Middas, 24th Hearthfire, 4E 201
Rigmor was amused when I retrieved more modest women’s undergarments from my Journal Case.
I explained, “There is a lot of stuff in there that I have yet to put away. I brought a bunch of clothes from Ri’saad and forgot about them.”
“Okay, so we can now head for the spa without scaring the children if they are up.”
“Oh, they will be up. Their stomachs would have woken them.”
“They probably want to get up before the hungry vampire kids.”
“It will be interesting to see if Celestine got the minerals correct. There is a spa without them and another with them.”
“Well, my perverted Dragonbum, let us try it and see.”
“That is what you said several times last night.”
“Like I said, perverted.”
As predicted, the children were up and about, and I quickly said hello as we passed them.
The spa room was at the end of a long corridor with many display cases.
Rigmor asked, “What is in these display cases?”
“Weapons the Dragonguard Spirits used when protecting Sky Haven Temple. I had to fight dozens of them to reach Alduin’s Wall.”
“So, even though you are Dragonborn, a Dragonguard and a Septim, you had to fight them?”
“Yes. Many of the trials undertaken to become Dragonguard are dangerous. Nearly all of my friends have physical or mental scars from such trials. The last spirit I fought almost killed me. It was the closest I have come to dying in combat.”
“Yeah, Aedriath’s attack was an ambush. Anyway, who almost killed you?”
“High Priestess Akamizu. She was a Shaman and Magus like Vayu. She was ten feet tall and a vampire but not tainted by Molag Bal.”
“I thought all vampires carried his taint.”
“So did I, but Akamizu didn’t. Like Vayu, she wore an Amulet of Dibella. She was probably trained in Dibellan Arts.”
“Is Vayu trained in Dibellan Arts?”
“Yes, which encompasses many disciplines, including poetry, the arts, music, and intimacy. Lady Dibella gifted mortals an appreciation for beauty and nature.”
“Don’t people who have trained in Dibellan Arts work in brothels?”
“Far fewer than people think, and they are more upmarket than most. Many trained in Dibellan Arts aid people with intimacy problems without charging them. Vayu did that before joining The Blades and certainly not since meeting Celestine.”
“What is that glowing tattoo on his chest?”
“Remember who we met in that icy cave?”
“The Tentacled Turd!”
“Yep. Vayu’s tattoo is of Hermaeus Mora, but he can’t remember getting it done. Shamans use many hallucinogenic drugs during their training and for some ceremonies.”
“Could Vayu become a vampire like whatsername?”
“Yes, but I don’t know how. High Priestess Akamizu said that shaman knowledge should not be revealed. Vayu once emphasised that to me, so I don’t ask about some things.”
We entered the spa room, and I explained, “The spa near the bar is untreated. We will use the other spa with the minerals added.”
The spas are pretty deep, so we both had to tread water.
After a few minutes, I asked, “Well, how’s the back?”
“The minerals work, and we don’t have to worry about pervy giants, mammoths or Mr Tibbs!”
“Is there anything else involving us wearing clothes you would like to do today?”
“Can I read your journals?”
“My ones from Akavir are in the museum library. However, you can read a transcribed set of Skyrim ones.”
“We shall have a private breakfast, and then you can read the journals. Later on, after lunch, I would like to sit outside and enjoy a coffee with you and Inigo.”
“I still haven’t decided about visiting Yngol’s camp.”
“It is still early, Rigmor, and there is no urgency. Let’s relax, okay? I think that once The New Order land, it will be chaos time once more.”
We dried, donned our kimonos, and headed for my rooms. The children were waiting for breakfast to be served, and Olette was with them.
When she saw us, she rushed over and tried her hardest to wrap her arms around me in a bear hug. Then she did the same to a laughing Rigmor with more success.
- Olette: Nobody told me you were back, Cap’n.
- Wulf: I don’t know how long for, Olette. I could become very busy when The New Order makes landfall.
- Olette: I heard what happened to you and Rigmor. They said you died, Cap’n. But here you are, not rotten or smelly, and still breathing.
- Wulf: A tiny bit of my soul was still inside my body, so I wasn’t exactly dead. However, I was stuck in the place where the dead go before their afterlife.
- Olette: Rigmor, those bastards made you lose your memory, didn’t they?
- Rigmor: Yes, little girl. Do I know you?
- Olette: Oh, I am Olette.
- Rigmor: It is nice to meet you, Omelette.
- Olette: You’re pulling my leg, aren’t you?
- Rigmor: I haven’t touched your leg!
- Olette: That joke is as bad as one of Wulf’s, so perhaps you are still wrong in the head.
- Rigmor: I don’t dribble, so I am nothing like Wulf!
- Olette: I would like to spend some time with you two, but after breakfast, I have to help cook lunch and supper.
- Wulf: Oh, you poor thing, having to do chores once a week!
- Olette: I am not complaining about the chores, Cap’n! But I do think the timing could be better.
- Wulf: Why is my sarcasm misinterpreted?
- Olette: What do you think, Rigmor?
- Rigmor: It could be, my dear Wulf, that you are not good at sarcasm.
- Wulf: I don’t have to stand here and be insulted!
- Olette: Nope, you could go anywhere and be insulted.
- Wulf: You see how I fed you that line? Now you have to be nice to me.
- Olette: Hahaha…stop…my sides are splitting.
- Rigmor: Retreat while you still have some dignity, Wulf.
We enjoyed breakfast in my rooms, and then I retrieved the transcribed journals for Rigmor.
She asked, “Wulf, can you briefly tell me about what you did in Akavir?”
“Many of my friends and I spent a lot of time training. I have explained how I used my Aetherius Room to prepare for Alduin and other problems.”
“Yes, old man, you did.”
“The Dragonguard sent to escort me from Roscrea were all Tsaesci, but my teachers in Akavir were of every Akavir race except for Kamal, also known as Snow Demons. They are a very unpleasant and sizeable humanoid race that despises the Tang Mo for reasons lost in time. Some say they are frozen solid for months, then thaw out and attack the Tang Mo. That is nonsense! The mountain passes they use to attack the Tang Mo are frozen, not the Kamal. They once attacked Tamriel and destroyed Windhelm.
The Tang Mo are humanoids often called Monkey People because of their extensive body hair. They are a strange race and may seem insane to outsiders. The Tang Mo of The Dragonguard are strict teachers and good, loyal friends.
The race of Man exists on Akavir. There are the free ones like those I have working as stewards on my estates. Then there are the enslaved of the Tsaesci.
