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EnragedBard

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Hey there.  Destana here.  Update to our ongoing war with the Thalmor:  we drove them back to just Riften and Shor's Stone. 

 

Right after I reported this to Balfhe, General Sialius told me we would be attacking Riften within a few hours.  Damien was already making preparations.  I gathered Runa, Serana, Fenrir, Shirley, Ulfric (who wanted to come for the triumphant ending), and Jura (who was still with us from the 'peace talks') and we teleported off to Iverstead, making our way on horses to a safe distance away.  I went off on my own for just a bit and Serana shrugged as she knew there was no stopping me.  

 

This city was locked up tight, with all the Thalmor's remaining presence in Skyrim.  Seems like they pulled back everything they had.  My thought was as before: get into the city and get some cooperation with the Thieves Guild.  However, my presence was noticed when I tried to enter the south district by a random Goblin attack that put the guards on high alert.  I did however, beast call an ogre that was with them and send him over to my attacking forces.  Then my presence was noticed by the docks. 

 

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I tried to teleport in, but a dozen Thalmor guards happened to be passing by the graveyard and I knew I needed to get out of there when they saw right through my invisibility.  Then there were a ton of them running around the central area.

 

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I crested a hill with all my friends and family, "Well, sorry to say this, but I might have just alerted the Thalmor."

"Why would you do that?" Balfhe asked.

"Oh, you're here.  And Sialius.  And Hrolf," I said.

"Last battle, I think," General Sialius said.  

 

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Damien was standing at the top of the hill.  He folded his arms, "The Stormcloaks and Imperials are set.  We're ready to start."

A few people talked about how to approach the gate, and finally Fenrir said, "I think Mom and Damien should go up on that ridge and double blast them with your best magic to knock down the first line.  We rush over the ridge and join the army, breaking through the barriers.  If things get bad, mom can call her dragon friends.  It looks like they might be thinking about trying a siege.  But they may not know there are a lot of entrances."

 

"Right," I said, "Besides the three they know of, there's two sewer entrances.  Riften is not the most defensible city."

Ulfric and Jura both patted Fenrir on the back, meeting eyes in the middle.

"Guess you're a grandpa now you old codger," Ulfric chuckled.

"You're older than me!" Jura said back, exasperated.

 

"I think that's a great plan," General Sialius said, "A few of us can travel straight north up the ridge and get a clear shot at them.  Balfhe, take a small group of Stormcloaks and assault the southern gate."

We broke, and Damien and I ran up to the ridge, both in Invisibility.

"You ready?" I whispered.

"Feel like I've missed a lot of the actual fighting.  I'm excited," he whispered back.

 

Sialius, Ulfric and Jura all shouted for the soldiers to charge, and Damien and I were already charging up Black Winter.  The Thalmor peaked their heads over the next ridge, a couple dozen of them coming down to meet our warriors.  But they were blasted to pieces by the dual annihilation dealt out my two master Destruction wizards.  It only took a solid two seconds and we both broke concentration, and then our men were stampeding through the frozen corpses of Thalmor. 

 

Damien moved to the right while I got out my bow and continued forward, stealthily, backing up the soldiers. 

 

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Further up the ridge I raided one of the watchtowers while the armies moved past me.  I found Runa, already assassinating one of the archers.  When the other turned their attention to her, I backstabbed the other one.  I gave my girl a high five.  She leapt down and I used the watchtower as a vantage point to snipe Thalmor for a few minutes.  

 

 

Minutes later I found Shirley and Damien to the far right side of the gate, battling a group of Thalmor. 

 

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Ulfric burst into the scene just before me, shouting, "YOL - TOOR!" Blasting them with fire.  

 

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"You're been practicing!" I shouted as the rain started to come down, "YOL - TOOR!" I joined him.

"Doing my best to keep up with you!" Ulfric shouted back.

 

We battled our way up to the gate and I heard a thundering, "FUS - RO!" From Runa as she came from the gate's left with a group of Imperials.  We hit them from both sides, and while the others were trading blows with the mer at the gate, I slashed at the barricades, collapsing them.  

 

More Thalmor poured out of the gate and in unison, "FUS - RO!" The three of us, and  "- DAH!" Me and Ulfric, blasting all of them backward and the gate open.  More Thalmor poured out. 

Some of them Ulfric and I chased, while Runa and the others held the line.

 

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When I returned to the gates, I found the two groups still struggling against one another; us prevailing.  Archers were shooting at the men, so I jumped up on the roof of the stables, jumped up to the tower over the gate and blasted them back with an Unrelenting Force.  

 

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We spent a lot of time chasing after running Thalmor, and eventually it was over with us the victors.  We ran the Thalmor soldiers out of town, and seeing as how Laila Law-Giver was no more, I installed Maven Black-Briar as the new jarl (at least, for now).  I figured it it was good enough for General Tullius, it might be a good move.  

