Sundas, 31st Last Seed, 4E 201
For the first time in weeks, I got out of bed with no plan for the day. There are things I would like to have gotten done, but I would risk innocent lives doing them. Alduin might not attack me directly, but he seems content to tell his allies to kill me. I must wait until Delphine has done her undercover work and hope dragons don’t attack a city or town.
I did my usual morning rounds of chatting with people. I headed for the barracks to see how Lydia handled her new position.
“Good morning, Lydia. That is superb armour!”
“They said I could choose from your collection, and this armour is special to me.”
“Oh, why is that?”
“My dad was a personal guard to Emperor Consort Raelyn Dulroi and her daughter, Royal Highness Adilessia Mede I. This style of armour was reserved for those guards. The last time I saw him, he was wearing his Consort Guard Armour and boarding a ship at Leyawiin Port in early Sun’s Disk, 4E 391.”
“They were lost at sea, near Black Marsh, three months later. They had finished a diplomatic mission to Morrowind and were returning home.”
“Yes, parts of the boat, splintered and scorched, were found drifting, but no bodies were ever recovered. There has never been an explanation for what happened, just a lot of suspicion and speculation.”
“That would have been hard on your family.”
“I was the only one left of my family. Mum died a few years earlier in a carriage accident. A predator spooked her horse and ran wild even after the carriage tipped over. Mum was caught in the reins. I was their only child and an orphan at fifteen. Dad’s military pension meant I wasn’t destitute. I was a native of Skyrim, so I returned home to Whiterun. I soon got restless feet and spent eight years in The Legion. After visiting several provinces as a Legionnaire, my wanderlust was sated. I returned to Skyrim and joined Whiterun’s garrison. Jarl Balgruuf asked me if I wanted to be your housecarl. He warned me it would be challenging but that I was wasted as a guard.”
“Adilessia was the Heir Apparent to the Ruby Throne after her two older brothers died, one in battle, the other in a joust.”
“I cried for Adilessia as much as I did for dad. The princess and I had become close. I spent much time with her, and she never acted like a royal. I felt like a big sister, and we used to get into mischief.”
“I suppose you were a big sister. Adilessia was only ten when she died. Did you ever meet His Imperial Majesty?”
“No, any time he spent with the Emperor Consort and Princess was strictly private. Dad hardly spoke to him in his twelve years as personal guard to the Consort.”
“You have lived a military life since birth.”
“Yes, barracks and military discipline are the backgrounds of my existence.”
“Well, I don’t know what travelling I will be doing in the service of The Nine. But teleporting makes the whole world seem smaller. We don’t have to travel for days or weeks between major population centres.”
“Everybody has been so welcoming and willing to help me adjust. It was hard to believe what they said about you and your parents. However, I will follow the sage advice of Iona and accept whatever strange things I hear.”
“As I told you in Whiterun, you can ask any questions, and I will do my best to answer.”
“Iona said you will stay in Aurane for a few days.”
“Yes, because if I travel, Alduin may send dragons to attack. So, I can’t, in all honesty, visit populated areas. I am waiting for the next part of my plan to become possible, so in the meantime, I will potter around here like a lost soul. I do have some complex tomes on Liminal Bridges I want to read. That might keep me busy this morning.”
“It does, doesn’t it! I am glad you found some armour that means something to you, Lydia. I will apply my usual dweomer to it later today.”
I made my way to the furthest end of Aurane and started reading one of the tomes on Liminal Bridges. The penmanship of the mage that wrote it was terrible, but still, he had some exciting ideas.
I don’t know how long Olette had been trying to gain my attention, but she finally had enough and flicked me on my ear.
“Do you mind if I sit with you, Cap’n? No, of course, you don’t! What a silly question.”
Olette sat and smiled at me, knowing I had no defence against such an onslaught.
I asked, “Is this just a social visit, or have you set alight to the kitchen again?”
“Wow, you almost burn down a palace once, and nobody forgets.”
“Ahh, the palace is marble, which doesn’t burn.”
