Fredas, 5th Hearthfire 4E 201

to Sundas, 7th Hearthfire 4E 201

I lay undisturbed till this morning. Then I woke up famished!

I had all nine children break their fast with me. They laughed at the amount of food I consumed in one sitting. Then I taught them proper table manners by burping long and loudly. Their peals of laughter were just what I needed to get me through the day ahead.

When I left, Olette was judging a burping contest. I am sure the children’s tutors will have a stern word or two with me.

I plan on visiting several of the Jarls to update them on what occurred and talk to General Tullius. I especially wanted to visit Jarl Elisif and tell her High King Torygg’s soul was safe.

Before starting those visits, I wanted to practice unarmed combat with Shiva. Not only is she a Swordmaster, but she is also The Dragonguard’s best exponent of martial arts. I find half an hour trying to avoid a severe beating relaxing.

We selected an area and did the formalities expected between sparring partners.

Then Shiva started with a roundhouse kick that I bent backwards to avoid.

Shiva laughed and said, “Good, you did not touch the ground with your hand. You are almost competent, Dragonlord Welkynd.”

Shiva was trying to get my temper up. She would then clip me across the ears and tell me how anger makes one vulnerable. But I wasn’t falling for it. I am more than competent in martial arts. Shiva often has cauliflower ears and bruises after a spar with me.

Our hands were a blur as we both sought an opening. This contest of speed and skill continued for a couple of minutes, with my concentration on Shiva’s hands and her feet.


I heard Rigmor in my mind. Gods can’t penetrate my mental barrier, but she did.

Rigmor had momentarily distracted me, and I did not block or dodge Shiva’s flying kick.

Khajiiti and Ka’Po’Tun are the only bipedal species capable of launching a flying kick without a runup. It is one of Shiva’s favourite moves, and I have never been felled by it before.

The air from my lungs exited with a loud ‘Ooof!’ as I flew onto my back, winded. Shiva looked at me in shock and said, “Oh, fuck!”

I quickly assessed myself. Nothing broken. I couldn’t talk yet, so I gave a universal thumbs up to let Shiva know I was okay.

When I could breathe and not gasp, I stood up.

Shiva growled, “What was that, Wulf? A dead Skeever could have blocked that kick. As I headed for you, I thought I had made a mistake. I thought Wulf would make me pay by using my momentum against me. But no, you stood there with a surprised look and wham, right in the chest! Lucky you are all damn muscle, or that could have injured you badly!”

“I was not surprised by your move, Shiva. Somebody called me for help telepathically. I know her location and will not travel via the ether this time. She is hurt and needs my help!”

Shiva’s mood changed instantly.

She asked, “Are you saying that Rigmor talked to you telepathically?”

“Yes, and I am going to her right now! I will summon help if I need it.”

“Where is she?”

“Close to Riverwood. Near some cliffs.”

“Be careful, Wulf!”

“Are you worried about all of me or just my heart, Shiva?”

“Go to her. I am sure you know what you are doing. Maybe. Perhaps.”

I was unarmed and unarmoured. Still, I was more than capable of killing many opponents via spell and Thu’um.

I teleported to the outskirts of Riverwood.

One of the guards came running up to me.

“I thought it was you, Thane. Not many people appear out of nowhere like that.”

“I would love to talk, Guardsman, but I am in a hurry.”

“I wanted to ask if you know why The Thalmor are all over this area.”

“There are Thalmor in Whiterun Hold?”

“Yes, Thane. I would hate to be any Thalmor that our Jarl or Irileth find breaching the ban! Beni has leapt on a horse to tell Jarl Balgruuf.”

“I think they are hunting a fugitive. I intend to help that fugitive.”

“In your pyjamas?”

“This is called a kimono. It is traditional clothing in Akavir.”

“Akavir? Never heard of it.”

“Never mind. I must go!”

I concentrated as I walked. I didn’t know what I expected to experience.

Somehow, I knew when to turn off the road and up a barely visible path. I soon encountered a huntress. She was a Nord with a strong Colovian bloodline and aged in her late twenties or early thirties. She was braver than most, as she had hung an amulet of Talos from her belt. It was in full view, next to an amulet of Arkay.

She said in a rapid voice full of worry, “I am taking a risk, but can you please help?”

“What with?”

“There’s a wounded girl, over there, by the cliff.”

“Please, calm down and explain what this is all about.”

“They are looking in the wrong place.”

“Who is looking in the wrong place?”

“A Thalmor hunting party is looking for her. Please help. She is too heavy for me to move.”

“Lead me to her. I am Wulf, by the way.”

“And I am Rose. Follow me!”

As we walked, Rose said, “I saw what happened. The Thalmor and their Imperial lackeys chased her to the edge of a cliff. She jumped into the canopy of the trees and bounced between them before landing heavily.”

“At least it was deliberate this time.”


“Nothing. Please continue, Rose.”

“The branches cushioned her fall, mostly, but she is badly injured. But if we can get her to my boat, she might survive.”

Rose led me to Rigmor, and I could tell she was not in a good way.

I looked up, and it was a leap of desperation by Rigmor. Broken branches were witnesses to her plunge.

I couldn’t think straight, so I summoned the best Restoration Mage that The College of Winterhold has witnessed in a hundred years.

Celestine immediately responded to the summons, and Rose gasped in surprise.

Celestine said, “Shiva told me what happened. Now move aside while I examine her.”

Celestine expertly and gently examined Rigmor.

I didn’t take my eyes off Celestine while I told Rose, “Rose, that young lady is Celestine. She is a Master Restoration Mage.”

“How did she just appear out of nowhere?”

“I am also a mage, and I summoned her.”

After a minute, Celestine cast Grand Healing on Rigmor and then stood.

  • Celestine: Even with that healing, it could be touch and go, Wulf. It looks like she opened a recently healed scar, and I think she was already weak from that previous injury.
  • Wulf: Yes, she was hurt just over a month ago.
  • Celestine: How do you…wait…did you do it again?
  • Wulf: Let’s discuss that later, shall we?
  • Celestine: At the least, she needs a lot of bed rest.
  • Rose: I have a camp not far from here, on the lake. She will be safe there if she survives.
  • Wulf: She will not be safe, Rose. The Thalmor are trespassing in Whiterun Hold! They want this young woman and are willing to create a diplomatic mess to get her.
  • Celestine: You cannot teleport her in this condition, Wulf. The cold of the Ethereal Plane will make the shock she is in worsen.
  • Rose: As I mentioned earlier, I have a boat.
  • Wulf: Good. If we can get her to the boat, we can dock at one of my houses and treat her there. It is gated and walled, and Thalmor will not be allowed to enter.
  • Rose: I can lead you to my boat, but then what? I feel redundant now you two are here.
  • Celestine: Rose, magic healing is cold and impersonal. Rigmor will need compassion and empathy. You can provide those, so don’t feel redundant.
  • Wulf: It is always good to work on a patient in pairs. For instance, you can remain with the young lady while Celestine prepares potions and poultices.
  • Rose: Okay. Carry her gently, Wulf, and try not to jolt her. We must be careful with the Thalmor patrols still in the area.

I lifted Rigmor, and she was not much of a burden, even in her armour. Her head leant on my shoulder, and I whispered, “I heard your call, and I will help, but you have to help yourself. Fight to live, Rigmor.”

Rose wanted me to be careful, yet she ran ahead! I caught up at my snail’s pace after she stopped and peered over a cliff.

A Justiciar led a Thalmor patrol with Empire dog handlers and other turncoat scum. All other road users stood to the sides and stared with contempt.

In their imaginary world where Thalmor arrogance means something, the Justiciar probably thinks he can traverse Whiterun without consequence. He is in for a shock if Jarl Balgruuf or Irileth confront him.

Rose said, “We need another route. Up here, this way….”

We followed Rose up a steep slope and past a seemingly disused mine.

We came to an overhang. From it, I could see the road to Riverwood as it approached The Guardian Stones. Below The Guardian Stones is a hunting and fishing location that is always populated. I guessed that was where we were headed.

Rose turned to us and said, “Wait here. Let me make sure the road is clear.”

Rose trotted down the road, and I laughed.

Celestine asked, “What is so amusing, Wulf?”

“All this skulking while behind me is one of the sneakiest sneaks that has ever been sneaky.”

“Rose has no idea who you are, does she?”

“Nope. And I don’t want Rigmor to know, either. She has never seen me in the flesh, and I want her to learn about me without preconceived bias.”

“You think you are going to travel together. Why is that?”

“A gut feeling, Celestine. We will find a bigger story if we discover why The Thalmor are keen to recapture her.”

“Or maybe you are trying to justify abandoning your plans.”

“This is not the time or place for me to defend myself. You can all take turns later telling me how things are supposed to be, and I will ignore every ignorant word spoken.”

“Rigmor will soon hear your titles.”

“Yes, but my titles are not who I am.”

Rose gave a signal for us to proceed. It was a military signal.

I had to go even slower downhill. Otherwise, heavy footsteps would transfer energy to Rigmor and cause her pain. She was unconscious, but still, small steps were my mantra.

Below the outcrop with The Guardian Stones was the familiar hunter’s camp. Rose made her way down at a trot. I very slowly negotiated the steep decline with my fragile passenger.

A male hunter approached us and whined, “Rose, are you mad? They will kill us all!”

“I am not letting those bastards push us around, Hedren.”

The little turd stared at me and asked, “Who is this stranger? Can we trust him?”

Rose replied, “Sometimes you must do what is right. Even if it means risking everything.”

I approached Hedren and said, “Sometimes you must pretend you are not a milk drinker. Even when you want to hide under your bed.”

“How dare you speak to me like that!”

“If you knew who I was, Hedren, you would climb under a rock after pissing yourself.”

Rose laughed as I gently placed Rigmor into the boat.

I sat and grabbed the oars. Celestine and Rose sat fore and aft, which balanced the boat and made it easier for me to guide its direction.