You have met my Ka’Po’Tun friends.
The Tsaesci are sometimes reptilian, like Argonian or Man-like. The variance is random and not due to outside influences like Khajiiti and their Fur Stocks.
The Dragonguard does not involve itself in significant wars such as Kamal versus Tang Mo or Ka’Po’Tun vs Tsaesci. Instead, The Dragonguard help villages, cities, and private estates under attack from those seeking wealth or other base objectives. Even though we are not involved in the ongoing wars, standing up to local warlords or other aggressors has led to major battles, most likely larger than what we will face at Whiterun.
We also undermine the aggressors via our spies and sabotage. Although used in the past, I clarified that I would not allow assassinations. Although the Grandmaster is nominally in charge, all Dragonguard obey me.
I think the best way of thinking about The Dragonguard is as protectors of the weak against the strong and the innocent against the unjust.”
“The Dragonguard must have many enemies!”
“Indeed, many factions in Akavir want to wipe us out. The headquarters are well hidden, but it will be moved if there is even a hint of discovery.”
“I had better get started. I have five months of journals to read!”
“It won’t take as long as you think. Most days were routine and have small entries. The hectic chaos started just before the arrival of Alduin and hasn’t decreased since then. Part of the cause is the lack of patrols as the civil war grinds on.”
I handed Rigmor the first journal and didn’t have to wait long for the questions to begin.
“How big is the orphanage being built?”
“Huge. It should house two hundred children and has many classrooms. It is taking longer than I wanted to convert the old castle because of the civil war. Large bandit gangs roam the area and are a hazard for tradespeople and craftspeople. I improved things a bit by wiping out one of the largest gangs. They inhabited Fort Greymoor, which might need a bigger garrison if The New Order marched from that direction. The building of the orphanage is progressing faster since an ancient dragon, Strunmahwuld, volunteered to be a guard. I expect it will be ready for its first children in about a month.”
“You would like to live there, wouldn’t you?”
“Yes, but I attract danger, so I can’t. The orphans here will move there, well, most of them. Aurane’s mages provide a good education, so if Olette wants to stay, she can.”
“Do the other children get jealous because Olette is your favourite?”
“No, none of them lacks attention, and they are pleased she may have found a home.”
“Okay, I plan on adopting Olette.”
“I think Sigunn would enjoy a tour of Dragons Keep when it is open.”
“Why that name?”
“You will see when you visit it.”
“When you spoke to Lady Kynareth, her voice reminded me of wind through a narrow valley. Lady Mara sounded like Mum. Lord Talos sounds like the westerners of Cyrodiil.”
“That is because he spent so much time in Colovia. He said others tried to make him sound like a snotty Nibenese when he became emperor.”
“Well, if I become Countess, I promise not to sound like the other Counts and Countesses of Nibenay.”
“Good, because that requires a stick up the bum.”
“Haha. Anyway, Hermaeus Mora sounded like he had swallowed nails and also had phlegm. What did the other Dark Lords sound like?”
“Vaermina whispered like somebody telling you a secret. Boethia’s voice might be pleasant and even alluring if not for the undertone of bitchiness. I wonder what her male voice is like?”
“I can’t imagine what it is like to change gender.”
“Sheogorath sounds like Sheogorath. I have never heard another being speak with a similar accent. Malacath sounds like every male Orsimer. There is little variance in their speech patterns. Meridia was bossy and condescending.”
“Opening something and seeing Meridia’s Beacon sitting there must have been amusing.”
“All she had to do was ask nicely, and I would have cleared her temple long before I did.”
“We both know what Azura sounds like.”
“She has appeared as male on occasion. That would make your mummy your daddy!”
“What happened to Azura’s Bane?”
“You will get to that part.”
Rigmor read a bit more, then turned back a few pages and reread what I wrote.
She shook her head and asked, “Were you inside the mind of Emperor Pelagius Septim III?”
“In a way. Uncle Sheo made a pocket realm with allegorical representations of Pelagius’ insanity.”
“It was a model of Pelagius’ mind.”
“Well, why didn’t you say that?”
“What made him go insane? Was it hereditary, the use of drugs, or what?”
“Queen Potema gave Pelagius a cursed amulet when he was a child.”
“When you destroyed a clan of vampires in The Bloodlet Throne, you thought them unusual. You think it might be the same clan that captured Sorella.”
“The clan was unusual because it consisted of different vampire subtypes. For thousands of years, Cyrodiilic vampires have been vehement enemies of Volkihar vampires. I can’t recall ever reading about a mixed clan of the two. Since the ones that captured Sorella were mixed subtypes, and in the same ruins, I assume they were the same clan. Dominic, the vampire child I rescued on my first visit to The Bloodlet Throne, knows nothing about a Broodmother or The Calling. The vampires killed his family and turned him. The Calling did not lure him.”
“You dealt with a clan of Cyrodiilic vampires trying to take over Morthal and met Helgi. You helped her join her mother in Aetherius. It was sad they were killed, but I am glad they are together again.”
“When you read about Sorella’s rescue, you will learn of another child’s spirit that I reunited with her mother. Spirits like those children are usually a result of death without closure. Sometimes they can haunt a place for thousands of years before somebody helps them to their rest.”
“That is why you sometimes do Arkay’s Rights.”
“Yes, if I think there is a chance their spirits are stuck in Mundus.”
“You wrote about Silah’s questions about me. It must have been difficult for you.”
“Nobody understood how I could be so certain we would meet again. They were concerned I would be hurt and worried I was letting the chance of love slip my grasp.”
“Yeah, I mean, you are thirty and single!”
“I should never have told you about the time manipulation of my Aetherius Room.”
“You wouldn’t keep such stuff from me, my Dragonborn. You will not have these journals published with the information about your parentage, will you?”
“Not till some later stage. Before then, edited versions will be available. I only expect scholars to take much notice of them. However, I must get the truth published as I am tired of seeing badly researched biographies or ones full of bullshit.”
“Inigo’s story is tragic, but I can see why he has become a close friend. And he has his very own prophecy!”
“I hope to be there when he finally finds redemption, and that it is before The Doom Strider arrives.”
“Okay, the second volume, please.”
“Wow, I expected far more questions.”
“I might think of some later.”
I handed Rigmor the second volume and knew some entries would invoke strong emotions.
At one stage, tears dripped, and sniffles started. She whispered, “Oh, those poor people in Helgen!”
