Turdas, 20th Sun’s Dusk, 4E 201
Rigmor and I discussed our plan many times, via Mara’s Rings, while I was travelling to and within Elsweyr and since returning to Skyrim. Rigmor was uncomfortable with lying to her advisors, and I agreed. We both champion truth, yet falsehoods were being contemplated.
I could teleport to Rigmor using Mara’s Rings, no matter where she was. I did so, and my beloved stood before me for the first time in over five weeks.
I joked, “There was no need to dress up for the occasion.”
“Haha. Mara’s Rings are one thing, but this is how it should be.”
Rigmor flew into my arms, and we hugged and then kissed. That kiss transmitted a need, but we had things to do. There was a room full of people waiting for us.
I broke the kiss and whispered, “We shouldn’t keep them waiting.”
“I should have told you to wear some finery. We are all in our courtly clothes.”
“Could that be because you will hold court when I leave?”
“Wulf, can you please put on some finery for me?”
“You didn’t bat your eyelids.”
“Okay, don’t bite! It will take me ten minutes to don my new armour.”
“I didn’t want a tin can sitting next to me.”
“It doesn’t look like a tin can. You will see. Just tell them that I am getting dressed and to be patient.”
“Yeah, right. Pffft! Freathof would probably faint if he thought we had just been knocking boots.”
“Does your bed squeak?”
“Going, my dear.”
I changed into my new armour, made from reinforced fabric, not metal. It is not quite as protective as my other armours.
Fifteen minutes later, I appeared in front of Rigmor. She looked me up and down, then said, “That will do. Let’s go.”
I was led through the private quarters.
We stood before a door.
Rigmor advised, “This leads to Lord’s Hall. That is where we hold most meetings. And there is a surprise guest.”
“Only a few people should hear what we have to say.”
“She already knows.”
“Oh, well then, let us get this over with.”
“Hey, it won’t be that bad!”
Two people I didn’t know were sitting at the table. Logically, the elderly gentleman was Professor Freathof Pulonicus. The other was a Priestess of Mara. Her age hinted at who she was.
Rigmor walked over. Like the gentleman I am not, I pulled out a chair, and she sat.
All eyes were on me as I sat next to her.
I hunched over a little so I didn’t look too imposing. I assumed hunching was okay, but slouching wasn’t.
Rigmor, as the ranking noble, started the conversation.
- Rigmor: Lord Welkynd, you know Mum, Malesam and Cerys. The distinguished gentleman sitting next to Cerys is Professor Freathof Pulonicus. The lovely lady to your left is Priestess Uravasa Mona, Primate of Bravil’s Great Chapel of Mara.
- Wulf: Lady Fjonasson, it gladdens my heart to see you again and in the finery you deserve.
- Sigunn: It makes a change to meet without chaos surrounding us.
- Wulf: It is a pleasure to meet you, Professor Pulonicus. I have enjoyed reading your books, and you seem to enjoy esoteric subjects like me.
- Freathof: I have heard so much about you, Lord Welkynd, in both loving and derogatory terms from Countess Ragnarsdottier. And yes, I like reading dusty tomes and scrolls on many subjects. It keeps me entertained when not performing my duties.
- Rigmor: Can we please drop the titles? Wulf is Wulf.
- Sigunn: It is good practice always to maintain proper etiquette.
- Rigmor: Bollocks!
- Wulf: Well said, Lady Ivanitchy Ramsbottom.
- Rigmor: Before anybody asks, that was an alias I used when The New Order and their goons were looking for me. And revenge will be mine, Dragonbum.
- Wulf: Freathof, if you are searching for some obscure book or scroll, ask via Rigmor, and I will see if I can find what you seek. I have excellent resources in my museum and my friends at The College of Winterhold.
- Freathof: What would I owe you for such service?
- Wulf: Nothing except to discuss your findings over wine and cheese.
- Freathof: Haha, that is a deal I can accept.
I turned to Uravasa.
- Wulf: I cannot call you anything but Primate, as that is respect, not protocol. I am more than honoured to meet you, Primate Mona.
- Uravasa: Lady Mara has told me so much about you, Wulf. I don’t think it is a coincidence I am here for this meeting.
- Wulf: I told Silah our plan, and she informed The Divines. May I ask how long you have been in Bruma?
- Uravasa: Two days. It took several weeks to arrive from Bravil. I briefly spoke to Silah but have not seen her in dragon form, for I was not here for Rigmor’s welcoming parade.
- Wulf: Silah is beautiful, and I will ask her to visit Bravil in dragon form. However, the residents would need to be forewarned lest panic result. For now, we had better get to the subject matter.
