War’s end

Sundas, 12th Frostfall, 4E 201

to Turdas, 23rd Frostfall, 4E 201

I spent the morning playing with the children and dogs in one of the outside pools.

After lunch, it was time to get a decision from Balgruuf. If I had to visit Ulfric, there is no guarantee he would obey The Laws of Parley. Therefore, I transformed from a fun father figure into a killing machine as I donned my armour. The Ka’Po’Tun were on standby if I had to fight to escape The Palace of The Kings. I had no doubt I could reach it unmolested.

I teleported into Dragonsreach and made my way to the throne.

  • Wulf: Good afternoon, my Jarl. How is Nelkir?
  • Balgruuf: He is a resilient boy. But I never want to hear a child, any child, weep the way he did ever again.
  • Irileth: It was truly heartbreaking, more so because he loved Fianna. She was the mother of his wetnurse, and Nelkir regarded her as his grandmother.
  • Balgruuf: Priestess Danica says that Nelkir seeks a way of making restitution for his actions.
  • Wulf: That is a common way of dealing with guilt. Some Dragonguard have a past for which they seek restitution. It is the same with some of the dragons who are my allies.
  • Balgruuf: Nelkir has great compassion. The wounded within the temple drew him to them. I watched as he mopped the brow of an elderly woman with a fever. He spoke to her, and she laughed when telling him about her grandchildren. He may have found his form of redemption and perhaps his calling.
  • Wulf: He is about the right age to be an acolyte. He would learn much within that temple, including alchemy.
  • Balgruuf: If he wants to pursue that path, I will give him my blessing.
  • Irileth: Farengar came to us like a beaten mongrel. I assume you had words with him?
  • Wulf: I do believe he has served our Jarl well, but advisors should not be afraid to say what is the best advice. It is a disservice only to recommend what their superior prefers to hear. A little backbone now and then is the requirement, not meek subservience.
  • Balgruuf: Farengar admitted his error, but as I explained to him, I also contributed to the problem. I kept secrets from Nelkir and was also a cantankerous bastard. I do growl at the messenger if I don’t like the message. Perhaps a bit less Nord surliness is in order from now on.
  • Irileth: My Jarl, it is common to get surlier with age, not less.
  • Balgruuf: Well, old age isn’t something you will have to worry about for another few hundred years.
  • Irileth: I will still be standing here advising your offspring. And offspring of offspring. Probably offspring of offspring of offspring.
  • Balgruuf: The point is, I shouldn’t need people like Lord Welkynd to grumble louder than me to make me listen.
  • Irileth: It can be amusing, my Jarl.
  • Balgruuf: Says the woman whose darkest secret was tricked out of her.
  • Irileth: It would be beneficial if that were never mentioned again, my Jarl.
  • Wulf: I am glad Nelkir is making progress, but I don’t think it will be an easy or short path to recovery.
  • Balgruuf: No, it won’t. But his siblings are determined to help him. They were upset that Nelkir thought they would love him less for being a half-brother. Dagny may seem shallow at times, but her compassion is endless. They will be of great aid to Nelkir.
  • Wulf: I often see the power of childhood compassion, my Jarl. The children in my orphanages are of every race and disparate backgrounds. However, those things do not matter when another orphan is upset and needs comfort.
  • Balgruuf: Okay, Lord Welkynd, you have softened me up. Now, convince me I should take sides in this civil war.
  • Wulf: Let me read what The Thalmor have to say about Ulfric. I will read the dossier I borrowed from their embassy.
  • Balgruuf: You had something to do with that massacre at the party, didn’t you?
  • Wulf: Yes, I killed them all, Jarl Balgruuf. But they have no witnesses to my culling.
  • Irileth: Out of professional curiosity, how good of an assassin are you?
  • Wulf: I can infiltrate anywhere and kill anybody without detection. Lucky for Nirn, I am the good guy. Mephala would love to have me on her team.

From a pocket, I retrieved Ulfric’s dossier and read it aloud.

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

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


Ulfric first came to our attention during the First War against the Empire when he was taken as a prisoner of war during the campaign for the White-Gold Tower. Under interrogation, we learned of his potential value (son of the Jarl of Windhelm), and he was assigned as an asset to the interrogator, now First Emissary Elenwen. He was made to believe the information obtained during his interrogation was crucial in capturing the Imperial City (the city had fallen before he had broken) and then allowed to escape. After the war, contact was established, and he has proven his worth as an asset. The so-called Markarth Incident was particularly valuable from the point of view of our strategic goals in Skyrim, although it resulted in Ulfric becoming generally uncooperative to direct contact.

Operational Notes:

Direct contact remains a possibility (under extreme circumstances), but the asset should generally be considered dormant. We should remain hands-off as long as the civil war proceeds in indecisiveness. The incident at Helgen is an example where an exception had to be made. Ulfric’s death would have dramatically increased the chance of an Imperial victory and thus harmed our overall position in Skyrim. (NOTE: The coincidental intervention of the dragon at Helgen is still under scrutiny. The obvious conclusion is that whoever is behind the dragons is also interested in continuing the war, but we should not assume that their goals align with our own.) However, A Stormcloak victory must be avoided, so even indirect aid to the Stormcloaks must be carefully managed.”

Balgruuf’s mouth opened and closed like a landed fish.

  • Wulf: I swear on The Nine that this dossier is authentic, my Jarl.
  • Irileth: It seems, my Jarl, that The Thalmor have been playing us for fools.
  • Wulf: Not everybody, Irileth. Just before Alduin attacked Helgen, First Emissary Elenwen ordered General Tullius to hand Ulfric to her. He suspected what was written in that dossier and told her she would have to take Ulfric by force. Since she had a platoon, and he had a company, there wasn’t much chance of that being successful.
  • Irileth: The dossier suggests The Thalmor rescued Ulfric from Helgen.
  • Wulf: They did. No survivor saw Ulfric after the first few minutes. He was last seen taking refuge in a tower. He has never praised any Stormcloak for aiding him. And one of my dragon friends saw him in a Thalmor convoy after Alduin attacked.
  • Balgruuf: Why hasn’t this been shown to all the Jarls?
  • Wulf: The diplomatic situation after the embassy massacre was delicate. The Dominion wanted revenge, and our side denied all knowledge of who the culprit may be. Producing that dossier would have been admitting an agent of The Empire was the assassin.
  • Balgruuf: What about Ulfric’s claim he is fighting for the right to worship Talos?
  • Wulf: I have it from the highest authority that Lord Talos doesn’t want or need people to fight over his worship.
  • Balgruuf: Oh, and what authority might that be?
  • Wulf: The authority is Lord Talos. I speak to him often here and in Aetherius. He made this armour I am wearing, my Jarl. I guarantee when I lop Ulfric’s head off, no Amulet of Talos will fall to the floor. As you can see, mine is proudly displayed.
  • Balgruuf: Why wouldn’t Lord Talos want us to fight for him?
  • Wulf: Ulfric is fighting for Ulfric and nobody else. You do not need shrines or amulets to worship any of The Nine. They are physical symbols, but the real essence of Divine love is within us. Obeying the Ten Commands of The Nine Divines is what they require, for to do so ensures the mortals they love prosper.
  • Irileth: What happened at Markarth has always been speculation.
  • Wulf: You can go to Markarth and ask survivors. People lost parents, siblings, friends, children, or spouses to Ulfric’s massacre. I wonder what he will talk about in Sovngarde? Will he boast about how he tied up innocents and slaughtered them? I guarantee he will remain silent about his crushing defeat in this civil war.
  • Balgruuf: How far away is his army?
  • Wulf: The one he left in your Hold is not far away. The one that will join it is a few days away. We expect he will attack Whiterun on the 15th or 16th. If you act now, The Legion will barely be in place before then.
  • Irileth: My Jarl, if he had no intention of attacking Whiterun, why leave Windhelm with such a small garrison? Ulfric is gambling everything on taking Whiterun.
  • Balgruuf: Couldn’t The Dragonguard and dragons defeat him?
  • Wulf: I will not ask dragons to fight in significant battles. Their numbers are low, and I don’t want their deaths to be caused by the follies of mortals. The Dragonguard will inflict many casualties, but I don’t think we can stop them from swarming over us despite earlier confidence. I could lose friends to your reluctance, my Jarl. You would lose Whiterun, no matter the outcome of the battle.
  • Balgruuf: Yes, you are right. Even if Ulfric is defeated, my neutral stance will not be acceptable to the other Jarls.
  • Wulf: The Dossier makes it clear. The Dominion will not let Ulfric win. If he were to take Whiterun, His Imperial Majesty would send many Legions to crush Ulfric, and The Dominion would end any support for the insurrection. The Dragonguard will fight and die to protect your city, my Jarl. They would do it not for you but for your people.
  • Balgruuf: Damn it! I still cannot believe Ulfric would harm my people.
  • Wulf: Then let me take your weapon and offer it to Ulfric.
  • Balgruuf: Here, take it, and let’s pray to Kynareth he obeys The Laws of Parley.
  • Wulf: The Divines cannot and will not interfere, my Jarl. This war is not driven by gods but by the greed of a mortal.

Balgruuf handed me his axe, and I teleported to the outskirts of Windhelm.

Seeing the sun through the thick snow clouds covering the city was difficult. The bridge to the front gates was almost devoid of civilians. The guards and Stormcloaks recognised me, and word of my presence preceded me.

