Volume 6 – The Daedric Labours
Chapter #320 – The Assembly (1)
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*The Blue Palace, Solitude – 21st of Sun’s Dusk (December), 4E 197 – 12:00 PM*
“Jarl Korir, Thane Jon, welcome to the Blue Palace.”
“Thank you, Mr. Falk.”
“You arrived just in time please, this way.”
The man who received the diplomats of Winterhold was none other than Falk Firebeard, the steward of High King Torygg of Skyrim. Jarl Korir followed by Jon were led together through the halls of the blue palace and Jon was looking around.
The palace was underwhelming, he thought it would be something classy from inside but Nords are Nords, royalties or not. No wonder the High Elves always mock the Nordic architecture. What was the least disappointing was the size of the palace, at least it wasn’t as the sorry excuse of a palace in the game, so just like many things, it was much larger in reality.
At the end of the long walk, the group reached the throne room. As underwhelming as the palace, the throne room was very similar to that of the game but just in a bigger size and more furniture.
Jarl Idgord Ravencrone of Morthal called for Jarl Korir and seemed to be anticipating to fry him in some verbal combat. Jon simply didn’t bother with them and greeted Jarl Idgord then excused himself deeper in the throne room.
There were a lot of people here, other than Jarl Idgord and Jarl Korir, there was also Jarl Igmund of Markarth, Jarl Balgruuf of Whiterun and a surprising face, Jarl Siddgeir of Falkreath.
“Falkreath had what you can call a coup d’état.” Someone whispered to Jon behind his ears.
Jon looked around and smiled instantly.
“Thane Bryling, it is nice to finally meet in person.”
“Thane Jon, you are just as what I heard, the red-haired large gentleman.”
“Perks of the bloodline.”
“Indeed, even for a far relative to the Firemanes like yourself, you took all the good parts.”
“Indeed… I was wondering…”
Thane Bryling and Jon got engaged in a conversation about the state of Skyrim and the Holds, Falkreath was a hot topic as it had a recent change from the Stormcloak camp to the Imperial camp when its Jarl was changed. Bryling was well aware of the events regarding that and Jon got to admit that Bryling was very organized and could see points that no one normally sees while Bryling was taken aback by Jon’s radical, out of the box ways to solve things.
Time passed and finally, the main actor appeared.
“High King Torygg is here.” Bryling pointed while speaking to Jon and the two quietened down and returned to their respective areas.
Torygg made a simple dandy greeting and the people nodded to him in a respectful manner. Unlike most races on Tamriel, Nords don’t kneel to Kings or Emperors but only to Gods. It is a custom and tradition, kneeling is submission.
Everyone sat quietly in their places after Torygg who sat on his throne. The atmosphere was still chilly between the people around and opposites started to appear.
There was the Imperial Envoy who had the right to attend the Assembly of the Jarl as a proxy for the Emperor. He was a man called Count Pavo Atius.
The titles of Cyrodiil granted by the Empire are valid in any part of the Empire but the titles of Skyrim like Jarl which is equal to Count and Thane which is equal to Viscount were not valid outside Skyrim.[A/n: Jarl is Earl in the Scandinavian languages. Earl is equivalent to Count.]
As High King Torygg was sitting in the middle, on his right there was Count Pavo, Thane Erikur, Jarl Igmund and Jarl Siddgeir while on the right, there were Thane Bryling, Jarl Idgord, Jarl Balgruuf and Jarl Korir. Besides everyone was his close aids and thanes and thus Jon was sitting at the corner.
Even though he was chilling the furthest, many eyes have landed on him more than a few times. Thane Erikur was acting cool but he would glare from time to time to only meet Jon’s easygoing smile. Thongvar Silver-Blood who accompanied Jarl Igmund of Markarth was also looking at Jon with interest and Jon also nodded at him knowing that he is a Stormcloak supporter. Count Pavo seemed to be displeased not only from Jon but from other many things. The most interesting one in this meeting was Vittoria Vici, one of Jon’s many lovers and Viarmo the head of the Bard’s College, a person Jon wanted to have a conversation with.
High King Torygg ignored the glare contests that were going everywhere in the room and kicked off the Assembly.
“Thank you all for coming on such short notice. I know this is too early to hold an Assembly before the Big Tourney but we have some matters we need to address. Who would go first?”
“Allow me, High King.” The Imperial Envoy stood up.
“Count Pavo.” Torygg nodded.
Count Pavo was one brute of a man. He seemed to have served in the Imperial Legion for him to have the body of a warrior and his eyes were sharp. His large mustache and medium black hair also gave him the air of diplomats.
