Not so easy

Fredas, 10th Frostfall, 4E 201

& Loredas, 11th Frostfall, 4E 201

I didn’t worry when Rigmor led The Sons of Talos veterans into battle. Yet minutes after she has crossed the border, I am terrified for her and me. She knows how to wield a sword and battle armed opponents. The problem, as I see it, is she has no experience with nobles and their game of politics.

It has been a long time since County fought County in Cyrodiil. That is partly due to the Mede Dynasty. The last County uprising was in 4E 17. A pretender to the throne, Eddar Olin, was defeated and killed in the only battle of that war.

Almost two hundred years of County peace in Cyrodiil could come to a horrific end if Emperor Titus Mede II does not name an heir presumptive. Even if he did, The Elder Council could refuse to accept his choice, or others might make claims to The Ruby Throne, and a civil war could start.

In such an event, Rigmor would be in grave danger. Her distant blood relationship with His Imperial Majesty would be enough to gain her enemies and allies. It is wise of Mede not to mention the bloodline of my beloved.

I stood and stared at Miraak’s Temple while these thoughts dominated me. I shook my head. I had to concentrate. I am in a place of danger with no Dragonguard beside me.

As I made my way to The Tree Stone, I passed dead reavers.

Two Skaal seemed to be inspecting the structure made by enslaved people. The Tree Stone glowed green as if Miraak’s dweomer was still in effect.

Two of Miraak’s devotees lay dead near The Tree Stone.

I approached one of the Skaal.

“Hello, I am Lord Welkynd. I am afraid I don’t know your name, although I have seen you in your village.”

“Greetings, Skaal Friend. I am Yrsa. The other Skaal is Oslaf, husband of Finna, father of Aeta.”

“Why are you and Oslaf here?”

“The structures made by enslaved people were all destroyed except for this one. The Tree Stone also looks different. We came to investigate. Miraak explained that the influence of The All-Maker will be felt in a larger area than before. We touched The Tree Stone, and there is no corruption. We must report our findings to others in the village. We shall recommend the structure stay in place.”

“Were you and Oslaf working on this structure?”

“Yes, we were enslaved until you freed Miraak.”

“It was nice to meet you, Yrsa.”

I walked to Oslaf, and he sniped, “The others call you a friend. All I see is an outsider.”

His lack of civility touched a nerve.

I replied, “I hope you are teaching Aeta better manners. If you were somebody of worth, your ignorant words might have some weight. Since you seem to be an ignorant bigot of low intelligence, they are worth nothing. I was mistaken to think that all Skaal were honourable people.”

Yrsa yelled, “Oslaf, Finna would skin you like a horker for talking to Lord Welkynd like that! He is not an outsider but a Skaal Friend. Therefore, according to our ancient laws and customs, he is kin. You would still be labouring away at this structure if not for him. Shame on you!”

As the two Skaal headed for their village, Yrsa continued her ear bashing of Oslaf. I approached Miraak.

“Dragonborn, I believe the two behind me were the last of my corrupted followers. My task here is complete.”

“And the dead bandits?”

“The Skaal took care of them. I have realised how little I know of this world from speaking with them.”

“You want to help me combat the chaos threatening Nirn and Mundus. To do so, you must understand the political and religious differences that have shaped history. Therefore, I ask you to live at my museum in Solitude, the capital of Skyrim. I have an extensive library there, and my librarian is one of Nirn’s most respected historians. His name is Auryen. He can aid you in this task.”

“Strangely, I returned to Nirn from the largest library, yet I did little reading of history there. When I realised how long Mora had placed me in stasis, I demonstrated the power of my will and carved out part of his realm for my own. Know this, Dragonborn. The Daedric Princes have little defence against the Thu’um and covet its power.”

“Mora hates mortal free will, as do several other Daedric Princes. It is another thing that they have little defence against. He will continue to call me his champion even though I refuse to do his bidding.”

“Is the chaos you fight caused by Daedric Princes?”

“Part of it. Mortals need no gods directing them to demonstrate great evil. Jealousy, greed, ambition, and racism contribute to the chaos. It is the price we pay for free will. However, you will learn of The Liminal Barrier placed by Lord Akatosh to separate Oblivion from Mundus. The barrier is weakening. Therefore, the chaos from denizens of Oblivion will increase. The emergence of Alduin from his sojourn in time has caused the issue with The Liminal Barrier. The Nine Divines are yet to ascertain why this is.”

“Nine Divines?”

“The Divines are a pantheon created by a heroin of the past, Saint Alessia. There were eight gods in the pantheon till a Man was granted apotheosis. His name is Lord Talos.”

“No doubt I will learn of him.”

“Yes, as a mortal, he helped shape much of the current world. He was deserving of apotheosis, as was Saint Alessia. She is not a Divine, but as you will learn, Nirn was dominated by those who worshipped her for thousands of years.”

“I need to start from The Dragon War. That is a lot of knowledge to absorb.”

“Auryen can help you narrow down the important sequence of events. A cursory knowledge is needed at first. You are free to study further the events that interest you. However, the task’s primary outcome is to know enough about the current political and religious divisions so you understand why I choose particular actions.”


“Please, take off your mask, Miraak. It is superfluous.”

“I tire of this outfit in its entirety.”

“Auryen can show you our collection of armours. Choose from them, and I will place dweomer upon it. I will hone your sword and place dweomer on it as well.”

Miraak removed his mask, and he was of Atmoran stock.

“Place your hand on my shoulder so I can teleport you to my Safehouse. It is connected to the museum.”

We appeared a second later in The Safehouse.

I then showed Miraak around, finishing the tour in one of the bedrooms.

I explained, “This sleeping area is for male guests. The other room is for female guests. There may be a female mage staying here for a while.”

“It is a luxurious abode. I will be comfortable here. I am weary, so do not worry, Dragonborn. I will not enter the museum until you introduce me to Auryen.”

“From now on, Miraak, please call me Wulf. Dragonborn is one of many parts that make me who I am.”


“Tomorrow, I have to meet with some military people. After that, I will take you to meet The Greybeards, Paarthurnax, and Odahviing.”

“The dragons will not be pleased to see me.”

“They will not harm you, for I will forbid it. They will listen and learn the true story of Miraak.”

“What about your story, Wulf?”

“Some things will remain hidden for now. But you will know enough to understand my motivations.”

“This chance for redemption and to help fight chaos is a gift, Wulf.”

“It is a gift I have given others, and they have thrived. Goodnight, Miraak.”

I teleported into Aurane’s inn. I knew everybody would soon arrive for their evening meal.

I walked over to Agrard, our chef. Meals are cooked in the palace kitchens and brought to the inn.

“Good evening, Agrard.”

“Good evening, Lord Welkynd.”

“Have you ever worked with chocolate?”

“No, but it is something I would like to experiment with. I have some Khajiiti recipe books that would help me, except I don’t speak or read the language. I know some recipes contain chocolate because of the excellent diagrams.”

“Any of the Dragonguard Khajiiti could decipher it for you. Just don’t ask one of the Ka’Po’Tun.”

“Ha, I learned early on not to mistake them for Khajiiti.”

“Once you have translated recipes, let me know if they interest you. If so, I will place cacao and specially prepared cooking chocolate in our larder.”

“It is hard enough getting people to eat healthy as it is.”