Nobody would challenge me, for I was there for one of two reasons. I was to parley with Ulfric or challenge him to a traditional Nord duel. Nobody would think The Dragonborn was there to murder their Jarl.

Whenever I pass a Ysgramor statue, I wish I was a bird and could shit on it.

Civilian and military people pointed and whispered as I travelled the bleak streets. A city without Khajiiti and Argonian is depressing enough. However, I doubt children ever run through Windhelm’s streets, filling the world with enthusiasm and laughter. Now I understand why some Nords have a fascination with Sovngarde. Even that depressing place was preferable to Windhelm.

When I entered The Palace of Kings, the city’s darkness had permeated its seat of power. I was forced to use Night Vision.

Several Thanes and other nobles sat silently at dining tables as I approached the empty throne.

I made a detour to speak to High Priest Lortheim. He is one of the most senior priests in Skyrim.

I said, “Good afternoon, High Priest Lortheim.”

“Dragonborn, I’ve spent my life serving Talos. I don’t plan to stop now, no matter what the Empire says.”

“I am Champion of The Divines. Dragonborn is a lesser title. And it is not The Empire using resources to stop Lord Talos’ worship.”

“Someday, all of Skyrim will worship Talos openly, as we do here.”

“If you travelled beyond the grey walls of this city, you would know the worship of Talos throughout Skyrim is as strong and as open as it ever was. There is a huge statue of Talos in Whiterun, and Jarl Balgruuf allows free worship of Talos. Yet, in a few days, Ulfric’s Stormcloaks will attack and attempt to kill innocent Talos worshippers in his bid for power. Months ago, I placed a Shrine of Talos in The Temple of The Divines in Solitude, and there it remains. It is frequented by many Talos worshippers openly and without fear. There are dozens of large and visible statues and shrines of Talos all over Skyrim, and nobody has tried to remove them. As you can see, I openly display my Amulet of Talos. Given to me by The Ninth Divine, to whom I speak often.”

“Jarl Ulfric asked me to tell the people of Skyrim that Lord Talos wants us to fight for the right to worship him openly. I refused, for The Ninth Divine has not told a single priest that is his wish. However, I cannot do as other senior priests and priestesses have done and denounce the Stormcloaks. My wife and I live among the most loyal of Ulfric’s supporters. Therefore, silence on the matter is best.”

“I understand, as will Lord Talos. Blessings of The Nine on you and Priestess Jora.”

Ulfric and Galmar Stone-Fist entered the room while I spoke to Lortheim. When they saw I was present, they retired to their map room.

Ulfric’s throne and the entire room showed no reverence for Lord Talos. As I have told others, I doubt Ulfric wears Father’s amulet.

Yrsarald Thrice-Pierced stood near the map as Galmar leant over it. They were determined to put on a pantomime to demonstrate their righteous cause. I was amused enough to listen.

  • Galmar: Whiterun will be yours.
  • Ulfric: Whiterun is only a means to an end.
  • Galmar: I’ve toured our camps. We’re ready, Ulfric.
  • Ulfric: Is any man ever ready to give the order that will mean the deaths of many?
  • Galmar: No. But neither is every man able to give that order when he must. But you were that man, Ulfric. You’ve been that man before, and you’ll be him again. And these men and women call themselves Stormcloaks because they believe in you. They are the meanest, toughest sons of bitches Skyrim has to offer. And they want this. They want this as much as you do. Perhaps they want it more.
  • Ulfric: You’re confident we’re ready? Whiterun’s army will no doubt be bolstered with Legionnaires. And those walls around Whiterun are old, but they still stand.
  • Galmar: We are ready. And I might be old, but I’ll kick those damn walls down with my bare feet―if you only ask me to do it!
  • Ulfric: Ha. And I’m sure you could do it, too. Within days, we shall conquer Whiterun!
  • Galmar: Yes! That is more positive!
  • Ulfric: Dawn will welcome a new era as the sun rises over Whiterun.
  • Galmar: Aye, and the sons of Skyrim will greet that dawn, teeth and swords flashing.
  • Ulfric: And so, it begins.
  • Wulf: When the dawn rises and your army attacks, it will be decimated. They face The Dragonguard and Dragonborn, seasoned Legionnaires, and the Talos-loving guards and citizens of Whiterun. Your claim of Stormcloaks being the meanest and toughest is laughable. Who saved your army and city from dragons? It was a few squads of Dragonguard!

I stepped over to Ulfric, who could not hide his fear.

  • Wulf: Relax, Jarl Ulfric. I am not here to challenge you yet. And I would never break The Laws of Parley.
  • Ulfric: A liar and blasphemer is capable of anything!
  • Wulf: Yes, you have proven that with the slaughter of innocents at Markarth, the murder of your High King, cooperation with The Dominion and false claims about fighting for Lord Talos.
  • Galmar: How dare…
  • Wulf: Galmar, be a good sycophant and shut up! I am here to speak to the Jarl, not one of his unimportant underlings. Why don’t you join your brother and threaten innocent civilians while I speak to Ulfric? Perhaps you want to accept the challenge of a fight I issued so long ago?
  • Ulfric: Why are you here, Dragonborn?
  • Wulf: Jarl Balgruuf has difficulty believing you would attack his city and kill his Talos-worshipping citizens. Therefore, he asked me to deliver this.  

 I held out Balgruuf’s axe.

  • Ulfric: Oh. What’s this? Ahhh… You’re quite brave to carry such a message. It’s a pity you’ve chosen the wrong side… You can return this axe to the man who sent it. And tell him he should prepare to entertain… visitors. I expect great excitement in the city of Whiterun soon…
  • Wulf: Nothing is brave about expecting The Laws of Parley to be honoured. Besides, you don’t have enough people to threaten me. My dragon scouts have observed your army’s every move and regularly reported to me. We are prepared, Ulfric, and history tells you the side led by a Dragonborn has never lost a battle. We will eliminate your army and suffer few casualties amongst Legionnaire or Whiterun Guard. I won’t even use my dragon allies to do this.
  • Galmar: Ysmir’s beard, what a load of bullshit!

Galmar had moved away from the map. Like Ulfric, he could not hide his fear when confronted by a real threat to his life.

In an even tone devoid of emotion, I said, “I am no seer, Galmar, but I can predict your future. The next time I enter The Palace of the Kings, it will be to challenge Ulfric or ask for his surrender. Either way, you will know it signals the destruction of The Stormcloaks and Ulfric’s selfish bid for power. Oh, and when you invoked the name of Ysmir, you invoked me. The Greybeards proclaimed me as Ysmir, Dragon of The North.”

Galmar shrank back.

I continued, “While waiting for my return, ask Ulfric how he escaped Helgen. Ask him why Elenwen ordered General Tullius to hand Ulfric over to her. Ask him why he was seen with a Thalmor patrol riding away from Helgen. Ask him why I wear armour made by Lord Talos and proudly display his amulet yet oppose The Stormcloaks. Ask him why Lord Shor stood beside me at The Battle of Whiterun. You will die for Ulfric’s ambitions, not to protect the worship of Talos.”

I could have immediately teleported out. Instead, I walked to the entrance of The Palace of The Kings and memorised it. I wanted to teleport inside the next time I visited.

Satisfied I had memorised it well enough, I teleported into Dragonsreach and approached the throne.

I held out Balgruuf’s axe. He sighed and looked visibly upset. Irileth took the axe from me.

  • Balgruuf: When will they be here?
  • Wulf: They will attack on the fifteenth or sixteenth. I would say more than likely the later date.
  • Irileth: There aren’t many members of the Dragonguard.
  • Wulf: The Stormcloaks are a mixture of veterans and unblooded. We shall line the route they must take. They either stop to deal with The Dragonguard or continue despite many casualties. The speed and efficiency with which Stormcloaks are slaughtered will be nothing like you or they have ever witnessed. But I expect we cannot stop the tide of fanatics whose only goal is to reach the gates. At some point, I may have to recall The Dragonguard to a more defensive position. At that stage, just as The Stormcloaks think they are succeeding, I want a large force of Legionnaires and Imperial Battlemages to sally forth. That is when the enemy will break and rout. That is when we kill without mercy. We have used similar tactics in Akavir with excellent results.
  • Irileth: Do we know who will be leading them?
  • Wulf: No, but a squad of Dragonguard, led by Vayu, will be directed by dragon scouts as to who they are. As we did with The New Order, we shall eliminate their officers.
  • Balgruuf: I will be observing from the battlements. Irileth will be with her guards defending Whiterun’s entrance. Proventus, you will aid the civilians by joining their bucket brigades in case fires are started.
  • Proventus: Bucket brigades, my Lord?
  • Balgruuf: You are a high-ranking Imperial within my court. You can hide within the solid walls of Dragonsreach or display a genuine concern for us mead-swilling barbarians. Guess which is the best for diplomacy, Proventus.
  • Proventus: I shall happily stand beside our citizens, my Lord.
  • Wulf: I assume your staff and children will be in the dry part of the dungeons and sewers.
  • Balgruuf: Yes. However, I believe Nelkir will want to help inside the temple. Farengar will be at the temple, although his Restoration skills are not the best. He has been making many potions to aid the injured.
  • Wulf: When the battle is over, The Dragonguard mages will help put out the fires and aid the wounded as we did during dragon attacks.
  • Irileth: What did you say to Ulfric?
  • Wulf: Not much, as his very presence tested my patience. However, I told Galmar I would cut his head off the next time we met.
  • Irileth: You aren’t very subtle, are you?
  • Wulf: I was taught to tell the truth.
  • Irileth: How many people have you killed in battle?
  • Wulf: Two thousand seven hundred and seventy-six mortals have fallen to my sword and bow, and over a thousand undead and Draugr. An equal number of enemies have fallen to The Voice and Magicka. Therefore, I have killed over six thousand enemies, probably over seven thousand.
  • Irileth: How can you be so precise on sword and bow deaths?
  • Wulf: They are easily remembered. I can’t see all the casualties when a Fireball explodes, or my Thu’um sweeps across an area. I remember those who fall to sword and bow because of a self-imposed curse. I could become a mindless killer. Remembering my kills reduces that chance.
  • Balgruuf: And yet you are renowned for your kindness and charity.
  • Wulf: To defend the mortals of Nirn, I must kill. I find no glory or satisfaction in it. But I also help mortals via charitable works. I prefer the latter, but I cannot avoid the former.
  • Balgruuf: The Imperials are waiting on the borders for my decision. Do you know who will lead them?
  • Wulf: Legate Quentin Cipius. He is a seasoned field commander.
  • Balgruuf: Proventus, we need to write a letter to Legate Quentin Cipius declaring our Hold now sides with The Empire and that his troops are welcome to return and defend our city.
  • Wulf: I will inform General Tullius of this decision.
  • Balgruuf: I will arrange a war council. However, you will have the final say in our strategy, Lord Welkynd, or is it General Welkynd?
  • Wulf: Whatever makes you comfortable, Sweetroll-Loving, Mead-Drinking, Stormcloak-Bashing Jarl of Whiterun.

