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Entry 66: Siegebreaker



Hey, it's Runa.  Last time we passed through Skyrim, making a short stay at Falkreath to ask Jarl Yngol if he could spare home help (and his daughter for the trouble at Table Mountain).  A nice scholar named Lucien Flavius guided us to an Ayleid tunnel just past Fort Neugrad. 


We arrived at the tunnel at nightfall and resolved to continue on.





We passed over a land bridge to a deep chasm, and some ransacked treasure chests.  I casted a light spell.

As we stepped into the Ayleid portion, Rigmor said, "I know this place.  Loona and I used to come here when we were kids."

She ran her hand along the stone, "Ayleid.  Ancient race of elves.  Their empire was vast.  They have ruins in High Rock, Hammerfell, Valenwood.  The Imperial City is an Ayleid construction."

"What brought them down?" I asked.

"Alessia led a slave army against them and formed the Alessian Empire out of their ashes."

"How do you know all this?" I asked.

"I read books, y'know!" Rigmor smiled, "Ever seen a ruin like this?"




"Not in Skyrim.  There's a labyrinth under the Imperial Palace," Jura said, "And I think a lot of the High Rock labyrinths were where the Ayleid learned to build such ruins.  They're pretty similar, but weird."

"Yeah, none in Skyrim.  To see Ayleid ruins you need to go Beyond Skyrim.  You won't find any in Morrowind either," Rigmor said.

We continued on, coming out to a beautiful night sky.  

"Is there any way to get into Bruma unnoticed?" I asked.

"The sewer outlet?" Calleius asked.

"Yeah, that's good.  It comes out west.  We might be able to enter there and go directly to the keep.  It's hidden, but I know where it is," Rigmor replied.


We continued on towards the road and came upon a grizzly scene: Falmer, killing New Imperial troops.  

I looked at my companions.

"The two groups can take care of each other," Jura said.

"Normally, I'd agree, but I don't want Falmer wandering around the surface.  Must've come through the tunnel before us from Skyrim.  I've heard they wander around at night sometimes, waylaying travelers," I said.

Jura sighed, "Fine, but you're paying my repair bill."




The Falmer won, having gotten the drop on the troops, but we then got the drop on them and killed them off.  We looted the bodies and continued, allowing any future patrols to make their own assumptions.


As we walked over the ridge and got in sight of Bruma, Rigmor said, "They're only blockading the east side.  If they want to starve us out, they need to stop supplies coming from Skyrim.  Those troops must've been patrolling the route to Apple Watch."

Rigmor pointed us to the sewer entrance, and we fought our way through a few simple rats, finding the entrance.





We pulled ourselves up into a bathroom off a supply room (luckily, it'd been cleaned recently) then walked through the Lord's Hall to the meeting room.  It was morning.  Sigunn, Freathof, Malesam, Cerys, and the captain of the guard who had all been getting ready to start the day, turned to us, stunned.


"Wow!  The gods must have a plan.  They've delivered you to us at the perfect time," Cerys smiled.

"My baby girl!  What have they done to you?" Sigunn said as she hugged Rigmor.




"I take it you were not seen entering the city?" Malesam asked as I sat down with them.

"Nope," I replied, "Alright, what's the situation?"

Malesam responded, "Two days ago Robere arrived under a white flag of parley.  He demanded we surrender the city.  When we refused, he cut off our lifeline to Skyrim.  They've started constructing trebuchets and a log ram."

"Robere said you'd perished in the fire, but luckily Rigmor had already sailed for Roscrea before I could get to her," Cerys said, "Morag said she would get to the bottom of the fire.  But she hasn't been seen since."




"I'll bet she left for Mount Table," Jura said.

"Table Mountain," Freathof corrected, "Sethri informed us of everything.  I assume he found you?"

"Yeah, we're up to speed," I said, "So, now what..."

Rigmor, who'd been pacing the whole time, chimed in, "Yngol is going to mount an attack, traveling through the Ayleid tunnel.  When he does, we can go out and destroy the trebuchets.  We can take control of the road into Cyrodiil and defend it from the heights."


She continued pacing, "The mountains behind our backs are impassible and offer us natural protection.  Once we gain control of the road, any attempt to take the high ground funnels their troops into withering fire from our archers.  In that time we can reinforce the city, trade with Skyrim and fill our stores for a long siege."

Rigmor looked around for a second, then she looked at me for validation.

"Countess.  Keep going.  I love it," I said.

"I'm sorry, I didn't know my place..." Rigmor said.

"This is your place," Jura said.

"Your place at the helm of your citizens," Malesam smiled.

"Please continue, my child," Freathof nodded, "We're proud of you."

"Alright," Rigmor clasped her hands together, "We hold them off as long as we can until Leyawiin brings his main force to bear.  We are many.  We surround them with Yngol's help.  It would make it impossible for them to starve us out.  They'll bring a bigger army, but this will buy us time.  When Yngol arrives he'll have Sorella with him.  With the city secure, our group takes Sorella to Chorrol where we meet up with Casius."

"We meet up with Quintus Legion, we take Table mountain, destroy the Bridge of Sighs and that bitch is History," I added.


"From there, there are a lot of variables," Malesam said, "The western counties would have time to support either side.  Quintus would need to decide who he allies with."

"The best we can hope for if the other counties get involved is a stalemate, with Yngol and Quintus," Jura said.

"We'll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it," I said.


Captain Grimhold stood and said, "This sounds like an excellent plan.  Excuse me, m'lady.  I must attend to the defenses."

Rigmor nodded.

Malesam gestured to me, and said to the group, "Meeting adjourned, I must discuss the details of Table Mountain with the group."

Sigunn and Freathof left to perform their duties.