“I don’t see any unhealthy people in Aurane, do you?”

“No, come to think of it.”

The bartenders and barmaids prepared for the hungry and eternally thirsty horde to arrive.

My friends entered, and they were surprised to see me.

The inn was soon crowded. I sat next to Celestine.

I asked, “How are you and Vayu?”

“It was so good to spend time together after all that. Everybody hopes Ulfric doesn’t start the war again anytime soon.”

“He is four or five days away from attacking Whiterun. I will visit Jarl Balgruuf and tell him he has to decide. Imperial troops need time to get in position, so he can’t leave it to the last minute.”

“What does Ulfric hope to achieve? Even if he fields more troops than The New Order, he can’t take Whiterun.”

“He will think he can despite his numbers being reduced by the dragon attacks and quitters. He has never faced a few dozen Dragonguard. Therefore, he has no idea how vulnerable a tightly packed army is against the destruction we can inflict. After we destroy his army, it should be easy to take the cities with minimal collateral damage to buildings or citizens.”

“Yes, time after time in Akavir, the commanders of larger armies laughed, attacked, and regretted their ignorance.”

“Anyway, enough of war. I have placed Miraak in The Safehouse. He will use Auryen and the museum’s library to learn enough history to understand what we do.”

“I don’t envy him. How did your goodbye go?”

“A few tears. Well, quite a few. However, the last thing I heard before Rigmor crossed the border was her laughter.”

“The way she commanded The Sons of Talos was magnificent. She listened to their advice and was firm in her orders. I have never seen Nord berserkers in battle, but I assume they rarely advance in rank and file until the point of contact.”

“No, they don’t. They run full tilt, and many of the fastest runners get culled as they are outnumbered initially.”

“The veterans weren’t as fast as they used to be, but their strength was barely diminished.”

“We are back to war.”

“Oops. I was trying to make the point that Rigmor is a natural leader. She will do fine if she shows the same confidence with her advisors.”

“That is the advice many have given her. However, it is not her ability to rule Bruma that concerns me. It is her lack of experience in Cyrodiil’s political games.”

“Malesam was chosen for his expertise in that area. She will learn and benefit if he tactfully advises her.”

“I have given him a chance. I hope I don’t regret it.”

“Inigo said something strange happened just before you entered the battle.”

“War again?”

“No, he said you nearly died before joining the battle. So, explain.”

“I tried to summon Lord Shor’s avatar using The Voice. A part of Lord Shor tried to evict my consciousness from my soul. It was as if he got confused and decided it was his soul and was oblivious to its current occupant.”


“I Shouted Dragon Aspect, as that links the body and soul. That was enough to evict Lord Shor.”

“That was quick thinking.”

“But not quick enough. Or perhaps the Dragon Aspect Shout caused the damage. Whatever the cause, my dragon soul is more attuned to my mortal body. As a result, I can now use a Shout to change into a mortal-dragon hybrid.”

“Has any Tongue or Dragonborn used such a Shout?”

“No, it is new. Lady Kynareth created and taught me it. I must experiment with the hybrid form to learn more about its abilities. I know I am many times stronger and faster. I know that my Thu’um is more focused, increasing its power. I also know that my hybrid body is more in tune with the Thu’um, which also increases the power of Shouts.”

“Why would Lord Shor get confused?”

“What is the logical explanation?”

“Your soul is similar to his, somehow.”

“He was not Dragonborn. If I compare my soul to that of a dragon, there is no denying what it is. Why would Lord Shor’s soul, that of an et-Ada, be similar to mine, which is that of a dragon?”

“I don’t know.”

“The common statue of Father depicts him slaying a large serpent. Many scholars say that the serpent represents Lord Shor. Saint Alessia was supposedly the wife of Lord Shor.”

“I see. It fits your theory that your father gained apotheoses by replacing Lord Shor. Well, sort of. You think your father is an oversoul of several entities, including Shor.”

“It also fits in with my parents having entwined souls. I think this will remain speculation because it is a taboo subject with him. I don’t think Mother knows much about his apotheoses.”

“Wulf, you are who you are no matter your genetic heritage.”

“Everybody has a right to know their lineage. But it is not the most important thing, so I shall not concern myself for now.”

“Silah told me you spoke to your mother.”

“Twice. Mother spoke to Rigmor and me together the second time. She has used part of her Lifeforce to imbue her shrine with this ability. It means she has less Lifeforce to combat Molag Bal. She is resigned to losing that battle of wills. Until we find a way of ending it, I am supposed to weaken Molag Bal so Mother can battle him for longer.”

“Silah said The Liminal Barrier is weakening.”

“Yes, Mother predicted it would. Alduin’s return was the catalyst. The Nine have no solution as they are unsure of the metaphysics. It means that Daedric activity might increase as they try to reach Mundus.”

“Did Saint Alessia contact you to warn about The Liminal Barrier?”

“Not entirely. Let me explain what our gods call The Obscurity.”

I then spent half an hour filling Celestine’s head with gobblygook.

When I finished, she said, “That is frightening. But there is nothing that can be done at the moment.”

“No, so it drops to the bottom of my list of things to worry about.”

“I see that Inigo is not here. Ko’rassa is sitting with Jordis. You might want to speak to her.”

“I don’t think he handled his first battle well.”

“No, he didn’t.”

I walked to the table.

  • Wulf: Hello, Jordis and Ko’rassa.
  • Ko’rassa: Evening.
  • Jordis: Good evening.
  • Wulf: How is Inigo? I notice he is not here.
  • Ko’rassa: I wanted to stay with him, but he insisted I relax since we will be killing Stormcloaks soon enough.
  • Wulf: Inigo doesn’t have to fight in the civil war. It is up to him.
  • Ko’rassa: I think he would feel like he let you down if he didn’t fight.
  • Wulf: I never want people to feel obliged. I understand there are some things people can’t face.
  • Jordis: Like Rigmor, who has shown nothing but courage, could not face Tilar Aedriath again. You had to kill him.
  • Wulf: I don’t think Ulfric will be ready to attack Whiterun for four or five days. Why don’t you and Inigo stay in Proudspire Manor for a few days? Get away from all of this talk of war. To the people of Solitude, the whole thing seems distant and little is said of Ulfric and his insurrection.
  • Ko’rassa: That is an excellent idea.
  • Wulf: Okay, I will broach the subject with him when I see him.
  • Jordis: In case nobody has mentioned it, Rigmor was a fantastic leader!
  • Wulf: I have been told that several times. I think Rigmor will be an excellent countess, but it might initially be daunting.
  • Ko’rassa: Well, the quicker we get rid of Ulfric, the quicker you can visit Bruma.
  • Wulf: I’m afraid not, Ko’rassa. We will stay apart until Rigmor is not so closely scrutinised by the other Cyrodiil nobles. It must seem as if we are no longer together.
  • Ko’rassa: This is part of a plan?
  • Wulf: Yes, a plan of The Divines.
  • Ko’rassa: I will let others know. Otherwise, you will have to explain why to every one of them.
  • Wulf: Thank you. And Jordis, thank you for being by Rigmor’s side.
  • Jordis: It was no burden, Wulf. However, don’t expect mercy if you ever travel with us ladies and Rigmor.

I did the rounds and spoke to many of my friends.

