Dragon War Resumption

Morndas, 1st Hearthfire, 4E 201

I hadn’t broken my fast or even said good morning to anybody before Silah popped out of the ether.

“Wulf, Odahviing is back in Skyrim with fourteen Dov he found in Hammerfell. A few of them are attacking Solitude!”

“I will tell all Sentinels and Dragonguard to head there. I don’t want you, Nahfahlaar or Valminoor to help. The defenders will attack any dragon they see, and they do not know we have dragon allies.”


“Is this the start of their offensive?”

“I don’t think they have the numbers, especially if you and the others bring down a few. However, I doubt Solitude will be their only target. Alduin was content to sacrifice allies to spread fear and chaos during The Dragon War.”

“The Jarls aren’t prepared for this.”

“Do what you can, Wulf.”

Silah vanished, and I ran around the living area, issuing orders. Each squad of four included at least one mage who could teleport and summon. It did not take long before we were spread all over Solitude.

I teleported some of the Ka’Po’Tun into Castle Dour’s courtyard. We quickly ascertained that four dragons were attacking.

I conducted a quick inspection of how the guards and Legionnaires were fairing. They were bunched together, making them vulnerable to area-of-effect attacks.

I used my Thu’um, and my voice echoed around Solitude.


When the dragons realised that I was there, I became their target. Therefore, I stayed in Castle Dour’s courtyard, as no civilian housing was nearby.

My Thu’um was not focused enough, so I used Thunderbolts as my primary weapon. One Thunderbolt from me is usually enough to kill an armoured mortal opponent, so I was inflicting heavy damage on the dragons.

Such was the intensity of spell and arrow barrages that a landed dragon risked severe damage in seconds.

The first dragon we killed was Yolmuthahvoth (Fire Storm Ruler).

A Solitude guardsman approached me and said a dragon was trying to break into The Blue Palace. Jarl Elisif would be deep underground and out of harm’s way, but still, it was not a polite thing to do!

I ran through the city and confronted Vuzsahrotnaal (Blood Darkness Hunter), who did the usual Dov boasting about the strength of his Thu’um. I didn’t bother replying but leapt on his head. My katana then penetrated his eye and entered his brain. That ended Vuzsahrotnaal’s boasting.

Another dragon fell to the defenders as I returned to Castle Dour’s courtyard. His name was Naanlaazvoshul (Champion Flame Slayer).

Yet another dragon, named Vokulrothgaar (Shadow Sun Champion), came crashing to the ground as I approached the courtyard.

Four dragons had fallen, yet three still attacked. It seemed another two had joined the fray since we arrived.

Civilians added to our effort but were particularly vulnerable.

The surviving dragons retreated. The concentration of firepower from The Sentinels and Dragonguard was too much.

I quickly looked at the damage and casualties as my friends started aiding the wounded and help put out fires.

I returned to Aurane, and over the next two hours, most of my friends returned. Almost fifty guards and legionnaires were killed. About the same number of civilians also died. Considering the intensity of the attack and the many residents, they were remarkably low numbers. They could easily have hit the thousands.

None of my friends was severely injured, but some looked haunted by what they witnessed.

  • Lydia: Wulf, they would still be fighting if we hadn’t arrived. Much of the city would have been destroyed.
  • Wulf: It would have been worse if the dragons didn’t start targeting me.
  • P’Sua: I didn’t hear you use a Shout.
  • Wulf: I can’t focus The Voice well enough to be effective against Dov. I needed to do the maximum damage I could, and the Thunderbolt spell was the best choice.
  • Khao: Like in Akavir, civilians were willing to die defending their homes.
  • Wulf: Yes, and a couple of them paid with their life. I was pleased and surprised at how empty the streets became. Most citizens wisely left the defence to us and Solitude’s garrison.
  • P’Sua: The garrison took your advice and dispersed, which saved more lives.
  • Wulf: Dragons are opportunists, and massed enemies are tempting targets.
  • Lydia: This scenario is what you feared, Wulf.
  • Wulf: The offensive by Alduin was expected, and Odahviing’s visit to Hammerfell provided enough dragons for it to start this early. As I have told others, this is not another Dragon War but a resumption of the original.
  • P’Sua: Silah is here, Wulf.

I walked over to Silah, wondering what city or town was next on Alduin’s list.

I asked, “Where are they now?”

“Dragon Bridge and Windhelm.”

“I will take a squad to Dragon Bridge. There is a large contingent of Penitus Oculatus there who should pose a threat to the dragons. The rest of The Sentinels and Dragonguard can help Windhelm.”

“You bloodied Alduin’s nose in Solitude, Wulf. They can’t keep this offensive going for long.”

Silah vanished, and I quickly issued orders.

We came out of the ether to a scene of panic and chaos. Three dragons were attacking the town. Dead lay scattered, including a girl child, and some guards had been ensorceled. Constant lightning made it challenging to see.

I used Heat Vision to see where the living were in-between the blinding flashes.

Then I used a Clear Sky Shout, and the storm rapidly dissipated.

A dragon landed near the foot of the famous bridge. It vanished as Celestine, and I ran towards it.


Everybody did as I suggested, and Krinlorhaanvah (Elder Spirit King) was severely injured. He landed heavily, knocking some of us over with his downdraught and ground shake.

I quickly got back on my feet and attacked Krinlorhaanvah with a flurry of sword strokes. He died, and I immediately turned my attention to the remaining dragons.

The other dragons were weak. They flew overhead in formation but did minor damage with their combined Thu’um.

Kromkopaazlok (Storm Sky Crusher) issued a challenge and landed before me.

He didn’t last long.

While I tackled Kromkopaazlok, the town defenders badly injured Lokhulgrimaar (Frost Destroyer Dov), who had landed on the inn’s roof.