I teleported into Castle Dour.

I found General Tullius in the map room.

  • Wulf: General Tullius, I visited Ulfric to present him with Jarl Balgruuf’s axe. Ulfric rejected the peace offer. Jarl Balgruuf ended Whiterun’s neutrality and declared allegiance to The Empire when informed. He will soon dispatch riders to invite Legate Quentin Cipius and his army back to defend the city.
  • Tullius: That is good. They will have time to deploy before Ulfric’s forces march on Whiterun.
  • Rikke: Who is coordinating Whiterun’s defence?
  • Wulf: I will make the final decisions after receiving relevant input from a war council arranged by Jarl Balgruuf.
  • Tullius: The length of the war depends on the outcome of this battle.
  • Wulf: Yes, which is why we intend to destroy Ulfric’s army.
  • Rikke: I wish I had your confidence, General Welkynd.
  • Wulf: I can’t afford doubts, Legate Rikke. They trickle down, and nobody performs to their best.
  • Tullius: That is straight from a book written by Lord Talos when a mortal.
  • Wulf: And that advice served him well.

I saluted General Tullius and was about to leave for the museum. However, Rikke was slumped over the map table, so I decided to have a chat.

I asked, “Do you doubt we shall win at Whiterun, Legate Rikke?”

“No, General Welkynd. I am upset at how we have come to this point. The civil war has mainly been minor skirmishes till now. Soon, armies will collide, and the number of deaths will be tragic.”

“About half, if not more, of The Stormcloaks that fought against The New Order have returned home. They realised that Skyrim without The Empire was vulnerable. I hope many of them also realised that Ulfric has no legitimate claim to the throne and is only concerned about himself.”

“I will be joining you in Whiterun. I will barely have time to catch my breath before the assault begins.”

“I will be commanding from a rear position. It is impossible to coordinate when in the middle of the chaos. You are welcome to stand with me.”

“I shall be standing with Jarl Balgruuf. We don’t want him thinking Legion headquarters forgot about him.”

“Diplomacy is not my strong point.”

“I have heard.”

“I will see you in Whiterun, Legate Rikke.”

During the following days, I was primarily involved with battle preparation. I also took the opportunity to check on my orphanages in Markarth and Dragons Keep. The Markarth orphanage is now accepting children. Dragons Keep will be ready by the end of the month, just in time for an influx of orphans.

Lyssia and Miraak expressed a desire to be involved in protecting Whiterun. Miraak was adamant that he knew enough to understand why I opposed Ulfric and The Stormcloaks. Lyssia is an Empire loyalist. She declared it was her duty to assist.

When I picked up Inigo and Ko’rassa, my blue friend decided to fight. The same things that motivated me motivated him. He would start the battle beside me, far from the main fighting. If he thinks he will be okay, he can join the chaos.

The war councils were easy affairs. My general outline of the battle plan was accepted, and the meetings mostly involved logistical issues.

Rigmor and I spoke for many hours through our rings. One detail my beloved had forgotten to tell me, probably because her brain was soaking in mead, was about my dragon allies. It was agreed that one dragon would fly overhead when Rigmor entered Bruma. To her delight and the crowds lining the streets, Nahfahlaar, Valminoor and Silah flew over in a line, bellowing and blowing fire. All three dragons landed, and once Rigmor had passed into the castle, they became the centre of attention. Silah and Valminoor are not used to such adoration. Nahfahlaar sought the adoration and was a favourite with the crowd.

On the fourteenth, a couple of days before the battle, Rigmor was on her way to The Imperial City to meet with His Imperial Majesty and the other Counts and Countesses. Sigunn was handed control of Bruma while her daughter was away. Malesam and Cerys and a squad of Legionnaires accompanied Rigmor. Cerys was of great assistance while Rigmor adjusted to her new role.

Rigmor expressed relief at not being in the battle but regretted not being beside the ladies again. They had become close friends, and Rigmor was keen to see them again.

Most of Ulfric’s forces arrived on the fifteenth but could not get ready for battle that day. An early morning attack was not expected on the sixteenth. However, we did expect them to attack before noon on that day.

On the sixteenth, scouting reports from Silah confirmed The Stormcloak army marching towards the city, so I headed for Whiterun’s stables with Inigo.

It was 8:00 AM, and the enemy was about two hours away.

Erandur, Ko’rassa, Lyssia and Miraak were at the furthest end of the battlefield. They would be the first to encounter Ulfric’s army. At the start, before everybody crowds together, Miraak can use his Thu’um to decimate the enemy.

  • Wulf: The enemy is about two hours away.
  • Miraak: Do you expect them to split their force?
  • Wulf: I expect some lighter infantry to come diagonally across the rocks. Arrows from the ramparts will pepper them, but enough of them will pose a threat to the gates. That is where I, Legionnaires and Whiterun Guards will earn our living.
  • Miraak: So, the heavy infantry will march past here and head down the road towards the gates?
  • Wulf: Yes. After enough of them are killed, they will stop marching towards the gates and try and eliminate you. The rest of The Dragonguard should then smash into them.
  • Erandur: Lyssia and I will kill many with Destruction spells simultaneously as you use The Voice. It will be a bloodbath.
  • Lyssia: Will they attack in one wave?
  • Wulf: No. Their berserkers are most effective when smashing into the enemy’s ranks. They will be the first wave. Troops behind shield walls will be after them. I expect at some stage to summon you all to the gate.
  • Miraak: The enemy would then conveniently charge towards the gate. The denser the mob, the more casualties per spell and Shout.
  • Wulf: That’s the idea. When they are tripping over their own dead, we counterattack.
  • Lyssia: Will they rout?
  • Wulf: I believe they will. I don’t think many of them are veterans. Most are unblooded and young.
  • Lyssia: I didn’t think I would fight a war when I arrived in Skyrim.
  • Wulf: Luckily, I found you then. You might have missed all the fun!
  • Miraak: Lyssia told me your humour is not typical for this era. That is good because I can’t find the funny bits.
  • Wulf: I don’t think we will laugh after this battle.

Inigo was deep in discussion with Ko’rassa. He was worried, so we tried to reassure him.

  • Wulf: Inigo, Ko’rassa has fought in many battles. She knows how to survive.
  • Inigo: But, my friend, these are animals we face. Knuckle-dragging brutes who eat babies!
  • Ko’rassa: They are just soldiers, Inigo. I kill them before they kill me. That is how you survive.
  • Wulf: See, I told you she knows what she is doing.
  • Inigo: If they are two hours away, can I stay here till near the start?
  • Wulf: What do you think, Ko’rassa?
  • Ko’rassa: Please, Inigo, go with Wulf. That will calm your nerves more than moping around here.
  • Inigo: Unfair. I am sure you worry about me sometimes.
  • Ko’rassa: Umm…do I have to be honest?
  • Wulf: Yes, of course she does, Inigo. Now, come on.

Inigo gave Ko’rassa a quick rub of the nose and followed me.

The following squad in line was Dhali’s. The Ka’Po’Tun were used to battle and were relaxed.

She said, “I expect this will get very busy quickly.”

“It would be difficult to stop their first charge entirely. As long as everybody is close to a mage, we should all survive.”

“You have three mages in the first squad.”

“All the better to destroy the oncoming berserkers.”

“Does Miraak use The Voice or Magicka more?”

“In close quarters, he is very adept with his sword. He is more of a Spellsword in those situations. I observed that when we took on Mora’s hordes in Apocrypha.”

“I hope the civilians clear out.”

“They will. At the moment, it is all an exciting spectacle.”

The Ka’Po’Tun showed no nerves. This was familiar to them.

Further on, I said to Inigo, “Stormcloaks will come over those rocks. They will lose a few to archers on the wall, but enough will make it to cause problems.”