I promised Olette that she could attend Vittoria Vicci’s wedding when it occurred.

I performed for my friends to help my mind think of something other than Rigmor.

I used a bit of Thu’um to get people’s attention, “Excuse me, can I please have your attention.“

All noise stopped, and heads turned my way.

“Rigmor was interested in the tale of Ja’darri the Endless, probably the most famous of all Dragonguard. The Khajiiti hero was also a close friend of Nahfahlaar, who named her Toshrakhat. He said of her, ‘She was kind, immeasurably so. I suspect she had overcome a great sorrow, for she had a way of finding the light in the darkest times and the good in the cruellest of souls. And she was strong, in body and heart. Strong enough to brave anything.’ I think Rigmor saw a kindred soul in Ja’darri, for Nahfahlaar’s praise of the Khajiiti hero mimics what we say of the Countess of Bruma.”

That proclamation was met with banging of mugs and shouts of agreement.

I continued, “Ja’darri was born under the dark moons. That conjunction made her Mane Furstock. Such Khajiiti, if they are not the Mane, risk walking to the rhythm of Lorkham, not the moons. They become a minion of Namira and are shunned by others. Ja’darri had to overcome the part of her soul that yearned to join Namira in her iniquity. She had to fight that darkness within her to become a hero much loved by many. This tune is called ‘Song of Alkosh’s Champion.’ It tells of Ja’darri travelling to battle her darkness, aided by Khenarthi, the Khajiiti equivalent of Lady Kynareth.”

The inn was silent as I sang and played.

  • Halls loom ahead of me
  • My heart is yet untried
  • I know it is my destiny
  • To walk the path with pride
  • Guiding winds push behind
  • Darkness lies ahead
  • The threads begin to unwind
  • I must swallow my dread
  • Khenarthi’s winds will guide me
  • To brave the path with pride
  • Lorkhaj’s steps will bind me
  • To follow in his stride
  • Alkosh will purify me
  • To mend the sands of time
  • His mask will sanctify me
  • A champion of pride
  • I ride the winds cunningly
  • And never break my stride
  • I face the darkness valiantly
  • The lanterns are my guide
  • When the threads are all spun
  • When I’ve earned my right
  • I’ll stand before the Endless One
  • And bow before her might
  • Khenarthi’s winds will guide me
  • To brave the path with pride
  • Lorkhaj’s steps will bind me
  • To follow in his stride
  • Alkosh will purify me
  • To mend the sands of time
  • His mask will sanctify me
  • A champion of pride
  • Holy mask and Path of Pride
  • Path of Pride, Path of Pride
  • I shall mend the sands of time …

My performance was met with cheers. I heard Olette ask Ko’rassa to explain the song. Ko’rassa promised to do so when they returned to the palace.

I then played a popular dancing jig on the flute.

Finally, I sang ‘Val Vijah Va Rhook, Baandari.’ It tells of the freedom that Khajiiti Baandari traders enjoy. It is a way of life that I envy.

  • Dancing through savanna grass
  • On light feet, we glide
  • Hey, hey, Baandari boy
  • Tap your heels in stride
  • Hey, hey, Baandari girl
  • Swing your tail beside
  • Val Vijah Va Rhook, Baandari
  • Carrying our world in packs
  • Val Vijah Va Rhook, Baandari
  • Our kingdom on our backs
  • Home is on the move again.
  • On wagon wheels, we go
  • Hey, hey, Baandari boy
  • Where the wild winds blow
  • Hey, hey, Baandari girl
  • Our caravan in tow
  • Val Vijah Va Rhook, Baandari
  • Carrying our world in packs
  • Val Vijah Va Rhook, Baandari
  • Our kingdom on our backs
  • Walker, we can teach the steps
  • We’ll be your guiding star
  • Hey, hey, Baandari boy
  • Keep close, and we’ll go far
  • Hey, hey, Baandari girl
  • Our vagabond bazaar

After that song, I visited several tables and spoke to more friends.

Then, I excused myself and teleported into the palace.

I checked on the children. Meeko and Gladys were with the orphans, and all was peaceful.

I ditched my armour and headed for the spas. Since anybody could use them, the rule was that undergarments had to be worn.

I chose the spa to the right and went to its centre.

Then, I sank to the bottom and meditated.

It was a way of ordering my thoughts and a method Shiva taught me. I had to concentrate to control my body and hold my breath for many minutes. It was not as effective as Our Quiet, but it was better than nothing. Even as I enjoyed the company of my friends, Rigmor was at the forefront of my mind. I had to function, knowing that we would be together again soon.

I surfaced, and Tilde said, as she headed for the bar, “One day, I will not worry about you doing that. You will likely float to the surface that day, facing downwards and dead. Therefore, I will continue to stare and wait for telltale bubbles that signify your pending demise. I can then leap in and try to drag a lump of an idiot out of the spa.”

“I thank you for your concern, Tilde.”

I dried myself and donned my kimono.

On the way out, I commented, “Tilde, you can sleep. Aurane will not collapse if you do.”

Tilde grunted and gave me a one-finger salute.

I went looking for Inigo and soon found him.

He asked, “My friend, is Rigmor in Bruma?”

“She is on her way to the city. She must camp overnight because it is a fair distance from the border. She has an armed escort and a dragon guard.”

“My friend, I am having trouble. I can’t seem to relax, and noises that should make me happy irritate me.”

“I warned you that a person’s first battle experience can be troublesome.”

“I have killed many people while fighting beside you. Sometimes, dozens at a time fall to us. But those skirmishes are over quickly, and we usually move beyond the corpses. It is not a continuous clashing of metal, screams, pleading, and…that smell.”

“Inigo, I understand. I suggested to Ko’rassa that you should spend time together in Proudspire Manor. There is no sign of the civil war in Solitude. Visit the Bards College. Do some shopping. Keep your mind busy, and the horror will fade. Just you and Ko’rassa and the rest of Nirn can shut up for a few days.”

“That sounds a wise thing to do, my friend.”

“Ulfric will make his move on Whiterun within four or five days. You do not have to be involved, Inigo. Nobody would think less of you if you decide pitched battles are too much. We all have our limits.”

“How do you keep doing it, my friend?”

“As Rigmor and I walked Solitude’s streets, I was reminded of what I fight for. Many children were running in the streets, accompanied by their laughter. The vendors dealt politely with customers while hawkers yelled their speels. Many people rushed from one place to another, working long hours to make an honest living. Couples walked hand in hand, and the sounds of ordinary life surrounded us. Those things give me strength and determination as they are beautiful and precious.”

“Ko’rassa has been very understanding. She said I would not be the Inigo she loves if my first battle did not affect me as it has. I saw Stormcloaks and Imperials crying and others comforting them after the fighting ended.”

“Rigmor and the ladies were upset as well. Celestine was the only one of them who had experienced battle. I shall summon you and Ko’rassa into Proudspire Manor before noon tomorrow. Right now, I need to take a walk under the stars.”

I had not walked far when I saw Celestine feeding scraps to some foxes. Aurane has quite a menagerie of wild animals that add to its charm.

Others headed for the dormitory after another night of food and friends at the inn. Few people now choose to eat inside the palace.

I approached the strange tree and stood close to it for several minutes.

I looked up at the stars but did not talk to them. Whatever I said would sound like whining. Rigmor has been across the border for half a day, and I am in danger of moping like she was lost to me.

