Loredas, 11th Frostfall, 4E 201

My unease was caused by the pure wrongness of Nelkir. I know the child, and what I was witnessing was out of character.

Nelkir growled, “Will you shut the fuck up about your dress! She told me you would be ideal, but I don’t know if I could do as she asks.”

The unease I felt was mirrored in Nelkir’s face. His stance threatened violence as he clenched and unclenched his fists.

Dagny ran past me crying and exited Dragonsreach. Nelkir turned around and stomped towards the kitchen.

I looked at Balgruuf. He was looking towards Nelkir with a concerned look. But he did not correct his son for swearing nor try to console his daughter.

Frothar was also watching his brother and looked upset. I went to him to find answers.

“Hello, Frothar.”

“Oh, hello, Lord Welkynd.”

“That was a bit rude of Nelkir. Is he upset about something?”

“He has been getting moodier by the day. I have tried talking to him several times to see if I can help. But he stares at me each time and doesn’t say a word. Sometimes, he moves away. What is happening, Lord Welkynd? We have always been very close.”

“I don’t know enough and could only guess, Frothar.”

“Father receives the same treatment when he tries to talk to Nelkir.”

“I will talk to Jarl Balgruuf and see if it is something I can help with.”

“Please do. Dagny and I want the old Nelkir back.”

As Frothar walked away, Nelkir passed him.

The stare he gave his brother was full of spite and hatred.

Nelkir headed downstairs without acknowledging me. That was atypical as he is fascinated by dragons and has many questions about them.

I asked, “Have I turned invisible, Nelkir?”

He turned and tried to smile. However, it was not the face of Nelkir I saw.

In a whisper, as if sharing a secret, he said, “I told The Whispering Lady about you, and she said you might like to talk to her as well.”

“Who is The Whispering Lady?”

“She won’t tell me her name.”

“What does she look like?”

“I never see her. I hear her. Now, I am very hungry, so leave me to eat my bread roll and cheese.”

Nelkir continued downstairs and sat on a bench with his meal.

Lyssia had been sitting at a table and watching. She stood as I approached.

She asked, “Are you concerned about Nelkir.”

“Yes, I sensed something was amiss when I teleported into Dragonsreach. My intuition has often been my saviour. After speaking to him, I believe he is, or is close to, being ensorceled by a Daedric Prince.”

“Do you know which one?”

“Yes, but let’s see if you can guess. Nelkir calls the being he speaks to ‘The Whispering Lady.’”

“That is easy, Wulf. Whispering Lady is one of many names for Mephala.”

“There is only one path to Mephala poisoning Nelkir’s mind, which would take time.”

“He would have to be near her shrine or a relic created by her.”

“I want to investigate further, but with you by my side. It is never wise to engage with Daedric Princes without somebody else present. Therefore, Lyssia, if you desire to accompany me, you need better protection than your leather outfit.”

“Give me fifteen minutes, and I shall return in my favourite robes.”

“I will be in Farengar’s study looking at his library. The weasel manages to find obscure books and scrolls.”

“Isn’t he more like a squirrel hoarding nuts?”

“Okay, he is now known as Farengar the Nut Hoarder.”

“Do I want to risk dying of bad puns? Yes, I must suffer in the pursuit of knowledge.”

As Lyssia headed for her room to change, I questioned the wisdom of inviting another smart-mouthed woman into the growing body of misfits called The Dragonguard.

Luckily, Farengar was not around to irritate me, so I could sticky beak without interruption.

Farengar had a pristine copy of ‘Songs of the Return Volume Two.’

I dislike all fifty-six Songs of the Return volumes because they glorify Ysgramor and his exploits. Volume Two describes the death of Ysgramor’s son, Yngol. He and his ship were lost at sea while travelling from Atmora to Skyrim.

I couldn’t resist flicking through Farengar’s copy of ‘Mysterious Akavir.’ Every time I read a copy, it differs slightly from others. I have no idea how many iterations the text went through, but all of them have errors.

My reading was interrupted by Lyssia’s voice. She is not subtle when she talks, and I imagine the mage would be a very loud and boisterous drunk.

I approached and listened to the conversation.

  • Balgruuf: Is my hospitality lacking? Are you bored here? I don’t understand why you want to travel with The Dragonborn.
  • Lyssia: It is not The Dragonborn who I want to accompany. That is merely one of Lord Welkynd’s many titles. It is The Champion of The Divines who I want to accompany. He is the one chosen by our gods to guard the life thread of Nirn.
  • Balgruuf: Why distinguish between titles? He is who he is, no matter the number of titles he carries.
  • Lyssia: Ah, dear Balgruuf, words, and therefore titles, carry weight. Each title bears a different essence.
  • Irileth: My Jarl looks as confused as me, Mage Lyssia. Some examples might assist our comprehension.
  • Lyssia: The Dragonborn, a title borne from the tumultuous voice of the Dov, signifies one’s prowess, but The Champion of The Divines suggests a promise of protection and an enduring sentinel.
  • Balgruuf: If The Dragonborn wanted to guard something, would he be named ‘The Guarding Dragonborn’ or ‘The Dragon-Guard-Born?’
  • Irileth: The latter would be confusing, my Jarl, since The Dragonguard accompanies Lord Welkynd.
  • Lyssia: That is quite humorous, Jarl Balgruuf. However, titles may well be a realm where brevity is treasured.
  • Irileth: There could be very long titles if we adopted Jarl Balgruuf’s methodology.
  • Lyssia: Indeed. For instance, we may end up with ‘Sweetroll-Loving, Mead-Drinking, Stormcloak-Bashing Jarl of Whiterun’ instead of ‘Jarl Balgruuf.’
  • Balgruuf: Ah! That would undoubtedly make the court proceedings more interesting! However, I have not yet decided to be a Stormcloak basher.

I stepped forward, and the mood changed from merry to sombre.

  • Wulf: Although the conversation has merits, time is of the essence.
  • Lyssia: My apologies, Wulf. A question from Jarl Balgruuf waylaid me.
  • Balgruuf: I noticed her change of clothing and asked about the occasion.
  • Irileth: Do you have news concerning Ulfric and the civil war?
  • Wulf: Yes, but something else requires our attention at this moment.
  • Balgruuf: What is it, Lord Welkynd?
  • Wulf: My Jarl, have you observed a change in Nelkir’s behaviour?
  • Balgruuf: Yes, and I am worried. Nelkir has always been a dark child. But lately, he has worsened, and I don’t know what to do with him. He has always been a quiet lad, but recently, he has become brooding. According to Frothar, Nelkir has expressed an interest in violence. Until I forbid the habit, he carried his bow and knives everywhere. Now they are banned from our home, and he spends hours practising in the guard’s training yard.
  • Irileth: His attacks had no form when I watched him use a practice dummy. They were frantic thrusts of his knife as if he hated an imaginary target. He was becoming quite adept at knife work, so the contrast was stark.
  • Wulf: An imaginary victim, perhaps?
  • Irileth: I did not want to alarm my Jarl with such a description, but it is apt.
  • Balgruuf: Do you know what is wrong with my boy?
  • Wulf: I have a theory, but that is all for now. Have you tried speaking to him?
  • Balgruuf: Yes, but he won’t say a word to me, and I don’t know how I upset him. He likes you, Lord Welkynd. Maybe you can speak to him and draw out the truth. I would be immensely grateful.
  • Wulf: I cannot ignore a potentially unwell child, my Jarl. I will speak with Nelkir and see if I can find the cause for your son’s change.
  • Irileth: Can you tell us what you suspect?
  • Wulf: I am reluctant to frighten people with speculation, Irileth. Be assured when I confirm the cause, I will inform our Jarl.
  • Lyssia: Am I to accompany you, Wulf?
  • Wulf: Yes, for the reason I mentioned before.

