Dragonborn Chapter 364: Preparation for Battle
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*8 Days before the Battle of Winterhold*
Alina sitting on Jon’s central chair on the conference table looked at the figures present around her and felt a lot of pressure from their presences. If it was only the senior executives and the department heads then it is manageable but there were more.
On her right was her father Sigurd Moonblade and on her left was Tormund Firemane. The Moonblades were all behind her father and the Firemanes were behind their Patriarch. At the end of the table, there were the people from the company represented by Wulfur and finally Jarl Korir. There was also Nurina, Jullanar, Aela and the rest.
“I thank you all for coming today. This is an emergency meeting that I am sure all of you have already heard what is it about.” Alina said and the people around her nodded.
She notified all those key figures this morning that she got a message from Jon and there is a big update on the situation.
“Regarding the matter concerning Jon, he somehow found a way to send us a message last night. It says a lot of things regarding his situation.”
“Tell us already, girl.” Tormund urged her to hasten.
“He is captured by a clan of vampires called the Volkihar Clan because of the Prophecy and they want him to assist them finding two Elder Scrolls.”
“We already know that.” Sigurd said.
“It is impossible for them to find anything. Jon said the time has not come for the scrolls to appear in the world.” Nurina said.
“Those bastards! They want to keep him until the time comes! Those…” Skadi was infuriated.
“…” Alina was silent for a while then spoke up again, “Last night… they found one.”
The room turned utterly silent. If a needle fell on the floor, its sound will be heard vividly because of how silent everything is. Even the Space itself froze around them and they all felt a chill through their bones.
“… Gods!” Jarl Korir became drenched in cold sweat. “Vampires and an Elder Scroll. What is this world falling to?”
Everyone else had the same question in their minds and the answer was ‘Disaster’!
An Elder Scroll, everyone in the world knows what those are, no secret when it comes to the Elder Scrolls… or the right way to put it is there is no knowledge when it comes to the Elder Scrolls.
Each one of those mysterious things means something as they are artifacts of unknown origin and quantity, being simultaneously archives of historic, past and future events. They often tell of events that require a Hero to resolve them, although the Scrolls themselves do not select such individuals.
The Elder Scrolls exist out of space and time which means they are not bound by any laws. They can come and disappear depending on the situation and none can comprehend anything through them without proper methods. The thing about them was said that they “exceed both Aedra and Daedra” which means that neither group of the et’Ada created them.
The appearance of an individual related to an Elder Scroll may be normal as it will mean that a Hero will rise to vanquish evil in the future even though it was never predicted easily before.
Still, Jon was an anomaly among the anomalies. Not one, not two, but three. The size of such an event that may happen in the future and the power of that child will surely cause a massive change to the undercurrents throughout the continent and many forces do not want any of that.
Now as one Elder Scroll was found, it was a clear alarm that the Time of Chaos has arrived.
As the people around woke up from their daze, they looked at Alina seeking salvation in her words.
“Jon has returned with the vampires to their castle and intends to escape within the 8 days. He seems to be under the effect of a thing called a ‘Domain’ and can’t leave freely. He made it very clear that no one comes to save him by any means at all. This was not a request but an order.” Alina said those words and the room broke in an uproar.
“What does he mean not save him? What should we do then? Wait for the rest of the scrolls to be in the hands of the Vampires? Impossible!” Sigurd shouted.
“This is outrageous. He can’t order us.” Tormund was infuriated too.
“Our hands are tied, if we don’t go after him then what are we supposed to do?” Jarl Korir said.
Alina waited for the men to calm down then spoke once again.
That was her answer.
Everyone looked at her and tilted their heads.
“What do you possibly mean by that?” Wulfur asked.
“An enemy is coming to Winterhold in the span of 8 days. Something too strong for the hold to defend against.”
Her words made sense and no sense at the same time. Of course an enemy was anticipated but none of those old clans of Skyrim would dare come openly and fight against a town let alone a Hold. This means that the whole kingdom of Skyrim if not the Empire will retaliate.
But here is the thing, the Empire is now acting low-key and trying to cut connections with Winterhold just like how they did with Jonrad and Hilda 18 years ago.
Both Jonrad and Hilda were present at the back silently listening with rage. They anticipated this but it seems to be more to it.
“According to our intel gathering partners in Solitude, Castle Duar has issued an order to not interfere with us and the Thalmor are holding meetings with the clans.” Alina said.
“Outrageous! They can’t come openly and wage war in Skyrim.” Tormund slammed the table.
“They can… under one condition.” Someone spoke.
Everyone looked towards the direction of Jarl Korir who seemed to have figured out something.
“… Many years ago… when the Blood Horkers were… you know. They attacked the town when it was weak and neither the Empire nor the Kingdom retaliated to them. Do you know why?”
All looked at him waiting for an answer.
“There was no banner, there was no time. The hour they came was the hour they left. What they did was overwhelming Winterhold so fast that none had the time to pick up arms. Afterward, none could pin the crime on them, no one had any evidence. If they want to attack us then they should do at that way or the world itself will be after them.”
Jarl Korir was right.
An attack that sweeps over Winterhold City and Neo Sarthal Fort like nothing means to use an absolute brute force. The meaning of this was an imminent disaster approaching.
With Korir’s explanation and Alina news about the Elder Scroll. This was pretty much a disaster.
“How… how did Jon find out?” Wulfur asked.