“Cap’n, you don’t have to ruin a bit of exaggeration by using unnecessary facts!”
“My apologies. So, why are you interfering with my study? I was getting to the part explaining why the transluminal passage of quickened objects or entities without hyper-agonal media’s persistent agency is impossible. If you tried it, the effort would result in instantaneous retransmission of the transported referents. Brilliant and exciting!”
“I think I will sit and stare into infinity. That way, my brain won’t explode.”
“It would be a very tiny explosion.”
“Fiddlesticks, my foot can’t reach you. If it could, it would be bruised shin time!”
“I am wearing armour. Therefore, it would be bruised toe time.”
“There you go with annoying logic and facts. Boring!”
“I know you well, Olette. You want to ask something but are unsure. Just ask, as that is how you learn.”
“You know I survived by being an information broker. I am good at picking up interesting bits and pieces from the general conversations I might accidentally overhear. I know bits about you, Cap’n, but I want to know more. I want to hear about your parents, not because they are gods. I want to know what you did as a child before you had to get all serious and fight dragons and stuff.”
“You want to hear about my childhood?”
“Yeah, only the good bits, not when you were still dribbling and wearing nappies. Tell me about being a young boy living in the middle of nowhere.”
“Okay, but on one condition.”
“Stop slouching and sit up straight.”
“Wujeeta is always nagging me about it. It’s a habit, Cap’n. Anyway, I will sit up straight with hands in my lap like a lady, not a gutter snipe.”
Olette did a good impersonation of a noble with a stick up her rear end.
“If you don’t mind, milady, I will pretend you know nothing of my upbringing. Feel free to ask questions.”
“That is acceptable, good sir. Please, continue.”
“Father is a god with many names over the years. Hjalti Early-Beard was the name his parents gave him. He was called Tiber Septim when he sat on The Ruby Throne. After his ascension, he is known as Lord Talos or just Talos. Similarly, Mother has had many names and titles, including Paravant, which means the first. Other names for her used by various people include Perrif, Paraval, Pevesh, Perrethu, Paravania, and Aleshut. Mother says that Perrif was the name given when she was born enslaved and what she carried into The Slave Rebellion. After winning the war against the Ayleid enslavers, she was named Al-Esh, which means ‘High Highness’. The name was too Mer for many of her citizens, and Alessia was adopted in preference. Father calls her Alessia. After her ascension, she is referred to as Saint Alessia.”
“Saint Alessia was the first Dragonborn.”
“Yes, but you must understand that Dragonborn has two distinct meanings. Mother’s blood was blessed by Lord Akatosh and is called Dragonblood. Mortals could not live with real Dragonblood in their veins, but it is close to it with slight changes, so it doesn’t kill us. Dragonblood was inherited and used to prove descendants from Saint Alessia and, therefore, a potential claimant to The Ruby Throne. It is more complicated, but that simplification is sufficient for now.”
“If the Dragonblood is inherited, Saint Alessia’s descendants might be called Dragonborn.”
“Yes, that is one of two meanings of Dragonborn.”
“And the other meaning?”
“Lord Akatosh blesses mortals, so they have Dragonblood and a Dragon Soul. This blessing enables them to learn The Voice quicker and absorb knowledge from slain dragons. Those Dragonborn are placed on Nirn as Champions of The Divines when there is great need.”
“Were you blessed so you could fight Alduin?”
“No, I was born with Lord Akatosh’s blessings. Nobody manipulated me to make that happen. Let’s call it an unplanned and unforeseen event. They call me Dragonchild.”
“Were you made the normal way?”
“Yes, via mortal sexual intercourse. My soul was selected randomly from those unaware souls within The Void. The Divines did not intervene in that process.”
“But your parents are gods?”
“Mother and Father were mortals who ascended to godhood. They fell in love whilst gods and desired to have a child they could raise to adulthood. They would have been happy if I had turned out to have no special powers and became a farmer or other normal profession. Other gods provided aid, which allowed part of them to be mortals once more and live on Nirn for an extended period. They were mortals but not, for they did not sleep, and most of their souls resided in Aetherius.”