As we walked to Nelkir, I told Lyssia, “Please, just listen as I talk to Nelkir. More than one person asking questions will likely make him shut down.”

“You have probably got far more experience with this stuff than me. I am more than happy to do as you ask.”

Nelkir was where he ate his lunch and stood when we approached. He sounded like the inquisitive child he has always been for a second.

Nelkir asked, “Wulf, have you flown anywhere on a dragon lately?”

“Yes, and I will happily tell you all about it. But first, your father wanted me to speak to you. He is very worried about your behaviour.”

“So, the disgusting pig sent you to bother me? I’ll tear his face apart one day, and then he will leave me alone.”

“Your father loves you, Nelkir. He asked me to help because you won’t tell him what is wrong. He thinks he has done something to make you upset with him.

“My father knows nothing about me. But I know lots of secret things about him and other stuff.”

“What sort of things?”

“Things about the war and that he worries about being chased from Whiterun. I know he and Irileth have a plan to escape through the sewers if enemies overrun the city.”

“All of that is understandable and quite normal.”

“I know he worships Talos and hates the Thalmor as much as The Stormcloaks do.”

“I wear an amulet of Talos, as do many citizens of Whiterun. Heimskr stands in front of a giant statue of Talos, praising him day and night, and many people stop to listen. As for The Thalmor, nearly every single Nord hates them. Not because they want to ban Talos. They are hated because they tried to conquer The Empire, including Skyrim.”

“Liking Talos is breaking the rules. I get in trouble for breaking the rules!”

“Some rules are wrong. The Thalmor trying to ban Talos is wrong. If you feel like a rule is wrong, then say so. Accept your punishment if the rule is righteous and you deliberately break it. Blame yourself, not the one who punishes.”

“I know that he… that I’m… that I don’t have the same mother as my brother and sister!”

Lyssia gasped and then quickly covered her mouth when I stared at her.

I asked, “Did The Whispering Lady tell you that?”

“Yes, but this castle is old. There are lots of places nobody has been in a long time. Places where you can overhear and see things. There is even a place where you can talk to The Whispering Lady.”

“You said The Whispering Lady might want to talk to me. That sounds interesting, so where can I do that?”

“I was having fun listening and looking through keyholes. I have gotten quite good at it. One day, at a door in the basement, I heard her talking to me. At first, I thought somebody had caught me eavesdropping. Then she told me it was okay and started telling me secrets I hadn’t discovered yet.”

“Are there many doors in the basement?”

“Trust me, you’ll know the right one. The Whispering Lady will talk to you. She said she wanted to.”

Nelkir walked away. When he was out of earshot, Lyssia stood in front of me. It was then I noticed one of Balgruuf’s maids was a vampire. I wonder if he is aware of that fact.

Lyssia remarked, “You are quite a skilful interrogator.”

“Nelkir is following Mephala’s instructions without realising it. The suggestions must be subtle, or a mortal’s morality may recognise the wrongness and resist. Later, when a victim has committed a grave sin, the suggestions lose all subtlety. It is a standard methodology for Daedric Princes.”

“Balgruuf said Nelkir has always been a dark child.”

“He is very close in age to Frothar. I doubt there is a nine-month gap between the two. He also looks different from his siblings. Nelkir has probably had suspicions about his parentage for some time. I would not be surprised if these suspicions made him feel different and introversion was the result. Introvert behaviour is often mistaken for a dark mood.”

“Mephala would have figured out the information Nelkir most desired. By confirming his suspicion about his parentage, she groomed him for ensorcellment.”

“Yes, that is the method she and other Dark Lords use. Hermaeus Mora and Mephala are considered siblings by many scholars. They are both similar in their pursuit of knowledge. However, Mora is interested in collecting all forms of knowledge, whilst Mephala seeks secrets to be used for her amusement.”

“Her amusement being the interference in mortal affairs. She likes to manipulate to create outcomes that would otherwise be unlikely.”

“Mephala uses terms associated with spiders to describe her actions. She thinks of the affairs of mortals as a weave. Pulling a single thread may unravel the whole web, and unexpected but entertaining outcomes will occur. To Mephala, the ‘web’ of the Aurbis is an interconnected system of action and consequence, and she metaphorically spins new threads to influence outcomes.”

“Mephala may use such terms, but her methods are not unique amongst her kind.”

“No, they are not, and even more palatable Dark Lords, such as Azura, do similar manipulations. I know The Nine engage in similar manipulations.”

“Isn’t that a bit blasphemous?”

“The truth is not blasphemy, Lyssia. I am aiding them with the erasure of specific bits of history. The manipulation of witness and written accounts is designed to fool a certain subset of beings. History will be corrected when the necessity for falsehood has passed.”

“Perhaps I show some naivety in my expectations regarding The Nine?”

“Not at all. It is the intent of such manipulations that allow the simplistic labelling of good and evil. The Nine do nothing that is designed to harm the mortals they love. Mephala does nothing that is not part of her desire to spread chaos for her amusement. She does not care what harm to mortals may result.”

“You called the labels of good and evil simplistic. Why is that?”

“At the beginning of each kalpa, the et-Ada that become Daedric Princes are randomly assigned their role. An et-Ada that becomes Mephala is altered, so their instinct is to do as she does. Mephala has not chosen her role or behaviour. The metaphor I use is a wolf. If a wolf kills a child and consumes it, that is not an act of evil. It is instinct. If a child is deliberately thrown into a pit containing a hungry wolf, and the wolf kills and consumes the child, the wolf is not evil. The person that threw the child into the pit could be accused of performing an evil act, for it was not their instinct to do so but a conscious action enabled by free will.”

“I understand. It is erroneous to think of Daedric Princes in terms of evil and good.”

“Yes, that is the essence of my understanding. However, there are many nuances involved. For instance, the being that threw the child to the wolf may not think of it as evil, but an observer might. The labels we apply must be understood in context.”

“Okay, there is a lot of deep thinking in all that.”

“Fascinating as this discussion is, we must continue our aid of Nelkir. I will talk to Mephala. You must remain quiet and, preferably, as far away as possible but still able to hear what is said.”

“I thought Mephala would use telepathy.”