 

We all returned to Windhelm and mustered in the Map Room.

 

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Sialius wasted no time, "Good.  We're all here.  Let me start off by saying well done in Riften, all.  That was the Dominion's last stronghold in Skyrim.  With that, all Dominion forces have fallen back out of Skyrim. But it's not over.  We have one mission left.  The Dominion's leader in Skyrim will ensure the collapse of their armies.  They were really putting a lot into this assault.  Balfhe?" 

"Thank you sir.  Information on her has been scarce, however the Dominion were sloppy in their retreat.  We found her identity: an Altmer by the name of Viranir."

 

Jura, Ulfric and Sialius all exchanged glances.

 

"Yep, that Viranir," Balfhe said, "She was a prominent leader in the first war.  And we know where she is.  When the Dominion fled south, unhindered by Cyrodiil..."

General Sialius furrowed his brow visibly.

Balfhe continued, "She stayed behind with a small staging group in the Jerall Mountains.  Our scouts have found the actual location."

 

"Just point me in the right direction," I said.

Balfhe traced a line of a pass through the Jerall Mountains.

"I think I know the area.  But they'd see you a mile away.  Especially if you brought an army with you," General Jura said.

"That's why I think Destana should go and take care of Viranir, alone," General Sialius said, and smiled, which was a rare sight, "You've been our greatest asset in this war.  If not you, then who?"

I cracked my knuckles, "Finally a chance to prove I'm back at full power."

"I wouldn't be so excited," Ulfric said, "She was extremely powerful, even in the Great War.  I think you should take someone to back you up."

"He's right.  This may be one of the greatest challenges you've ever faced," Jura said.

 

I raised an eyebrow, "Did she kick all your asses or something?"

Jura chuckled out loud, while the other two just hung their heads.  Then Jura said, "Gave us all a walloping at the same time, and Valerius, Marcus Jannus, and all our men.  The fact that the five of us got out alive was a wonder.  I can accept when I'm beaten."

"So why shouldn't you go then?" I asked.

"Simple," Jura said, "You may not be as strong or as experienced as me, but you're damn close in strength.  And you're half my age.  AND you're the dragonborn.  From what I've heard you've made a business of killing things stronger than you."

 

"Who'll be my backup?" I asked.  

 

Nobody wanted to, of course.  Serana looked at me, wondering if she should, but thinking there were better warriors amongst the group than her.  Almost everyone else had a similar thought.  

"I'm abstaining to give a shot to one of the younger generation," Jura folded his arms, eyeing the kids.

 

"I'll go," Balfhe said.

General Sialius blinked, "Are you sure?  I don't like risking one of my best men on this.  I'll leave it up to her."

"Why the hell not," I said, "You know anything about stealth?"

"I'm not bad at it," he said.

 

"I'm going too," Damien said.

"Didn't we say you can't send too many?" Sialius asked.

"I'm not asking.  If there's a powerful mage, best fight fire with fire.  I don't want to toot my own horn, but I'm half-daedra and kind of a magic prodigy.  Also, I can become invisible.  You need me," he said.

"Alright, but no more," I said.

"Time is of the essence.  If she retreats further into the mountains we'll never catch her.  We need to strike at her before they realize we're coming," Sialius said.

I kissed Serana and Ulfric, hugged everyone else, and we got ready.

Damien grabbed Balfhe and I and we teleported to Falkreath.  Before we headed out we saw the dragon leaving, as the Thalmor occupation was over.

"Farewell, Dovahkiin!" 

 

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We traveled up the path using low flight and found ourselves face-to-face with a small contingent of Thalmor.  We leveled them with magic and rushed inside the cave behind.  The Thalmor inside were capital E Elite and were having none of our stealth and invisibility.  We fought our way in through fire and lightning, matching their magics with our own.

 

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Finally we came to a large open cave filled with natural pillars.  An Altmer woman dressed in red and black armored robes threw up her arms, activating a forcefield that locked Balfhe out.

"Damn it!" Balfhe said.

She started speaking calmly, but her voice seemed to carry, "So you're the one I've been hearing so much about.  I didn't anticipate you'd find me.  At least, not this quickly.  You're here to kill me I suppose.  You, the great hero of the Civil War and now this one as well.  I'm afraid that isn't going to happen."

The power coming off her was notable, her buff spells warping space and casting radiance around her.  She knew we were coming and saw this as a challenge.

She continued, "I have mastered every school of magic over hundreds of years of study.  The very fact that you consider yourself on my level is insulting.  I have been looking forward to crushing you for quite a while.  Ever since you became involved you've been a thorn in my side.  The Stormcloaks and Imperials should've fought for several more years.  The weakened Empire would've been better for us.  When they told me of a single warrior moving from battle to battle I didn't believe it.  Stories of war.  But then - the same thing happened here, and here you are.  Your reign ends here today.  I'm not just going to kill you.  I'm going to destroy you."

