Dragonborn Chapter 324: The Assembly (6, 7)
A/n: Okay, folks. This is a 5K word chapter originally had to be two separate chapters (Normal and Extra by comes to you by @DarkPriest). Still, the events forced me to put them in one.
IMPORTANT: From this point onward, things are getting Messy for Jon! It will be chaos and mayhem. If you didn’t drop the novel by the next 10 chapters, you will have a good surprise! Just saying!
Erikur had another chip in hand. He looked at Jarl Korir and grinned.
“You! Who in Oblivion are you?” He said while pointing at Korir.
Jon narrowed his eyes and the people around felt that this was still far from over. Jon won the first round but there was that little thing that was still in their minds.
“What do you mean? How dare you address a Jarl like that?” Jarl Korir said.
“Really now?” The grin on Erikur’s face grew wider. “You are the Jarl Korir? The one we know? The one who came every year screaming ‘kick off the mages’, ‘banish the College from Winterhold’, ‘they ruined the hold’ and whatnot? You don’t sound like the same to me, Jarl Korir. Here, your Thane is a mage, he took money from his mother who is also a mage and made a business on your hold mostly based on Magic. You, the same Jarl that no one ever heard a word of for two years are, now come with a mage and ever so comfortable speaking about mages as if they are your next of kin. Isn’t this suspicious, folks?”
He looked between Jon and Korir. This was his final card, the sure one.
“I will admit it, Thane Jon is a good businessman. But what of Jarl Korir? He wouldn’t have allowed a mage to start a business in his hold let alone appoint him a thane no matter what. The man in front of you look like Jarl Korir, sounds like him, speaks and moves like him. You all made sure of this before the meeting and during the first rest. But did it answer any of the questions we had? No. How could Jon Dare become the Thane? The answer is simple, Thane Jon put a spell the mind of Jarl Korir. He did something with magic and we all know it is possible. I looked into that matter and it all started the day he retrieved that very helm that Jarl Korir is wearing. That helm was used by Jon Dare to manipulate Jarl Korir. Many people in Winterhold are aware of the fact yet no one cared for their own convenience. But this… this is a court of law. Jon Dare, release Jarl Korir from your spell right here, right now. The unlawful taking over of authority of a part of Skyrim and the Empire is treason punishable by death. Release him at once and you might live to fight another day.”
All eyes landed on Jon waiting for his reaction but he kept an expressionless face.
“You scum! You say I got manipulated? I will not accept this, I demand that this man gets arrested for slandering the Jarl of Winterhold.” Jarl Korir lashed at Erikur.
“Now, now, Jarl Korir. You will thank me at the end of the day.” Erikur spoke haughtily. “Jon Dare, last chance! You can’t win this. Your company, money, family and everything you built so far will go to waste if you don’t cooperate. We will give you the benefit of admitting your wrongdoings.”
Jon didn’t move a muscle, bat an eye or draw a breath. He was still.
“Your Grace, this is too much.” Jarl Korir directed his talk to Torygg. “Thane Erikur has slandered me, my hold and my loyal Thane for too much. Thane Jon said that he will take on whatever Thane Erikur throws at him but this is not acceptable. There are lines and crossing them will result for consequences. Severe ones!”
Jarl Korir was making a strong stance for Jon but sadly no one believed him. The one thing that these people were sure of was that Jon was really mind controlling Korir. It was the only possible answer for Korir’s transformation.
Torygg stood up from his chair and everyone else did.
“Thane Erikur, that’s enough!” He suppressed Erikur.
Everyone looked at Torygg thinking that he is going to sacrifice a Jarl for the sake of a Thane. Korir was known to be an incompetent Jarl and Jon was a business genius. Even Torygg wanted to give the title of the Jarl to Jon to avoid this conversation.