I looked at each person in turn. They all stared back in anticipation.
- Wulf: Some of you would have been told that Rigmor and I said sad goodbyes at the border after deciding to go our separate ways. Sigunn knew that wasn’t the case.
- Freathof: The way Rigmor spoke of you was genuine in praise, false in disparagement. I am old but not blind to love.
- Rigmor: I told Mum what was happening because she would have figured it out anyway.
- Sigunn: I saw how much love existed between you two, and nothing would end it.
- Malesam: What was the purpose of the deception?
- Wulf: During the two battles for Whiterun, I did not use my Thu’um. Although some troops thought that General Welkynd and Lord Welkynd were the same person, they saw no proof that General Welkynd was The Dragonborn. The armour I wore acted as a disguise for people who had never met me. If asked, some would say I was short, others tall. Some would say I was a bushy-bearded Nord, others a slimmer, refined Imperial.
- Rigmor: General Welkynd has not been seen since the end of the civil war. Some say he has led an expedition to Akavir.
- Wulf: The poor General will vanish on that ill-fated trip to Akavir. The whole of Nirn must think that Lord Welkynd, The Dragonborn, and Rigmor parted ways at the border. People and some gods do not and should not know that Lord Welkynd and General Welkynd are one person. They cannot know Rigmor is my beloved.
- Rigmor: The Divines, with the aid of mortal agents, will make the histories show that General Welkynd and Lord Welkynd are not the same people. I cannot be seen to be in the company of Lord Welkynd, The Dragonborn.
- Wulf: But I cannot achieve what lays before me without Rigmor. Therefore, we will need all of you to aid us in continuing the deception.
- Malesam: That describes the deception but not why it is required.
- Wulf: I will get to that if you stop flapping your lips.
Cerys tried valiantly to suppress her giggle and failed.
- Wulf: The New Order did not expect The Dragonborn and Dragonguard to fight for The Empire. They did not have time to formulate plans to deal with our presence. They made mistakes as they tried to adjust to unforeseen circumstances. Similarly, my unforeseen presence disrupted Tilas Aedriath’s plans for Rigmor.
- Freathof: There are countless examples of such surprises turning the tide of individual battles and wars. The New Order relied on Malacath being a surprise.
- Rigmor: Wulf said from the start that their invasion plan couldn’t work without a missing link.
- Wulf: The Divines and I tried to do the same with Alduin. Using an Elder Scroll and a dweomer provided by Lady Kynareth, the Ancient Tongues banished Alduin into the timestream. The Divines knew an approximate time when Alduin would return from this banishment, and I was sent to Skyrim to await that return. I had the power of The Thu’um for my entire life but never used it. To do so would alert The Greybeards and some dragons of my existence. We did not want Alduin or his allies to know a Dragonborn awaited The World Eater’s return.
- Freathof: That must have taken great discipline.
- Wulf: It was like denying one of my senses, Freathof. I was fighting battles in Akavir without my greatest weapon. But I persevered because I knew what would happen if I failed to defeat Alduin.
- Rigmor: Unfortunately, with Alduin, the surprise was not complete.
- Wulf: The method of Alduin’s defeat was missing from history. There were clues but no specifics. To rediscover this lost knowledge, I sent my consciousness back in time. This feat allowed me to witness the battle where he was banished. Unfortunately, Alduin recognised who and what was observing the battle. Therefore, when he returned to Nirn, he knew a Dragonborn awaited him. He attacked Helgen because he knew I was there. Thanks to Lady Kynareth, I rapidly became strong enough in The Voice to combat Alduin. I went from a novice to one of the most proficient users of The Thu’um in mere days.
- Rigmor: Wulf’s deception meant other dragons were unprepared for him, which was a great advantage.
- Wulf: Like what happened with The New Order, Alduin and his allies had to adjust quickly to my presence and strength in The Voice. Consequently, they made mistakes. For instance, they should not have attacked the cities and towns with so few dragons. Alduin did not have time to increase his defences guarding the portal to Sovngarde. But it just wasn’t me The New Order and Alduin were unprepared for. The Dragonguard is formidable, as demonstrated by their defence of cities and towns from dragons. Their actions against The New Order and Stormcloaks helped turn the tide of those wars.
- Malesam: Okay, you want to surprise another enemy. Who is that enemy?
- Wulf: We don’t know if there will be one.
I stared at Malesam, and he was wise enough not to ask a question about to be answered.
- Wulf: No gods, Aedra or Daedra or others, are omnipotent. Lady Azura might have some idea of possible future events via her seers. The Divines have some ideas via Jills, female dragons who read the timelines. Saint Alessia and The Psijic Order are renowned for their accurate predictions. However, nothing is guaranteed to occur as every action creates infinite new timelines.
