Hey, it's Destana again. I was captured for a while (3 months for me, 3 days for everyone else). We've been fighting an ongoing war with the Thalmor, who seek to conquer Skyrim. Cyrodiil is in turmoil, and a sizeable portion of the Imperial Legion are taking refuge here, but helping us in the war. General Sialius is here, helping direct the fight. We lost Riften, Falkreath, Morthal, Markarth and Helgen (and all associated forts). But we won at Whiterun with two dragons. Then we used the elves' own magic against them (thanks to my genius son Damien, who grew horns) using a combination of Stormcloaks, Imperials, Forsworn, and my own stealthy assault to take back Markarth. We talked about a deal with Hammerfell.
Before General Sialius left, he said, "We're going to continue the campaign and reclaim Falkreath tomorrow. Damien said he's ready. But our soldiers need to rest."
Hrolf had said after the battle he had more work for me, so I headed to Solitude with Fenrir and Runa (Serana had vampire business to attend to). When we got there, Damien and Hrolf were making small talk.
"Oh, hey Destana," Hrolf said, "I have an idea concerning this possible alliance. A little while back Hammerfell sent us a letter asking for help in dealing with a certain problem that's beyond their reach. Seems that before the Dominion withdrew from Hammerfell, one Thalmor officer named Ortranil comitted a number of atrocities against civilians. Sadly, he was never brought to justice. Infact, he how captains a scouting vessel, the Wizard's Whisper. Coincidentally, some fisherman off a village called Innsmouth reported seeing that vessel trapped in ice north of the coast. You see where I'm going with this?"
"I get it," I said.
"Leave no witnesses. Not a single one," he replied, "Speak with Gorth the Well Spoken on the northern coast between Innsmouth and Dawnstar."
"Who's coming?" I asked.
Runa and Fenrir nodded, like, 'Of course we're coming.'
"I'll come this time. It's been a while since I went on a proper adventure," Damien said.
"Cool. Ever heard of Innsmouth?" I asked.
"Nope. Maybe it's a new village," Damien replied.
We split the teleportation to Dawnstar, hopped in small boats and traveled down the coast. Not a long way.
Down the coast was the unknown village of Innsmouth. When we reached the boats, they were shoddily moored at posts (no docks to speak of). Strange Ice Giant-like men (but in blue crystal armor) moved loaded boxes onto ships.
Didn't know the seafarers up here were so friendly with the giants. I approached Gorth the Well-Spoken and said, "Did you spot the Thalmor ship? Can you take me to it?"
He grumbled something incomprehensible and then said, "Let's go."
It seemed like no time and we we making icefall. Runa and Fenrir leapt off the boat while Damien and I stayed up and fired spells at the ship.
We fought and won, then we scoured the ship for more Thalmor. They never saw it coming. I went into the hold and found a bunch of naked Khajiits. Two of them were fucking. Okay. I left them to do their business. We teleported back to Solitude and reported completion. He sent us to kill some Draugr after that - which was easy. Damien went back to Solitude to report completion and the rest of us went back to Windhelm. We'd made a lot of progress in the remainder of the day after the Hammerfell meeting. For the first time in a while I decided I would sleep with the rest of the world and wake for the battle. I got up very early, before dawn.
"So they made you High King, eh?"
"Jura! I saw you with the delegation. How have you been? It's been years. Been since the Battle of the Red Ring."
"Too bad you didn't stick around for Part 2 in Hammerfell. Valerius Artora and his guys came and lended a hand," General Jura replied.
"I heard he was living in Helgen. Sadly, killed by Thalmor. But Destana killed that cell," Ulfric said.
"I see you also have General Sialius, Commander Balfhe and Commander Hrolf on your side in this fight. It's a regular reunion of the last Great War. Some of the best military minds here. In Hammerfell we're calling this the 'Second Great War," Jura said.
"It would all be for nothing if not for the Dragonborn on our side. Making this possible against the damned elves and their overwhelming numbers and their damned magics."
