Character Backstory: Elara's Journeys in Skyrim, the land of her father, Chapter 16--Revelations

  • Elara gazed across the weathered but stately main hall. Her eyes registered the gestures of Onmund comforting a distraught Fralia Gray-Mane, but she heard no sound.  Her weary mind kept replaying the events of the past hour.

    The two mages had reached Whiterun, eagerly anticipating a warm meal at the inn.  A gentle breeze suffused Elara with her mother’s presence, a caress and a tender turning.  Elara caught sight of a sobbing Fralia, slumped behind her stall.   Something in the older woman inspired protection, and for a moment she saw her own mother, Maelynne, in each of Fralia’s trembling gestures and disheartened sighs.   She followed Fralia, almost in a trance, to the front door of House Gray-Mane to find out what could be done for to ease the source of her sorrow. Onmund had insisted that she rest, however, and she really had no energy to argue.  She had agreed to sit at the worn wooden table while he talked over the details with Fralia.  In fact, he had just returned from House Battle-Born, and had discovered that Thorald, Fralia’s son, was being held by the Thalmor at Northwatch Keep, northwest of Whiterun.

    Onmund.  He had already risked so much for her in this seemingly impossible search for her father.  She knew that her recent weakness was a burden to them both, but she did not want him to be trapped with her out of some sort of obligation for saving his life.  I did not want anything in return.  She closed her eyes against the encroaching memory of Nchuand-Zel.  Just the fact that he existed was enough for her.  I need him alive, she realized, and he has a better chance of that if he returned to the CollegeIf I can somehow prove to him that my strength is back, maybe he will return to his studies.  The sound of her name pulled her back to the scene in front of her.

      “Elara Rammligr here has had many dealings with the Thalmor.  You are in capable hands.”

     “Rammligr?  The Rammligrs from Solitude?” a deep voice bellowed from the front door of the house.

    Elara slowly turned her head to see Eorlund Gray-Mane stalk across the room to stand next to his wife.  “We do not need to deal with your kind again.”

    “But Eorlund, she has promised to take Avulstein to bring Thorald home,” Fralia pleaded.  Avulstein, her other son, had been watching the proceedings, leaning against a wooden pillar, a grim presence.  Elara had chosen to ignore him, simply for the fact that she was not going to let his silent intimidation affect her. 

    The aged blacksmith crossed his arms over his chest.  “I will not accept the help of a traitor to Skyrim.  I expect you to leave now.” 

    Elara opened her mouth to ask a question, but the cold stare from Eorlund told her that she would get nothing more from him.  The Breton smiled at Fralia, and left, swallowing her anger and agitation.  Her ears reverberated with the sound of her name shouted with hatred.  She would rescue Thorald regardless.   She would do this for Fralia, for her mother, and to release Onmund.  If Eorlund still proved recalcitrant, she would head to Solitude, and hopefully find some answers there.  So close, she sighed, but this minor revelation gave her step a sense of purpose that she thought was long gone.

    “Wait!”  A gruff voice shouted, followed by the steady rhythm of feet pounding on the beaten dirt path in Whiterun.  Avulstein.  “You are the only two who have agreed to help us.  I do not want to leave Thorald to the Thalmor.  Family pride is useless when there is no family left.”  Elara recognized the desperation in his voice, her constant companion since entry into Skyrim.

    “Why does your father hate my name so much?” Elara forced her voice to be quiet, but Onmund could sense the roiling emotions she was containing, and saw the nervous twitch of her fingers at her sides.

    “I will tell you along the way,” Avulstein turned and strode towards the gates of Whiterun.

    Onmund wanted to knock some compassion into the heads of the Gray-Manes, but only he knew the depth of Elara’s anguish, and how these interactions were torturing her.  He gave her shoulder an encouraging squeeze and smiled broadly.

    “Gotta love these Nords, eh?”

    Elara cocked her head to the side and looked up at her companion.  Oddly enough, I do.  She smiled slightly to herself and jogged to catch up with the swiftly moving Gray-Mane.

    She was grateful for Onmund’s solid presence beside her, and the city walls, as she was sorely tempted to toss a few very tiny fire balls at Avulstein’s heels up ahead.