- Freathof: This is gobblygook. Rigmor introduced me to that wonderfully helpful word.
- Wulf: Yes, it is gobblygook.
- Rigmor: Gobblygook means we have to recognise our limits of knowledge. We must accept some things without worrying about how or why they happen.
- Wulf: Gods don’t know how everything works. They did not create the Aurbis and are subject to its metaphysical laws, the same as mortals. We know that if we jump off a cliff, gravity will make us plummet with unfortunate results. Not everybody will be lucky enough to bounce off a few trees and get found by Restoration mages. Gravity is a metaphysical phenomenon we recognise exists, even if we don’t understand what makes gravity work. Something created The Aurbis, but our gods don’t know who or what. Does everybody understand that gods don’t know everything?
- Sigunn: It is a disturbing revelation, but yes.
- Malesam: Wulf taught me, rather forcefully, that my mistress doesn’t know everything.
- Rigmor: Sethri also learnt that lesson, Malesam. The most important thing to remember is that gods lie and exaggerate. Some more than others, but all of them are capable.
- Uravasa: There is a difference when it comes to motivation. The Nine might muddy the histories to separate Lord Welkynd and General Welkynd, but the purpose is to benefit the mortals they love. The altering of the records to make Sir Ragnar Fjonasson a war criminal might not have been done by gods, but it was for nefarious reasons.
- Wulf: The Nine do not lie to me, but they equivocate. Sometimes, they don’t know the answer to my questions. Other times, they decide I shouldn’t know or wouldn’t understand.
- Rigmor: Wulf explained it is like a very young child asking where babies come from. They are too young to understand intercourse and gestation, so we tell them babies come from the tummies of ladies.
- Malesam: The gods don’t know who a future adversary might be or even if there is one, but they ask you to keep your relationship a secret.
- Wulf: Yes, for several reasons apart from the surprise factor if an adversary exists.
- Rigmor: Saint Alessia is the greatest seer in history. The Psijic Order are also very accurate with their predictions. Both of them foresee an event that Saint Alessia calls The Obscurity.
- Wulf: Without trying to explain the metaphysics, the gobblygook of the whole thing, I will summarise what the future holds. The Divines cannot see past The Obscurity. What causes The Obscurity or if anything exists beyond it is unknown.
- Uravasa: When Lady Mara explained it to me, she said it was as if The Divines suddenly became deaf and blind. They are used to seeing timelines continue into infinity. When all timelines suddenly end, they are understandably disturbed.
- Freathof: If our gods don’t know what causes The Obscurity, how can they prevent it?
- Wulf: They know that the best chance of preventing it is Rigmor and I. How they know this has not been explained and is likely beyond my comprehension.
- Rigmor: Wulf and I have to be together to prevent The Obscurity, or at least guarantee things still exist after. When I asked Saint Alessia what she meant by together, she answered, ‘Within proximity of each other. Whether your relationship is lovers, friends, enemies, or casual acquaintances is unknown.’
- Freathof: You spoke to Saint Alessia?
- Rigmor: Why are you surprised? I have told you about speaking to Lady Azura. I have also spoken to Lady Mara, Lord Talos and Lady Kynareth. Wulf speaks to gods all the time.
- Uravasa: May I explain the importance The Divines place on your love?
- Rigmor: Please do, Primate Mona. It sounds pretentious when Wulf or I say it.
- Uravasa: She was alone when Rigmor was held captive in Bruma’s Dominion Embassy. The physical and mental abuse dragged her closer to death despite her extraordinary will. She was at risk of surrendering to the easier path of joining her father in Aetherius.
- Wulf: As was Sigunn. The strength of both women’s will to overcome what they did is extraordinary.
- Sigunn: Ragnar will be there when it is my time. I believed Rigmor still lived and needed me.
- Uravasa: Rigmor wanted two things. To help her mother, who she was positive still lived. And to exact revenge on The Thalmor. But still, her willpower is finite. The strength of her body is finite. She was close to death when Wulf visited her.
- Wulf: Through years of study and practice, some people can send their consciousness elsewhere via the ethereal plane. We shall call it the ether for brevity. By age eighteen, I had been trained in many disciplines but never ethereal travel. I had never tried it or thought I had any skill in it.
- Rigmor: Yet one night in my cell, Wulf’s spirit, for the want of a better word, visited me via the ether.
- Wulf: I was asleep, and in some stages of sleep, your consciousness borders the ether. My subconscious detected a soul in distress. It recognised that soul, even if I did not. It dragged my consciousness through the ether to Rigmor’s cell. There, I saw the back of a young girl covered in new and old scars.