We made good time to Lakeview Manor, and Rose tied the boat to the dock.

She said, “My camp is just across the way.”

“Your camp does not have walls and guards, comfortable beds, and other amenities. Our patient will be far safer here. I understand if this is strange for you, but you will soon find we are friendly and only occasionally consume visitors.”

“I hope you are a better mage than a comedian.”

Lakeview’s gardener, Daisy, saw me approaching the portcullis with Rigmor in my arms. She raised it for me.

“Lord Welkynd, is the girl injured?”

“She is a young woman, Daisy, and she is badly hurt. Dragonlord Celestine and Rose the Huntress are going to attend to her. We will use the guest bedroom.”

“It is clean, milord.”

One of my stewards, Princess Akiho Chiyome, bowed to Celestine as she passed. Celestine returned the bow. Akiho then waited for me to approach.

“Lord Welkynd, you are busy with an injured companion. However, I humbly request that you speak to Nestor when you can. We are concerned about a huge bandit group harassing this property.”

“I will speak to him soon, Princess. I briefly visited Nobushi the other day. She is well.”

“And my other sister?”

“I have not visited Tsubaki for some time. Sorry.”

“That is okay. We agreed to our assignments, knowing that communication might be difficult.”

“When things settle, we can easily teleport you to visit them. I might even get to make those portals I have been studying.”

“Please, Lord Welkynd, concern yourself with your Divine tasks. We shall cope.”

Akiho bowed, and I nodded. It was an acknowledgement of our noble ranks. Akiho knows who my parents are.

Rose watched the exchange with her mouth wide open. I bet she didn’t expect her day to turn out as it has.

I carried Rigmor upstairs and deposited her on the spare bed.

  • Wulf: I will visit Riverwood to find out why they are hunting this young lady.
  • Rose: The lady at the gate called you Lord Welkynd
  • Wulf: That is one of my titles. I am The Dragonborn.
  • Rose: You defeated Alduin!
  • Wulf: With the help of some friends, yes. News travels fast!
  • Rose: Jarl Balgruuf sent town criers all over Whiterun Hold to spread the news.
  • Wulf: Probably to stop the queues of concerned citizens asking about the noises coming from The Throat of the World.
  • Rose: You called that young girl a princess.
  • Wulf: She is. So is Celestine. Akiho is a princess of a small kingdom in Akavir. Celestine is a princess of a not-so-small kingdom in High Rock.
  • Rose: Why is a princess of Akavir living here?
  • Celestine: The same reason many young women seek refuge from their homelands. Princess Akiho and her two sisters were destined for arranged marriages. When one was granted asylum, the other two also asked for it.
  • Wulf: There is a lot we can’t tell you, Rose. Call me Wulf, as we do not usually worry about protocol and ranks. Princess Akiho will eventually grasp the concept, but I won’t force it on her.
  • Celestine: Let’s get this armour off Rigmor and cleanse her wound, Rose.
  • Wulf: I will see how she is when I return from Riverwood.
  • Celestine: And if there is no information in Riverwood?
  • Wulf: Then I shall try Jarl Balgruuf.

Rose and Celestine started to undress Rigmor. It would take some time as they did not want to aggravate her wound.

I teleported into Aurane and quickly changed into my armour. I then teleported to the outskirts of Riverwood.

I was not surprised to see Thalmor arrogance on display. In the distance, I saw a Justiciar.

Several Whiterun guards watched with hands-on bows as I approached a Thalmor lieutenant.

The officer barked, “You there, halt! What business do you have here?”

“My business is my own. The question is, why are Thalmor here when Whiterun Hold has currently suspended its agreement with The White Gold Concordat? You have no jurisdiction here and are trespassing.”

“We have every right to be here according to the terms agreed to by Emperor Titus Mede II!”

“Are you stupid? Those terms mean nothing in Whiterun Hold, which is currently divorced from The Empire. So, tell me, why are you risking arrest?”

“You would arrest me?”

“Yes. So, I ask again, tell me why you are here or be placed under arrest.”

“And if I resisted arrest?”

“That would not be wise. You have till I count to three to tell me why you are here. Failure to do so will force me to arrest you. One…Two…”

“See the girl on the poster? There is a sizable reward being offered for information leading to her capture. She is eighteen, around five feet six inches tall, with shaven hair.”

“An eighty-pound teenage girl on the loose! How terrifying is that? It makes the dragon attacks pale in comparison!”

“She is extremely dangerous and wanted for murder.”

“If she killed Thalmor, I would hardly call it murder. Justice, perhaps, but not murder.”

“Careful citizen, we can place you under arrest and ask questions in a more intimate environment.”

“I am a Thane of Whiterun Hold. My name is Lord Welkynd, The Dragonborn. Therefore, even if we weren’t in Whiterun Hold, you would not have the authority to arrest a senior noble like me. That is why I can tell you the truth with total impunity. For a start, I worship Talos and wear his amulet as we speak. I have many Talos statues and shrines on my estates. I did see that young woman, but I won’t tell you where or when. I think all Thalmor need to be killed and find great pleasure in doing so.”

The lieutenant yelled, “Arrest this heretic and kill him if he resists!”

The two Thalmor soldiers stepped back from the lieutenant and did not put their hands near their weapons.

As the lieutenant approached, I casually walked backwards. Not once did I touch my sword.

The first arrow struck him, but the officer continued to advance.

Two more arrows thumped into the officer, who buckled over.

He managed to stand briefly and stared into my smiling face.

Then he pitched forward and died.

Alvor had come running with sword drawn but sheathed it when he arrived.

He said, “Who do these people think they are?”

“They are Thalmor, Alvor. We are no more than a lesser species whose lives mean nought to them. The Altmer would be better off without them.”

“I know some Altmer, and they couldn’t agree more.”

“Things must be bad in Alinor if Altmer believe that living amongst racists is preferable. Not everybody is as understanding as you.”

“One of the guards is trying to get your attention, Dragonborn. And thank you for all you have done for us.”

I walked over to the worried guard.

He asked, “Ahh…we can’t get in trouble for shooting that bastard in the back, can we, Thane?”

“No. The Thalmor officer attacked your Thane after illegally entering Whiterun Hold and harassing innocent citizens. Nobody will get in trouble.”

“Ahh…Irileth is arguing with a Justiciar. You might want to tell him the facts of life as well.”

I walked over and listened to the conversation.

“Jarl Balgruuf the Greater of Whiterun, is waiting for an explanation. Why are The Thalmor hunting Empire citizens in his Hold?”

“What is your name?”

“Irileth, I am the Jarl’s housecarl. Now Justiciar, answer my question.”

“There is a dangerous criminal in the vicinity. I am deploying my troops in the immediate area to find and capture her and any accomplices.”

“The Jarl has informed your Embassy that Thalmor troops are not welcome in Whiterun Hold. Whiterun has remained neutral during the current conflict, and your presence endangers that. We are more than capable of finding and apprehending a young woman. Please leave Whiterun Hold at once!”

“Am I hearing this correctly? You are demanding I leave?”

“You heard correctly.”

“This is preposterous! Are you insane? I am well within my jurisdiction as Justiciar to deploy my troops in this area. I shall speak to the Jarl myself!”

“I have the Jarl’s authority to speak for him on this matter. Whatever you think you want to say to him, say to me. If you insist on talking to him directly, I am afraid his calendar is pretty full. Perhaps we could book a time for your meeting with him sometime next week, maybe.”

“This is outlandish!”

“Currently, The White-Gold Concordat is suspended within Whiterun Hold. You have no legal rights here. Remove yourself or be arrested.”

“Do you know who I am?”

I stepped between Irileth and the Justiciar.

I demanded, “Tell us who you are!”

“Justiciar Jovon Joror.”

“Your lieutenant is dead, Justiciar. He tried to arrest me when he had no legal jurisdiction. He then drew his weapon and advanced upon me when my weapon was sheathed. You will see several Whiterun guards and two of your soldiers behind me. Your rank and file were smart enough to realise their legal status within Whiterun Hold and did not assist your lieutenant in his illegal activities. That is why they are still alive.”

Jovon looked behind me, and his eyes widened.

I continued, “You have till I count to three to head towards your horse and leave Whiterun Hold. Failure to do so will result in your arrest.”

“You haven’t heard the last of this! I shall file a report, yes… then you’ll be sorry.”


At first, Jovon cringed at the power of The Voice. But he recovered quick enough to turn and hurry towards his horse. As the Justiciar walked the main street, the people of Riverwood yelled inventive names and insults, somewhat censored due to children being present. Still, Jovon’s ego took a beating.

I turned to Irileth.

She warned, “That was entertaining, Thane Welkynd. But I caution against making enemies of The Thalmor.”

“We are already enemies, Irileth. A friend recovered some interesting dossiers from their embassy the other night. I might visit Jarl Balgruuf and show him some. I think the information on Ulfric Stormcloak will help him get off the fence. He must have splinters in his arse by now.”

“It would be good if we finally decided who we back, Thane Welkynd.”

“Believe me, Irileth, nobody who loves Skyrim will continue to back Ulfric.”

“Does your friend with the dossiers happen to be Argonian?”

“I can assure you that an Argonian was not responsible for the slight problem at the Thalmor Embassy.”

“Dozens of Thalmor were slaughtered, and there were no witnesses. I say it was well done. Be sure to pass on my admiration and well wishes to whoever achieved that feat.”

“I was going to visit and discuss what happens now that Alduin is gone. I fear this affair with The Thalmor might keep me busy for a few days.”

“I will tell our Jarl. He will understand.”

“Please reassure your guards they cannot get in trouble defending their Thane.”

“They would have been upholding the law even if you weren’t a Thane. I will let them know.”

“Good. Now I had better talk to the Thalmor soldiers and send them on their way.”

I approached the two soldiers and said, “You two have not broken the law. You are free to go. It is a pity those you obey are not as wise.”

The soldiers ran to catch up with Jovon, who started yelling at them in Altmeri. He accused them of being cowards.

