| |

Azeriah of Skyrim

It has been many turns of the season since I sat at the bar.  I removed my gloves and put them on the counter.  The innkeeper Corpulus Vinius of the Winking Skeever wiped down the counter with a rag.  Upon removing my masked helmet, he smiled.

“Thane Azeriah returned home. What can I get you this evening?  Is it still Aldo wine?” he said.

I merely nodded as I moved my gauntlet and helm to my pack.

“Very well then.  First glass is on the house for the Lady Thane.”  He pulled the cork on a new bottle, poured a glass and placed it in front of me.


“Where is the boy you used to travel with?  Onmund was it?” he asked while polishing a mug.

“My husband now,” I responded, surprised and impressed with his memory.

“No kidding?  You should have been married here.  We would have thrown you the grandest wedding party Solitude has ever seen!”

“I’m sure you would have, but grand weddings aren’t my thing.”

“And I didn’t want to attract too much attention,” I thought.  “Not yet, anyway.”

After earning my laughable ‘degree’ at the Bard’s College (what was all the fuss about Pantea’s Flute?), I made my way to the Winterhold College.  After the dismal disappointment of the Bard’s College, I was suitably pleased with the facilities and the learning I received.


It was there where I met Onmund.  He was my friend and traveling companion as I learned of my true power as Dragonborn.




We married at the Temple of Mara in Riften.


I defeated an ancient enemy and became archmage of the College of Winterhold.



I rose to political power to become Thane of Solitude, obtaining the largest estate in the capital city.


I traveled to the far corners of Skyrim taking in its breathtaking beauty.



I was no longer the timid girl who came to Skyrim with childish dreams of being a student at the College of Winterhold.  I was no longer the runaway Thalmor girl.

I forged my own destiny the way I wanted it to be.  I was Archmage of the College of Winterhold.  I was Thane of Whiterun, Markarth, Windhelm and Solitude.

I alone held the power of dragons in my breath.  Dragons kneeled before me as they died.  I devoured their souls.

I returned to Solitude for one thing left I had to do.

Destroy the Thalmor Embassy.  Skyrim belonged to me.

Published in: Story Blog on March 25, 2014 at9:08 pm Comments (0)


We awoke in the Imperial camp to heavy snowfall. Warming ourselves as much as we could by the camp fires while heating breakfast and tea, Lydia and I agreed to head for Dawnstar.  It was not far enough to warrant delaying because of the weather.


I pulled my robes as close to my body as I could to retain warmth, but it didn’t seem enough.  With my hands and feet going numb, I wondered if we made a mistake.

Around midday, the snow stopped and the sun came out, though it provided little warmth.

Lydia squinted at one of the breaking clouds.  She put a hand on my arm to halt our walking.  “Wait.  Did you see that?”

I put a hand over my eyes to shield it from the sun and looked where she pointed.  I could only see a gray mass of swirling clouds.

I could hear it before I saw it.  A roar.  A dragon’s roar.

Lydia jumped back and withdrew her bow.  I prepared firebolts in my hands.  Rubbing the small token of Akatosh under my neck, I whispered a silent prayer.

It came from the clouds and dove straight for us.  A Frost Dragon, just our luck.  We were already freezing cold, and it was spraying us with frozen shards.  This was insult to injury.

Lydia fired arrows and I hurled firebolts at it.

“Lydia…lead it towards Dawnstar!  It’s just down the hill!  The guards will help us!”

She didn’t acknowledge my order, but I saw her maneuver that way.

The guards ran to our aid, and a short while later I stood victorious over its arrow ridden and smoldering body.  I closed my eyes as I felt the surge of its soul meld with mine.  The warmth of its lifeforce flooded me.


The residents of Dawnstar rushed to view the dragon…and me.


“You…are dragonborn?”  Some said this with a twinge of awe and reverence.  Others said it with a twinge of disdain.  I am Altmer of the Dominion, not a Nordic hero of their stories.  Surely Akatosh did not mean for me to be the dragonborn of legend when one of them was certainly more worthy.  No one dared say this, but I could feel it in the way they looked at me.