When I ran towards him, the dragon used an Ice Form Shout on me and looked puzzled when it had zero effect.

Lokhulgrimaar lifted into the air, but his brief time as a stationary target proved fatal.

He crashed to the ground. I easily outpaced everybody and quickly reached Lokhulgrimaar.

I soon cut him down, and the fighting was over.

The people of Dragon Bridge emerged. Many guards and Penitus Oculatus died but had provided invaluable assistance in the town’s defence. We helped with the injured and put out a couple of small fires. People started grieving over the slain, including the deceased child’s mother. Her wails of anguish tore at my soul, and I wept with her.

Silah said Odahviing had returned to Skyrim with fourteen dragons recruited in Hammerfell. I had seen seven dragons slain, but their origins were unknown. I had no idea how many dragons were in Skyrim supporting Alduin.

Silah flew overhead and said, “The fighting continues in Windhelm. A single dragon is attacking Rorikstead.”

We had done what we could in Dragon Bridge, so we immediately teleported into Rorikstead.

The dragon, Multhunrothkaan (Thunder Storm King), had been attacking outlying farms. When he saw us materialise, we became his targets.

A young girl ran past, and I said, “Get inside. It is not safe!”

She yelled back, “Not until I get Varge under cover! The stables aren’t far!”

The determined look on her face touched my heart. She was old enough to choose, so I let her be.

Guards and civilians were being turned to ash by the lightning bolts. I knew the Shout, and it is called Storm Call. It is indiscriminate in its killing.

I Shouted Clear Skies, and the storm dissipated.

Multhunrothkaan landed in front of me and wasted time with threats and boasts.

I rapidly ended his life.

I was relieved to see the girl and Varge had survived. There were a few minor injuries and half a dozen deaths, but Rorikstead had escaped significant damage.

I didn’t know if Delphine had arranged my pass to the Thalmor Embassy’s party. I returned to Aurane to see if Erandur had finished aiding Delphine and find out who I was to meet.

When we appeared in the palace, a Dragonguard sentry told me Master Mage Sulinus had some critical information.

I found Sulinus indulging in his favourite pastime. He likes to read obscure tomes on unrelated matters when not teaching the children. He was reading a treatise on Kagouti mating habits. The more abstract the subject, the more attractive it was to Sulinus.

Sulinus saw me and said, “Master Erandur was here. When told of the attack on Windhelm, he decided he would join the others there. He said he would leave your invitation and contact information in your room.”

“Thank you, Master Sulinus.”

“How is it out there, Lord Welkynd?”

“The dragons are causing a lot of damage, but the casualties are not as high as they could have been. The citizens, guards and Jarls were not prepared for this, Master Sulinus. Still, the bravery shown by all gives me heart. I grieve for those lost and must move fast to prevent more deaths.”

I quickly made my way to my room and read the information left by Erandur. If I hurried, I would make it to the party a bit late, but not overly so.

I placed my armour into a chest.

I willed myself into my Aetherius Room and approached my old field armour. I had worn it for years on Akavir, and it was superb quality.

I decided to use a smaller shield, a buckler, instead of the large round shield. The large shield was useful when facing lines of archers. However, the large shield was too cumbersome when fighting a melee in a confined space.

I placed my weapons and supplies into a nearby crate, then returned to my room in Aurane.

I transformed into Slurps-the-Swamp and then donned my party attire.

Inigo knocked, and I told him to enter.

He approached and then circled me twice.

I told him, “Yes, Inigo, as I told you and the squad, I would be an Argonian. Only a very skilled mage could detect the dweomer, and only if they were looking for it. A casual glance will never reveal that I am anything but an Argonian.”

“That is an amazing spell, my friend.”

“Indeed, it is, and thankfully not many people outside the Psijic Order know it.”

“Yes, I can imagine assassins would enjoy such a deception. An Argonian enters and makes sure many see and hear him. A few people die, and the Argonian gets blamed, while the assassin escapes all suspicion.”

“It is easier to sound like an Argonian because the throat and mouth are correctly shaped. Still, it is a strange tongue in my mouth, and the many sharp teeth are a distraction. Plus, I have no idea how to stop knocking things over with my tail.”

“Yes, it is not as sleek and flexible as a Khajiiti tail. Hopefully, you will not have to be Slurps-the-Swamp for long.”

Inigo gathered the squad, and after several minutes of questions about my transformation, I explained the plan. I was to meet a Bosmer called Malborn inside The Winking Skeever in Solitude. He works as a servant in the embassy. The Thalmor killed his family, and he now seeks revenge. However, he is meek and not suited to undercover work. One of my staff at Windstad Manor, Engar, was told by Erandur to have the carriage ready for me, as he would drive me to the embassy. Once at the party, I am to cause a distraction, enabling Malborn to lead me further into the embassy. From there, I will search for clues about Blades hiding in Skyrim.

Celestine was an undercover operative for many years. She inspected my invitation and said it was genuine and wouldn’t arouse suspicion.

There was a risk that my presence would invite another attack on Solitude, but I couldn’t send anybody else to meet with Malborn.

We teleported to just inside the gates.

I told my squad, “The Winking Skeever is guaranteed to be busy as many citizens will desire company after the dragon attack. I am unarmed and unarmoured, and you must keep me safe. Some patrons may recognise you and offer drinks or need to talk. Therefore, be civil, but be aware!”

We entered The Winking Skeever, which wasn’t as crowded as expected. However, all the conversations I overheard concerned dragons, the attack on the city, etc.

Erandur had described Malborn, and I soon spotted him. He had managed to claim a table and keep a seat vacant.

I walked over and sat down.

“Ahh, that seat is reserved. I have a friend coming.”

“Malborn? I doubt that is your real name because if they wiped out your family, you are on their list of missed targets.”