 

She started casting a spell, "There won't even be ashes for them to recover."

I drew my bow, heart pumping in anticipation.  I switched to Ebony Arrows.  Better use the good stuff. 

Viranir cast her spell and Damien matched her motions exactly, cancelling her out.

"The old move on," he said, smirking, "Detritus gets cleared away for the new."

 

"Not today, young one.  Meet the mage that invented the chromancy assault technique," she waved her hand and Damien froze in place, then he rewound, moving backward to the point when he was in the door way, locked out of the forcefield arena Virinir had created for us. 

 

I nocked an arrow and shot it at her, but she knocked it aside with a ward.  Then she shot a fireblast in my direction, which I dodged.  I knew I wasn't going to close the distance with her so I continued using my bow.  We traded shots; her of magic, me of arrows, strafing and not dealing a lot of damage to each other, using pillars as cover. 

 

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Then when I lost sight of her, she vanished.  I'd been in a tunnel vision with her: I just noticed a large forcefield at the far side of the room which she was now behind, casting a large conjuration spell.  

 

I activated the Nerevarine's Bow and went invisible.

 

A dozen seemingly random figures materialized: a Ghost, a Troll, a Fire Atronach, etc.  I hid and sniped, piercing each one in the eye, the heart, the brain.  They fell like wheat before a scythe.  I activated the Nerevarine's Bow again, and when she materialized back inside the barrier, I noticed she was looking around for me.  I aimed for her head and shot an arrow.  At the last second she dodged, but it slashed her in her eye, dealing massive damage.  She teleported outside the barrier, healing herself to full.

 

We did this song and dance a few times, her getting the drop on me once and nearly killing me with a lightning blast after guessing where I was hiding.  I chugged an Ultimate Potion.  After the third time, I led with my sneak attack arrow and when it hit, I immediately shouted, "TIID!" Filling the space between us with arrows.  Unfortunately, about half of them hit air when she vanished again.

 

Damn!  This time I knew I would need to kill her in a single attack.  One thing I knew about teleportation is it was never perfect.  You never know which way you're going to be facing, and usually even the master conjuror is disoriented, even if for a split second.  I killed her adds again and when she materialized, I hadn't even gone invisible, but she was turned the wrong way.  

Before she could get her wits about her I shouted, "WULD!"  Whirlwind Sprint.

She turned, I was in her face.  I activated the Nerevarine's Bow as I was dropping it to the ground.  She whipped around as I dodged behind her, trying to figure out where to blast.  She blasted a high-powered Flames infront of her, but it was wrong.  I drew my claw and dagger and slit her throat.  She fell to the ground, dead.

 

Seconds later the barrier vanished and my guys rushed in.  A pale vision of Viranir appeared next to her corpse - a ghost.  I picked up my bow.

"Hmm..." She said, "Perhaps you were more powerful than I anticipated..."

 

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"Don't look so surprised.  Did you really think I would just die?  I think not," Viranir said, "I'm warning you now.  Tamriel hasn't seen the last of me.  And neither have you."

And with that, she faded away.  I looted her armor, because it looked cool!

 

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"Wow.  That was intense," Damien said, "Guess I'm not as indispensable as I thought."

"You did it!  You actually did it!  C'mon, we need to get back to Sialius and tell him what happened!" Balfhe said.

 

We teleported to Windhelm.

"Holy shit, you're back," Sialius said, "It's done?"

I nodded.

"I knew you could do it.  All of Skyrim is in your debt.  But the war is not over.  They may be out of Skyrim, but they still hold most of southern Tamriel."

"My thoughts exactly.  Call everybody back in.  I want to plan our next moves," I said. 

 

A few minutes later amidst hugs and cheers of joy from my family and friends, Balfhe, Sialius, Hrolf, Calleius, Agrippina, and pretty much all the Thanes and residents of the Palace of Kings, I called everyone to order.  


"So we won the war.  We need to put out decrees, tell everyone.  The Thalmor are pushed out of Skyrim, their forces shattered.  I want to say it like this:  Skyrim belongs to Freedom.  So what's next?" I asked.

"We celebrate!" One of the Stormcloaks shouted.

Everyone cheered.

There was a nationwide party once the word got out.  For days the command group traveled around to each hold (Damien and me teleporting them) and handed out war aid, assigned men to help rebuild what'd been damaged, and generally drank and partied their way through the holds.  

 

We went to Whiterun first, and Serana and I peeled off.  Baalgruf was sitting in the Jarl's seat.  He said Vidnar was spending most his time in Jorrvaskr.  When we walked in, it was pretty empty (accounting for the parade and feast going on outside).  Vidnar smiled up at us.  

"Well, you made it through all this.  I do believe a promise was uttered," I smiled.

Serana gave me the sideeye, but she's already said she was going to follow through.  

 

"I have an um... weird request," Vidnar said.

"What's that?  I feel like I'm already doing a lot here," she folded her arms.