I wondered this myself.  Why me?  The Thalmor caused a civil war in Skyrim with the outlaw of Talos worship.  Talos, the man-god of the Nords.  I am the daughter of Thalmor politicians who held a hand in causing this situation, and yet I wield the power of their greatest Northern legends.  Did Akatosh mean to be ironic?  My mind pushed away thoughts of redemption.  My brother was certainly more worthy than I for such a burden.

Sensing my discomfort at the staring residents, Lydia scattered the crowds and led me towards the inn so we could get a hot meal and warm up.  I seated myself in the darkest corner, and gave Lydia our treasures to sell to the smith next door.  I ordered a bottle of Aldo wine and bread; I did not have money for a finer vintage.  I pulled a map from my knapsack and plotted our next course.  We still had Pantea’s flute to retrieve for the Bard’s college.

I nibbled at my bread and pondered why it seemed so difficult to stay on task.

I smiled to myself.

The answer was simple: I enjoyed the adventure.

Published in: Story Blog on March 19, 2014 at10:12 pm Comments (0)

Anariel’s Teachings

My brother and I were different than most high elves in more than a few ways.  Our parents were diplomats and agents of the Thalmor, and were often away on assignment.  They did not have an active role in our youth.  We only saw them for brief periods, which didn’t leave us much time to bond.  We never felt very close to either of them.  As children, we longed for their attention, as children separated from their parents do.  However, once they returned to our lives, we felt smothered.

We were raised in Cyrodiil by a wood elf.  We were instilled with most of Anariel’s values.  Instead of superiority and domination, we were taught peace and harmony.  She was a priestess of Akatosh, but we never really knew much about her past.  Everyone around us was always shrouded in mystery and secret, it seemed.

How Anariel came to be the caretaker of two Thalmor children was…odd.  A wood elf being a priestess of Akatosh was unusual enough – most wood elves revered Kyne.  Wood elves had no loyalties to the Thalmor after the massacre at Valenwood.  There was no love between my parents and her.  The few meetings we witnessed between them was short and business-like.  We got the feeling there was some sort of deal.  It was not unsual for high elves to have Bosmer servants, but the type of position Anariel held was not typical.  From what I know about my parents, Anariel must have held a very powerful card.

Our parents were stationed in the Imperial City shortly after the signing of the White-Gold Concordat, and that was where we were born.  Anariel somehow became part of my parents’ household, and managed their children and their estate in their absence.  Given the Thalmor’s doctrine of Aldmer superiority, it was a rather odd assignment to be handed to a Bosmer.

She didn’t care much for politics, and Cyrodiil is full of politics.  She kept us insulated from most of it, especially when the new Arcane University insisted that we should enroll.  The old university was destroyed and dismantled during the war. I don’t know how the Arcane University used to be, but it is currently more about political maneuvering than it is about the study of magic.  My father was not yet a full ambassador at the time, but he was moving up the ranks quickly.  The new Archmage was trying to get his bets in early by offering to teach my brother and I.

Anariel tried to teach us magic, but as a wood elf, we quickly outpaced her.  What she did excel at was showing us was a more zen like approach to magic rather than domination.  Great power must be tempered with great restraint.  Powerful magic can change the direction of the winds, so be purposeful in deciding which way to make it blow.  We must find our balance with nature, power, and magic.

Obviously these were teachings completely the opposite of the Thalmor.  My brother and I didn’t know that for most of our lives.  Because of our parents position, everyone treated us with a certain type of deference.  Because of Anariel’s shielding, we didn’t understand the world we lived in.

My brother and I spent most of our time in study, introspect, and philosophical debate.  Not so different than our high elven relatives, except we also developed a type of empathy to go along with it. It was here that I developed my love of botany and plants. What Anariel lacked in innate magic ability, she made up for with a vast knowledge of plants and how to make potions. Dragon’s Tongue were my favorite flowers, but we had to travel near Bravil to collect them.

Our favorite stories as children were about the Champion of Cyrodiil, Martin Septim, and the Knights of the Nine.  Since we lived in Cyrodiil, we were well acquainted with the legend.  The Champion was a high elven mage, from whom I was named.  In addition to closing the Oblivion gates, and assisting Martin Septim defeat Mehrunes Dagon, she also restored the Priory of the Nine.