“Did you have any choice in the matter, or were you forced into being The Divines champion?”
“I have always chosen my path, Olette. Being Dragonchild was not the only factor that led to The Divines asking if I would assume the role of their champion. I have an uncanny memory and superior logic, and learn things rapidly. When I was old enough to understand the risks and commitment, the role was explained to me, and I accepted it. I then received extra blessings to make me a Ningheim. Those blessings made me an expert in souls and their manipulation, plus provided other useful powers.”
“Lord Talos was also a Dragonborn, wasn’t he?”
“Yes. And because Father’s Dragonblood was inherited from Saint Alessia’s lineage, he was a legitimate claimant to The Ruby Throne.”
“Your father is descended from your mother?”
“Yes, Mother is Father’s twenty times Great-Grandmother.”
“It is not like Mother is an old lady, Olette. They are of the same age in mortal form. The blood relationship is so distant that there is nothing wrong with them being a couple.”
“Okay, I think I understand how gods gave birth to a mortal and how you obtained your powers. I was told you were born in Roscrea. When I looked at a globe, that is a big place!”
“I was born on a small island, one of the dozens dotted around Roscrea. The island doesn’t have a name. Therefore, when people ask, I was born in Roscrea. I lived in the one-room hut where I was born until I turned eighteen. It had one bed because my parents didn’t sleep. The rest of the furniture included a bookshelf, a few chairs, chests, and alchemy equipment. Cooking was done outside on an open fire. A Thunderbox was out the back. Next to it was a copper bathtub and washbasin.”
“A small shed containing a privy.”
“Ahh…a reference to loud farting. Sometimes your weird sayings make sense.”
“I could do an Empathetic Link. That would make it easier for you to understand.”
“What is an Empathetic Link?”
“I remember something, and you can see it through my eyes.”
“Ahh…only things you want me to see, I hope.”
“Yes, Olette, and I won’t be able to see your thoughts about Oliver, thank goodness!”
“I only have pure thoughts, Lord Welkynd.”
“First, though, we have to establish a telepathic link.”
“Oh, like with Meeko.”
“You are one of the few people who figured out how to do that.”
“I kind of have a way with animals. I seem to understand them, so Meeko was easy.”
“You will feel a probing on your brain if I can find it. Just relax, and we will soon talk telepathically. You can only do this with a trained telepath, so don’t try sending secret messages to the other children!”
I sent out a probe, and to my surprise, Olette opened her mind almost immediately. Usually, there is a bit of hesitation.
“Hello…lo…o… Can…an…you…u…hear…ear…r…me…e…e? It…t…is…s…echoing…ng…g…”
“Okay, we shall speak normally, but the Empathetic Link should work.”
I thought of a time I piggybacked on Father to the beach.
Olette gasped, then said, “Saint Alessia is beautiful, and Talos is handsome, if wrinkly. You were cute. Too bad that didn’t last.”
“I’m waiting. Perhaps I think Olette is smarter than she is?”
“Waiting for…HANG ON! If this is a memory, how can you see yourself?”
“What do you mean you don’t know?”
“It is just one of those quirky things I can do. I couldn’t see myself at that precise moment, but I can when recalling the memory.”
“It must be disturbing waking up each morning not knowing how strange you are.”
“Mother is an excellent Alchemist. When not inventing potions, she would make some for the locals with problems, even before they knew they needed one.”
“What kind of problems?”
“Types that young girls need not know about.”
“Oh, like Sadrin in Riften, who had problems with his man bits.”
“Was that information worth coin to anybody?”
“No, but I had fun figuring out what that meant. Did you know Sadrin went around touching breasts on women and statues and would remark about their size? I think his man bits got hurt a few times with swift kicks.”
“Other potions Mother made would be to cure diseases and help with other issues, not all medical.”
“Saint Alessia would go up to somebody and hand them a potion before they asked for one.”
“Discretely with some of them, but yes.”