“Who are you?”

“A certain innkeeper has arranged for me to attend a party.”

“Really? You’re who she picked? I hope she knows what she’s doing.”

“She didn’t pick me, Malborn. I am her superior, and I know what I am doing. However, I am not so sure about you.”

“Well, here is the deal. I can smuggle some equipment into the embassy for you. Don’t plan on bringing anything else in with you. The Thalmor take security very seriously. I’m ready to go. Give me what you can’t live without, and I’ll get it into the Embassy. The rest is up to you.”

I unsheathed a normal iron dagger and gently placed in on the table.

I said, “That’s it.”

“That is all you want me to smuggle into the embassy?”

“Do you think you could sneak in a full set of plate-armour and a greatsword? No, Malborn, that would not be possible since you mentioned how seriously they take security. That dagger is all I need.”

Malborn went to grab the dagger and yelped when I grabbed his wrist.

I growled, “Touch the handle only. The blade is covered with the deadliest poison on Nirn. One touch and all your organs expand, then pop, one by one. That includes your sexual organs, Malborn. They are usually the first to go bang!”

Malborn looked in wide-eyed horror at the dagger, then, shaking, picked it up by the handle and wrapped a silk handkerchief around the blade.

I laughed and said, “Never use that handkerchief again, Malborn. Hey, there is an idea! Wipe your nose during the party, and as everybody watches you die an entertaining but agonising death, I can sneak out the back!”

Malborn’s eyes narrowed, and he hissed, “Haha. Funny joke.”

“Who said I was joking, Malborn?”

Malborn stood and said, “Okay. I’ll get this inside the Embassy for you. I’ve got to go. I’ll find you at the party, don’t worry.”

“Oh, I am not worried, Malborn. I will kill all who get in my way. You, on the other hand, might want to carry a spare pair of underpants.”

Malborn rushed away. I signalled, and my friends came closer. I then teleported us inside Windstad Manor.

Sonir, one of my two Stewards at Windstad, looked up in alarm as I approached.

I said, “Despite my appearance, Sonir, it is me, Lord Welkynd.”

“Yeah? Then what was my father’s name, and how did he die?”

“He was Drac Sevlon, a Reachman. He was executed by order of Ulfric Stormcloak during The Markarth Incident. His only crime was being born a Reachman. Your mother, Sor, was raped but survived, only to die of consumption three years later.”

Celestine said, “It is Lord Welkynd, Sonir.”

I explained, “I would revert to my normal form, but the hole for my tail makes these trousers breezy.”

Sonir laughed and said, “That sad attempt at humour proves it is you, Lord Welkynd.”

“Is Nobushi here?”

“She was having a late lunch with Anaka and Ogra by the pools.”

We made our way to the pools. Despite the snow and bitterly cold winds, the heated pools are pleasant to bathe in.

Ogra and Anaka recognised Celestine and saluted her as they passed.

Nobushi is the daughter of a free Akaviri noble. She was destined for an arranged marriage, which was a dilemma because she likes females, not males. The two Dragonguard with her are her lovers. Nobushi is only seventeen, but her doting father had paid for classes from top Swordmasters. That meant Nobushi was of expert level with the katana and capable of defending herself. We rescued her when Tsaesci slavers captured her. They were keen to sell her for a good price but didn’t live for long when we intercepted them. Nobushi asked for asylum, and we gave it to her.

All three Akaviri wanted to join us in Skyrim, where they didn’t need to worry about Tsaesci. Windstad is an ideal placement for them.

  • Celestine: Nobushi, let me introduce Slurps-the-Swamp.
  • Nobushi: It is a pleasure to meet you, Slurps-the-Swamp.
  • Wulf: You should tell her, Celestine.
  • Celestine: It’s Wulf. He used a fancy Psijic spell to turn himself into an Argonian.
  • Nobushi: That is impressive!
  • Wulf: Erandur stopped by earlier and told you what was to happen.
  • Nobushi: Yes, Engar is ready to go. He might be grumpy after sitting out in the cold waiting for you.
  • Wulf: He is a Nord. He should be bare-chested and enjoying this weather.
  • Nobushi: Please, I have seen him topless too many times. All that hairiness and muscles. Yuck!
  • Lydia: Oh, I might have to spend a few days at Windstad Manor!
  • Inigo: Nobushi, I am Inigo. Is Engar blind?
  • Nobushi: Ahh, no. Why do you ask?
  • Inigo: I am afraid, Lydia, you would waste your time with Engar. His eyes work.
  • Lydia: So, it’s a war you want?
  • Inigo: Trouncing somebody with my superior wit is a hobby of mine.
  • Lydia: This will be fun.
  • Wulf: Excuse these two, Nobushi. We have spent most of the day fighting dragons, and I think they both got knocked on the head.
  • Celestine: You had better get going, Wulf.

I walked over to Engar and the carriage.

The perpetually grumpy Nord said, “Erandur told me you would be Argonian. Get aboard, and clean up any scales before exiting.”

I climbed aboard the household carriage, and Inigo quipped, “Have fun with The Thalmor, my friend. I hear they throw the best parties. Manacles, thumb screws, whips, and racks of only the highest quality.”

Celestine would teleport the others back to Aurane. All The Sentinels and Dragonguard will remain armed and armoured in case more dragon attacks occur. I wondered how Windhelm weathered their dragon attack. It was nearly all stone, so the buildings should be okay. However, there would be a concentration of troops, and the casualties could be high.

Several hours later, we arrived at the Thalmor Embassy. They had a smaller one in Solitude, but this was the centre of their operations in Skyrim. I didn’t fear an ambush by bandits along the way because passenger carriages were left alone by an unwritten decree. An attack on a carriage would ensure a contingent of soldiers was sent to hunt the guilty. Since they would decide any bandit in the vicinity was to blame, it was wise not to touch the carriages. To do so earned the wrath of authorities and fellow bandits.