Tears ran like rivers when she got to the part where I finally met her again, and another handkerchief was soaked through.
Without looking at me, she remarked, “I have been nasty and very unfair on occasions. How you handled my mood swings demonstrates great patience and understanding. What you wrote in these journals mirrors that. You never raised your voice or wrote anything bad about me.”
“I couldn’t judge you without knowing what was behind the mood swings.”
“You grasped for answers as I told my story in parts.”
“I knew your anger stemmed from many things, including fear, frustration, and uncertainty. I also knew the darkness had not beaten you, so your laughter, smiles and enjoyment of beauty lift my spirits.”
“Careful with the romantic talk, Wulf. You wanted to do things with our clothes on.”
A while late, Rigmor finished the second volume and stared at me.
“Well, my beloved, do you have any questions?”
“What you did to rescue me is extraordinary, and I can’t express how I feel about it. How you and your friends defeated Alduin is just as amazing. I don’t think The New Order know what they face.”
“Their only chance was Malacath crossing over to Mundus. They thought that was a certainty, for it had been centuries since a mortal hero had entered Oblivion and survived. Normally I would object to the wholesale slaughter of the enemy. I have always offered a chance for survivors to return to their families, defeated but hopefully wiser. I have no compulsion to do that with The New Order. If they use mercenaries, our violence shall make it impossible for them to hire more in the future. We shall let all of Nirn know the consequences of attacking The Empire. The Dominion will take notice and hopefully forget about restarting The Great War.”
“It is good that Mede agrees with that sentiment.”
“The New Order will face the most disciplined and best-trained soldiers on Nirn. Soldiers defending home, family and faith are better fighters than those seeking wealth. I doubt they have good-quality officers, and if they do, we shall kill them first. Our victory will be so decisive it will be mistaken for propaganda and lies.”
“There is not much doubt in you concerning the outcome.”
“There is zero doubt. Even if we had not found their plans, The New Order stood no chance. Their big gamble was Trinimac being on Nirn. Almost as big a gamble was that their three targets, including you, would be assassinated, Ulfric blamed, and His Imperial Majesty fell for the ruse. That would never happen. Even if it did, a fraction of available troops would be added to double Tullius’ existing numbers. He would be tasked with squashing Ulfric, and Mede would remain in Cyrodiil.”
“What are you going to do about Ulfric?”
“I want him to waste his army trying to take Whiterun. Then I will enter Windhelm and kill him. That will end the war, and Skyrim can return to normal.”
Well, I am ready for lunch and then coffee with Inigo.
We sat with the Ka’Po’Tun for lunch. We then said hello to people who weren’t at the inn last night, including some children.
While I was speaking to Aurane’s mages, Vayu teleported into the palace to update me.
- Rigmor: Good afternoon, Vayu.
- Vayu: It is good to see you up and about, Rigmor. Celestine described your condition, so I am more than surprised.
- Rigmor: Wulf says I am too stubborn to die, so a mind-altering concoction is nothing.
- Vayu: Toormaarfeyn spotted The New Order’s fleet heading straight for Morthal from the north. I don’t think the enemy realises dragons can see everything from a great height.
- Wulf: Do we know their troop numbers and composition?
- Vayu: Toormaarfeyn spotted Bosmer light infantry, most likely archers, Orsimer mercenaries, and regular Altmer troops. We don’t know the numbers, as they may have gutted their ships to carry more troops than usual.
- Wulf: Have we played dumb?
- Vayu: We pretended to scramble our fleet quickly and looked uncoordinated. We have positioned them defensively as if we expect an attack on Solitude. I imagine The New Order admiral is laughing as he approaches an unprotected Morthal.
- Wulf: Altmer arrogance will be the downfall of The Dominion if not kept in check.
- Rigmor: How many days before landfall?
- Vayu: If they come via Morthal, at least two days before they land and make a beachhead.
- Wulf: By positioning the fleet defensively, we have eliminated the chance they will turn and attack Solitude.
- Rigmor: Will we offer token resistance in Morthal to fool them?
- Vayu: Yes, and that is the tricky part. We must make it seem we resist without engaging in a protracted battle.
- Wulf: Our mages will quickly strike and eliminate commanders during this token resistance.
- Rigmor: I think I understand. Dragons will scout and provide information on troop movements. That will give us time to prepare token resistance, which will trick The New Order into thinking they have us confused and ill-prepared. However, we must ensure that any fake opposition is either Legion or Stormcloak. We don’t want them to know they face a combined effort till they reach Whiterun or whatever major city they attack first. During the skirmishes, mages will strike and kill their leaders, stopping some places from being overrun and keeping a large part of their army engaged. Wulf’s army should face fewer troops using these tactics.
- Vayu: You didn’t tell her the plan, did you, Wulf?
- Wulf: No, our Rigmor seems to have a good brain for strategy.
- Rigmor: Dad made a set of coloured blocks to represent different military units. Then he would set up mock battlefields and describe the tactics used. At first, I found it boring, but then I realised it was like a giant puzzle, and I would guess the tactics before he told me. I never did ask him why it was important I knew that stuff. Learning to defend myself with a sword was useful. Knowing how to fight a battle or war seemed useless, but he enjoyed the sessions, so I persevered.
- Wulf: He may have modelled some of the battles he fought, and you wouldn’t have known.
- Rigmor: Dad was not a soldier while I knew him. It was a before thing and, therefore, abstract. He seemed uncomfortable discussing it, so Mum and I never asked many questions.
- Vayu: General Tullius greatly admires Ragnar.
- Rigmor: Wulf says that most soldiers do.
- Vayu: When I mentioned The Sons of Talos who have turned up at Yngol’s camp and their insistence that Rigmor leads them, he surprised me by sympathising with them.
- Wulf: What?
- Vayu: Tullius thinks they will fight for the right reasons no matter who leads them. However, he believes they will fight better if Rigmor leads or motivates them. Ragnar’s most significant asset was his ability to motivate his troops. He never showed doubt, and therefore the morale of those under him was extremely high. He motivated them by simply asking them to try their best. Sometimes soldiers forget what they are fighting for, so Ragnar always reminded them. I heard all this from Sons of Talos who are still in The Imperial Army or have volunteered, like those at Yngol’s camp. I heard it from people who saw Ragnar lead his men, like General Tullius and Legate Rikke.
- Rigmor: But I am not a warrior who has fought and bled beside comrades through campaigns, victories, and defeats.