“That is disturbing but kind.”
“Mother and Father taught by example, not rote. An appreciation for charity and the realisation that small things can change a life comes from them. Nobody questioned who they were because they were always friendly and willing to help. Mother also knew when people were sad or in need of some kindness. Jafla’s husband, Kraglen, was a fisherman whose boat had been missing for a week. Here we are delivering some groceries to Jafola. She cried on Mother’s shoulder for at least thirty minutes.”
“Is that Meeko?”
“Yes, in his shaggy mutt form.”
“Was that village close to your cabin?”
“About ten miles away. We would often make trips there. The twenty-mile walk was never tedious as Mother and Father always had interesting things to discuss.”
“Did Kraglen die?”
“No, but he was stranded on a tiny island for two weeks. He laughed about it when he got back. He said he needed to lose weight.”
“Apart from Alchemy, what else did your parents teach you?”
“Mother taught me every subject imaginable. But she did it in such a way that I became fascinated, and our lessons would go far longer than planned.”
“The mages here make our lessons fun, and I think we learn more that way.”
“Mother also taught me about the plants and animals surrounding the cottage.”
“Did you have any pets apart from Meeko, who isn’t a pet or even a dog?”
“Yes, I had rabbits and hamsters.”
“What is a hamster?”
“They are a type of rodent. This little guy is Maul.”
“Aww…cute. But you named it Maul, like the idiot in Riften?”
“Yeah, Maul wondered why I laughed when he acted tough and then told me his name.”
“What did your father teach you?”
“The art of killing. The first thing I ever killed was a large buck. My arrow badly injured it instead of a clean kill. Father made me watch as he showed me the quickest and kindest way to put it out of its misery. He did not criticise me for crying but didn’t stop the lesson. He showed me how to butcher the animal and harvest everything useful. Very little went to waste. I felt better about the ordeal when I saw how many people the meat, furs and other parts helped in the village.”
“Did he teach you how to kill people?”
“Of course. Mother taught me history as well as the current state of various nations. I knew it was better to be good at killing than dying.”
“I would never accept being a victim of the parasites in Riften. Ma said little girls shouldn’t have to carry a dagger. That might be true in an ideal world, but it wasn’t the reality of Riften.”
“Father’s weapon lessons were relentless and exhausting. When I was worn out, he would continue to push me. When I accepted The Champion of the Divines role, the lessons became more brutal, and I learned from every bruise and nick.”
“Wulf as a teenager! You don’t look much different. And that’s the armour you have in your bedroom.”
“Yes. I also have my Psijic outfit on display as well.”
“Okay, who and what are the Psijic?”
“The Psijic Order consists of monks who practice a form of magic called Mysticism or The Old Ways. They study how nature works and manipulate it. For instance, they live on a large island called Artaeum which they can make vanish and move to different planes and across the surface of Nirn. The order is stringent in some regards so that Psijic Monks can be valuable advisers to royalty, but they will never swear allegiance. They are concerned that a conflict might arise between the teachings of their order and what a noble wants them to do. They can’t be accused of treason if they are not a sworn vassal.”
“That wouldn’t stop some nobles from getting upset and having them flogged or worse.”
“There was a genuine and earned fear of reprisal. Nobody with any sense hurt or imprisoned a Psijic Monk.”
“Like the predators in Skyrim learnt that I was not to be hunted. I am pretty handy with my stabber and know the best spots to halt a grown man.”
“The Psijic view on gods is interesting. They believe the spiritual world is always watching and manipulating our world. They believe the Aedra and Daedra gods are spirits that have achieved great power in their afterlife. In other words, they were once mortals. It isn’t easy to summarise the Psijic Order, as their belief system is so foreign to how most people perceive nature. They see layers of meaning in a cloud when you and I would see a cloud.”
“Do I look dizzy, Cap’n? Because that was a lot of dizzy-inducing facts.”
“I am sorry, Olette. I tried to simplify as much as I could. Just think of them as mages who stick their heads in buckets of gobblygook and hardly ever come up for air.”