"Could we do this in the Jarl's hall?"

Serana shrugged, "Fine."

 

Baalgruf was conveniently no longer present when we got there.  I sat at the table.

"You just going to watch?" Serana asked.

"Yep," I replied, taking a drink of ale.

"Something tells me you think this is hot," she said.

"Maybe," I said back.

 

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When he finished, he said, "This old man can die happy."

I patted him on the back, "Don't die yet.  You'll want to hear what comes next."

 

As we walked out, Serana asked, "What did that mean?"

"I'm going to tell everyone at the same time.  I feel like my royal decrees have been small so far, but this one is going to be big."

 

We kept going.  In Solitude, I visited Elisif and everything seemed a little unusual.  I always get the feeling that she's really lonely.  I keep telling myself I'm going to visit her more, but I'm always so busy.

"Hey Serana, I'd like you to meet Elisif the Fair," I said.

"I think... we've met, Dragonborn," Elisif said.

"Not formally.  Not in a friendly capacity.  Elisif, this is Serana, queen of the Volkihar Vampires."

She gave me the sideeye again, then she said, "Pleased to meet you."

"Her castle isn't far from here.  I think you guys should become friends," I said, awkwardly.

"I mean, I can just teleport here from the telepads when we want to have lunch or something.  I don't think she'd want to come to the Castle," Serana said, "They'd probably think she's a snack."

Elisif grinned at the snack comment, which is exactly how to respond to it when she says it.  Then she asked, "Are you inviting me to lunch?"

Serana smirked, "Sure.  That sounds lovely."

Later Serana whispered to me, "Are you just pimping me out now?"

"Maybe.  But it's just a friend thing!"

 

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In Riften, the party continued, but we gave the Thieves Guild our condolences.

"Buddy, sorry I wasn't able to come get you before we took back Riften," I said.

"No worries, love," Delvin replied, "Ain't gonna bring 'er back.  I hope you know we did make this occupation hell for them.  And got quite a lot richer in the process.  She'd have wanted it that way."

"Argh!  I miss being just a thief.  I bet that was a lot of fun shaking down the Thalmor!" I said back.

As a side note, Riften was now governed by Jarl Maven Black-Briar (which I already mentioned).

 

Winterhold and Dawnstar hadn't really seen any of the damage, completely unchanged by the war.  But I did have business there.  I left the rest of my group to celebrate a little more while I talked to the mages, the shipwrights, and inquired about Innsmouth.

 

Morthal was not extremely changed by the occupation.  We still offered aid and celebration.  The Thalmor took Morthal by sweeping in through the night and then when we took back Markarth and Falkreath, the Thalmor fled out of Morthal to reinforce other holds.  Pretty much, a bloodless transition.  As a result, Sorli the Builder hadn't been executed and she returned to her position as Jarl.  Easy.  

 

Falkreath was still without a Jarl.  We took the party there, gave heaps of aid and celebrated, helping rebuild.  I put it down in my journal to find a new Jarl.


Helgen hadn't been severely damaged (and wasn't a hold in itself).  But since it lied close to my heart, I insisted we take the party there and give what little aid was needed.  Marcus Jannus was happy to see his old war buddies and catch up.  They also told him I'd killed Viranir. 

"I can't believe it.  Valerius would be stunned.  That woman kicked all our asses!" Marcus chuckled.

It was night of the third day of traveling when we got there but the Helgenites didn't care.  They danced in the streets with lights strung up.

"It doesn't hurt that it's also nearly the new year.  Only a couple weeks," Marcus said.

Jura turned to Ulfric, "C'mon, I think we should pay our respects to Valerius' grave."

While the others partied in the streets, I was curious, and being a woman of world-renowned stealth, I snuck out and perched on top of a building while they talked.  They talked about Valerius and Marcus for a while, but then they got off subject.

"So you think it's true?" Ulfric asked.

"Seems that way.  I was in Gilane around that time.  And she looks so much like her mother.  But with my hair and eyes," Jura replied.

"Hmm... well.  Nice work, I guess?" Ulfric replied.

"Man, what are you talking about.  You were always so awkward.  I guess that means what else I was talking about is off the table.  I only suggested because I know she's free-spirited, like me.  But this would be too awkward," Jura said.

"Oh, you mean, you and me?  Like the old days?" Ulfric asked.

Suddenly Jura turned toward the building I was perched on, and I ducked back into hiding.  I was invisible though, so I was pretty sure they didn't see me.

Jura nodded.

Then Ulfric smiled a little bit, "That would be so awkward.  I don't know how I would approach this."

"I'll drop it for now.  You think about it.  I'm not a jealous person, and I'm sure, neither is she," Jura said.

 

I slinked off back to the party, Ulfric and Jura returning a few minutes after I did.  Ulfric stood next to me, handing me a drink just before he took a drink of his.

I turned to him and stood on my toes, kissing him.

He smiled, "What was that for?"