Jin and his squad knew what to do. It was more critical they stop the main thrust than the few Stormcloaks that clamber over the rocks.

The last two squads would soon erect barriers. It will be those barriers that I consider the symbolic last line of defence. There is still a long way from the barriers to the gates. I want to keep all Stormcloaks from reaching the gates. Therefore, if the barriers get breached, I might have to summon squads to help push the enemy back.

Inigo wanted to help build the barriers and remained behind as I entered Whiterun.

Life in Whiterun continued as usual. Some people not defending the walls will gather near the wells to provide bucket brigades to douse fires. All of the other non-combatants will huddle in stone basements.

I usually ignore Heimskr, but I heard something that needs dealing with. Before that, I wanted to speak to Priestess Danica and possibly Nelkir.

“Good morning, Princess Danica.”

“Hello, Child of Kynareth.”

“Are you relaxing before the chaos?”

“Yes, but I do not find the comfort here I once did. The Gildergreen stood here for millennia and must have survived countless storms. I find it strange that a single bolt of lightning could kill it. It is almost lifeless.”

I looked up at the bare branches, and although I have never seen The Gildergreen in full bloom, some sketches and paintings I own show something of infinite beauty.

I asked, “Is there nothing that can be done?”

“Some famous horticulturists from Cyrodiil will be visiting soon. Perhaps they can suggest something. We shall see.”

“It is a shame for the pilgrims that visit.”

“Indeed. Many are reduced to weeping, especially those who have seen The Gildergreen in bloom.”

“How is Nelkir?”

“He is a quick learner. Jarl Balgruuf realises how Nelkir’s time in our temple aids his healing. He has allowed his son to help us with the injured during and after the battle.”

“I have been hesitant to visit Nelkir as I am the only one, apart from those he killed, who saw him under Mephala’s influence.”

“Nelkir has come to terms with what he did and why, Lord Welkynd. I am positive he would appreciate your visit.”

“Hopefully, after this battle, Whiterun will not see another battle for centuries.”

“As more of the sick and injured came to the temple, my work as a healer became more important than my duties as a priestess. I wish only an end to the fighting so I can tend to the temple once more and our people can live in peace.”

“Even with The Gildergreen so ill, I feel Lady Kynareth’s presence within Whiterun.”

“The goddess’ divine blessings have undoubtedly helped make Whiterun a thriving and prosperous city. After all, she brings rain to our crops and fair weather on the harvest days.”

“Perhaps one day I can show you my shrine to Lady Kynareth within High Hrothgar. There, she teaches me the Thu’um and sometimes passes messages from The Nine.”

“I have never met The Greybeards. Are they truly devout acolytes of Lady Kynareth?”

“Their whole life is spent contemplating the air, winds, and sky. I can’t entirely agree with their philosophy, but there is no doubt they worship Lady Kynareth with unwavering faith.”

“I think I would enjoy such a visit. Alas, we have unpleasantness to deal with first.”

“I will visit Nelkir and then deal with Heimskr. His ramblings have strayed from blasphemy to disloyalty.”

“Yes, I heard what he said about The Stormcloaks. How dare he when they are about to try and kill Talos worshippers within these walls!”

“Don’t let him disturb you, Priestess. He will soon find himself in a cell with my boot up his arse.”

Danica laughed as I headed for the temple.

When I entered, Acolyte Jenssen approached me.

He asked, “Lord Welkynd, is the enemy near?”

“Yes, Acolyte, the battle will commence around 10:00 AM. Do you have sufficient supplies?”

“The Legion provided much. The Dragonguard provided a lot. Faranager supplied many potions. We are ready.”

“The Dragonguard mages will help after the battle. Some of them are the best Restoration mages I know. They saved countless lives after the battle against The New Order and when dragons attacked cities and towns.”

“That is good, for as hard as I try, I know there are some I cannot save, but a mage could.”

“You have boundless compassion, Acolyte. Combining that with the healing potions at your disposal and the injured could not be in better hands.”

“That is kind of you to say. Our new acolyte is also a blessing. Anyway, I had better arrange things before Priestess Danica gives me one of her stares.”

I looked up at Lady Kynareth, and she probed my mind, so I let her in.

“Dragonchild, Nelkir will fully heal over time. The Nine are pleased that you aid our precious mortals one or many at a time.”

“I cannot ignore a person in need. But I must not get bogged down with the singulars. That is why I hope to build institutions that can aid many without my presence.”

“Preaching our Commands is one method.”

“That I know and endeavour to do. The Ten Commands are supposed to be the moral basis of The Empire but seem to have been forgotten by many. Individuals practice them, even if they don’t realise it. It is the nobility that needs to set the example.”

“You are setting the example and quickly becoming the most famous person in The Empire.”

“Ahh, but we will have issues with Dragonborn and General being the same person.”

“Do not worry, Dragonchild. Our mortal agents will adeptly alter the necessary records. Win the war against the blasphemer, and that armour can be retired. Having Miraak fight will help confuse the matter as you will be commanding while he uses The Voice.”

“I see Nelkir is looking my way with uncertainty. I will attend to him now.”

“As always, Dragonchild, remember The Nine are proud of you.”

I walked over to Nelkir, and he started to apologise.

“Lord Welkynd, I can’t remember everything, but enough to realise I was a monster. I am so sorry.”

“I told you that night that nobody will blame you, Nelkir. Mephala took advantage of your uncertainties. She snared you in her trap. She is a strange god, for she can be benevolent to some and is not always as you encountered.”

“I need to learn more about Mephala, but only after healing. I know she will still ensnare me if she gets the chance. It was an unspoken threat.”

“The more you embrace Lady Kynareth, the less chance Mephala could trick you again.”

“The work done here means something. It is giving without expecting anything in return except smiles and laughter.”

“There will be death in here, Nelkir. Not everybody will survive, even when my friends arrive with their Restoration spells. Are you prepared for that?”

“Even when somebody is dying, it is a gift to the recipient and giver to offer comfort. That is something Priestess Danica has stressed, and I will remember as I administer to those about to die.”

“I believe that even if they are unconscious, compassionate words and holding of hands gives comfort.”

“Yes, Priestess Danica also told me that.”

“You are a good person, Nelkir.”

Acolyte Jenssen said, “Acolyte Nelkir, please help me sort these potions.”

Nelkir smiled and ran to assist Jenssen.

I made my way to Heimskr and listened to his sermon.

“Talos the mighty! Talos the unerring! Talos, the unassailable! To you, we give praise!

We are but maggots writhing in the filth of our own corruption! While you have ascended from the dung of mortality, and now walk among the stars!

But you were once Man! Aye! And as Man, you said, ‘Let me show you the power of Talos Stormcrown, born of the North, where my breath is long winter. I breathe now, in royalty, and reshape this land, which is mine. I do this for you, Red Legions, for I love you.’

Aye, love. Love! Even as Man, great Talos cherished us. For he saw in us, in each of us, the future of Skyrim! The future of Tamriel!

And there it is, friends! The ugly truth! We are the children of Man! Talos is the true god of Man! He ascended from flesh to rule the realm of spirit!

The very idea is inconceivable to our Elven overlords! Sharing the heavens with us? With Man? Ha! They can barely tolerate our presence on earth!

Today, they take away your faith. But what of tomorrow? What then? Do the elves take your homes? Your businesses? Your children? Your very lives?

And what does the Empire do? Nothing! Nay, worse than nothing! The Imperial machine enforces the will of the Thalmor! Against its people!

So, rise up! Rise up, children of The Empire! Rise up, Stormcloaks! Embrace the word of mighty Talos, who is both man and Divine!

For we are the children of Man! And we shall inherit both the heavens and the earth! And we, not the Elves or their toadies, will rule Skyrim! Forever!

Terrible and powerful Talos! We, your unworthy servants, give praise! For only through your grace and benevolence may we truly reach enlightenment!

You deserve our praise, for we are one! Ere you ascended, and the Eight became Nine, you walked among us, great Talos, not as God, but as Man!

Trust in me, Whiterun! Trust in Heimskr! For I am chosen of Talos! The Ninth has anointed me alone to spread his holy word!”

Heimskr recoiled when he saw the anger in my eyes. I pointed at him, so he understood my anger was directed at him..

  • We are not maggots, and very few people are corrupt.
  • Lord Talos did not reshape the land. A Dragon Break caused it.
  • Lord Talos does not rule Aetherius. Lord Akatosh is the head of The Nine, but he is a shard of AKA.
  • Do not paint all Mer with the same brush. Even amongst the Altmer, many disagree with The Thalmor. We are not enemies with Dunmer, Bosmer, Orsimer or the citizens of Alinor.
  • The Thalmor regard all races apart from Altmer as inferior. It is not just Man they despise. But as I said, not all Altmer are like The Thalmor.
  • Today, Mer are not trying to take our homes, businesses, children, and lives! It is fellow Nords!
  • The Empire does not enforce the will of The Thalmor. The White-Gold Concordat was necessary. If His Imperial Majesty had not signed it, you would not be here to speak bullshit!
  • The Stormcloaks are about to attack this city and kill its people, many of whom worship Lord Talos. Yet you praise the enemy! Lord Talos did not tell Ulfric that he needed to fight for him.
  • Lord Talos loves all people, including Mer.
  • You are not the spokesperson for Lord Talos. I am!

Heimskr looked stunned.

