anything useful about how Alduin was defeated even though he had searched before.

We teleported into Solitude and didn’t hear a single comment. It is surprising how quickly people get used to things like heavily armed people appearing out of nowhere.

We entered The Temple of The Divines.

I was pleased to see I didn’t have to replace Father’s shrine again. It seems The Thalmor finally got tired of the game.

The orphanage’s entrance was at the far end of the temple. The building being repurposed used to be a seminary. For the last century, most training in The Nine is now conducted in Cyrodiil. Only after initial training are potential priests and priestesses sent to temples.

Saja greeted me with a smile.

“Wulf, this place is great! And we will be allowed to visit your museum when it opens, and there is a music college and everything!”

“I am glad you are happy, Saja. All the noisy construction work is finished, and many more children will soon live here.”

“There are heaps of rooms full of beds! But you might want to stop the scary noises. Some of the other children might not be as brave as me.”

“What scary noises?”

“Whispers and things moving and clanking and an awful smell, worse than an Elsweyr Chowder fart!”

“Nothing is stinkier than an Elsweyr Chowder fart!”

“Well, this pong is like a rotten Elsweyr Chowder fart!”

“Perhaps the pong is you before a bath?”

“I have a bath every day, and not a single flea has been found for weeks.”

“Well, good on you, that is fantastic! I had better speak to Governess Tiera and see what can be done about the creepy noises and terrible pong.”

I checked the dining hall, and only young Annika was there.

“Have you settled in, Annika? New places can seem very strange at first.”

“Yeah, I felt a bit lost for the first few days. The other orphans and Governess Tiara and Cook Gaelaenyl have been so kind. I would like Kinghall better if it wasn’t for the ghosts.”

“You have heard the noises as well?”

“Yes, and smelt the smell. Ugghh!”

‘I will see what I can do about it.”

Governess Tiera is a fairly straight-talking, no-nonsense person with adults but a big softie with children. I might be funding the orphanage, but that doesn’t garner me any special treatment.

“Good morning, Governess Tiera.”

“Only somebody who doesn’t have endless paperwork to do would utter such nonsense.”

“And how are the coffers?”

“Good, we don’t need any extra funding at his time, Lord Welkynd.”

“Is there anything else I can help with?”

“End the civil war before there are too many orphans and not enough orphanages. Oh, that is the case right now. Silly me!”

“Well, I was planning to do that after I defeated Alduin. Would the day after tomorrow suffice?”

“Alduin? The World Eater? I hope you don’t fill the children’s heads in with that nonsense.”

“Governess Tiera, Alduin has returned, and so have many other dragons. I have already had to fight and kill one of them. You are to formulate a plan for the children to follow in case Solitude is attacked. I want to see that plan when I visit again in three days. I will draft a letter to each Jarl informing them of the peril. Each city already has emergency shelters and bells they use for alarms. I suggest you locate the shelters in Solitude and ensure the children know. The majority of Solitude’s buildings are stone. Therefore, if reaching a shelter is too dangerous, the basements of most homes and shops will suffice.”

“I apologise, Lord Welkynd. I will do as requested, and we will be prepared.”

“Now, the children have said something about odours and noises. Where are they originating from?”

“The area that leads to the catacombs. Perhaps we need something more solid than the doors to protect us.”

“Hire craftspeople to install a wall at least two feet thick. There is already an entrance to the catacombs within the temple. We don’t need one in the orphanage.”

“That will challenge our coffers.”

“I will arrange extra funds in a day or two.”

“Thank you, Lord Welkynd.”

We went to the area leading to the catacombs.

I stood at the door and listened. I could neither hear nor smell anything. Who knows what lives in those miles of tunnels? I will feel safer if it is bricked over, and I should have done it during construction.

We entered the temple, and I spoke to Priestess Freir.

“Good morning, Priestess.”

“Good morning to your, Lord Welkynd. It remains unmolested if you are here to check on Lord Talos’ shrine.”

“Yes, I checked on that earlier. The orphanage residents are complaining about noises and foul smell from the catacombs.”

“Yes, we get that periodically. We have several locked gates leading to the catacombs for a good reason. We have invited the Vigilants of Stendarr to investigate possible necromancy occurring down there, but they always have an excuse not to.”

“They are too busy harassing innocent citizens to do good for the community.”

“You have never held back on your opinions, Lord Welkynd. It is refreshing.”

“You have heard me call myself Champion of The Divines.”

“Yes, and I have been told that is not a false claim by several who speak to Divines.”

