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Occasionally, I get the urge to write mini-stories that could fit in-game books. I don't use most of them (though some of them end up making it into my mods), so I might end up posting them here (or in a separate "stories" tab or something, if you decide to set that up).

If that's okay anyway...


King Arnand and the Dragon


Some time in the late Merethic era


The Great Hall was true to its title; cavernous and, when in use, brightly lit; towering walls decorated with banners depicting King Arnand's conquests throughout the years. Stained-glass windows with gem-studded lintels were in every alcove, and the stone pillars holding the roof were faced with beaten copper, polished to a mirror finish. In the spring, the light would shine through the windows, marking the walls with thousands of colors and putting both the heretical and the religiously inclined in mind of the realm of Moonshadow. In other times, it was usually lit by thousands of candles and numerous magelights, and was large enough to seat nearly two hundred courtiers, though there had been few enough times the hall had been filled since construction had finished last year.


The centerpiece of the castle, the Great Hall's construction had taken nearly four years. Unlike the rest of the castle, King Arnand had designed the hall himself, with one aim in mind - awe. "Let them be numbed to silence by majesty," he had famously proclaimed. Though the king's economic advisors had grumbled about the cost, and the court and even his family had wondered at this extravagance, none could deny that the goal had been achieved - it was difficult, nigh impossible, to walk into the hall without being overcome. Visiting emissaries from nearby kingdoms entered full of vim and bluster, ready to make demands or pleas on behalf of their lords, only to descend into stuttering silence when confronted with the magnificence presented. Even the Ayleid so-called "diplomats," accustomed to their splendid cities of white and gold, were frequently taken aback by the sheer grandeur of the Hall, though they did their best to hide their reactions.


King Arnand rarely used the Hall for formal reasons, preferring his more comfortable antechambers to the cold stone throne for audiences. Formal occasions (and the occasional informal drunken parties) warranting the use of the Hall had been few and far between since the Hall had been completed, yet when the situation merited, he was known to throw mighty banquets, feasting his closest knights and courtiers, foreign dignitaries given a rare show of the wealth of the King and court.


Tonight was one such night, though none knew why the King had called for this banquet.


The King himself had not taken part in the festivities tonight, moodily sitting alone on his throne, drinking but a single goblet of wine. While his courtiers and knights dined on pheasant and lark, succulent greens and rare sweetened iced creams, the King ate nothing and spoke to no one, sitting alone upon the dais instead of his more usual place at one of the tables. This departure from the behavior of a man usually boisterous, well known for his great booming laughs and riotous singing and storytelling, lent a slightly unreal air to the proceedings. His courtiers continued to feast, sing, and tell stories as was normal in these occasions, yet few could help but glance at the throne from time to time, wondering at the King's solemnity when he was usually leading the impromptu tabletop dances and, on one memorable occasion, starting a room-wide brawl that ended with a purse of gold and a lordship given to a servant who knocked him cold.


King Arnand had ruled the kingdom, which yet had no name, despite numerous calls from both foreign dignitaries and his own subjects, for over twenty years now. The King, who had no noble blood as far as anyone knew, had risen to power through bloody conquest, aiding the Men of the heartland in their rebellion against the Ayleid oppressors and freeing the slaves. The land now nestled entirely in his fist, from Falk's Wreath to the north to the southern port city of Anvil, and even unto Skin-Guard in the east. Despite numerous retaliatory strikes by the Elven beasts, the kingdom was yet secure, as Arnand's knowledge of tactics and strategy, and his well-trained and Elven-blood-thirsty armies, kept all invaders at bay.


The King himself was a large man, taller and broader than most, and though no-one knew his age, he was estimated to hold over three score years by his appearance. With a shock of ginger hair, now mostly gone to grey, despite his advancing age he still presented the appearance of a powerful warrior not yet past his prime. When in battle he was still first into the fray, his reputation for elf-killing not a whit overstated. When in peace he was boisterous and loud, and none could deny his continued vigor. Usually dressed in clashing colors and patterns, he apparently knew nothing of style or cut, and was the despair of the Royal Tailor. His only constant accoutrements were the sword at his side, and a fox-fur cravat he was known to stroke when meditating on something.


From where Arnand had come, no-one knew, for he spoke not at all of his past before gathering his first army twenty-two years ago. He laughed off all attempts to glean any of this information, occasionally making up bizarre and obviously preposterous stories about his origins. Even his closest friends and advisors knew nothing of this subject, and as he had no family, none could be pressed for details. The only things anyone knew of him were his distaste for Elves, and his dichotomous reverence for, and hatred of, dragons.