I walked over and looked at the dead officer. Then I yelled, in Altmeri, “Littering is an offence. Take this garbage with you!”

The soldiers backtracked and awkwardly carried the lieutenant between them. Jovon sniffed and started riding away.


The population of Riverwood laughed loud, and even the two Thalmor soldiers worked hard to suppress a giggle or two.

I turned my attention to the wanted poster.

I was startled by two things, namely lousy grammar and the reward offered.

Fifteen thousand gold coins, not coin! That reward will attract bounty hunters from far and wide. The lesser amounts paid to snitches will also be far higher than usual. The likeness to Rigmor on the poster was very accurate. I took the poster down and then searched Riverwood for others.

There was another poster outside Riverwood Trader. I removed that one and could find no more.

Before returning to Lakeview Manor, I decided to clarify my position regarding Rigmor with senior Dragonguard.

I teleported into the palace and then collected Vayu and Dhali. We found a secluded spot outside to talk. They sat, and I stood.

  • Wulf: What did Shiva tell you?
  • Dhali: You got distracted when sparring, and she almost crushed your ribcage with a flying kick.
  • Vayu: She said the distraction was Rigmor, who contacted you via long-range telepathy.
  • Dhali: Rigmor managed to bypass your mind blocks. Gods have failed to penetrate them! And a telepathic message from afar is not an easily accomplished feat.
  • Vayu: Shiva said you teleported, with no weapons or armour, to find Rigmor.
  • Wulf: I did find her near Riverwood. She had leapt off a cliff into some trees to evade a Thalmor hunting party. Just before Rigmor blacked out, she called for me, her Guardian.
  • Dhali: But why did you go physically this time and not ethereally?
  • Wulf: I didn’t know where she was the last two times, while this time I did.
  • Dhali: Two times?
  • Wulf: Just over a month ago, I ethereally travelled to her. She was injured after falling from a cliff. She was running from The Thalmor then as well.
  • Vayu: Why didn’t you tell us?
  • Wulf: I have endured countless unwarranted suggestions and criticism for years. My intuition is trusted, except when it concerns my own heart. I realise people didn’t want me to get hurt. However, they hurt me in their efforts to protect me from harm. Deeply.

Vayu looked down, for he knew I spoke the truth.

  • Dhali: Tell us what you think Rigmor is to you.
  • Wulf: I don’t know, but I intend to find out before I scare her away with the truth. Perhaps I will decide she is better off without me or knowing much about me. But I am going to do this my way.
  • Vayu: What do you mean by that?
  • Wulf: The Thalmor are advertising a 15,000 Septim reward for Rigmor, dead or alive.
  • Vayu: That has to be their largest bounty ever offered!
  • Wulf: They say Rigmor is wanted for murder. Plenty of people killing Thalmor don’t attract such a bounty. So, I will find out why they want her and go from there.
  • Dhali: You know that every bounty hunter will be after her. And if you are in their way, they will kill you.
  • Wulf: They will try. I am not so easy to kill, Dhali.
  • Vayu: You are needed, Valdr Septim! All the people on Nirn need you! The Divines need you! Please explain why you will risk everything for a woman you don’t know.
  • Wulf: If I saw somebody walk in front of a carriage, I would try my hardest and risk my life to rescue them. Please, Vayu, explain why I can’t do the same for Rigmor.
  • Vayu: What about the civil war? What about the other Dragonborn?
  • Wulf: Alduin knew of Miraak, so he must have been around since The Dragon War.
  • Dhali: But your mother was the first Dragonborn!
  • Wulf: The first whose blood was blessed by Lord Akatosh. There is nothing to stop Miraak from being the first to have both blood and soul blessed. I will ask Father.
  • Vayu: You didn’t answer my question.
  • Wulf: I will decide on priorities once I know why the Thalmor are after Rigmor.
  • Vayu: And if it turns out she killed a well-loved Thalmor, or a few, and earned the bounty, what then?
  • Wulf: Then I will offer her refuge. There is nowhere in Tamriel she would be safe from them except with us, here.
  • Dhali: The Thalmor were hunting Rigmor in Whiterun Hold?
  • Wulf: Yes, despite them having no legal rights within that Hold.
  • Dhali: What do you think is the nature of your link with Rigmor?
  • Wulf: Love. I have said it before, I saw into Rigmor’s soul, and love was there. Love for me, and she doesn’t have any idea who I am or what I look like. To her, I am her Guardian.
  • Dhali: And you don’t know if that love could survive the truth.
  • Wulf: The truth of who I am is interesting and accepted by those who befriend and sometimes love me. But could that truth dampen romantic love? Who knows? I certainly don’t. I want Rigmor to know me, Wulf the mortal, before she knows what I am and what risks I take.
  • Vayu: You seem convinced that Rigmor will be with you long enough to learn who you are.
  • Wulf: Intuition, Vayu. There is something unique about the connection Rigmor, and I share. Something that my parents could not explain.
  • Dhali: Is Celestine with Rigmor?
  • Wulf: Yes. Celestine and a hunter called Rose. She witnessed what happened. Rose is full of compassion, and that alone will help Rigmor recover. As Celestine said to Rose, Restoration magic is cold and impersonal.
  • Vayu: It is no myth that chicken soup cooked by a mother helps a child recover. It is the love and compassion that went into making the soup, not its contents, that aid the patient.
  • Dhali: I am sorry you had to hide your last contact with Rigmor. We didn’t experience what you did, Wulf, so we had no right to question its emotional impact.
  • Vayu: It is not the first time that those trying to aid the one they love have caused greater harm.
  • Wulf: I understand, Vayu. However, all I have ever asked for is to let me trust my instincts and intuition. If I get it wrong, then so what? I am not infallible. Like all children, I will learn from mistakes and triumphs. The lecturing usually waits till after a mistake.
  • Dhali: We will wait and see what happens, Valdr. We will trust your instincts and first-hand knowledge in this matter.
  • Vayu: We should have done that from the start.
  • Wulf: It matters not, Vayu, as long as it is done from now on. I had better speak to Father about several matters.
  • Vayu: How long will Celestine be away?
  • Wulf: We are staying in Lakeview Manor for now. Please give it a couple of days and visit. If we move elsewhere with Rigmor, I will let you know.

I willed myself into my Aetherius Room. I was not surprised to find Father there.

He hugged me, and then we sat.

I said, “I am not here to talk about Alduin. That task is done, and I must decide what is next.”

“Has something changed since Alduin?”

“Why do you ask?”

“A major Junction, ripple in The Void, occurred today. We have no idea what caused it.”

“That is unusual.”

“Disturbing is a more apt description.”

“I met Rigmor.”


“Yes, she called for me telepathically, and it was as if my mind barrier wasn’t there. You can do it because we are connected via blood. Rigmor was badly injured, and before becoming unconscious, she asked me to help her. She did the same just over a month ago.”

“I am not surprised that is the first I have heard of the other incident. I, too, kept secrets when I was tired of other people’s opinions.”

“Like Father, like Son.”


“You must admit, Father, that you and Mother were at a loss when I first travelled to Rigmor. Shouldn’t the eyewitnesses’ account be listened to when something can’t be explained with your knowledge? That is if you believe the eyewitness was not insane or a liar.”

“We never thought that of you, Son. Your parents were baffled, but Lady Mara was not. She had a theory, and what you told me adds to its probable accuracy.”

“That theory is?”

“Very rarely, and Lady Mara has only seen it a couple of times, two souls are entwined. Lady Mara believes these souls will be entwined in every Kalpa. Without much originality, she has called them Entwined Souls.”

“And what does that mean for the individuals?”

“Their sum is greater than the parts. It is like one plus one equals three instead of two. The Entwined Souls work together in ways we can logically imagine but don’t know enough to understand fully.”

“You know I enjoy it when my gods deal with gobblygook. It is a sort of petty revenge.”

“We did not create the multiverse.”

“But you are at the mercy of its metaphysics.”

“Thus, we are the same as mortals struggling with foreign concepts and the unknown.”

“The difference is that mortals will invent mythology to explain the unexplainable.”

“And who says that gods don’t? Perhaps some Psijic ideas are not as implausible as they initially seem.”

“I refuse to discuss such heavy matters without cheese and wine.”

“What do you intend to do about Rigmor?”

“She has never seen me. She knows me as the invisible entity with her in times of need. But intuition tells me there is something essential about us as a pair. That is what drives me, and not just a possible romance. Perhaps it is that one plus one equals three equation? Perhaps it explains the ripple?”

“You are worried that the connection is important and don’t want to risk it being sundered.”

“Sometimes it is like you are reading my mind.”

“You know I would never do that, Son.”

“Yes, I do know. You have never misled me, and you and Mother taught the sacredness of another’s thoughts from an early age.”

“Alessia always surprised you with her insights. Can’t fathers have the same skills?”

“Yes, of course, they can. And you are correct. I want Rigmor and I to know each other as people. Raw without the external inputs and dramas that shape our current actions out of necessity.”

“Alessia and I desired a mortal child who knew us as parents, not gods.”

“Yes, there is a similarity.”

“Do what you think is necessary, Son. Alessia would tell you the same.”

“And what would Lady Mara say if I asked for advice?”

“How should I know? The Divines can be very hard to predict!”

“Haha. But yes, I shouldn’t ask you to speculate.”

“Lord Akatosh is disturbed. Can you hazard a guess as to why?”

“Miraak? He has sent assassins after me. That is not a very brotherly thing to do. Oh, except in Cyrodiil politics.”

“Were you going to ask about him?”

“Eventually, if given a chance in this Kalpa.”

“Is it my turn to laugh?”

“I forgot that apotheosis removes all sense of humour.”

“Miraak has not returned to Mundus. However, Lord Akatosh senses his Thu’um being used. How that is achieved is unknown. We think Miraak has been in Apocrypha since the time of The Dragon War.”

“I don’t know what Miraak is doing. I might have to send some friends to Solstheim to investigate. Until I know what danger Miraak presents, I can’t place him on a list of priorities.”

