Elara's Song, Chapter 15

  • “Still others like Fifd of New Teed, say that beneath the Pelinal’s star-armor was a chest that gaped open to show no heart, only a red rage shaped diamond-fashion, singing like a mindless dragon, and that this was proof that he was a myth-echo, and that where he trod were shapes of the first urging.”

    The Song of Pelinal, Volume 6

    “Arch Mage, the Jarl will see you now,” Falk Firebeard smiled warmly at Elara and ushered her into the throne room.  The court, assembled with the usual nobility, scraping and ingratiating, carefully watched the Arch Mage approach the throne.

    Elisif the Fair greeted Elara and motioned for her to sit down next to her on the dais.  Aware of straining ears though the activities of the court continued as normal, Elisif commanded, “Please leave the room.  I wish to speak with the Arch Mage in private.”

    “But Jarl Elisif,” Bolgeir Bearclaw, her housecarl, protested.

    The young ruler raised a single finely arched eyebrow.   “I feel perfectly safe with my guest, and I seriously doubt you could do much to stop her if she wished to do me harm.”  Her eyes sparkled mischievously and added, “Which I know she does not.”

    The court reluctantly left, wishing they could learn more about this new force in Skyrim, the Arch Mage with the mastery of the Thu’um who was rumored to be the Dragonborn of lore and prophecy.  What they would not give for a private audience with the Jarl!  Falk Firebeard was the only one who did not seem bothered by it, and winked at Elara, who stifled a smile as he shooed the last straggler down the stairs.

    “It seems you have an admirer,” Elisif smiled.

    “Females in general have an admirer in Falk Firebeard,” Elara replied, and the young ruler giggled delightedly.

    “Honesty...ah, we shall get along very well then.”  She folded her hands in her lap.  “First we discuss your business, and then I have a personal matter to bring to your attention.”  Elara inclined her head, a faint smile on her lips, hopefully disguising the confusion she felt at what Elisif referred to as a personal matter.

    “I have reviewed your request to establish a school in Haafingar Hold.  You plans are quite thorough, and the College is very generous with its resources.  Are all of your mages ready for this?”

    Elara reflected on the motley assortment of mages waiting for her back at the College.  She remembered the various debates they had, explaining the advantages and challenges of such an investment of time and bodies, and she calmly listened to the complaints and concerns, addressing them logically.  If she could not appeal to reason then she appealed to their sense of pride and self-worth, which was often prodigious.  Enthir was her only reservation, and he would remain at the College until he proved himself.

    “As you read in the proposal, instructors are comprised of laypeople with a rotating mage as advisor and guest lecturer.  They will still have time to complete their research at the College, and be enriched by their time away.  They are not magic schools, but we are offering our knowledge and experience in all matters to enhance the education of Skyrim’s people,” the Arch Mage replied.

    Elisif brushed a wisp of hair off her fair face.   “As Thane of Solitude, you have performed innumerable services for me and the people of this city and hold.  Reports of amazing healings reach my ears, all from new potions and salves shared at your most recent Symposium.  Yet what do you want in return?”

    Elara took a deep breath.  “We hoard riches at the College with all of our knowledge.  It does not weaken our position to share it, as our only position in Skyrim is that of bogeyman and scapegoat.  Knowledge is useless if it simply gathers dust.  But if knowledge is shared, then people may be able to find or reach their full potential.”

    The young Jarl tapped her smooth fingers on the arms of her throne.  “You give others the opportunity to be more than themselves—alchemists, your mages, the people of Skyrim.”  The ruler stood up and paced back and forth on the dais with velvet shod footsteps.

    “Perhaps you would lend your considerable talents to General Tullius and the Imperial Legion?”  Elisif questioned, giving Elara a sideways glance.

    “Is that a condition for the acceptance of my proposal?”

    “Would you do it if it were?”  Elisif shot back quickly, hoping to ruffle the petite Breton, and prove something else.