"You remember what I said to you when we got together?" I asked.

"What do you mean?"

I didn't elaborate on the subject, then I said something else, "I think you and Jura should go ahead back to Windhelm.  I'm going to stay here tonight.  I'll get Damien to take you."

I peered into his eyes.  He looked confused for a second, then not sure if I'd figured out what their relationship had been.  Then, I could tell he was debating saying anything explicitly. 

'But why would she specifically say me and Jura?'

I smiled, nodding slightly.  It seemed to dispel his worry.

He still looked confused, but then he said, "Well, sure.  Anything else you need from me?"

"If you wouldn't mind, could you call the moot?  I have some big things I want to discuss with the Jarls."

"Same people as before?" Ulfric asked.

"Yeah, but we can have it at Highreach.  In one week.  Add Jura, the high council, and the command war party."

 

(Spoiler:  Gay Stuff)

Spoiler

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I walked over to Damien, who'd been drinking alone.

"What's up kid?"

"Well Runa and Fenrir have dates.  I'm not sure if Meru decided I was too uninteresting to keep bothering.  But whatever.  I stole a boatload of books and scrolls from Viranir's private stash and I'm going to read and learn.  Maybe go back to the College and do that tonight," he replied.

"Well, good.  Would you mind taking Ulfric and Jura back to Windhelm before you go do that?"
"Heh, old guys tired of the several day long party?" Damien chuckled, "Sure."

 

I walked over to Runa, who was dazzling a group of soldiers from both sides (Imperial and Stormcloak) with her huge greatsword. 

I peered over to Calleius who'd been stuck to her all night.  I whispered to him, "You really like her, don't you?"

"Why yes, I do, ma'am.  But we're only still getting to know each other," Calleius replied.

I gave him an icy glare, "Don't forget, she's my baby girl and you better not hurt her.  Otherwise, be safe."

Calleius shivered a bit, "Yes, ma'am!"
 

I walked over to Fenrir, but this time I faded into the crowd.  I could tell him and Agrippina were deep in conversation.  

"All I'm saying is, you don't have to go back to Cyrodiil just yet," he said.

"It's my home," she replied, "I go where the knowledge and money is."

"The College of Winterhold is in Skyrim.  You could go there."

"Still," she sighed, "If there's any chance of paying off my parents debts, I need to do it in Cyrodiil so I can set them free."

Fenrir shook his head, "You know I can help you with that."

"But then I'd be beholden to you!" She clenched her fists, "I need to get out from under everybody else."

"Let me give you a loan. No interest.  You buy your parents' freedom.  You go back to Cyrodiil and spend time with them.  You earn your money in Cyrodiil, and come back here when you want to see me again, and pay me back.  How much is it?"

"6000 Septims," Agrippina replied.

"Six thou~!" He started, but then he took out a big bag of coins, "Shor's bones!  What did they do, kill six people?"

She smiled and grabbed the bag, both of them holding it now.

"Just give me one day in Windhelm, away from all these people," he said.

Agrippina seemed to think about it for a second, then she said, "Okay."

 

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I have a feeling he's never going to see that woman again.

 

And then we all went back to our respective homes for a little bit.  In the intervening week, Serana and Ulfric both approached me for my usual wifely duties, several times.  It looked like both of them wanted this to be like a honeymoon.  She'd been staying in Windhelm, and the two of them had sex with each other a few times.

After several rebuffed attempts, Serana caught me in the Jarl's throneroom as Ulfric was finishing up court business.  She asked me again, "Hey, do you wanna have sex now?"

I said, "Oh, no... you guys go ahead."

She narrowed her eyes at me, "What's going on here?"

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"You used to love sex.  It's been ages.  You keep pushing the both of us onto other people or each other," Serana motioned to Ulfric.

"Tell me how I can help," Ulfric said.

Serana continued, "I feel like... you haven't wanted to have sex since..."

 

"Oh," she covered her mouth, "What did they do to you in there?"

I closed my eyes, "I told you before, I don't want to talk about it."

"But you must realize you need to do something to heal from this.  Was it the poison?  Damien said it would kill any normal person, through excruciating pain."

"Please..." I started, and I could feel water flowing from my eyes, "Not today."

They held me in their arms as I sobbed.

"Would you like to try something... hands off?  Do you want to watch us?" She asked.

"...Okay," I said.

So we went up to Ulfric's room and they had their fun.  I got aroused, but I didn't want anything to touch me there... still.  

 

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I even touched some.  I helped them both get off.  But that was all I could muster for now.

 

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After a week, just a couple days before New Years, the moot was called to order at Highreach, outside on the plaza.

 

"First, I call this second moot of 4E 210 in Skyrim to order," I said.

"Should we change the calendar?" Elisif asked.

"First point of the moot.  Yes, I motion that at the beginning of the new year we advance Skyrim's calendar to 4E 216 to match the rest of Tamriel's calendar," I said.