"Ahhhh," Malesam started, "I have spoken with my mistress.  She is interested in our endeavors to thwart Morag Sethius.  So much so that she's taken it upon herself to become directly involved if need be.  Let's just say it's personal.  If things go very badly and a certain Daedra appeared in person, she could also intervene."

"Tamriel doesn't get much of a break, does it?" I asked.

Malesam laughed, "No.  My mistress has instructed me to give you this."


And he sat an eyeball down on the table.

"Ew," I said.




"This is the Eye of Boethiah.  If Molag Bal enters the rift, use it to signal her.  But that's not all," Malesam reached into his pack and laid a glowing, Daedric mace in front of me.

"Scourge?" I asked.


"Odd choice.  I assume she took it when my mom beat Malacath, as part of our last Rigmor-centric adventure.  You know, I'd have preferred Goldbrand.  Or maybe the Ebony Blade.  Send her my regards," I said as I picked it (and the eye) up.  I could feel the weight of it, not just being heavy... but being blessed by a daedric prince.  I put it in my pack.

Malesam stood up, "I have matters to attend to.  Oh, and please inform Captain Grimbold to sound the bells once Yngol starts the attack.  There isn't much we can do until then."


He left, leaving the four of us.

Rigmor finally sat down where Malesam'd been sitting.

"Well, here we are, back in one piece," I said.

"Pfft.  For now," Rigmor said, "What do you want to do?"

"You did pretty good back there.  You'll make a fine leader," I said.

"Pfft.  Yeah right.  I just want all this to be over."

"Well, you're doing great.  Noone said it was going to be easy."


"Thanks," she said, "Hey, you guys wanna grab a beer?"
"It's ten in the morning," Calleius said.

"Also, aren't you barred from the Tap and Tack?" I asked.

She laughed, "The Countess of Bruma does not get barred."


We went over to the wall where we saw Captain Grimbold standing while the boys headed to the Tap and Tack.  

He turned to us and said, "Ma'am, I placed the garrison on high alert, and placed sentries on both gates, spreading men on the East Wall."

"We noticed patrols on the Applewatch Road," I said.

"They're just part of the blockade out of range from our archers.  North and West is impassible for them, but if they get close we can pick them off.  Our only problem is we're cut off from supply lines," Grimbold said.  




"As soon as Yngol starts the attack, have the Cathedral sound the bells," I said, "Be sure to get the civilians inside for safety."

"Yes, ma'am," 

"Is this all we have?" Rigmor asked.

"All fighting age men and women without children.  Although I haven't heard from the Fighter's Guild.  Just a retirement home for old veterans and lordless knights to muster.  Might want to talk to Ser Gregor there."

"We'll go check them out."




As we walked in, an aged knight in plate greeted us, "Countess, it's an honor to receive you here at the Guild.  I am Ser Gregor, spokesperson for the knights in residence here.  How can we be of service?"

"Thank you, sir," Rigmor said, "As you know, our city if under siege.  Runa and I are here to ask you, all of you, for your help in the battle to come."

"As you know, the guild is nowadays a refuge for homeless veterans and lordless knights.  Some of us consider ourselves 'retired' and though well mastered in the art of combat, might be a little rusty."

"I remember a few years back membership was dying.  I tried to help the guildmaster then, but I guess it didn't work out for them," I said.

"We're wary to run headlong into battle, especially against such odds."

A lady orc, who seemed to be hanging out in underclothes, piped up, "I like the odds."

I turned to Gregor, "I think it would help morale.  And we need everybody on deck."


"If only Ariel Sethius hadn't run the Mage's Guild out of Cyrodiil," Gregor said.

"We have help.  An army from Falkreath is going to attack their flank," I replied.

"Hmm... a simultaneous strike.  Who is leading the reinforcements?"

"Yngol Stormblade," I replied.

"Aha!  I know of the man.  He's a formidable field commander.  Please, sit, help yourself to refreshments while we talk this out," Gregor said.


As if warming up to the idea and showcasing their experience, they gave us a rundown of their skillsets, Gregor first, "I am from the West Weald.  My father owned one of the largest vineyards south of Skingrad, his father before was one of the last Knights of the Nine.  I served under the count of Chorrol.  I came up against Sethius in the field, and he eluded my contingent by passing into Elswyer.  By the time we marched to Bravil, the Imperial City was lost.  Skingrad and Bravil wanted to fight, Cheydinhal struck a deal with Sethius, and Chorrol ordered us to retreat to protect his own assets.  As a matter of honor, I could not continue in his service.  Kvatch and Bruma declared themselves free.  Preferring the mountains to the... giant crater, I came here.  When I got here the Fighter's Guild was already gone - boarded up.  Lady Sigunn allowed me to open this hostel."


Then he turned to the big Nord to his left and said, "This is Ser Bercilak of the Green."

He just growled.

Then Gregor faced the aged redguard man, "Ser Amon of Rihad."

Amon said, "Amon Vynar, knight and former servant of the Lord of Rihad who died during the march of thirst after the city fell to Arannelya.  I spent many years as a sellsword, finally finding this place of refuge many months ago."

Gregor turned to the lady orc, "And our newest member, Tish the Blade."

Tish slipped an aged suit of blades armor over her head.  Then she stood, "I'll fight.  I was born to fight."




"Now, Tish, you know the rules.  All members must agree."

"Bah!  By the time you come to an agreement, the fuckers will be inside our walls already," she spat, "You have my sword for having the balls to stand and fight.  It would be an honor.  Won't it, B?"

Bercilak got up and growled at her, and she growled back.  

"Kill, B!" She roared, then chuckled.  The man got up and drew his maul like a wild beast.  He slammed it on the small table behind him.  It cracked and threw all it's contents across the room.