So, I listened to the stars. As usual, their murmur reminded me of a busy inn.

After half an hour, I left the tree, randomly strolled around the gardens, and quickly chatted with several guards.

I encountered Vayu near his home.

He said, “You should ask Shiva for a spar. Avoiding a kick in the head makes you too busy to worry about anything else.”

“If it wasn’t so late, I might have done that. I tried meditation at the bottom of a spa. I sat under that weird tree. I think the next step is copious alcohol.”

“I often think of all those we left in Akavir. How are they coping without contact for all these months?”

“That is one of the motivations I have for developing portals. However, I haven’t had much time to continue researching since Alduin appeared.”

“How do you think the battle for Whiterun will go?”

“It will be much larger and bloodier. Those who still fight for Ulfric will be fanatics and far more determined than the paid soldiers of The New Order. The body piles will be higher, the cacophony louder, and the chaos greater. It will be a meat grinder as Ulfric’s troops fail to get anywhere near the gates of Whiterun and die in horrendous and merciless ways. I try not to hate, but those who attack Whiterun will be worthy of contempt.”

“That is a grim but accurate summation. And it is okay to despise some enemies, Wulf.”

“Before the battle, I will fly over Ulfric’s army aboard Nahfahlaar and tell them about their leader. After we wipe out his main army, I will tour the Stormcloak Holds aboard Nahfahlaar. I shall tell the defenders about Ulfric and what happened to his army. Hopefully, many will put down their arms and not get killed when we attack the cities.”

“I have heard that almost half the Stormcloaks who fought beside you at Whiterun have abandoned Ulfric. These numbers are from dragon scouts who watched the departure. So, Ulfric has half the force that fought beside you camped near Whiterun and the rest of his army days away. His numbers were already greatly reduced when dragons attacked Windhelm. His city of tents was too tempting for the dragons to ignore. If we hadn’t intervened, he may have lost his entire army.”

“I don’t know what field commanders he has, but Yngol’s retirement is a great loss. I will visit Jarl Balgruuf tomorrow and tell him he is out of time. If he wants the assistance of The Empire, he has to make up his mind quickly. Otherwise, the Legionnaires that did the right thing and left his Hold might not have time to return.”

“And how are we going to defend Whiterun?”

“We shall let them come down the main road. That will funnel them into a narrow front. From both sides, we shall hit them with everything we have. As I said, it will be a meat grinder.”

“Get some sleep, Wulf.”

“I shall try.”

I headed to my room and prepared for bed.

Just before I lay down, my beloved contacted me via the rings.

“Wulf, the rings are working like they promised!”

“Are you camped for the night?”

“If you can call it camping. The Bruna guards set up this huge tent for me. Would you believe they brought a bathtub with them? Valminoor heated the water, and it was brilliant! Instead of a sleeping roll, I have a comfy cot with a cushioned mattress, a featherdown pillow, silk sheets and fluffy blankets.”

“You poor thing!”

“Valminoor has arranged with Baa’Ren-Dar to fly over us when we enter Bruma. I can’t wait to see the old Khajiiti to give him a piece of my mind!”

“You naughty Emissary. How dare you arrange for the citizens of Bruma to welcome their new Countess in style!”

“I just hope not too many are frightened by the first dragon they have ever seen.”

“I am sure Baa’Ren-Dar has let them know Valminoor is a friend.”

“Riding at a sedate pace for hours was relaxing. What did you do for the rest of the day?”

“I tried to keep busy and not mope.”

“It will be difficult, my love. However, we must concentrate on our set tasks.”

“I know, Rigmor. I will be okay, and I know you will be. I am about to crawl into bed, which seems quite large without a skinny Nordling taking up most of it. Then I shall tell you about my day.”

“I don’t take up most of the bed!”

“You take up seventy-five per cent of the bed and ninety per cent of the blankets.”

I spoke to my beloved for several hours before we both felt tired enough to sleep.

After breakfast, I donned my General Welkynd armour. Until the civil war ends, that is who I shall be.

I decided to travel solo as there was no danger to me in Whiterun or Solitude.

I teleported into The Safehouse and gathered Miraak. We then went looking for Auryen in the museum.

As usual, he was in the library.

  • Wulf: Auryen, this is The First Dragonborn, Miraak.
  • Auryen: I am pleased to make your acquaintance, Miraak.
  • Miraak: Please forgive me if I am unfamiliar with your greeting customs.
  • Auryen: That is understandable. Your accent is not familiar.
  • Miraak: I am from Atmora.
  • Auryen: Fascinating. I will undoubtedly have many questions for you, but that is not the priority. Wulf told me you have forty-five centuries of history to learn. The first step is to familiarise you with this library and its catalogue. We must also let the guards know who you are.
  • Wulf: I have decided Miraak will sleep in The Safehouse rather than the museum. Miraak, some items you can take to The Safehouse if you desire. Just fill out the register, so Auryen knows. However, some books and scrolls cannot be removed from here. They are in a part of the library that is not open to the public. The key I gave you will allow access to all parts of the museum.
  • Auryen: Will Miraak be eating with us, Guildmaster?
  • Wulf: Yes.
  • Auryen: That is not a problem. There is plenty of room at the table.
  • Wulf: Miraak, I have some things I need to deal with. I think I can summon you. So, when the time comes, accept my summons.
  • Miraak: Your armour is military.
  • Wulf: Yes, I am a General in The Imperial Army. We just won a war against foreign invaders. Skyrim is in the middle of a civil war. A truce was in place while we dealt with the foreign invaders. That truce is over, and hostilities are about to continue. We shall defeat the rebels, and I don’t expect the war to last more than a few weeks.
  • Auryen: Come with me, Miraak, and I will show you our catalogue and the rest of the museum.

Instead of teleporting into Proudspire Manor, I thought I would walk there.

It was strange to see Isaac walking instead of running full speed.

The most peculiar orphan I have sent to Kinghall is Vimune, a Khajiiti kitten, almost a cub. Her parents were traders who gathered goods from obscure lands. Their goods were popular throughout Tamriel because they were unusual. Vimune’s preferred clothing is an example of how strange some goods were. Her parents were drowned when a storm drove their ship onto rocks. Vimune swam to shore near Solitude, and I found her wandering the shoreline a few months ago. Later on, salvagers stacked their bounty on Solitude’s docks. Vimune and I brought her trunk of clothes and other personal items.

I said, “Good morning, Vimune.”

“Oh, hello, Wulfy.”

“I see you are still carrying your long dagger.”

“You can’t be too careful. Pirates are everywhere, just waiting to pounce.”

“We are on land, in the middle of a big city.”

“As I said, pirates are everywhere.”

“What is your favourite part of the museum?”

“The Hall of Heroes. All that stuff you found has interesting stories.”

“Do you like Auryen’s tours?”

“They are getting better. He used to drone on a bit much.”

“Well, have fun.”

“I am here to learn, Wulfy, not have fun.”

“You can do both at the same time.”

“Nah, I don’t think so.”

I followed another couple of Kinghall orphans outside. They darted off at full speed when they were free of museum restrictions.

I entered Proudspire Manor via the side door.

Then I went upstairs and summoned Inigo and Ko’rassa.