- Rigmor: The calm we share when together, what we call Our Quiet, came over me. Wulf said, “Hush, little one, for you are not alone. I am your witness and will share your pain. I cannot rescue you, but I will not leave your side. Sleep and let your body rest. I will watch over you. Let me be your guardian.” If anybody witnessed this meeting, they would not have seen or heard Wulf. I could not see him or physically hear him. Only through our connection was it possible for me to detect his presence and hear his words.
- Wulf: Through an ability I call an Empathetic Link, I could feel Rigmor’s physical and mental pain. I felt the constant throbbing of her scars. I felt the loneliness. I recognised the despair that threatened to end her fight. She was alone in the dark, wondering if anybody cared.
- Rigmor: Because of Our Quiet, I knew I could rest. Before allowing sleep to take me, I asked Wulf, “Will you always be my guardian?”
- Wulf: I answered, “I can’t promise, but I will try. I will not stop out of choice. I hope that is good enough.”
- Rigmor: That reminded me of what Father would say. So, I told Wulf, “Yes, we can only try our hardest. My dad used to say that. The worries of tomorrow are gone, and I feel peace. I can sleep now. Goodnight, my guardian.”
- Wulf: That was a pledge I made, even if Rigmor did not realise it. I also knew I loved a teenage girl I just met and didn’t even know her name.
Cerys was sniffling. Freathof also had tears in his eyes. Uravasa smiled, for her life revolves around love, and she recognises its beauty. Sigunn had heard the tale before, and she reached across to hold her daughter’s hand. Malesam looked down. I wondered if he once experienced such love, and for whatever reason, it was lost.
- Wulf: I don’t know how long I stayed with Rigmor that night. However, the next time I visited her via the ether, she was in stocks that should have weighed her down. Instead, she knelt almost upright with a grim look of determination. It was another show of defiance as Tilar Aedriath, a large Altmer torturer, and another witness surrounded her. Next to Tilar was Baa’Ren-Dar, whose anger and empathy were great. Tilar thought it was impressive they had Ragnar’s daughter at their mercy and was showing off his trophy to Baa’Ren.
- Rigmor: The Bosmer bastards failed to break me. Tilar thought he could do better. That is why I ended up in the Bruma Embassy. But every torturer there also failed, so they brought in their best. He had never failed to break a prisoner.
- Wulf: I knelt before Rigmor, still not knowing her name, and told her, “I am your guardian, and we shall share the pain, you and I.”
- Rigmor: I looked to where Wulf knelt, even though I could not see him, and I nodded to let him know I heard his words.
- Wulf: The torturer, taller than I am now, looked through his tray of instruments and selected a horse crop. The other Altmer witness was leaning close in case Rigmor whispered her plea for mercy. The crop came down, and Rigmor flinched but remained silent. I almost screamed with the intensity of the shared pain, and I would have done so if it didn’t risk demoralising Rigmor.
- Rigmor: The crop fell over and over.
- Wulf: Flesh was torn from Rigmor’s back as new scars were created and old ones reopened. The Altmer witness was covered in gore and blood. I suffered extreme pain during my training to ensure I could think clearly and perform my duties despite it. I had never felt such pain as I did that night. And still, Rigmor remained silent. She stared ahead as if she knew exactly where my eyes were. And in her eyes, I saw a depth of love that overwhelmed me. A love not just for me but for her parents and the world’s wonders she saw before enslavement. Baa’Ren-Dar asked Tilar to stop the display, but that arsehole refused.
It was my turn to weep. With a laugh, Rigmor produced a handkerchief and passed it to me. I resisted blowing my nose into it and handing it back. I kissed her on the forehead and continued.
- Wulf: My anger grew with each stroke of the crop. I would gladly have swapped places with Rigmor or torn her tormentors to shreds. But I was not physically there, and my ethereal form could do little but comfort the girl whose name I had yet to learn.
- Rigmor: My defiance angered the torturer.
- Wulf: The brute’s attack was getting more vicious as this skinny, malnourished girl of a lesser species defied him. Rigmor was making The Thalmor look weak in front of Baa’Ren. She was making them feel inferior, which is something foreign to them. I was proud of Rigmor’s defiance but knew it couldn’t last. She would be whipped to death if she didn’t give them what they wanted.
- Rigmor: Wulf pleaded, “Please, give them what they want. Scream out, beg for mercy. It will be a hollow victory for them. Surely you have something to live for?”
- Wulf: Rigmor nodded and then, to my surprise, smiled.
- Rigmor: I screamed, not from the pain but from frustration at this minor victory I was gifting my enemy. I yelled out, “No more! Please! No more!”