Then he repeated it with the other table, running off to the second floor.

Tish was laughing the whole time, "I fucking love that guy."


I smiled, chuckling unexpectedly and said, "What the hell just happened?"

"You'll have your answer by tomorrow," Gregor said flatly.


We walked out.  Rigmor said, "Those two have issues."

"Yeah, but I like their energy.  We could use them in a fight," I smirked, "C'mon, I could murder a cold beer."

We walked to the Tap and Tack, and a thick cloud cover started to roll in.  

Colin gave all of us a round on the house.  We drank up quick and got back to the Captain. 

The boys waited at the gate after Jura said, "I have a bad feeling."

"More of your old soldier vibes?" Rigmor elbowed him.


I walked up to Grimbold, "We talked to the Fighter's Guild."

He nodded, then turned to look at something out of the corner of his eye.  In the oppressive fog that'd started to cloud the gates outside, a trebuchet flung a blast, hitting the wall right below us.


"Fuck!  Attack's started!" I shouted.  The second blast flew out of the fog, blasting down the gates with an explosion.  

"Hold the line!" Jura shouted as he and Calleius drew their weapons, leading the charge. 

I took a step back, archers surrounding me.  What I wouldn't give to know the 'Clear Skies' shout.

"What are you doing?" Grimbold asked.

I sprinted, jumping from the castling off the wall, charging into the mist.


I dropped into a big group of Leyawiin soldiers.

"FUS!" I blasted those on one side to their knees, slashing at the men on the other side.

"I'm here!" Calleius shouted, ever my protector.  He plowed his way through the circle, guarding my back.  After a moment we'd downed them and I said to him, "They're hitting the gate!  Support them!"


"What are you going to do?" Calleius asked as he charged away.




"I'm going to take down that trebuchet!" I said while sprinting.  Come on, friend.  I can feel your presence.  I need you now.

"SHADOWMERE!" I shouted, and he was just... there!  He dipped his head and I swung onto him, a lone dark rider charging toward the trebuchet team.  




I vaulted off the black horse and we engaged the men together, "Kill!"

The red-eyes beast gave a snarl like, 'You don't have to tell me to do that!'

We split them in groups, each taking three.  I slashed through my first target while Shadowmere hoofed two.  When we were both on our last one, New Imperial soldiers backed them up, but our forces streamed out of the gates, supporting us.  And I knew we'd prevailed.




We finished the rest, set the siege weapon on fire and headed back to the gate.

Captain Grimbold said to me, "That was some show you put on back there."

"What's the situation?" I asked.

"The gate is damaged, but we can fix it.  We didn't lose a lot.  They must've been testing our defenses.  Gods help us if they build more of those trebuchets."

"Inform Sigunn everything is under control," I said.

"Yes, ma'am," the captain said, then he shouted, "Get this mess cleaned up, get that gate back up!  On the double!"


I found Rigmor, Tish and Calleius.

"What's the matter, buddy?" Tish said to Calleius.

"Seems my armor bit the dust," Calleius pried the cuirass that'd been cracked in half.

"You alright?" I asked, seeing a bit of a gash on his side.

"Tis but a scratch," Calleius said, and I chuckled.  Then I put my hand on his side.  He jumped at bit at my touch, then I healed him, closing his wounds.

"Thanks, Runa," he smiled.


Tish smiled really big at our interaction, "Hey, interested in some old Blades' armor?"

"Blades armor is some of the finest armor around.  I would be honored," Calleius replied.

Expecting her to provide him with a separate suit of armor, Calleius blinked when Tish just pulled her armor off and handed it to him.

She chuckled, "Don't worry.  I have a new set back at the Guild."

I smiled really big, reaching down to a nearby New Imperial Captain, "Look what I found!" 

"Gods, Runa, you know me too well!" Calleius replied, and took a new Imperial dragon cape from me, similar to his old one he'd lost in Roscrea.


I turned to Tish as Calleius changed his armor, "I thought there were only like... two Blades."

"I joined back in 208, before the barrier thing.  Gotta admit, it was nice being out here without Delphine breathing down my neck for a few years.  I heard they got a lot of new members lately.  I went up North a few months ago right after it came down... but I did not go to Sky Haven Temple," Tish laughed nervously.




"I can tell you what I did up there.  Lots of dungeon crawling.  Haven't had this much fun since Whiterun, eh, B?"

He handed her the new suit of armor, growling.

"Thought it would be safe seein' as Whiterun is full of sweets.  B got so shitfaced, he dropped his sack of gold on the floor, splitting the sides, and as he bent down to gather his coin... some asshole hit him over the head with a heavy wine bottle.  Let's just say they're not going to remember that day," Tish chuckled, "Well, we gotta go.  Gettin' dark.  We're going to vote later.  I'm sure the guild will help out.  See you guys later."


We went back to Tap and Tack and had some drinks with the boys.  Then we went to her apartment and slept - they upstairs and us in Rigmor's bed.




It seemed like an instant, but I woke up to Jura saying, "Yngol's started the attack!"

Us four approached Captain Grimbold and his garrison.  It was raining when we walked out, but then moments later, it started snowing, as if nature couldn't make up its mind.


Rigmor said, "Captain Grimbold, prepare to sally forth.  We need to destroy the trebuchets and gate ram, then reinforce Yngol."

He nodded, "Yes, ma'am."

Rigmor addressed the garrison, "Now is our time.  If we lose the city, we stand to lose everything.  Our allies in Skyrim have come to our aid in our time of need!"




The fixed gates swung open and Rigmor yelled, "Follow me to victory!"