“She does, but most mortals would interpret the phenomenon as speech. However, Mephala will have no choice but to speak aloud to me. I have mental blocks that prevent even gods from entering my mind. The drawback is that Mephala will realise I am not an ordinary mortal. However, she may be less cautious than usual in her eagerness to recruit somebody of power.”

“Do you let any beings into your mind?”

“I speak telepathically to dragons, my dog who isn’t a dog, my unicorn friends, some gods, and my fiancé. I choose who to let in. However, when communicating with those I choose, there is no attempt to enter further into my mind than what is required for communication. Daedric Princes will try to delve in further and see what they can find.”

“Ahh…you said dog who isn’t a dog and unicorn friends.”

“Yes, I did.”

“And you said your fiancé.”

“Correct again. I am glad you were listening.”

“You are not going to elaborate, are you?”

“Nope. Let’s go, Daedric bullshit awaits in the basement!”

Despite a roaring fire, the kitchen seemed unnaturally dark, so I use Night Vision

When approaching a small alcove, I sensed a brooding consciousness and told Lyssia, “Wait here. The door is very close.”

“Later, you must tell me how you knew that.”

“Just call it instinct, and I won’t have to tell you it’s a secret.”

“Why is your logic so annoyingly illogical?”


Lyssia wisely kept her mouth shut. The first part of her training was completed.

Night Vision sometimes fails to show enough detail, so I lit my lamp to examine the door.

Layers of blood of various ages and species covered it. It seems many had visited the door and been ensorceled to various degrees.

The door had a simple, easy-to-pick lock. It is probably a storage space beyond, and the lock was not designed to be overly secure. However, a dweomer was placed on the lock, which made it unpickable. It would take time to unravel the dweomer, so the most straightforward path was to find the key. That is assuming the local Daedric Prince can’t open it for me.

I placed my ear near the door as if I was eavesdropping.

Mephala discovered my mind barrier and made several futile attempts to bypass it.

I gave up the pretence of eavesdropping and said, “You will have to whisper for my ears, for my mind is forbidden to you.”

In a whisper that suggested conspiracies and secrets, Mephala said, “I’ve been waiting for someone more fit to carry out my will. The child is spirited but lacks… agency.”

“A child might be incapable of pulling the required threads, Webspinner.”

“So, you know who I am. Webspinner is a name given to me by Dark Elves, the Dunmer, as you call them. It is fitting. I tug at the web of connections between mortals. For instance, these threads connect love, hatred, loyalty, and betrayal. The boy is good at discovering secrets, but that is his limit. You, on the other hand. I expect you to take a more active role.”

“Perhaps. I do not work for free, so let’s negotiate. What do you want me to do, and what is my payment for doing the task?”

“Like all those who listen at doors, you wonder what is beyond them. You need a key to open this door. It is magically sealed, and nobody has ever entered without the key.”

“Who has the key?”

“The Jarl is right to fear the power I hold behind this door. The Jarl trusts few, and that will be his undoing. The dark child knows of what I speak. Let him guide your path.”

“Like you, I prefer that everything I do to have purpose. Obtaining a key to enter a room with unknown contents lacks purpose, for I cannot weigh effort versus reward.”

“The Leech is the reward that awaits you. I desire it to be in the hands of an ambitious and talented person like yourself.”

“The Warrior wielded The Ebony Blade in 4E 180 in Rivercrest. That is the last recorded sighting of that mighty weapon. I do believe that particular mortal hero still lives. Therefore, I surmise he held onto the sword too long, and the forgotten mage’s dweomer forced him to relinquish it. It is fortuitous that I will now possess it.”

“The Ebony Blade has languished too long outside the winds of alliance and betrayal. It must first drink the blood of deceit to return to its past glory. To return to its past glory, it must reacquaint itself with the hatred of this world. Your world is admirably steeped in lies and inclinations. My blade is a darling leech that feeds on deceptions and nourishes its master. Seek out those closest to you. The final pluck of their misguided heartstrings will accompany my blade in the song of your grandeur. The blade will feed on the ire of Tamriel. Bathe in your infamy. Feel the weight of their loathing, and my power will course through it once more.”   

“I will return with the key and claim my reward.”

When I reached her, Lyssia looked disturbed by the situation.

“You heard Lord Arkay’s voice. What do you think of Mephala’s?”

“It reminds me of when I was a child and wanted to share a secret with a friend. Whispers in the ear with a hand blocking the deed from snooping eyes.”

“Mephala is similar to Hermaeus Mora in that she thinks I am willing to trade my soul for something of limited value. I know the capabilities of The Ebony Blade. They are nothing compared to the sword I already wield. The knowledge offered by Mora was of limited use. Meridia was proud of the sword she was sure I would wield when, once again, it was nothing compared to the one I carry. Lord Sheogorath promised me a strawberry torte the next time we meet! I was disappointed it wasn’t some wonderful cheese. The sword Azura gave me is excellent but still not as powerful as mine. I do like the gold Katana Boethia gave me and might use it. Malacath offered me eternal life and a kingdom, but I said no and destroyed his Oblivion Gate.”

“Umm…okay. May I ask a question?”

“Sure, and you might even get an answer.”

“These items were rewards for doing the bidding of Daedric Princes. Doesn’t that conflict with your role as Champion of The Divines?”

“Only if I performed deeds incompatible with The Ten Commands of The Nine Divines. Also, my tasks were needed to fulfil my duties as Champion of The Divines. They were not at any Daedric Prince’s bidding but happened to please them for various reasons.”

“What did you do to earn a strawberry torte from Sheogorath?”

“I entered the mind of Emperor Pelagius III and cured his insanity.”

“That madman has been dead for ages.”

“And why is that a problem?”

“Okay…Um, what is next.”

“I get the key to the door. Then, I will take The Ebony Blade and place it where it can be studied but never removed. We don’t place real relics on display in my museum. They are in a secure pocket plane shared with The College of Winterhold.”

“Will we ask Nelkir about the key?”

“Only if we have to. I promised to tell Jarl Balgruuf what ails his son. Perhaps he knows where the key is. I am also curious why such a dangerous artefact is locked in his basement.”

Balgruuf’s face was lined with worry.