“I am also The Dragonborn, and Alduin, The World Eater, has returned. Along with him will be many other dragons. They will attack the major cities, including Solitude, when their numbers are sufficient. Without causing panic among the citizens, preparations must be made to reduce casualties. I expect a coordinated plan with the military and guards will be made shortly.”

“Well, we already have plans for an attack by The Stormcloaks. I assume we would have to modify them somewhat.”

“The difference is, you will have days if not weeks of advanced notice as Ulfric brought his army to bear. You will have no advanced notice if dragons attack. They will come out of the ether and start killing.”


“Also, some shelters suitable for an army besieging the city are death traps when dragons attack.”

“I hope you have something you can provide the Jarls and General Tullius, so we are as prepared as possible.”

“I will send something, but due to the civil war, many Jarls will do nothing that might compromise their strategic position.”

“So, the civil war could end up costing more lives?”

“Yes, and do you know where Alduin gets his power from?”

“I probably learnt it once and dismissed it as nonsense.”

“Right now, he is in Sovngarde, consuming the souls of those trying to reach The Hall of Honour. Those souls are destroyed, never to be reused in another Kalpa. There is nothing The Divines can do to prevent this. They are relying on me.”

“How many souls will he destroy?”

“As many as are needed while the new Dragon War rages. He has an abundance to feed on thanks to Ulfric’s blasphemous, murderous grab for power.”

“And you are trying to stop Alduin?”

“I am trying to gather knowledge lost. I need that knowledge to stop him.”

“We shall pray for you, Lord Welkynd, but if The Divines could help, they would have.”

“Prayer never goes to waste, Priestess.”

When we got to the market, I made a beeline for Solitude Sausages.

I asked, “How is business, Arrectus?”

“Excellent. Your idea of handing sausages out free for a day paid dividends. People who hesitated to pay for the first one accepted a free sample and are now hooked.”

“Well, it works for Skooma dealers, so why not for sausage vendors?”

“The difference being, you don’t have to go broke indulging in my sausages.”

“I’ll have a Meat Popsicle and Pork Sword, thanks.”

Arrectus prepared my meal, and I paid, then while I scoffed mine down, The Sentinels ordered theirs, with Wiener being the choice of all but Iona, who ordered a Beefstick.

The thing is, with Solitude Sausages, you can’t eat them in any dignified manner. Therefore, we crammed our mouths full and ignored the disapproving scowls of passers-by. We did a chorus of loud belches to prove their goodness and increased Arrectus’ patronage when we finished. We hoped, but some stares didn’t look promising.

Listens-To-Letters had no new books for me. I noticed he headed for Solitude Sausages as we walked away.

Nobody has questioned why we called the museum Dragonborn Gallery. It doesn’t roll off the tongue like Solitude Sausages. Perhaps Dragonborn Dungeon might be better?

We entered and found Auryen in the dining room.

“Good morning, Auryen.”

“Hello, Guild Master.”

“Here, find somewhere to display this.”

I handed The Dragonstone to Auryen, and his eyes widened.

I asked, “I suppose that is something of legend?”

“Indeed, it is, Guild Master. I have many documents mentioning it or hinting at its existence. Where did you find it?”

“In Bleak Falls Barrow, behind a Puzzle Door. Here is the claw that opened that door.”

I held out the gold dragon claw to Auryen, who quickly placed The Dragonstone down before taking it.

Auryen enthused, “These are two excellent additions to the museum. I will have the plaques made and have these on display by tomorrow.”

“It won’t be long before we have enough exhibits to open.”

“At this rate, not long at all. A relic dealer is stopping in Helgen for a couple of days, and he could add to our tally. He might have arrived there by now. Do you mind visiting and seeing what he has got in stock?”

“Have we dealt with him before?”

“Yes, his name is Haskantoran Jodoene, and he is an umpteenth-generation Breton peddler, so expect hard bargaining. He can be a bit suspect on the source of his items, but I have found he has the occasional rare item worth procuring.”

“If he can’t give me provenance, I won’t buy an item no matter how enticing.”

“Fair enough. Still, it is worth looking into. Haskantoran may have worthwhile items procured legally.”

“I assume he is opening shop in The Resting Pilgrim.”

“Yes, and there might be many private collectors heading his way. I hate losing things that should be shared with the public to those attic-dwelling parasites!”

“This might be the last such trip I can do for some time, Auryen. Alduin has returned, and it’s time for The Dragonborn to do his bit.”