    Outside the walls, Avulstein stopped to face Elara.  “Ask me what you need to know.” 

    The words felt like arrows, but Elara did not flinch.  “What do you know about the Rammligrs?”

    “My father received a commission to make full sets of armor for the two oldest sons of Aron Rammligr, who is your…?”  Avulstein raised his eyebrows to emphasize the question.

    “Grandfather, I assume,” Elara replied tersely.

    “Well, when he picked up the armor, his two sons were waiting outside the city walls with an Imperial contingent, readying for a march to the Imperial City.   This was a few years before the Great War.”  Avulstien’s eyes grew cloudy, caught in memories.

    Elara bowed her head, respectful of the losses Avulstein still clearly remembered.

    Avulstein seemed to read her thoughts and waved his hand dismissively.  “All of Skyrim lost in the Great War.”  He looked at Elara more closely, and continued. 

    “Of course you know how my family feels about the Empire,” Avulstein added.  “My father was furious and has since felt tricked by the Rammligr family.  I have no reason to feel differently,” his cold eyes bore into Elara.  “But I need help.”

    “What about another son, Orin?  Have you heard anything of him?” Elara’s mouth was dry and she willed her voice not to crack.

    “Aaaah, I think he was the third son.  Bard.  He visited Whiterun once in a while, but the last I heard of him, he had left Skyrim.”  And returned the year the Imperial City fell, she thought.

    “That is all I know.  Now it is time to keep your end of the bargain,” Avulstein huffed, gesturing with his arm towards the road that led north.

    Elara pulled a chunk of bread from her satchel and tossed half to Onmund.  No rest for them tonight.   She smiled grimly at Onmund, who looked about ready to burst. 

    “We will find a place to make camp along the way,” she reassured him.  He was so vigilant about her health, and she was grateful to him for that.  This journey felt personal, however, and extra energy from Stendaar knew where seemed to seep into her muscles as she stepped lightly on the road.  With thoughts swirling, she attempted to feign ignorance of the two glaring Nords on either side of her.


  • Vazgen
    Vazgen   ·  June 9, 2013
    Really interesting inclusion of Gray-Manes. I guess old grudges hold pretty long, huh...  Elara's grandfather had 3 grown-up sons and Eorlund was forging armor for them 30 years ago... That makes him pretty old! 
  • Kynareth
    Kynareth   ·  July 12, 2012
    It is so funny that you mention the parts that you did, as I think I rewrote this intro about four times, and honestly, this was the best one.  (Sigh)  I am glad that her character is strong enough to not need so many words to explain her motivation, so t...  more
  • Eviltrain
    Eviltrain   ·  June 30, 2012
    Sometimes I find myself applauding your home run efforts. Really plenty of examples already. But from time to time, I don't feel like you trust your readers enough. (credit to Ricardo about reader trusting)
    In the first two paragraphs, your setting ...  more
  • Kynareth
    Kynareth   ·  February 29, 2012
    Thanks for reading, Guy, and taking the time to comment.  She has changed, and I am glad that is being reflected enough in the story.  Thanks again! 
  • Guy Corbett
    Guy Corbett   ·  February 29, 2012
    I look forward to your posts of Elara. Im really hooked on the story. The biggest thing for me is that I really notice the change in Elara after she saved Onmund it has def seemed to cast a shadow over her. You know how I feel bout your style and just sit...  more
  • Ponty
    Ponty   ·  February 28, 2012
    A beautifully written piece once again! Elara on Onmund really have a thing for old people
    Pretty much just echoing what everyone else said - you make all the minor characters so interesting, really fleshes out the world you're creating, makes it s...  more
  • Kynareth
    Kynareth   ·  February 27, 2012
    Hey Bilal, it is totally understandable to read it that way, and it was a phrase that I toyed around with a bit, but could not find a better way to say how she felt.  And we are all on the lookout for little phrase hints in each other's writing to pick up...  more
  • Kynareth
    Kynareth   ·  February 27, 2012
    Thank you kind gentlemen for reading and commenting...I really appreciate the time you take to make sense of what I am trying to do, and I know how frustrating it is to lose your comments (I am sorry, Bilal!) 
    I actually never meant anything sinist...  more