Volume 6 – The Daedric Labours
Chapter #322 – The Assembly (3)
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“Which deck the creator of Gwent prefers to play with?” The King asked.
Jon smiled and walked to a chair, Torygg nodded and Jon sat down while moving his robe to the side.
“A patriot? Well, I am the High King so I should represent my nation anyway. Skyrim against Skyrim… what a bad omen!” The King sighed.
“Haha! I can’t even disagree.” Jon felt the irony.
In the Assembly of how to prevent Skyrim from falling to a civil war, this Gwent match is being a Skyrim Deck against another.
Jon and Torygg took out their cards and put it against each other.
“Usually there is a referee.” Jon said.
“Would you mind if you become our referee?”
“It would be my pleasure.”
Falk took the third chair and the three gentlemen nodded to each other and handed the decks to Falk to check them.
“I must say, I was quite surprised by the way you presented the problem Jarl Skald is causing. You have one-ninth of Skyrim well-monitored and under your control. Must be quiet the labor.”
“I am just doing what a Thane should do, be the vigilant eye and enforce the Hold’s Law as well as making sure that life is fair and people are happy.” Jon said.
“So you provide them jobs under your business and make sure that no one competes with you in the hold you serve?” Torygg said in a questioning tone.
Jon smiled and replied.
“Couldn’t have found any better way to take care of those folk. People get greedy when they get power and can’t afford an enemy in a wounded hold that is being rebuilt. Gods know how many years will it take for the hold to be back on its feet again. That’s why one should be wary of greedy people.”
“And does the rule include you?”
“It includes everyone. My place and my position give me both the freedom and the limits I need.”
“Ah! I see. Hahaha!”
Jon’s answer was right to Torygg’s worries. Jon could read the mood and Torygg could read the meaning of words. Just like any other ruler, Torygg should be worried if a force grew too much under his domain and it can’t be controlled anymore. Jon answered him as he already understands his worries and gave him the clue of how to keep their relationship healthy, he is content with his position as a Thane and he took fully what he wants, more than that would be over the limits for the norm and that what assured Torygg.
Jon was not the only person who would spread his influence through an entire hold. Names like Maven Black-Briar, Thonar Silver-Blood, Olfrid Battle-Born, Torbjorn Shatter-Shield, Erikur and Bryling, all these people are the tycoons of Skyrim and now Jon Dare is the new tycoon in Winterhold. No one would have bothered with Winterhold especially for Nords who are not fond with the College of Winterhold but who would have thought the next rising star was from there. Not only was the hold wounded by the collapse but it also had low resources and unfriendly nature. Jon’s rise was indeed suspicious.
Also, the problem with Jon was not only his rise but also how fast he grew and his mysterious origins. If he was supported by an enemy of Skyrim then it would make a lot of sense but Jon was very interesting to those who looked in his history. An Orphan adopted by a powerful Arch-Wizard for his talent in magic and all his actions proved to be for the good of Winterhold and his loyalty to Skyrim was unstained for now. He even showed good will by opposing both the Stormcloak faction and the Imperial faction that have already started fighting in shadows and his stand was bluntly neutral. The Empire couldn’t hate him for it and neither the Stormcloaks. He made it clear that Winterhold is a wounded hold and it is going through a rebuilding phase, any conflict in the hold would bring it apart and he clearly wouldn’t take that lying down.
High King Torygg was a supporter of peace and a rise of a Hold like Winterhold meant that people are busy with rebuilding rather than fighting and that was something he wants for Skyrim. For that, he wanted to make sure that Jon was 100% in the same direction as him and not planning to join either side in the conflict yet to come. He also wanted to make sure that Jon won’t fall once a true challenge comes up.
“To tell the truth, we were in discussion lately here in Solitude about the Jarlship of Winterhold, we wanted to move the title to a man more capable than Jarl Korir. Our only candidate was you.”
“I see, you either had to stop me or support me.”
“Right, we didn’t know how to stop you quietly though. The person we hoped we can use had cut contacts with us.”
Torygg and Jon were speaking bluntly rather casually.
“You mean Kraldar? I killed him a long time ago.”
Torygg who was acting cool couldn’t keep up the act and Falk who was checking the Gwent Cards froze and his eyes moved to Jon. Another hidden presence in the room showed signs of energy that couldn’t escape the senses of an energy junkie like Jon.
“What? He was spying for Erikur.” Jon said it as it was something really natural.
Torygg, Falk and the third presence sighed and shook their heads. Jon was as brutal as the rumors.
Kraldar was indeed a spy of Erikur. Before Jon would come to Winterhold, Kraldar was a Nord nobleman whose family fell from glory after the [Great Collapse]. He was recruited by Erikur to make connections with the College of Winterhold as Erikur was already aiming for the big fish that everyone ignored. Kraldar was to replace Jarl Korir in the game if the Imperials ever take control of the Winterhold and Jon was aware to all of that. He was also aware that if by any chance, Kraldar became the Jarl then Korir managed to come back, Kraldar will get banished to Solitude and stay in Erikur’s home which all revealed Erikur’s plot to Jon.
Jon threw Kraldar in the sea as soon as the latter started spying for Erikur.
“So you won’t become the Jarl? You said you are okay with the limits you have but Jarl Korir is quite the burden, right?” Torygg asked.
“He is a breath of fresh air.” Jon replied.
“Hehehe! You two seem to be getting along, would it be that you have something on him?”
“Why? He is my Jarl. How come I betray the man who employed me?”
“Oh! Fine, I won’t pursue the subject any longer. Falk, you took your sweet time, how are the cards?”
“… I am not sure how to say this…” Falk was looking at the cards with a weird face.
“I knew it! The creator of Gwent must have all the rare Hero cards.” Torygg said with a disappointed face.