“Oh! That might delay the opening!”

“As well as reduce potential visitors because they got turned to ash by Dragonfire.”

“I didn’t mean to sound flippant, Guild Master. It was more of a sigh of disappointment as I have so looked forward to visitors.”

“I know, Auryen. I also want to see this place full of people.”

“Is there anything else, Guild Master?”

“I know you searched hard and long and, for all your effort, only found a description of Alduin’s Wall. Oh, it was quite accurate. I visited Sky High Temple yesterday.”

“Do you think I could take a look?”

“I will arrange a guided tour for V.I.Ps, including you.”

“What do you want me to look for?”

“Any information on how the Ancient Tongues defeated Alduin.”

“I have looked before at your request and found nothing.”

“Please, look again. I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t vital. Alduin is here, and I have no idea how to defeat him.”

“I shall get onto it immediately. There is always the chance I overlooked something.”

“Thank you, Auryen. It is lunchtime. Therefore I won’t visit Jarl Elisif yet. I have a delivery for somebody in Helgen, so I will kill two birds with one stone and see what Haskantoran has for sale.”

“You really should list all your colloquialisms, Guild Master. Such a strange assortment would make an ideal item for display.”

“Careful, Auryen, I can easily replace you with another five-hundred-and-something-year-old curator!”

“There are some, but they need their loincloths changed regularly, and they dribble a lot.”

I laughed as we teleported to the outskirts of Helgen.

When we entered the town, I approached Jacob Stout-Tongue, chicken wrangler, part-time victualler and full-time Ulfric sympathiser.

“Hey, Jacob, have any of your chickens signed up with Ulfric yet?”

“Get fucked!”

“Such language! What would your mother say?”

Gregor replied, “I know!” He then did an excellent chicken impersonation.

It was childish picking on Jacob, but it was better than cutting his head off like part of me desired so badly to do.

Vilod watched the exchange and smiled as I approached.

“Vilod, here are the Juniper Berries I promised you!”

“Thank The Divines. Now I can make another batch of my mead. It has been hard since that traitor Jacob refused to sell his crop to ‘Imperial lapdogs’.”

“Your mead has become a favourite at my estates, so you keep making it, and I’ll keep buying it.”

“Well, I should have another few barrels in a fortnight with these berries.”

“I will visit and purchase a few dozen bottles.”

“Wonderful, I won’t have to beg on the streets! That can get embarrassing.”

“The town seems a bit quiet today.”

“Word spread that a large Imperial convoy is on its way. Many of the townsfolk are lining the road to cheer them on.”

“What, and Jacob isn’t joining in the celebration?”

“He will probably hide inside, afraid they are rounding up rebel sympathisers.”

“Legionnaires don’t let doors stop them, Vilod.”

“It is not like we are a neutral Hold like Whiterun. Why doesn’t he run off to Windhelm if Ulfric is such a hero?”

“There is no logic behind a lot of his support, Vilod. Ulfric’s grab for power kills far more Talos worshippers than The Thalmor.”

“True. Anyway, I had better take these berries and get brewing. I would hate for your estates to run out of my mead!”

As Vilod wandered off, Ingrid came over to me.

“Lord Welkynd, do you know what this Imperial convoy is all about?”

“Not the slightest, Ingrid. You look concerned about it, though.”

“A lot of Imperial troops arrived ahead of it and went into the keep. I saw an Imperial Headsman amongst them.”

“I wouldn’t be too concerned. Helgen is known to be almost one hundred per cent loyal to The Empire. There is only one exception who should be worried.”

“Yes, you’re right. Why would The Empire execute anybody in Helgen anyway? They like to make a spectacle of traitors in Solitude or The Imperial City. There is not much of an audience here for their barbarity.”

“Executions should be done out of public view. Otherwise, it is no different than the arena executions of the old days. You attract those who like violence, not justice.”

“Well. I will sit inside the inn and ignore whatever is happening.”

“Good idea. I am heading there myself.”

We entered The Resting Pilgrim, which was almost empty. Nord inns are rarely empty, but an Imperial convoy is an exciting event for such a small town.

I walked over to Matlara, the barkeep.

“Can you tell me why my regulars are outside gawking at soldiers, Lord Welkynd? Ahh, Thane.”

“They are showing their support for our troops, Matlara. So far, the civil war has barely touched Falkreath Hold, but that will change when things get serious. Lots of soldiers are dying, but no major battles have taken place. Falkreath is where supplies and reinforcements arrive from Cyrodiil. I expect it will be fought over vigorously. Ulfric knows if he loses the first big battle, half his army will desert. After all, The Divines are on his side, aren’t they?”