- Wulf: Father motivated troops long before his famous victories. You have asked why The Thalmor and The New Order feared you. We have both asked why gods show an interest in you. I think I know why. You are a leader, Rigmor Ragnarsdottier. The skills needed to gain the loyalty of troops are also crucial for high nobles, such as Countesses. Those skills have nothing to do with battle prowess.
- Vayu: Now, Rigmor, you will wonder what those skills are.
- Rigmor: Yep.
- Vayu: An essential skill is honesty. You tell people the truth, no matter how painful, but give them hope. Find a positive and emphasise it as if it outweighs all the negatives.
- Rigmor: For example?
- Wulf: Oh, I am sorry you lost a leg, but think how much you will save on shoes!
- Rigmor: Wulf!
- Wulf: Point out the beauty that others didn’t recognise. For instance, if you met a leper, you might say, ‘Your face is destroyed, but I like the colour of your pustules.’
- Rigmor: Why do I bother asking you anything serious?
- Wulf: Rigmor, we don’t need to teach you something that comes naturally. I know to my very core that you would be a good Countess because you can inspire people like Ragnar once did. In some ways, Ragnar still inspires people.
- Vayu: Wulf is being honest, and I agree with him.
- Rigmor: I am not used to compliments.
- Wulf: And you are yet to convince yourself of what others have seen in you.
- Vayu: I will probably visit you with Baa’Ren-Dar, Yngol and Casius soon to finalise our deployment.
- Wulf: Silah will continue to let you know where I am.
Vayu vanished, and we went to the outdoor eatery with Inigo.
The coffee was perfect, the surroundings peaceful, and it was a relaxing place.
- Inigo: I suppose everybody has asked this morning, but how is your memory, Rigmor?
- Rigmor: I don’t mind people showing concern for me. I think all the bad memories are done with, and there are no more waiting to upset me. Now, I will suddenly remember something precious from childhood and start smiling.
- Inigo: Okay, you tell me one of yours, and I will tell you one of mine.
- Rigmor: Our house in Bruma had this magical gate! Dad built a small fence, dividing the gate into two parts. He was so proud of that gate, and I… oh… I must have been around four or five years old… I used to swing on it like a little adventurer. It’s one of those memories from when I was little, and everything felt timeless. The sun was setting, painting the sky in shades of yellow and orange, and Mom had made this yellow top that glowed like it was made of the shiniest gold. I remember staring down at my tiny feet, wiggling my toes with joy, while my legs swung back and forth, making the gate sway gently. Now and then, Mom would come outside and give me a playful scolding, saying things like, ‘Don’t you dare break that gate!’ and ‘You better get off before your father gets home!’
- Wulf: That is a beautiful memory!
- Rigmor: Your turn, Inigo.
- Inigo: Err…Oh…I know…I once put a dead spider in bed with my brother, Fergus, while he was napping. My mother walked in, saw the spider, and screamed.
- Rigmor: Wasn’t your mother an assassin?
- Inigo: Assassins are allowed to get scared. Anyway, the noise awoke my brother and startled him. He sat bolt upright and banged his head on the bottom of my bunk. His sudden movement launched the dead spider across the room towards my mother, who had stepped away in horror. Showing keen reflexes, she deflected the flying spider with a backhand. It landed in the hearth and went up in flames.
- Rigmor: Were you laughing?
- Inigo: Yes, until Fergus rolled out of bed and onto the floor unconscious. That is when my father came home.
- Rigmor: Oops!
- Inigo: I had some major explaining to do.
- Rigmor: Your brother survived, so I think that is pretty funny.
- Inigo: My father did not think so, but it still makes me smile.
- Wulf: Children always seek revenge when it comes to practical jokes.
- Inigo: I found a charred spider smeared all over my bed that night. The ashes were not comfortable, so Fergus got his own back.
- Rigmor: Well, Wulf, how about a childhood memory from you? Something normal without gobblygook!
- Wulf: My best friend’s name was Anna. We had known each other since we wore diapers. At the time, I was nine, and she had recently turned ten. Our parents brought us to a small lake created by a pretty waterfall for a picnic.
- Inigo: My friend, you always stare at waterfalls and rivers when we travel.
- Rigmor: He does the same thing when I travel with him. Wulf lived near a river with waterfalls and often remarked how they reminded him of childhood.
- Wulf: While the grownups talked boring adult stuff, Anna and I lay on a bear pelt and discussed my rabbit. I named him Floppy because of his ears. Father wondered why I wanted a rabbit when millions were hopping around that I could visit. Mother explained that owning a pet teaches essential lessons in responsibility. Father said it also teaches grief and, being a rabbit, probably reproduction. Mother won the argument as always, and I was allowed a pet rabbit.
- Rigmor: Mum always won against Dad.
- Inigo: The same in my house. Women have deadly weapons like pouting and puppy dog eyes.
- Wulf: Anna and I lay on the blanket discussing the differences between Floppy and the wild rabbits. Anna was a farm girl. She was tough, independent, and very adventurous. She had a pet chicken called Roast, a pet pig called Crackling, and a pet bull called Sirloin. Discussing an animal that would not be butchered and consumed was a unique experience for her.
- Rigmor: How could you eat an animal you had reared?
- Inigo: With vegetables and gravy.
- Rigmor: Not funny!
- Wulf: I am afraid, my dearest, that it was funny.
- Rigmor: Keep going while your jaw isn’t broken!
- Wulf: We could hear barking nearby. Meeko had found something to annoy. We were unconcerned as no dangerous animals were on that part of the island, and Meeko wouldn’t harm a peaceful animal. Then he started yelping and ran past us with a decent size crab latched onto his tail. I am sure he expected one of us to help him, but we were too busy rolling around and laughing. The crab eventually let go, stared at Meeko, clacked a few times, and marched away.
- Rigmor: Serves him right.
- Wulf: We had taken our eyes off Floppy, and he had hopped away. We started to look for him frantically, and Father was right. He had found a female and was teaching me all about reproduction. Anna had watched the animals on the farm and didn’t care whilst I turned bright red. I swear, when they finished, Floppy had a grin on his face.
Rigmor was enjoying the discussion and enthusiastically told us another tale.
- Rigmor: Oh, oh! Let me tell you about my best friend when I was a kid! Her name was Loonashadow, Loona for short, and she was a Dark Elf girl!
- Wulf: You first met her when she stole your doll.