“That’s better, and it explains why you were one of them. Too bad you removed the bucket.”
“Hahaha. I was not a Psijic Monk, but the only non-member they ever taught. They have very powerful seers amongst them, and my Mother is regarded as one of the most accurate soothsayers. Both the Psijics and Mother saw something threatening us all in the future. Nobody can say for certain what it is. It could be a natural disaster, a disease, a global war or many other things. It might even be the Land Strider!”
“Inigo has told me his prophecy at least ten times.”
“I think he sees it as another step towards redemption. I hope one day he feels redeemed and his guilt is erased.”
“So do I. Inigo gets on well with the orphans, probably because he was one. He is the only adult I know who can win a practical joke war with children.”
“Anyway, in case a mortal champion can help avert whatever the threat is, the Psijics agreed to train me and share some of their ‘Old Ways’ magic.”
“Doesn’t their belief system conflict with yours?”
“Yes and no. I don’t believe all of the Aedra and Daedra gods were mortal. However, the spirit world watching and interacting with this world would explain some things that Father doesn’t understand.”
“I am going to be looking for an Elder Scroll. Nobody knows who made them, and they behave in strange ways. I have to find a particular Elder Scroll out of the hundreds known to exist. It doesn’t matter where I find an Elder Scroll because it will be the one I need.”
“Okay, move on from such gobblygook before I start twitching and barking like a dog.”
“The first Khajiiti I ever met was a Psijic Monk called Zav’i Ronai and her bodyguard, J’saad Tavaktani.”
“He’s even taller than P’Sua!”
“The Khajiiti have twenty breeds, known as Furstock. J’saad is of Tojay-raht Furstock. They are not the tallest Khajiiti. The Senche-raht walk on all fours, yet are still taller than Tojay-raht.”
“It looks like you and your father met them at some docks.”
“We always went to the docks to meet those who came to speak to my parents. Mother often purchased rare reagents for her alchemy work. Zav’i pretended to be a reagent merchant, but when she talked to me, I guessed she was assessing me for something. When I arrived in Akavir and found her living amongst the Dragonguard, I knew my suspicion was correct. During the walk to our cabin, she chatted with me non-stop. That talk convinced her to vouch for me, and she advised the Psijic to train me.”
“What is that pretty animal?”
“That is an Impala. They are delicious with mint sauce.”
“Ha, fooled you! They are better with apple sauce.”
“I hate you sometimes!”
“Father taught me how to fight, but he was so gentle at other times. Every night, without fail, he would read me a bedtime story. It was a sad night for both of us when I turned thirteen. Mother had set that as the date when the bedtime stories would end. I had to start my progression from child to adult. Many societies regard that as the transition age.”
“Mum used to read me stories up until the Skooma addiction. Then I used to sometimes read them to her. Listening to my favourite stories calmed her and made her smile. I think she remembered the times she read them to me. It was hard to tell what happened in her head after a shot of Skooma.”
‘I am glad we rescued Wujeeta from that life. She is like an army general when she directs the other staff, but everybody likes her.”
“Did you have any childhood friends?”
“A few acquaintances, but Anna was my closest friend, and we spent endless hours together. She lived on a farm halfway to town. There were no predators to worry us. Therefore, walking to each other’s homes alone and exploring the island’s forests, beaches, and caves posed no risk.”
“She is pretty. Were you boyfriend and girlfriend?”
“No, she was like a sister to me. A bossy, big sister with a heart of gold, even though I was a month older. She started having romantic feelings as we tackled our teens together, but I couldn’t get involved, for I knew I would be leaving Roscrea. It made for difficult conversations, and I left the island without saying goodbye.”
“I like to pry, Cap’n, so I asked several people why you don’t have a lady or man in your life. They told me to ask you. So I am, and please don’t tell me it is none of my business. It is not right that somebody who spends so much time helping others is alone.”
“Friends surround me.”
“Cap’n, I am almost twelve and know enough about life that friends are one type of love, and everybody needs the other type of love. When they are adults with all those responsibilities, they do.”