  • Wulf: Here are the keys, Ko’rassa.
  • Ko’rassa: Thanks, Wulf.
  • Wulf: Did you like the song about Ja’darri last night?
  • Ko’rassa: Very much so. I had only ever heard it sung in Ta’agra.
  • Inigo: Ko’rassa patiently explained the song to Olette this morning. She is keen to learn more about Ja’darri.
  • Wulf: Olette likes stories about real heroes. Her mother was always telling her tales about them.
  • Inigo: You seem a bit more cheerful, my friend. However, that mask has a permanent scowl.
  • Wulf: I am wearing a ring you can’t see. It was a gift from Lady Mara. Rigmor has one that matches. Via the rings, we can talk telepathically, no matter how far apart we are.
  • Ko’rassa: And just hearing from Rigmor removed many fears.
  • Wulf: Yes. It was proof she was alright. Now, I shall leave you two as I must visit General Tullius.

I exited Proudspire Manor through the front door and headed for Castle Dour.

Along the way, I encountered Jaree. He was an orphan living rough on Windhelm’s Docks. He looks a lot healthier since I sent him to Kinghall Orphanage.

“Hello, Jaree. You are looking well.”

“Three good meals a day, a comfy bed and a roof over my head worked that miracle, Lord Welkynd.”

“How is your reading and writing coming along?”

“Very well. I seem naturally gifted at letters and numbers.”

“Are you on your way to the museum?”

“Nah, I am visiting The Bards College. If you behave, they let you watch their rehearsals.”

“Do you want to be a bard?”

“I am thinking about it. You don’t see many Argonian bards. It’s probably because our voice gets all rattly and raspy. Some bards think a male Argonian voice could be well suited to some songs. And they think I have an affinity for the basic instruments. A bit like the letters and numbers that I now understand.”

“Many children could learn the numbers and letters if given the chance. It is not just orphans that are denied education. Many children are forced to work from an early age.”

‘Yeah, I used to see them on the docks. Ship Rats, they called them. They are forced to work in the cramped parts of the vessels where adults have to bend and stoop. One of them described what bilge water smells like. You might as well swim in a privy.”

“Argonians can get well-paid jobs on the docks. Their ability to breathe underwater makes them ideal for caulking ships without having to dry dock.”

“The trouble is, like many skilled professions, you must be apprenticed.”

“Getting your writing, reading and arithmetic up to a certain level will greatly increase your chances of an apprenticeship.”

“I am working hard, Wulf. I have a few years before I have to earn a living. That gives me time to consider my options.”

“You are a remarkedly well-spoken child, Jaree. I think you are capable of anything you put your mind to.”

“And thanks to you, Wulf, I can reach my potential.”

“Enjoy the bards. Don’t be surprised if a blue Khajiiti visits while you are there.”

“Do you mean the hero called Inigo the Brave?”

“Yes, my good friend Inigo.”


Jaree ran towards The Bards College. I hope he isn’t too disappointed if Inigo doesn’t visit there today.

I entered Castle Dour and sighed. There is no need for The Imperial Army to make its interior match its name. A few more rugs, sconces and paintings would transform the building.

I went to the war room and spoke to Tullius.

“Good morning, General Tullius. I heard you showed the young ones what a cavalryman can do.”

“Yes, but I had to work hard to stifle the groans of pain. I used muscles that had laid dormant for a decade or more.”

“Well, I am your subordinate for the civil war. You point me to where Stormcloaks need killing and let me loose.”

“When Ulfric restarts the idiocy, it will be a rapid war. Something that he has never experienced. I will rely on you and The Dragonguard to act swiftly when new information arrives. I want the rebels to have little time to react to one disaster before another smacks them in the face.”

“That is something we can easily achieve.”

“We think Ulfric’s army will be in place to assault Whiterun in four days from now. However, Jarl Balgruuf remains neutral. He must choose before it is too late for his people and Hold.”

“I will speak to him later today and lay out the facts. He will probably insist I do the weapon exchange with Ulfric.”

“Several people have explained that ancient ritual. If doing it results in Jarl Balgruuf finally accepting that Ulfric is not an honourable man, then good. I am sure you will have some choice words for the regicide.”

“I am assuming Ulfric will not break the laws of parley. If he does, I will kill him and sit on his throne.”

“Is it true that General Yngol resigned?”

“Yes, he was sick of Ulfric’s lies. I don’t know the quality of the commanders they will send against Whiterun. I doubt any of them would be worthy of shining Yngol’s boots.”

“Do you have a plan on how to defend Whiterun?”

“The Stormcloaks will attack along the main road. That will force them to adopt a narrow front and a long line of troops. Nobody in Skyrim had yet witnessed what a few dozen Dragonguard can do when they fight as a single unit. Smaller units saved cities and towns from dragons, so that should give some warning as to what they are capable of. The famed Nord shield walls and berserkers will be nullified by the overwhelming damage inflicted. Morale will collapse as soldiers burn, freeze, and get electrocuted in great numbers. They will get nowhere near the front gates.”

“You sound confident.”

“We have destroyed armies in Akavir. Ulfric’s rabble are no better than most we have faced. I will let you know Jarl Balgruuf’s decision.”

I saluted General Tullius and exited Castle Dour.

I summoned Miraak, and he appeared a second later.

“Wulf, this teleporting and summoning was not known in my time.”

“Teleportation, summoning and portals became common in Tamriel and widely used for centuries. Over time, the spells were forgotten, and the knowledge was lost. You will find no definitive reason why knowledge is lost in Nirn’s history.”

“Are we visiting The Greybeards now?”

“Yes, in their castle called High Hrothgar. It is halfway up The Throat of The World.”

“Sahrotaar, Relonikiv and Kruziikrel have provided some of Nirn’s history. They told me the story of Jurgen Windcaller and how The Greybeards came to be. Do you agree with their philosophy?”

“Not at all. The Thu’um is a weapon given to us to use as a weapon. Kyne, or the modern interpretation called Kynareth, does not want mortals spending their lives praising her. The Nine Divines have ten commandments that should be followed. That is the correct way of worshipping them. The Greybeards contribute nothing to society and rely on the generosity of those who revere them, without ever meeting them.”

“Then why are we visiting High Hrothgar?”

“The Greybeards became aware of your existence when you absorbed Krosulhah’s soul outside Nchardak. Even though I disagree with their Way of the Voice mumbo jumbo, we should ease their concerns by introducing you.”

“Is their Thu’um powerful?”

“There are four mortal Greybeards. I do not doubt they could destroy Nirn with their combined strength.”

“And their leader is Paarthurnax?”

“Yes, and he has used The Way of the Voice to control his base instincts. He killed hundreds of thousands of mortals but saved far more when he taught The Voice to the Tongues. He is now my ally, as is his replacement, Odahviing. Paarthurnax is slowly increasing the number of Dov who follow Windcaller’s teachings. Most Dov are content to leave mortals alone as long as they can fly the skies of Tamriel and hunt the wildlife. Krosulhah knew it was futile to fight me, yet your control drove him to do so.”

“He was the first and only Dov on Nirn that I controlled via the stones. The three with me in Apocrypha were lured there by Hermaeus Mora. Then I enslaved them.”

“There is a shrine to Lady Kynareth within High Hrothgar. Perhaps one day, you can witness how Lady Kynareth teaches me new Shouts and Words of Power there. Perhaps one day, she will agree to teach you the same way.”