“Eh… quite the opposite actually. Not that much rare cards but…”
“Thane Jon is playing with only 20 cards other than the God card.”
“Only 20! That’s the minimum.” Torygg looked at Jon thinking he was underestimating him.
“It is my strategy.” Jon said.
“But… 20 cards means you don’t have ‘Decoy Cards’ or ‘Weather Cards’ or even a ‘Horn Card’.”
Jon nodded with a smile.
Gwent had many types of cards all of them were categorized as ‘Warrior’, ‘Thief’ and ‘Mage’ as the three major star consolations. They were also categorized as [God Cards] the ones necessary for every player and each carry a blessing, one must have one and only one, no less no more; [Hero Cards] which are the ones that has both power, ability and can’t be weakened; [Normal Cards] which are not as protected or powerful but may have one of the various abilities like ‘Bond’, ‘Resurrection’, ‘Spying’, ‘Summoning’, ‘Multi-class’, ‘Horn’ or ‘Scorching’ or can have no ability at all; [Weather Cards] whose role is to debuff a whole raw of both allies or enemies depending on type as ‘Frost’ debuffs the warriors, ‘Storm’ with the archers and ‘Rain’ with the mages; [Decoy Cards] which are used to take back cards one already played; [Horn Cards] which are used to buff a whole lane of a single type and finally the [Scorch Cards] that can kill the strongest card the enemy has.
Jon was playing with only a few [Hero Cards] and the rest were [Normal Cards] with a wide variety of abilities.
“Mr. Falk, will you please.” Jon urged Falk Firebeard to distribute the cards already.
“Fine, I just want to tell you, the High King is no ordinary player, he almost robbed Thane Bryling of [Ysmir Wulfharth] hero card.” Falk said.
“Almost.” Torygg seemed frustrated.
“Oh, that’s a really good card.” Jon smiled, “I am not going to lose though.” Jon said.
“Suit yourself. I just want to tell you that the High King has twice as cards as you.”
“Oh! How scary!”
Jon put his [God Card] on the table and so did Torygg.
“Oh! Kyne card.” Torygg smiled.
“Talos Card!” Jon was taken aback by Torygg’s choice.
“It is the best. I know you gave it a good effect on purpose.”
Jon and Torygg received 10 random cards from their decks. Falk then flipped a Septim and it was ‘Heads’. Torygg was the one to start.
“I can’t believe it!” Torygg’s face was ashen.
The end result was… 281 to 89. Jon’s win.
Jon played dumb and went hot on the first round making a big number very early which made Torygg decide to forfeit the first round to not waste cards. The second round was the real trap when Jon used all his ‘Resurrection Cards’ and ‘Spy Cards’ to bring back more cards and even steal cards from Torygg.
Torygg played with four ‘Hero Cards’ that barely made a score for him while Jon used three ‘Hero Cards’ that insanely buffed the Warrior lane relying on the ‘Normal Cards’ that mostly started with the base value around (4) and the highest one, in the end, was (32). Jon’s small amount of cards were utilized to the fullest bringing back all the cards he played with at the first round and all the cards in the rest of the deck while Torygg was stuck to his nose.
“I think I can’t go against the one who created the game after all.” Torygg said.
“I simply recreated the idea and made the cards. The rules are not mine.” Jon said as he took back his cards.
“I see. This was truly a good game. I was more focused than ever.” Torygg said with a smile.
Jon was sighing from inside. Torygg was way too easy compared to Sheogorath. Sheogorath insisted that he would recreate the Shivering Isles Deck all by himself and made an unfathomable deck that can truly only be played by mad people. The deck was so funny and infuriating at the same time. Compared to that, Torygg was easy to bully.
“So, have you thought about it?” Torygg asked.
“The Jarlship of Winterhold. It is yours if you wanted.”
Jon shook his head.
“Too many responsibilities. I merely want to adventure and study magic in the coming phase of my life so I don’t think I can run a hold this thoroughly in the future anyway. The Company can run itself and I created its system so I know how it works but the Jarlship requires more than just the Law of the Hold but also the Laws of Skyrim and the Empire rather than the decisions that I don’t want to burden my sleep with. Jarl Korir will do just fine.”
Jon declined the offer one last time.
Torygg sighed and nodded. He talked with Jon about various things before the latter left the study.
“Did he pass?” Falk asked.
“He wasn’t lying.” A voice replied and a woman appeared in the room.
Torygg and Falk looked at here naturally as if she was here the whole time.
“What do you think, Sybille?” Torygg asked.
“He is a bit honest about not wanting the Jarlship. He also wasn’t lying about anything else.”
“Whoa! Not at all?” Falk asked.
“He may look peaceful and well-natured but… he is dangerous.” Sybille said.
“How so?” Torygg asked.
“He detected me.”
Torygg and Falk were taken aback. No one can simply detect Sybille. After all, she is a Vampire. The High King knew that and Falk was also well aware. After all, Sybille’s role was far too important for the sake of many things in this hold.
“What do you advice?” Torygg asked.
Sybille thought and sighed.
“He is a troublemaker but he is a good friend. He won’t betray you first, the Firemanes always honored their words and he seemed like a typical one to me. Also, his origins check came out. Before he was to be admitted to Riften Orphanage, his parents were living outside Skyrim, the trail led us to Morrowind. It seems that they died around 4E 182 when they were doing some work for the clan. Or so the public story goes.”
“Is that so?”
“There is a lot of mystery around him. I know you wanted to have him as our man but he is comfortable where he is and as he said, it will limit his authorities but widen his freedom. He will turn 18 after two months, he still has a lot of potential and we can wait. Let Erikur go wild on him and see how he solves it.”
Torygg and Falk nodded.
“Fine, let’s wait and see.”
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