I jumped off the carriage and thanked Engar, who would soon return to Windstad Manor. I noticed a well-dressed Redguard sitting on a rock and approached him.

I asked, “Have you forgotten your invite, good sir?”

“Ah! A fellow latecomer to Elenwen’s little soiree. And arriving by carriage, no less! I salute you, sir! I have my pass, and my lateness is due more to getting lost on the way up this god’s forsaken mountain than to any desire to arrive late. I prefer to arrive early. Often the day before the party. So as not to miss out on any of the drinking.”

“I am Slurps-the-Swamp. You are?”

“Razelan, a senior broker with The East Empire Company. I make lots of money for The Thalmor. Otherwise, they would have shortened me by a head long ago.”

“And you are here for the free booze?”

“Well, Slurpy, there’s not enough drinking in the world today, wouldn’t you agree? I was resting briefly, although it was damnably cold out here. I don’t look forward to the trip back down… Perhaps we might share a carriage after the party? I know, I know – we’ve just met. But think, by the time the party ends, we’ll no doubt be fast friends.”

“Maybe, we shall see. Anyway, I am heading indoors before my tail freezes off.”

My sword hand twitched as I approached a Justiciar. It was Justiciar Ondolemar, the head of the Talos hunters in Skyrim. He looked at me with distaste, then turned and headed inside.

I look forward to the day I slaughter him as he has done to so many innocent civilians.

Razelan was not far behind me.

A Thalmor wearing ridiculous glass armour asked, “Do you have your invitation, sir?”

I handed him my invitation. He glanced at it, checked my name on a list and said, “All is in order, sir. Go right in.”

The process reminded me of Lieutenant Hadvar ticking off the condemned prisoner list in Helgen.

As I headed up the stairs, I overheard Razelan’s conversation.

  • Razelan: Now then. Here’s my invitation. I don’t have a poisoned dagger strapped to my thigh, et cetera, et cetera.
  • Thalmor Soldier: I’m just doing my duty, sir. Everything’s in order. Welcome back, sir.
  • Razelan: Yes, yes. Now, am I free to find myself a drink?
  • Thalmor Soldier: All is in order, sir. Head right in.

A Thalmor Wizard stared at me as I walked past. He was undoubtedly thinking of his racial superiority over the lizard people. I found this experience harder than I thought, battling my desire to kill every murderer I encountered.

I entered and saw Malborn behind a bar. Elenwen came strolling towards me. She must have sensed my desire to throttle her as she stopped out of reach.

She said, “Welcome. I don’t believe we’ve met. I am Elenwen, the Thalmor Ambassador to Skyrim. And you are…?”

“I am Slurps-the-Swamp, wholesaler of Tamriel’s most popular adult toys. Perhaps you have enjoyed some of my fine products?”


“I highly recommend my biggest seller, the Vibrating Frost Giant Phallus. It might be large, but satisfaction is guaranteed or your money back! Not that anybody has complained. That is because they can’t walk to the retailers to complain. Hahahaha!”


I glanced at Malborn, who had a panicked look on his face. If I didn’t resort to humour, crude as it may be, I might give in to my desire and turn Elenwen into a torch. Malborn finally found his voice.

  • Malborn: Madame Ambassador, I’m so sorry to interrupt…
  • Elenwen: What is it, Malborn?
  • Malborn: It’s just that we’ve run out of the Alto wine. Do I have your permission to uncork the Arenthia red…
  • Elenwen: Of course. I’ve told you before not to bother me with such trifles.
  • Malborn: Yes, Madame Ambassador.
  • Elenwen: My apologies, Slurps-the-Swamp. We’ll have to get better acquainted later. Please, enjoy yourself.
  • Wulf: Yes, of course. Perhaps I can send you a wagon loaded with some of my products, and next time we meet, you can tell me about your favourites.

I left Elenwen with mouth agape and had a look around the room.

Justiciar Ondolemar stared at me with his arms crossed. Does he suspect me, an Argonian, of being a Talos worshipper? Most of the Jarls were in attendance, and many worshipped Talos. If I had come as Wulf, remaining uninterrupted would have been difficult. I would have been asked why I was there, about the dragons, etc.

I was surprised some of the Jarls weren’t in their cities coordinating relief efforts. Many had to travel a long way over many days or weeks to attend this party. Few like The Thalmor, but it was best to remain cordial.

I wouldn’t mind eliminating a couple of nobles along with The Thalmor. Thane Erikur was one and was as crooked as a dog’s leg. Jarl Elisif kept him close as he may prove an ally if Ulfric were to win the civil war. I do not doubt that once that threat has been eliminated and Elisif is High Queen, Erikur will be swiftly removed from his position.

Elisif seemed content to remain aloof. She did no politicking and knew that the support amongst the Jarls was already decided. If an individual Jarl supported Ulfric’s claim, it was too late to change their mind. To them, Elisif represented The Empire. Elisif was Emperor Titus Mede II’s niece via some illegitimacy, but the blood connection was there. I doubt His Imperial Majesty would dare break convention and name her as Heir Presumptive.

There was some talk about the dragon attacks, but I could sense the Jarls were being careful. They did not want to mention casualties or damage to opponents in the civil war.

I walked over to Razelan and said, “Razelan, Thane Erikur is wearing the same outfit as you. I would sack your tailor, but only after giving him a good thrashing.”

“I am too thirsty to care.”

“Then why have you not attended the bar or asked the waitress for a drink?”

“I can have as much to drink as I like. However, Elenwen told the staff I should not be served alcohol.”

“I know The Thalmor have a reputation for barbarism, but that depravity is beyond words! I shall rectify this injustice immediately!”