- Rigmor: Yep. Loona’s dad worked at the Brandynut stables as a stable hand. Sometimes, he would take us on these amazing trips to the Gold Coast in a carriage to get supplies. It was like going on a grand adventure that took many days!
- Inigo: I have heard it is a beautiful area. I would like to have visited it with Fergus. However, that is quite a long trip from Bruma.
- Rigmor: It is beautiful, and Anvil was our favourite place to visit because it was right by the coast. Oh, the excitement! Whenever we reached the top of a hill, we would lean forward, stretching our necks, hoping to catch a glimpse of the sea. We’d whisper to each other, “Is it this one? No, maybe the next!” And then, suddenly, we’d shout, “The One!” when we finally saw it in the distance.
- Wulf: To a child, it would have been magical.
- Rigmor: Oh, you should have seen it! My heart would fill with this incredible sense of wonder, like something only kids can feel. The sunlight would bounce off the waves, even far away, and it looked like sparkling diamonds dancing in the sky. We couldn’t help but burst into giggles and laughter, and even Loona’s dad would join in on the fun.
- Inigo: I am glad you have recovered those memories. Precious moments like that should stay with you forever. I fear I may have lost some because of Skooma.
- Wulf: There are probably amusing anecdotes because of Skooma.
- Inigo: Yes, my friend, I remember one from my time with the bandits. One night, I patrolled near our camp beside a forest while everyone else was on a raid. I saw something nearby, so I raised my torch and peered into the trees.
- Rigmor: I am getting scared just thinking about it!
- Inigo: Skooma dulls many things, including fear. Ten heavily armed warriors were staring back at me from the trees. Two of them had arrows aimed at my head.
- Wulf: They didn’t know it was empty.
- Rigmor: Give me a nod, Inigo, and I will kick him.
- Inigo: I was about to duck behind some trees when a searing pain engulfed my arm, and I yelled in agony. I had accidentally set myself on fire with my torch!
- Rigmor: Oh, my!
- Wulf: See how I am not laughing. Much.
- Inigo: I ran about screaming while waving my flaming arm in the air. Eventually, I spotted a large puddle and extinguished it.
- Rigmor: What about the ten warriors? Did they attack?
- Wulf: No, they were too busy laughing.
- Rigmor: Wulf!
- Wulf: What? Your feet can’t reach me from there.
- Rigmor: I will walk over and kick you. Please continue, Inigo.
- Inigo: The warriors didn’t attack, and I searched for them in vain. Later, when my bandit gang returned, they suggested we move camp. When I asked why, they said they had heard tales of a flaming, shrieking ghost stalking the woods. They asked me if I had seen anything. I told them I had seen something burning amongst the trees but never told them it was me.
- Rigmor: I wonder if people still fear the flaming, shrieking ghost in those woods.
- Inigo: I hope so. I enjoy the idea of being a spooky legend, even if it was a misunderstanding.
- Rigmor: Did the bandits notice your burnt arm?
- Inigo: I kept it covered until the hair grew back, and no one was the wiser. When you live with a gang of bandits, reputation is everything.
- Wulf: Lucky for you, they never noticed your unnatural fascination with spiders.
- Inigo: Rigmor, what do you think of Skyrim’s spiders? I find them very satisfying. They are enjoyable, dangerous, and amusing.
- Wulf: You are obsessed, Inigo.
- Inigo: We all have our hobbies, my friend. What is wrong with a bit of spider slaying?
- Wulf: There is nothing wrong with usual hobbies.
- Inigo: Do you not enjoy the crunchy sounds that spiders make when you hit them?
- Wulf: Ahh…no.
- Rigmor: I know the sound, and it is pretty satisfying when a good blow cracks through their shell!
- Inigo: Indeed, so much so I can hardly stop thinking about satisfying spider splattering.
Rigmor was staring at Inigo, and her mood changed.
- Rigmor: Inigo, has Wulf told me how I got my scars?
- Inigo: Yes, and he was angry and crying when he did so.
- Rigmor: I have decided to keep mine for now. What about that big scar on your nose? Why haven’t you asked Celestine or Wulf to get rid of it?
- Inigo: How about I tell you how I got that and other scars? Then you will understand.
- Rigmor: Only if it is not too traumatic for you.
- Inigo: It still gives me nightmares, but talking about it helps.
- Wulf: This tale is better told around a campfire surrounded by darkness.
- Rigmor: In that case, I am glad I can hear it surrounded by a bright sunny day with children’s laughter in the distance.
- Inigo: It happened about a week after The Dupan Job. That is when I murdered my friend for greed and Skooma. I used to think that Wulf was the person I murdered.
- Rigmor: Well, you wouldn’t be the first to try!
- Wulf: People are jealous, and it’s a burden I humbly carry.
- Rigmor: Yeah, right. Pffft!
- Inigo: I was never paid for The Dupan Job, so I was very broke. However, I managed to score a little Skooma on the road. I used it and sat up all night, staring at the stars.
- Rigmor: Wulf says the stars talk to him, and he doesn’t use Skooma.
- Inigo: But he is weird and not normal like me. Anyway, I decided I would end my life the next day.
- Rigmor: Why?
- Inigo: I had hurt and murdered friends, and I thought it best for everybody if I just went away.
- Rigmor: You’re still breathing, so something must have changed your mind.
- Inigo: Not until after I tried and failed. As it turned out, I was even worse at suicide than friendship.
- Rigmor: Well, Wulf and I are glad you’re still around.
- Inigo: You are very nice to say such things. I am glad too.
- Rigmor: What went wrong with the suicide attempt?
- Inigo: I watched the sun come up and then made a noose. My camp was up high near the edge of a cliff. I fastened the noose to an overhanging tree branch. I then used the last of my Skooma, placed the rope around my neck and jumped off.
- Rigmor: How did you survive?
- Inigo: I will tell you if you let me. A good story often needs to take its time.
- Wulf: Yeah, Rigmor, that is why I never interrupt.
- Inigo: Rigmor has been deathly quiet compared to you when I told you this tale.
- Rigmor: I leapt off a cliff when pursued by Thalmor and tracker dogs.
- Inigo: That was a brave thing you did. If anything, my decision was cowardice. I thought it was the least painful option for everybody at the time. I was wrong.
- Rigmor: Wulf, do many people realise that too late and carry regrets into their afterlife?
- Wulf: They gain a perspective of why they did it, Rigmor. So, there are no regrets but an understanding of the harm done to loved ones left behind. That is something familiar to many spirits, not just those who suicide.