“I think The Divines will have to be convinced I am loyal before that occurs.”

“After introducing you to the Greybeards, we shall visit Paarthurnax at the summit of The Throat of the World. There will be many Dov there. Some will be his acolytes while others enjoy the thermals of the mountain.”

“I think the ancient one will have judged me harshly.”

“If so, we shall politely teach him the truth.”

Miraak went to place his hand on my shoulder.

“There is no need, Miraak. I know you well enough now to teleport you without a physical connection.”

I teleported us inside the entrance of High Hrothgar.

I wasn’t surprised when Miraak made a common observation, “Wulf, this place, at first glance, needs some contrast. Grey on grey is not a good look.”

I laughed and said, “Please address The Greybeards as Master. We shall speak to Master Arngeir.”

We approached Arngeir and waited for him to finish his belly button contemplation.

Eventually, Arngeir stood, and Miraak stepped up to him.

  • Arngeir: Welcome, Dragonborn.
  • Wulf: Drem yol lok, Master Arngeir. Let me introduce Miraak, The First Dragonborn.
  • Arngeir: I meant to ask you. Why is Saint Alessia recorded as the first Dragonborn?
  • Wulf: Saint Alessia was the first mortal whose blood was changed when Lord Akatosh blessed her. Miraak is the first mortal whose soul was changed by Lord Akatosh’s blessing. Both my soul and blood are that of a dragon.
  • Arngeir: Do you seek training in The Voice, Miraak?
  • Miraak: No, Master Arngeir. Wulf thought it best we visit and explain my existence.
  • Arngeir: We were concerned and perplexed by the absorption of a dragon’s soul by somebody other than Wulf. The Dragonborn visited and told us you were the cause. It is satisfying to find a solution to a puzzle.
  • Miraak: You could detect that from here?
  • Arngeir: We are sensitive to the changes in Lady Kynareth’s domain of wind and air.
  • Miraak: That is impressive, Master Arngeir.
  • Wulf: The Explorers Society is planning an archaeological excavation of Windcaller Pass. As Guildmaster, I have decreed that any relics of Jurgen Windcaller will be handed to The Greybeards.
  • Arngeir: There may be relics of our founder in the collapsed tunnels. I thank you for your consideration.
  • Wulf: We might not see eye to eye, Master Arngeir, but I hold no hatred for your order, and common courtesy costs nothing.
  • Arngeir: Miraak, is there a reason we have no record of you in our histories?
  • Wulf: I can answer that. Nords revere Dragonborn. Miraak did not fit the idealistic view of what a Dragonborn should be, so historians conveniently ignored him.
  • Miraak: I was blessed by Lord Akatosh during the Merethic Era, which was long before your order existed. That would also explain my absence from your written histories.
  • Arngeir: Yes, The Dragonborn did say that was a probable explanation.
  • Wulf: Skaal oral histories mention Miraak. However, I am yet to learn much of Miraak’s tale.
  • Miraak: We are going to visit Paarthurnax. He deserves to know the truth behind what he may think is my betrayal. I will tell him my story, Master Arngeir.
  • Arngeir: That is appropriate, for Paarthurnax can reconcile what you say with known facts. He will be honest in his assessment.
  • Wulf: Paarthurnax and other scholars made judgements based on third-party accounts. As you know, Master Arngeir, I advocate for accurately telling history. Hence, my museum. We may visit again soon.
  • Arngeir: Breath and focus, Dragonborn and Miraak.
  • Wulf: Blessings of The Nine, Master Arngeir.

Arngeir shuffled off.

Miraak commented, “He seems wise, but I think The Greybeards know little of what happens below.”

“You are very observant and logical, Miraak. That bodes well for us working as a team. Indeed, The Greybeards have little interaction with the rest of the world. When I entered this place several months ago, I was the second to do so in centuries.”

“Who was the other?”

“Ulfric Stormcloak trained with The Greybeards for ten years. His father was the Jarl of Eastmarch, one of the surviving nine Holds of Skyrim. When his father died, Ulfric abandoned his training and became Jarl. Ulfric abandoned the dogma of The Way of The Voice and murdered Skyrim’s High King using the Thu’um. We are in a civil war, and I will end it by killing Ulfric. But first, we shall destroy his army and kill the rebellious Jarls.”

“I have forty-five centuries of history to absorb before fully understanding Ulfric’s motives and why you oppose him.”

“Yes, I could explain, but it would mean little without extensive knowledge to place things in context.”

“I sense a deep hatred in you for Ulfric.”

“Anger, Miraak, does not always lead to hate. Ulfric has committed many crimes that have earned his death. However, the Nords of Skyrim welcome death in combat. In a way, I will reward Ulfric by sending him to Sovngarde. That is the preferred afterlife destination of Nord warriors and is a realm within the plane of Aetherius. That is where we defeated Alduin for the second time and sent his soul to rejoin AKA.”

“There was talk of Sovngarde amongst the Nords who followed the old gods and not The All Maker.”

“It is a terrible place, and I will not go there upon death. I will be amongst my gods and deceased loved ones in Aetherius.”

“What is so bad about Sovngarde?”

“When you learn more about me and Sovngarde, the answer will become self-explanatory.”

“There are deep secrets about you, Wulf. I understand your hesitancy to trust me completely. Let us talk to Paarthurnax and hope I get to explain before he bites me in half.”

We teleported to the path leading to the summit. The bright sunshine did little to warm the air.

Odahviing flew overhead.

“Dovahkiin, you bring a Dragon Priest to a place they do not belong.”

“He is no longer a Dragon Priest, Odahviing. He is a Dovahkiin. He is Miraak.”

“This will be a test for the Old One’s pacifism. I am curious about this turn of events and will eagerly observe the ensuing drama.”

“Don’t forget to watch where you fly. I don’t want the beauty of Kynareth’s mountain spoiled by Odahviing splatter.”

“It is fortunate your Thu’um is more powerful than your humour, Dovahkiin.”

 Other dragons stared at us. Their hostility was on show, but Miraak did not react to it.

Silah flew overhead and said, “Ah, there is the cause of angry growls and threats. I suggest you speak to Paarthurnax before chaos erupts.”

“That is what I am trying to achieve.”

“Well, don’t dawdle!”

Miraak laughed, saying, “The dragons show little reverence for their overlord.”

“That is Silah. She is a Jill who liaises between The Divines and me.”

“Every minute, something new increases my urgency to learn what has led to this peculiar scenario.”

Miraak stood before Paarthurnax, whose head and jaws dwarfed The First Dragonborn. They stared at each other, and a growl, promising a swift and violent death, issued from the leader of The Greybeards.