For King Arnand had decreed that any dragons met in the kingdom were to be slaughtered swiftly and without mercy, yet any met by his knights and soldiers outside the borders were to be treated with respect, and made way for. Not even the Ayleid Elves were usually given this accordance of respect, and some wondered at this difference of opinion. The Nordic rebellion against the great beasts was a common source of amusement to him, yet as he laughed at the name of each known dragon killed, his eyes held a tinge of sadness that he would not speak of.


Yet dragons were not on the minds of anyone present tonight. The party lasted long into the evening, yet continued to grow ever more quiet, with fewer stories told and songs sang, as the King's continued silence and apparent disinterest in the proceedings weighed heavily on those present. Even the habitual drunkards and louts were subdued, as the entire court began to stare more openly at the King, and whisper to each other about this strange turn.


Finally, King Arnand seemed to sigh, and straightened on the throne. The last few scraps of conversation immediately ceased, as all eyes turned to the dais. The King looked solemnly at the gathering, signed again, and stood. He began to speak, his powerful voice softer than usual, yet still carrying to the eager ears at the back of the hall.


"Today marks the twenty-second year of my reign, or," - he grinned slightly - "depending on who you ask, the fortieth." Whispers greeted this statement, for he had not even been present in Colovia for forty years. Could this be the moment when he would reveal something of his past?  The King seemed to enjoy the susurration, a bit of his normal personality showing through as he smiled at the response to his statement and the attention directed at him. And then he continued.


"I have ruled this land for twenty-two years now, and from the seat here upon this crag. None have even come close to upsetting my rule, not even the foul Ayleidoon, for I am, as we all know, the foremost among tacticians and warriors. The eastern Elves reluctantly acknowledge my lordship, the Nords to the north pay homage, and my own subjects have no cause for rebellion. This kingdom is, in a very real sense, mine, from top to bottom.


"Yet I was not always a King here. There was a time when I was no King at all, though I have always claimed the title. I know you all wish to know of my past, of the time before I came to these lands, for it is a mystery I have done nothing to unshroud. Tonight I must tell you some of it, for tomorrow..." - he hesitated, glancing down at his clasped hands - "...tomorrow I must leave you."


At this proclamation, the hall grew rowdy, with many jumping up and shouting that it must not be so, or loudly asking for details, confirmation, or proclaiming that this was just another jest, much like the King was well known for, and in very poor taste. King Arnand weathered this storm of sound, unmoving and unsmiling, and eventually his continued silence quieted down the hall as they all strained to hear more.


"I know this news is terrible for many of you, for you are all my greatest of friends and companions. We have bled together, and shed blood together, countless times. We have feasted and starved together, slept in beds sumptuous and poor, grew wealthy from poverty, loved and hated, all as one. Together we have lived, and I know that you had all hoped together we would march into Oblivion. Yet it must not be so.


"Twenty-four years ago, I was a King, of a small kingdom, far to the north and west. A minor protectorate of the Ayleid empire, my kingdom was little known by any, and today no longer even exists. I doubt even the most astute and dedicated of scholars could root out its name, and in truth the name does not matter.


"We were a small and poor kingdom, barely bigger than the fort we laughably called a castle and a few farms in sight of the tower, and many times during my reign there I had feared for the safety of my people, believing it possible that our Ayleid masters would simply decide one day that our continued presence was worth less than the tribute we paid them. Overseer assignment to my court from the White-Gold Tower was considered something of a penance, and though this meant we were largely left alone, it also meant that our people were beggared by the taxation policies of the Elves. I was no warrior in those days, merely a paper King, a figurehead left in place by the Ayliedoon as it was more bother to install a proper Elven governor than it was to leave me in my place. I had no family, as the last ruler, my mother the Queen, had been killed in a minor revolt some decades before. I had no friends, as the Elves consider it bad form to befriend a Man, and my own subjects were inclined to mistrust so weak and worthless a ruler.


"One morning, in the late autumn, just before the worst of the winter snows were due to set in, there came a great roaring from the East. A dragon had arrived, and I feared for our livestock, and the lives of my people, for I knew that dragons often demanded both as tribute when they visited cities and kingdoms of the Nords. Who would I sacrifice to the dragon's maw? What animals would it feast on, and how much of our winter supplies would it consume, and would we be able to make it through the winter without starvation? These were the thoughts that rattled around in my head as I hurried to the solar tower to meet the beast and pay obeisance. The reason for the dragon's appearance did not enter my mind, for the Nordic rebellion against the beasts had not yet become common knowledge, and I thought it merely passing through on its way to somewhere more important.