Still, Jon refused the title. But now is not the time to regret. Many great leaders didn’t get the chance to grow to their full potential and surely what Jon Dare achieved won’t be torn apart. The least punishment he can take was to get his title stripped and his assets confiscated. He may eventually get pardoned but he is losing this one. The crown will be forced to appoint someone else as the head of the [Dare Dragon Company] and everyone knew who coveted this position the most.
Still, the crime of ‘Unlawful Taking Over of Authority’ is the most severe one to those who were sitting in this room. Most of them are rulers and letting such a crime go means it may happen to them one day. It was simply unforgivable.
“Your Grace…” Jarl Korir wanted to say something but Torygg cut him.
“I am not sure of how magic works and I didn’t learn much about the arcane arts. What Thane Erikur said raises a strong point that I can’t merely ignore. Forgive me, Jarl Korir, Thane Jon. This matter should be investigated.”
Jarl Korir seemed frustrated but Jon was as silent as ever. The two of them were going to be investigated and questioned and surely they didn’t like it.
Erikur was all smiles as he turned to his aid Melaran nodding for him, the latter stepped forward towards Jarl Korir. Jon saw that and his poker face turned to a frown. He didn’t want this curse of events to take this turn.
“Back off, Elf. This is not the day I get judged by a Thalmor cuck-sucker!” Jon spoke with his Aura finally getting out of control. The red Battle-Spirit of the Tyrant was getting thicker around him and made him look like the devil.
Those who were around him panicked and backed off. Not even the High King was spared from the suppressive sensation that made everyone simply inferior.
Melaran, the High Elf mage could barely stand in front of Jon’s stare. It was a beast and prey. One wrong move and death is inevitable.
Sadly Jon wanted him to move away and the latter irritated Jon by freezing at his place. Jon’s expressions twisted into pure anger and he spoke.
A word of power was unleashed from Jon’s tongue and assaulted Melaran head on. The High Elf could keep up no more.
“HEEEE! NO! PLEASE! NO!”
The sight of a powerful mage like Melaran crumbling before Jon was heart sinking. The Imperial Ambassador was a powerful warrior but he felt tight in his chest by the amount of suppression Jon was giving off.
The killing intent was real. All of the people here were in the presence of a monster. They recognized the Thu’um very well. A power only the fiercest of the Nord Commanders could employ at the Great War and a lot of Elves were shouted to pieces, most of the veterans couldn’t help but remember the days.
The [Dismay] shout that Jon unleashed was only one word but it caused Melaran to collapse and run off like a rat.
Jon suppressed his Aura once again and then looked at High King Torygg.
Never in his days did Torygg experience such an Aura. The people who kept their ground in this room other than him were Jarl Balgruuf who seemed very calm, Jarl Idgord who was glaring at Erikur, Jarl Igmund barely sat at the end of his chair and Jarl Korir was completely composed. The Imperial Ambassador and some other thanes and attendants were powerful enough to withstand Jon who didn’t even move a muscle or cast a spell. He only shouted one word of the Dragon Tongue and most of the people were about to fall and worship.
Torygg realized the mistake and glared at Erikur who acted way too comfortable. Jon clearly was not the same person who won the tournament two years ago. It was a mistake to assume like that, Jon surely has grown in two years but the growth was shocking. He who was a Junior is now making the Seniors tremble.
Torygg only looked at the woman at the other end of the room and nodded to her.
Her movements were light and swift, she walked completely unbothered by Jon and stood in front of him.
“Thane Jon, I understand your anger. This one is on us, but please do mind that you are in the Blue Palace.”
Jon looked down at her with his eyes and finally nodded after a long breath.
“I apologize, Your Grace, Lady Sybille.”
She nodded and looked towards Jarl Korir. Everyone held their breath as Sybille Stentor stepped in.
She was going to be the judge.
“My Jarl, may I?” She asked Korir with a polite tone of a Breton and he sighed and took off the [Helm of Winterhold].
Sybille took the Helm and turned it towards Torygg, he nodded and she held the [Helm or Winterhold] with both hands.