- Wulf: Rigmor fell forward, and The Thalmor laughed. Baa’Ren-Dar growled. I continued to weep.
My sadness quickly turned to anger as I recalled my helplessness and inability to be Rigmor’s guardian. I smashed my fist on the table, which startled everybody but my beloved.
- Rigmor: My love, that night, you saved my life. You got to cut Tilar’s head off a few years later, so everything turned out how it should.
- Wulf: I handed him to a pissed-off Malacath, which is better than killing him.
- Rigmor: Tell the rest, Dragonbum.
- Wulf: There was no waking between that visit to Rigmor and the next. I immediately went from the torture room to witnessing Rigmor’s rescue by Baa’Ren-Dar. She was barely alive as he carried her. Baa’Ren is small, even for his Khajiiti Furstock, but Rigmor looked like a skinny child of nine or ten in his arms. He whispered to Rigmor, “The nightmare is over, Rigmor. I shall take you to my home, and you will be safe. Nobody will ever hurt you again.” I awoke in my bed screaming and begging to return to the girl whose name I now knew. I was Rigmor’s guardian and needed to help the Khajiiti protect her.
- Uravasa: The Divines have provided Wulf with many gifts besides Lord Akatosh’s blessings. None of those gifts explained how or why Wulf detected Rigmor’s distress and made his way via the ether to aid her. Only after Lady Mara observed them interact did she finally understand. Rigmor and Wulf’s souls are entwined. Each kalpa their souls will seek each other. They are meant to be together. The metaphysics of the Aurbis has decided this, and even Lady Mara cannot say how or why this occurs. Their love is recognised and cherished by The Nine and other gods.
- Wulf: I refused all offers of romance and intimate relations despite the myriad offers from both genders. I knew for a certainty that Rigmor and I would meet again. My parents, gods and friends did not share my certainty. I never doubted, and it was a relief when I found Rigmor again.
- Rigmor: The first time Wulf found me after Baa’Ren’s rescue, I was severely injured when I accidentally fell off a cliff while escaping Thalmor pursuers. Before Angi found me, Wulf visited in ethereal form. When Angi was helping me to my feet, I said, “Thank you, my guardian.” That confused Angi!
- Wulf: I woke, not knowing where Rigmor was. I hoped the huntress would keep her alive but could do little to aid the woman I loved. Weeks later, Rigmor earned me a beating. I was practising unarmed combat with Shiva, one of the Ka’Po’Tun Dragonguard. In my mind, I heard Rigmor yell, “Guardian…help…!” It distracted me enough that I didn’t block a flying kick to my chest. Luckily, nothing was broken.
- Sigunn: Shiva is a big lady!
- Wulf: She is also a master of unarmed combat. The kick didn’t tickle, but I got up quickly. This time, I knew where Rigmor was. I had seen her location through her eyes and recognised it was some cliffs near Riverwood. I teleported to near there and found Rose and Rigmor. The rest is history.
- Cerys: Saint Alessia said you must be together in any capacity.
- Wulf: She did, but the preference is we are lovers, for together we are greater than our sum.
- Rigmor: Wulf plus Rigmor together equals more than Wulf here plus Rigmor there. Is that clear?
- Freathof: We understand the concept, young lady.
- Rigmor: Good, because I thought I made it unclearer.
- Freathof: Don’t you mean ‘more unclear?’
- Rigmor: Isn’t that what I said? DUH!
Everybody laughed, which was more pleasant than understandable weeping and anger.
- Malesam: Do you have any clue at all what will cause The Obscurity?
- Wulf: Is everybody here familiar with The Liminal Barrier?
- Malesam: I am after you schooled me some in that cave, and Cerys bent my ear later.
- Freathof: That is one of my favourite esoteric subjects.
- Sigunn: I feel it is essential to this tale. So, can you please explain without too much gobblygook?
- Wulf: Before Saint Alessia led the slave revolt, the Ayleid were in a civil war. The Aedra worshipping Ayleid were losing badly to the Daedric Worshipping Ayleid. When Nirn and Mundus were created, many of the et-Ada who became Aedra sacrificed their lives or a significant part of their powers. That means that after the creation of Mundus and Nirn, their creators could not physically manifest in their creation. However, the et-Ada who became Daedric Princes could manifest in something they had no claim to own or govern.
- Rigmor: That is why an Avatar of Lord Akatosh fought Mehrunes Dagon. Lord Akatosh could not appear on Nirn.