“You know we can’t see into Oblivion. We don’t know what powers Miraak may possess. He was the first mortal blessed with Dragonblood and Dragonsoul. It was Miraak who was supposed to defeat Alduin, not you. His refusal to do so resulted in the desperation of the Ancient Tongues.”

“A being using free will refused to confront another being using free will.”

“Trust you, Son, to see the similarities.”

“I think I will have to rely on Nirn resources to find more information on Miraak.”

“If you hone your Thu’um, Miraak will be no match.”

“Except we don’t know what Hermaeus Mora might have taught him.”

“True. There is no reason by that entity could not invent new Shouts.”

“Oral history amongst The Skaal is usually reliable. They might be a good starting point.”

“As usual, Son, you decide what to do, and The Nine shall cheer from the stands!”

“A bit like barracking for your favourite in The Arena.”

“Except we can’t easily barrack for another champion if you get killed, so don’t.”

“Okay, Father. I will return and begin to unravel the mystery called Rigmor.”

We stood and embraced once more as Father and Son. Then I willed myself to Nirn.

Although I can will myself to any part of Nirn that I can teleport to, it is safer to return to my origin and then teleport. Therefore, I was briefly in Aurana before teleporting to Lakeview Manor.

When I entered the bedroom, Rigmor was on her side, and I saw the marks left by The Thalmor four years ago. I cried out in anguish, and tears freely flowed.

  • Rose: Every person who has viewed those scars has cried. They are marks of the lash from far more than one or two beatings. Something tells me this girl has a story to tell. We need to keep her alive so she can tell it.
  • Wulf: I found out some things. Her name is Rigmor, and she comes from Bruma. She is eighteen.
  • Celestine: They are old scars, Wulf. But they seem impossible to heal. I tried, and nothing happened. It is as if the scars were integral to Rigmor’s wholeness. Trying to remove the scars was like trying to remove a healthy organ. You know we can remove growths threatening a life using Restoration magic, but not a healthy organ. Something within Rigmor blocked my spells.
  • Rose: Whoever inflicted those scars made a great effort to ensure she survived between whipping sessions. Without care, infection would have killed her long before the physical damage or blood loss. Imagine the conditions in some squalid prison.
  • Celestine: Even unconscious, Rigmor refuses to lie on her back. It has made it more difficult to treat her wound.
  • Wulf: Was it a reopening of the earlier wound?
  • Celestine: Yes. The existing wound was treated with poultices and animal sinews for stitches. It was an excellent job, and Rigmor was almost fully recovered.
  • Rose: I have seen many field repairs, but none as good as that performed on Rigmor.
  • Wulf: Perhaps later, you can tell me about your time as a Legionnaire, Rose.
  • Rose: What makes you think I was in The Legion?
  • Wulf: Your movements are that of a warrior. You had great confidence you could help Rigmor, despite her severe injury. That confidence comes from experience, and that level of experience is typical among soldiers who act as surgeons on the battlefield. Plus, you gave the Legion’s hand signal to tell us the coast was clear.
  • Celestine: Before you start thinking that Wulf has miraculously deduced something, we are both veterans of many battlefields and have encountered healers like yourself and whoever aided Rigmor.
  • Wulf: The Thalmor have been posting these all over Whiterun Hold and, I assume, elsewhere.

I handed a wanted poster to Celestine, who looked disturbed. When she handed it to Rose, the huntress shook her head in amazement.

  • Wulf: I spoke to a Thalmor lieutenant. He said that Rigmor was wanted for murder. Unless she killed the Queen of Alinor, that reward is a bit excessive for murder.
  • Celestine: You know the implications of that large reward.
  • Wulf: Yes. Bounty hunters will be swarming all over Skyrim. Snitches will multiply, and many young women who are not Rigmor will be in danger.
  • Rose: Dead or alive makes that a certainty. Why take a troublesome live captive when it is easier to carry a severed head? The Thalmor would laugh at the wrong heads presented by hopefuls.
  • Wulf: Okay, that is enough about possible scenarios. How is Rigmor?
  • Rose: She has taken some water. That is always a good sign.
  • Celestine: Rigmor has been in the throws of what I thought were fever dreams. However, her temperature is down, and there is no infection, yet they continue.
  • Rose: Within minutes of you leaving the room for Riverwood, the dreams or hallucinations or whatever they are started. They only stopped when you entered the room.
  • Wulf: Did Rigmor say anything coherent during those episodes?
  • Rose: She would whisper and then shout Dad or Mum and often seemed to be apologising. It was all disconnected, and none of it made sense without context.
  • Wulf: I need to attend to a bandit problem. When I return, you two can eat and sleep. I will look after Rigmor tonight.
  • Rose: She needs to be changed occasionally. She is not awake to use a chamber pot.
  • Wulf: If the need arises, I shall fetch one of you.

I stepped outside and found dozens of wolves attacking my guards and staff.

Akiho said, “Today, it is wolves. The other day it was bears!”

We cleared the wolves inside the walls, but I could hear others outside and many bears.

I found Nestor and asked, “What is happening?”

“A huge group of bandits use a small hut as their cover. They must have a large underground network and have attacked traders, pilgrims, and many others. Several of them sell wood as a front. They also have scaffolding across one of the main roads and demand tolls.”

“Tell me of the animal attacks.”

“As per your plans, we open our gates to people who want to use our bathing facilities, buy our goods, or just want a shortcut between main roads. Yesterday when we did that, dozens of bears found their way inside. Today it was wolves.”

“You have been observing these bandits?”

“A few of us have taken turns to observe them and take notes. That is why we know the scaffolding and the underground nest are connected. The same bandits manning the scaffolds have been seen to enter the hut.”

“This is a problem all over Skyrim, Nestor. There are few patrols, so the bandits have become emboldened. Where is their hut?”

“South West. Not far. We have scouted them, but we have noticed them scouting us. I don’t think we have the numbers to repel an attack.”

“Do you think the animals are being used to reduce the number of guards?”


“Okay, I shall summon a squad, and we shall eliminate them.”

“A single squad?”

“You have never seen us in action, Nestor.”

I summoned a squad consisting of Valdimar, Rayya, Gregor, and Kogo.

Kogo was substituting for Ko’rassa, who was with Inigo at one of my newer properties. It is a small farm in the tundra near Whiterun. I will need to hire a steward for it soon.

Kogo was one of the least disciplined Dragonguard in Akavir but has improved since arriving in Skyrim. The Tsaesci had enslaved him and his crewmates when they shipwrecked in Akavir. When rescued by The Dragonguard, he joined them and is now a Dragon Knight.

We exited via the south gate. A large group of bears was accosting a merchant’s guard. The merchant she was travelling with, and several other guards had already died.

We spread out and were busy eradicating the bears when their bandit owners attacked.

The fighting took us to a road and scaffolding that Nestor mentioned. A bandit in expensive armour attacked me. The merchant’s guard was peppered by arrows and died. Unless the group of bandits were all rich, my attacker was one of their leaders.

He soon found that fancy armour is no substitute for skill. I bashed him with my shield.

When he staggered to his feet, I decapitated him.

As his head rolled toward the scaffolding, another bandit yelled, “He killed Rhorlak!”

I could barely see the bandit that yelled but sent Unrelenting Force toward him.

It reached him, and there was a brief scream before silence.

I killed several more bandits with The Voice.

I returned to bear culling when I was sure no bandits remained alive on the scaffolding.

When we finished, Kogo remarked, “Most bears were young. It seems they got greedy and couldn’t wait till they matured.”

“Yes, a lot of the wolves were only pups. I think I will enjoy eliminating this nest of parasites!”

We marched up to the small stone cottage. There were no windows and a single door.

I had to pick the lock, which made some noise.

The door opened with a creak, and from below, a woman said, “It’s about time I had some relief. I hope to go on a raid tonight. My trident needs blood!”

I rushed downstairs and eliminated the trident owner.

On a table was a note that I read to my squad.

“Rhorlak, we got the right cart this time! The note has been sent, and we’ll see how they respond.

In the meantime, we’ll keep breaking down this stuff while you sell off the wood to keep our front and man the toll gates. We should be set for a while if we can get a reasonable price for the silver mould.

We left some wine for you in a bucket behind the shelf. Consider it a bonus.

–Rigel Strong-Arm”

I said, “I killed Rhorlak near the scaffolding. Let’s hope Rigel is home, as she also needs her head removed.”

I laughed when I saw a prominent button.

Kogo asked, “Why have a hidden doorway without hiding the opening mechanism? It sticks out like a dog’s ballsack!”

I replied, “You are making the error of thinking bandits have brains. Next to the button is an empty bookshelf. Every other table and shelf is covered in things. So, guess what the secret door is!”

“Duh, the bookshelf. Am I too smart to be a bandit?”

I pushed the button, and the empty bookshelf swung open.

We saw some bandits, and I was not in the mood for a chat.

Arrows from the squad raced Unrelenting Force across the cavern.

The bandits died.

We killed over one hundred with Thu’um, spells, arrows, and swords. Our combined tactics were brutal, fast, and unstoppable.

Despite the noise of Shouts and spells, some bandits seemed oblivious to what was happening. I was content to sneak up and slit a few throats.

However, most of the killing was face-to-face.

We found dead Draugr. It seems the bandits didn’t have the caverns to themselves at first.

A bonus of our pleasant afternoon stroll was the recovery of a Stone of Barenziah.

On a table were a bunch of notes and letters.

Two were interesting, so I read them to the group. The first was from the bandit leader’s father.

“By the Nine, Rigel! Think about what you’re doing!

I don’t care if you kill off a couple of Skooma-headed Khajiit traders. They have no business being in Skyrim anyway! But think about what you’re doing!

Armies are fighting out there, and they’re bound to use the roads occasionally. They’re going to start noticing if traders go missing, and they ain’t going to pay no tolls. Why don’t you join up with one of the armies?