Blue mystic light enveloped the Helm and Sybille started a divination on the magic power of the helm. The Light of her spell fades as quickly as it was cast. She kept looking at the Helm for a while with a weird look in her eyes. She frowned for a second and tilted her head in the other.
“Seriously?” That’s was her impression.
The people around were waiting in anticipation for her answer but she checked again and again.
“Miss Stentor.” Falk Firebeard urged her to talk.
“Eh! Ah… well, here is the thing. There are magic traces on the Helm but they are very thin.”
“It means that this Helm… it is really ancient! Its enchantment has long since faded. There is no magic on it whatsoever.”
A strange silence took over the place.
It was understandable. Jon’s actions up until now were really suspicious. He refused to answer Erikur’s questions about putting a spell on the mind of Jarl Korir and he was about to go wild when Erikur’s attendant stepped up to check the Helm.
“That’s… impossible.” One of the people around were fully disbelieving what Sybille said.
Sybille turned her head towards that poor fool and her glare was enough to make him shiver.
“If it is not the Helm then it is something else. It has to be.” Erikur’s face was red with anger as he said so.
All eyes landed on Jon once again who simply didn’t show any sort of emotion. In the inside, however, he was smiling widely.
‘I am the one who inherited [Ahzidal’s Genius]! Do you simply think you can read an enchantment I made if I want to hide it?’[A/n: (reminder) [Ahzidal’s Genius] is the power bestowed on Jon when he equips four items of Ahzidal’s set, it boosts his knowledge of Enchanting.]
Jon has indeed disguised the traces of the Enchantment he erased from the Helm to make it look like an old enchantment that wasn’t renewed or charged in ages. Not even Nurina could tell the difference.
Still, the matter wasn’t over. The Helm was simply the first suspected method.
“I apologize, my Jarl, but can I check you directly? No touching or anything, just a little Divination spell.” Sybille turned to Korir.
She wasn’t sure she would find anything now.
Korir glanced at the people around him with anger.
“This is a stark humiliation. Your Grace, I will comply with your will but after this is over, Winterhold has a long list of complaints.” Jarl Korir said.
“You have my word, Jarl Korir.” King Torygg replied.
“My Jarl, if you have any enchanted item on you, it may interfere with my test.” Sybille said.
“I don’t. Carry on.”
Sybille nodded and evoked a spell, Jon kept observing with his eyes and could tell that the spell is a very advanced one. Sybille seemed to be well versed in Divination and Detection spells.
Her spell doesn’t even touch Korir but it was some sort of a way to heighten her magic detection ability while observing any magic signal on Korir.
“No signal. Jarl Korir is in perfect health mentally and physically. There is no magical effect on him at all.”
The temperature in the room dropped down a few degrees. This meant a lot for this meeting. Right now Erikur was receiving all the glares.
Sybille still didn’t stop and turned to Jon.
“Thane Jon. If you excuse me. If you have any enchanted item on you…”
“Sigh! Fine.” Jon sighed and tabbed with his feet on the ground.
His strange action had a stranger response, from god knows where, a little girl in a black dress and a big black hat appeared. She was way too cute for anyone to handle and she stood next to Jon.
“Help me out.”
Jon took off his bracers, ring (Haven Ring) and his cloak. Hell, he even took off an Amulet of Talos in front of everyone just like that. He gave all the stuff to Nefertiti.
The small girl carried all the Jon-sized stuff between her small arms and was almost buried in them. She turned around to a small table and put all that one it.
The table simply broke. Nefertiti jumped from the fright and looked at the people around with scared expressions.
“Just put them away.” Jon said.
She still had the Haven Cube in her hand. Just like Jon, she clapped once and all his stuff disappeared in the cube.
It was way too weird of a situation and as if they all forgot about Jon, all the people looked at Nefertiti with blank expressions.
‘A small child, appearing out of nowhere, carrying something so heavy… wait! Why was it that heavy? Still, she carried it easily and did the same thing as Jon to make these things disappear. Just what is going on?’