- Wulf: The advantage of having their Daedric gods manifest gave their Ayleid worshippers an advantage against the Aedra worshippers. It was also a problem that Saint Alessia faced against the Daedric Ayleid. She made a covenant with Lord Akatosh to even the odds. Using the power of Lord Akatosh’s blessing of her blood, the creation of The Amulet of Kings, and the dweomer of The Dragonfires, a barrier was created to prevent Daedric Princes from physically manifesting on Nirn. That is The Liminal Barrier. Only people who carried Saint Alessia’s bloodline could light The Dragonfires and wear The Amulet of Kings.
- Sigunn: It was the failure of The Liminal Barrier that allowed Mehrunes Dagon to appear on Nirn.
- Wulf: Correct. The Oblivion Gates allowed lesser Daedra to invade Nirn, but The Liminal Barrier needed to fail for Mehrunes Dagon to join them.
- Sigunn: Okay, now I understand enough.
- Wulf: Not all Daedric Princes want to harm or enslave mortals. Not all of them want to destroy Nirn and Mundus. Since the creation of The Liminal Barrier, nearly all the plots of Daedric Princes have been efforts to bypass or remove that protection. Mehrunes Dagon ordered Emperor Uriel Septim VII’s assassination, believing he was the last mortal that carried Saint Alessia’s bloodline. The lack of an emperor or empress with that bloodline ensured The Dragonfires could not be kept alight, and The Liminal Barrier would fall.
- Sigunn: But there was Martin Septim, a bastard child.
- Wulf: Yes, but Emperor Martin Septim the First could not relight The Dragonfires before Mehrunes Dagon appeared on Nirn. Martin sacrificed himself by destroying The Amulet of Kings and unleashing the enormous power it contained. That allowed two things to occur. It allowed a powerful avatar of Lord Akatosh to appear and battle Mehrunes Dagon. It also created a new Liminal Barrier that did not rely on a bloodline or The Dragonfires.
- Sigunn: Yes, it has all come back to me now. To think I used to teach this history!
- Rigmor: We have discussed this, Mother. Things not crucial to your survival in your years of enslavement were not so much forgotten as placed in the ‘not important’ section of your brain.
- Malesam: Rigmor’s planned sacrifice was not to weaken or bypass The Liminal Barrier.
- Wulf: No, it was intended to give Malacath’s soul a place to manifest after he entered Nirn. Rigmor’s consciousness would have ended up in The Ash Pit, Malacath’s Oblivion realm. The Oblivion Gate was his way of bypassing The Liminal Barrier.
- Rigmor: My body would have contained the soul of a male God-King. That would have been confusing for Mehrunes Dagon!
- Wulf: Oh, the dilemma. Privy seat up or down!
- Rigmor: Idiot.
- Freathof: That was amusing, Wulf.
- Rigmor: Don’t encourage him.
- Wulf: Saint Alessia foresaw, even though she did not understand how or why, that once Alduin returned to this timeline, The Liminal Barrier would start to weaken. That is what is happening, and as a result, more attempts by certain Daedric Princes to bypass it can be expected.
- Malesam: Which Daedric Princes?
- Wulf: Molag Bal, Mehrunes Dagon and Boethia for certain.
- Malesam: You are telling me these things, knowing who my mistress is. Why?
- Wulf: We aren’t telling you half the secrets, Malesam. There are things about me that Boethia would love to discover, but she won’t because you and others in this room will not be told them.
- Rigmor: We are telling you all what is needed to give me the freedom to help Wulf without resorting to lies and deceit.
- Malesam: How do you intend to help him?
- Rigmor: By being with him when battling the darkness he sometimes wrestles with. Our Quiet, the manifestation of our love, aids us both. I also intend to accompany Wulf on some of his tasks.
- Malesam: You want to be with him and in danger?
- Rigmor: Yes.
- Malesam: What about your duties here?
- Rigmor: We are not holding court every day. What I do in my free time is, frankly, none of your business. High Queen Elisif the Fair and His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Titus Mede II, are willing to provide reasons for me to leave Bruma in Mother’s capable hands for extended periods. But I doubt I would be away for more than a few days. Who will know where I am when we use teleportation to get around?
- Malesam: That is part of the problem. What if you are urgently required here?
- Wulf: I am going to entrust Cerys with summoning and teleport spells. She will become one of the few mages who know them. She will be able to summon Rigmor if an emergency arises. Cerys’ speciality is Restoration, but she has the ability and Magicka to cast the spells mentioned.
- Rigmor: Currently, you have no way of contacting me if I am in The Imperial City, Skyrim, or other distant places. If Cerys is with me, she can teleport back here and see if anything needs my presence. If Cerys is not with me, she can summon me.