Alina smiled bitterly. She was about to drop another bomb to answer that question.
“The Daedric Prince Azura.”
Those who felt their heads go numb from the two previous pieces of information were slapped so hard that they jumped out of their chairs.
“Azura?” Nurina was frozen the moment she heard the word.
“The Old Gods? Why are the Daedra involved in this?” Njord asked Alina.
Alina smiled bitterly and looked at the Light Screen at her hand that contained Jon’s message.
“There is that thing called the ‘Labour’. A series of trials set by the Daedra for Mortals to atone or serve a certain purpose.” Alina said.
The room became silent.
“It is the sport of the Daedra.” Nurina said. “Something they do to pass time with or achieve a certain goal.”
Her voice was shaking as she said so. The word Daedra was the reason Jon had to hide many things from Nurina as she didn’t cope with the word ‘Daedra’ well.
“I labored once.” Jonrad said.
Everyone turned to look at him.
“What are you talking about?” Even Hilda who was all silent asked.
“After we separated, I made a deal with the Daedric Prince Boethiah to save my own hide. Came across my friend Glemet in High Rock and followed him around for a Labour regarding the Dark Brotherhood. Nothing I wish to remember.”
The history with the Daedra in the family seemed to be deeper than what anyone could think of.
“What about Jon? Which Daedra is he Labouring for and how many Labours has he fulfilled?” Jonrad asked.
“Jon is Labouring for Azura, he fulfilled three Labours, the first was to save a Labourer and his friend Jon Battle-Born from Sheogorath, the second was to save Wulfur from the Forsworn and the third seemed to have involved Molag Bal was to massacre the Forsworn to remove a certain curse they put on him. It was clearly the reason why he had to do… you know… that torture.”
Alina was referring to the Blood Eagle ritual that Jon performed.
The names of Azura, Sheogorath and Molag Bal were enough to call it a day for all the people around.
Nurina held her head and started growling.
“It is all coming over again, right? It is coming after me again.” She seemed to be distressed.
“Fear not about Jon for he is capable of dealing with things none of you are.” A soothing voice echoed in the room.
It was Jullanar who was seated on her chair and seemed to be recovering slowly. She continued.
“Vaermina and her realm didn’t stop him from fishing us from Oblivion, Hircine could not turn him into a creature of the hunt and Hermaeus Mora couldn’t swallow him through his books. If it is Azura then nothing to worry about shall come.”
All looked at Jullanar with a dubious look.
Ever since she started recovering, her mind was not normally with her. She would sleep and dream a lot about roses and cities that never existed in this world. None could understand what is going with her but she was actually very healthy.
In that mystic state of hers, she would say words and foresee things outside the perception of normal people.
Being a little appeased, gazes turned back to Alina again.
“This was all regarding Jon. We will have to come up with countermeasures for a bitter defensive battle.” She said.
“What are your thoughts?” Her father asked her knowing his daughters knack for battles.
“Winterhold is a tough Hold and our position is advantageous. From the North, none can face the Dare Fleet anymore. From the South, Ulfric won’t let anyone pass let alone the Imperial Fort and the long way under the mountain is a suicide for an army to march on as we can rain them with rocks all along the mountain range. From the East, we have an exposed wasteland that they can never use for battle. This leaves the west as the only battlefield available in Winterhold and the place where Neo Saarthal was positioned to protect, this is where they will swarm from. We expect Voice Masters and Thalmor Mages rather than siege engines, the numbers of the enemy are a bit out of our estimations but we can guess that they will be more 10’000 if they want to take us in a full swoop. The company has its forces which are publicly estimated as 1000 trooper and both the Firemanes and the Moonblades are expected to be 2000 at most, the Hold Guards are around 2000 but we can only muster 1000. This makes the total 4000.”
Alina’s initial estimation was bleak.
Everyone knows that the Dare Dragon Company is hoarding soldiers and Alina hid the number which reaches 5000 Trooper. The true estimation should be 8000 against 10’000. The odds seemed fair but that was not completely true. A lot of hidden beasts were in the Clans and the Thalmor will sure send a force with the power to rival all the masters of the Firemanes, the Moonblades and the Dare Dragon Company.
It was a hot mess for sure.
“This means…” Tormund looked at Sigurd.
“No! We are not…” Sigurd jumped up.
“Father.” Alina inturrpted Sigurd. “You have to.”
What they were talking about was the Moonblades abandoning their Fort which was a mountain on the west of Winterhold. If they got besieged in their ansectral home then a disaster will strike the great clan.
“Alina! This is our anscestors’ home. Your mother…” Sigurd said.
“Father, I am sure the Daed can’t be honored if we do not keep living. Staying home is a sucide. You should retreat with all the clan to Saarthal. Our sacred grounds is Mount Anthor so this means we can defend where mother and the rest are burried, right?”
Sigurd seemed depressed but Alina was right. The dead can’t be remembered if no living was left.
Alina sighed and stood.
“Jon has a plan.” Alina spoke and turned her Light Screen.
There was a 3D image of a city that seemed like Neo Saarthal but it was fully built.
“This is Neo Saarthal. The Fort is complete and two layers of walls are fully built but that would still wouldn’t be much. The true power of Neo Saarthal is this thing.”
Alina pointed at a tower in the center of the city.
“A Tower, Jon wanted to build something like that?” Wulfur asked.
“According to the things Jon said, this might be our hope for victory. He called it the [Tower of Music].”