As I walked towards the waitress, many guests openly stared at me. I was new to them, and no doubt they measured me regarding political gain. Who is he? Whose side is he on? Should I be concerned about him?

I said to the waitress, “That drink tray looks mighty heavy. Perhaps I can lighten the load somewhat.”

“Haha. Indeed, you can, sir. These goblets are full of the finest Colovian Brandy.”

“Then I shall take two goblets because talking bullshit created quite a thirst.”

I took two goblets off the tray and weaved through the crowd. Once again, I was subjected to stares and could imagine some attendees’ shallow and selfish thoughts.

I handed a goblet to Razelan and said, “Here, I have one to sake your thirst and another for you to consume slowly, as Colovian Brandy deserves time on the palate.”

Razelan eagerly gulped down the first goblet. He then took a sip of the second goblet and sighed.

He said, “You are a rarity, a generous soul amongst a gathering of pinch-pennies and lick-spittles! If there’s anything I can ever do for you, do not hesitate to call upon me!”

“Well, Razelan, my generosity was not entirely charitable. I need a noisy distraction, and you seem just the fellow to create one for me.”

“It just so happens you’ve come to the right person. You could say that causing a scene is a speciality of mine. Stand back and behold my handiwork.”

Razelan walked to the centre of the room, and there was instant silence. It seems that Razelan is indeed a specialist in causing a scene, and the crowd watch with eager anticipation.

As I made my way slowly towards Malborn, I found myself smiling at Razelan’s performance.

  • Razelan: Attention, everyone. Could I have your attention, please? I have an announcement to make!  I propose a toast to Elenwen, our Mistress!
  • Elenwen: Razelan, what are you doing?
  • Razelan: I speak figuratively, of course. Nothing could be more unlikely than someone wanting Elenwen in their bed.
  • Elenwen: Ugh.
  • Razelan: Although… most of you are already in bed with her! But again… I speak figuratively, of course!

Just as I reached Malborn behind the bar, some guards converged on Razelan and grabbed him by the arms.

  • Razelan: Fine. Fine. Take your hands off me. I’ll be a good boy now.
  • Elenwen: You are important, Razelan. But I warn you. My patience is running out!
  • Razelan: Well, I wouldn’t want to offend our Thalmor overlords, would I?
  • Elenwen: Stick him on a carriage and tell the driver to bill the embassy.
  • Razelan: Hey, before I go, can someone bring me a drink, quick?

Malborn whispered, “Let’s go, let’s go! Before anyone notices us.”

I followed Malborn through one door, which I closed behind me. He stopped before another door and turned to me.

He explained, “So far, so good. Let’s hope nobody saw us slip out. We need to pass through the kitchen. Your dagger is hidden in the larder. Just stay close and let me do any talking. Follow me.”

I appreciated the risk Malborn was taking and was surprised at how calm he seemed. Perhaps I underestimated him?

A Khajiiti servant watched us as we approached the larder.

When Malborn opened the larder door, she objected.

  • Tsavani: Who comes, Malborn? You know I don’t like strange smells in my kitchen.
  • Malborn: This guest is feeling ill. Leave the poor wretch be.
  • Tsavani: A guest in the kitchen is against the rules!
  • Malborn: Rules, is it, Tsavani? I didn’t realize that eating Moon Sugar was permitted. Perhaps I should ask the Ambassador?
  • Tsavani: Tss! Get out of here. I saw nothing.

We entered the larder, and Malborn locked the door from inside.

He said, “Your dagger is in that chest. When you exit through that other door, you will be in the heart of the embassy. I’ll lock that door behind you, or the patrols might notice something’s wrong.”

I told him, “Do not shit your trousers or scream, Malborn.”

“Why would I do that?”

I willed myself into my Aetherius Room, then removed my party clothes. I changed back into Ningheim form and donned my old armour. I retrieved my weapons and other necessary items from the chest and the buckler I intended to use.

The armour was ancient and gifted to me by Swordmaster Kifa-xheras, one of the three Tsaesci Dragonguard who escorted me from Roscrea to their ship and then Akavir.

I could alter the flow of time in the room. When I returned to Nirn, I appeared in front of Malborn less than two seconds after I had left.

Despite my warning, he shrieked and cowered.

I said, “It’s okay, Malborn. I won’t tell you my name, but I was disguised as Slurps-the-Swamp. The dagger I handed you in Solitude is harmless. I made up the story about the poison so you wouldn’t ask too many questions.”

Malborn stood and asked, “How can you look like an Argonian so convincingly when you are a Khajiiti?”

“Oh, I forgot about the dweomer on my mask. It did not make me look like an Argonian. That was a spell I cast. I am not a Khajiiti, Malborn. My mask is hiding my race from you. Another person who sees me may think I am a Redguard, and another swear I was a Dunmer.”

“This is fascinating, but I had better return to the party.”

I crouched down and crept through the door. Malborn quickly locked it behind me.

Two Thalmor were happily chatting away. They were not worried about an intruder because nobody would be that stupid.

I killed the first, then the second when he tried to run away.

Their deaths were noisy, so a Thalmor Wizard came to investigate.

He saw me but too late. My arrow hit him in the groin, and the various destruction dweomer on the arrow killed him.

I used Heat Vision and couldn’t see anybody else in this part of the embassy. I had studied the floorplan of the place and knew that most of the senior Thalmor lived in what they called ‘Elenwen’s Solar.’ I would have to sneak past dozens of elite guards to reach that.

I looked through several rooms, and the only thing of use I found was a Thalmor doll. Gladys had chewed through most of her supply, so I took it. Nobody taught Gladys to hate Thalmor. It was instinctive.

Before exiting, I cast Shroudwalk. It is superior to a normal Invisibility spell as I can perform many tasks before I am visible once more. Just opening a door with the standard Invisibility spell makes it dissipate.