However, shortly thereafter she disappeared.  No one knows where she went, if or where she died.  That was well over 200 years ago.  Since she was a high elf, it was not entirely inconceivable she was still alive, though unlikely.  Anariel said she heard stories among her kind that the Champion desired a quiet life, and settled anonymously in Valenwood.  That was most likely romanticism by the wood elves, we thought.  On the off hand it was true, she may well have been killed along with the wood elves during the ‘purge’ that the Thalmor claimed never happened.

Unfortunately, the empire and the world she and Martin tried to save slowly fell apart.  The order of the Knights included.  Without her, they faded into forgotten legend once again.

Anariel told us that Azeriah, the Champion of Cyrodiil, was of pure heart, for she could not have reestablished the Priory otherwise.  The relics of the Nine were known to reject those of tainted souls.  She used her magic to save Tamriel, but to be successful, she had to be very powerful.  Thus, being powerful and being good are not mutually exclusive.

There is enough evil in the world to become very powerful opposing it, she said.

And thus she set our moral compass.  It would become the definition of who we were.

Published in: Story Blog on February 6, 2012 at3:08 pm Comments (0)

Frostflow Lighthouse

I dreamt my brother and I were playing in the courtyard under the statue of Akatosh in Cyrodiil.  Except we weren’t children, we were adults.  We were playing tag, and I was running away from him.  He caught me, and grabbed my arm.  But something was wrong.  He was uncharacteristically rough, and his hands felt ice cold.  Can you feel cold in dreams?

He twisted my arm and shoved me to the ground.  I was stunned.  My brother had never hurt me in my life.  The only time he physically attacked anyone was defending me against an unwelcome suitor.

I turn around and was shocked to see my brother dressed in Thalmor robes.  In his hands he held the Skull of Corruption.  His eyes glowed a demonic red.  His normally handsome face was twisted into a sadistic version of himself.

When he spoke, it was Vaermina’s voice.  The same as the one who urged me to kill Erandur.

“My artifact would have made you powerful.  You turn away my gift?  You take away something important to me.  I shall take something important away from you!”

My brother/Vaermina swing the Skull of Corruption to strike me.  I blocked it with a ward spell.

I didn’t understand it.  I knew I was dreaming, but it felt real.  I felt the burning on my arm where my ‘brother’ twisted, and I felt the shock wave from deflecting the staff’s blow.

Continue Reading…

Published in: Story Blog on February 5, 2012 at2:28 pm Comments (0)


When I returned to the Inn, Lydia was having her midday lunch.  My encounter with Sheogorath lasted most of the morning, it seemed.  I ordered a roast beef and a glass of wine, and joined her at our table.


Continue Reading…

Published in: Story Blog on February 3, 2012 at10:40 pm Comments (0)


The following morning, I got up early and dressed.  I told Lydia I was going for a walk, and to wait for me at the inn until I got back.

It was a beautiful morning, and I wanted some time alone to think about our next steps.  I headed towards the Blue Palace, where I planned to work on enchanting items for the journey.

On the way, I ran into a strange man who claimed he lost his master.  He said to inquire at the palace about entering the Pelagius wing to find him.  There was something unsettling and weird about the man.  I decided to investigate, if nothing else than to make sure he wasn’t up to something foul.

Continue Reading…

Published in: Story Blog on January 31, 2012 at9:28 am Comments (0)

A Message in a Memory

Martin Septim sacrificed himself to become the avatar of Akatosh during the Oblivion crisis.  When he defeated Mehrunes Dagon, he became immortalized as the stone dragon statue of Akatosh that resides in Imperial City today.

My brother and I used to play in the courtyard when we were little.  We would pretend I was the The Champion of Cyrodiil and he was Martin Septim.  Sometimes we were Knights of the Nine on pilgrimage.  Together, we would defeat imaginary daedra and save the world.

Our Wood Elf caretaker, Anariel, looked after us while our parents were away on dignitary duties.  A priestess of Akatosh, I remember her smiling upon us approvingly with our play under the shadow of the stone dragon.  She often told us that we were blessed and favored by Akatosh himself.

We never gave this much credence, and chalked it up to religious fanaticism.  But now I was revealed as dragonborn, I spent more time trying to recall what she said to us when we were little.  Perhaps she was somehow trying to tell us something.