  • Paarthurnax: Drem yol lok, Dovahkiin. Tell me why you stand beside a traitor and coward. Is this to test my adherence to The Way of the Voice?
  • Wulf: Greetings, Paarthurnax. I am surprised you recognise Miraak.
  • Paarthurnax: His likeness was distributed amongst those opposed to Alduin. He was to be killed on sight. I am wondering if I am still required to obey Kyne’s command.
  • Wulf: The Nine welcomed Miraak’s return, for he was neither a coward nor a traitor. Bormahu thanked me via Lord Talos for my mercy and the return of his Celestial Son.
  • Paarthurnax: Tell me, Miraak, if not a traitor and coward, what are you?
  • Miraak: Three other Dragon Priests and I had a plan to defeat Alduin. I thought we had a better chance of success than the Tongues. I did not fight mortals but was a turncoat, as you were. I risked all to carry out my plan, and my disloyalty to Alduin cost me dearly. If anything, I am guilty of underestimating the Tongues and being a fool to trust Hermaeus Mora.
  • Paarthurnax: Your followers attacked the Dovahkiin!
  • Miraak: They did so without my knowledge or approval. I have since culled their ranks. However, I am guilty of attacking Wulf, even though he offered me an alternative.
  • Paarthurnax: Why did you think it necessary to kill Wulf?
  • Miraak: I rebelled against Hermaeus Mora, once again risking all to fight Alduin and chaos on Nirn as first instructed by Lord Akatosh. As with the Tongues, I underestimated Wulf’s ability to fight chaos and saw him as a hindrance. I was in Oblivion and had no guidance from our gods. Nothing I did was for vanity or self-gratification.
  • Paarthurnax: I must use your mortal name as two Dovahkiin are present. So, Wulf, are you providing Miraak with a chance for redemption?
  • Wulf: Miraak wants to help me fight chaos and hopes that will lead to redemption. His actions, although for altruistic reasons, did endanger all mortals. The histories misrepresent him, and through his future actions, they will prove to be suppositions, not facts, written by lazy scholars. Of all beings on Nirn, you should understand how a biased portrayal leaves a stain on your soul. He will assist me and may prove crucial if things The Nine predict occur.
  • Paarthurnax: Miraak, I accept you as an ally and will aid you if asked.
  • Miraak: I am honoured, Paarthurnax.
  • Wulf: The Greybeards need to include your story within their recorded histories. Therefore, Miraak, please summarise the events that led to your vacation in Apocrypha.
  • Miraak: My father was a blacksmith. My mother was a midwife. They were essential to the community that relied so much on their skills. I wonder if my life would have been more fulfilling if I had taken up my father’s trade.
  • Wulf: That is a common lament amongst middle-aged mortals.
  • Miraak: Instead of apprenticing as a blacksmith, I served the dragons. Earning their respect became an obsession. When a Dovah praised me, my pride was immense. I became a Dragon Priest and was offered the stewardship of Solstheim. I said goodbye to everything and everybody I knew in Atmora and moved to that distant island. It was the last I saw of my parents, and I know not what became of them. I still feel my mother’s tears on my cheek.
  • Paarthurnax: For many centuries, Dragon Priests were respected by Dov and mortals. They were benevolent leaders and loyal servants.
  • Wulf: Then Alduin changed the balance.
  • Miraak: Mortals were no longer partners in the world but enslaved servants. We used to serve the dragons out of reverence and voluntarily. Suddenly, we were forced to serve them out of fear. Dragons reverted to their base wants of conquest and domination. Where once they politely asked, they now demanded. Once respected as leaders with mortal wellbeing paramount, Dragon Priests became enforcers who cared more for their Dov masters’ comfort.
  • Paarthurnax: I can see the parallels between us, Miraak. You did not become one of the Dragon Priests content with the magic and Lichdom granted by Dov.
  • Miraak: I decided on that stance immediately, Paarthurnax. You rebelled only after killing countless mortals in Alduin’s name.
  • Paarthurnax: That is true. Continue.
  • Miraak: The Dragon War was inevitable as mortals never meekly accept enslavement. That is how they viewed the new social status forced upon them.
  • Wulf: You will learn of many uprisings where the enslaved triumph over their ‘masters.’
  • Miraak: I couldn’t envision a scenario where mortals could win despite the courage of the Tongues. Hermaeus Mora offered a solution. We planned to enslave the enslavers and make them serve us. It seemed a sound plan, so I became his ally.
  • Wulf: Hermaeus Mora will offer a mortal knowledge that he claims only he possesses. Kyne knew the Bend Will Shout. Later, Tongues learned it. It was inscribed on Word Walls.
  • Miraak: Word Walls?
  • Paarthurnax: They are scattered over Nirn. Their purpose is twofold. They act as monuments to deceased mortals and provide a means of teaching Words of Power to Dovahkiin.
  • Miraak: How many Word Walls did you have to visit, Wulf?
  • Wulf: Lady Kynareth taught me dozens of Words of Power and Shouts, including Bend Will. I did not have to learn from Word Walls or kill dragons for their knowledge.
  • Miraak: So, Mora was a deceiver from the start.
  • Wulf: Yes, and you are among many who succumbed to his promises wrapped in lies.
  • Miraak: Vahlok was one of the last Dragon Priests who cared for mortals more than Dov. However, he believed the lies that I was revolting against the dragons for personal gain. He would not listen to my explanation and proved a powerful opponent.
  • Wulf: Miraak and three other Dragon Priests fought valiantly and defeated almost two dozen Dov. However, the dragons could not reach the inner chambers of Miraak’s Temple. That is why they recruited Vahlok and many other mortals to infiltrate the temple.
  • Miraak: Vahlok injured me to the brink of death. Mora opened a portal and offered me sanctuary. I accepted his offer and entered the portal before Vahlok ended my life. That is how I ended up in Apocrypha.
  • Paarthurnax: It seems Hermaeus Mora went to great lengths to recruit you. So why is there no record of you doing his bidding in Mundus?
  • Miraak: You must remember, I was doing what I thought was best for the mortals beloved by our gods. Therefore, I was incensed when Hermaeus Mora mimicked the Dov with his disdain for mortal free will or wellbeing. He has a singular purpose, and that is the accumulation of knowledge. Mora put me in stasis when I refused to be his puppet on Nirn. He should have killed me then, but Mora knew Alduin was not gone forever. When Alduin returned, he awakened me and gave me what he thought I needed to combat The World Eater. I finally received the promised knowledge and could bend the will of mortals and Dov.
  • Wulf: Many of the Daedric Princes struggle with mortal free will and, simultaneously, our willpower and determination.
  • Miraak: Yes, and my anger was such that I rebelled against Mora within his realm of Oblivion. I severed part of Apocrypha and made it my domain. Mora could not breach its boundary, and I was free to pursue my plan for returning to Nirn.
  • Wulf: That is why Hermaeus Mora was keen to recruit me. He hoped I would be willing to do his bidding in exchange for knowledge. Even after I demonstrated my loathing for him and his schemes, he continued to believe I would eventually succumb to temptation. His lies were transparent, and his bribes worthless.
  • Miraak: Wulf played along, and Mora’s arrogance made that easy. When Wulf offered me mercy after I attacked him, Mora realised his error.
  • Wulf: We had to kill many of Mora’s minions before he gave up.
  • Paarthurnax: Your history will be entered into ours as spoken by you. I have no doubt there will be details The Greybeards will want to elaborate upon.
  • Miraak: My priority is learning forty-five centuries of history to assist Wulf as he combats the chaos threatening Mundus. However, I will answer any questions they have at a later date.
  • Paarthurnax: You were in stasis for forty-five centuries. I remained here for that period, waiting on Alduin’s return and the fulfilment of Wulf’s prophecy.
  • Miraak: I am awed by your dedication, Paarthurnax.
  • Wulf: My prophecy came from an Elder Scroll and was written in the future. It did not predict historical events but listed ones that had occurred before its creation. The last part of the prophecy foretold of my arrival to combat Alduin.
  • Miraak: As I said earlier, every minute with you increases my urgency to learn the history leading to this moment.
  • Paarthurnax: I will inform the Dov who follow The Way of The Voice of your status as an ally. I see Odahviing has been hovering and listening.
  • Odahviing: Indeed, I have, Ancient One. Other Dov will also learn of Miraak’s status as an ally.
  • Wulf: Miraak used the Bend Will Shout on several dragons. Three have been freed from Apocrypha, but not their enslavement to Miraak. They freed themselves from the compulsion to obey Miraak through willpower. However, they need assistance against the compulsion so they no longer struggle to overcome it.
  • Paarthurnax: And you think I can aid them since I was one of the first Dov to combat our natural compulsion of dominance and violence?
  • Wulf: Yes, that is correct.
  • Paarthurnax: What are their names?
  • Miraak: Sahrotaar, Kruziikrel and Relonikiv.
  • Paarthurnax: They are names I do not recognise.
  • Miraak: They were given new names and have forgotten those assigned at creation. This travesty was done to strengthen my control over them.
  • Wulf: They might remember their names if the compulsion to obey Miraak is broken.
  • Paarthurnax: That is logical, and I think I can help them. They do not have to become followers of The Way of The Voice but merely act upon my advice.
  • Miraak: I can summon them here.
  • Wulf: I believe I can summon all three at once. They do not respond to their names but a dweomer similar to my summoning spells. The difference is that one uses Magicka, and the other uses The Thu’um.
  • Paarthurnax: That would be a feat worth witnessing.
  • Miraak: Indeed, let us see if your theory works.