I was at the front of the charge, and found Yngol's men hitting their small encampment from the back.  Only a couple archers were turned in our direction.  I hit them with an Unrelenting Force up on the wall as the army ran forward.




Bruma's fighters swept cleanly past the gate, colliding with the New Imperial troops and pincering them with the Falkreath troops while I leapt up onto the walls and towers and attacked the archers directly.  Once they were down, I supported Bruma's men.  It seemed the enemy was divided and confused by the time I got here.  I dealt a few killing blows, but it was generally a bloodbath.  





The cleanup was quick.  Yngol and a large group approached.  

"Yngol, you old dog, what have you found?" Jura said from behind me.

"It wasn't ours.  She says she's with you, Runa," Yngol said.




A dark brotherhood initiate kneeled before me, "I have brought you what was requested." 


I looked over to find two Falkreath and Bruma soldiers flanking... Ser Robere de Medallius.


"Excellent.  Now I know why their defense went so badly," I said, gesturing for her to stand up.

"Couldn't have come at a better time," Yngol said, then he peered over to me and whispered, "I know those colors.  I thought the Dark Brotherhood had been destroyed, both here and in Skyrim."

"That's what we wanted you to think," I smirked.

"We?  Didn't know you were with them," Yngol blinked, "All I can say is I'm glad you're on our side."




About this time, Rigmor approached, and she pulled out Azura's Bane, "I'm going to kill him!"

"Go on you little shit!  Do your worst!" Robere said, "How long do you think it will take for the houses of Cyrodiil to unite if you kill me?  They'll descend on this pox-ridden shithole, and Bruma will be a black smudge, just like fucking Kvatch!  So I dare you!"

"That's not a very nice thing to say, I'm from Kvatch..." One of the soldiers said.




"Robere as a hostage gives us an edge.  I suggest you let the others go, so word gets to Leyawiin," Jura said.

Rigmor exhaled, "Alright.  Have him taken to prison.  I want him guarded around the clock."

They took Robere away, and Rigmor said, "I'm not stupid y'know.  I was just mad."

The Leyawiin soldiers ran, and Rigmor continued, "Did you bring Sorella?"

"Now that we hold the heights it's safe.  She'll join us shortly.  Grom's protecting her," Yngol said.

"But... Grom is Bobby's bodyguard," Rigmor raised an eyebrow.


"Yeah, well.  Grom worked for your father way back when.  He's one of mine.  And Tiny works for Malesam," Yngol said.

Jura chuckled at him, "Didn't know you had the makings of a spymaster."

Yngol grinned, punching Jura in the shoulder.

"I can't believe you've both been spying on me this whole time," Rigmor said flatly.

"Truth be told, it was Baa-Ren'Dar's idea," Yngol said, "But we need to look after each other.  There are a sad few good people in this world worth protecting."

Rigmor seemed to accept that, and they headed back toward Bruma.


I waited until everybody cleared out and I faced the Brotherhood initiate.  They most likely left me alone thinking we were talking about Brotherhood business.

"Good work back there.  One question, are you wearing a short skirt and a thong?" I smirked.




"Yes, Listener."

"Hey, you can wear whatever you want as long as you get the job done.  Normally I'd say I'm the Listener so I don't need to pay the organization, but this is for you alone," I handed her a bag with 500 gold, "And you could probably make off with whatever these guys were carrying, if you wanted."

She bowed and I nodded as I walked away.  


When I made it to the keep meeting room, Yngol was already laying down the ground rules, "I'd never turn my back on you, Sigunn.  Ragnar'd never forgive me.  I know you guys can protect Sorella.  But I want Casius to know he is personally responsible for her well-being once you guys meet up.  He is to never leave her side, and she is not to participate in the main battle.  This is not negotiable."

"You have my word," I said as I sat down.


Freathof said, "Speaking of which, we received word from Casius.  Quintus is on our side."

"He will know the way.  But be careful of border raiders as you go through the mountains," Malesam added, "You'll need to go that way due to the increased New Imperial patrols.  The element of surprise is crucial to our success.  If you meet any patrols, silence them."


"Clear the way before Sorella goes in.  One shot is al she'll need," Yngol said.


Sorella walked in about this time.

"Wow!" Sigunn said, "You got so big!" 




"Hi Sigunn!  I've missed you guys so much.  Mom says hi," Sorella said.  

"It's good to see you, Sorella.  I'm just sorry it has to be under these circumstances," Rigmor said.

"It's okay.  The children are waiting for me.  I want to free them," Sorella replied.

"What children?" Freathof asked.

"The children in the glass house.  They say Sofia is okay," Sorella responded.

"Now, child..." Freathof's eyes welled up with tears, "Don't play games..."

"They said don't blame yourself for what happened to her," Sorella continued, "You never gave up looking for her.  They said not to be sad anymore."

"Do you need to retire, Freathof?" Sigunn put her hand on his shoulder.

Freathof shook his head, taking a deep breath.


"For now..." Malesam changed the subject, "Let us reinforce our position here, and await word from Casius that he's in position.  I also expect response from the enemy, now that we have Leyawiin's son.  And now, I have matters to attend to."

Malesam and Sigunn walked out.

Yngol stood, "I need to return to the encampment at the road.  Grom and Tiny will be guarding Sorella."

"She can stay with me," Rigmor said.

"Good," Yngol said, then turned to the two, "Keep watch outside Rigmor's room."

Freathof still sat there, alone, and I walked up to him putting my hand on his shoulder, "We're going to get through this."


He took another deep breath, "Yes.  If there's any way my knowledge can help you, please ask.  May I make a suggestion?"

"Sure," I said.

"In times of turmoil, I seek the divines.  Perhaps you should visit the cathedral once in a while.  I know I'll probably go later tonight," Freathof said, wiping his eyes.