"As I hurried up the steps of the tower, knowing that if I did not present myself in proper time the dragon would become irritable, I began to hear screams, and yet more roars, and the unmistakable ground-shaking sound of the Thu'um emitted in anger. The dragon was attacking! When I reached the top, I looked upon a scene of carnage. The dragon was slaughtering my people wholesale, and we could do naught but run and hide. Even the Elven military contingent was helpless against the mighty beast, though to their credit - and may my tongue turn black for saying so - they exhibited great bravery and even compassion, attempting to usher the populace to safety and forming a battle line against the monster.


"Yet it was not enough. As I stood at the top of the solar tower, rooted to the spot in fear and horror, I watched as the dragon smashed the rest of the castle, burned my people and the Elves alive, and hunted down stragglers and fleeing peasants. His voice shook the ground, his fiery breath scorched stone and made an inferno of thatch, and the very air seemed to waver in pain as the great beast's assault continued. Finally the dragon finished, and I was the only survivor. Why the dragon had spared me I knew not, yet I believed that soon that exception would be rectified. Morbidly I considered the possibility that royal blood, even from such a weak specimen as me, was something of a palate cleanser, to be savored after the main course of death and destruction.


"The dragon turned its eyes upon me, and flew to the top of the tower. Despite my resolve to meet my death with dignity, I could not help but huddle against the crenellation and avert my eyes. Yet some little time passed and I did not feel the fiery breath burning through my robes, nor the great teeth closed upon my flesh, and I dared to look up into the eyes of the dragon.


It surveyed me almost indifferently, as if wondering whether such a meager feast was worth the bother. Finally it spoke. 'Reynaerdine, why do you cower here? Why did you not descend to fight me upon the ground, and instead looked upon my antics as a mouse looks upon a tiger? Where is your courage, Man?'


"I was aghast, and at first speechless. The dragon stayed motionless, awaiting my reply, and eventually I grew emboldened enough to do so.


"'Forgive me, dragon, mighty beast, for I know not of this Reynaerdine. I am but a humble ruler of a... a recently depleted kingdom, and I fear you must have the wrong man in mind. I am no warrior, to rush to the defense of my subjects, no mage to cast mighty spells, and no scholar to know the weaknesses of a dragon. Courage is not in me, and the word mouse accurately describes my temperament.'


"The dragon was silent for a time, as if digesting my words, something I feared would happen to my flesh soon enough. Finally it spoken again.


"'You are Arnand the Reynaerdine. It is a title, not a name, though it will be spoken differently in the future. I know you as a great hero, prophesized in the Kelle, a figure daal ko tiid, though apparently you know it not yet. This vexes me, I came here expecting a great fight with a mighty warrior, not tinvaak with a sahlo mun, wretch. This is most disappointing. I had hoped to die in battle with a King, and instead I am faced with a child in a man's body.'


"The dragon grew contemplative for a moment, and I dared not interrupt its reverie, though I contemplated trying to slip away and flee, despite the patent impossibility of doing so while under the beast's direct gaze. And then it spoke again.


"'I beg your forgiveness, shezarrine. Time is more fluid for those of us who often venture outside it, and it has only existed in a relatively stable form for, I believe, a few thousand of your years. I have been visiting my old friend Mnemo-Li, and in her presence one tends to forget that time even exists. I only returned when my kin began dying at the hands of the Nede refugees. I had hoped to meet my end, temporary as it is, at the hands of a mighty warrior, but I can see I arrived too soon.'


"'I will not kill you, at least not now. Your destiny lies elsewhere. You are to pave the way for the figure Alessia, who will come long after you are dead and your kingdom crumbled to dust, but your actions will give her ahkrin, the bravery to do what she will do. Your story will be told in hushed whispers, lending strength to slaves. Yet you cannot do it like this.'


"'I charge you, Arnand, to go south, and create a kingdom, free of Ayleid influence. Return to me in the fullness of time, while you are still a powerful warrior, and we will battle unto the death. But for now, I will rest here, in the ruins of your hofkiin, and slumber.'