“I knew I would leave Roscrea, and my life would never be the same. Although I put on a brave face for my parents, I was terrified. I had always had a sense of safety and certainty, and that was about to be lost. For my eighteenth birthday, my parents gave me a simple gold ring. I was to wear it as a reminder of our life on Roscrea. I wore it till I arrived in Skyrim. It is now in a lock box in my bedroom as it became uncomfortably tight.”
“Hah, your fingers got fatter along with your head!”
“A few nights before Father and Mother were to leave for Aetherius, I found myself in a cell with a young girl. I had travelled to her via the ethereal plane. It is something people can do with years of practice and when they are awake. I did it instinctively while asleep. However, I was not there physically. The spirit you see is my interpretation of my presence. Nobody could see me as I was not a glowing ghostly figure.”
“The girl is sobbing. And look at those scars, Cap’n!”
“She was alone, in the dark, and my instinct was to reach out, touch, and comfort her. But I was not there and had no hands. To survive her injuries, her will to live must be strong. Therefore, I talked to her, but no voice could be heard, for I was not there. But still, I tried. The girl heard me via telepathy but spoke to me normally.”
“I imagine that would be a natural response if you are not used to telepathy.”
I told the girl, ‘Hush, little one, for you are not alone. I am your witness and will share your pain. I cannot rescue you, but I will not leave your side. Sleep and let your body rest. I will watch over you. Let me be your guardian.’
She asked, ‘Will you always be my guardian?’
I then pledged, Olette. I replied, ‘I can’t promise, but I will try. I will not stop out of choice. I hope that is good enough.’
The girl calmed down and said, ‘Yes, we can only try our hardest. My dad used to say that. The worries of tomorrow are gone, and I feel peace. I can sleep now. Goodnight, my guardian.’
I could see tears forming in Olette’s eyes. The Empathetic Link shared the actual emotions I felt that night, and they were intense.
I told Olette, “I watched the girl sleep, and I did share her pain. My back felt like it was crisscrossed with bands of fire. But I was content and realised my worries about leaving Roscrea for a new life were somewhat lessened. The worries of tomorrow were gone. I spent hours sitting next to the girl. But nobody came and got her before my location changed.”
Olette cried out in fear as the next memory played out.
“Suddenly, I was in a small dungeon. Three jail cells lined the walls. Before me was the girl. She was not a child as I first thought, but a young teen, A wooden stock was around her neck. It was so large and heavy that few grown men could hold it up for long. Her arms were bound to either end of the stock.
The girl should have collapsed, but she knelt with minimal swaying and a look of determination in her eyes. She was not surrendering to those who tormented her, The Thalmor.
The observers were an elderly Khajiiti, who looked at the girl with pity and her captors with contempt. Standing next to the Khajiiti was a Justiciar, who was proud of the show he was putting on. Another Altmer sat close to the girl. Behind her was a torturer. I concentrated on the girl, and the background conversations did not register.
They were about to whip the girl, so I knelt before her and said, ‘I am your guardian, and we shall share the pain, you and I.’
The girl looked to where I knelt and nodded her head. She couldn’t see me but sensed my presence like when I guarded her. I had no idea how long ago that time in the cell was relative to the scene before me.
The torturer looked through his instruments of torture and selected a horse crop.”
Olette looked stressed, and I asked her, “Olette, we can stop if you want.”
“No, Cap’n, this incident, and girl, are important to you. If it explains why you choose to be alone, I want to understand that choice.”
“When I told the girl I would share her pain, I was doing an Empathetic Link with her as I did in that cell. I felt the pain exactly as she did during the whipping. I will not transmit that pain to you.”
“You wanted to understand what she was enduring.”
I cleared my throat, then continued, “The crop came down, and the girl flinched, but no sound issued from her lips. I barely managed to remain silent, and that was the first stroke! The thrashing continued, and I had never felt such pain. The girl’s scars were amplifying what she felt!
Her brown eyes stared into mine, and I was overwhelmed by the love I saw within her soul.