Mostly ayes.  It passed.

 

"There's a lot to discuss," I said, "First of all, in the absence of a formal vote, I appointed Jarl Maven Black-Briar to replace Jarl Laila Law-Giver.  I motion to make this official."

Mostly ayes, and it passed.

 

"Vidnar has formally renounced his title, as Jarl of Whiterun, as discussed in the last moot.  I motion to reinstate Baalgruuf the Greater officially the Jarl of Whiterun."

Unanimous ayes.

 

"Following the death of both Siddgeir and Dengeir of Falkreath, there is no replacement for Jarl as of yet.  In the interim, General Jura of Hammerfell has been directing the rebuilding."

"Rebuilding is complete," Jura said, "I can stay on as interim Jarl if you wish, but I have no desire to make it my permanent job."

"If anyone has any suggestions," I said, "We'll discuss."

We discussed it for a solid half hour, nobody really coming up with a definitive answer.

"For now, let's move on," Ulfric said.

 

"Side note:  I motion we officially declare our independence from the Cyrodiilic Empire, but any refugees from Cyrodiil, or any citizens from High Rock or Hammerfell are allowed to pass through our borders.  I feel this will open up trade and foster relationships between our peoples."

Mostly ayes.  Another pass.

 

"Okay, all the easy stuff out of the way," I said.  I made sure I had Thongvar Silver-Blood, Igmund and Madanach in my field of vision as I said this, "I've appointed Madanach, leader of the Forsworn as the Jarl of Markarth.  This is a variation on what was discussed at the last moot, but I found it was the best, most stable way to ensure the Forsworn come into our society.  Also, Madanach has proven to be an excellent leader.  I'm not going to put this to a vote unless it's going to pass.  Does anybody have any qualms with this being a permanent appointment?"

 

Igmund started to speak, and Thongvar cut him off rudely, "I had my doubts that you'd be able to convince the Forsworn to work with us.  But they were instrumental in taking back Markarth.  I had my doubts that your new Jarl would actually govern the Reach effectively.  But then I saw him in action.  And then I remembered - he governed the Reach as an independent country for years.  I had my doubts that you making Cidhna Mine a free mine was the best move.  But truth be told, we actually get more silver out of that mine than we used to, because people get bonuses.  Of course, we have to pay the workers some of that, but it ends up being more overall."

"Thinking about this all," Thongvar folded his arms, "You really do know what the hell you're doing here.  And anybody who disagrees with this decree is going to have to answer to me."

 

There were mutterings of assent and agreement.  After a minute, I nearly made started the vote, and Igmund said, "I challenge Madanach for right to the Jarl's throne by way of combat."

 

I could see Madanach start to grin.

"Alright," Ulfric said, "Give them some room.  I guess we'll do it right here."

Igmund drew his sword, and Madanach summoned a Frost Atronach, readying a ward and drawing his axe.

"You might not know this, but I've fought all my life.  I'm a shaman and a warrior," Madanach said, "You've been sitting in your palace most of yours."

Igmund seemed to shrivel at that, "Wait.  Wait.  I give up.  You can have the Jarldom."

"After what you did to the Forsworn when you took back Markarth you're lucky I'm letting you go back on your challenge," Madanach said, putting his axe away.

But when Madanach had dismissed his Atronach, and turned away, Igmund took something out of his pocket.  He raised his arm.

"TIID!" I appeared in front of Igmund, moving faster than his eyes could see.

"What the fuck are you doing?" I gave him a withering gaze, an inch from his face.

"Nothing, nothing!" He shook.  He tried to put it away, but I grabbed his wrist.

"Ow!  Talos' beard you're strong for a woman!" Igmund said.

 

Standing there with his wrist in my hand, I said, "I motion to appoint Madanach Jarl of the Reach."

All ayes.

"Now," I continued, "What's this in your hand, that you're trying to threaten your Jarl with?"

Igmund didn't say anything.

I grabbed it out of his hand and tossed it to Runa. 

She sniffed it, "It's poison."

 

"Poison, huh?  What'd you think we would do, invite you to be Jarl again?  The conquering hero gets his damn chair back?  Well it doesn't work that way," I said.

"That man doesn't deserve to be Jarl.  They're all savages!  They'll turn against us someday!"  Igmund looked at me like he wanted to strike me, kill me or something else, but my reputation and what I'd just done made him shrink back.

"Guards!  Take him away," I looked at Ulfric, "The penalty for attempting to assassinate a Jarl?"

Ulfric shook his head.  A long time ago they'd been friends.  But Igmund had fallen low in this new age.  Ulfric replied, "By order of the High King, the prisoner is to be put to death."

Balfhe and Hrolf grabbed him and dragged him off, handing him to two Solitude guards, him shouting all the way.

 

After the air cleared a bit, Madanach stepped up to the center and said, "I hope this doesn't tarnish my time in this group.  I appreciate what Thongvar said.  I am doing my utmost to provide for the people of the Reach., and the people of Skyrim.  I owe my undying loyalty to Queen Destana.  I will never betray this country."