“So Ulfric claims. What do you think?”

“I know they are not on his side. I know Lord Talos does not want people to fight over their right to worship him. There is no need because people hold Lord Talos and the other Divines in their hearts. They do not just exist inside amulets or shrines, or temples. You can worship any of them through simple prayer at any time.”

“So it is just the public display of worship that is suppressed?”


“You are always fascinating to talk to, but I think you are visiting for another reason. Let me guess. You hoped to find that sleazy, can’t keep his hands to himself, Haskantoran here. You are looking for items to display in your museum.”

“Correct. Is Haskantoran a groper?”

“Only my arse because he is short and can’t reach my tits! If Torolf saw his touchy feelies, he would be shorter by a head!”

“I have never met him, but Breton merchants are, forgive the generalisation, not the most reputable of people. Khajiiti merchants, including the Baandari, will drive hard bargains but enjoy a barter session even if they feel defeated. Every Breton merchant I have dealt with takes it as a personal insult and sulks.”

“Well, a Legionnaire came in here and said all traffic along that road has been halted, so I doubt the little bottom pincher will be here anytime soon.”

Haming burst into the inn and said, “Papa, Mama, come outside and see the soldiers! General Tullius leads them, and there are Stormcloak prisoners and even some fancy-looking Thalmor!”

Torolf, Haming’s father, came from the back room and said, “Calm down, Son. Let’s stand on the balcony and see what this is all about. You are not to leave the balcony!”


I said to my squad, “None of this makes sense. General Tullius in Helgen?”

Gregor replied, “An Imperial Headsman was mentioned. If they have a high-ranking Stormcloak, they might think it better to dispose of him in Helgen. Riding to Solitude would invite a Stormcloak attack to rescue the prisoner.”

“I knew you were more than just a pretty face, Gregor.”

“I look like somebody beat me with an ugly stick.”

“I can’t imagine how gorgeous you must have been before that!”

Iona made loud gagging sounds, and we exited the inn.

In the short time we were inside The Resting Pilgrim, Helgen had been transformed into a town under martial law. Legionnaires lined the streets.

A headsman’s block had been put in place when we made our way to the town centre. It was covered in caked blood.

Iona remarked, “You think they would clean it between sessions? The Imperial Headsman get paid a decent wage!”

We heard the main gates open, and an officer yell, “The headsman is ready, General Tullius.”

The general replied, “Good, we shall get this show started soon enough.”

By the time we reached the gates, they were closed, and General Tullius was speaking to First Emissary Elenwen, the highest-ranking Thalmor in Skyrim. I would gladly throttle her, for I have written orders from her telling various Justiciars where to hunt and kill Talos worshippers.

  • Elenwen: General Tullius, stop! By the authority given me by The Dominion and White-Gold Concordat, I’m taking custody of these prisoners.
  • Tullius: First Emissary Elenwen. I guessed that you wouldn’t want to miss an execution. I would love to know how you learnt of this little party since it was planned in secret.
  • Elenwen: We all have our spies, General Tullius.
  • Tullius: Do you know my guest, Ulfric Stormcloak, Jarl of Windhelm, once a candidate to Skyrim’s throne, traitor of the Empire? There is a rumour, unsubstantiated that you knew him during The Great War and made promises about Markarth that you failed to honour. That led inevitably to this mess that benefits nobody but The Dominion.
  • Elenwen: I remind you again of my authority as given by his Imperial Majesty, Emperor Titus Mede II.
  • Tullius: If you want Ulfric alive, you’ll have to take him by force! You can complain to his Imperial Majesty later, and I will write a humble apology.
  • Elenwen: You’re making a terrible mistake!
  • Tullius: I will end this rebellion here and now, rightfully in my position as Legion General.
  • Elenwen: Your Emperor will hear of this. By the terms of the White-Gold Concordat, I operate with full Imperial authority!
  • Tullius: Yes, you can keep repeating that as much as you like. It won’t halt the axe or Ulfric’s head from rolling.

We hurried to catch up with the convoy. I could see Ulric Stormcloak, and he wasn’t gagged!

I exclaimed, “I have no idea how strong Ulfric’s Thu’um is, but leaving him ungagged is idiotic!”


We watched General Tullius enter Helgen just ahead of the lead carriage. Something seemed familiar about the scene. Déjà vu has plagued me for years!