At first, I scoffed at the idea.  I worked for a creature who was above the divines and daedra, but something in me thought, "Why not?"  After all, these people were going to bed and it was only afternoon.


Calleius and Jura had already scuttled off somewhere, so I was alone.  I took it as a sign, and walked to the cathedral.  When I got there, nobody was inside, and I sat down at a pew, admiring the stain-glass windows.


A voice spoke from behind a pillar, "When your strength fails you, trust in the Nine."

A priest approached me with a slow, methodical walk.

"Nine just sounds so much better than eight.  It even rhymes," I said.

"You mask your worry with humor.  I sense you carry a heavy burden, my child," he said.




"Let Lord Akatosh help carry the load, if only for a short while. The light will always find a way into every aspect of the dark.  Tell me what is troubling you my child.  This is a place of sanctuary, a house of truth."

I sighed, "I don't suppose you know anything about an Alessian prophecy..."

"I know of it," he replied.

"Right?  Chosen Queen?  Cursed land...  minotaurs?  Really a great tale.  But what if somebody is chosen for a destiny doesn't want that destiny?" I asked.

"A weary traveler carries a heavy burden and comes upon a fork in the road.  There are many paths, many more untrodden.  But you can only choose one.  This is a hallowed place and the Divines are listening.  Ask them what it is you wish for."

After a long while, I replied, "Rigmor's destiny is a curse.  And I wish she could be freed from it."

"If that is what you wish, then it shall be so.  But there is a price that must be paid," the priest replied, "And perhaps her destiny will come to pass in it's own way.  Only the divines know."

"What...price?" I looked over to him, and wondered how a simple priest could make such a bold claim, almost like a lawyer making a claim on behalf of the gods.  Didn't priests just quote the scriptures related to the divines?

"You will know when the time comes.  Until then, there are signs to follow and tasks to be done.  Go forth knowing that you too are blessed also.  Rest assured the Nine look upon you always," he stood, and walked back toward the back, "They are proud of their daughter and well pleased."


When I lost sight of him, his footsteps stopped.  I peaked my head around the corner, and he ... was gone.  Freaked out, I briskly walked toward the exit. 

Another priest walked in the doors, "What do you need, my child?"

"Oh, um... I just spoke to the other priest," I replied.

"What other priest?  It's only me here," he said back.

Feeling the hair standing up on the back of my neck, I rushed out of there.  I rushed back to the keep, it being evening now.


I happened by Rigmor's room and peeked my head in to find the two girls sleeping.  Then I went back to my room.   

I changed into casual clothes and laid on my bed for a little bit, relaxing, but there was a knock.  

I opened it and Rigmor was there.

"Thought you were catching up with Sorella," I said.

"She's asleep.  Long journey.  I wanted to talk to you," she replied.

We sat down on the bed.

"Listen, I know I'm annoying and I'm sorry."

"Sorry for what?" I asked.

"I know he said some horrible things about me, but I want to see Bobby," Rigmor replied.

"Gods, why would you ever want to do that?  I say forget him," I shrugged.

"I think... I just need to have some closure.  I trusted him, and he betrayed me.  And you!" Rigmor said, "Anyway, would you come with me?"

"Sure," I shrugged.  We walked toward the dungeon and I said, "Remember, keep your composure.  Don't let him see you flinch."

We passed the guard and he nodded to us, unlocking the cell block door.




As we approached, Robere turned his head, "So, what?  Have you come to gloat?  Then go ahead.  Gloat."

Rigmor let out a deep breath, "I came to ask, 'why?"

"Surely it's obvious," he stood and walked over to the bars, "But then again, you were never very bright, were you?"

"What happened to the man I once knew?"

"It was all a façade.  Open your eyes and wake up, Rigmor!  This is the real world.  Power is all that matters.  Ask your friend, she knows," Robere said.  Then he laughed, "Next you'll be telling me we had something, that we loved each other!"

"I did love you," Rigmor said angrily.

"You're pathetic.  I used you.  You used me when you accepted my hand in marriage, you hypocrite."

"That's not true!  I never wanted to use you, or hurt you..." Rigmor said back.


"Trouble is you never understood the game, Rigmor.  You should have died in that fire, Runa," he looked at me, then back to her, "You could've had it all!  Marrying me would have solved all your problems.  I would have made it a quick, painless death.  It's got to be better than hoping for freedom for the rest of your life.  Like a sparrow tethered to a post that tries desperately to fly away, only ends up beating itself to death," he continued.

"Shut your filthy mouth!" Rigmor yelled, running out of there.

"That's it, run you little skank," Robere said.


"That's not very noble of you," I said flatly.

"The best place for her and you is a long, long way away from me.  I am scum, and I deserve everything that's coming my way.  I don't give a fuck," he said.

"Well, this was probably a mistake," I said, turning to leave.

"What do you care?" Robere asked.

"The reason you're still alive is because I care," I smiled, but this was the smile of somebody who'd killed hundreds of people.

"It is a form of freedom:  death.  That's the price we pay for the game we play," Robere said, "I know what'll happen to me if we lose the war.  But you'd better hope we don't win it.  For what it's worth, if you were in here, you'd better hope it was me and not Morag Sethius standing where you are."

"Buyer's remorse?" I asked.


"You just make sure she disappears for good," Robere said, "When the time comes, all I ask is you make it quick for me."


I found Rigmor out in the great hall.

"It's okay to be mad.  It's okay to be afraid."

"I know.  We'll make it through this," Rigmor said. 


Then we went to bed.

I was woken up by Cerys, who led me to the meeting room.

Malesam addressed me with a full house, "Ahh.  We've received word from Casius.  He's ready for us.  But there is other news."