I gave up on marrying you off to some merchant’s son since you got the face of a Skeever, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t wear a helmet and find some work as a soldier. Use those meaty arms of yours, girl!

And quit sending me money! I don’t need your charity!

— Da”

Rayya growled, “Typical Nord racism! If it weren’t for foreign traders, Skyrim would go broke.”

The other letter was an unsent one from Rigel to her Da. 

“Now look here, Da,

You’re the one who always told me that swinging an axe was the only thing I’ve ever been good at, so what do you expect me to do? I’ve got a good racket picking the traders off the road here, and I couldn’t give a damn what you think about it. The Stormcloaks pay dung for soldiering, and I won’t fight for those mud-sucking Imperials.

Your ‘little sabrecat’ has a tidy operation out here, and I won’t give it up just cause you’re afraid of me getting caught.

Oh, and quit trying to send back the money. These louts try to steal it, and I have to beat their skulls until they learn any different.

— Rigel Strong-Arm”

We found Rigel’s treasure room. Her prized possession was a silver candelabra mould. She had a buyer for it and thought it was valuable.

We seemed to have run out of bandits but not rooms. Since we hadn’t encountered Rigel yet, we slowed down in case her hidey-hole was well hidden.

We came across some murdered Khajiit traders. Below them was a pit full of other murdered citizens.

We approached a door, and I whispered, “Heat Vision tells me there is one person inside facing the doorway.”

I kicked open the door and rushed in.

Rigel wore the same armour as Rhorlak and faced me with a dagger!

She died.

I teleported us to Lakeview Manor in case there were further problems there. When all seemed quiet, I thanked my friends for their help. Valdimar then teleported them to Aurana.  

I immediately made my way to Rigmor. Celestine was looking after her alone.

Celestine put her finger to her lips in the universal signal for “Shhh!”

I walked over and whispered, “Why the need for quiet?”

“At the moment, Rigmor is sleeping and is not unconscious. However, she alternates between the two. She took some broth that Rose offered her, which was very encouraging. She is no longer in danger but still needs to rest.”

“Restoration magic heals wounds and diseases but leaves the patient exhausted.”

“Wulf, I have never seen another person recover as quickly as Rigmor.”

“She was heading somewhere barely a month after surviving the original injury. If she originally came from Bruma via the lesser-known paths, that would mean when I saw her a month ago, she was probably close to Falkreath. That would explain her path to Riverwood if that were her destination.”

“We can’t let her continue her journey till she can walk for hours. I will assess her tomorrow and decide then.”

“Wherever Rigmor needs to go, I will be by her side.”

“I am not going to advise against that, Wulf. But I insist on travelling with you. And we shall take Meeko with us, as he is less obvious a sign of your weirdness than dragons scouting for us.”

“Will Rose want to accompany us?”

“No, I doubt that. You should speak to Rose.”


I saw Akiho, so I spoke to her.

“Princess, you will be glad that we eliminated the bandits. Every one of them is dead, as well as their wolves and bears.”

“I am used to how your small bands of warriors achieve such tasks. Nestor was quite dubious despite my claim to the contrary. I look forward to that petty upmanship. What is the saying?”

“I told you so.”

“Yes, I think I will enjoy that.”

“I am looking for Rose. Do you know where she is?”

“She wanted to know if we have shrines for prayer. I told her of the large Lord Talos shrine outside and those of The Nine in the basement. She headed for the basement.”

“Thank you, Princess. Enjoy your petty upmanship!”

“Oh, I will, Lord Welkynd. And watch. We can depart without bowing! I think.”

Akiho stood rigid as she suppressed her urge to bow. I laughed as I headed for the basement.

Rose was standing silent before Father’s shrine. I did not want to disturb her, so I stayed where I was.

After a few minutes, she said, without turning, “It’s okay, Wulf. You can approach now.”

As I walked towards her, Rose turned with a grin on her face.

I protested, “I can be silent if I want to be. It was not much of a guess who it was clumping down the ladder.”

“I have no doubt you can be silent, Wulf. I am starting to think your skills go far beyond the glimpses I have seen.”

“I don’t like to keep secrets, Rose. I trust you, but there is a lot at stake, so I must keep those secrets for the sake of more than just me.”

“You don’t fear The Thalmor do you? Not many people would dare have such a large and prominent statue and the shrine of Lord Talos on display.”

“Not many people would openly display an amulet of Talos hanging from their belt.”

“The Thalmor never intruded on my hunting grounds. Now I fear that will no longer be the case.”

“I feel like a good talk. Let us head for my jetty and look over the lake as we chat.”

“I would like that. Lead the way.”

We passed some of my guards escorting a traveller across Lakeview Manor’s grounds. That would save him hours of walking in the unhospitable territory.

When we arrived at the jetty, I remained silent as Rose stood and took in the sights and sounds.

I looked up at the aurora, moons, and stars. The familiar murmuring of the cosmos reminded me of Mother, and the pang of separation stung once more.

Rose brought me back to Mundus with a question. She pointed across the lake and said, “I wonder who the people with the torches are? They are brave to risk that road at night.”

I used Zoom Vision, then replied, “It is a Falkreath Militia patrol. Many holds now have a militia that tries and keep the roads safe. However, they can never replace the usual patrols regarding numbers or expertise. I admire their effort and bravery.”

“How can you tell who they are from here?”

“You know I am The Dragonborn.”

“Yes, you haven’t kept that a secret.”

“Do you know what a Dragonborn is?”

“Well, Saint Alessia and her descendants were Dragonborn. It was something to do with their blood which allowed the control of The Dragonfires. I am not entirely sure what that was all about, but things changed after The Oblivion Crises.”

“Lord Akatosh blessed Saint Alessia, which changed her blood, so it was similar, but not exactly the same as what flows in a dragon’s veins. It was called Dragonblood and was inherited, hence the name Dragonborn. It was the duty of Dragonborn Emperors and Empresses to keep The Dragonfires alight. They, in turn, maintained the Liminal Barrier, which prevented Daedric Princes from manifesting on Nirn. When the last Septim Emperor died, the Liminal Barrier failed, and Mehrunes Dagon could walk upon Nirn.”

“You are a different type of Dragonborn, aren’t you?”

“What makes you say that?”

“You are not being called a claimant to The Ruby Throne. You are the Nord hero of countless tales whose duty is to defeat Alduin and other enemies of Skyrim. You have powers other Dragonborn didn’t have, so you could fight Alduin and do the other heroics.”

“I have Dragonblood and Dragonsoul. Lord Akatosh’s blessings upon me are more than he gave to Saint Alessia. Because of my dragon soul, I can see as they do. Therefore, I can see the militia as if they are feet away, not across the lake. I can learn the spells of The Voice, called Shouts, in seconds. It takes other Tongues, such as The Greybeards, years to learn each Shout. Ulfric Stormcloak trained with them for ten years and learnt only one Shout. It is called Unrelenting Force, and with it, he murdered High King Torygg.”

“How many Shouts do you know?”

“More than any other mortal has known. Lady Kynareth gifted me the knowledge, as she and ally dragons gifted knowledge to the Ancient Tongues during The Dragon War.”

“Am I encroaching on areas where you must keep secrets, Wulf?”

“Yes, and if you knew some of the truth about me, you might jump in the lake and not stop swimming till you reach the ocean.”

“I am enjoying the view and the sounds of the night. However, despite camping next to a lake, I hate fishing. I do relish the challenge of hunting like all predators.”

“Why do you dislike fishing?”

“My father would often take me fishing and make me sit there by the bank, staring into the water. It made me feel dizzy and sick.”

“That is why you use floats. They can be in the corner of your vision, and you will notice them bobbing if a fish takes the bait.”

“That sounds like a better idea. Father caught this huge fish one day and forced me to take it. I could barely hold it, and he was yelling at me. ‘Rose put it back. Quickly throw it back into the river.’

“So, he was catching and releasing. A lot of people fish for the excitement, not for food.”

“Yes, that was the idea, but I panicked, and the fish slipped from my fingers and dropped onto a piece of driftwood. It died, and I began to cry when I saw the blood mingling in the water. Father never took me fishing ever again.”

“I hope he was not mad at you for showing some compassion.”

“No, he understood. But here I am, a hunter who breaks the necks of snared rabbits with my bare hands and doesn’t think twice. But fishing, I could never do that for sport or food.”

“So, you hunt and Hedren fishes?”

“That is perceptive of you.”

“Is Hedren your partner?”

“No, no. Hedren is a good friend. That is all.”

“Sorry, that was an impertinent question. Let me display a total lack of etiquette and probe some more. What did you do before becoming a hunter? Where did you do your military service?”

“You will understand if I am reluctant to speak of my service. It was not an enjoyable part of my life, but it did shape me.”

“Many people don’t talk of their service. To speak it is to relive it, and that is not pleasant. Rose, my friends and I have fought many battles, so I understand.”

“But you are so young!”

“You display Lord Arkay’s symbol as well. I take it that is a result of being a field surgeon.”

“Yes, I wanted to learn how to do Arkay’s Rights for the fallen. It was not proper that we had to bury many whose violent or traumatic deaths may leave their soul confused. I am a Priestess of Arkay, but the only time I have done the rights is for soldiers. I was prepared to perform them for Rigmor, then you and Celestine showed up.”

“Think about it, Rose. Why would I wander that obscure hunter’s track without a weapon or armour? Why would I, so soon after defeating Alduin, be there?”

“You knew Rigmor needed help.”


“There is a connection between the two of you. It is not a coincidence that Rigmor had nightmares after you left the room, and they stopped when you returned. The same happened when you first approached her prone form.”

“I didn’t notice at the time.”

“I did because Rigmor’s nightmares tore at my heart, even though I could not make sense of her words. I knew her parents had something to do with them, and I have often seen that with dying soldiers. I had decided that Rigmor was like them, calling for her parents as The Void beckoned.”

“Then she went silent as I approached.”