Nefertiti was normally not shy but too many strange people around caused her to just stay beside Jon like a scared little kid.
“Can we get done with it?” Jon said.
Sybille acted as if she couldn’t hear Jon and kept staring at Nefertiti. Something weird made all her skin crawl when the strange girl appeared. She couldn’t even see her coming. One must know that Sybille’s most important role was to identify threats around Solitude and tell who is coming and who is going but that was completely out of her sight. Not just that, Nefertiti was powerful, very powerful to just ignore and all she could feel that she would lose sight of that kid once her eye gets away from her.
“Miss Stentor.” Only Falk’s voice was annoying enough for Sybille to wake up from her daze.
“Oh! Right… sorry!” Sybille couldn’t be in a daze more than that and looked at Jon. “I am starting.”
She did the same thing on Jon and the result was the same as Jarl Korir at first… but the more she tried to look into Jon’s energy, the deeper the abyss was.
At first, she could scry Jon’s soul easily but to check if there is an anomaly in it, she had to go further. Still, the further she got, the wider it becomes.
‘What is that?’
Sybille was not a human but rather a vampire. She can be counted as an undead and she has already seen a lot in her life but that… it was way too much.
‘What kind of a human was that? Can that be still called a human?’
Undead can shed no sweat but the shivers she had were all real. She was in front of a human whose body can be said as at the apex state among humanity. His soul was too large for his body. It is impossible to trap such a soul in a Black Soul Gem even if the [King of Worms] and the [Wolf Queen] themselves tried.
Jon noticed what Sybille was doing and finally his expressions changed. He grinned widely and simply blocked the connection that Sybille established with him.
“NO WAIT!” Sybille freaked out once the mystic connection was severed.
“You have already achieved your purpose, more than that is too much.” Jon replied.
“Sybille.” King Torygg was already waiting for the results on the edge of his chair.
Sybille turned around and nodded.
“… Thane Jon… he is a human… no vampirism detected so it means he cannot use hypnosis with his eyes. He is also very healthy mentally and physically… if I am not mistaken, he is also blessed by multiple Divines.”
Just what answer can be more satisfying to Jon? He let Sybille see what he wanted to see with ease.
A smile was forming on his face as he simply looked around.
“Gods! He is blessed.”
“Wait! Will we get cursed for not standing for him?”
“By the eight! What have we done?”
Some of the people who were affected by Jon’s fit of anger a while ago were already in a hysteria once again. Only glares from the Higher Ups quietened them down.
“I conclude that there is no mind control whatsoever between Thane Jon and Jarl Korir and the [Helm of Winterhold] is clean.” Sybille said and walked behind the Throne hurriedly, she needed some time to think of what she experienced.
This was said by none other than Solitude’s court mage. Jon and Korir were in trouble no more rather, Solitude and the Alliance were in trouble.
Now Winterhold is offended and Jon is smiling viciously. Only Torygg and Falk saw that smile on his face once just a few hours ago, it was when Jon and Torygg played a game of Gwent. It was the same tactic all along, Jon would fool his opponent with simplicity and a few mind games. In the Gwent, he played with the minimum amount of cards not to limit himself but limit the chances of having useless cards and he made a strong front the first round to force his opponent to back down only to come stronger the second round. In court, Jon let Erikur take out all the garbage, he stood silently when Erikur accused him of mind-controlling Jarl Korir and acted violently when Erikur’s aid was about to check. This was not done whimsically, it was all for the purpose of making himself look guilty and luring Solitude to press further into the matter, once all was done and Jon was viewed innocent, he can now have every right to slap back.
Jon misled the Royal Court of Skyrim and led them by the nose to this point. The sense of crisis was already useless.
Erikur couldn’t believe any of that. The reports he got were all verified 100%. Jon Dare and his [Black Pigeons] can never interfere with the information network he brought his information from and for the first time, it was all wrong.
The Helm was not cursed. Korir was not enthralled.