- Rigmor: I still don’t remember falling into the trees.
- Inigo: I remember falling and the twanging noise as the rope went taught. That was followed by a brief moment of pain and a snapping noise. I thought it was my neck, but then I was falling again.
- Rigmor: Was it the rope or branch that snapped?
- Inigo: The rope, but as the cliffs rushed past me, I thought the ground would do the trick and end my life. A wide ledge hurried to meet me, so I closed my eyes just before the impact. There was a smashing noise, and then I was underwater.
- Rigmor: It’s a good thing you are so sturdy.
- Inigo: Wulf said I must have been fat and bounced when I landed.
- Rigmor: Wulf!
- Wulf: It was a valid assumption.
- Rigmor: Inigo was underwater, so there was no bouncing! Therefore, it was an invalid assumption.
- Wulf: He could have bounced into the water.
- Rigmor: Keep going, Inigo and ignore the weirdo.
- Inigo: My trim physique had punched a hole through a thin layer of rock, and I fell into a cave full of water. I thought the rope and ground had failed to kill me, but drowning would end my miserable life. The gods had other plans, though.
- Rigmor: Shush, Wulf, I know what you think of that last sentence.
- Inigo: A current dragged me to the surface, coughing and spluttering. That’s when I heard them.
- Rigmor: Spiders?
- Inigo: I’m afraid not. That would have been nice, though.
- Rigmor: Draugr?
- Inigo: No, not them. They came later.
- Wulf: This is as exciting as watching people play that I Spy game. You only have a million guesses to go, Rigmor!
- Rigmor: Okay, Inigo, what did you hear?
- Inigo: I heard clucking!
- Rigmor: How embarrassing! I hope nobody heard me and Wulf.
- Wulf: Clucking, Rigmor. Inigo said, ‘I heard clucking.’
- Rigmor: Oh, well, that is…ahh…yeah…um…ignore what I said, Inigo.
- Inigo: Wait a few seconds while I suppress the laughter and return to spooky storytelling mode.
I refused to look at Rigmor, knowing I would start laughing.
- Inigo: While clucking surrounded me, I was in a river and being swept through a large cavern. It was dark, but I could discern many cages on the bank. Chickens strutted about outside the cages, and I could smell magic. I gathered my strength and hauled myself out of the water.
- Rigmor: Were the chickens a hallucination from Skooma?
- Inigo: The Skooma may have altered my perception slightly, but I know what I saw.
- Rigmor: This is a good tale, Inigo!
- Inigo: Yes, I know, and it gets better and weirder. That is hard to imagine but true.
- Rigmor: Nothing can get weirder than Wulf.
- Inigo: This gets close. Inside the cages were bound and gagged people. Ignoring the chickens, I rushed over and tried to open the first cage I came to. However, it was locked tight. Suddenly, I felt a pain in my foot. A chicken was pecking at me! I kicked it away, but it returned with reinforcements.
- Rigmor: I can’t believe chickens attacked you!
- Inigo: They did, and I saw some rabbits, but they did not want to get involved.
- Wulf: That’s because the rabbits thought the chicken tactics were impeccable.
- Rigmor: Okay, that was slightly amusing, Dragonbum.
- Wulf: The chickens were trying to commit a murder, most fowl!
- Rigmor: You are pushing your luck.
- Inigo: I was in a flapping, pecking nightmare. I tried to get back in the water, but I was knocked unconscious before I had gone a few steps.
- Rigmor: By a chicken with a club?
- Inigo: No, chickens peck. They do not sneak up behind you and knock you out with a club.
- Rigmor: Are you sure Skooma didn’t make you faint?
- Inigo: No. I was struck on the head with a blunt object and had a lumpy skull as proof.
- Rigmor: Well, chickens don’t put people in cages, use locks or club people, so I assume they had an accomplice.
- Inigo: I awoke tied to a chair, and a foul-smelling man was studying me. I could hear the river nearby, but I was now in a crypt of some sort. Chickens and rabbits watched me from behind the smelly man. He said he was going to make me useful. I did not like the sound of that!
- Rigmor: I would have ripped his head off!
- Inigo: I was bound to a chair!
- Rigmor: Oh, right. Well then, you must get free and then rip his head off. What did you do?
- Inigo: My options were limited. I had no weapon, but I did have a little time. This fellow liked to talk. While he chattered away, I unsheathed my claws and went to work on the ropes that held me to the chair.
- Rigmor: Was it a weak rope like the one that snapped?
- Inigo: Unfortunately, it was good quality rope, but the man seemed to have a bit to say, so I pretended I was interested. He said he was a powerful wizard and that he had learned how to transform people into animals. Once transformed, he said I would want nothing more than to aid him. He claimed he had a spy network of chickens and rabbits all over Skyrim.
- Wulf: Think about that the next time you pee in the woods!
- Rigmor: Wulf….
- Wulf: Weird?
- Rigmor: Yes, and Inigo, did you believe the smelly man about his animal spies?
- Inigo: Of course! The proof was flapping and hopping all around him.
- Rigmor: The existence of spy chickens and rabbits explains a lot.
- Inigo: Yes, that is what I thought. I asked him why he only used chickens and rabbits. He replied that once I was a chicken, no one would ever notice me again. A bear or mammoth would be too conspicuous. Smaller animals make the best spies.
- Wulf: I don’t think many palaces, castles, and other decision-making places have rabbits or chickens inside.
- Rigmor: Shush with the logic!
- Inigo: I told him I would peck his eyes out if he turned me into a chicken.
- Rigmor: Not as much fun as ripping his head off, but you have to work with what you got. However, he had told you earlier that you would want to aid him and nothing more.
- Inigo: Correct. He said the change was mental and physical, and I would only want to do his bidding.
- Rigmor: He must have wanted to achieve something with his spy network of fluffy and feathered friends.
- Inigo: He said he was using the gathered information to cause hate across the land. He fed on hate, and it made him stronger.
- Rigmor: Well, you are here and not a chicken or rabbit, so you must have got away.
- Inigo: I had spied a wooden door in one wall that smelled rotten. I jumped at the door when the rope around me gave a little. It burst open as I hit it, and the chair broke apart. I was free!
- Rigmor: Yeah, for Inigo!
- Inigo: The wizard screamed angrily and cast a spell in my direction. I dodged his attack and ran down a long stone tunnel. Then I heard the smelly wizard begin to laugh. He yelled, ‘There is only death that way!’ I replied, ‘Good! I have been seeking that all day!’