“Yes, I feared she had passed, and we were too late. Then Celestine came, and I was given hope once more.”

“Your compassion and empathy added to Celestine’s spells in ways you are probably unaware of. My friend calls it the chicken soup effect. The soup is not what heals the sick person. The realisation that somebody cared enough to make the soup and spoon-feed them touches the soul of the ill, and that is what heals them. You bathed Rigmor’s wounds, old and new. You gave her water and broth. You cleaned her and changed her when she soiled the bed. Even when unconscious, those things would be recognised by Rigmor’s subconscious and contribute to her recovery. That is why mages call Restoration magic cold and uncaring. Any mage with sufficient skill can cast the spells. It takes a rare and powerful person to pour empathy and compassion into another.”

“I had an inkling that was the case. That is why I speak to my charges, whether awake, asleep, or unconscious. I have never felt embarrassed talking to a soldier I know will die.”

“Do you want to recover some gear from your camp?”


“Why? Aren’t you going to return to your hunting? It is a hard way to make a living.”

“I can’t continue doing it for the rest of my life. It gets more dangerous every day.”

“If you could do something else, what would it be?”

“I always wanted to visit the Gold Coast. It might be my ancestral blood that calls me there. I like meeting people, so a small inn would be everything I could wish for.”

“Okay, Rose, this is not a secret, and I tell it to you, not as a boast. I am probably the richest person in Skyrim. My wealth was honestly grown from a substantial start gifted by my parents. This wealth is necessary, as a Dragonborn like me is placed on Nirn to aid all mortals regardless of faith, race, or other factors. Charity is one way I can do that. I own several orphanages, the museum in Solitude and a castle being converted into another orphanage. So do not think what I will offer you is unusual or makes you indebted to me. It is a gift.”

I held out a gem bag I had prepared earlier, just in case Rose had unfulfilled dreams.

Rose took it and opened the bag’s drawstring. She looked inside, quickly closed the bag and held it out.

“No, Wulf. I cannot accept such wealth!”

“Why? Is there a shame in accepting help from one who wishes to provide it? Why would giving you a gift be less acceptable than you gifting your compassion, time and empathy to Rigmor?”

I gently pushed Rose’s hand back towards her.

I continued, “Stendarr says, ‘Be kind and generous to the people of Tamriel. Protect the weak, heal the sick, and give to the needy.’ The Nine say, ‘Above all else, be good to one another.’ Accept my gift, Rose, and allow me to obey The Ten Commandments of the Nine Divines.”

Rose laughed, saying, “You knew a religious appeal would work.”

“The gems inside that bag will fetch between ten thousand and twelve thousand Septims. That is enough for a downpayment on an inn. You would have to work hard to pay off the inn, so it is not like I am making it easy for you.”

“You know very well that whatever my wish was, such wealth would give me a head start.”

“Rigmor’s recovery is nothing short of a miracle.”

“She must have something she needs to accomplish before Aetherius is her home.”

“I will help her accomplish whatever it is, Rose. In a way, I am pledged to protect her unless she releases me from that pledge.”



“I thank you for the gift, Wulf.”

“I expect a free ale or two when I visit your inn.”

“Not mead?”

“I am not a Nord. Mead is not my favourite beverage.”

“Not a Nord? Are you Imperial?”

“Nope. You would never guess, so give up now.”

“Okay, what race are you?”

“I was born Atmoran crossed with Nedic. Now I am Ningheim.”


“I am returning to check on Rigmor.”

“I will stay here and think about what to do next. I will also have to remember my history lessons and strive to figure out how you can be what you said.”

“If you want to head for the border with Bruma, I will have a squad of my companions accompany you. I can assure you, there are no better bodyguards.”

I returned to the house, knowing that some of my guards were watching Rose. She was in no danger.

When I entered the bedroom, Celestine said, “Rigmor has taken more broth from me. We shall have to wait and see how quickly she becomes active and starts fending for herself.”

“How have her nightmares been?”

“The same until you entered. That is proof of your connection with Rigmor that others can witness. You don’t need to struggle to explain anything else, Wulf.”

“Then you will understand why I will pull up a chair and sleep in it. That way, Rigmor will sleep for hours, unbothered by the terrors of her subconscious.”

“I understand and apologise for the doubts and derision I aimed at you concerning Rigmor. Make sure you do sleep, Wulf.”

“Yes, Princess.”

Celestine went to whack me on my shoulder, but I looked towards Rigmor. She whispered, “Okay, you might cry and wake her. Therefore, I won’t hit you this time. But don’t call me princess!”

“Oh, I didn’t mean to offend, Your Majesty.”

Celestine shook her head and left the room.

I turned one of the chairs around, so I wasn’t facing Rigmor.

I found myself listening to her breathing. Its rhythm was familiar, as I had once lay next to her in that Thalmor prison cell over four years ago. As I contemplated the meaning of Entwined Souls, the rhythm lulled me into sleep.

I had just finished breaking my fast the following day when Rigmor yelled, “Hey, I want some answers, not more sleep. And where the hell is my underwear? Am I surrounded by perverts?”

I stood up as Celestine came rushing down the stairs and approached me.

The usually calm Celestine blurted, “Rigmor was her compliant, not yet fully conscious self, and now she is awake. She could damage herself if she doesn’t calm down.”

“Her underwear?”

“I had just finished cleaning her up after another bed soiling. Unfortunately, all undergarments her size are in the wash. I have wrapped a towel around her for modesty.”

“Then I shall risk life and limb and approach the teen girl who turns Thalmor into milk drinkers.”

Rigmor yelled, “If I don’t get answers and undies soon, I will start breaking things!”

Akiho had been making her way to Rigmor. She wisely stopped ascending and let me enter the lair of the beast.

Rigmor’s stare was enough to freeze a lesser mortal in their tracks. But I am The Dragonborn and fear nothing. But I was intimidated!

“Good morning, Rigmor! It is good to see you so much better than yesterday.”

“Hey, where’s my stuff?”

“Your armour, including the cuirass I repaired, is in the cupboard behind you. You soiled several pairs of ‘undies’, which are being washed. By the way, they are all new undies, as your original ones had seen better days. Not that I saw them, mind you. You had no weapons when we found you, and I have no idea who stole your manners.”

Rigmor visibly relaxed. Was it my words or my proximity?

In a calm, familiar voice, she asked, “What has happened to me?”

“You escaped some Thalmor by leaping from a cliff into the canopy of a tree. You bounced between several trees, and the branches slowed your descent. You landed hard and were severely wounded. A recent stomach wound not yet fully healed was reopened.”

“Angi will not be pleased. Ah, that was near Riverwood. How did I get here?”

“I carried you part of the way, then rowed you in a boat the rest of the journey. You are in my estate called Lakeview Manor near Falkreath.”

“Yeah, hey…thanks for that. Sorry, I can be an arsehole at times. My social skills are… somewhat lacking.”

“In that case, we should get along fine.”

“I remember falling… it all went dark…”

“You are over the worst of your injuries now. Rose, a huntress, and Celestine, a Restoration mage, have been attending to you.”

“Celestine is the Breton I just scared?”

“Nothing scares Celestine, but she was worried you might hurt yourself in your confusion and anger.”

“I remember kind words and gentleness. Soft hands that moved me and cleaned me and fed me. I owe Rose and Celestine, don’t I?”

“You owe them nothing, Rigmor. Their reward is seeing you survive.”

“And what is your reward?”

“All I want is answers, Rigmor.”

“Yeah, like what?”

“Let me show you something.”

“If you dare reach for your cock, I will scream and bite!”

I failed to suppress a loud laugh as I retrieved one of the wanted posters from my Journal Case. I handed it to Rigmor.

She read it aloud in a mocking voice full of contempt, “Rigmor of Bruma, fifteen thousand gold coins, dead or alive.”

Rigmor tore up the wanted poster and snarled at me, “So that is your reward! Are you going to hand me in? Well, here I am. It will be the only chance you’ll get!”

“Look at the armour I wear, Rigmor, and the furnishings around you. Does it look like I need fifteen thousand gold coins? Perhaps I helped you because I follow the Ten Commandments of the Nine Divines. Maybe I am nice and not a panty-stealing pervert or bounty hunter?”

“I’m sorry again. I will tell you what that poster is all about.”

“Apologise if you feel the need, Rigmor, but you are not the first confused and frightened person to lash out at me.”

“Who says I am frightened.”

“Look into my eyes and tell me you aren’t.”

“You know my name. I know the name of the ladies that helped me. Who are you?”

“I am Wulf.”

“Wulf what?”

“Wulf, the person who is waiting for an explanation.”

“I hope you don’t make your money as a comedian.”

“Why does everybody say that? Anyway, explain, and then I will leave you to have a nice warm bath while your undies are washed and dried. Maybe even a warm meal that is not spoon-fed to you?”

After staring into the distance for a few seconds, Rigmor said, “I…I killed some Thalmor in Cyrodiil, in Bruma. They were responsible for my father’s death… and for… I’m sorry. I can’t….”

“That is alright, Rigmor. If it is difficult to talk about, then don’t. You have given me all the information I currently need. I recently killed dozens of Thalmor in their Skyrim embassy. They were guilty of killing and imprisoning innocents. It sounds like you had just as valid a reason for what you did.”


“I assume The Thalmor have chased you from Bruma’s border?”

“Different hunting parties, but yes. That lot got lucky. I was on my way to Riften when they jumped me.”

“Why were you going to Riften?”

“I was going there to meet someone with news about my mother… We were… I was… I don’t even know why I am telling you this. I don’t even know you.”

It was apparent that Rigmor did not associate the big, metal-clad brute in front of her with her Guardian. In a way, I was relieved. Explaining how I was her Guardian would require telling truths that might label me strange and not somebody she wanted to be around. If I ever get the chance, I want those truths to be told later.

In a calm tone, I explained, “You only need to tell me what you are comfortable with, Rigmor. I will leave you now. Celestine and Rose will continue to help and answer questions.”