I distanced myself from Miraak and Paarthurnax.


Intuitively, I knew the Shout would work. Therefore, I was the only one who wasn’t surprised when the three dragons appeared from the ether.

However, their form had changed. They were no longer Serpent Dragons but Fire Dragons.

Paarthurnax said in Dovahzul, “Sahrotaar, Kruziikrel and Relonikiv, I am Paarthurnax. I can help you remove your compulsion to obey Miraak. Do you desire this assistance?” (Translation is mine.)

All three dragons answered in the affirmative.

Silah laughed as she avoided Odahviing’s effort to catch her off guard. It seems he still seeks a mating flight.

She landed, and I approached her.

She remarked, “Once again, you surprise me, Wulf. You created a new Shout and seemed in no doubt that it would work.”

“I wonder if I could have done so without that recent change to my soul. My understanding of The Voice is more thorough, even when not in hybrid form.”

“That may be so, but nothing can confirm your speculation since you are unique.”

“Like one-of-a-kind works of art, my worth only increases with age.”

“Okay, it seems Rigmor’s absence has damaged your grip on reality.”

“Anyway, you have brought your large rear end to the surface. That usually means you have something important to tell me. So, what is it?”

“Large rear end?”

“Yeah, the one that Odahviing is still chasing.”

“He can keep chasing. He has less chance than Nahfahlaar. Since that flying ego has zero chance, Odahviing’s is in the negative.”

“Negative chance? And you think I am delusional.”

“I wanted to tell you I checked on Ulfric’s army. It is four days away at normal speed. Since they are not doing a forced march, you can expect the attack on Whiterun on the fifteenth or sixteenth.”

“Did you swoop?”

“Of course. A lady has to have some fun.”

“Thank you, Silah.”

“You spoke to Rigmor, didn’t you?”

“Yes, the rings work as expected.”

“That explains your positive attitude.”

“Perhaps it is just your presence that has brightened my day.”

“What would Rigmor say to that?”

“Yeah, right. Pffft!”

“I can’t do that last bit. No lips.”

“I will take Miraak back to the museum and visit Jarl Balgruuf. I will shake a decision out of him if need be.”

“He doesn’t want to think Ulfric’s ambition would drive him to attack Whiterun.”

“I will give him an education on what we know about Ulfric. That will convince him.”

Silah lifted and soon disappeared into the ether.

I teleported Miraak and me into the museum.

I could see that Miraak was burning with questions.

I inquired, “How did you find that experience?”

“You are stern and full of authority one minute. Then you are relaxed and carefree the next. Yet both approaches seem to work in achieving your goals.”

“I have to deal with many different beings and therefore, by necessity, be flexible in my approach.”

“I will refrain from further questions, for I know you are being cautious with me. I will earn your trust, Wulf.”

“I must be cautious, Miraak. There is far more at risk than my life.”

“Okay, I shall head to the library and start my studies. Auryen’s catalogue is full of cross-references and corrections to known errors. It will make my task immeasurably easier.”

“Be sure to praise Auryen often. He takes pride in his work but feels undervalued on occasion.”

“When will you visit next?”

“Probably not till after the civil war is won. I may be bringing the young mage to live in The Safehouse. She, too, has to earn my trust.”

“I look forward to meeting her.”

As Miraak headed for the library, I tried contacting Rigmor.

“Hello, Ivanitchy Ramsbottom. Can you talk?”

“This is amazing, Dragonbum. We are still a few miles from Bruma’s gate, yet the road is lined with people waving, cheering, and calling my name. My arm is getting tired from waving back!”

“How is Ren coping?”

“He has his head held high as if the cheers are for him. He might not be the most handsome horse, but he is the best.”

“I am about to visit Jarl Balgruuf.”

“Will he side with The Empire?”

“I have hesitated to tell him all I know about Ulfric. But I might have to shatter his illusion that the rebel leader has any honour.”

“I assume Miraak was not swallowed whole by Paarthurnax.”

“Everything worked out okay. I learned more about Miraak’s story. I will tell you about that when we next get a chance to talk.”

“I don’t think that will be tonight. I expect to be dragged into some welcoming function until the early morning.”

That’s okay. When you sober up, contact me.”

“As if I would get drunk.”

“About ninety per cent of your citizens are Nords. Would they mind if Countess Rigmor drinks them under the table?”

“I suppose that would endear me to them.”

“See, I am good at this political stuff!”

“Even via the rings, your idiocy shines.”

“Thanks. I love compliments.”

“Okay, I had better start waving with the left arm before the right one drops off.”

“I love you, Countess Rigmor Ragnarsdottier.”

“And I love you, my Guardian.”

I teleported into Dragons Reach.

Immediately, I felt a wrongness. As Nelkir and Dagny approached, my feeling of unease increased.

It seems my visit won’t be as straightforward as I had hoped.

2 thoughts on “Not so easy

  1. Thanks man, as usual. Your mastering of mixing Elder Scrolls Lore and storytelling is thriving and you improve everyday. And, for what concerns me, is never boring.
    The Baandari song is one of my favourite. Also, probably because of Wulf’s past and present, realy looks like something belonging to him and you, rather than the mod it was made for, like the new small dragon think and the Shor gobbyglok .
    I keep being astonished by that but I shouldn’t.
    I long to see how Wulf will smash Ulfric’s army.
    May your road leads you to warm paths

  2. I haven’t read the two latest posts yet because I’m rereading your second set of journals, letting you get ahead and I enjoy reading them immensely. I love what Wulf does when he is the emperor. When completed I will start these latest ones from the beginning again. And again I thank you.

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