"What's that?" I asked.

"The Count of Leyawiin took control of the valley, and sent an envoy to parley."

"Who is it?"
"Lord Chancellor Blackwell.  He has come alone, risking his personal safety to discuss terms," Freathof said.


"Whatever they are, they must be officially approved by Sethius.  We have significantly changed the parameters on the whole situation by capturing Ser Robere," Malesam said.

"Let's hear him out," I said.

"Slight issue.  He'll want to speak directly with the Countess," Malesam said.

"We fear Rigmor is not accustomed to negotiation at this level.  Up until now, we've worked out our problems together.  By protocol she must discuss and negotiate terms with him," Freathof said.

"They're probably probing us," I said.

"Probably," Jura said, eating breakfast at the table.

"Please, just try to prepare her for the task," Malesam said.


I went with Cerys to Rigmor's room, where she announced me for some reason.  Noble crap, I forget about these things.

I told Rigmor about the situation.

Her first response was, "So I should play the good Countess and discuss terms with him?  I can do that, and make an effort to look presentable."

"Just about the size of it," I said, "You should 'consider' any proposals and we will 'let him know,' to buy time."


We walked to the audience chamber, me on the left with Calleius, and Jura standing with the guards and Captain Grimbold at the door.

Blackwell bowed and entered as Rigmor walked in, still in her chainmail.  She didn't sit down, but stood as he approached.  I smirked.  


"Countess Rigmor.  May I thank you for accepting my request for an audience.  I hope we can talk frankly, and openly about this situation we've found ourselves in.  I came here today in the hopes that this unfortunate set of circumstance can be swiftly overcome.  The Emperor wishes to find an amicable agreement from which we can all benefit, bringing about once again the peace we had until recently enjoyed.  Therefore, I have a proposal."

Rigmor held up her hand, "Stop."

"Yes, m'lady?" Blackwell asked.

"Don't think I don't know why you're here, Lord Chancellor.  You're going to offer me nothing.  You think we'll bow down to you.  You think we're weak.  You think we'll drop everything to please the Emperor, who has up until now tried to kill us!" 


"I haven't finished!" Rigmor cut him off, "You come here as an errand boy of a bandit king who has usurped an Empire that belongs to the Mede Dynasty and the true Emperor.  A bandit king who is at the beck and call of a Daughter of Coldharbour, the real power behind the throne!  I will wager your proposal would have me marry the very same piece of crap you were sent here to set free.  You expect me to comply because I fear you.  But I don't.  I fear for Cyrodiil.  I will fight you, because it is right and just!  I've fought better armies than that Leyawiin rabble you have in the valley, and I DARE you to come fight me.  If you can climb over your mountains of dead men already out there."


Rigmor took a breath, seething with rage.  Jura and I were looking at each other about this time, both nearly unable to contain our entertainment.  Calleius was just speechless.


"I declare Bruma to be a free city again and I revoke my signature on the Noble Decree.  Any noble that brings themselves to the gate of Bruma in an act of war against my people, will have their heads decorating the parapet of MY walls for the whole world to see.  Tell your Emperor if Leyawiin wants his son back alive, cease hostilities immediately.  Else I will leave a bloody trail of skulls all the way to the gate of the Imperial City!"


I clapped as Blackwell looked on in stoic despondence.




And with that, she walked out.


"Damn, son.  You just got roasted," Jura smirked.

"I... erm..." Malesam stuttered.

"No need, Malesam," Blackwell said, all business as usual, "I will relay the Countess' proposal to the Emperor.  Before I leave, I humbly ask to see Ser Robere in person."

"Of course, Lord Chancellor," Malesam replied.

"I'll take him," I said, leading him toward the dungeon.


He followed me silently and we approached the prison cell.

"Ah, thank the gods," Robere said, "Blackwell, have you come to free me?  About time, I knew these rats would crumble."

"No, Ser Robere.  I'm making sure you're alive as part of the negotiations.  Please behave in an orderly manner until the time comes for you to return home."

"This is a fucking joke, right?  You tell these peasants to let me the fuck out of here or..."

I was going to cut him off, but Blackwell cut him off first!

"Or you'll what?  Juggle some balls?  Dance like a clown?  Piss your pants?"  It sounded so much more insulting coming from the stoic chancellor.

"Fuck you Blackwell.  Wait til my father hears about this," Robere said.

"Shut up you worthless little shit.  The reason we're in this mess in the first place is because of you.  You're an embarrassment as a noble, and a commander."

I was chuckling under my breath.




Blackwell continued, "Foul mouthed wretch.  Five minutes with a hot iron would teach you some manners.  If you dare utter one more sound, I'll have your tongue torn out of your mouth, right here, right now."

We exchanged a glance, and I said, "Nobody said you'd have to go back to daddy in one piece."


Robere shut up with that.


"Thank you, Runa," Blackwell said, "Is there anywhere we can talk privately?"


We continued out to the main hall.

"I certainly believe we can come to some arrangement, but I think you'll agree I cannot repeat to him what the Countess stated."

"Why not?" I asked, but I couldn't help from laughing.

"Come now, you can't honestly expect me to relay that message."

I folded my arms, "You know she threatened the Emperor.  You could just tell him.  Why protect her?"

"Because, her outburst is perfectly understandable.  What I got from that is Bruma is remaining in a defensive position for now and will not resort to aggression unless provoked."

"Well, there's your message," I said.

"Believe me, whether I think she's right or wrong makes no difference at the moment.  I serve the seat of Cyrodiil.  Nothing personal."

"You know, she was advised to listen and consider options," I said.