As Celestine passed me on the stairs, I told her, “I am going to the palace and prepare some armour and weapons for Rigmor. Snitches and bounty hunters will recognise Rigmor if she travels in her armour. Rigmor has a hood, not a helm, so she probably doesn’t like to wear one. She has no shield, so I think she uses a greatsword. See if you can find out how she usually wears her hair. Even in different armour, her shaved head is a giveaway. We have plenty of wigs she can choose from.”

“You handled that well, Wulf. Rigmor doesn’t recognise you, does she?”

“No, but I am not surprised nor upset.”

“Okay. I will try and make Rigmor more trusting of us. It can’t be easy for her.”

I teleported into Aurane and headed for its large armoury. I had collected many suits of armour and weapons that were either duplicate of those on display in the Dragonborn Gallery or not historically significant. I had a plan for Rigmor. I would make her a wealthy noblewoman with armour and weapons of impeccable quality. She will be so far removed from the image on the wanted poster we should be able to travel freely without worrying about bounty hunters.

My friends were full of questions, but they knew me well. I was fixated on a task, and they let me be. Even Olette has learned that it is best she does so.

It took hours to repair the armour I selected and polish it to perfection. I was reasonably sure it would fit Rigmor with the many straps available for adjustment.

I then honed a greatsword. It was not the biggest or heaviest in my collection. However, it was of superb quality and deadly after I applied my usual dweomer. I had no idea of Rigmor’s skill level with sword or bow. She killed Thalmor inside their embassy and survived, which implies she must have some skills.

So absorbed was I in perfecting both armour and weapons I lost track of time. Four hours after I arrived in Aurane, I was satisfied with my work and teleported inside Lakeview Manor.

When I asked, Akiho told me that Rigmor was outside exploring Lakeview Manor. Everybody was observing her, and I need not worry.

I took the opportunity to place the new armour and weapons on the bed Rigmor had been using before I went outside.

I found Rigmor wandering around our recently planted flowerbed. She moved from plant to plant, bending over to touch and smell the flowers. The one time she knelt, she had difficulty getting back up. It was soon apparent her favourites were the red ones.

I coughed, and Rigmor turned around. Her colour was good, but she was a bit unsteady.

I asked, “Are the red flowers your favourite?”

“Yes. All flowers are pretty, but the red ones are the prettiest.”

“Did you have a bath and hot meal?”

“I was enjoying a hot bath when the smell of bacon, eggs, and sausages reached my nose. I called for Celestine, who helped me dress, and when I sat at the dining table, they placed huge plates of food on it. I asked Celestine who was eating with me, and she said nobody. I thought it was a waste but soon made a sizeable dent in the piles. I can’t believe I ate so much! As you can see, I am not the biggest person.”

“When we use healing spells on a person, they use the patient’s energy reserves. Your body needs to replenish the energy used during your healing. Some Restoration mages, including Celestine, can donate some of their energy, but that is a rare talent. Celestine knew what your body needed, so she had a lot of food prepared.”

“So, I shouldn’t feel guilty?”

“Did Celestine look angry or disgusted with you?”

“No, she smiled and said I did well.”

 “There’s your answer. I am sure Rose agreed.”

“I haven’t seen Rose. I wanted to thank her but was told she was visiting Riverwood and would return later.”

“I should have realised she wasn’t here as she was rarely far from you.”

“I was a bit worried, but Celestine said The Thalmor have been chased out of Whiterun Hold.”

“Yes, they were told to leave or be arrested. But there is nothing to link you and Rose. We were very discreet when I carried you to the boat. Once I lay you down in it, nobody could see you.”


“I will help you travel where you need to go, but not dressed as you are. As you saw on the wanted poster, it was an excellent likeness.”

“I thought something was suspicious when Celestine started talking about hairstyles and which are her favourites.”

“Come, and I will show you your new armour. I will carry your old armour for you.”

Celestine saw us enter the house, and I asked her to join us.

The ladies followed me into the bedroom, and both looked stunned at the armour laid out.

  • Rigmor: I will look like a snobby rich noblewoman! Don’t expect me to shove a stick up my arse!
  • Celestine: The stick is not required to act snobbish.
  • Wulf: You shall look older, wealthier, and nothing like the young woman they are hunting.
  • Rigmor: But I don’t sound noble.
  • Celestine: Pretend you have a mouth full of marbles when you talk. And look down upon Wulf, your batman.
  • Rigmor: Batman?
  • Wulf: That is a military term used for a junior officer who attends to the needs of a high-ranking officer. It means servant.
  • Rigmor: So, I don’t have to use please and thank you.
  • Wulf: That should be easy for you. Just act like this morning.
  • Rigmor: Shush. I wasn’t asking for your opinion. I see a spot on the left boot. Can’t you even polish properly, you lazy lout?
  • Celestine: Very good. I will give you a bit of training, and in no time, Wulf will cringe before you.
  • Rigmor: This could be fun! Ahh, there are no weapons here?
  • Wulf: Celestine will help you into the armour. Then meet me on the balcony, and I will give you a sword and bow.
  • Rigmor: Are they as fancy as the armour?
  • Wulf: Yes, milady. I wouldn’t dare give you less than your station demands.
  • Rigmor: Hehe. I could get used to this.
  • Wulf: We might have created a monster, Celestine.
  • Celestine: Begone, peasant, before I beat you with an uncooked leek!
  • Rigmor: Would that hurt?
  • Celestine: Indupitably.
  • Rigmor: Ooh, I need some posh words that make good insults!

Celestine is a dear, close friend. It lightened my heart to see Rigmor bonding with her.

Forty minutes later, Rigmor joined me on the balcony.

She asked, “How does it look?”

“Milady, being a mere peasant, I lack the vocabulary to do your magnificence justice.”

“Cut the crap and tell me. How does it look?”

 “The armour is stunning, but you make it look magnificent. It seems I got the size right.”

“Yeah, there were not many adjustments using the buckles needed.”

“How does it feel?”

“It is super light compared to my beaten-up old armour. And I feel more energetic and faster than I ever remember being.”

“I placed some potent spells on the armour. Most poisons won’t hurt you. You are almost fireproof, can’t be frozen and are highly resistant to electricity. You can breathe underwater and not make a noise when sneaking. Your bow and sword skills will also be greatly improved.”


I handed Rigmor the greatsword, and she looked upon it with awe.

She strapped the sheath on her back, then took a few swings of the sword.

I asked, “How does it feel?”

Rigmor replied, “Hang on, and I will tell you.”

I was shocked and mesmerised as Rigmor did a series of advanced sword forms. She was precise and far better than most proponents of greatswords I have seen.

When she finished, she had a smile that almost made me weep. I quickly looked away while I composed myself.

I turned back, and Rigmor looked at me with a puzzled expression.

I told her, “I am a Swordmaster but in sword and board. It seems you have had training from a greatsword Swordmaster.”

“I am a bit rusty with the forms, but I did alright, didn’t I?”

“You were perfect, Rigmor. You told me you killed people in the Bruma embassy, so you must have skills in combat.”

“They were the first people I have ever killed, Wulf. But many have taught me over the years, including Swordmasters.”

“Can you use a bow?”

“After some lessons from Angi, I can almost hit the side of a mammoth from ten paces!”

“There is a practice range here. Come, and I shall soon have you hitting the side of a mammoth from twenty paces.”

Celestine came outside and held out several wigs. Rigmor tried a couple and selected one with a ponytail. She looked much older when she wore it and seemed pleased to do so.

Rose had been gone all day, and I was starting to worry. However, I decided to spend time with Rigmor. She must be able to defend herself and not leap off cliffs.

I let Rigmor use one of the excellent elven bows popular with my guards, and she wasn’t bad at all.

When I handed Rigmor the ebony bow I had prepared, she was amazed at how well she shot.

I told her, “That was quite impressive. I think mammoths better not be rude near you!”

Rigmor smiled again, and it was like a tug on my heart. Knowing some of what she had endured, I wondered where the smile came from. There must have been light amongst the dark, and I only knew part of her story.

I told Rigmor, “I am going to Riverwood to see what is delaying Rose.”

“Are you worried about her?”

“Yes, Rigmor, I am worried.”

“Oh. Well then, please hurry!”

“Don’t be shocked when I vanish.”


I teleported to the outskirts of Riverwood.

An overcast sky and shadows from buildings made it seem darker than the hour dictated. I headed for Alvor’s, as I could see him and Hedren looking my way.

Three thugs emerged from the shadows and stood in the middle of the street. Guards looked at me, and I shook my head. They were content to stand and watch alongside Riverwood residents. Undoubtedly, the audience hoped to see another show like I put on with The Thalmor.

The leader thug stepped forward to greet me. When I towered over him, he looked up with concern. He may have regretted his show of courage, but it was too late to back down.

In an almost steady voice, he said, “Well, well, well, what do we have here? Hedren won’t say who you are, but I recognise you.”

“Oh, from where?”

“You are the one that carried the wanted girl to Rose’s boat. You were wearing red then, but your size and beard match. The Thalmor paid good coin for that information about Rose, you and the boat. They paid even more when we told of Rose’s visit to Hedren. But me and the lads are a bit greedy, and here you are.”

I asked, “Hedren, who is this?”

He replied, “A local thug and snitch called Morion. He came swaggering into town making threats, totally ignorant of the armed guards watching him.”

I asked, “Tell me, Morion, what do you want?”

“If you don’t want to join that skank Rose in some Thalmor torture chamber, you’ll pay us one hundred gold and be on your way.”

The Thalmor ignored warnings, entered Whiterun Hold again and kidnapped Rose. My anger showed in my eyes, and Morion stepped back.

I growled, “No, Morion, I will not give you a hundred Septims.”

Morion tried hard to maintain his veneer of toughness, but I could see how frightened he was

In an unsure voice, he said, “Hahaha, hey, lads, it seems we have a little problem. I’ll wager he don’t have enough gold, am I right? Or maybe your brain is scrambled by mead. Hahaha!”

