Dragonborn Chapter 381: Skyrim’s Most Wanted
A/n: HUN KAAL ZOOR! (Hero, Champion, Legend) @Exactingspoon has arrived from the Halls of Shor! All Hail!
Winterhold is one of the most historically rich places no only in Skyrim but also on the continent as a place of war and struggle.
In the Merethic Era, Saarthal was sacked and the Atmorans were killed off by the Snow Elves for Ysgramor to sail back to Atmora and bring his five hundred companions to hunt down all the Snow Elves to extinction.
In the First Era, Winterhold was also home to a great rebellion during the Reman Dynasty when the Nord fought off the Akaviri Dragonguard of the Reman Empire to Sky Haven Temple in the Reach and the rebellion ended with the Sack of Winterhild.
Years followed and many kings rose and fell in the snowy lands of Winterhold yet the hold ever stood proud even after the Great Collapse in the Fourth Era and until the famed Thane of Winterhold, Jon Dare, came along.
The progress seen in Winterhold after year 4E 196 can’t be anything other than revolutionary. An industrial age popped up out of nowhere when one young man arrived at Winterhold with a heavy sack of gold and decided to kick off his business by making the College of Winterhold pay to his Bathhouse.
None was sure how but in the span of two years, things got really exciting and the money flowed like water in Winterhold but so did blood. Winterhold was to break itself free from the clutches of the Pirates and maneuver through political storm prior to a soon expected civil war.
To the common folk and the simple people, Winterhold was stepping in the right direction. It may have had many issues at the beginning but as the immigration was controlled and the business was expanded, work never ended. Faction grew inside the hold like the gangs of the New World but nothing was unexpected, a single Dare Trooper or a Hold Guard in the street was enough to put the dogs in their places.
This was all thanks to Thane Jon Dare, the one who resurrected the dying Winterhold and ruled it with the image of the Benevolent Tyrant.
Funny… Benevolence and Tyranny were qualities that would counter each other especially in Rulers yet Jon has mastered the way of the Benevolent Tyrant to a scary degree, he would go around and pat the heads of orphans but a single glare from him was enough to make the older men shiver. In Winterhold, it was no secret when it comes to how traitors and enemies were handled. The Black Room for a light lesson, the Sea of Ghosts for the annoying bastards.
But now, things are much different.
Jon Dare was not around, he was presumed dead and then rumors spread about him being captured by an evil cult. This was not the end of the rumors. The Dare Dragon Company tried to control that particular rumor from doing damage but it spread like Wildfire, Jon Dare is not Jon Dare but Jonhild Firemane, the long lost cursed child of Clan Firemane, the son of the Bloody Hilda and the King of Ash, Hilda and Jonrad Firemane.
The family was insanely on bad terms with every law court in Skyrim. Jonrad Firemane, wanted by the Thalmor of the Aldmeri Dominion as an ex-Blade and by the Crowns of Hammerfell for Murder as well as many other secret charges with various underground organizations. Hilda Firemane was wanted for Piracy and Murder by Hammerfell, the County of Bruma and the Aldmeri Dominion. Jonhild Firemane was simply wanted for being alive and later, the crime of Necromancy was added to his list.
The small family has gained a new title among the people, they are now called [Skyrim’s Most Wanted].
Indeed, there was a fierce competition between the father, mother and son trio on whose bounty was higher and all conquered the three top spots with 12000 Septim for Hilda, 14000 for Jonrad and 18000 for Jon giving him a bounty higher than that of a mad Giant Horde which was 15000.
Of course, not all courts in Skyrim could hang such a bounty. Eastmarch, the Rift and the Pale were supporting Jon against the Thalmor; the Reach and Haafingar, Hjaalmarch and Whiterun holds didn’t even bother commenting and dropped the charges and the bounty without a second thought; only Falkreath put on the wanted posters for one day then dropped them the next day after Falk Firebeard appearing with a grim face in front of the Jarl’s Longhouse.
Outside Skyrim, the forces associated with the matter showed various responses. In the Empire, a dispute happened in the Imperial Palace itself and the matter was dismissed after a petition of the East Empire Company yet that didn’t stop the wanted posters from being officialised even though no action was to be taken. In Morrowind, the Redoran Government didn’t even acknowledge the crimes. In Summerset Isles, a force consisted of several Thalmor Arch Wizards took a long scale Portal to the Aldmeri Dominion territory in Tenith and are expected to arrive in Skyrim once they recover their Magicka by the next day.
Alina sat behind the CEO’s desk organizing the reports in front of her with a grim face. Her father Sigurd stood beside the window gazing at the town from Jon’s high office while Jonrad was silently closing his eyes while sitting on a chair at the corner.
“So, these are the demands? I expected something as extreme as cut off your heads and present them on plates of silver.” Sigurd said.
“It is not much different than what they demanded 15 years ago.” Jonrad calmly replied.
The two were talking about the list of the demands presented by the messenger that arrived in Winterhold yesterday.