  • Balgruuf: Well, do you know what is wrong with my boy?
  • Wulf: He has been ensorcelled by the Daedric Prince called Mephala.
  • Balgruuf: How?
  • Wulf: Do not play ignorant with me, Balgruuf! You know what is hidden in your castle. It is hard to miss the blood-covered door.
  • Irileth: Speak to our Jarl with respect!
  • Wulf: Irileth, do you have something to do with your mistress’s presence in this castle?
  • Irileth: What do you mean?
  • Wulf: Were you not a Morag Tong assassin murdering in Mephala’s name?
  • Irileth: How dare you!
  • Wulf: How dare I tell the truth and demand the same courtesy from others?
  • Irileth: How did you find information that few know?
  • Wulf: I heard rumours, and you just confirmed their validity. You aren’t very good at this, are you?
  • Balgruuf: Enough! Nothing matters but the wellbeing of my boy.
  • Wulf: If that is so, you will tell me the truth. Was Nelkir born out of wedlock?
  • Balgruuf: Yes. Not long before my wife died, I had difficulties with the responsibilities heaped upon me. I turned to booze and women to help me deal with it all. This irresponsible behaviour ceased when I got a young barmaid pregnant. My wife died birthing Frothar, ignorant of my indiscretions. A few months later, the barmaid died birthing Nelkir. She named her child as she bled out. I did not love the woman. She knew that. But I have loved Nelkir since the midwife handed him to me. He is a product of lust but loved no less than my other children.
  • Wulf: Why haven’t you told Nelkir the truth?
  • Balgruuf: How do you explain such things to a child? How do I justify breaking sacred marriage vows as I turned to booze and sex? I abandoned my city, its people, and my children for a time. Holding Nelkir brought me back to the reality of my duty, and I was soon as you see me now, a beloved Jarl who almost failed those who relied on him. Frothar and Dagney missed out on my love for some time. Nelkir never did.
  • Wulf: Children are not ignorant, my Jarl. At his age, I assume, and hope, Nelkir had been taught about reproduction. He probably realised that his age and Frothar’s are not more than nine months apart. He could see that Dagny and Frothar resemble each other but not himself. He wanted answers and went looking for them when they were not volunteered. Nelkir became adept at snooping, and old castles like this provide plenty of spy holes and secret passages ideal for eavesdropping. He discovered his father was involved in activities he thought were wrong, such as worshipping Lord Talos and hating The Thalmor. Who knows what else he saw and heard when adults think they have privacy? Nelkir discovered that adults lie and are hypocrites who break the rules without punishment.
  • Balgruuf: Discovering these things led to mistrust.
  • Wulf: Yes, and that mistrust turned to hate. Mephala knew the answer to Nelkir’s biggest question. She confirmed he was a bastard and gained his trust. She was the first adult to tell him the truth. She then told him a few other secrets that increased Nelkir’s anger towards you and the world. However, as a child, Nelkir is restricted in what he can do for his mistress. She wanted to recruit somebody else, and when Nelkir told her about me, I became her choice.
  • Balgruuf: Is there no hope for Nelkir?
  • Wulf: Yes, if we remove the relic or shrine, or both, that allows Mephala’s presence to manifest, Nelkir will recover with help and understanding from his father, siblings, and Priest or Priestess of The Nine. I suggest Priestess Danica Pure-Spring and Nelkir spend time with her in The Temple of Kynareth.
  • Balgruuf: Please, take care of the evil before it affects anybody else.
  • Wulf: How did The Ebony Blade end up in a storage room of Dragonsreach?
  • Balgruuf: I purchased it from Belethor. He denied all knowledge of its sinister identity.
  • Irileth: Believe me, Lord Welkynd, Belethor was terrified of me when I confronted him after we realised what the sword was. He purchased a deceased estate lot from Rivercrest. The sword was amongst the goods and did not reveal its identity to him. Therefore, he was innocent of any crime. He displayed the sword, and Jarl Balgruuf heard of its craftsmanship.
  • Balgruuf: There were no whispers when I inspected it in Belethor’s store. Belethor said many people were interested, so I agreed to his price. The whispers started when we returned to Dragonsreach, and I unsheathed it to admire its beauty. I was not tempted by the offers made and sheathed it. I then asked Farengar to help. He did some research and told me what it was. I was ashamed of bringing such evil into Dragonsreach. We tried melting the sword in The Skyforge, but it seemed to drink the flames and was not harmed. Farengar suggested putting it in that room. We did so, and then Farengar sealed it with a spell he purchased from The College of Winterhold. Since then, we have ignored its existence.
  • Wulf: Farengar knew what it was, and that was his solution. I don’t expect you to understand the danger such a relic is to people. If Farengar read anything about that sword, he understood how dangerous it was. His solution was inadequate and incompetent.
  • Irileth: What would you have suggested, Lord Welkynd?
  • Wulf: The idiots are all over Skyrim and not hard to find. Reporting the sword to The Vigilants of Stendarr would have guaranteed its swift removal. If they couldn’t destroy it, they would have stored it where many other Daedric relics are. It would have been placed in their impenetrable vault.
  • Balgruuf: You can growl at Farengar later. Right now, I want to know how we can help Nelkir.
  • Wulf: Who has the key to the door?
  • Balgruuf: I have one. Farengar has another.
  • Wulf: Give me the key. I will retrieve the sword and then place it where few people can visit.
  • Balgruuf: Won’t Mephala try to ensorcell you?
  • Wulf: She can’t, my Jarl. You refused her whispered offer. I have had a Daedric Prince offer me immortality and a kingdom, and I refused. Therefore, an average sword is not going to tempt me.
  • Balgruuf: Average?
  • Wulf: Even at its most lethal, The Ebony Sword can inflict a fraction of the damage my sword is capable of.
  • Balgruuf: Thank you for being so forward with me, Lord Welkynd. Nirn would be a better place if more people cut through the bullshit.
  • Irileth: Don’t expect a thank you from me anytime soon. You caught me in a simple trap, which has bruised my ego.
  • Wulf: I have heard a bottle of Sujamma works wonders on bruised egos.
  • Balgruuf: You have remained silent during this discussion, Mage Lyssia.
  • Lyssia: I was watching a master at work, Jarl Balgruuf. You should have heard Wulf run rings around Mephala.

Balgruuf’s keyring held dozens of keys. However, he quickly found the correct one among many lookalikes.

Lyssia and I made our way to the basement.

I instructed her, “Stand where you were last time.”

“How will I know if you need help?”

“I will scream and plead and probably cry.”

“You are doing it deliberately, aren’t you?”

“Doing what?”

“Acting like a lunatic to see if I will stop wanting to travel with you.”

“This is me, Lyssia. It is not an act. If you travel with a group of Dragonguard and me, you will discover that light and sometimes dark humour is rampant.”

“Okay. Perhaps I am too used to the constant serious tone of College of Whispers mages?”

“I hate stick-up-the-arse intellectuals. Perhaps I should leave this investigation to them since it involves whispers.”

Lyssia sighed and rolled her eyes.

I approached the door, but there was no need to use the key. It was wide open.

I said, “The door is open. There is a dead maid on the floor, lots of blood and a Shrine of Mephala.”

“Can you see the sword?”

“No, I think that was used to kill the maid.”

“Wulf, we didn’t notice because there is not much, but there is a blood trail.”

“Terrific. We have somebody loose in Dragonsreach with The Ebony Blade.”

I approached the dead woman. Next to her was a dagger. It seems she tried to defend herself.

I turned her over. The maid was elderly and probably a long-time employee. She had been stabbed multiple times in a frenzy of violence. I did not doubt that The Ebony Blade was the weapon used.

I usually would perform Arkay’s Rights. However, it was too late for the maid. Her soul was now in Spiral Skein, Mephala’s many realms of Oblivion connected by Ghostweb. It will remain there till a new kalpa begins.

On a pedestal was a book titled ‘Admonition Against Ebony.’