"She's your queen too. She's really something. Heard a lot about her," Jura folded his arms, his expression a mix of stoic and judging his friend's reaction.
"Destana is a force of nature. She reminds me of you in the old days - you know how we would sneak off and tackle ruins while the other men slept? And that one time we brought some others you swept through that Ayelid Ruin filled with ghosts like a wildfire, leaving the rest of us in the dust? She does that with our Ancient Nord ruins with the draugr. She dragged me along a few times and damn. She was the one who convinced the Jarls to moot. She was the one who finally cemented me in this position. And she forced me to marry her. Not that I would argue with that woman. Beautiful too," Ulfric explained.
Jura raised an eyebrow, then calmly said, "Really? I do remember you were pretty 'fond' of me. You're attracted to power, aren't you?"
Ulfric grinned, "I always feel like I need someone to challenge me to get better. But that was ancient history. But she's a big believer in free love, just like you were."
"I heard she's also with some vampire princess," Jura replied.
I stepped in through the side door, "I heard my name a couple times. You guys talking about me?"
"Yeah. Mostly about how amazing you are," Ulfric replied.
"I thought you were heading back to Hammerfell," I said to Jura.
"I took the diplomats to the border, and I heard about how you swept through Markarth, and how you got rid of that Thalmor ship for us. By the way, those Khajiit slaves stole the ship, currently in High Rock somewhere. I figured you were probably going to go after Falkreath next. And I asked the Alik'r if any of them wanted to come back with me and help out. Naturally, about half of them wanted a chance to see some real action with me, and you."
I nodded, "Glad to have you."
The kids and been gathering around as we talked, so I started.
"This one's not going to be the same as the others. It's not a completely walled city. We're going to sweep through in multiple directions, just like the Thalmor did," I said, leading everyone to the map room, "We have men positioned from the east, ready to attack. Our group, and the Alik'r are going to storm the main entryway to the west."
"Our old sanctuary is just outside Falkreath. It got refurbished. Want some of my guys to soften up the Thalmor commanders?" Runa asked.
"Sounds good. Coordinate with them to take out a few targets just before we arrive," I stamped my hand on the table, "This is going to be another sweep. We can save Damien's magic for Riften."
I teleported the group to a town down the road to the west of Falkreath (and had to make another trip for the ten Alik'r), Runa peeling off to the Sanctuary to give some orders. We carried on down the road while she prepared. On the road, still clear out of range of the city, we found a Thalmor patrol, so we hid to the side.
"Do you use stealth a lot?" Jura asked.
"I'm just used to wading in, spells blazing, sword swinging," Jura replied.
Before they reached us, though, a Giant and Giantess burst from the forest and started to completely level the group. We stepped up and helped out.
These were giants I'd never met before, but the Giant turned to me and bowed his head, "You Des.. Dest..."
"Destana," I said.
"We here, fight battle," the Giantess said.
Jura smiled big, "You're friends with the Giants?"
"Mom's friends with everybody, eventually," Fenrir slapped Jura on the back, "Or they end up dead if they try and mess with her."
"Well then, follow me to the city!" I smirked.
In little time, it was ready to start the assault. Still before dawn. I heard several yells, signaling Dark Brotherhood arrows hit their marks, or daggers as the case may be.
"Charge!" I shouted, the Alik'r and my kids on my heels. The giants tore open the gates and we waded in. The Stormcloaks entered the city from the east at the same time.
Though planned, this was much more chaotic. Small pockets of fighting broke out throughout the town. Townspeople rose up with us and stabbed their Thalmor occupiers in the back. A pocket of Thalmor gathered between a building and farm to the north, peppering us with attacks. Seconds later I heard a mighty roar from the sky.
"Dovakiin! Dova Aav Kiin!"
Oh gods, now is not the time.
"Paarthurnax sends his best!" The dragon shouted, and blasted the pocket of elves with a cone of flame.