A lot has happened. Ever since Jon’s kidnapping accident, putting off the fire resulted by the rumors was all that the Dare Dragon Company, the Firemanes and the Moonblades were focusing on. The populace in Winterhold was at a climax point of tension and things may turn chaotic any second.
The problem with Winterhold was its fast growth in population. Those people who came from everywhere were not like the loyal locals of Winterhold and a single bad thing may cause them to pack and leave. Now that Jon Dare was officially wanted by the Thalmor for some sort of prophecy and the use of Undead made things way worse. The locals didn’t even bother listening to the rumors but the new immigrants were all tensed up.
Not long after the rumors and Jon’s disappearance, news arrived to Winterhold about a large number of the Hidden Clan of Skyrim as well as some Mercenaries all in cahoots with the Thalmor have formed an Alliance. Ironically, they called it the ‘Dragon Hunt Alliance’, a force consisted of 15’000 men started making camps in the Pale. Jarl Korir tired to make contacts with Jarl Skald but the roads were cut off through the west of Winterhold, the Wayward Pass and groups of Bandits appeared in the south around Fort Kastav keeping the roads unsafe and the Imperial Legion occupied. Of course, everyone knew who are these bandits.
By doing so, Winterhold land roads were all cut by the ‘Dragon Hunt Alliance’, two days later, they sent out a list of demands to Winterhold.
The first was to disband the [Dare Corps] and to hand lay down the weapons. The second was to open the gates of Winterhold and Neo Saarthal then kick out all the population with nothing but what a man can carry. The third was to hand over all the possessions of Jonhild Firemane and that includes all the Elder Scrolls he possessed so far. The fourth was the relevance of Jonhild’s location and the identities of the Mysterious Mage that appeared in the fight against the vampires. The fifth was to cripple the Magicka Center of Jonrad Firemane, Hilda Firemane, Tyr Firemane, Tormund Firemane, Sigurd Moonblade and some other key figures and hand them over to the ‘Dragon Hunt Alliance’. The sixth was the transfer of the [Dare Dragon Company] and all its possessions with the [Dare Fleet] on top of them to the Alliance. The Seventh was the complete uninvolvement of the College of Winterhold and Arch Wizard Nurina Aren.
These were the seven top demands and what followed was not much different. Of course, Alina didn’t put much effort into reading the papers.
“With the ‘Tower of Music’ standing in the middle of Neo Saarthal, I am not even considering that their numbers are 5000 more than ours. I am sure that with the surveillance system Jon installed around the Hold, they won’t even be able to tell our real number.” Alina said.
That was why Sigurd and Jonrad were around her all the time.
The so-called Dragon Hunt Alliance has tried so hard to push as many spies and troublemakers as possible in the walls of Winterhold and Neo Saarthal but the secret surveillance and Facial Recognition enchantments were catching spies like a mosquito trap while Jonrad, Sigurd and Tyr were taking turns to take care of them.
Alina kept the device Jon created under the vault a secret from anyone and connected it to a Light Screen so she can use it from afar.
By all that, the secrets about the ‘Tower of Music’ and the true power of the [Dare Corps] was kept a tight secret. After all, 8000 against 15000 is a fair match when the 8000 are in their forts and defending.
Not only that, in the past few days, Alina was making her own measurements that Jon didn’t come up with. She was planning for a real slaughter.
“Skadi and Father got really busy with that thing you asked them to do.” Jonrad mentioned.
“Well of course, managing ‘that sort’ of refugees will need a special set of skills that only those two happened to have. And by the way, how is Hilda doing?” Alina said.
“She is calm but doesn’t speak a lot. Ever since what happened in the Reach, she isn’t really in the mood to do anything. Well, at least she is taking care of the kids and Jullanar.”
“Good, we need someone as strong as her to stay in Winterhold.”
“Believe me she won’t stay. As soon as this starts, she will take her axe and chop some heads.”
“… Sounds like her… and Jon… and you too, uncle.”
“Ahaha, not true. I burn people, girl.” Jonrad said with a hearty laugh.
“Yes… tell me, uncle. That thing that you call ‘Labour’, how dangerous it is?” Alina asked.
“Sigh! Very dangerous just like any other deal you strike with the Daedra. You should know yourself since your eyes… you know.” He said.
“Yes… I got to admit, I hated what my eyes do but I was embracing them lately.”
“Embracing?” Sigurd frowned and joined the conversation.
“Ehm… on a certain prisoner. I can now control the output of my eye powers.” Alina said.
Sigurd looked at his daughter and nodded slightly. She always kept using her eyes a last resort card but now she had an object of to pour her hate on. He heard that she used her eyes on a certain prisoner on a daily basis.
Hate is a strong force and the most negative of all. Sadly, nothing can heal it other than letting it all out.
“We deviated from the subject.” Sigurd himself pushed the bad thoughts away, “As a man who I consider my rival, I find it weird that you didn’t boast about your Labour in front of me. That’s what are you good at, right? Boasting.”
Jonrad would normally come up with a savage comeback to Sigurd’s provocations but he merely nodded.
“That’s not something I boast with.”
