The morning begins to creep over the mountain shining its calm light over the Stronghold of Markarth. A guard stands watch looking over the path that leads to the city walls as a group of soldiers approached the gate.
The group of soldiers made their way towards the Understone Keep and rallied in the lobby. Two figures separate from the group and made their way toward the throne room. " You must be the new governor of Skyrim. Tullius was it? I requested Imperial assistance four years ago, but as you can see I have managed to regain my land and repel the Reachmen for almost a year now, no help to you. I no longer require your presence, now leave. " Igmund was positioned pompously on his throne mocking the approaching figures.
"I understand that you have a grudge with the Legion, but as the empire already told you, our resources were needed elsewhere. That's not what we are here for however." The Imperial said. "And look where that got you. You're now the Dominion's lap dog." Tullius briefly pauses deciding to cut to the point. "Jarl Igmund of Markarth, you have been accused of slaughtering innocent civilians of the reach. We are here to take you to Solitude for interrogation."
"Yes, I did enlist help from an ally, however I did not plan for what was to happen. The Stormcloaks were lead by a monstrous bear disguised as a man. His thirst for blood is what slaughtered my people. I did my best to stop the creature... In the end it turns out that no man can truly tame a wild animal. It's is my duty as Jarl to protect them and I failed..." Igmund said his voice shaking as he talks. "And where can I find this monstrous bear you speak of?" The Altmer asks playing along with the ridiculous manner in which the Nords label one another.
The temple is dimly lit gracing its radiance on the statue resembling Talos. It was empty and surrounded in darkness. The 4th Era has not been kind to this sacred site as the White- Gold Concordat has turned away many patrons away in fear of persecution from the Thalmor. Even though aware, this did not stop Ulfric. Resting on his knees he prays silently, empty bottles of liquor resting by his leg. From the corner of his ear he hears footsteps and proceeds to prop himself up half drunk and stumbling.
"Ulfric Stormcloak of Windhelm, we have questions for you." The Altmer says approaching him. Ulfric proceeds to answer the Altmer with silence. "We know you can hear us. If you do not speak, we have no choice but to take you in." Tullius adds. Ulfric still- ignores their existence. The Altmer raises his voice in fustration. "Why you arrogant bastard. You will respond when the Thalmor talks to you."
"The plan is for my soldiers to lay siege on Markarth forcing the Reachmen act defensively. This will drive them to a corner allowing me to set up my troops along the wall. From there I will temporarily take control of the farms. This will supply my men with rations for the duration of the Siege." Ulfric says explaining his tactics.
"And my men will remain dormant until you secure the gates. Then we will begin our internal raid to remove all the leaders of the Reachmen from power." Igmund added "With your proficiency in fighting as well as being a skilled tactician, we can reduce the amount of casualties the city might have to face from all out war, and for that I am thankful."
From shoulder to shoulder the Stormcloaks position themselves parallel to the forces of the Reachmen. The campaign has seen five crossings of the moons, and in that time the Stormcloaks have been successful in pushing further and further back into the bowls of the reach. The walls of Markarth are now within view. With less than ten meters between the two forces, the tension can be felt in the air. The Stormcloaks and the Reachmen stare at each other.
The Reachmen stood across dressed in armor made of leather, fur, and iron- their weapons were crafted with sloppy speed. Such form does not deserve the title of "weapon". This was an force of leftovers and should be easy to overcome. The men and woman that gathered at the gates are soldiers none the less, and Ulfric respects the Nordic Warrior tradition to treat them as such.
The horns signaled the Stormcloak archers as they raised their bow firing the first volley of arrows. Their infantry followed up the volley with a charge. With speed and ferocity, Ulfric leads his men with his great sword pulled to his right shoulder. An opposing officer in iron armor rushes to respond to Ulfrics charge.
The fear overcame their actions as their lines begin to disperse. With no choice, the Casters pushed to the front releasing a wave of fire lighting up the late night sky. A fiery wall rose covering the Stormcloak forces stopping them in their tracks. Curiously, the Reachmen stop to wait for the flames to settle before making their next move.
Galmar breaks from the solace to ask what was on his mind. "Any reason why we did not decide to take any prisoners? We could find them useful." Ulfric turns his head. "I wanted to leave an impression." Ulfric responded. "By leaving no prisoners and showing our brute force, we have shown the Reachmen fear. My job is not to win this war, it's to lock the Reachmen in the city so Igmund and his forces will remove the leaders from power. Our ferocity has gained us peace as I doubt the men of the reach are ready to launch another attack to reclaim their land just yet."
"The Reachmen are at their weakest as you can tell by their armor. With little defenses left, Madanach's men will rely on the wall to keep us out. They will not be aware of the force that are already inside nor have enough men to stop the insurgency. If this strategy works, there will be minimum casualties Nord and Reachmen alike. " "So what do we do now?" Naelda asks.
"No he won't." The Altmer said. "He from this point he is under Thalmor custody." Tullius stops- protesting against the Thalmor Agent. "As this is an problem of the Empire. The Thalmor has no say in the issue." The altmer scoffs at the comment. "We do in fact. This man was found worshipping Talos; A clear violation of the White- Gold concordat." The Altmer states. "Over a petty Worship crime? This is absurd, and the Emperor would not agree to this." Tullius was losing his patience. The Altmer responds. " As you are aware, your emperor gets his authority from the Thalmor. You will hand him over, or we can have a talk with your Emperor about your betrayal to the Empire." Tullius clenches his fist in anger but bites his tongue. The Altmer begins to leave the temple. With his back towards the two, he commands Tullius. "Bring him to the camp."
"What will happen to me and my city?" Igmund asks the High Elf. "You are free to rule your city. However, allowing this man to worship Talos whether intentional or not defies the concordat. As a result, the Thalmor will be present at Markarth to ensure that Ulfric's actions of defying the Empire's law do not corrupt the minds of your citizens." "And what of Ulfric?" Igmund asks.
"He has been charged with acts of treason and the slaughtering of innocents." The Altmer says as he shifts his weight to one leg. "His decision to defy the Empire and Thalmor's treaty is toxic behavior and poses a serious threat to Tamriel. If not monitored, he has the potential to bring turmoil to Skyrim. We will not let that happen." The Altmer then proceeds to leave to catch up with the departing force. "He will be brought to Northwatch keep, from there we will get him to talk."
"I'm aware of what you Elves do to our people behind those walls to get men to talk... Do not forget that he is in line to become a Jarl, harming him will only provoke further tension between the Nords and the Empire." Igmund says trying lighten Ulfric sentence. "Oh the more reason to, Igmund." The Altmer says in a non-formal tone of disrespect.