Continue Reading…

Published in: Story Blog on January 26, 2012 at4:49 pm Comments (0)

King Olaf’s Verse

We set off for my first task in the Bard’s College – retrieving King Olaf’s Verse in order to reinstate a Festival.  Colleges in Skyrim seemed to be ‘learn by doing’ rather than studying books with exams.  I approved of the practical approach.  If you died in the task, then you were unsuitable for the job.

Trial by fire, perhaps cruel, but such is life in a world with dragons and frost trolls.  Even music students had to get their hands in the dank depths of dungeons.  Band camp wasn’t exactly a picnic to be scoffed at here.

On the way out, I took a moment to admire the view of Solitude.  Awe inspiring and beautiful on the magnificent arch carved by the sea.  Certainly this was why the Bard’s College was here, to be a muse to the students.


Very picturesque, but perhaps a natural disaster waiting to happen.  Didn’t Winterhold experience an earthquake that shattered the city?

Continue Reading…

Published in: Story Blog on January 13, 2012 at12:21 pm Comments (0)

Wolf Skull Cave

Considering for a moment that my ‘dream’ I conversed with my brother was true, I panicked.  It was plausible my mother may indeed be looking for me.  If nothing else to verify events and fact check.  She always was incredibly thorough.  Lying to her was pointless.  She’d find out, eventually, one way or another.

When I came here, I didn’t initially intend on being entirely anonymous.  However, my ‘death’ turned out to be an event I came to think of as a blessing.  Now I was faced with the possibility that my family was indeed looking for me.

I cursed myself.  I did not cover my tracks well.  It was too late to disappear.  I would eventually be discovered.  My arrival at Helgen was recorded.  They would find my tracks leading to Riverrun, Whiterun, and Solitude.

I hatched a new plan.

I must become powerful.

If I could establish enough titles, land, and prestige within Skyrim, then my family would not be able to extract me as a runaway child.  I would have my own estates, and therefore, a sovereign resident of Skyrim.

I already held title of Thane in Whiterun, and the Housecarl Lydia.  I needed more.

Counting out my 83 septims, I sighed hopelessly.  How was I going to gain estates?

An impossible task, but I didn’t have a better plan.  It was this, or marry the Supreme Commander Justicar’s son, Verin.

Verin.  The one responsible for the scar on my brother’s knuckle.  My brother was not one for violence.  His preferred weapon was his charm.  He talked his way out of trouble.  But Verin’s advances on me were unwelcome.  The one and only time my brother ever took a physical swing at anyone…

Mother was arranging for me to wed him…

I was not going back.

Continue Reading…

Published in: Story Blog on January 11, 2012 at7:00 am Comments (0)


My twin brother Alinius.  For most of our lives, the only family we had were each other.  Our parents were away on Thalmor business.  We were mostly raised by our Bosmer caretaker, Anariel.  She was more mother to us than our own mother.

We did not have sibling rivalry.  Perhaps it was our twin bond.  We felt we were male and female halves of the same spirit.  We were constantly trying to best each other, but not in a jealous or malicious way.  We strove to make each other better.

My name as pronounced by the Altmer dialect was az-ur-I-ah.  The Cyrodiilians pronounced it, ah-ZAER-ee-ah.  The Nords seemed to pronounce it ah-ZEER-ee-ah.  My brother called me “Zeri”.  I called him “Alin”.

Handsome, intelligent, and popular, Alin’s one fault seemed to be his vanity.  He rather lavished the attention and fawning of his many admirers.  The way they’d giggle and blush as he walked by made my eyes roll and stifle a gag.  He actively encouraged this, which would be proceeded by me lecturing him on courtly behavior.  He’d probably kissed half the girls in the Imperial City.  They didn’t even have to be pretty.  We moved to Alinor (Summerset Isles) before he could finish the other half.

I dreamed of his folded hands at his desk.  Long and slender fingers.  A male mirror of my own.  Nails neatly cleaned and groomed.  Privileged hands that had never seen a day of hard labor.  Perfectly chiseled, almost like a sculptors marble.  Flawless, except one scar that ran across his left knuckle that was caused by…

Wait.  Something was odd.  I wasn’t dreaming of his hands.  I was looking at his hands.  Incredible.  I wiggled his scarred finger.

Continue Reading…

Published in: Story Blog on January 8, 2012 at4:41 pm Comments (0)