He was a fool… way too fool. He should have known that Jon would never enter the Blue Palace with Jarl Korir being mind-controlled.
There was no possible answer to such a thing anymore. Still, someone answered.
“Your Grace.” Jarl Korir stepped forward and stood in front of Jon. “I was accused of being enthralled and Thane Jon was slandered way too much because of that. I know I had a complicated past with the mages but as life goes, changes happen. Change is sacred, change is inevitable. Two years ago, my hold and I were under the control of pirates. I couldn’t voice any complaints as everything I was responsible for was taken a hostage and that includes many good locals.
I am sure the other holds are already aware of what kind of predicament Winterhold was in but still, no one cared. No one cared for over 80 years. We couldn’t do anything and the College of Winterhold shut its door for their own reasons. Yes, things would have changed if the College decided to stick around and save Winterhold but triggering any animosity with the locals was always too much of a risk. I was one of those angry locals too.
As people fled Winterhold year after year we couldn’t come back ever again. We were always short on… everything! I know I blamed the College and I still blame them for not trying but I realized where I was mistaken, where we were all mistaken. The problem is not magic or mages, it was always us… people! We look down on each other, rob each other, undermine one another, Oblivion, we are about to go into a bloody civil war for what? And to what purpose?
For 80 years, Winterhold waited for Jon Dare. Thane Jon said that we are not in the age of heroes anymore and Jarl Ulfric is the only relic of the Age of Heroes. He is right, Ulfric is an old relic but he is also wrong, the Age of Heroes is not over as Jon Dare is also a Hero, the ‘Hero of Winterhold’ and I dare you to say a word about that, I’ll slap you all.
This man is a Nord. The Nordest Nord you can ever see, he’s a Cleverman, he’s a Tongue, he’s a Warrior. And you all questioned him and slandered him. He knew it will happen and told me beforehand. Thank the Nine I already knew this will happen or else.
The East of Skyrim never cared for the West and the West was always foolhardy and Nordic. Don’t get me wrong, this is not racism, this is nature. I was once a man who was blinded by anger and hate but Jon Dare came to me and said, ‘I will change everything’, ‘Winterhold will be great again’, ‘Let’s rebuild the Hold of Ysgramor, the town of Shalidor, the City of the First Men’. He had a plan to free Winterhold and stepped up to it when no one else did for 80 years. He told me it is a wager that won’t cost me a Septim and look where it got us.
Now, you all want to say that I was enthralled or Thane Jon is corrupt? Well, you got my full attention. Those who accused the Hero of Winterhold of anything bad are to be judged… Thane Jon, they are yours.”
Jarl Korir returned to his seat after a heated speech.
For the very first time in a long while through history, the Old Capital of Winterhold is demanding an explanation of the New Capital of Solitude.
Jon stepped forward and looked at King Torygg and Erikur.
“Your Grace, Winterhold submits an official complaint against Thane Erikur. I, the Thane of Winterhold accuse Erikur the Thane of Haafingar with the Attempt of Defamation, False Accusation in a Public Court, Commencing Unauthorized Searches outside his Area of Jurisdiction, Public Shaming and Slandering, the Attempt of Framing Innocent People with the Crime of Treason… what else? Oh, yes! Disregarding the Ethics of Noble Standards in the Royal Court in front of an Imperial Envoys, Causing Discord between many Business Partners… As well as more than fifty other accusations all will be issued and presented to the court.”
Jon (the lawyer) was going berserk with all the crimes that came to his mind. The Scribe of the Assembly was already at a loss of what to record and what not to record.
“Thane Jon, this is enough.” Falk Firebeard stood forward. “Please file your complaints and we will see to them, regarding today events, the Internal Affairs of the Blue Palace will handle it.”
“Good. I expect answers and fair compensation.” Jon didn’t back down the slightest in front of the Court of Solitude.
The tension was clear. Solitude won’t insult Jon Dare and expect it to go away. They have to pay.
