"This Imperial armour is giving me a really irritating rash around the groin area. Does yours do that, Legate?"
"I choose to not wear underpants, sir. Less chafing."
"Really? I should give that a try."
"General Tullius, sir, I have urgent news from the northeastern holds. A fleet of pirate ships is attacking the major ports. The Windhelm docks were attacked just a few days ago, and we just received word that Winterhold has been sacked. They're on their way to Dawnstar right now."
"Those are all Stormcloak-controlled cities. Why should we care?"
"They'll be coming here next, sir. And I've been asked to deliver this request from the Emperor himself."
"Let me see that. Hmm, of course, it's a concern for the East Empire Company, so it's a concern for the Empire."
"So, Legate Rikke, it looks like we're tasked with defending Solitude until this pirate threat is dealt with. I'd better speak to the Jarl. Draw some of our men back from Dragon Bridge and station them on the docks."
"Yes, General Tullius."
"Are you sure this is the right pose?"
"Yes, it's perfect," I said. "Please remain still. I'm almost finished."
"But I very much feel as though I should be sitting like this."
"Please, if you could trust us, Jarl Elisif, we are very good at this," Ramara insisted. "The original pose is better."
"Oh, fine. Just make sure you fix my nipple. And make Erikur's penis bigger. I mean a lot bigger, it's embarrassing."
"This is a nightmare."
"Yes, and this nightmare is making us rich. Continue."
"Jarl Elisif, I must..."
"... by the gods!"
" What is it, General Tumbly-Pants? Can't you see I'm busy?"
"... need to..."
"... you need to... Eat? Pee? Masturbate? What?"
"I ... need to ... tell you ... uughh..."
"I'm getting nowhere. Falk, please deal with this irritating baffoon for me."
"Jarl Elisif, I can take care of this, if you will allow me. May I borrow one of your dresses?"
"Yes, of course. They're in the wardrobe in my chambers."
"This way, General. That's it, put one foot in front of the other. You'll be alright."
"Right, now snap out of it. What is it you need to tell me?"
"Jarl Elisif, the Emperor has tasked me with defending Solitude from an approaching horde of pirates."
"Oh, bloody hell, pirates again?"
"Yes, I have ordered some of my men to gather at the docks, but you should prepare your own guards for an attack."
"Right then. You there, guard person."
"Yes, you, come over here."
"Who's in charge of the guards here?"
"That would be Captain Aldis, ma'am."
"Right, then tell Captain Aldis we need those people that shoot the pointy things, the arrows."
"Yes, archers, we need them on the walls, the ones that go all around the city."
"Yes, the ramparts. We need archers on the ramparts so they can see the ships when they come in."
"And those wheely things with the big spoons, what are they called?"
"You know, they go like this and they throw rocks."
"Oh, oh, you mean catapults. They go like this, yeah."
"Yes, catapults, do we have those?"
"I think we have some in storage, ma'am."
"Good, bring them out and put them near the water so that they can shoot rocks at the ships as they come in."
"Well, don't just stand there. You heard the Jarl. Get to it, soldier!"
"Jarl Elisif, I must say I'm very impressed. I never knew you had such a keen mind for battle strategy."
"Neither did I. It comes naturally, I suppose."
"The first stage is complete," I declared.
"Perfect," said Elisif. "When will the rest be finished?"
"That may take a little while longer."
"May we get back to the business of running the city, Jarl Elisif?" Falk asked.
"All sorted," said Ramara. "Nothing at all to worry about."
"You see, Falk Funnybeard? Stop being such a mumblepot."
"I hearby order all citizens of Solitude to cease worrying and be merry, for it is Saturalia!"
"Except for you, Erikur, you must put on some pants right now. By the gods, I can't even look in your direction."
And the city heard Elisif's call. The snowy streets were alive with merriment as children played and couples embraced by the Saturalia tree.
In the marketplace, Lamae put on a performance for the city.
"Alanis, I have something for you."
"A coat. I know you're a porn star, but for gods' sakes, put some clothes on, it's freezing."
"Isobel, I wanted to give you this."
"I picked it from the roadside. I wanted to buy you something, but we're basically slaves with no income."
"Oh, Kasper, thank you. Ramara is so horrible, making us carry everything and wear these humiliating outfits."
"I know, and Nelfim is such an asshole. He makes me hold his wine for him while he masturbates. It makes me want to puke."
"Oh, life is so miserable!"
"I know, but we have each other. That's all that matters."
"Looks like I've got a Saturalia gift too," said Ambarys.
"Oh, Ambarys, you shouldn't have."
"It's not for you, it's for me. Payment from the East Empire Company for another shipment of the la'est issue. That new pirate story is a hit with the folks down south."
"Nelfim, darling, I have a gift for you."
"My diamond encrusted ballgag! How did you get it back?"
"I flashed my boobs at one of the guards at Dragonsreach and he retrieved it for me. Seriously, I wonder why I bother paying for anything with these things."
"Ramara, my love, I also have a gift for you."
"Yes, a kiss."
"I'm kidding. It's new custom-designed Varis. It was hideously expensive and I may have to resort to prostitution to pay off the debt."
"Nelfim, it's beautiful, thank you."
"By the gods, somebody help!"