Tullius stopped to talk to First Emissary Elenwen, the highest-ranking Thalmor in Skyrim. I would gladly throttle her, for I have written orders from her telling various Justiciars where to hunt and kill Talos worshippers.

  • Elenwen: General Tullius, stop! By the authority given me by The Dominion and White-Gold Concordat, I’m taking custody of these prisoners.
  • Tullius: First Emissary Elenwen. I guessed that you wouldn’t want to miss an execution. I would love to know how you learnt of this little party since it was planned in secret.

I knew what Elenwen would say next. She would say, “We all have our spies, General Tullius.”

  • Elenwen: We all have our spies, General Tullius.
  • Tullius: Do you know my guest, Ulfric Stormcloak, Jarl of Windhelm, once a candidate to Skyrim’s throne, traitor of the Empire? There is a rumour, unsubstantiated that you knew him during The Great War and made promises about Markarth that you failed to honour. That led inevitably to this mess that benefits nobody but The Dominion.

We ran to catch up with the convoy, which confused my squad.

I exclaimed, “Ulfric is wearing a gag! What the hell is happening?”

Iona replied, “We don’t know, Wulf. You are acting weird. Well, weirder than usual.”

We ran ahead of the convoy and watched a Priestess of Mara and an Imperial Headsman take up their positions.


We thought the best place to view the convoy was one of the balconies and weren’t disappointed.

The first carriage trundled past with four Stormcloaks of low rank aboard.

The second one came past, and I said, “Fuck me, that’s Ulfric Stormcloak!”

Valdimar laughed and remarked, “He is bound and gagged and sitting next to a Khajiiti. How galling must that be for our rightful High King? I hope the Khajiiti has shared his fleas and Ulfric can’t scratch!”

“He won’t suffer for long. Now we know who they plan to shorten.”

We ran to the town centre. As we passed by The Resting Pilgrim, we heard Torolf speaking to Haming. The boy’s father realised what would happen to the men in the carriages.

  • Haming: Who are they, Papa? Where are they going?
  • Torolf: You need to go inside, little cub.
  • Haming: Why? I want to watch the soldiers.
  • Torolf: Inside the house. Now!
  • Haming: Yes, Papa. 

A very loud but young Imperial Captain yelled, “Get these prisoners out of the carts. Move it!”

The bound prisoners disembarked and seemed resigned to their fate.

Nobody took notice of my squad as they mingled with the soldiers.

The bossy Captain yelled, “Step towards the block when we call your name. One at a time.”

I didn’t think any prisoners would try to jump the queue. The captain was trying to impress General Tullius by being loud and annoying.

A lieutenant stood next to the captain and called out the prisoners’ names. He checked each one on a list as the prisoners trundled past. You must admire Imperial efficiency even if The Empire might be buried under bureaucratic paperwork one day.

Ulfric walked by me, and I laughed at his armour. Bear claws on his boots! It is the sort of thing children wear for bedtime slippers.


Haming came running up to me and said, “Wulf, you should go outside and see the soldiers! General Tullius leads them, and there are Stormcloak prisoners and even some fancy-looking Thalmor!”

For some reason, I knew it wasn’t good for Haming to see what was occurring.

I replied, “It might not be a good idea for you to go outside, Haming. I don’t think this is a parade.”

“I will ask Papa.”

Haming ran past me to find his father.

Iona remarked, “You look a bit pale, Wulf. Are you okay?”

“Yes, Iona, just trying to shake off a bad case of Déjà vu.”

“Oh, I hate it when that happens. It creeps me out!”

We stood out the front of the inn and watched the convoy pass us.

When the second wagon passed us, I said, “Fuck me, that’s Ulfric Stormcloak! And no lame jokes about Khajiiti, Ulfric and fleas, Valdimar.”

“Can you read minds now, Wulf?”


“I was going to make a lame joke about Khajiit, Ulfric and fleas.”

“Maybe your just predictable.”

“Yeah, that is a rational explanation when what you did was irrational.”

“You should be used to that.”

I was getting worried. The Déjà vu was uncanny. I looked at Torolf and Haming, then silently mimed their sentences in perfect sync with their lips.

  • Haming: Who are they, Papa? Where are they going?
  • Torolf: You need to go inside, little cub.

I shook my head and rushed to the town centre.

A Priestess of Mara and Imperial Headsman were there, as I guessed, or knew, or surmised they would be.