“Honored High King and Jarls of Skyrim, as we are all aware, the Empire is facing many difficulties as of late. We have the Aldmeri Dominion to worry about but that is not all, the Argonians of Black March, the Khajiit of Elsweyr and as you know, the Redguards of Hammerfell. These particular provinces have long been left the unity of the Empire for many reasons, the Khajiit are with the Aldmeri Dominion, the Argonians reestablished the An-Xileel government which has many connections to the Aldmeri Dominion. It is hard to say whether or not the Bretons of High Rock are loyal to the Empire or not but we are safe to say that both the Bretons and the Redguards share a grim history with the Dominion. That leaves Morrowind and Skyrim. Morrowind is an Enemy of an Ally to the Dominion but Morrowind is not that friendly to the Empire, and finally, Skyrim as most of you are already aware it is getting divided.”
The room didn’t get as noisy as the Imperial Envoy expected and surprisingly, the Nords were quiet.
“23 years ago, the [Great War] ended by the White-Gold Concordant, a treaty that put an end to the grim fights and most of us were there. The treaty indeed put some harsh terms on the Empire but its main purpose was to cause discord, right now Hammerfell is no part of the Empire because of the term that forces the Empire to hand half of Hammerfell to the Aldmeri Dominion and Skyrim is angry because of the ban of Talos worship. It is all causing us troubles especially the other terms that put many restrictions on the Empire in economy and trading.” The Imperial Envoy was trying his best to get to the Nords around him.
“Skyrim is more than just a valuable Ally to the Empire, it is the only access for the Imperial Legion to and from High Rock now that Hammerfell is out of the picture. If by any chance Skyrim is not a part of the Empire then High Rock is not. The Empire will be all alone against Alinor (Summerset Isles), Valenwood and Elsweyr.” Count Pavo made a grim face.
“The Empire is strong and our war machine is way beyond the imagination and the estimation of any force on Tamriel. The Aldmeri Dominion may think that it had the upper hand in the Great War but they are still wounded and weakened. High Elves and Wood Elves are not as reproductive as Humans and they lost many numbers while we during the span of those 23 years have reestablished the Imperial Legion far better and much fiercer than that of the Great War. Skyrim also didn’t suffer that much and it kept a large portion of its power that grew in the span of the 23 years. The Aldmeri Dominion knew that would happen and the sole reason for the concordant was to cause these massive human forces to collide with each other.” The Imperial Envoy talked systematically and got engrossed in his topics.
“Right now, in this Assembly of the Jarls of Skyrim, three particular names are missing, Jarl Skald the Elder, Jarl Laila Law-Giver and Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak. I say… the Aldmeri Dominion has indeed managed to cause discord by a few terms on a paper. The Empire wishes that the Jarls, Thanes, Heads of the Clans and the War Chiefs of Skyrim to stand by its side like they always did since the days of the First Empire of Saint Alessia, The Second Empire of Reman Cyrodiil and the Third Empire of Tiber Septim. Let the Fourth Empire of Titus Mede lead the forces of humanity like its predecessors always did and enforce the supremacy of mankind for our sakes and the sakes of the Generations yet to come. Thank you.”
The Imperial Envoy Count Pavo Arius finished his talk and the people were still quiet. He surely felt something was wrong for the Jarls to keep quiet all that time but he remained as expressionless and aloof as he entered.
Outside the circle of the gathering, the Imperial Legion officers that attended the meeting and the other envoys that Jon was familiar with were all carrying expressions of pride for the words of Count Pavo. Only the Jarls and the Thanes were still solemn.
“Thanks, Count Pavo. Who else wants to voice their opinion? Jarl Idgord, you are the one who called early for this meeting, do you want to say anything?” High King Torygg asked.
“Yes.” Jarl Idgord said as she put a hand on her cane and stood up.
“A few days ago, I saw a dream of flames coming at Morthal. I’ve seen that dream many times, I tell you, and I can’t unsee it anymore. The flames come from the east, the south and the west. They eat the land everything green. Now that… that means something.” She said and clicked with her cane on the ground.
Most of the Jarls covered their faces with their palms thinking ‘Did she call us here to tell us about her dreams again?’
Jon was amused by Jarl Idgord and decided to listen to the end.
“Now that all of you know, Ulfric has been sending his people over here and there and that brat Skald is the worst. He doesn’t want to stop sending people and zealots to make sermons about Talos and the Empire all around my hold, he thinks he can force my hand by changing the people hearts? Humph, ignorant buffoons! They speak of Ulfric as if he is the second coming of Talos or something, now let me tell you this; who caused all this mess to begin with, huh? It was Ulfric, he is the main reason why those Elves are coming and going as they wish, Jarl Igmund we just spoke of that. When the Reachmen took over Markarth, it was Ulfric who acted up on his own and came all the way from Eastmarch to the Reach and took Markarth from the Reachmen, not only that, he also took Markarth for himself and sealed it off telling the Empire that he won’t hand it over unless they return the worship of Talos. Before that even with the White-Gold Concordat, we were worshipping Talos very openly and we didn’t even bother with the Empire or the Thalmor and all that… It started with Ulfric and his obsessions. Now the fire will come to us all if we do not deal with it early.”