 

I took a deep breath and let it out.  

"Believe it or not, that was not the most controversial thing I'm going to put to the moot today.  Maybe," I said, "Last point, as far as I'm concerned.  We won the war against the Thalmor."

Generally there were positive responses to this and everyone wondered where this was going.

 

"We are strong, like I said we needed to be.  We have the Forsworn.  The Giants are helping with the defense of Skyrim.  The dragons have established a pecking order and they even helped defend Falkreath."

 

I continued, "The Dominion is on the run.  But they still hold Alinor, Valenwood, Elswyer and some of Black Marsh (nobody has ever conquered the inner swamps, because, why would you want to?)  Cyrodiil is in turmoil.  We now have the start of an alliance in Hammerfell, and we could pursue an alliance with High Rock and Cyrodiil."

 

"So what are you proposing?" Ulfric asked.

 

"We're going to invade the Dominion," I replied.

 

Spoiler

Runa and Calleius didn't get their sexual escapades shown because there haven't been any!  More to come on why.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by EnragedBard

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Looks like D. and company gave the Thalmor quite a trashing. Well done! I think this calls for some suitable music to go with their victory. Like this...

 

The only thing in that segment, that I didn't like overmuch was the Viranir-ghost at the end. I don't like it very much, when characters in stories simply can't die, even though they really shoud. Like in this case. But I suppose it's part of the story. And the second Great War isn't quite over yet.

 

About the "celebratory" part of this chapter (in somewhat chronological order):

- Vignar you old horn-dog! You really went there. I wouldn't be too surprised, if he decided to become a vampire after this. And delay his meeting with the ancestors at least for a little while. Good thing he didn't suffer a heartattack in the middle of this.

 

Furthermore, good job showing various facets of D., that we don't get to see that often:

- Her being nosy, when she just couldn't leave Jura and Ulfric alone. Bad D.!😄

- Her shielding Runa from any potential harm by giving Calleius a proper warning. But also her blessing.

- Her NOT doing the same for poor Fenrir. I hope he will learn his lesson.

 

Finally, I hope Serana and Ulfric will be able to help her work through what happend. And find a new normal. Seeing her this vulnerable and hurt feels... odd. Even though it's completely understandable and reasonable. She may seem like a force of nature on the battlefield, but at the end of the day, she is still human. A human, that may be more in need of some good hugs and cuddles right now, rather then passionate sex.

Perhaps. We will see.

 

 

 

 

Edited by HM1919
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I've to admit I was worried for a bit that between Damian, Destana and the Dragons Riften might end up more burned ashes than Helgen in vanilla Skyrim. Luckily they exercised restrain once close to the city and didn't have to fall back on any Dragons. ^^

That fight with Viranir sounded pretty cool, did it actually take part and like that? Might have like a vid of that. ^^
Unlike HM I think her not really dying at the end is quite fitting. Some people really don't know how to die or come back because they believe they still have a destiny to fulfill, and she totally fits that image. As long as it's not overused, I'm fine with that trope.

And Juras beard looks pretty Cthulhu like in that second image. ^^


Also seems D. is still mostly rage/revenge powered and a long way from real healing. Attack the Dominion ... well I guess the occupied territories are one thing, but once it turns to Summerset Isle I hope someone told D. that contested amphibious assaults are hell.

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Viranir is mostly true. There was also a time when I tried the Beast Call on the Troll and it broke the fight so I had to start over. 

 

The video might not have been very exciting, because we were camping each other, it took a little while. 

 

The method by which Damien got locked out was pure fluff. 

 

Honestly I dunno how I could being Viranir back. That's how it happens in the mod. Maybe through console commsnds when we get to Summerset. 

 

To HM: your comments let me know I'm doing my job, because Destana seems human. 

Edited by EnragedBard
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7 hours ago, EnragedBard said:

To HM: your comments let me know I'm doing my job, because Destana seems human.

Good. That's the point of me writing them after all. To give some feedback.

 

Small addendum to my previous comment:

- The thing with Viranir was not a big deal. It's just that IF I had to name something, that wasn't entirely to my tastes, then it would have been that. I agree, that this kind of thing has not been overused by the mod.

- As usual I mixed up Fenrir and Damien in my head. For some reason I always get those two confused. Fixed it.

-  When I wrote that seeing D. so badly shaken feels odd, I think it's because so far she has bounced back from pretty much anything. Including sexual abuse. If one takes all the orgies (TG) and stuff under consideration, then it was really unclear, what would get through to her. I suppose, prior to her captivity by the Thalmor, there was simply no limit established, as to where her breaking point is. So we went from D. seems completely undisturbed, no matter what, to D. is so shaken, that she requires help from others to work through it. Which, again, is fine. I just had to adjust my (subconcious) image of her.