I used my Thu’um, so all the spectators could hear.


The audience got the pun and laughed. Morion looked confused and said, “Huh?”

“Moron. Without an ‘I’, your name spells moron. Duh!”

Morion was getting angry, which was the point of the ribbing. Like most thugs, he did not look much of a fighter. He will be an even worse one if anger takes over. It is also good to let underlings see how weak their boss is. It makes them less enthusiastic about giving up their life for them. But their life was forfeit, for I could not forgive what they had done to Rose for a few coins.

Morion growled, “Well, I’ll tell you what. Since you are so rich, the price is now one thousand gold, and there is no leave it option!”

I used my Thu’um once more and said,


Some people yelled out, “He is our Thane!” Others yelled, “He is The Dragonborn.” Alvor yelled, “He is your executioner!”

Finally, Morion understood the danger, and all bluster was gone.

I looked around. Some adults quickly took their children inside as violence was imminent. I was free to exact justice fittingly.

I growled, “Yes, I am The Dragonborn. What kind of idiots think they can threaten people in the middle of a town with armed guards watching their every move? But don’t think your stupidity will save you, Moron. There is no forgiveness for what you have done to Rose. Draw your weapons and show me how tough you are.”

With more conviction than I thought he would show, Morion yelled, “Get him, boys!”

Morion drew his greatsword. I stepped forward and lopped his head off.

I then shortened his two accomplices.

Three swings, three dead. The heads rolled into an indent in the road.

There was silence from the spectators. In an arena where people pay to watch such violence, I would receive a standing ovation and lavish praise. To the residents of Riverwood, it was a brutality that would haunt them.

As if to mock the darkness of the scene, the sun broke through the clouds. Residents came closer to view the carnage. Some even kicked the headless dead. Attacking The Dragonborn and their Thane was an insult.

Hedren approached me.

I asked, “Hedren, what has happened to Rose?”

“Rose told me what you have done for her. She wanted to know if I would join her in Cyrodiil. Knowing I was not the bravest soul, she explained how she would be safely escorted to the border. I still refused, for I have family in Skyrim that I see occasionally. I wished her the best, for she deserves it.”

“Morion saw us load Rigmor onto the boat and told The Thalmor. Then he told them of Rose’s visit. They must have been waiting on Falkreath’s border and snatched Rose with a quick raid into Whiterun.”

“Morion was complaining to his friends about needing to visit a Thalmor fort high in the mountains to get their payment. His friends told him it wasn’t far to the border, and the walk would be worth it.”

“What information was he trying to get from you?”

“Your identity. The Thalmor are quite keen to find anybody associated with that Rigmor girl. Alvor told him to go away, and the guards started to approach. That was just before you showed up.”

“I will do all I can to save Rose. Now get to safety, Hedren. The Thalmor will send somebody to collect you or kill you.”

“No, one of the guards went to fetch Irileth. There is no way Thalmor will enter this far into Whiterun anytime soon. Alvor needs my help even if I am not the blacksmith he is. I will continue to fish and work the forge. This place is my home, Dragonborn.”

Alvor called over, “Those nails are not going to make themselves, Hedren!”

Hedren ran back to the forge and started working the bellows.

Alvor approached and said, “Do what you can for Rose, Thane Welkynd. She has a heart of gold and earned many friends in Riverwood.”

“I don’t want to sound cold, Alvor, but I know Thalmor interrogation techniques. They won’t torture Rose straight away but use threats. We shall get to her in time.”

“You are confident you can remove Rose from a fort full of Thalmor?”

“We defeated Alduin and his dragon allies. I have fought many battles against tremendous odds and won them. There is nothing The Thalmor can do to stop my friends and me.”

“You know, I believe you. The Divines would not send you to us if evil could triumph so easily.”

I teleported to Lakeview Manor.

Rigmor was sitting and talking to Celestine when I entered the dining room.

She stood and looked worried.

  • Rigmor: Where is Rose? Is she okay?
  • Wulf: Rose has been captured by the Thalmor. Somebody saw us taking you to her boat and snitched. Then they squealed more when she visited Riverwood.
  • Rigmor: Then we must go after her. Do you know where they took her?
  • Wulf: Her friend Hedren mentioned a fort on the border. I assume in Falkreath Hold since the Thalmor were banished from Whiterun Hold.
  • Rigmor: It will be Fort Black! It is the only one for many miles. I was planning to visit there. Angi told me how to get there, and I have a map back at her camp.
  • Celestine: Rigmor is in no condition to travel that far. She needs another night of rest.
  • Wulf: I don’t know that territory well enough to risk it at night. We shall leave at first light tomorrow.
  • Rigmor: But what about Rose? They could be torturing her…or…or…whipping her!
  • Wulf: They don’t whip people to get information, Rigmor. They have other ways that are far more productive. However, the physical torture doesn’t start right away. They don’t like to damage the goods if they can avoid it.
  • Rigmor: I know what they do, Wulf! They won’t damage Rose as her value on the slave market would decrease!
  • Celestine: Please trust us on this, Rigmor. We shall take you to Angi’s and then rescue Rose. We have done such things many times before.
  • Rigmor: I…I…know what you say makes sense. But I feel guilty. Rose is in this position because of me.
  • Wulf: No, Rigmor. Rose is in this position because she did the right thing and helped an injured stranger. The fault lies with snitches who will do anything for a few coins. The fault lies with The Thalmor, who continually break Imperial laws and hide behind The White Gold Concordat.
  • Celestine: When Wulf says we will be leaving early, he means when the sun is just peeping over the horizon. I will act as your physician, Rigmor, and be bossy. We shall eat supper, and then you will go to bed. You might think you can’t sleep, but I guarantee you will.
  • Rigmor: Wulf, several people mentioned how you slept in a chair next to me. I don’t know why, but I think that helped me get better. Could you do it again?
  • Wulf: So, I am not a perverted undie stealer?
  • Rigmor: You are weird and probably have unnatural thoughts about goats. But you are an acceptable batman.
  • Wulf: Thank you for your kind words, milady.
  • Rigmor: Well, peasant? Do I have to beat you to make you comply?
  • Wulf: Yes, Rigmor, I will sit on that wonderfully comfy wooden chair and try to sleep despite the loud snoring beside me.
  • Rigmor: I don’t snore!
  • Wulf: How would you know when you are asleep?
  • Celestine: You haven’t been snoring, Rigmor.
  • Wulf: Trust a snobby noble to take the side of another snobby noble.
  • Rigmor: I had my supiscions. You are nobility, aren’t you?
  • Celestine: Yes, Rigmor.
  • Wulf: Celestine is one of two princesses you have met. Guess the other.

We sat and ate supper with some staff, and everybody smiled at Rigmor’s still voracious appetite. It took her some time to pick Akiho as the other princess. I did not need to warn them about mentioning certain subjects before a guest. However, it was inevitable that Rigmor would realise that I was wealthy, owned many properties, and spent time in Akavir. I expect many questions will be asked as we travel to Angi’s.

Just after 9:00 PM, Rigmor asked for Celestine’s help to prepare for bed.

When I entered the bedroom at 9:30 PM, Rigmor was in a night terror. It was wrong to call them nightmares. Rigmor’s body reacted to real fear, sadness, anger and hope. I turned my chair to watch and sat fascinated as she slowly calmed, and the familiar, regular rhythm of her breathing was the only sound she made.

The memories of her smiles and laughter continued to assault my common sense. I can’t fall in love with her; she is still a stranger. My heart told my common sense to get stuffed as it doesn’t know anything.

Rigmor must recognise this quiet, this ordering of thoughts that happens when we are close. I saw it several times when her anger flared and vanished just as quickly.

I contemplated our mysterious connection and how Rigmor could still find joy when her rhythmic breathing lulled me to sleep.

My affinity with linear time allows me to wake up at the precise time I want. So, at 6:00 AM, I awoke and went to the other bedrooms. It took a bit to wake Celestine, and she called me names, unbefitting a princess.

At 7:00 AM, we were fed, clothed and ready for the day.

We exited the house, and I said, “We need Meeko. He will warn us of danger long before we know it is there.”

Rigmor asked, “Who is Meeko?”

I summoned my dog, who isn’t a dog.

Rigmor laughed and quipped, “Where is his saddle?”

“Say hello to Rigmor, Meeko.”


“What was that? He barked, but he talked.”

“That is interesting. It usually takes some time before people pick up Meeko’s telepathy.”



“Oh, you will explain it while we walk. Yes, of course, you will, because a talk into your brain dog is normal for Wulf. Just like you appearing out of nowhere is perfectly normal.”


“Gobblygook? Okay, teach me what that means, and we shall go from there.”

I said, “Please, Rigmor, tell us if you tire. We shall make it to Angi’s in good time, but your health is the priority.”


“I can lean on you if I get tired. That is very generous of you, Meeko.”

Rigmor was the same as everybody else who spoke with Meeko. There was an almost undeniable need to repeat out loud what he said telepathically. I understood why that was so. Most people don’t realise they are doing it.

The three of us exited Lakeview Manor.

A large ripple occurring in the void the day I met Rigmor suggests that nothing will ever be the same from that point on. Nirn will have to look after itself while I unravel the mystery of the young woman and our connection.

4 thoughts on “Entwined

  1. You are doing the emotional roller-coaster thingy again. You have a way of making the empathy and compassion burst forth with each word. Thank You Mark

  2. I second Neshothah and I will be quoting you this time, plus I think you are a comedian of some sorts but in hiding. So, through Talos words: ‘As usual, Son, you decide what to do, and The Nine shall cheer from the stands!’

  3. I totally agree with the two fellow readers above. It’s the same subject but a totally new read, I love this journal more than your previous one and I enjoyed reading that one. Had to laugh when Rigmor was yelling for her clothes. Perfect, thanks Mark.

  4. I’m so glad Rigmor is now finally with us in the flesh. And I love the changes you made from the original story. Well done, Mark, and thanks!

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