It said,

“To anyone reading this: BEWARE THIS BLADE

It is hoped that the only people who can access this room are the Jarl of Whiterun and his trusted wizard. If anyone else is reading this, please understand the magnitude of your folly, turn around, and never even speak of this room or this blade to anyone.

It has corrupted and perverted the desires of great men and women. Yet its power is without equal—to kill while your victim smiles at you. Only a Daedra most foul could have concocted such a malevolent and twisted weapon. But it appears that all who wield it end up with the crazed eyes of those wild men who roam the hills chattering with rabbits.

It is not to be trifled with. Not even the hottest fires of the Skyforge could melt it; indeed, the coals themselves seemed to cool when it was placed within. We cannot destroy it, and we would not have it fall into the hands of our enemies. So, we keep it hidden, dark and deep within Dragonsreach, never to be used.

Woe be to any who choose to take it.”

The book lacked an author. Since it referred to Balgruuf and Farengar in the third person, I assume Irileth is the author.

A bloodied note on the ground contained nonsensical ramblings.

I approached Mephala’s shrine, knowing she would not resist some boasting.

I asked, “Who took the sword, Webspinner?”

Her whispers this time were full of amusement.

“This has been unexpectedly but delightfully entertaining. The child was more resourceful than I thought. He stole the key from the mage days ago but lacked the courage to enter. However, he was worried you would enter before him. So, after you left, he entered. He saw The Leech, and he desired The Leech. I told him how it needed to drink the blood of deceit. A few minutes later, he entered the room with Fianna and closed the door. He grabbed the sword and cut the woman across the abdomen. Shocked, she armed herself with a dagger, and he cut her hand, forcing her to drop it. He ordered her to kneel, which she did. After he tired of the woman’s begging and pleading, the child started to stab Fianna and grunted with each thrust like a rutting pig. It was amusing at first, but The Leech needed more. I interrupted his revelry and told him to hide.”

“You expect me to find Nelkir and kill him to claim the sword.”

“That would prove you are worthy of wielding it.”

“I am Wulf Welkynd. I am Dragonborn and Ningheim. Few mortals have wielded the powers I command. I am tasked with protecting Mundus’ mortals; therefore, you are my enemy. I shall retrieve The Ebony Blade without harming Nelkir. Then I shall take it to Aetherius, where it shall be destroyed. It will never harm another person.”

“You cannot wrench the child from my clasp. You will feed The Leech.”

I laughed and said, “Thousands of mortals have fallen to me in battle. I am not a feeble old maid. Now, feel the power of Lady Kynareth!”

My Thu’um was more powerful and better focused than ever before. I Shouted Unrelenting Force, directing its energy to the centre of the marble shrine. It did not shatter but turned to fine dust that drifted randomly.

No harm was done to Dragonsreach, although my Thu’um echoed.

I exited the room and saw blood I had not noticed earlier.

When I reached Lyssia, I said, “There is no time for your million questions. We need to find Nelkir, but first, we must tell Balgruuf what has happened.”

The blood trail led to the kitchen and then the dungeon.

We rushed to Balgruuf.

  • Balgruuf: Was that The Voice?
  • Wulf: Yes, I used it to destroy Mephala’s Shrine.
  • Balgruuf: A shrine? How did that get in there?
  • Wulf: That is not relevant at the moment. Nelkir has the sword, and he used it to kill Fianna. He has fled, but I can find him.
  • Balgruuf: By the gods, you’re serious!
  • Lyssia: Yes, Jarl Balgruuf, he is serious!
  • Balgruuf: You must get to him. Go quickly! But don’t hurt him!
  • Wulf: I won’t harm him, but he is a menace to every person he encounters.
  • Irileth: Where is he?
  • Wulf: The dungeon. He might be looking for the exit through the sewers he overheard you and Jarl Balgruuf discussing.
  • Irileth: Should I summon the guards, Jarl Balgruuf?
  • Wulf: NO! If Nelkir feels threatened or cornered, he will lash out. I can rescue him unharmed.
  • Balgruuf: Then please, go and save my boy.

There was blood on the door leading to the dungeons.

Lyssia asked, “How much blood was in that room?”

“More than one little old maid had in her.”

“How big was the shrine?”

“Five feet of solid marble.”

“More than one person must have entered that room.”

“Mephala lied about that. Whoever entered in the past were unworthy of The Ebony Blade. Still, the blood on the door and the room suggests they sacrificed animals. I wonder how many pet cats and dogs of Whiterun have vanished?”

“Oh, the poor things.”

We entered the dungeon, and a prisoner lay slain in the first cell to the right. Next to the corpse was an unlocked and open trapdoor leading to the sewers. Still in the lock of the trapdoor was a key attached to a keyring.

Opposite the cell was the guard barracks. I called, “This is Thane Welkynd. Are there any guards here?”

A guard with a familiar face came running and halted.

“Yes, Thane Welkynd, what is it?”

“Guard Alfarnesson, is the cell opposite supposed to be locked?”

“Yes, Thane.”

“Well, it is unlocked, open, and the prisoner is dead.”


“You weren’t sleeping, were you, Guard Alfarnesson?”

“No, Thane Welkynd. I have just arrived for my shift and couldn’t find the keys. They are not on the hook where they are supposed to be.”

“The keys are attached to the now open trapdoor.”

“The murderer is in the sewers!”

“Who is the unfortunate in the cell?”

“Elddi Long-Smasher. He was our guest for a few days for drunk and disorderly. He had soiled three different sets of clothes. I was going to bring him yet another set.”

“I am entering the sewers in pursuit of a dangerous fugitive. You and Mage Lyssia are to shut and lock the trapdoor after me and not open it again for anybody but me.”


Lyssia asked, “What if the ‘dangerous fugitive’ tries to open the trapdoor?”

“Cast paralysis on them and then tie them up.”

I moved beside Elddi and said, “First, I will perform Arkay’s Rights. Elddi Long-Smasher’s soul may be lost.”

My audience remained silent with heads bowed while I recited the ancient rights.

I then lowered myself into the sewers.

I heard Nelkir’s voice, and Heat Vision let me see where he was. He seemed to be stabbing at something.

On my way to him, I came across a mutilated Skeever.

Nelkir finished stabbing whatever he had with him and stood.

When I was close, he started talking again to Mephala. I stopped to listen. I could only hear the child as the Daedric Prince spoke to him telepathically. Nelkir did not know how to answer the same way.

“Yes, I understand. Fianna was excellent work, and her death fed The Leech. However, the prisoner meant nothing to me. Therefore, his death did not nourish it.”

Nelkir listened and replied, “Getting to Dagny or Frothar might be difficult. Soon, all of Whiterun will be searching for me. I have many friends in the city, including children, who trust me. After all, I am the Jarl’s son, so they try to gain my favour.”

If I were to confront Nelkir, The Daedric Prince wanted it to be entertaining. So, she snitched on me, and Nelkir’s mood changed.