Blackwell laughed, which was an odd sight, "In actuality, she moved me with that speech.  I feel like I'm growing attached to her.  It's a shame she got caught up in these power struggles. Leyawiin is more of a threat to the Emperor than Bruma and he knows it.  He'd be more inclined that Robere reside here permanently.  Besides, this play will buy you some time to get to Table Mountain."

"Say what now?" I asked.

"Come now.  Don't insult my intelligence.  My loyalties lie with whom sits upon the Ruby Throne.  Last time I looked, Morag Sethius is not the Emperor  He'd do better without her," he touched his nose, then he turned to walk away, "Next time we meet I expect us to come to a peaceful settlement.  Until then, farewell.  Whom so ever takes off the head that wears the crown reigns supreme.  I hope I have made myself perfectly clear.  Good day."


I walked into the meeting room to find everyone gathered and I said, "What an intriguing man.  You know, he pretty much admitted he knows we're going to Table Mountain."

"Damn him!  Always a step ahead.  Surely we would have heard if anything was amiss," Malesam said

"I took it that he wants Morag dead as much as we do.  He seems to be casually stepping aside so we can remove her from the equation," I chuckled.

"Hey Runa, is it time to go yet?" Sorella asked.

"Yep.  Let's get out of here," I said.


Rigmor, Sorella, Jura, Calleius and I crept out the sewers, the same way we'd come in.  

From there it was a peaceful journey across the Cyrodiilic countryside.  We passed some Ayleid ruins, Rigmor and Sorella talking as we walked.

"How's your mom?" Rigmor asked Sorella.

"Not bad.  She wasn't too happy about moving to Falkreath though."

"It was for the best, though, right?" Rigmor asked.

"Yeah, I've made lots of friends.  Lot of kids there and in Helgen," Sorella said, "Don't get me wrong, I love it in the mountains.  It's all I ever knew.  Angi, my mom... still prefers to hunt to put meat on the table, even though we're the Jarl's family now.  She takes me with her so I can get better.  And the wolves won't attack her if I'm there."


"I have the same thing happen," Rigmor said, "Usually bears."

I chimed in, "You guys should meet the Forsworn.  My mom figured out she can befriend animals with their help.  Maybe you guys have the gift too."

"Oh really?  That's so cool!" Sorella said.

I then thought about the Forsworn and realized I wasn't sure exactly how they befriended animals.  I just shrugged to myself.

Sorella continued, "I miss Destana.  I got to see her when she and Ulfric made dad the Jarl, but I wish she'd come on this journey too."


"Just ahead there's a treehouse and an old camp," Rigmor said.

"Treehouse?  That's cool.  Can we check it out?" Sorella asked.

I shrugged, "Why not."

"You're the best!" Sorella said as she ran up to the tree and stated to climb.

Rigmor followed.

Jura folded his arms, "We really don't have time for this."

"Lay off.  She's a kid.  We can stop for a little bit," I said.

"Going to get dark soon," Calleius commented.

"You guys keep watch.  We're going to travel through the night.  All the better if we get a chance to rest now," I said sternly.

"You're the boss," Jura said.

"When did we decide that?" I asked.

"Oh, we had a meeting and nominated you.  Figured you could use the experience," Jura chuckled.


I climbed up in the tree to find them in a small 'house.'  It was a nice little structure with a great view of the Imperial City.




As they talked about random things, I could feel the shadows crawling up as the sun went down.  I felt myself dozing off.

Sorella asked me, "What happened to my parents, anyway?  Did they just leave me?"

I started awake, "Killed by the Thalmor.  We were too late to save them.  I'm sorry... They were going to kill you too."

"I figured something bad happened.  Thank you," Sorella said.

Rigmor looked over the edge and whispered, "I hear voices."


I crept to the edge and looked.  I whispered, "Six of them.  One heavy sergeant, four legionnaires and a merc pathfinder."

"Think we can take them?" Rigmor asked.

I looked around and found Jura and Calleius hiding off the road.

"I'm sure we can.  But we have Sorella.  Best stay up in the tree for now.  It looks like they're not going anywhere anytime soon," I said, and climbed down the tree.




"Well, well, well, what do we have here?  So friend, what business do you have skulking around the forest at dusk?" The Sergeant asked.

I thought about it for a second, then Calleius walked up the path, "Oh, there you are, dear.  Hello, sirs."

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Play along," Calleius said, then he kissed me.  He turned back to them, "We're just on a family outing.  Picking... "

He looked around, and said, "Mushrooms."

"Mushrooms?  Really?" I whispered.

"Ah, mushrooms, huh?  Like for a picnic?" The Sergeant chuckled.

Rigmor slid down the tree, standing next to us.  I silently screamed, 'Why would you come down?? You're the one who's recognizable here!!!'


"Probably ain't a mushroom out here for miles," one of the soldiers said.  

One of the other ones was looking up into the tree.  He said to Sorella, "Nice bow, kid."

The one furthest away said, "Wait!  That's the Countess!  Rigmor of Bruma!" 

I slapped my forehead, "Oh, no.  We're just regular~"

Seeing they weren't buying it, I shouted, "FUS - RO!" Knocking them off balance. 




Jura sprang from the brush behind them and they were barely able to put up a decent fight.

I eyed Calleius, "I think you were just looking for an excuse to kiss me."  He blushed, then shrugged.

Sorella slid down from the tree and ran over to a shrub nearby.  Then she vomited.

Rigmor put her hand on the kid's back, "Just breathe."

"Never had to kill a person before," Sorella said.


"It happens to all of us.  You did really well," Rigmor said.

"Guys, we need to move," Jura said.

"Let's get the hell out of here," I said.

We crossed the Orange Road, now under cover of darkness.  


Sorella and I got out front with Rigmor behind and the boys in the back guarding our rear.