Stroke after stroke, the girl’s flesh was torn from her back and thrown across the room. Tears rolled down my face as anger and pain seared my very being. I would gladly have taken her place, for she did not deserve such brutality. No girl her age did.
I glanced at the torturer and saw his attack getting more vicious out of frustration. The girl was making The Thalmor look weak with her resolve. She refused to cry out or beg for mercy. The Altmer sitting close to her leant in close, waiting for a sign of submission.
I knew the girl could not last much longer. If the whipping did not kill her, an errant stroke could snap her back like a twig.
I pleaded with her, ‘Please, give them what they want. Scream out, beg for mercy. It will be a hollow victory for them. Surely you have something to live for?’
The girl nodded and smiled. Then she screamed and yelled, ‘No more! Please! No more!’
The girl fell forward as The Thalmor laughed. The Khajiiti growled, and I wept.”
I looked at Olette, and she nodded. She was determined to see and understand what had occurred.
I continued, “Suddenly, I was back in the dungeon. The elderly Khajiiti was dressed in black, and he carried the girl towards a trapdoor. I could hear running water below.
The girl was limp and stared straight ahead. She should probably be dead, but I knew she was motivated to live. She needed to achieve something, and death could wait.
The Khajiiti whispered, ‘The nightmare is over, Rigmor. I shall take you to my home, and you will be safe. Nobody will ever hurt you again.’
Like that night in Roscrea, I found myself crying, and I let the scene play out. Olette was the first person I had shared the whole experience with, and it felt right to do so. She would understand. The empathy of a child is unlimited.
I explained, “I sat up in bed, and Mother and Father looked on in dismay. I cried, ‘Rigmor! That is her name, and I am her guardian. She is not safe. Where is she? I need to protect her!’
My parents continued to look on with hopeless expressions that should not exist on gods. I was wandering the Ethereal Plane, looking for Rigmor, and that is a dangerous place to be, for godlike beings roam it and hunt for mortal souls.
I yelled, ‘Where is she? Where is Rigmor? Take me to her, please! You are gods and can do that! She needs me! Please, please, where is my Rigmor?’
Mother cried, and I had never seen her do that before. She is so beautiful, and I am sorry I made her cry.
Father looked lost. A god stood there, not knowing what to do.
He waved his hand, and a blessed darkness took the pain away. I slept till morning.”
Olette had her eyes closed.
She opened them and said, “Cap’n, nobody has the right to tell you to forget Rigmor! It’s not a thousand years since that happened, and I doubt it is something you could ignore.”
“Everybody tells me she has probably moved on and is safe. I know she isn’t, for I have seen her again.”
“Just over a month ago. And I haven’t told anybody because I would get more negativity and advice I don’t want. Rigmor is my problem to solve.”
“Can you tell me about the other meeting?”
“Yes, it won’t take long. How is your head? Empathetic Links can cause terrible headaches and nausea.”
“I am okay, Cap’n.”
“Just over a month ago, I was asleep when I Ethereally Travelled to Rigmor again. She was older and wearing a metal breastplate. Hey, why am I describing her? Here is what I saw.”
Olette said, “That is unmistakably her, Cap’n!”
“Yes, Olette, I would have known that even if I closed my eyes. There is a connection between us. It felt natural and familiar.”
“Deeper than that. It is hard to explain.”
“Keep going. Rigmor looks hurt once more.”
“I said to her, ‘Rigmor, it is your guardian. What has happened?’”
Rigmor fell over and curled up in pain. Just then, a hunter came running over and knelt before her.
The hunter exclaimed, ‘Oh my! What has happened to you?’
Rigmor whispered, ‘Thalmor. Ran away. Fell down cliff. Stomach.’
‘Those bastards are all over the place. My shack is not too far, but you must try and walk. Lean against me, and we can make it. Then we shall see about getting you better.’
‘Thalmor. Searching for me.’
‘If they come anywhere near us, I shall put arrows through their heads!’