- Finally: In my (very subjective) opinion, the gay stuff warning/spoiler was not needed. If rapey tentacles do not require such a precaution, then consensual gay sex should not either. But, perhaps, it was just a matter of "better safe then sorry" to include it.

 

p.s. Something to go with the week-long party:

 

Edited by HM1919
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Destana has a thick skin, not showing weakness. 

 

And the orgy with the TG, she enjoyed that. 

 

She was affected by the early on imprisonment though, for a while losing faith in love and hating the land and its people.  Somewhat driven by revenge for a while.  I enjoy discussing these things.  My books have more time spent on characterization, but they're also more polished.

 

Fenrir, just think of a wolf who rushes in.

Edited by EnragedBard
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19 minutes ago, EnragedBard said:

She was affected by the early on imprisonment though, for a while losing faith in love and hating the land and its people.  Somewhat driven by revenge for a while

Hmm... I am not sure I saw it that way during the early chapters. It was very clear, that she had an intense dislike for Solitude in particular. But Skyrim as a whole? I don't think that came across to me at that early stage. Unfortunately it's too late to check now, because of all of the hindsight-bias, that I would have.

Either way, it's not a big issue. For one, because my subjective impression is just that, my impression. And therefore not prescriptive at all. And two: I think it's good for her to be/appear more human. Including the "weaknesses" that humans have. Even more so, if they give her family an opportunity to rise to the occasion and "save" her for once. From her inner demons, if nothing else. IMO, like before with Fjotra, Serana ought to be the go-to-person at the moment. Because Daughter-of-Coldharbor and all that.

 

In any case: I am certainly looking forwards to the next entry. Thanks D. and your bombshell-dropping-cliffhangers.👍

 

p.s. I didn't doubt, that the TG-orgies where enjoyable for her. I just mentioned them, to illustrate my point, that sex seemed to be not a big deal to her. Like something, that one could easily have with (more or less) strangers, no issue. So, would she also be able to mentally deal with outright sexual abuse and not let it "disturb" her? My answer back then would have been "Possibly." I am fully aware, that voluntary orgies and abuse are very different things. But they (the orgies) still made it clear, that D.'s limits in that regard are not the same as those of "average" people.

Edited by HM1919
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If you can tell, I'm a fan of cliffhangers.  It makes people want to continue (including myself).

 

Also, I like the Nord Mead song! 😅

Edited by EnragedBard
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33 minutes ago, EnragedBard said:

Fenrir, just think of a wolf who rushes in.

That's not my "problem" with the names. When I hear "Fenrir" I think of a blonde, nordic warrior-type. Because of the wolf from norse mythology. I am sure, you know, what I am talking about. And Damien could be of a darker persuasion. The name makes me think of that old movie, "The Omen" from the 70's. Totally unrelated to D.'s story, of course.

 

Which is, of course, the exact opposite, of what we have in D.'s story.

And my old brain just doesn't want to cooperate on occasion. Ergo the mixed up names.

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Yes he is. All I can say is: Blame my brain for making this weird connection. Even more so, considering that I have never even watched that movie. I only know of it by name and by a handfull of snippets, that I have seen over time.

And now I am here, having to double-check if I am getting D.'s boys mixed up again. Oh well...

Edited by HM1919
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What do youall think of D's hair?  I'm thinking of leaving it like it is. 

 

The idea is most the characters maintain things like this offscreen, and she spent a few months locked up so she didn't have a chance.  Then with the war maintaining her appearance took a back seat to winning. 

Edited by EnragedBard
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Personally, I don't see any problem with her current hair. So, it might as well stay as it is. If you are unsure, what to do with it, how about you grab a d6 dice and roll, how D. feels about it.

With the possible results being something like:

1-2 Don't like it. Want fancy, long hair back.

3-4 Too much hassle. Want short and low maintenance style.

4-6 Don't care. Leave as is.

 

And then adjust her look if needed.

 

I tend to do this with my PC's when the outcome should be somewhat uncertain.

i.e. does my PC notice in time, that he's gotten infected with the vampire desease? or How does follower X see group Y (that I could join).

Gives followers abit more individuality, when they don't just go along with everything the PC does.

Edited by HM1919
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Yeah I try not to 'metagame.'  That's why Destana didn't realize she was becoming a vampire for a little while.

Probably going to keep her hair as-is.  It looks better with the crown, and she's had her swept-back haircut for a very long time.  Might pick a more cleaned up version of what it looks like now.

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I like the style, if perhaps not that specific hair, as you mentioned it seems a bit prone to showing 'artifacts' (well it's likely something else, but you get the idea).
Of course there is always the option to have it like this during "downtime" and pulled into a ponytail for the serious action. Might be a bit too fiddly though. While there are mods that change your outfit based on where you are (or if you are in combat), but I don't think I've seen that for hair. Perhaps such a mod + a wig might work ... actually I might have to test that myself now. ^^

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