A lieutenant stood next to the captain and called out names, checking each one on a list as the prisoners trundled past. I took no notice of Ulfric as he walked by me. I had seen that part before.

I had seen what part? What is going on? I closed my eyes and concentrated on the time. It was about 12:45 PM, as I expected it to be.

I heard the lieutenant say, “Lokir of Rorikstead.”

I opened my eyes, and a small man, who I realised was Lokir, yelled, “No, I’m not a rebel. You can’t do this!”

Lokir ran straight past the captain and was determined to run down the street towards the entrance.

The captain yelled, “Halt!”.

Of course, Lokir ignored her and kept running. As he ran past me, he yelled, “You’re not going to kill me!”

The captain barked, “Archers!”

Lokir ran swiftly, but he made the fatal mistake of not weaving. Two Imperial Legion archers aimed and let their arrows fly.

Lokir screamed when the arrows embedded into his back with an audible thump. He fell forward and was dead before his face hit the ground. His corpse slid a few feet more due to momentum, and then all was still.

There has been a constant hammering echoing during the proceedings. I was sad for Lokir’s demise but had to smile at Matlara, pretending to be repairing a perfect board on her inn while discretely watching proceedings. Why not just openly gawk at the spectacle like her neighbours? Perhaps she can white lie to Haming and say she was doing urgent repairs and not watching what his father forbade him to see?

The obnoxious captain asked in a condescending tone, “Does anyone else feel like running?”

I had a feeling that these proceedings were not lawful. Did these prisoners have a trial with attorneys to represent them? I should object, but…but I don’t have the energy. I am trying to understand what is happening to me. This was not Déjà vu. It was something more sinister.

Rayya looked at me and whispered, “Wulf, you should sit down before you fall. You look like death warmed up.”

The captain barked, “Shut up or leave the area, Redguard!”

The lieutenant told her, “Captain Ariorta, Helgen is part of Falkreath Hold. The gentleman in the black armour is Lord Welkynd, Thane of Falkreath, and several other Holds. His housecarl was performing her duty, as we are doing. Some respect would be advisable.”

Captain Ariorta growled, “Lieutenant Hadvar, this town is under martial law. I don’t give a toss about who the civilians are at this moment in time. They are required to do as instructed, no matter how rude they deem the delivery of those instructions. Now get on with it!”

Hadvar shook his head. His body language made it apparent he had no respect for the captain. He looked at his list, turned a few pages, and then asked the Khajiiti in front of him, “What is your name?”

I know who it is. The Khajiiti’s name is Moava, and he is one of Ri’saad’s buyers. He is usually impeccably dressed. He travels around, purchasing items in bulk that are then sold by the caravans.

Moava replied, “I am Moava Sighar, a citizen of Elsweyr and innocent of any crime. I ask to be taken to the Khajiiti embassy.”

Hadvar said, “Captain Ariorta, Moava is not on the list and is not even a citizen of The Empire.”

“Everybody knows that Elsweyr and its citizens are puppets of The Dominion. They are no friends of ours. He goes to the block like the rest. That is the end of the discussion, Lieutenant Hadvar.”

The injustice was extreme, and my anger conquered my mental fog.

I asked, “Moava Sighar, have they charged you with a crime?”

“No, Lord Welkynd, they have not. I was at least two hundred yards away from Ulfric’s band, walking even further away when arrested. I had nothing to do with Ulfric or his men and hadn’t spoken to any of them. Like Lokir, we were arrested simply for being near the rebels. They stripped us of our possessions and threw us in enclosures with the rebels.”

I stepped forward and said, “Captain Ariorta, I vouch for Moava Sighar. He is an honest merchant and well-respected by all, which is a rarity for a Khajiiti in Skyrim. He should be escorted, as a prisoner if need be, to his embassy and a trial conducted as Imperial Law dictates.”

The Captain barked, “Men, arrest Lord Welkynd and his bodyguards. If they resist, kill them!”


My voice echoed for several seconds, and then all was silent except for the muffled laughter of Ulfric Stormcloak to my right.

My squad surrounded me, and Iona asked, “Who wants to arrest The Dragonborn?”

Not a single Legionnaire moved.

General Tullius started walking towards us with a grim expression on his face.


I changed from when Haming burst into the inn with his enthusiastic announcement. I started sweating profusely, and my eyes darted around erratically. After The Sentinels all had their turn at expressing their concerns about my health, I told them, as close to an order as I have ever given, to stay five yards behind me and to remain silent. So shocked were they at my tone they ended all objections and did as I requested. I followed the convoy to the town centre.