‘Father’s sword. Dropped…’
‘I can see it. I will fetch it, and then we shall get you on your feet.’
‘Thank you, my guardian.’
‘Beg your pardon.’
Rigmor started coughing, and specks of blood coloured the snow. Then I awoke in my bed.”
Olette smiled and said, “She knew you were there, Cap’n. Even though you only guarded her briefly, she thanked you.”
“I have no idea where she was or why The Thalmor were after her. What I can say for certain is that Rigmor lives. If she were to die, I would know. I can’t explain it all, Olette. I know some things with certainty, for there is a connection.”
“You don’t have to convince me, Cap’n.”
“I think we need to finish off with my thirteenth birthday present. It was the first time I experienced the power my parents possessed. Do you want to see it?”
My parents took me into the midst of Aetherius. We floated amongst the stars, the most beautiful sight I have ever experienced. Olette saw it through our link, and she laughed with joy.
Then she said, “That was my dream, Cap’n. I yearned to cuddle with my parents and not have a care in the world. I don’t even know what Pa looks like. I thank you for showing me this wonderful thing. I see much love and will cherish this memory as if it were my own.”
“Sometimes, Olette, you are a wise old woman in disguise.”
I broke the Empathetic Link and walked over to Olette.
I asked her, “Do you want to see where my name, Welkynd, comes from?”
“It means Star Child.”
“Yes, but have you ever seen a Star Child?”
“Then come with me.”
We walked to the unfinished part of Aurane and entered.
We then made our way to the tessellated crystals.
Olette stared at them for a good minute.
When she turned to me, she asked, “Why did your mother name something so ugly after something so pretty.”
“I will ignore your rudeness and tell you what they are. Pieces of Aetherius fall to the ground as Star Metal or Star Glass. The Star Glass is a type of crystal, and the Ayleid managed to grow these crystals from those that fell.”
“Lots of the lights in the palace are made from Welkynd crystal.”
“That is because the crystals absorb starlight and store it as magical energy. The light emitted is starlight.”
“That is amazing!”
“Yes, it is impressive, and nobody else has been able to replicate the process.”
“What are you doing for the rest of the day, Cap’n?”
“I am going back to my Liminal Barrier book. Then I must place some dweomer on Lydia’s armour.”
“She is so gentle and friendly. It is hard to believe she has been a soldier or guard her whole life. I mean, Jordis, Iona and Rayya are nice, but there is something special about Lydia.”
“I have been lucky with the quality of people assigned as housecarls.”
“Perhaps it’s them Psijic spirits interfering, Cap’n. Why not housecarls if they can make the right Elder Scroll appear?”
“That is an excellent theory, young lady!”
“Don’t be jealous, Cap’n. Not all of us can have brains and good looks.”
“At suppertime, I want everybody to gather at the inn. It is about time we did a bit more relaxing together, don’t you think?”
“Are you going to play some music?”
“Okay, I will see you there for supper! In the meantime. I will let people know the plan and then watch some blacksmithing.”
Olette ran off, and I marvelled at her. She had to grow up quickly on the streets of Riften, but the young girl is still prevalent and flourishes in Aurane.
That night, the inn was crowded. All my friends appeared at some stage, and it was the first time I played music to an audience in weeks.
The recent arrivals from Akavir mixed with The Sentinels and other Dragonguard, and I could see strong bonds forming.
I felt a bit sorry for Agrard, the inn’s cook. He was doing it solo. In the palace, a staff of six caters to meals.
I told him, “Sorry for the extra workload. You have been flat out for hours.”
“Nonsense, Lord Welkynd. I hear things, so I know what many of these folk did for the people of Helgen. Feeding them is a privilege, not a chore. Plus, those Akaviri people have started to share some exciting recipes. I might have to reduce the spices a bit, though.”
“Well, thank you anyway, Agrard. A privilege it may be, but it is still hard work and appreciated.”
I rejoined the crowd and did not climb into bed until after midnight.
I do not know what time I fell asleep. I do know that I was thinking of the mystery that is Rigmor.