    “The College wishes to maintain neutrality, only serving the best interest of the people of Skyrim.”

    “Tullius and Ulfric would say the same—that they protect people’s rights and freedoms,” the Jarl retorted.

    “I do not seek power,” Elara replied patiently.

    “Yet you are Arch Mage and Dragonborn, not to mention thane of Solitude, Whiterun, and Markarth.”

    “I never sought them out,” Elara spoke softly; hoping simplicity would reflect her sincerity.  “I am beginning to wonder,” she added after a moment’s pause, “if you would not be ideally suited to teaching rhetoric?”

    “Do you really think so?” Elisif clapped her hands in delight, momentarily displaying her youthfulness.  “As Jarl, you understand, I need to be sure of a few things,” Elisif regained her calm demeanor.

    “As Jarl, it is very wise,” Elara agreed and Elisif felt an unreasonable amount of pleasure in the praise from the pale woman past the flush of youth.  Maybe a woman can rule in this land.

    “Now, onto a personal matter.  Are you a relation of Haakon Rammligr?”  Elisif’s eyes were bright.  “They are a noble family, and Tullius informs me that Haakon fought brilliantly and bravely in the Great War, and served as part of the Legion forces that escaped the Imperial City before it was captured.”

    “I have two uncles that fought in the Great War, but I never met them, as I grew up in High Rock.  My father died before he could acquaint me with them.”

    “I should let you know that he is paying court to me, through letters and gifts.  I can see your surprise, which is also what I wished to test.”  Elisif searched Elara’s face, satisfied with what she saw.  “You have my permission for the school.”  Elara bowed her head in a formal gesture of gratitude.  “More importantly, you have my full support.”

    Outside the Blue Palace, Elara took a deep breath, relieved to have survived another round of questioning.  The report of her uncle concerned her, just as Bothela’s report of him had awakened her suspicion.  Her father spoke rarely of his family, but she knew that she would have grown up with her father on their farm in High Rock if it was not for her grandfather’s scheming.  A plaintive wailing disrupted her thoughts. 

    “Please take pity on me!  My master has abandoned me!  He is in the Blue Palace!  I cannot fetch him!  I cannot go there looking like this!”  The Bosmer beggar pulled on his grimy tunic for emphasis.  Elara sighed at the interruption, as she was looking forward to a night at the Winking Skeever, and hoped to find Octieve to tell him that she was Orin’s daughter. The task was simple enough so she turned to head back to the Palace.

    “Wait!”  The beggar pulled out a package wrapped in cloth dirtier than his tunic.  “Give this to him too.”  Elara nodded and walked quickly to the palace, wondering if her father ran along these cobbled walks as a youth and unaware that the beggar behind her suddenly disappeared.


  • Guy Corbett
    Guy Corbett   ·  October 28, 2013
    Noooooo I thought I had more chapters to read I can't be left there. I want to know what happens aarrggghh I thought you had written all of it and I was just catching up. When is the next part ready? lol 
    AKKIE   ·  October 4, 2013
    You certainly know how to keep a guy waiting Kynareth..... haha not that i want to rush you though!!
  • Kynareth
    Kynareth   ·  September 10, 2013
    @Matt--fortunately Elara does not know it is a hip bone (my creative license from quest dialogue) or I would probably have her do the same.  She is stretched pretty thin right now and has her mind on other things.  It is perhaps fitting that she is about ...  more
  • Vazgen
    Vazgen   ·  September 10, 2013
    Yet another great chapter Kyn! You do very good job of presenting College activities other than the questline, how Elara wants to bring them into the world from their seclusion. Also meeting with Sheogorath is quite promising... 
  • Matt Feeney the New Guy
    Matt Feeney the New Guy   ·  September 10, 2013
    If only Elara knew she was about to have a meeting with someone higher up than the Jarl of Solitude, assuming she takes that hip bone to the Wing and not just throw it in the alley (like I would probably do).