I exited and did a quick inspection of the grounds. There were two dozen Thalmor patrolling the area. Several times today, we had been subjected to Storm Call, a Shout popular amongst dragons. Now it was my turn to employ it.

I looked upwards, and my Thu’um echoed as I Shouted Storm Call.

The sky immediately became a rolling mass of storm clouds.

Then the lightning started to strike, each bolt hitting one or more Thalmor.

Within a minute, the two dozen Thalmor guarding Elenwen’s Solar were dead. The guards at the front of the embassy also died. The carriages awaiting the guests were further away, on the road, so they were safe from the tempest.

Three dozen Thalmor died, and those inside would be oblivious. All that anybody inside heard was a violent thunderstorm.

Was it murder? The Thalmor didn’t have a chance to defend themselves. Their killer wasn’t in immediate danger, so it couldn’t be called self-defence. It was an assassination of those who openly hunted and killed innocent civilians whose only crime was Talos worship. By killing Thalmor, I save innocent lives. Therefore, as my purpose on Nirn is to protect mortal lives, it is justified, and I don’t care what others label it.

Somebody may stumble upon the corpses, so I moved quickly.

I opened the solar door and entered, allowing a cold gust of wind to enter. Who I assume was supposed to be a front door sentry had their back to it and didn’t bother turning around.

I shot them in the back, and they quietly fell to their knees and then face-planted.

I listened to a conversation between a snitch called Gissur and Third Emissary Rulindil. Rulindil is a Thalmor Wizard and the chief torturer in Skyrim. He is somebody I am keen to remove from the current Kalpa.

  • Gissur: But I need that money. I earned it! I have my expenses, you know.
  • Rulindil: Silence! Do not presume, Gissur. You are most useful, but do not presume. We have more informants who are less offensive.
  • Gissur: But no one else has brought you such valuable information, have they?

There was silence from Rulindil. It seems he was hesitant to hand Gissur his just reward. No matter. I will soon rectify that. I knocked an arrow and aimed at Gissur’s back.

  • Gissur: Etienne has talked, hasn’t he? He knows where that old man you’re looking for is, he told me himself.
  • Rulindil: You’ll get your money when he’s told the rest of his story, as agreed.
  • Gissur: So, he has talked! I knew it!
  • Rulindil: Everyone talks in the end. Now, I have work to do. Leave me to it if you want to see the rest of your payment.
  • Gissur: I could help you. He’d talk to me. He trusts me.
  • Rulindil: You’d like to come downstairs with me, is that it, Gissur? Shall we loosen his bonds and put you in a cell together? You can ask him anything you like and see how he answers.
  • Gissur: No! Ahh… I’ll wait outside.
  • Rulindil: That would probably be best. Now get out!

I released the arrow, and Gissur died.

Rulindil was a Wizard. If he had half a brain, he would have summoned an Atronach or Dremora. Instead, he walked around to inspect Gissur and died.

Both bodies still twitched as I approached them.

I searched Gissur and found the following note.

“Description of target:

Race is unknown. He is described as very tall, tanned complexion and a neat beard. He wears distinctive black and gold armour, reminiscent of the outlawed Blades.

He is believed to go by various names, including Lord Welkynd, Wulf, and that imaginary hero, Dragonborn. He is suspected to be a Blades sympathiser and is likely to seek information regarding an individual called Esbern and The Ratway.

Do not approach. Inform your assigned contact immediately if spotted.”

I wonder how many snitches they paid to gather that information.

I searched Rulindil, and there was nothing of use on him except for a set of keys.

Under Rulindil’s desk were various notes and letters. They were all useless except for one which read,

“First Emissary Elenwen,

We anticipate a breakthrough in uncovering the party or power behind the dragon resurrection phenomenon. An informant has identified a possible lead, whom we have brought back to the Embassy for a full interrogation. The subject is obstinate but, by all indications, is holding back the information we seek. I have authorized Intermediate Manual Uncoiling. I do not expect more will be necessary unless you feel time presses.

I know you prefer to be present for the final questioning, so I will inform you immediately when the subject is fully receptive.

In the meantime, if you wish to audit our technique, your expertise is welcome, as always. I have placed the prisoner in the cell closest to your office stairs for your convenience.

–Rulindil, 3rd Em.”

Manual uncoiling involves a small incision being made into the victim’s stomach. A hook is then used to drag out part of their intestine. That is then slowly pulled, dragging more of the intestine out. Even if the victim tells the executioner what they want to hear, they will inevitably die from infection unless a Restoration Mage helps them soon after.

The Ratway is a maze-like system of tunnels under Riften. It will save time if Etienne is alive and knows where Esbern is hiding. We don’t want to wander around for hours dealing with Skooma addicts and worse. Time is of the essence, for the longer we take, the more likely other cities or towns will be attacked.

Heat Vision showed this part of the embassy to be empty. I walked to the room next to Rulindil’s, where his keys opened the locked drawers and cabinets. In one cupboard, I found a pile of dossiers. Many familiar people had earned an entry, and I would read the majority of them when somewhere safer. However, three dossiers caught my attention, and I immediately read them.

The first dossier was on my friend, the curator of my museum, Auryen.

“Status: Passive

Description: Curator of Legacy of the Dragonborn museum.

Race and Gender: Altmer male.

Age: Unknown (possibly over 500).

Background: Morellus is a recent immigrant to Skyrim. He came to the attention of our agents in Solitude with his acquisition of the abandoned Macnarian Hall, previously a temple of Talos, the Ninth Divine.

Morellus is currently in the process of renovating the hall into a museum for historical artefacts.

Operational Notes: Observe but do not engage. Ensure no heretical artefacts get smuggled into the museum.”

