Journal of Anya Fire-Heart – Fredas, 5th of Hearthfire, 4th Era, Year 201
‘Tending the Flames’
I awoke yesterday morning having spent a good part of the night thinking about all the angles. As much as I wanted to respects Ulfric’s directive there was one other activity I felt I needed to pursue – The Thalmor. That lead me back to Delphine and the Blades. In some respects this would lead me into pursuing the dragons but it meant going into the wolf’s den – Solitude.
I did confront Farengar yesterday before I left but he denied being part of a contract to rough me up or kill me. I interrogated him for a while but he never cracked other than when I threatened him he offered to assist me in anything. I decided to let it go, for now. Farengar might be better as someone inside Dragonsreach when I need him. I decided to head to Riverwood and meet up with Delphine.
I knew that she was trying to get us into the Thalmor Embassy. What I needed was a good reason to be in Solitude and one that would not draw suspicion.
The voice was Mephala’s and it was the first time she had spoken to me since I had taken up her blade. She was right. If I could simply join the Bard’s College I would not only have a reason to go to Solitude but a reason to visit regularly. I headed to my meeting with Delphine with a new sense of purpose. The only problem was if I was well known to the Empire, they might arrest me. That said, I had not done much in Imperial controlled territory, so the thought that someone could identify me by sight was remote.
Delphine outlined her plan. I was to meet Melborn, a wood elf who had plenty of reason to hate the Thalmor, he would smuggle anything I needed to get in the embassy. I would then meet Delphine at the stables outside the city where should give me the things I needed to get into the Embassy. She trusted Melborn as his family had been killed in a Thalmor purge in Valenwood. I headed back to Whiterun and after gearing myself to travel took the carriage to Solitude.
I arrived mid afternoon yesterday, and I headed into the city. At the first gate leading to the city, the guard warned me to keep my nose clean or I would end up like Roggvir. When I asked who Roggvir was, I was told he had been a gate guard. In particular, he was the gate guard that had let Ulfric Stormcloak out of the city after he killed High King Torygg. They had apparently tried him and he was about to be executed. I witnessed this execution as I entered the main gates and I watched as Roggvir was beheaded. There was no point in trying to save him. He had obviously resigned himself to Sovngarde and there were too many guards. It was the second execution I had seen since coming to Skyrim. I approached the severed head and on the ground where it had rolled was an Amulet of Talos. I picked it up and I have worn it ever since. I headed straightway to the Bard’s College.
I talked to Viarmo who was a high elf and the headmaster. He said he was glad to meet any perspective Bard but that in order for me to join officially I needed to do a task – recover King Olaf’s verse from Dead Man’s Respite. It was part of the Poetic Edda of Skyrim – a very old and lost part of the Edda. They needed it to convince Jarl Elisif of the importance of the festival – The Burning of King Olaf. I agreed to recover it and with that hopefully my reason to come to Solitude and a cover identity to continue to return.
I left Solitude and stopped at the Four Shields Inn in Dragon Bridge where I stayed the night. The next morning I headed out to Dead Man’s Respite which was an ancient ruin. On my way I found the place where i had first met Meeko but I didn’t find him there either. The dog remained missing. I continued along the road and ran into two encounters of note before I got there. Firstly, I ran into three bandits pretending be Imperial soldiers and trying to collect a fine for me being in a restricted area. I told them it hardly seemed fair three Imperials verses one Stormcloak and the battle ended with me standing over their lifeless bodies. Secondly, right before I got to the entrance of Dead Man’s Respite a dragon descended and attacked. It was dark green with a fanned tail. I killed it and took its soul.
The ruin itself was easily accessed and the first thing I noticed was a ghost of a bard (he was playing a lute) and when I was close enough he beckoned me to follow. I opened a gate by picking up a Ruby Dragon Claw. Given I have seen these before I knew it probably opened up another door in a Hall of Stories deeper in. I fought through draugr, skeevers and spiders to finally find the copy of King Olaf’s Verse clutched in the hands of corpse with the ghost of the bard sitting nearby.
We went back (I followed the ghost) and found a door that I had previously had to bypass because it was blocked shut by magic. Once opened, I could see the Hall of Stories inside. I used the claw to open the lock door and inside I found a great chamber. A battle took place between this ghost of the bard, myself and many draugr. It culminated in our battle against the draugr of King Olaf himself. I found another word wall and it is the second word of Whirlwind Sprint but I held back unlocking it with a dragon soul. The first time I have done so. After plundering the treasure room I headed back to Solitude.
I arrived in the early afternoon and after doing some business I headed to the college and presented them the verse. Part of it we ruined beyond repair but I convinced Viarmo to make the missing parts up and then we went to the Blue Palace and Viarmo presented it and convinced Elisif that the Festival should go forward. Oddly enough no one even looked like they knew me or had heard of me. I returned to the college to tell everyone to get ready because the festival was tonight.
I can make this observation about spies in Skyrim. They have two failures – 1) Both sides have lousy counter espionage. I mean everyone seems to be focused on gaining information but no one seems to be focused on stopping the other side from getting it and 2) Information getting to the right people who could use it seems to be a problem for both sides as well.
I participated in the lighting of the King Olaf effigy, was declared a bard and then was accosted by three instructors to find some lost instruments. I took on all the tasks they gave me as it would give me excuse to both work in the areas where these instruments were hidden and to come back to Solitude. After that I spent the rest of the evening drinking Spiced Wine and eating a meat pie. I have taken a room at the Winking Skeever. Tomorrow I will see Melborn and hopefully by the end of the day I will know what the Thalmor know about the dragons.
Next: Diplomatic Immunity