We passed an Ayleid ruin, and it started to rain as we passed through a farm. 




It was pouring by the time we found Casius' camp, and just after midnight.  The guys set up the big tent immediately and we, the girls, went over to Casius.

"Wondering when you'd show up," Casius said.

The men settled down for sleep.  I smiled at them from the unusually placed chair I was sitting in, "I remember when you guys took all the watches.  We'll do the same today."


Of course, Rigmor and Sorella were already talking to Casius.







So the reason Tish kept getting undressed is because the Bikini version of it is in the leveled list, and I kept console commanding to give her normal armor, but I kept getting intermittent screenshots with either one.  So I figured I'd make a whole thing out of it.  Also, I wanted Calleius to have a new distinct look that actually showed his face.  Figured this could work together.


I cut out an entire angsty conversation at the T&T.  Didn't really add anything.  I think a lot of the time they think they're adding foreshadowing or depth, but it feels like saying the same thing over and over.


Also, the conversation with Freathof.  First it rehashes what has already been said.  Then it talked about the 'half-beast' thing, which isn't right (even if Runa was the Dragonborn).  Then he asks if we had 'relations,' which makes zero sense for a female PC.  F + F does not make Baby!  I cut it entirely.  I also snipped that part out of the conversation with the priest about her dying in childbirth, because she shouldn't be pregnant from some tribbing.


I also feel like I didn't cover a whole lot, but this ended up being 7900 words.  WOW, one of my longest.  I was struggling to find a place to stop at the end, too.


I just downloaded one of the best mods I've ever seen:  To Your Face, it makes it so NPCs don't greet you unless you're looking at them.  That is so annoying, especially when I'm trying to read subtitles or hear somebody and I hear, "WHAT DO YOU NEED? Yes? - Let's hear it! - You have questions?"  Because I tend to run heavy on NPCs to make it feel like a populated world.  Also, it's a light plugin.



Edited by EnragedBard


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No issues with the screenshots as far as I can tell.


One minor thing though, about the second paragraph after the up-skirt-shot of the DB-Initiate. Yngol is talking about Sorella there. Perhaps add a short note that mentions her by name. Otherwise it may be unclear for anyone who doesn't know RoC.


Good job explaining in universe Tish's changing armor between scenes.


Personally I think the scene between Rigmor and Blackwell is one of the best in RoC. And after his dressing-down of Robere I actually began to like the Lord Chancellor.


Also: Runa better hopes, that Sorella never get's the chance to ask Destana about those mysterious Forsworn-Ways to befriend animals. Because that would be very awkward for D.😁


Overall, yet another entertaining (and long) chapter.👍

Edited by HM1919
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Long perhaps, but certainly a great read, it does not need to be world shattering or even just to advance the plot much, to be highly entertaining. (Just like "A view from the gallery" is one of my favorite Babylon 5 episodes.)
But ... oh gosh, so many names, so many days since last reading them ... had to get back and skim over the last few Runa chapters to sort it out again. ^^

Well on to some nitpicking:

You know that 'trebuchet' Runa is galloping at ... is just a run of the mill, certainly not solid stone wall breaking, catapult. Way older design and much less powerful than a trebuchet. Guess it's more proof the author of RoC has no clue about medieval warfare ... (And yes it is able to batter down a wooden gate, that's why gate houses tend to have two gates good luck hitting the inner one, especially from outside archery range.)


"We crossed the Orange Road, now under cover of darkness. "
Umh ... under cover of darkness ... with a magelight that's probably visible for several kilometers in the dark?

Also "To your face" sounds like a mod I've to install, thanks for mentioning it.

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Yeah, it was dark for a lot of the run. Eventually I got of tired of running in the pitch black middle of the night with rain. 


Did the mod say the trebuchets were going to break the wall down?

Edited by EnragedBard
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6 hours ago, EnragedBard said:

Did the mod say the trebuchets were going to break the wall down?

 I don't remember it being said like that. But it was certainly implied, that the "trebuchets" would pose a danger to the city, wasn't it? Besides, I think that any archers atop the walls should have made the life of the unprotected catapult (or trebuchet-) crews very unpleasant. I suppose, that's why the convenient fog was there. To provide a reason, why the defenders don't simply shoot any hostiles that come into longbow range.

Edited by HM1919
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22 hours ago, EnragedBard said:

Did the mod say the trebuchets were going to break the wall down?

No idea, but that's what trebuchets were meant for. Of course you could also throw things into the city. (Corpses of men or animals most likely to cause the spread of illnesses amongst the defenders ... Hollywoods beloved burning whatever were also used, but only on rare occasions, as the effectiveness was much more limited than movies make one believe.) Still what made the trebuchet a game changer, in comparison to the previous siege engines like catapults is that they could breach all but the sturdiest walls.

As for archers ... the beauty of artillery was that you could set them up outside archery range. Of course that meant ballistic trajectories (for catapults, trebuchets don't have the choice anyway as they can only operate with a ballistic shooting arc), which meant hitting things like doors recessed behind sturdy gatehouses was out of the picture.

Anyway walls are a nice big target, gates are a small section and medieval artillery was not exactly built to be that accurate or to swivel easily to change the direction you are shooting.

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10 hours ago, EnragedBard said:

I've also started putting more videos on the Youtube channel, since I have them laying around and it's pretty easy to load to Youtube.

Reminds me it's pretty fascinating that flying works as well as it does in Skyrim and the terrain actually looks okay. I remember when flying was added to WoW, you only could fly in the newly added areas, and it took years and years for them to convert the 'old world'. So they could let people fly there as well without it looking all weird and two-dimensional (like mountains being more or less hollow cylinders with some structure and texture applied to them to look the part from the ground).

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