I told him, “There are people who will remember your words when loved ones are killed or injured by the people you praise. I place you under arrest for your safety and the morale of Whiterun’s citizens. You will accompany me to Whiterun’s jail, where you shall stay till after the war. Then, I will decide what to do about your support for the enemy. There is also the matter of your false claims concerning The Nine and Lord Talos. Blasphemy is not a crime but a sign of moral corruption. You can follow me to your incarceration, or I can paralyse you with a spell and throw you over my shoulder. What shall it be?”

“I will follow, Lord Welkynd.”

“Good. I don’t want to hear excuses, Heimskr. What you have been saying during a war could get you shortened by a head. Think on that while you await my judgement.”

Many clapped as they watched Heimskr, head bent in shame, accompanying me.

I was not surprised to see Guard Alfarnesson on duty.

“Good morning, Guard Alfarnesson.”

“Ahh, good morning, Lord Welkynd.”

“Don’t worry. There are no Daedric-possessed children to deal with. Just a blaspheming traitor.”


“Yep. Let’s put him in a cell so I can get back to organising our defences.”

“He will be by himself because I am to report to Irileth. We will be defending the gates.”

“I am sure Heimskr will have plenty to think about as he feels Whiterun shake under the Stormcloak barrage.”

“Well, at least he will be in one of the safest places.”

Just as we locked the cell door, Inigo arrived.

He exclaimed, “My friend, this is a nice jail. It seems far less drafty than Riften’s, and look at the size of that cell!”

“How did you find me?”

“People assumed you were taking Heimskr to jail. With some accurate directions, here I am!”

“How are the preparations?”

“That barriers are up. Valminoor flew over and said the enemy was about an hour away. Ri’saad’s caravan packed up in record time, but his people refuse to remain out of this battle.”

“We cannot dictate what people do, Inigo. Ri’saad and his people have made many friends in the cities where they trade.”

“The Legion reserves are in the drains. They can respond to your command in minutes without opening the gates and are safe from the barrage.”

“Have we heard how Vayu’s squad have fared?”

“Valminoor said the enemy is following commands issued days ago in Windhelm. They are without living officers.”

“Those plans are based on them reaching the gates and besieging Whiterun. They will not know what to do if we stop them from reaching the gates in numbers.”

“Without good commanders, they will run away!”

“That is what we hope. Let’s see how Jarl Balgruuf is doing.”

“Goodbye Heimskr. I am sure the charge of being a traitor is a misunderstanding. If not, I have heard that beheading is quick and painless.”

“You can be a bastard sometimes, Inigo.”

“I have learned from the best, my friend.”

We made our way to Dragonsreach and entered.

Frothar saw us and waited.

I asked, “Are you heading for the dungeons now, Frothar?”

“Yes. Dagny and I visited Nelkir, and he is much better. Do you think Lady Kynareth has healed him?”

“The Shrine of The Divines can heal diseases, but not problems with the mind. However, being in the temple has surrounded him in her benevolent love. It is always nice to know The Divines care about the mortals they created.”

“He told me that helping people has helped him.”

“That is often true. The orphans at my palace and my orphanages find comfort in each other, and shared compassion helps with their grief.”

“I never knew Mother. Dagny hardly remembers her. But I cannot imagine a life without Father.”

“Let us hope you never experience that loss during your formative years.”

“This Ulfric person wants to hurt Father, who used to be his friend.”

“Nelkir did things that are evil because Mephala ensorceled him. Ulfric does terrible, evil things because he chooses to. No god makes him. That is an important lesson, Frothar. Most evil is not caused by gods but by the choices of morals.”

“I had better hurry to the dungeons before they send somebody to get me.”

Frothar hurried towards the kitchen on his way to the dungeons.

Balgruuf was not on his throne but in the map room.

  • Wulf: Irileth, are your guardsmen in place?
  • Irileth: Yes, Lord Welkynd.
  • Wulf: I believe there are many volunteers for bucket brigades.
  • Proventus: Yes, and I am proud to be among them.
  • Irileth: You aren’t exactly a volunteer, Proventus.
  • Inigo: Irileth, I heard you were an assassin. Both my parents were retired assassins. My beloved Ko’rassa was an assassin. Some of my friends in The Dragonguard were assassins.
  • Irileth: Does everybody know my secret?
  • Inigo: It is no longer a secret. I was pointing out that many good people I know were assassins.
  • Irileth: Morag Tong assassins are not the same as those in The Blades or Penitus Oculatus. Those two organisations kill for politics, not money like The Dark Brotherhood or a god like The Morag Tong do. I don’t know what kind of assassins your parents were, but I doubt they were members of either of the guilds. Very few, if any, members of the guilds have children.
  • Inigo: Still, you have risked a lot by leaving. I doubt The Morag Tong are pleased with those who do leave.
  • Irileth: True. If they were to find I am still alive, they would write a writ for my execution. They would not care if it is a grey writ.
  • Wulf: This is all fascinating, but Ulfric’s army will arrive within the hour. Thanks to our assassins, they lack leaders and will follow plans made with incorrect assumptions. All we have to do is prevent the execution of the outdated plan, and they should crumble and rout.
  • Irileth: They do not fear death, Lord Welkynd.
  • Wulf: If they ever visited Sovngarde beforehand, they would. What a boring place!
  • Inigo: Outside of the hall was quite nice.
  • Wulf: Inside were idiots swapping war stories, drinking, and brawling.
  • Proventus: That sounds riveting.
  • Wulf: Oh, sarcasm from Proventus. How quaint!
  • Irileth: Sarcasm about sarcasm. Well done!
  • Wulf: Okay, I better see Jarl Balgruuf and stop him wearing a groove in the floor.
  • Irileth: He doesn’t pace up and down often, but his fingernails might be in danger.

Balgruuf was leaning over a map that had no markers on it.

  • Balgruuf: How long before they attack my city?
  • Wulf: Within the hour. Everybody and everything is in place. We are ready to decimate Ulfric’s army and send a message to the traitor Jarls.
  • Balgruuf: I wish I shared your confidence.
  • Inigo: Didn’t you say the same about The New Order?
  • Balgruuf: You know this army is different, Inigo. They are fearless fanatics and in greater numbers.
  • Wulf: Alone, The Dragonguard can’t stop them. But the combined forces we have are more than enough. The Dragonguard will kill large numbers of them in such a short time. They will falter, and with a big enough counterattack, they will rout.
  • Inigo: As we did with The New Order, Vayu and his squad have eliminated their leaders.
  • Wulf: Your walls are defended by your guards and Legionnaires. Some Stormcloaks will be Legion-trained, but most will be unblooded or amateur soldiers. The same volunteers who helped defend the walls against The New Order add to our strength. I doubt any Stormcloak will reach within a hundred feet of your gates. If they do, it won’t be in numbers sufficient to breach them.
  • Balgruuf: I was told that no army led by a Dragonborn has ever lost a battle.
  • Wulf: That is true. It is not because The Divines are on our side. It is because a Dragonborn fights for the people beside them. The morale of those surrounding Akatosh’s chosen has often been the difference on the battlefield. Ulfric has suffered from deserters because they questioned the morality of his cause.
  • Inigo: How many of the soldiers who attack today are already questioning the morality of it? When they see comrades die, will they still attack with the same enthusiasm or desert the ranks?
  • Balgruuf: I would like to think they would continue to fight as Nords. But I never experienced a defeat when rank and file during The Great War.
  • Wulf: Nords rout like any other race, my Jarl. However, their breaking point is harder to reach.

Legate Quentin Cipius rushed into the room.

I approached him and asked, “Do you have something to report, Legate?”

“Yes, General Welkynd. The Stormcloaks have marched double time and are mere minutes from our front line.”

“That shows a lack of real leadership. Berserkers rely on speed to get close to their enemy with few casualties. Tired berserkers are far more vulnerable. It is time to bloody their nose. Join the reserves, Legate, and don’t get impatient. I am sure they will be called upon before this battle ends.”

Inigo and I teleported in front of the barriers. We could hear Irileth barking orders at the gate and Legate Rikke above us on the ramparts.

Five minutes later, Miraak’s Thu’um echoed in harmony with Destruction spells from Erandur and Lyssia.

Simultaneously, trebuchets and catapults of both sides lobbed random death into the air.

I Shouted Dragon Aspect and summoned two Dremora Lords. Inigo advanced with the rest of The Dragonguard. I thought he would even though, like me, he has learned to detest the essence of battle.

To my right, Ri’saad’s camp was hit by something launched by a trebuchet. The strength of the explosion suggested Ulfric had obtained some Black Powder. I hoped none of those projectiles landed in the city.

I stood where I was despite my desire to aid my comrades. It is the same burden I carried when we fought The New Order. I had to command, not kill.

I used Zoom Vision to watch our initial charge. Ri’saad’s people had appeared from behind buildings and joined the attack.

I will not burden this journal with details of the battle. Others have written accurate reports if they are of interest to future scholars. What follows is an abbreviated sequence of events.

Once the two sides were locked in close-quarter fighting, Miraak and the other mages in his squad swapped to single-target Destruction spells and summoned creatures.

Very few Stormcloaks got beyond the first and second Dragonguard squads for the first hour.

When it seemed The Stormcloaks would eventually overwhelm the front squads, the others charged to their defence. I did not see a Stormcloak reach the stables for the next two hours.

One of the Black Powder projectiles landed feet in front of me. It did not harm me, but ordinary soldiers would have been blown to pieces or burnt to death.