- Wulf: You can also tell The Divines in your chapel. Via them and Silah, we would be informed of the need for Rigmor’s presence.
- Malesam: Me speaking to The Divines would be amusing.
- Rigmor: If I am with Wulf, his chance of accomplishing a task increases. I will be doing something for other people, including the citizens of Bruma.
- Wulf: I never ask those accompanying me to take the greatest risks. For instance, I would not take them into Oblivion or, as happened very recently, get too close to a Sload.
- Freathof: A Sload?
- Wulf: Yes, he was threatening to release a plague in Elsweyr. You will learn the story one day. At the moment, it is politically sensitive.
- Freathof: Rigmor provided me with your redacted journals.
- Wulf: I opened the museum in Solitude to teach the truth. When the need for deception is over, history will show General Welkynd and Lord Welkynd were the same person. Similarly, my unredacted journals will be published.
- Rigmor: I just fought two battles, Malesam. Nothing Wulf asks me to do will be as risky as that.
- Freathof: We might worry about Rigmor, Malesam, but we cannot argue against her desire to aid Wulf and, therefore, all of us.
- Cerys: Are you aware of any Daedric Prince plots at the moment?
- Wulf: Molag Bal always has multiple plots running. The Divines have asked me to weaken him where and when I can. I expect other people will stumble or suspect plots and ask for assistance. The Divines and Daedric Princes may even ask me to aid with discovered plots. Lady Azura recently asked for my help investigating potential danger to her Priests and Priestesses in Solstheim.
- Freathof: Was there danger?
- Wulf: Yes, there was. Some fanatics believed The False Tribunal could be restored and were planning violence.
- Rigmor: The Divines do not know what is happening in Oblivion. That is why they knew nothing about Malacath’s plan. As Wulf said, he depends on others discovering issues.
- Malesam: My mistress would help you weaken Molag Bal.
- Wulf: Before Boethia would tell me where Rigmor was being held, she demanded I complete two tasks. I had to defeat her champions and recover Scourge. Boethia had no idea how quickly I could accomplish those tasks. If I could not travel as fast as I could or climb mountains rapidly, Rigmor would have died on the sacrificial altar. I reached her with seconds to spare! Lady Boethia might dislike Molag Bal, but that doesn’t mean Boethia would volunteer aid without demanding a price be paid.
- Sigunn: We know enough to comply with Countess Ragnarsdottier’s wishes. She is not demanding compliance but politely requesting it.
- Freathof: I agree, but if I may, can I ask you about some vampires you encountered, Wulf?
- Wulf: Yes, of course.
- Freathof: When milady Rigmor arrived, she told me all about what had befallen her in Skyrim. She described how you had rescued a girlchild named Sorella and how a similar thing that happened to Sofia also happened to her. That she, too, had terrible dreams and heard voices calling her. Oh, how I wish I had taken more notice of the poor child.
- Wulf: I have orphans in my palace and own several orphanages. On any given night, many children will have terrible nightmares. Sofia had recently lost her father, and nightmares would be expected. You had no way of knowing their origin or the danger they presented. A favourite and true saying is, “Everybody is wise after the event!”
- Freathof: Rigmor told me how you rescued Sorella after encountering a coven of witch devils.
- Wulf: It was the second time I wiped out that nest. Both times, I realised something odd. Volkihar and Cyrodiilic vampires are sworn enemies, yet the nest included both.
- Freathof: After Sofia disappeared, I discovered that many children who displayed the same symptoms of voices calling them were reported missing.
- Wulf: I called it a nest, as I discovered the coven is headed by somebody they call The Broodmother. A note I found suggests that Bloodlet Throne was one nest of a coven spread over different provinces. They use a dweomer to ensorcel the children, who head towards the nearest nest. The compulsion cannot be resisted. Sorella is protected by a ring I found on the corpse of a mother searching for her child who was also a victim of the ensorcellment.
- Freathof: Sofia vanished not long before you rescued Sorella. She was the last one reported missing in Cyrodiil. It seems that after you destroyed the Skyrim nest, the abductions in Cyrodiil ceased.
- Wulf: I wish I could tell you more, Freathof. The Vigilants of Stendarr in Cyrodiil are far more efficient vampire hunters than the idiots in Skyrim. I haven’t been able to investigate further, but I shall visit the Vigilants’ headquarters and ask.
- Freathof: Molag Bal might have a plan that involves these children!
- Wulf: He may, or this Broodmother is simply a deranged vampire under no instructions from Molag Bal. At the moment, everything is speculation.
- Freathof: I understand.
- Wulf: And I understand your need for answers.
- Rigmor: When Wulf says he will do something, be assured it will be done.