The Thalmor suppress far more than Talos worship and would regard many items on display as heretical. If they tried to remove any, they would meet armed resistance. If they cried to Jarl Elisif, she would tell them to shove it. In a more ladylike manner, of course. The idea that we smuggle anything is idiotic. Smuggling means bypassing legal checks. We do not have to seek approval from any authority for what we choose to display!

The next dossier I read was Delphine’s.

“Status: Active (Capture or Kill), High Priority, Emissary Level Approval

Description: Female, Breton, mid-50s

Background: Delphine was a high-priority target during The First War for operational and political reasons. She was directly involved in several of the most damaging operations attributed to The Blades within the Dominion. She had been slated for the initial purge but was recalled to Cyrodiil just before the outbreak of hostilities. During the war, she evaded three attempts on her life, in one case killing an entire assassination team. Since then, we have only indirect evidence of her movements, as she has proven extremely alert to our surveillance. She should be considered very dangerous! No move against her should be made without overwhelming force and the most careful preparation.

Operational Notes: She is believed to be working actively against us within Skyrim, although we have no location on her. She is assumed to be working alone, as no other Blades are known to be active in Skyrim, and she has in the past avoided contact with other fugitive Blades for her security (one of the reasons she has so far evaded elimination). Her continued existence is an insult to all of us. Any information on her whereabouts or activities should be immediately forwarded to the Third Emissary.”

The first thing that struck me was the reference to The First War. Everybody suspects that The Dominion will eventually renew hostilities. However, it is one thing to suspect and another to find proof of their intention. They would find a far more prepared and formidable opponent the second time. Part of the problem at the beginning of The Great War was how spread out The Empire’s forces were. They are now only required to defend three provinces in more significant numbers.

It is impressive that Delphine wiped out an entire Thalmor assassination squad. They are not amateurs and were responsible for eliminating many high-ranking military targets, including more senior Blades.

If Delphine is an insult, most Thalmor would collapse frothing at the mouth if they discovered who lives in my various properties. Eventually, I hope to have the outlaw status of Blades revoked. His Imperial Majesty will owe them and me much after we eliminate Alduin.

Ulfric Stormcloak’s was the third dossier I read.

“Status: Asset (uncooperative), Dormant, Emissary Level Approval

Description: Jarl of Windhelm, leader of the Stormcloak rebellion, Imperial Legion veteran


Ulfric first came to our attention during The First War against The Empire. He was taken as a prisoner of war during the campaign for The White-Gold Tower. Under interrogation, we learned of his potential value as the son of the Jarl of Windhelm, and he was assigned as an asset to the interrogator, who is now First Emissary Elenwen.

Ulfric was made to believe that information obtained during his interrogation was crucial in capturing the Imperial City, and then he was allowed to escape. The city had fallen before he had broken. After the war, contact was established, and he has proven his worth as an asset. The so-called Markarth Incident was particularly valuable from the point of view of our strategic goals in Skyrim, although it resulted in Ulfric becoming generally uncooperative to direct contact.

Operational Notes:

Direct contact remains a possibility under extreme circumstances. However, in general, the asset should be considered dormant. We should remain hands-off as long as the civil war proceeds in indecisiveness.

The incident at Helgen is an example where an exception had to be made. Ulfric’s death would have dramatically increased the chance of an Imperial victory and thus harmed our overall position in Skyrim. The coincidental intervention of the dragon at Helgen is still under scrutiny. The obvious conclusion is that whoever is behind the dragons is also interested in continuing the war, but we should not assume that their goals align with our own. However, a Stormcloak victory must be avoided, so even indirect aid to the Stormcloaks must be carefully managed.”

Ulfric’s dossier confirmed the suspicions expressed by General Tullius in Helgen. He was not my priority at this moment. However, one day he will be, and I will expose him for what he is. I will make his name reviled by all free-thinking citizens. Ulfric will have loyal followers who may choose to die with him. I will give them one chance to abandon him, that is all.

I had to continue with my mission and will decide what to do about Ulfric later. I placed the dossiers in my Journal Case.

One of Rulindil’s keys unlocked the door to the prison and torture chamber.

Its layout was identical to the one where I witnessed Rigmor’s whipping. I could see a Bosmer prisoner in shackles. I assumed it was Etienne and was relieved to see they had not yet uncoiled his insides.

I silently descended the steps, then killed the only guard.

One of Rulindil’s keys opened the cell door.

I approached the prisoner and asked, “Is your name Etienne?”

Without looking at me, Etienne said, “You know I am. I have told you countless times that I don’t know anything more about it.”

I removed my mask and said, “I am not here to torture you, Etienne.”

I unlocked his manacles, and he fell to the floor.

I cast Grand Healing on Etienne, who then stood and looked at his wrists and ankles in disbelief. He then felt all over his body and pressed hard against his ribs.

I laughed and said, “All your broken bones, bruises, and internal injuries are gone, Etienne. It as if The Thalmor had not been tickling you for days.”

Etienne stared and me, then asked, “Who are you? What do you want?”

“I am Lord Welkynd, The Dragonborn. I want to kill every Thalmor in Skyrim, but alas, I have other priorities at the moment. I must stop the dragons who have attacked many cities and towns while you have entertained Third Emissary Rulindil.”

“They kept asking about somebody called Esbern. From their description, it may be the old man The Thieves Guild is protecting. From what I can gather, The Thalmor think he may know something about the dragons.”

“You are a member of The Thieves Guild and know more than that, Etienne. If you value the lives of innocents, you will tell me where to find him. He is a Blade, and I provide a sanctuary for them. He may also have information crucial to resolving the dragon problem.”

“How can I trust you? You could be an agent for The Thalmor, hoping to trick me with smooth words and kindness.”