I smiled as my brain did the legwork. He said, "The dragons join the war."
Runa, Fenrir and Jura were all taking on groups of Thalmor by themselves, the Stormcloaks still fighting the major force at the east end. I alternated healing and buffing, sending arrows to every enemy I could. As the Thalmor broke, Stormcloaks flooded in, and I noted Imperial Legionnaires sprinkled amongst them, now unabashedly working together.
In only moments, the battle was over. This town, made of mostly wood, was now on fire. The Alik'r, Stormcloaks, Imperials, and mine all pitched together to put out fires.
"Wait..." I suddenly said.
"STRUN - BAH - QO!" I shouted, the skies filling with clouds, rain beginning to pour.
Jura smiled at me (only a little), "I've heard about the power of the Dragonborn. Most impressive."
"Well that sounded genuine. Nothing really affects you does it?" I smirked.
"I'm 60. Seen four large scale wars. Probably killed ten thousand monsters," he smirked back.
"Well, maybe this will move you," I said, "The Dead Man's Drink looks like it's relatively undamaged. Drinks are on me."
I bid the giants and dragon farewell, and we walked in. Unfortunately, the barkeep seemed to have flown the coop while the Thalmor were occupying. Door unlocked, but nobody home. I hopped behind the bar and noticed the whole army was starting to file in.
"So what're you drinking? Nevermind. They seem to only have Ale."
I started serving up to everyone and I left a large sack of coins in the lockbox when we were done. After a couple hours, the men were mostly returning to their duties, leaving the area.
Runa, Fenrir, Jura and I sat around a small table in the middle of the room.
"You've been around," I said, "Care to tell me about some of your adventures?"
"I've been all over. Spent my early years in Hammerfell. Joined the Legion, fought in the Great War. Helped reconcile the Crowns and Forebears. After I semi-retired, I went north and helped High Rock with some of their problems (mostly monster hunting) and was made an honorary knight. Spent a few years in Skyrim (that's where I got the dragonbone for my armor, dragons were nearly extinct in the old days) then traveled around Morrowind, Black Marsh and Elswyer before I returned home and took a desk job with the Hammerfell military. I get called (or I take it upon myself) from time to time to handle the random problem, like this fight here."
"So you're itching to get out and do things, that's why you helped us?" Runa asked.
"I do get bored being behind a desk," Jura replied.
"We're all pretty well-traveled in Skyrim here," Fenrir said, "Runa's been to Cyrodiil for a few years."
"Not great down there right now," Jura said.
From there the conversation seemed to deflate. After a while, I decided I would ask.
"Tell me, General Jura," I took a long drink of ale, then continued, "Around the end of 181, were you in Gilane, in Hammerfell?"
"Hmm..." He stroked his chin, "That was a couple years after second Stros M'Kai. I think I might've been."
"Ever meet a woman named Ronona?"
"Hmm..." He thought, almost like a growl, "It was a long time ago. But I remember, at the time I was a Commander and we were moving troops through there to patrol the southern border. Ronona was a barmaid, but she also helped with the local garrison. Not really a high ranking person, but she was very good with bows. Showed me a thing or two at the time. We were only there for a couple weeks while we resupplied. But yes, I knew her. I went back about 20 years ago (195), but she'd passed."
The kids were silently listening, not sure what to make of this, but forming their own opinions.
"Yeah, I'd already started living on the ship by then," I replied.
Jura stared at me for long moments, he started to say something, but I cut him off.
"By the look in your eye you may be thinking what I'm thinking. Ronona was my mother. The hair, the eyes. You and I look the same. And you were there in 181. You know, I never met my father. My mom said he was killed in the Hammerfell civil war after second Stros M'Kai, but I've read something like a thousand books. From what I can gather, the ongoing civil war in Hammerfell ended because of the cooperation in the Great War, and it wouldn't have been possible for him to have been killed by a war in that timeframe. Has your hair always been that color?"