I passed the discussion between father and son.

I watched the Priestess of Mara and Imperial Headsman take their position near the bloodied executioner’s block.

I listened to and observed the familiar calling of names and the death of Lokir. I am positive my sense of time, a natural part of my dragon soul has allowed me to recognise what is happening. I have no idea how or why it is occurring. But I know it is! My rage at the injustice was tremendous, but my instinctive need to break the repeating cycle was greater.

General Tullius tore the gag from Ulfric’s mouth and said,

  • Tullius: Ulfric Stormcloak. Some in Skyrim call you a hero. You are a veteran warrior, High King Torygg was an unblooded youth. But you were cowardly in your deceitful challenge and broke your sacred traditions by using The Voice to win the contest. A hero doesn’t murder his king and usurp his throne. I have removed your gag, so what is your defence?
  • Ulfric: You are not the one who will judge me. When welcomed in Sovngarde, my actions will be shown as just and correct. You will regret making me a martyr.
  • Tullius: You started this war, plunged Skyrim into chaos, and now The Empire will put you down and restore the peace. Martyr, you may be to some, but your rebellion will stall, and your disillusioned followers will return to relieved families, ashamed they believed your lies.

Tullius nodded, and Ulfric’s gag was put back into position.

A roar echoed, and everyone immediately looked to the sky.

It was the roar of a dragon and a challenge to all comers. It was not time to stop the cycle, so I kept silent.

“What was that?” asked Hadvar.

General Tullius turned towards the captain and said, “It is nothing to concern us. Carry on!”

Captain Ariorta shoved her nose further up the general’s backside, saluted then said, “Yes, General Tullius!”

She turned to the Priestess of Arkay and ordered her to give the prisoners their last rights. A priestess is not a soldier. The captain should have asked, not ordered.

The priestess said, “As we commend your souls to Aetherius, blessings of the Eight Divines upon you, for you are the salt and earth of Nirn, our beloved….”

The anger almost overwhelmed my determination. How dare a Priestess openly deny the Ninth Divine!

I think the belligerence of a Stormcloak saved my plan. Before the priestess could continue, a young Stormcloak came striding up to the block and said, “For the love of Talos, everybody shut up and let’s get this over with.”

The priestess looked at the Stormcloak and then General Tullius, who nodded. Then she said, “As you wish.”

The young Stormcloak shuffled closer to the block, demanding, “Come on, I haven’t got all morning!”

That comment was met by much laughter from everybody except my least favourite captain.

The Stormcloak knelt, and Captain Ariorta used her foot to make him bend. He laughed and said, “No need, Imperial, I will bend before the block, but not your oppression.”

He placed his head in position. Hadvar stood before the block. Captain Ariorta sheepishly removed her foot, and the Imperial Headsman got a good grip on his axe.

The condemned man said, “My ancestors are smiling upon me, Imperials. Can you say the same?”

The headsman lifted his axe high. Blood already covered the wicked blade.

I thought I heard Iona say, “You think they would clean it between sessions? The Imperial Headsman get paid a decent wage!” But Iona, this current Iona, hadn’t said a word since I silenced The Sentinels inside The Resting Pilgrim. What I heard was an echo of a previous cycle.

The instrument of death came down with an audible thump and ended the mortal life of the young Stormcloak. He is in for a shock when he reaches Sovngarde. He might end up in Alduin’s gullet.

The Stormcloak’s head landed neatly in a wooden crate placed before the block. I hope Hadvar keeps track of which head is which. They will need several crates to cater for them all.

The Stormcloak’s body stayed in place for a couple of seconds which was too long for Captain Ariorta. She unceremoniously pushed it with her foot. It fell to the side, blood still pumping as the heart did not realise it inhabited a corpse.

A sole voice, that of Jacob, yelled, “You Imperial Bastards!”

I will give him credit. That took courage I didn’t think he had.

Jeers and taunts answered him from the other Helgen citizens watching the pantomime.

Captain Ariorta yelled, “You, cat, you’re next. Step up to the block!”

My impulse to smack her across the head is strong. Perhaps I can do that this cycle to have a good memory for the next?

Lieutenant Hadvar kept glancing my way. Did he have residual memories of previous cycles? Or was he wondering what the most senior noble in attendance thinks of this travesty of justice?

Moava walked to the block with dignity. He knew the status of Khajiiti in the eyes of most Nords. He must be guilty of something, even if they can’t pinpoint what it is.