“I killed about forty Thalmor, including Rulindil and the snitch responsible for your capture and torture. His name was Gissur. I assume he was a fellow thief.”

“That bastard! How many coins did he get, I wonder? He is dead, you say?”

“Yep. Here, read this report on you.”

I handed Etienne the letter from Rulindil to Elenwen.

When he finished, he stood with a stunned look. I held out my hand, and he shakily handed back the letter.

I asked, “From your reaction, I take it you know what uncoiling is?”

“Yes, it is the most barbaric of tortures, yet The Thalmor boast how civilised they are.”

“I am sure we could find Empire torturers very proficient in the method, Etienne.”

“Yes, most likely.”

“How about you look for a way out while I search this place? That will give you time to decide if I am a Thalmor plant or The Dragonborn.”

“Yeah, sure, okay. I’ve seen the guards use a trapdoor to dispose of bodies. It must lead somewhere.”

“Well, you can decide you don’t trust me and run or wait at the trapdoor for me. I will be invisible but still here. The Thalmor will eventually discover their dead and search for me.”

I cast Shroudwalk, and Etienne swore. After I exited the cell, Etienne moved to the trapdoor.

There was only one chest in the room, and I expected it to be full of torture equipment. Surprisingly, it contained more dossiers, including Esbern’s, which I quickly read.

“Status: Fugitive (Capture Only), Highest Priority, Emissary Level Approval

Description: Male, Nord, late 70s

Background: Esbern was one of The Blades’ loremasters before The First War Against the Empire. He was not a field agent but is believed to have been behind some of the most damaging operations by The Blades during the pre-war years, including the Falinesti Incident and the breach of the Blue River Prison. His file had remained dormant for many years in the erroneous belief that he was unlikely to pose a threat due to his advanced age and lack of field experience. This was an inexcusable error by my predecessor, who has been called to Alinor for punishment and re-education.

I remind all operational levels that no Blades agent should be considered low priority! All are to be found, and justice exacted upon them!

Operational Notes: As we are still in the dark about the cause and meaning of the return of the dragons, I have made capturing Esbern our top priority, as he is known to be one of the experts in the dragonlore of The Blades. Regrettably, we have yet to match their expertise on dragons derived from their Akaviri origins. It is far superior to ours, which remains largely theoretical. The archives of Cloud Ruler Temple were the primary repository of the oldest Blades lore and were largely destroyed during the siege. Great effort has been made to reconstruct what was lost. However, it is now apparent that most of the records related to dragons were removed or destroyed before our attack. Thus, Esbern remains our best opportunity to learn how and why the dragons have returned. It cannot be ruled out that The Blades themselves are somehow connected to the dragons’ return.

We have recently obtained reliable information that Esbern is still alive and hiding somewhere in Riften. Interrogation of a possible eyewitness is ongoing. We must proceed carefully to avoid Esbern becoming alerted to his danger. If he is indeed in Riften, he must not be allowed to flee.”

The Thalmor are thicker than two planks and denser than lead bricks!

A voice called down from the balcony, “Listen up, spy! You’re trapped in here, and we have your accomplice. Surrender immediately, or you both die!”

As I approached to rescue Malborn, he whined, “Don’t bother. I’m dead already!”

The Thalmor soldier said, “Silence, traitor!”

I cut two Thalmor down, covering Malborn in the arterial spray.

He looked around and said, “First, you’re an Argonian. Then you’re a Khajiiti and now invisible. The Thalmor will be hunting me for the rest of my life. I hope it was worth it!”

I made myself visible and approached the ungrateful, whiney little annoyance.

“This is me, Malborn, no disguise this time. I am Wulf Welkynd, Champion of The Divines and The Dragonborn. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people lost their lives and homes to dragons today. I am trying to stop that slaughter and destruction from continuing. So tell me, Malborn, was risking your life worthwhile if that goal is achieved?”


“You have done well and should be proud of yourself, but your whining does you no justice. I doubt many Thalmor remain alive in the embassy, but let’s get out of here before I have to slaughter more of them. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the exercise, but time is of the essence. There is a way out through a trapdoor, so follow me.”

Etienne was waiting for me at the trapdoor.

I asked, “Do you trust me now, Etienne? Or was slaughtering those Thalmor part of a cunning plan?”

Malborn said, “I don’t know who you are, Etienne, but Wulf has killed dozens of Thalmor tonight, so you had better make up your mind before he has to fight more of them!”

“Okay. If I had something to write on, I could draw you a map to Esbern. The Thieves Guild supplies him with food and necessities for a reasonable fee. He is under our protection as long as he has the coin.”

I opened my Journal Case and brought out a portable writing desk, a wad of blank paper and my endless quill. I set up the table as my audience stared with disbelief.

I handed the quill to Etienne and said, “Start drawing. It doesn’t have to be the work of an artist.”

“Ahh, I will need some ink.”

“No, you won’t. Go ahead. I will keep a lookout for Thalmor. I will see them before they enter this room.”

“You know, Wulf, I believe you could.”

Etienne drew an excellent map and was kind enough to mark some traps for me.

Five minutes later, I had stored the equipment and map away, and we were ready to leave the most fun party I have attended in years.

I unlocked the trapdoor, and we climbed down.

I said, “Stay behind me. There is a troll ahead.”

It wasn’t long before we encountered the troll who bellowed a challenge.

I leapt down and said, “No, Malborn is mine! He doesn’t love you anymore!”

The jealous troll charged, and I cut it down.

As Etienne and Malborn approached me, I was delighted to find another of Barenziah’s gems next to a dead mage.

I turned and was amused to find Malborn staring at me.

I asked, “Yes, Malborn. Can I do something for you?”

“You are the strangest person I have ever met.”

“Strange is walking through the mind of an insane and long-dead emperor. That was strange but interesting.”