Some Stormcloaks made it across the rocks. However, their numbers were not enough for me to recall any Dragonguard. Instead, I summoned two fresh Dremora Lords to aid in the defence of the barriers.

After ninety minutes, enough Stormcloaks had reached the barriers to be of concern. I summoned two Dragonguard squads, and they soon eliminated most of the enemy.

Rikke ordered Imperial Battlemages forward, and they contributed to the slaughter. Many Stormcloaks were already fleeing from the battle.

The Dragonguard ignored enemies fleeing. Their focus was on causing a rout.

After two hours, Ulfric’s first thrust of Berserkers was almost eliminated. The slowly approaching Shield Wall would soon be decimated as well.

I swore when I saw Heimskr attacking with a knife in hand. I was upset with the man but did not want him to die. I know there were no guards in the prison, but that doesn’t explain how he unlocked his cell.

Miraak’s Thu’um was still effective against suitable targets. He was a formidable warrior and made an impact on the battlefield.

Celestine was her usual merchant of death. The speed at which she fired her staves was impressive, and a target died or was seriously injured each time.

Lyssia was also proving to be a force on the battlefield.

Some Whiterun Guards and Legionnaires suffered from fatigue and fell back. There was no shame in that after hours of intense fighting.

A large number of light infantry had scrambled across the rocks. They were unskilled and unblooded, and I and a handful of Legionnaires soon despatched many.

I recalled a squad and summoned two Dragon Priests to help eliminate the rest.

Black Powder munitions continued to cause damage.

At the four-hour mark, the primary battle was still forward of the stables. Enough Stormcloaks were making it across the rocks for me to maintain some Dragonguard near the barriers.

Unknown to me till after the battle, Lydia almost died. I would have lost a dear friend if Celestine had not seen her collapse. As it was, Lydia was healed and continued to fight despite her fatigue.

Even Miraak was injured enough to need healing from another mage.

Legate Rikke abandoned her position on the ramparts and attacked with a squad of Legionnaires. Not long after, she was injured and healed by Erandur. She continued to fight but with more caution and less vigour.

More Stormcloaks were reaching the barriers as they swarmed the defenders. I could see that Ri’saad’s people had retreated and were resting. Most of the Imperial troops were dead. After six hours, it was time to regroup and let the enemy charge into concentrated firepower.

I summoned all squads. It was good to see Vayu. His presence on the battlefield invokes fear in opposing troops.

The Dragonguard charged. Ulfric’s troops ran head-first into a mincer as spells, Shouts and arrows killed at a frightening rate. It wasn’t just seeing comrades die that perturbed the enemy, but also the bloody and burnt remnants of people. That sight is enough to dishearten even the most seasoned of warriors.

Once most of The Dragonguard cleared the barriers, I used my Thu’um and ordered, “RESERVES FORWARD!”

The Legion battle cry echoed as Legionnaires and Battlemages streamed from the drain and joined the chaos.

Predetermined strategies rarely play out exactly as expected. So far, everything had gone to plan, and I could see the end was near. Stormcloaks, not yet in battle, were turning and running. They were shown no mercy as multiple Fireballs incinerated many. The enemy engaged with our troops was being decimated quickly and unable to retreat.

Inigo had joined Ri’saad’s people, who were resting behind a building. He was injured when they charged back into the fray. Celestine healed him.

I climbed onto the rampart that Legate Rikke had abandoned. I watched the last attackers die and used my Thu’um to order, “SOUND THE LAST POST!”

A horn was blown to signal the end of fighting and order a return to muster points.

Ulfric’s army was destroyed in just over six and a half hours.

I leapt down and watched the weary defenders slowly return. I did not want to view the battlefield any closer than I was. Even from the distance I was, the groans of the injured and the pleas for help were clear.

A couple of the Battlemages cast calming spells. It helps prevent post-battle anxiety and stops enraged troops from pursuing fleeing enemies. The Nords used to use mages at the end of a battle to stop their berserkers from attacking surrendering troops or civilians. Today, Nords frown upon magic and have very few mages in their ranks.

Inigo said, “My friend, it was as if they had read your battle plan and followed it like puppets.”

“They were predictable once their officers were killed. All Legionnaires are taught to adapt to changing circumstances. Many of Ulfric’s army were unblooded and undisciplined. They were like our civilian volunteers who had rudimentary training. I did not have to kill many, but those I faced lacked skill. They had one goal, and that was to reach the gates. I don’t think they would have known what to do if they reached them.”

“I got shot in the head.”

“Lucky there is nothing vital in there.”

“Haha. I think all of Ri’saad’s people survived. They were very clever with hit-and-run tactics.”

“That is good to hear.”

“It was before I got shot, and I don’t use Skooma, but I am sure I saw Heimskr tackling large, armoured Nords with a dagger.”

“I caught one glimpse of him, Inigo. You didn’t imagine it.”

As Legate Rikke ran past, Inigo groaned and held his right shoulder.

He explained, “After I got shot in the head and healed, I got whacked by a mace in the shoulder. When I move it, it makes horrible grinding noises accompanied by pain.”

I cast Grand Healing on Inigo. Iona walked past us, covered in blood and gore. As was Inigo.

Lydia staggered past us and almost collapsed. Inigo ran over and helped her sit while enquiring as to her health. When she told him how she almost died, my anger grew, and I decided to end the civil war without risking my friends any further.

Rigmor asked, via our rings, “I sense your tension is less, but your anger has flared. Is the battle over?”

“Yes. We destroyed Ulfric’s army. I don’t know how many Stormcloaks ran away, but I doubt they will want to face us again.”

“Is everybody okay?”

“I can see most of The Dragonguard. A few were injured, including Inigo. Lydia almost died. I am staying away from the main battlefield. I do not want to see the carnage.”

“Will Lydia be alright?”

“She is fatigued. You know what that feels like after being healed when close to death. We have at least one Restoration mage per squad, so there is always one close by to heal the badly hurt. However, in the chaos of battle, it may take a few seconds for a fallen Dragonguard to be noticed. They could easily die before help is given. We lost many friends in Akavir due to that chaos.”

“It is different when dealing with smaller skirmishes.”

“I have made up my mind. I was going to teleport into each rebel city with The Dragonguard. We could easily overcome any city defences. But that will take time, and I am sick of war.”

“You will revert to your original plan and kill Ulfric.”

“Yes. I can teleport into The Palace of Kings and demand Ulfric surrender or face me in a traditional Nord challenge.”

“You wear underwear, and all magic is barred.”

“No dweomer on weapons, and the challenged picks the type of weapon. Ulfric would choose dual-wielding axes.”

“He used The Voice to kill High King Torygg. What makes you think he would obey the rules?”

“He knows he would stand no chance. Therefore, I predict he will break The Laws of Parley.”

“That wouldn’t please those watching.”

“No, and he may find his guards turn against him. I doubt sycophants like Galmar would turn on Ulfric even if he roasted children over an open fire.”

“How long did the battle last?”

“Six and a half hours. I can see the wounded are being attended to by Dragonguard and Legion mages. It doesn’t matter if they were one of ours or a Stormcloak.”

“The White Gold Tower is amazing, and Mede said it used to be even more spectacular.”

“Have you controlled your wind? We both know what happens when you overeat.”

“Oh, I have learned a technique where you cough loudly and fart simultaneously. It sometimes masks the sound, but you cannot do much about the smell. That is when you stare at some innocent person and tut-tut loudly. Everybody else assumes they are the culprit.”

“I must attend to the aftermath, my beloved. Fill me in on the other Counts and Countesses later.”

“Silah would swoon with the gossip I have gathered! And I have a choice of suitors! Some of them may even have hair on their dangly bits. None are of age, but that doesn’t stop their parents gushing about them.”

“Talk crazy. That will scare the parents and their children away.”

“It didn’t scare me away, my weirdo Dragonbum.”

Rigmor’s presence faded as Heimskr walked past me, staring ahead as if in a trance.

I asked, “Heimskr, what were you thinking?”

He turned and replied, “Don’t worry, Lord Welkynd, I am returning to my cell.”

“How did you get out of your cell? Why did you join the battle?”

“He visited me and forgave me!”

“Did Jarl Balgruuf visit you?”

“No, Lord Talos.”

“I caught you lying and sprouting blasphemy, so don’t blame me for being sceptical. Describe Lord Talos, and remember, I often meet with him.”

“He wore a red, gold and white toga as they did in the days of his Empire. He didn’t have the crowfeet of the common statues but laughing lines as if he was not stern but genial of nature. His beard was long but well-trimmed.”

“Alright, I believe you. What did Lord Talos say?”

“He said I was a true and devoted follower, but I was wrong to think The Thalmor can stop him being worshipped. He said that having devotees is not as important as citizens adhering to The Ten Commands. He said I should preach those Commands, not as strict orders from The Nine but as suggested guidelines to achieve a better life and for the good of The Empire’s citizens.”

“That is sage advice, Heimskr.”

“Indeed. Lord Talos forgave me for my falsities and said you would also be forgiving.”

“How did you get out of the cell?”

“When Lord Talos vanished, the cell door swung open. I was not sure what to do, and I headed for my home to contemplate the lesson taught. As I watched, a large ball of fire fell onto my house. I did not think it was a punishment from Lord Talos. I knew it was Ulfric’s Stormcloaks lobbing random death at the innocent. Never in my life have I felt such resentment and anger. Hours before, I praised these blasphemers. I then decided to show them my wrath and change of heart.”