- Rigmor: I think I would rather be dead than transformed.
- Inigo: Yes, Rigmor, I am the same. I would rather be dead than an evil puppet chicken!
- Rigmor: Were you somewhere dangerous, which is why the wizard didn’t follow?
- Inigo: Yes. The smell of bones and dust filled my nose, and I ran for what seemed like forever. Eventually, I came to a vast chamber with a spindly, spiral staircase leading up from the centre. The floor was littered with dried-out bodies. They had been dead for hundreds of years, but as it turned out, they were still quite feisty.
- Wulf: They were undead chickens called poultrygheists!
- Rigmor: Proud of that one, are we?
- Wulf: I see you struggle against a smile because it would turn into a giggle fit.
- Rigmor: You are delusional! Anyway, Inigo, Draugr surrounded you, didn’t they?
- Inigo: Yes, and as I made for the staircase, the dead started to groan and move. I jumped over them and began to climb the stairs.
- Rigmor: You had been seeking death but didn’t want to die that way.
- Inigo: The death would have been violent, and I also remembered what Father told me. He said anyone who dies in such a crypt might return as a walking husk. That is not actual death, but something far worse.
- Rigmor: I suppose many weapons lay about, but there were too many Draugr for you to fight.
- Inigo: There were too many, and I was still affected by Skooma, meaning my reflexes and agility were reduced. Therefore, I concentrated on climbing. Halfway up, I noticed a trapdoor in the ceiling. Fresh air was coming from it. That is when I uncharacteristically tripped.
- Rigmor: Oh my!
- Inigo: I tumbled back down the stairs and onto my back. The Draugr reached me, clawed at me, and held me down. Long, dry, cracked fingers tore my face to ribbons giving me these scars. I almost gave up. Then something amazing happened.
- Rigmor: I hope you woke up because it was a bad dream.
- Inigo: No, Rigmor, dreams do not make the scars I bear.
- Rigmor: I think I would have peed myself with fright.
- Inigo: I probably did, but that is not the amazing part. I realised I wanted to live and that my life was still worth something! I realised I could be the person that Fergus knew once more. That realisation gave me a strength I never knew I had. I fought back, shouting ‘No!’ over and over again.
- Rigmor: I would have been swearing, but I get the idea.
- Inigo: I yelled, ‘No, you will not have my life! No, this is not where I die! No!’
- Rigmor: I bet none of the Draugr apologised and let you go.
- Inigo: They kept tearing at me even as I struggled to my feet, fighting all the while. I snapped necks, and I broke arms. I gouged out eyes, although many didn’t have any. Somehow, I made it back to the staircase.
- Rigmor: Wow!
- Wulf: Rigmor is the same if you get between her and a Sweetroll.
- Rigmor: That was amazing, Inigo and not funny, Wulf.
- Inigo: Yes, it was pretty amazing. If I had not spent all that morning almost dying, I wonder if I’d be here to tell you tales. Anyway, I reached the top of the stairs and forced open the trapdoor. When I stepped out into the sunlight, I realised I was only a few hundred feet from my camp. I stared at the tree with the snapped rope hanging from it for a long time. I knew I owed much and swore to repay any debt I could.
- Rigmor: Have you kept the scars to remind you of that pledge?
- Inigo: Yes. They remind me of that pledge and my desire to stay alive, no matter how hard life gets.
Rigmor stared into her coffee as if it were a mirror into her memories.
- Rigmor: I almost gave up on life several times. Wulf saved me with words and love.
- Inigo: I know parts of the story, Rigmor. I would like to hear about it from you.
- Rigmor: I was a prisoner of The Thalmor. One captor was Tilar Aedriath, who was in charge of The New Order’s Skyrim campaign, but I think he has been replaced.
- Wulf: He has, but I think he will be The New Order’s field commander in Whiterun.
- Rigmor: I had defied them for months with spirit and determination, but it slowly wore me down. At my lowest point, I was freezing, alone in a dark cell wearing blood-soaked rags. I was curled into a ball and sobbing when Wulf’s spirit arrived, and he spoke to me. I could not see him, but I felt his presence and calmed down.
- Inigo: Wulf has explained the peace you feel when close.
- Rigmor: Yes, we call it Our Quiet. Wulf’s presence and words gave me the will to continue. I don’t think I would have lasted the night without them.
- Wulf: That is when I pledged to be Rigmor’s Guardian.
- Rigmor: A few days later, Tilar Aedriath decided to put on a show for visiting Khajiiti diplomats, including Baa’Ren-Dar. The Thalmor were infuriated that my spirit was still strong, so they brought in this huge brute who was an expert at breaking stubborn prisoners.
- Wulf: Tilar and his cohorts were proud they had a fourteen-year-old girl shackled and defenceless. They have always feared what Rigmor might become, and her continued defiance fed those fears. Baa’Ren-Dar was the only Khajiiti who could stomach their exhibition.
- Rigmor: The brute started whipping me with a horse crop. I remained silent, and that angered him, and his brutality grew. Wulf was there in spirit form, and he shared my pain. He felt each lash and watched as flesh and blood flew.
- Wulf: The pain was excruciating, and Rigmor was on the brink of death. I feared the brute would flog her to death or snap her spine.
- Rigmor: I would rather have died than beg those bastards for mercy. But Wulf changed my mind. He asked me if I had something to live for, and I realised I had. Living was more important than my pride, so I begged for mercy.
- Inigo: What did you want to live for?
- Rigmor: I wanted to find and rescue my Mum, who was enslaved elsewhere. I wanted revenge. I wanted to meet my Guardian, for I was already in love with him.
- Inigo: You have achieved two of those things.
- Rigmor: Wulf and others will achieve the last one. They will destroy The New Order and Tilar Aedriath. Then I will want to live to enjoy the beauty of this world, the love of family and friends, and maybe a farm and children down the road.
For a change, Rigmor handed me a handkerchief to dry my eyes and blow into.
- Rigmor: Now I have decisions to make, Inigo, and they are difficult.
- Inigo: You have probably discussed these problems in length with others, but perhaps I might have a perspective that helps.
- Rigmor: Do you know what happened to my dad, Ragnar Fjonasson?
- Inigo: He was a hero of The Great War and was knighted for his service. He then helped the Redguard resist The Dominion in Hammerfell after the war. Years later, he was falsely accused of war crimes and arrested by The Thalmor. They executed him, enslaved you and your mother, and changed history. Wulf told me of it, and his anger was great as he did so.