“I told you he was a mighty hero and flies on dragons and stuff. He won’t take my sword without a fight, and yes, I know he will fight back, unlike the practice dummies, old maids, and drunk prisoners. Although Fianna did try to use her dagger, which was funny.”

I stepped into the alcove, and Nelkir stared at me. He was covered in blood and gore. Another dead and mutilated Skeever lay at his feet.

“Hello, Nelkir.”

His false bravado faltered, and he stammered, “You…you really shouldn’t be here. Ah, leave…leave now!”

“You don’t like liars, do you Nelkir?”

“I hate them, hate them, HATE THEM!”

“Was Fianna a liar?”

“Haha. Fianna knelt when I ordered her to. She said, ‘Please, have mercy, Nelkir. I beg you! I don’t understand. I have always loved you. I followed you in here because you wanted my help. So please, stop hurting me.’”

“You killed Fianna.”

“Hahaha, yeah, I like having a little fun.”

“Was Fianna a liar?”

“Why do you keep asking that?”

“You got angry because people were lying and breaking rules. I want to know why you got angry at Fianna. She must have lied to you. Is that why?”

“No…no…Fianna didn’t lie to me or break any rules.”

“You stabbed her many times as if you were furious with her. Maybe you just hated Fianna for no reason.”

“My sword, it needed me to kill somebody who trusted me. The Whispering Lady and the sword wanted me to kill. They made me do it!”

“That is not true, Nelkir. Now, you are the liar. The sword and The Whispering Lady are the same being speaking to you. She can’t make you do anything. If you tried hard, you could say no to her. The Whispering Lady asked your father to kill, and he said no. She thought I would hunt you, kill you, and take the sword. Would I do that, Nelkir? Could The Whispering Lady make me hurt my friend?”

“No, you are a hero. You have orphanages and help everybody, and Father said you saved the city and…and…SHUT UP! I am talking to Lord Welkynd and not you.”

“Nobody will blame you for what you did, Nelkir. Although you could have said no to The Whispering Lady, she made it hard by using tricks and pretending to be your friend. You thought she was the only honest one. However, she is the biggest liar you can imagine. She uses people to hurt other people. She used you, and now two people are dead, which made her happy.”

“She is still talking to me. Please…make it stop.”

“Hand me the sword, and I shall put it in a special box. Then you won’t be able to hear the liar anymore.”

“Lord Welkynd, a bad thing that made me angry is Numinex’s skeleton. It is wrong that his skull is on display as a trophy. What should happen to it?”

“It contains the soul of Numinex and should be buried until it is time for him to be restored. If we placed his skeleton on the balcony of Dragonsreach, one of my friend dragons could take it away and bury it.”

“And that dragon would talk to me, and we could be friends.”

“Yes, indeed. You might be given a dragon name, which is a very special compliment.”

Nelkir handed me The Ebony Blade.

Mephala’s voice could not be physically heard via the sword, but I felt her beat against my mind’s barrier.

Nelkir watched as I placed the sword in my Journal Case and closed it. Then he sighed with relief, and what stood before me was an average child who looked too tired to care.

I asked, “Are you tired, Nelkir?”

“Yes…I don’t feel…right. I’m going to lie down for a while…”

The child lay down and immediately fell into a deep sleep.

Anger built as I looked at the gore-covered boy. I had thwarted Mephala, but I wanted to tear her apart for the innocence she corrupted. I was going to roar in frustration, but the rational part of me knew that would wake Nelkir and was wrong. I don’t know how long I stood and stared at the child as darkness clouded my thoughts.

Suddenly, Rigmor’s urgency was felt through the ring. I did not care how, as Our Quiet enveloped me.

“Wulf, what is wrong? You were getting angrier and angrier and didn’t seem to hear me. I rushed out of the welcoming banquet and into a privy, trying to get your attention. Now…now…wow! Our Quiet!”



“I don’t know how the rings share emotions or allow Our Quiet to work. The Nine wouldn’t be able to tell me if I asked. But I was spiralling into darkness fuelled by intense anger, and you have dragged me back to the light.”

“What happened?”

“I will tell you briefly, as I need assistance for Nelkir, Jarl Balgruuf’s son. The Daedric Prince Mephala ensorcelled him. He killed a maid and a defenceless prisoner. She stole his innocence, Rigmor. And I wanted to hurt her, but I can’t.”

“Of all the darkness you could face, what she did to Nelkir is possibly the worst.”

“I have to go now, my beloved. Nelkir needs his father and the help of The Nine to recover.”

“Tell me about it soon, Wulf. I won’t be in the best condition until after lunch tomorrow. I never knew how many different types of mead were brewed in Bruma!”

“In seconds, I have gone from bleakness to smiling. Lady Mara has given us the most wonderful gifts, Rigmor, but our love powers the rings.”

“Always remember the power of that love, my fiancé.”

I was still staring at Nelkir, but now I felt determination, not anger.

I went to the trapdoor and said, “Please open the trapdoor. It is Wulf.”

Alfarnesson asked, “How do we know it’s you, Thane Welkynd?”

“Okay, you two, you heard the lady. Out you go!”

“Begging your pardon, Thane. It is him, Mage Lyssia.”

The trapdoor opened, and I climbed out of the sewers.

I said, “Guard Alfarnesson, Jarl Balgruuf’s son, Nelkir, is at the far end of the sewer entrance. You don’t have to go through the gates or the water to reach him. You are to stand guard over him. You are not to try and wake him. If he does wake before his father reaches him, remain calm and try to answer any questions he has. If you don’t know the answer, explain to Nelkir that you don’t know. Do not lie to him.”

“I am confused, Thane. What has happened to the boy, and why these instructions?”

“It is up to Jarl Balgruuf to reveal what has happened.”

“Okay, I shall attend to him immediately.”

As Alfarnesson entered the sewers, we made our way to the throne.

Balgruuf was at the entrance to the kitchen, waiting on news.

I explained, “Nelkir is no longer under the influence of Mephala. He is in a deep sleep at the far end of the dry part of the sewers. I have sent Guard Alfarnesson to stand watch over him.”

“Oh, thank the Gods!”

“I will take care of the sword.”

“Do not mention this to anybody.”

“Jarl Balgruuf, keeping secrets led to this tragedy! Nelkir also killed a defenceless drunk called Elddi Long-Smasher. His soul is now in Aetherius. Fianna’s soul now resides with Mephala in Oblivion.”

“Nelkir wasn’t responsible. He shouldn’t be punished!”

“No, he isn’t to blame, but keeping this secret will require more dishonesty. You need to go to Nelkir and wait for him to awaken. When he wakes, he will feel great guilt. Hold him and let him talk. He will confess, so assure him it is not his fault. Your love will be more reassuring than any words you speak. Before you go to him, send somebody to fetch Priestess Danica. It would be ideal if she is there before Nelkir awakes. She will tell you what I said before. Your son is better off inside Kynareth’s Temple. However long that may be needed will be up to Priestess Danica. Do not ignore her advice.”

Irileth had been listening and said, “Go to Nelkir, Jarl Balgruuf. I shall fetch Priestess Danica.”