"Since the day I was born. Not all my brothers and sisters have it, but they always said I was special. I never really took much stock in destiny," Jura replied.
"Given the facts, I'm starting to wonder, are you my father?"
"Probably," he chuckled.
I smiled, "You're not very sentimental, are you?"
"I wager I have quite a few crotch spawn running around. I've already met a few," he said, and finally he cracked a bit of a smile, "But by far, you seem to be the best one. So what, do you want me to give you about 33 years worth of allowance?"
"Thirty three..?" I chuckled, "Oh yeah, it's 215 out there. We should really think about getting the dates changed in our calendars in Skyrim. I'm only 29."
Then I shook my head to his earlier question, "I have plenty of money. You seem like you've seen a thing or two. I'd like the chance to get to know you is all."
Runa got up, pulling Fenrir to his feet, "I think this is a private conversation."
"No, no. It's fine," Jura said, "I guess this means I need to learn about your kids as well. Well, that's fine. I can shirk my desk job for a good while. First thing, I gotta ask. What is with the shirtless thing?"
I smirked, "Of all the things you could ask. A few reasons. I brought peace between the Forsworn and Nords in Skyrim's side of the Reach. I joined them and I wear this to show that. A lot of the females go topless."
"Yeah, but you're a warrior. Aren't you worried about getting gutted?" He asked.
"I have a few things going for me. Suffice to say, my skin is hard as iron and armor only slows me down. Also, it's kind of like the berserker thing. It either distracts or freaks people out. At least, that's the theory," I explained.
We passed a few hours there, drinking to contentment (nobody ever came back to tend the bar). We learned a lot about Jura's many exploits and adventures, but he told his tales without boast or hyperbole. Just the facts. He also learned about all I'd accomplished in my time in Skyrim.
When we were about to leave for Windhelm, I mused, "You know, the Thalmor have been executing the Jarls in these cities. We were able to save Madanach and replant him in Markarth, and I don't feel like Riften is going to be a problem, but Falkreath had Siddgeir and Dengeir. Both were living here and both were killed. I'm not sure who I would install as the new Jarl here."
"If its not too unusual for me to say so," General Jura said, "Technically, this could be counted as aid from Hammerfell. I could stay and help them rebuild until you find a new Jarl. I'd say the locals might not take too kindly to that, but they do have a Redguard queen."
I nodded, "That would work. You have a lot of experience with leading. Also, if the Thalmor do come back, you can lead the defense."
I called a town meeting and told the locals Jura would be the interim, and I emphasized not permanent, Jarl. They seemed fine with it, especially since there was a lot of rebuilding to be done and Jura immediately went outside and started working.
We traveled back to Windhelm and relaxed for a while, slept for the night. And in the morning, Balfhe woke us up and told us the Dominion was striking back at Falkreath. We teleported in and I found the same dragon perching on one of the parapets.
"Still watching over the town?"
"Ah, dovahkiin! Yes, I am," he replied.
"Thank you!" I shouted.
There's... not a lot to say. This attack was desperate, their forces smaller. We mainly utilized the troops that'd been quartered there from the night before. Between General Jura already having established a local defense and the dragon helping, it mostly amounted to me running around shooting elves with my bow.
Anyway, we blew them out. Jura came back with us to Windhelm, and Balfhe immediately gave us more news.
"After that defeat, the Thalmor sent a letter via courier. They're desperate."
"What did they want?" I asked.
"They want to discuss a truce," Balfhe said.
"Heh, a truce. Funny," I said.
"Apparently they want to end the war," Balfhe said.
"Just like Hammerfell," Jura chuckled.
"The Dominion are many things, but they aren't stupid. They know when they're beaten. This seems like a last ditch effort to maintain some dignity," Balfhe explained, "I have no doubt they'll spin the story differently in their territory but as long as the war is over I don't really care. You should attend the negotiations. The Dominion fear you. It'll give us an advantage. They're coming to us for the negotiations, which means we're the ones with the bargaining power."