- Rigmor: Very recently, the Carvain family died out, and there are no hereditary claimants to the Count position in Bruma.
- Inigo: That is sad, for Count Carvain was well loved and deservedly so.
- Rigmor: His Imperial Majesty will restore my dad’s noble status and history. Mede has also offered me the position of Countess if I so desire. He will tell people that the offer is made as compensation for what happened to my family.
- Wulf: There is more to it, but that will be his official explanation.
- Rigmor: I don’t know if I will accept the position. I need to ensure whatever I decide, it has been thought through, so I don’t have doubts in the future.
- Inigo: Well, I find the best way to make complicated decisions is to make lists of pros and cons. The reasons why you should do something in one column and the reasons why you shouldn’t in another. That way, I am sure I thought of everything when I worked through both lists.
- Rigmor: When Wulf is near, and Our Quiet is working, I can see that the pros far outweigh the cons and that it is something I could do well. However, when Wulf is not nearby, self-doubt and fear take over. I will then begin to think I couldn’t do it, and that would not be fair to the citizens of Bruma or those who depend on its trade.
- Wulf: I could be away for extended periods, so Rigmor needs to find that confidence in herself. I have told her she is capable, as has Jarl Elisif and others. His Imperial Majesty risks political troubles if he offers the position to Rigmor. Therefore, he must be confident she can fulfil the role.
- Inigo: I will probably repeat what has already been said. Count Carvain was well-liked because he cared for the citizens, and they knew it. You are more than capable of doing that, Rigmor. You have been through horrors that few can imagine, yet you still laugh and know love. It might be difficult initially, but you will build confidence and one day wonder why you doubted yourself.
- Rigmor: How can I run a County if I can’t do a speech in front of some veterans?
- Wulf: The men who fought beside Ragnar in The Great War and Hammerfell call themselves Sons of Talos. Some veteran Sons of Talos are still in the Imperial Army, training recruits and doing other duties. A few are still fit enough to fight.
- Rigmor: Many Sons of Talos have appeared in Yngol’s camp. He is the Stormcloak general who will be under Wulf’s command. They say they want to fight, but only if I lead them.
- Inigo: They won’t fight because their country, family, and friends are at risk, but only if you lead them.
- Rigmor: I know, that is just plain stupid!
- Wulf: It was suggested that Rigmor could at least talk to them. Maybe get them eager to fight.
- Inigo: Why don’t you talk to them, my friend? Ask them what Ragnar would think of their idiocy. They would listen to The Dragonborn.
- Wulf: Rigmor, you don’t want to do the speech because they expect a female version of your father. You don’t want to be the warrior anymore.
- Rigmor: But I could wear the armour for a short time. And maybe even wear the sword.
- Wulf: We visited The College of Winterhold and retrieved some family heirlooms. I said before that there was more than compensation behind Mede’s decision to offer the Countess position. Rigmor is also a distant relative to both Mede emperors.
- Inigo: I assume that is to be kept quiet.
- Rigmor: I hope so, as it adds to the danger if I become Countess.
- Wulf: Rigmor, as Vayu explained earlier, Ragnar’s motivation ability was more important than his battle prowess. You don’t need to wear armour or carry a sword.
- Inigo: Are these men necessary for the defence of Whiterun?
- Wulf: No. They will make no difference to our ability to protect Whiterun.
- Inigo: Rigmor, why even contemplate doing the speech if the veterans are unnecessary?
- Rigmor: Because it shouldn’t be hard. I should do it because they have turned up expecting it. If I didn’t do the speech, I would let them down and, in a way, my dad.
- Inigo: Your dad would be upset with them, not you, Rigmor.
- Wulf: You still have time to think about it, Rigmor. I have decided that Inigo and the Ka’Po’Tun are coming with me to inspect the battlefield and decide what to do with Fort Greymoor. I claimed it from a bandit gang a month ago and must decide whether to make the garrison larger. It could provide a worry for The New Order and Ulfric if they attack Whiterun.
- Rigmor: I have enjoyed this chat, Inigo. Next time, you will have to tell me about Mr Dragonfly.
- Wulf: That story is as strange as how he got his scars.
- Inigo: Yes, I seem to encounter some very strange people.
- Rigmor: You met the strangest one of them all in Riften Gaol.
Upon returning to the palace, I asked Shiva to gather the rest of the squad.
When we retired to my rooms, Olette arrived and spoke to Rigmor. Then they came over to speak to me.
- Rigmor: I have decided to speak to The Sons of Talos. However, I need time to think of what to say.
- Wulf: We shouldn’t be long, a couple of hours at the most.
- Olette: That will be plenty of time, Cap’n. Nothing helps with speech preparation more than preparing vegetables and meat for supper.
- Wulf: Is that right, young lady? And how many speeches have you performed in your eleven years of existence?
- Olette: Plenty in my head, Cap’n.
- Wulf: Where the echoes provide extra ambience.
- Rigmor: Helping in the kitchen will be of benefit, Wulf. It will remind me of what the veterans should be fighting for. Your kitchen staff might be working in a fancy estate, but they are regular people, and I would like to hear about their families and hopes.
- Wulf: That sounds like the perfect preparation for your speech.
- Rigmor: You won’t try and talk me out of it, will you?
- Wulf: The choice is yours, Rigmor.
- Olette: We better get going before Wujeeta hunts me down. She is the best ear twister I have ever met.
As Rigmor headed to the kitchen with Olette, I gathered Inigo and the Ka’Po’Tun. We then teleported to Whiterun stables.
Lord Akatosh had gathered The Divines twice to discuss what was happening in Solstheim. Lady Kynareth had detected problems with the air of Solstheim, and when Silah investigated, she had to fight a compulsion when near Miraak’s temple. The first mortal made into a Dragonborn, Miraak, had been inside Apocrypha for over thirty-five centuries. From what Silah reported, it seems he was using the Thu’um to control the residents of Solstheim. It is unknown to what end, as Silah could not stay for long. A compulsion that works on mortals and Dov poses a significant danger to both. Wulf, with his strong mind shield, might be impervious. He is the logical person to send to investigate, but The New Order are about to invade.
The Nine thought of many solutions. In the end, the logical one was decided. Wulf would be asked to visit Solstheim. He is not crucial to the defeat of The New Order. However, he may be the only person capable of figuring out and stopping Miraak’s plans.
Lord Talos would explain it to his son. As per usual, it was up to Wulf what he would do.