Balgruuf nodded to Irileth, and she sprinted towards the exit.

I told him, “Go now, my Jarl. When you can, please arrange for the victims to be collected by Priest Andurs. Arrange for cleansing of the room and burn the door. I shall visit after noon tomorrow, for you have a decision to make.”

Lyssia observed everything without comment. She saw the less jovial Wulf Welkynd, and I think the contrast surprised her.

I walked with purpose towards Farengar’s laboratory. I caught up with him as he approached his sleeping quarters.

I said, “Court Wizard Farengar. We need to talk.”

He turned and looked concerned, for my tone betrayed my mood.

I stopped a few feet away, and he stared into my eyes.

“It is your duty, as Court Wizard, to provide accurate and sage advice to Jarl Balgruuf.”

“That is correct, and I think I do an admirable job.”

“You are an arrogant twat, and although there is intelligence in you, it is overshadowed by immense idiocy!”

Lyssia was too late to stifle a giggle. Farengar realised that two powerful mages thought little of him.

He asked, “What crime have I committed to earn such condemnation?”

“When was the last time you visited the door to the room containing The Ebony Sword?”

Farengar turned white.

He replied, “A couple of years ago.”

“Was it covered in blood when you saw it?”


“Did Mephala whisper to you?”


“Where is the key to the door, Mage Farengar?”

“In my drawer in my study alcove.”

“No, it isn’t. Nelkir has it. Mephala ensorceled him before he stole your key. He used the key and obtained The Ebony Blade. He then killed Fianna with it, condemning her soul to Oblivion. He also killed a prisoner in the dungeon whose only crime was drunkenness.”


“Don’t you dare say this is not your fault! Jarl Balgruuf is a warrior and relies on advisors when something is outside his experience or expertise. He relied on you for advice about The Ebony Blade. You read about it. You knew its history, yet your advice was to lock it in a room and ignore it. Tell me why you thought that was the best course of action.”

“The Jarl was embarrassed about bringing such evil into Dragonsreach. He didn’t want anybody outside a small circle of his advisors to know.”

“You must provide the best advice for Whiterun, not the most pleasing to the Jarl. The fact that you realised something was wrong two years ago and still said nothing adds to your blame. What should you have advised?”

“That we contact The Vigilants of Stendarr or a Priest or Priestess of The Divines. They could have removed and disposed of the sword.”

“But you didn’t have the backbone to suggest that course of action, and the result is two innocents dead and a young boy tainted by Mephala and the evil he performed.”

“Is Nelkir okay? Where is the sword?”

“His father is attending to Nelkir. Priestess Danica should soon arrive to assist. He might recover fully or be plagued with visions of his actions for the rest of his life. He will always be vulnerable to Mephala, for she has carved a home in his mind.”

“I have erred. But what can I do to address it?”

“You must apologise to Jarl Balgruuf and accept the blame. He feels guilt, and some parts of this sad affair are his fault. However, he followed the advice of somebody he trusted. Alas, that person did not dare to advise what was best, not the most palatable. That person, you, owns the majority of the guilt for what has happened. I am guessing Jarl Balgruuf will seek reassurance from you that you will speak your mind in the future. That is what people with huge responsibilities need from their advisors.”

“I will do as you say, Lord Welkynd. I shall have to time it right, as I expect Whiterun will be under threat again very soon.”

“In a few days, Ulfric will attack Whiterun. He shall try and kill its citizens and destroy its walls and buildings. Jarl Balgruuf is hesitant to believe a fellow Nord who once fought against tyranny is willing to be tyrannical. I will convince him with some truths, and if he doesn’t quickly side with The Empire, he will lose Whiterun, even if The Dragonguard and I defeat Ulfric. His Imperial Majesty would call for a vote from the moot to remove Jarl Balgruuf, and I have no doubt he would be removed.”

“I will do my best to ease his guilt, Lord Welkynd.”


Farengar entered his sleeping chambers. When I turned around, Lyssia was sitting.

I asked, “Are you still interested in travelling with me and The Dragonguard, Lyssia?”

“After what I have witnessed with The Orb of The Divines and today, I do.”


“You are doing your best to help every mortal, whether one at a time or many at once. While doing so, you discover relics and beings of legend. So yes, I want to help and learn.”

“What you would learn about me can never be spoken about to anybody. To do so would risk me and, therefore, Nirn and Mundus. Do you understand?”


“That is easy to say, so this is what I propose. You can live in my Safehouse connected to my museum. Some tasks might suit your involvement, as my secrets would not be exposed. The time in The Safehouse will allow you to consider the commitment and see how The Dragonguard and I operate as a team. Is this acceptable?”

“Will I have access to your museum?”

“It is not officially open, but select people currently have access. You can be one of them. If you want, the museum’s cooks will provide your meals. You can eat with the museum’s staff, including The Chief Librarian, Auryen.”

“Is there anybody else in The Safehouse?”

“Miraak, another Dragonborn and ex-Dragon Priest. He was born before The Dragon War.”

“Wow, he must be wrinkly.”

“Miraak is trying to learn forty-five centuries of history. This task is necessary to put things in context before he accompanies me. He has not been told my secrets yet.”

“Okay, please take me to The Safehouse. When people stop trying to destroy Jarl Balgruuf’s city, I will arrange to transport my stuff to Solitude.”

“There is ample new clothing to choose from in The Safehouse. Before you travel with me, I shall place dweomer on your outfit and weapon and give you a ring you might find useful.”

“I had better stand then. When you teleport, you come out of the ether in the position you entered.”

“Yes, so you would fall on your arse.”

Lyssia stood, and we teleported into The Safehouse.

Lyssia exclaimed, “Wow, this place looks expensive!”

“It is nothing compared to my palace. But still, it is comfortable.”

“Do I get a tour?”

“Yes, and I will even let you ask some of those questions you have been stewing over.”

As I showed Lyssia around, she probed for information.

She asked, “When you spoke to Mephala, you said you were Dragonborn and Ningheim. What is a Ningheim?”

“Occasionally, when The Divines choose a mortal champion, they provide blessings separate from those that Lord Akatosh bestows on Dragonborn. The recipient’s race is changed. Therefore, whatever I was prior, my race is now Ningheim.”

“What kind of blessings?”

“I can read people’s souls. I can read any being’s soul, but I mistakenly viewed a god’s soul, which was not good for my sanity. I can teleport to anywhere within eyesight by willpower alone. No spell or Shout is needed. If I die, I don’t.”


“I was recently shot in the throat by a bolt covered in Jarrow Root poison. I was then stabbed twice through the armpits and into my chest cavity. A blessing bestowed when becoming Ningheim stopped the poison from killing me. Lady Azura anchored part of my soul to Mundus while my Consciousness wandered The Void for several days. I had to will myself back into my body, which Lady Azura had repaired.”

“You say these things with such casualness. As if they are everyday events.”

“I wandered through a dead emperor’s mind. Just accept these things are possible when I am trying to save mortals from bad people and beings.”