“You are unarmoured and not a warrior, Heimskr. Lord Talos did not expect you to die in battle but to preach The Ten Commands of The Nine Divines.”

“It was foolish of me, but I survived when many others didn’t. Each death of a defender that I witnessed fuelled my anger. My knife found its mark often, and my anger decreased each time. Hours before the battle ended, I sheathed my knife and aided the wounded on both sides.”

“You have no home.”

“It was the only building I saw destroyed. The irony is great.”

“Return to the cell for now, Heimskr. The guards will look after you well, and I promise your house will be rebuilt.”

“What will happen to me?”

“You did commit treason. However, I laid the charges and can dismiss them. But it must be done according to Empire Law and will take some time.”

“I understand, Lord Welkynd. Blessings of The Nine.”

Inigo stayed with Lydia till Jordis took over. He joined me just as Heimskr headed back to his cell.

I observed, “Inigo, you have almost run out of arrows.”

“I did run out several times. I was grabbing quivers from corpses. I have no idea how many I killed with my bow, but it was a far greater number than with my swords.”

“Come, let us find Jarl Balgruuf.”

Jarl Balgruuf has just come down from his observation deck and was heading for Whiterun’s entrance. Irileth was not far behind. He looked haunted by what he had witnessed.

He said, “The death meted out by The Dragonguard is frightening. I am glad we did not face an opponent with their skills or leadership.”

“We always look impressive against massed troops, my Jarl. The Legion, Whiterun guards and civilians fought well.”

“I saw Ri’saad’s people fight for us. I find it hard to understand their motivation.”

“If you walked the streets of Windhelm, you would understand their anger towards Ulfric. Ri’saad and his people have made many friends during their trading, and their loyalty is with good people, not profits. If their actions are not lauded in the news sheets, I will tell of it from the back of a dragon over every city and town of Skyrim.”

“What is next?”

“Some of my friends almost died in that battle. I will risk them no more. Ulfric’s insurrection is over. I will report to General Tullius and then visit Ulfric. I will demand his surrender or traditional combat. I don’t think he will accept either option. There will be witnesses to what happens after that. I will not be accused of duplicating his murdering ways.”

“Even if Ulfric dies, some rebel Jarls may not surrender.”

“I shall visit each one and give them the option. His Imperial Majesty wants them to live in the various palaces as local exiles. They would be wise to take that option, for they will not live if they attack me.”

“I have heard that damage to the city is minimal. However, the injured are many. I will see what needs doing to erase the stain of Ulfric Stormcloak.”

 I felt sorry for Jarl Balgruuf. We have won the battle, but Ulfric’s actions wounded his sense of honour.

I asked Inigo, “Do you want to come with me to tell General Tullius?”

“No, my friend. I will join Ko’rassa and the others and help with whatever I can.”

“This insanity will end today, Inigo.”

“I do not doubt that. Just don’t get killed ending it.”

“That is kind of my plan, Inigo. Not getting killed, I mean.”

I teleported into Castle Dour and found Tullius sitting at the map table.

He stood when I approached.

I told him, “General Tullius, Ulfric’s army was crushed outside Whiterun. A handful of the enemy got close enough to see the gates. The rest were killed or ran away hundreds of yards from the entrance.”


“I do not know. We were greatly outnumbered, but the enemy lacked leadership and reacted slowly to a changing battleground. Most of the enemies I faced were unblooded and did not pose a threat to me or other defenders.”

“What about Legate Rikke?”

“She was slightly injured. She may even have a scar to bore her grandchildren with in future years.”

“What of the city?”

“Indications are that the damage was far less than anticipated. The Stormcloaks were using Black Powder. I don’t think they had much of it. Otherwise, the deaths and destruction would have been far greater. I did not stay to assess the damage or casualties because I have an important meeting.”

“May I ask with whom?”

“I will visit Ulfric and demand his surrender or a traditional duel. I don’t expect he will be happy with either proposal and will force me to kill him. After that, I shall visit the rebel Jarls and demand their surrender. I have the list of Jarl replacements and will oversee the smooth transition of power.”

“Many rebels will regroup elsewhere. Ulfric the martyr will not attract as many idiots, but enough to cause problems for months.”

“Then you kill them, General Tullius. That is why we have Legionnaires all over Skyrim.”

General Tullius shook his head and then barked some orders.

I looked at the battle map. It was time to turn all flags red.

I teleported into The Palace of The Kings.

Nobody tried to stop me as I approached Ulfric, who slumped on his throne.

I paused to speak to Lortheim.

“High Priest Lortheim, you are to witness what occurs. I have not drawn a weapon and will not unless I need to defend myself.”

I stood before the throne, and Ulfric refused to look at me.

“Ulfric Stormcloak, your army at Whiterun has been defeated. Not a single Stormcloak reached the gates. Most were killed before they passed Whiterun stables, hundreds of yards from their intended target.”

There were gasps around the room. Ulfric continued to stare at the ceiling.

I continued, “As General of the Imperial Army, I am authorised to accept your surrender. Unlike the hasty proceedings of Helgen, I guarantee you a fair trial in Solitude. You will not be paraded in the streets. You will be incarcerated in comfortable dwellings, not the jail. These I swear on The Nine as their mortal champion and representative on Nirn. Do you accept these terms and surrender?”

Ulfric’s steward, Jorleif, said, “My Jarl, I urge that you accept those terms. General Tullius would not be so generous, and you cannot win the war.”

Others in the room urged him to surrender, but he maintained his silence.


Continued silence from Ulfric whilst shocked murmurs fill the room.


Ulfric stood and Shouted Unrelenting Force at me.

I didn’t stagger, but some behind were caught in its effect and thrown to the ground.

He yelled, “Guards, Jorleif, Galmar, everybody. Kill this insolent enemy of Skyrim!”

I had yet to draw my weapon. Some guards yelled their defiance at Ulfric. They finally saw what he was and would not aid his crime of attacking a person protected by parley. However, they were content to attack the guards who obeyed Ulfric. Jorleif tried to remove himself from the scene of the growing melee.

I laughed and said, “You dare use The Voice against The Dragonborn? I could turn you into ash with a single Shout!”

Ulfric surrounded himself with ice armour.

I laughed again, then snarled, “Your guards and Steward have abandoned you. Come, coward and traitor, let’s finish this.”

Ulfric was supposed to be a warrior of some skill. It seems that was another fabrication. He proved to be little better than the unblooded I had slaughtered earlier. As he charged three steps, I drew my sword and positioned it forward. Ulfric impaled himself on the blade and grunted as blood sprayed.

I knocked his axe out of the way with my katana, and on the reverse swing, I ended his life.

Many people dashed for the exit. Others stood fascinated by the spectacle. A few tried their hardest to escape the area of the melee.

I couldn’t tell which guards were on my side.

Ysarald Thrice-Pierced came running towards me with his weapon raised. His head joined Ulfric’s on the ancient floor.

Galmar came running with his ridiculous troll skull hammer. He couldn’t decide who the enemy guards were but was enraged that Jorleif was not fighting for Ulfric. He didn’t notice me as he stepped towards the steward.

I said, “Forget Jorleif, Galmar. It is me you have to worry about.”

Galmar moved away, and I had to deal with other attackers before reaching him.

I moved faster than Galmar expected and disposed of two attackers before leaping towards him.

His hammer was way too slow a weapon. He had only raised it part of the way before he, too, lost his head.

After the initial clashes, it soon became apparent who the enemies were. I systematically cut them down as my Dance of Death flowed from one to the other.

The fighting ended abruptly. Jorleif ordered the doors be barred, which was done without hesitation.

I quickly looked at the carnage.

As predicted, Ulfric did not wear an Amulet of Talos.

Neither did Galmar.

I told Captain Lonely-Gale, “We shall unbar the door for you to find Brunwulf Free-Winter. He is now, by Royal Decree from His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Titus Mede II, the Jarl of Windhelm.”

“I shall bring him immediately, Lord Welkynd.”

I summoned Vayu, who then went to the nearest Imperial camp to arrange an occupation force.

While waiting for them to arrive, I summoned Silah, who recruited Odahviing and Nahfahlaar to fly in circles over the city. All knew that further bloodshed would be met with swift justice from above.

A few hours after Ulfric’s demise, I talked to General Tullius.

I told him, “General Tullius, Ulfric Stormcloak is dead. So is Galmar Stone-Fist and Ysarald Thrice-Pierced. Brunwulf Free-Winter currently sits on the throne. Occupation forces have been requested, and three dragons fly over Windhelm to maintain peace.”

“You just walked in and ended the war in seconds.”

“It is not that simple, General. The other rebel Holds are yet to surrender. How quickly can an occupation force station themselves outside of Riften?”

“Three days.”

“When Windhelm is stable, I shall visit Riften and demand Jarl Laila Law-Giver surrender. We shall take each rebel Hold without battles, General.”

Brunwulf Free-Winter proved to be a competent Jarl. His extensive military experience was apparent in his systematic and logical approach to issues. He chose Captain Lonely-Gale as Steward. Jorleif remained to aid the new rulers of the Hold. There would be no reprisals against him, for he committed no crime.

Several Dragonguard squads replaced the dragons and policed the street while waiting for the occupation force.

It was the 20th before the occupation force arrived in Windhelm. At last, I could begin visiting the traitorous Jarls. I teleported into Mistveil Keep and had to dodge an ironclad warrior.