Sigurd raised his brows to Jonrad’s calm reply.
“Can you tell us, uncle?” Alina asked.
“Yeah… you know Tyr and I have a friend who we met in the Great War.”
“Yes, you call him Glemt. The robed man who can cast that insanely powerful magic.” Alina heard the tale.
“Well, he goes by many names as he is a drifter. It is thanks to him and Tyr as well as some other people that a strong Prophecy called the ‘Culling’, orchestrated by the Daedric Prince Boethiah, was stopped during the Great War. I was doing the clean up in the Imperial Palace after that and I got my hands on many clues that involved me with the Daedra… not directly at first.
Later, to what happened in Hammerfell after Jon was born, I went back to Skyrim but Hilda didn’t listen to me and kept going with her rage and piracy. I knew things deteriorated badly so I returned back to High Rock to continue my studies. At year 4E 188, I met a certain Priestess of Boethiah and some of my stupid actions has put me in no position but to act as the Daedra’s hands.
Boethiah is one of the Daedra Princes who loves to see Nations and Organizations rise and fall and my seven tasks, which is the common number of tasks to all Labours, were about pushing some Organization out of power.” Jonrad said as he spaced out remembering what he did.
“Which Organization?” Alina asked.
Jonrad smiled before replying with a grim voice.
“The Dark Brotherhood.”
Alina and her father turned silent.
“I won’t tell much about that tale but this is a tale of no heroes. Only darkness and death wrote it as its characters were people who were more evil than each other. I met Glemt at High Rock at that time and luckily, he assisted me when our goals met. He was hired by a man called Uther to track down the Dark Brotherhood assassin who killed his daughter, my labours were in line all along until the last. We found out that Uther’s daughter was not killed by the assassins but rather, she was the Listener of the Dark Brotherhood… the last Listener, Alisanne Dupre. Uther wanted his daughter dead and so did Boethiah…”
“… I burned the girl to death.”
Silence took over for a while until Jonrad decided to speak again.
“In Labours, there is only the ending that fits the Daedra the most. My Labour ended the core power of the Dark Brotherhood in Cyrodiil as Boethiah wanted. In Jon’s case, who knows what a Daedra like Azura wants!” Jonrad said.
The three turned to the window to look at the gigantic Shrine of Azura that was over there on the mountain not too far from Winterhold.
As they were silent, the door to the room was knocked and Sev the secretary walked in.
“Lady Alina, Lady Aela has arrived and the ‘Hasty Bee’ also arrived. Lady Vittoria Vici and Captain Ongeim are on their way.”
Sev reported and let Aela in.
As Aela walked in and put down the thick hood over her head, she took a look around and saw Jonrad and Sigurd.
“Well-met, uncles.” She greeted them with an awkward face.
Aela was not one of the most active figures around Winterhold so she met Jonrad and Sigurd only two times before. She also mistook Jonrad of Jon once.
The two nodded to her and she walked to Alina.
“Sister, it is good to see you again.” Alina said.
“You too, sister. I came with news.” Aela replied.
“Let’s hear it.”
“The Companions has agreed to your contract and after we considered the power of Winterhold based on what we saw, we going to back Winterhold up.”
“Thank you, Aela. This is really good to hear.”
Alina was delighted to have the Companions support in the upcoming battle. She couldn’t risk hiring mercenaries as Winterhold appeared to be in a dire situation from outside and revealing strategic information about the real power of Winterhold was too risky.
As the girls spoke, some loud noises came from outside as few guards walked in behind Vittoria Vici and Ongeim. Somehow, even Nurina and Wulfur showed up.
“What is the big situation?” Aela asked.
“Something that Jon asked for.” Alina said and received the people coming in the room.
The guards put down a medium sized chest and left the room, Alina closed the door herself and sealed the room with a spell.
“So, girl. Is that it?” Nurina asked Vittoria.
“Yes… this is the item Jon wanted… I can’t believe we actually managed to pull that one off.” Vittoria said with a pale face.
“Relax, no one could even find out that it disappeared and no one even found out that we were in Morrowind.” Ongeim said.
“You had the best of [Team 0] with you after all.” Wulfur remarked.
“Still, I am surprised. One needs a really strong nerve to steal one of Morrowind’s National Treasures.” Jonrad said.
“National Treasure?” Aela was the only one who didn’t know what’s going on.
“Ah! Right, I told you a week ago that Jon wanted a certain item from the city of Blacklight, the capital of Morrowind.” Alina said.
“Yes, you said Captain Ongeim and Miss Vici were on it.” Aela confirmed.
“Well… we had to steal it as negotiations would take weeks.” Vittoria was still pale.
“Open the chest.” Nurina seemed eager to see what’s inside.
Nurina nodded and used the spell that can unlock the ‘Containment Chest’. While holding their breath, the eight people in the room held their breath as they looked inside.
“… A dagger?” Aela raised her brows as she saw the dagger made of a Dwemer metal handle and a blue crystal blade.
“Not just any dagger but officially the most dangerous Dagger in the World.” Alina said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you [Keening].”