“You told Mephala you are Wulf Welkynd. You would you give a Daedric Prince your real name.”

“Well, it is my legal name in Skyrim. My real name hints at secrets, so I am Wulf Welkynd to you for now. Everybody calls me Wulf. Well, every mortal, anyway.”

“Who is your fiancé?”


“Where were you born?”

“An island close to Roscrea.”

“When you identified yourself to the guard, was that some sort of passcode?”

“No. Guard Alfarnesson recently evicted me and my fiancé from The Bannered Mare. That is what he said before realising he was evicting a Thane.”

“What did you do to deserve that?”

“I was innocent. However, my fiancé did threaten to stick the bard’s flute up his chute. He was lucky I stopped her. Otherwise, he would have been walking funny for months.”

“I hope to meet this fine lady one day.”

“If you join my band of misfits, you will.”

“How many times have you been to Oblivion?”

“Pelagius’ mind was a pocket plane of The Shivering Isles. I have been to a pocket plane of Attribution’s Share to battle Boethia’s champions. I walked through The Ash Pit to close Malacath’s Oblivion Gate. I spent tedious hours in Apocrypha to defy Hermaeus Mora and rescue Miraak. So that is five realms and eight visits.”

“Have you ever met a Divine in Aetherius?”

“Many of them talk to me, but the only one I have met in Aetherius is Lord Talos. He made this armour I am wearing. I have also met Saint Alessia in Aetherius.”

“Saint Alessia? She is a hero to many oppressed people.”

“The Slave Rebellion was a tremendous victory of good over evil. Her opponents were the Daedric worshipping Ayleid, and they wielded terrible magics. Aedra worshipping Ayleid were part of her army, and her empire was truly multicultural. Respect for Man, Mer and the beast races was paramount and the core of its principles.”

Many other questions were asked. A large percentage were answered with, ‘Secret.’

As Lyssia decided what bed she would use, I heard Miraak enter, so I went to his room.

“Good evening, Miraak.”

“It has been a productive day, Wulf. I only have forty-centuries to go!”

“Much of prehistory is exactly that. Very little was written, and many oral histories died with their civilisations. You should breeze through what little is known.”

“Auryen warned me it would get confusing when I encounter Dragon Breaks.”

“The best way to deal with them is to read accounts from each timeline before proceeding with the combined one. That way, when you come across anomalies, you can assign blame to a Dragon Break. We can also ask Silah, the Jill, to clarify things if necessary.”

“Mora dares to pronounce he is the holder of all knowledge. I doubt Apocrypha holds it all.”

“If he already held all knowledge, his purpose would cease to be, and so would he. He covets all knowledge, but he will never possess it. He will strive to do so till the end of the kalpa.”

“I ventured into the streets but quickly retreated into the museum. Nothing is familiar, and it was disorienting.”

“It will take time and be much easier when travelling with us. Solitude is very cosmopolitan, and its docks welcome ships from the entirety of Nirn. Its people are used to unfamiliar races and realise that not everybody understands everyday things like how we greet each other or haggle at the market, etcetera. Nobody is going to be offended by a stranger’s awkwardness.”

“I heard you speaking to somebody. Is it the mage?”

“Yes, her name is Lyssia. Within The Empire, there are three main bodies for magical study. In Skyrim, The College of Winterhold is the premier body. In Cyrodiil and High Rock, The College of Whispers and The Synod are preeminent. You will learn of their differences. Lyssia is a mage of The College of Whispers. They rarely travel to Skyrim, and she is also unfamiliar with its people and cities.”

“I am exhausted and will greet her tomorrow.”

“She will be eating in the museum, so you will have plenty of opportunity to talk. You might find her perspective on some events differs from Auryen’s, which is beneficial. No matter how good the historian and Auryen is one of the best, personal bias can creep in.”

“Some of the members of The Explorers Society seem a bit odd. Is that a polite expression?”

‘Eccentric and obsessed are my preferred terms. But they are good people and very knowledgeable in their specialist fields.”

“I have never dealt with Khajiiti before. Are they all as bouncy as Latoria?”

“Generally, they are carefree and optimistic people. Latoria takes those traits to the extreme.”

“I have not yet looked through the armour collection.”

“That’s okay. You have time. Good night, Miraak.”

“Good night, Wulf.”

I made my way to Lyssia once more.

“Miraak is exhausted. You will be able to meet him tomorrow.”

“I am also exhausted, and all I had to do was keep up with you.”

“Pick some casual clothes, and then I can prepare your rather colourful robes to provide extra protection.”

“Shall do.”

“Good night, Lyssia.”

“What are you going to do with The Ebony Sword?”

“I haven’t decided yet. I dislike destroying relics, but my opinion is rather biased now. I had better not destroy it before thinking about it more.”

“Good night, Wulf.”

I teleported into the palace.

I had a spa, some food and prepared for bed.

I tried speaking to Rigmor, but she was so pickled she made no sense.

I don’t know what time I fell asleep. I know it was with a calm mind and positive outlook. This status is something that would have been impossible without Our Quiet.

6 thoughts on “Whispers

  1. Full exposure meeting Wulf for the first time. What you see is what you get. I always admired that in people. Thank You Mark

  2. ‘The idiots are all over Skyrim and not hard to find. Reporting the sword to The Vigilants of Stendarr would have guaranteed its swift removal. ‘
    Man, I share the annoyance for those pretenders but your timing and phrasing are amazing and, all the time, the way you manage to express Wulf’s feelings about those people make me break in laughs. They definitely remind you of something real! Anyway, as usual, your virtual pages are a roller coaster of emotions and feelings. This small quest of Baalgruuf is enhanced but I played it many times before the war. In a real world it would probably push him to follow better your lead about the civil war indeed. What really reminds me all the time of when a journalist asked Tarantino about his way of mixing violence and other things. Exactly like him and James Gunn’s way of storytelling much later than him, you guide us through a path of violence and make it real and than swap in the middle of it to other manageable emotions, bitting us slowly with them by bit and pieces like a Penny dreadful. Finally you bring us back to the earth and the Quiet.(I always forget now” were you or was Jim who invented it?) This Psijic mind trick(?) makes your pages the best entertainment around for the small time you indulge us.
    Of course, the last two journals were close but you get it.
    Man, I always wanted to ask what inspires you to talk about the Divines and their enemy but probably it is a secret it is better kept hidden.
    As usual, thank you.
    May your road leads you and our fellow-travellers to warm sands!

    1. Jim invented it but they only noticed if when in the tent just before the battle for Table Mountain. Another one of Jim’s ideas started this whole blog. When they jump in the lake and on the other side, Rigmor asks The Dragonborn about his childhood.

      1. I might but I won’t. I will let you amaze us as usual. And don’t forget I am Jim’s supporter as well. Your knowledge of lore alone, though, keeps my mind active in a Tamriel I will never cease to love, play and eventually write fan fictions about.
        Let us know if Bethesda allows you to write for them. I would pre-order your book at full price!!!!!
        I am going to play a bit know, late shift at work..

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