- Malesam: Wulf, you earned your title as Lord by purchasing a castle. Is that your only claim to nobility?
- Wulf: Why? Are you concerned about me being a suitable match for Countess Ragnarsdottier? Does it help that I am one of the wealthiest people you will ever meet?
- Malesam: I…ah…
- Uravasa: Wulf is of high nobility by birth. However, his bloodline is a secret that will not be divulged. To do so would increase the ever-growing list of enemies he has gathered. Even Rigmor’s diluted Mede blood is being kept secret for the same reason.
- Wulf: I will marry my fiancé when two criteria are met.
- Sigunn: Did you say fiancé?
- Uravasa: Yes, they are engaged. Lady Mara created some rings for them, and before the Shrine of Saint Alessia, they pledged to marry.
- Sigunn: What rings?
- Uravasa: You can’t see them. Lady Mara made them that way so they would not be stolen or questions asked of Rigmor and Wulf.
- Rigmor: Sorry, Mother, I was going to tell you, but everything got so busy!
- Malesam: And what two criteria must be met before the nuptials?
- Wulf: First, it must be safe to marry, as that announces our connection.
- Malesam: That could be years from now!
- Wulf: Maybe. The second reason is Cyrodiil’s coverture laws. If I married Rigmor, she could not govern Bruma. She would lose all rights to her titles and assets. I could never do that. Rigmor’s title is Ragnar’s legacy, earned through service and sacrifice and handed to his daughter for her suffering and service. Plus, I wouldn’t be here often.
- Malesam: But children?
- Rigmor: I don’t have to be married to provide an heir and a spare, Malesam. As long as I squeeze them out in front of witnesses, they have a legal inheritance to Bruma.
- Malesam: But the impropriety!
- Wulf: Emperor Martin Septim the First was a bastard. It is not a badge of shame except to the shallow and ignorant. And isn’t one of the countesses married to a woman yet has two children?
- Rigmor: Besides, we are too busy having fun practising to pop out any kids soon.
Cerys, Uravasa and Sigunn burst out laughing. Freathof was in danger of fainting. Malesam was lost for words and beetroot red.
When things calmed down, although Malesam was still bright red, I continued.
- Wulf: The rings gifted by Lady Mara allow Rigmor and me to speak across great distances. That is how we organised this talk.
- Rigmor: Lady Mara made them so we can support each other.
- Wulf: I already have many enemies and will continue to attract more. So, be assured when I say that we will be discreet. With a change of clothes and wig, Rigmor will look like a different woman each time.
- Rigmor: Haven’t you heard about that good-for-nothing Lord Welkynd? He is a terrible womaniser! No wonder I dumped him at the border.
- Wulf: I dumped you! All you were interested in was my wealth.
- Rigmor: Yeah, right. Pffft!
- Uravasa: The problems arise when the sire does not claim the child. Wulf could claim a child if witnessed by a Priest or Priestess of The Nine. That child is then legitimate according to Imperial Law. The child’s father does not have to be disclosed, though it is recorded in temple archives. The child is not required to adopt the father’s surname or a derivative.
- Wulf: Therefore, any little ones can continue to be called Ramsbottom!
- Rigmor: Don’t push it, peasant.
- Sigunn: I think this topic is a bit much for Freathof.
- Wulf: Surely you enjoyed a bit of pre-marital boot banging, Professor.
- Freathof: I…ah…well…I do remember this one barmaid in particular.
- Wulf: See, you made Lady Dibella proud.
- Rigmor: I don’t think one of the Ten Commands of The Nine Divines says, “Go out and bang boots.”
- Wulf: None of them say, “Don’t go out and bang boots!”
- Cerys: Stop looking my way, Father. What I do in my spare time is my business.
- Malesam: I know, but a father is allowed to worry.
- Wulf: I think we are done for now. If you think of anything, ask Rigmor. Then, if needed, we can discuss what concerns you.
- Sigunn: Should Rigmor have bodyguards?
- Wulf: She should. However, we would have to trust them with things we have not disclosed to all of you.
- Rigmor: We would have to be careful who we choose, Mother. And they would not be my shadows.
- Wulf: Discuss it amongst yourselves, and if there are candidates, I can pull some strings to get them checked.
- Rigmor: You are good at figuring out the bad from the good.
Everybody dispersed as I handed Cerys a spellbook with the teleport and summon spells. She knew the trust I was placing in her. Eventually, others will rediscover the magic, but until then, it is an advantage I am loathe to lose. In a couple of days, Cerys will try the summoning spell, which relies on correctly using the teleport spell.
I gave Rigmor a quick kiss goodbye and then reluctantly teleported to Aurane.