"I could not help but be dismayed at the dragon's words. Lending strength to slaves? Create a kingdom in the south, free of the Elves? Madness, the creature spoke madness. As I trembled before the beast, wondering how to politely decline and whether being swallowed whole instead of dismembered could be added to the negotiations, the beast breathed in, and whispered four words - "kos wo hi los-hun." I still do not know the meaning of these words, nor the others it spoke in its tongue. I am no scholar. But I believe them to be some kind of spell, a Thu'um of bravery, for suddenly I was filled with courage. I stood, and, disregarding the gaze of the dragon, looked out over my ruined kingdom.


"I felt a great sense of shame at my cowardice, and vowed that never again would I stand back and let others die while I cowered behind walls. The Elves had beggared my kingdom for generations, and the dragon had killed what was left. A righteous fury engulfed me, and I grasped at my side, though I carried no sword. I turned to the dragon and spoke.


"'Dragon, I heed you. Now heed me! I will indeed go south, and I will build a kingdom on the bones of the Ayleidoon. I will slaughter and I will rule, and grow mighty. And one day, I shall return, and carve my name into your hide for what you have done here today. Mark my words, dragon - I will be your death, as you have been the death of my kingdom!'


"Though the dragon's face did not change, I could sense that it was smiling inside. 'Good, and daal voth fin ven, for I fear that you will be an old and feeble man should you wait too long. Return swiftly and in power, and return alone. We will test your mettle on that day.'


King Arnand grew silent, and the hall remained silent with him. Finally he spoke again. "My subjects... my friends. It is time. I am growing old, and I fear I will grow feeble in age. I am still a powerful warrior, but time makes a mockery of us all, and I must return to exact vengeance on the beast while I still can. I must leave this kingdom I have built.


"As I have no mate, and no child of mine body, I leave the kingdom in the hands of my closest advisors, to be ruled jointly until my return, if I return. And as my final act, I name this kingdom Colov. May the name, and the Kingdom, stand forever as a testament to our power and independence!"


King Arnand strode to the closest table and stood upon it, filling his goblet with wine. "A toast to Colov! Hail!" And his courtiers, as one, shouted: "Hail Colov! Hail King Arnand! Hail the Star-Made Knight!" And with that cheer echoing throughout the hall, King Arnand walked back to the dais, took off his foxfur cravat, and laid it on the throne. He then walked from the hall, the cheers and tears of his courtiers behind him, and though many searched for him, he was not seen again.




Editor's note:

Historical references to King Arnand are not to be found, though Arnand the Fox (Arnand Reynaerdine) is mentioned as one possible name of the individual or individuals collectively known as Pelinel Whitestrake. This is reinforced by a line in the final paragraph, where the courtiers shout "Hail the Star-Made Knight!" which is a direct translation of Pelin-El.

It is unknown whether this story represents actual events. It has been translated many times since it was first discovered in the library of White-Gold Tower. It may be completely apocryphal, and the events depicted herein (such as the dragon war) may conflict, though little enough history remains from the Merethic era. It may also be a translation and expansion of a much older Yokudan story about a warrior queen named Rey-arnanda'ine who challenged a dragon to single combat and won a kingdom upon defeating the beast.

The name "Colov" is undoubtedly a reference to the kingdom of Colovia, though no king by the name of Arnand has ever been known to rule there. The scope of the kingdom, "From Falk's Wreath (possibly a corruption of Falkreath)" in the north to Anvil and Skin-Guard (possibly a corruption of Skingrad) does fit with the approximate borders of Colovia, though the actual extent of what is now known as Colovia has changed significantly throughout history. It is also possible that the castle and "great hall" mentioned herein may be a reference to Castle Kvatch, though some of the description of the hall does not match the actual throne room. Considering the ruthless method by which the Ayleids stamped out rebellion, it is entirely possible that such a kingdom did rise to power but was eventually crushed. Whether such a whispered story did or did not inspire Alessia to overthrow the Ayleids is likewise unprovable.

It is possible that King Arnand's home kingdom was one of many little "kingdoms," or Ayleid city-state protectorates, spread throughout High Rock. There have been so many built and destroyed throughout history that attempting to determine King Arnand's origin, if he existed at all, is an exercise in futility.


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  • 1 month later...

Here I will give you guys a preview of my Elder Scrolls Story: Red Sand, Red Snow about a redguard noble who must avenge his murdered family. The story focuses on the lore of the redguard people (including some personal additions to expound upon them, most being based on real life indigenous cultures), the main story of skyrim and it's dlcs, a few side stories following the main character Divad's growth and the like, themes of love, betrayal, honor, family, corruption and redemption, chim and godly forces, as well as a few other things. I will post the first chapter here when it is finished which should be soon. 


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  • 3 months later...


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