I approached Laila Law-Giver at an average pace. My hands were nowhere near the pommel of my sword.

  • Unmid: Stop right there! Where I can see you!
  • Wulf: You will address me with my title, Unmid Snow-Shod and use the manners to which I am due.
  • Unmid: I do not regard you as a Thane!
  • Wulf: The laws of Skyrim defend my title. Once given, the title of Thane cannot be removed without a vote at a moot.
  • Unmid: I will not…
  • Wulf: You will not speak another word to a Thane and a Lord. Know your place!
  • Laila: Riften denies Emperor Titus Mede II. You are here illegally. Stand down, and you will be arrested and tried in the morning. Resist, and you will die.
  • Wulf: Are you as ignorant as your housecarl concerning Skyrim and Empire law? I find that odd, given your surname.
  • Unmid: Do not speak to the Jarl as if she is a commoner, you honourless traitor!
  • Wulf: History will show who are the traitors here. Will it be the person who saved everybody more than once by defeating Alduin and other threats? The man who is The Champion of The Divines. Or will it be brainless knuckle draggers who followed a kingslayer into an insurrection? As for honour, mine is intact. I doubt yours ever was.

Umid reached for his sword.


  • Laila: Let him speak, Unmid.
  • Wulf: You know by now that Ulfric’s army was destroyed at Whiterun. As witnessed by many, you will also know that he attacked me when The Laws of Parley were to be honoured. He died when he refused to surrender. So, without interruption, you will listen to my offer.
  • Laila: I am listening.
  • Wulf: Laila Law-Giver, you have been stripped of your title automatically as a member of an insurrection. The usual penalty is death. I am authorised to offer you exile within a private suite of rooms in The Blue Palace. You will not be permitted to leave the castle. You will be permitted visitors. You may take staff with you, but they will adhere to the same restrictions. There is no negotiation on this offer. Accept it freely, or I will arrest you and seek the death penalty.
  • Laila: You are one man, Lord Welkynd. How do you propose to arrest me?
  • Wulf: Don’t be a fool. You heard the power of my Thu’um. It would kill you all without me breaking a sweat. But even if I didn’t use The Voice, my sword would end your lives in seconds.
  • Laila: I have had enough of this nonsense. Kill him!
  • Unmid: As you wish. Protect the Jarl!

I leapt back, turned around and killed the two door guards.

I turned back towards the throne and Shouted Unrelenting Force.

As the power of my Shout moved across the room, Laila had a split second to scream. My Thu’um killed everybody in its path except for a warrior in full plate armour. He didn’t even flinch!

Harrald, Laila’s snotty son, ran towards me while drawing his weapon.

I blocked his sword, and then my katana entered his shoulder blade and penetrated downward, finishing within his intestines. He dropped dead.

Several guards came running from the back rooms. Laila’s dog helped me attack them.

Within seconds of the melee starting, they all lay dead except for the strange warrior and the dog.

There had to be a reason why my Thu’um did not affect the warrior. The reason became apparent when I tried to detect his soul.

As I inspected the bodies, I asked, “Who are you that hides behind a Vision?”

“At least our pupil recognised what I am.”

“Why would a Psijic Monk appear as an iron-clad warrior?”

“We are supposed to be still missing. Questions would be asked if I appeared in my robes.”

“You could do a Time Stop if you wanted to speak to me.”

“It was not my intention to converse, only observe.”

“The level of pretentious among the monks is extreme. However, one rises above all others after crawling up his arse the furthest. Why are you here, Monk Nerien?”

“Very good. It seems you have progressed beyond knuckle dragger second class. I told you. I am here to observe. Perhaps you can’t hear the battle outside. I hope you are not ignoring it.”

The Legion occupiers would not attack. That left one source of the commotion. The residents were tackling the guards and Stormcloaks. Riften has a history of rebellion against the ruling elite.

I rushed outside, and Laila’s guards were not faring well.

I joined the mayhem, and most of the guards were soon dead. It seems The Stormcloaks had vacated the city before I arrived.

Not all guards died. Some known to be sympathetic to the people were spared.

I addressed a group of citizens.

“Laila Law-Giver, her sons, Anuriel, Unmid Snow-Shod and the Stormcloak General are dead. They attacked me when I tried to arrest your ex-Jarl.”

Madesi replied, “We heard The Voice and knew it was you, Thane Welkynd. The guards rushed towards Mistveil Keep, so we decided to intervene.”

“The Legion will arrive soon. They will quickly stabilise Riften so your new Jarl can start administering the Hold.

Brynjolf asked, “Maven Black-Briar has been boasting for days that she will be our Jarl and that debts owing will be paid. Whose blasted idea was it to put that old cow in charge? Nearly every guard was on her payroll!”

“Because there is no High King or Queen, The Empire chose the replacement Jarls. When they handed me the list, and I saw Maven Black-Briar’s name, I almost choked on my Weiner.”

Sniggering and then outright laughter greeted that declaration.

I explained, “A new type of food has become popular in Solitude. It is different types of sausages inside bread buns with various condiments. Weiner is one of my favourites.”

The sniggering stopped. This situation was precarious. The dead guards littering Riften demonstrated the seriousness of it.

I continued, “After swallowing the large Weiner, I went to Jarl Elisif the Fair, soon to be High Queen Elisif. I explained the situation and, regarding Maven Black-Briar, said she would be Jarl over Elisif’s dead body. I reminded Jarl Elisif that Maven had a bulk discount deal with The Dark Brotherhood. Elisif told me who should be Jarl. I trundled over to Castle Dour and confronted the dignitary who decided the list of Jarl replacements. I told him if he did not replace Maven with Horik Strong-Hand, he would find out what kind of influence I have with His Imperial Majesty. I assume Horik will be a more popular choice.”

Brynjolf replied, “A bucket of fetid donkey snot would be a more popular choice than Maven!”

When I returned to Mistveil Keep, Monk Nerien’s Vision was gone. I was not surprised the Psijic Order spies on their experiment. They could also be planning something involving me, which is disturbing. Nothing they do is simple or even sensible.

Several hours later, the Legion occupiers were in place. Jarl Horik Strong-Hand sat upon his throne, and servants tried valiantly to clean blood and gore from the stone floor and carpets.

No other Jarl was as foolish as Laila. They all decided a cushy prison was better than being executed by a headsman’s axe or me.

On the 23rd, I headed for Castle Dour and entered the map room. I smiled when I saw all the flags were that of The Empire.

An exhausted General Tullius was sitting. I took the chair next to him.

I told him, “My term of service ends here. I am now a civilian once more.”

“There’s not much more we could ask of you. The gods, however, I suspect, may have plans for you elsewhere. That said, Stormcloak true believers still operate out of hidden military camps in the hills. If you encounter any on your travels, kill them. With any luck, they’ll soon lose heart and return to their homes and families. If not, we’ll be forced to put them all to the sword.”

“I think they will gather in large numbers away from the prying eyes of dragons. There are many miles of old roads and other passages in The Jerall Mountains.”

“Yes, you are probably right. The remaining Stormcloaks will slink out like common bandits, raid caravans and cause mayhem till we find their hidden camps.”

“Are you going home to Cyrodiil?”

“No, I suspect Skyrim will be my home for many years. I can’t say I’ll ever get used to the damn cold or understand these Nords… but I’ve come to respect them. The harshness of Skyrim has a way of carving a man down to his true self.”

“Let me guess. His Imperial Majesty expects renewed conflict with The Dominion. He strongly suggested that General Tullius in Skyrim would greatly benefit our defence.”

“You might be right, but since that is a military matter, I can’t confirm it, citizen.”

“I expect people will move across the land more freely after regular patrols ease the bandit problems. Some of the goods they will want to dispose of away from their homes are orphans thrust upon them by circumstance. I hope my orphanages can cope with the majority of them. That is my next battle, General Tullius.”

“Put your name in the ring for Emperor. I am sure Mede would be happy to pass on the reigns.”

“As I told a Khajiiti Emissary, I couldn’t stand the smell of bullshit for long.”

As Tullius laughed, I teleported to Aurane. I placed my General Welkynd armour on a mannequin and hoped never to need it again.

3 thoughts on “War’s end

  1. A M A Z I N G
    As usual, straightforward and clear. Nothing better possible for Wulf. I loved the end of the unnamable traitor together with the former jarl Laila also but I prefer my version about Riften jarl; Mjiol, a jarl of the people. Your choice, though, obeys to different laws than my gameplay (your Dragoborn is unique for the thousand reasons we know and mine is just a random Dragonborn compared to yours)
    So, for the same reason Inigo had issue to keep fighting, I would have followed Wulf lead as well. Always.
    All being said, I understand you want move to more interesting stuff but this episode seemed to fast to me… 🙁 p.s. great khajiit and bloody psijic monk. I long to see what seeds you are planting here.)
    Let’s move to different things, then!!!
    Cheers again.
    Blessing or the Nine.

    1. The whole idea was for it to be swift. There is limited scope when writing battle after battle. The extra missions provided by the popular civil war mods don’t make it any more interesting. I could have left out all battles but I thought I would try something different and not show much of the fighting, just a description. It also means Rigmor has been in Bruma for many weeks now, so her return to Skyrim is so much closer.

  2. Fighting a battle is much easier then having to clean up the mess that was created to start it in the first place. War is Hell. Thank You Mark

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