"This is probably a trap," I said.
"It's under a peace banner. Even the Dominion respect that tradition," Balfhe said.
I looked over to the map, "Well they're not coming to us physically. Fort Greenwell is one of their only held locations, along with Shor's Stone and Riften."
"Oh hey we got Helgen back," I said.
Jura nodded, "Yeah, Marcus Jannus told me all about it. He came to Falkreath when he heard I was heading up the rebuilding. His boys were driven out by a small force that peeled off the Riften attack, and they retreated to the caves below Helgen Keep, and some of them your private tower. When we took back Falkreath, the Dominion took their soldiers from Helgen to strike back at us. And the Helgenites seized the opportunity to take Helgen back. Total win. He told me you helped rebuild. The people of this land really respect you."
I smirked, "Thanks."
"I'm coming. This is definitely a trap," Jura said to Balfhe.
The group walked towards the door with me and I got ready to teleport to Shor's Stone.
"Mom, you're probably right," Fenrir said, "Probably a trap."
We all nodded, and I finished the teleport. A large group of armed people materializing in would scare the mightiest warriors, and the occupying Thalmor kept their hands on their weapons, but we outnumbered them and they let us pass. We traveled to Fort Greenwell. Thalmor everywhere. We made our way to a common area.
We were joined by our mixed soldiers and a Stormcloak commander. I approached the Thalmor commander.
"Hey, you're Mithlian aren't you? Current governor of Riften," I asked.
He nodded, "The woman herself comes to greet me. I'm honored. Shall we begin?"
"Very good," he replied.
The Stormcloak commander said, "Greetings. Let everyone know that the terms of the peace banner are in effect."
Mithlian had been slowly walking around the table. He said, "Yes, yes. Of course. I must say, you have quite a few guards. A reasonable man would be suspicious."
"The same could be said for you. Are you ready to start?" The stormcloak asked.
"Indeed we are. Are all of your men present?" Mithlian asked.
"Yes, are yours?"
"More than you know..." Mithlian replied, smirking.
"What do you mean~" The commander said.
And a dozen Thalmor assassins appeared from invisibility, swinging at us.
"FUS!" Runa blasted several assassins to their knees.
"FUS - RO - DAH!" I turned to my assassin, blasting him away, and as a bonus, blasted Mithlian against the wall behind him. Of course, I had two assassins to myself and the other one dodged and started swinging on me.
Everyone drew weapons and a classic melee ensued.
After we cleared the room we went through the whole fort, destroying them. We rushed to the exit, Fenrir and I reaching the door guards first and while he distracted them, I backstabbed the first one. Jura, Runa and Fenrir took down the other.
When we got to the exit door, Thalmor from outside filed in one by one and were cut down by us. I swung down to the prison and let out their one captive - a single Stormcloak. We met up in the common room again to loot the elves.
The commander said, "Those bastards. You should get back to Windhelm and inform Balfhe. We'll secure the fort."
I smirked - a Stormcloak man and Imperial woman were 'celebrating' in the corner.
So I teleported us back.
"We were deceived," I said to Balfhe, "Told you so."
Balfhe sighed, "How?"
"They attacked us during the meeting," I replied.
"Godsdammit. I should have known better than to trust them."
"Especially since I told you not to!" I said.
"Under a peace banner too! It was naïve of me to think they would honor such an agreement," Balfhe continued.
"Especially since all of us said it was a trap," Fenrir said.
"Yep," Jura said.
"Well, they're going to burn in Oblivion, if they weren't already," Balfhe said, "At least we know they're desperate. We just need to keep pushing."
"We're agreed on that!" I said.
I have no idea what mod the Ice Giants are from, but Innsmouth is definitely from From the Deeps.
This one was a little shorter, more digestible.
They're down to one city, and hopefully, next time!
Edited by EnragedBard