“What do you suggest, Jarl Idgord.” High King Torygg asked.
“Stop this before it starts. Tell Ulfric to come and talk to us.” She said.
“Absurd.” Erikur seemed bothered by the suggestion.
“He won’t do so, he already started hoarding his troops and gathering allies.” Count Pavo said.
“No blood was shed so far. We are still at the point of the return.” Jarl Idgord pleaded.
“My King.” Thane Bryling stood in support for Jarl Idgord.
From the looks of it, Winterhold and Whiterun were also in favor of with the suggestion Jon and Jarl Balgruuf were also looking at the High King the same way Bryling was.
“Igmund, what is your opinion?” High King Torygg turned to his friend Jarl Igmund of Markarth.
“Jarl Ulfric has a temper that is hard to contain, you all know what happened when the Reachmen attacked Markarth. At that time, Jarl Ulfric came to our rescue when I was just a young boy. He avenged my father and rescued my throne but he had another plan in mind all along. Jarl Ulfric will do anything to achieve his purpose and that includes many complicated things hidden beneath his words of ‘Skyrim for the Nords’ and ‘Return of Talos Worship’. He thinks he fights for a higher purpose and to keep all that the Nords achieved so far. He was disappointed by the Empire many times and he gathered many Nords around him, things will be difficult if you want to talk to him. I say, give it a try but don’t expect it to work.”
Torygg nodded and then looked at the newly appointed Jarl Siddgeir. The latter stood and spoke.
“I say there is no point. Ulfric is one man with some brigands around him, he won’t do much harm.”
“Sit back, fool.” Jarl Idgord lashed at him right away.
Jarl Siddgeir was taken aback by the sudden glare that went through him. Not only that, Jarl Balgruuf was clearly looking down at him, Jarl Korir wasn’t paying attention to him, and Jon was simply having a mocking smile hidden behind the hand that his chin was resting on.
Jarl Siddgeir was not an experienced politician by any mean. He was appointed in the place of his uncle who was a supporter of Ulfric Stormcloak for the sake of making Falkreath under the control of the Empire. Falkreath may seem like a hold with a lot of forests and ruins but its strategic value is invaluable as it was connected to both the Empire and Hammerfell were both the Imperial Legion and the Redguard Mercenaries should come from.
Jarl Idgord didn’t like how Siddgeir underestimated Ulfric, he was way too young and too inexperienced to say such a thing about the [Bear of Markarth].
But there was someone much younger than him in this meeting. It was Jon Dare.
Jarl Idgord stood up once again.
“Listen you lot. That noisy Skald of Dawnstar is not going to stop harassing my hold any time soon. The Pale and Hjaalmarch are not the friendliest holds and Skald is making things worse, ask Winterhold.”
All eyes landed on Jarl Korir and Jon. Winterhold was a very hot topic and everyone wanted to taste how salty can the blood of Jon Dare is.
“Jarl Korir, what exactly does Jarl Skald do and what do you suggest to deal with it?” Torygg asked.
Jarl Korir stood up and looked around carefully, he was wearing an expensive suit with a fur cloak and armored garment like the style of Winterhold and on his head, there was a light decorated open helm, the [Helm of Winterhold].
“Winterhold has kept friendly relationships with all Holds and Jarls. Jarl Skald is indeed ‘motivated’ to the cause of Talos worship and all that. He may have some disagreements regarding the methods of Winterhold which in fact avoids all sorts of making problems with either the Cult of Talos, the Imperial Cult or the old Nordic Cult. Thanks to Thane Jon dedicated work, we do not have problems whatsoever. But Jarl Skald has started to make harassments on the borders of the Hold we indeed need to address that and Thane Jon, as well as the esteemed mages of the College, were all working on it for quite a while now.”
Most of the people present were listening to Jarl Korir and tried to listen again and again. His tone was… different. He was the man they know in every aspect but he was… more cheerful.
Jarl Korir even said ‘esteemed mages’.
The word ‘Mages’ followed the word ‘Esteemed’ and both were said by a man called ‘Korir’ who serves as the ‘Jarl’ of a hold called ‘Winterhold’. Not sure if they were short on brain circuits but that was the very detention of ‘odd’.
Some hidden smiles formed on some faces, many were waiting for that moment.
“Good.” High King Torygg nodded. “Thane Jon Dare, it is nice to see you in person one more time.”
“Thank you, my king.” Jon stood up and spoke.
He was indeed far taller than anyone which game people an intimidating air.
“Jarl Korir said you are well aware of the issues caused by Jarl Skald, mind to fill us in about your opinion in these matters.” Torygg asked.
Jon smiled and nodded.
“Gladly… but, this will take a while.” Jon said and clapped his hand twice.
A large Light Screen appeared beside him and he fixed it in front of the loot. Images appeared and a video started to play.
“Let’s start from the beginning.”
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