Moava knelt and then placed his head in position on the block. Captain Ariorta wisely kept her feet away this time.

I don’t know if the headsman started his backswing. Another roar, louder and closer than before, echoed throughout the town of Helgen. Three words spoken in a deep and powerful baritone voice followed soon after.


I have returned! Alduin was letting me know, for no other person present would understand Dovahzul.


Captain Ariorta exclaimed, “What an idiot! There is no such thing as dragons or Alduin!”

General Tullius pointed to the sky and said, “Then that is a mighty big bird, Captain Ariorta!”

Everybody gasped as Alduin approached. Some civilians took the hint and ran. The Legionnaires unsheathed their weapons while the Imperial Battlemages prepared spells and staves.

Alduin landed on a tower and stared at me.

Then he said, “We meet again, Dovahkiin. I appreciate the bounty to which you have led me. You look confused. Did you expect me to speak in Dovahzul? That would ruin my plan. I want everybody to know that your presence led to the destruction of Helgen. Wherever you go, death will follow. My loyal brothers will ensure that no place is safe.”

Alduin believes we have met before. He can track me, but how? And I thought he would still be in Sovngarde for longer.

I said, “It is me you need to conquer, Alduin. Let us take the fight elsewhere. There is no need for these people to be harmed.”

“Ah, but think of the bounty that will await me in Sovngarde, Dovahkiin. Besides, I realise now why you are confused. Who knows what will happen if you die today? I would guess a Dragon Break, and they have a way of spoiling plans. No, time is unpredictable, and I need to think more about possible outcomes. Still, you can watch as those around you die.”

Alduin’s Thu’um thundered.


As everybody in the cone of effect flew, including The Sentinels and me, my logical mind said, “Alduin only used two Words of Power. He wanted you knocked over, not dead.”

Everything started to fade in and out. I staggered to my feet. Then I staggered to my feet again, even though I hadn’t fallen over.


I knew the Words of Power were moon, sorrow and doom. But I had no idea what the Shout was.

In my fading eyesight, I saw the sky turn from the bright blue of a sunny day to dark rolling clouds. Water did not fall from these clouds, but meteors did! They landed and crushed soldiers, civilians and buildings alike.

I started a descent into darkness, battled to stay alert, issue orders, and save people.

Valdimar said, “Hold on, Wulf. I am summoning the Dragonguard and Sentinels. We will not fight Alduin, but we can save lives.”

Another voice, that of Silah, whispered, “Wulf, I am taking you to Aetherius. You will be okay. Nobody foresaw this probability, but many questions are now answered.”

Hadvar exclaimed, “What is that? Is a spirit taking him to Sovngarde?”

Iona replied, “No, Lieutenant Hadvar, it is a friend taking him to be healed. Now come, we can help people, but only if we ignore Alduin. We cannot defeat him, but we can deny him. The town is lost, but not all the people if we hurry.”

I heard Dhali swear in Tsaesci and smiled.

Inigo pleaded, “Make it back, my friend. I am not the only one who needs you. Woah, a damn boulder almost turned me into Khajiiti paste! I can’t wait to kick that stinky black lizard in the privates!”

I managed to chuckle, and then the darkness finally won.

NOTE: Future readers of my journals, please forgive my mixing of past and present tenses. During the cycles, past and present coexist. I have tried to portray my chaotic thought processes as accurately as possible.

9 thoughts on “Anomaly

    I was really hoping you’d have showed the Law to that Imperial Captain…. Why? Why you didn’t ? Anyway, who cares about the tenses? This journal was crazy amazing. It should’nd have been different since, by the way you set it up through other journals, it is like Groundhog day! And I should have expexted it! But I couldn’t! I just went into that trap unconscious
    P.s. And how you managed to live through that execution as bystander? Another narration trick?
    Bloody AMAZING.

  2. That was certainly different. I’m intrigued as to why Wulf was crook and Silah had to take him to Aetherius. Time was really getting stuffed around, Wulf is not the only one a little confused, eagerly waiting for the next journal entry. Thanks Mark for having this set of journals so different, it makes me wonder wtf is going to happen next.

    1. Lord Talos describes it to Wulf as, “Metaphysical gobblygook with a dose of mumbo-jumbo.” It all makes sense. Well, as much as a big ball of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff can.

  3. I did get the Doctor Who reference. Who could ever forget Sally Sparrow and the introduction of the Weeping Angels! Too bad we never saw her again. Oh, and amazing entry, btw. Loved it!

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