Falk looked at Torygg and the latter was still evaluating the situation.
“Don’t take it too far, Jon Dare.”
Sadly, Torygg’s words came too late and the one who spoke was the one who shouldn’t speak, Erikur.
“Too far? You took it too far, why don’t I take it at least as far as you did. You are going down and going down hard, why don’t you simply admit your wrongdoing and maybe you will be granted the benefit of admitting them.” Jon returned the same words Erikur said for him.
“You are pushing your luck.” Erikur was already boiling with anger.
“It is a good luck that one of mine, I can push it all the way to Oblivion and come back alive. Did it a few times if you are curious. Sadly, you are the one who thought that you can kill me by just a few accusations that you couldn’t even build a case on. How disappointing!” Jon turned around to his seat.
“Kill you?” Erikur questioned with a funny face. “Kid, I wasn’t even trying.”
Jon halted his steps. Everyone looked Erikur whose expressions were not good, he was looking at Jon with vicious eyes.
“If I wanted to kill you, I should shame you first, destroy your reputation and make no one mourn your death. Sadly, you managed to trick the court somehow and got away with it. Now, you are just dying. You don’t know it yet but your fate was already set in stone.”
Erikur’s words were not coming from the usual him. The people of the court could tell that the twist in Erikur’s face was common to them but there was always a certain High Elf who comes and stops Erikur from doing something he will regret. Sadly, that High Elf was shouted away by Jon and Erikur has no leash.
Jon’s eyes narrowed and walked back to Erikur.
“Do it, take your best shot. Tell whoever you brought to take it. I will give you the first move.” Jon said with a mocking smile.
Erikur was unfazed.
“I am afraid a brute like you don’t understand how things go around here, we don’t kill you with our knives, we make you walk into your own death… fully aware.”
“Yeah, good luck with that.”
Jon no longer bothered.
Erikur giggled and spoke to Jon.
“You think you are safe. You think your family is safe. Well, you are right. You built Winterhold so no one can hurt your people. Well done! But you are already drowning in your own success, surely you won’t see that one coming.”
“??” Jon didn’t understand what Erikur fully but he was sure that Erikur has done something and it went without him noticing. Still, Jon couldn’t point at anything he missed. His plans were perfect yet Erikur seemed very sure.
“Yes, that’s the face I wanted to see, hahahaha!” Erikur was drunk in a victory only he knew about.
“Erikur. Cut it out!” Falk seemed annoyed.
“What have you done, Erikur?” Torygg asked.
Still, Erikur was looking at Jon not wanting to miss the questioning expressions he captured.
“Speak, slime.” Jon too was at the end of his patience.
“Why don’t you wait? You will know soon enough. We all will.”
“Erikur!” Thane Bryling shouted at Erikur to wake him from his state of madness.
Erikur looked at her with a sneer and looked at Jon again.
“Fine, I will give you a hint. Let’s say… Orsinium doesn’t invite Nords that often.”
None could understand what Erikur meant but Jon’s eyes blinked a few times in realization. Viarmo and Jullanar could guess what Erikur meant and shot up from their seats.
Those who saw Jon’s face already realized that the crisis is unavoidable.
In the next second, hurried footsteps could be heard coming from outside the throne room. It was a palace guard running as fast as he could with a letter.
“A calling from the Reach! A calling from the Reach!” The guard ran in ignoring everyone and gave the letter to Falk.
The Atmosphere was too unstable to withstand another surprise but Jarl Igmund and his aides were are also stood up.
Falk read the letter and has expressions crumbled.
“Your Grace, Jarl Igmund, there is a situation in the Reach. The Clans around Markarth and the Foresworn all started fighting!”
Only a few could guess that the two situations regarding Markarth and Erikur are connected. Erikur himself was taken aback for a second but none could foresee what happened next.
“VIIK MAH THAAR!” (Defeat, Fall, Obey)
Jon shouted the [Tyranny Shout]. All who heard the shout fell on their knees.