The Imperial Auditor - Chapter Seven

  • In the morning I awoke to the sounds of Hulda and her assistant preparing for the coming day. The ground floor room I had been ushered to the previous night was small but clean, a single bed and chest of drawers filled the room, with a small window and tapestry, depicting Kynareth, hanging beside it.

    Memories of the previous day filled my mind, the journey to Whiterun, Farengar; the confounded mage who was in breach of every rule in the Empire, the skull, whatever it was made of. I feel that Farengar may end up treating me as a rat or skeever in a cage and poking and prodding me until he understands what happened in the Jarl’s hall, but not until I have done his bidding.

    Yes, Farengar’s bidding, to delve into a Nordic ruin, I am not reluctant to admit that were I feeling my best and with sufficient funds, I would not hesitate to leave the city and to continue with my original mission for the Imperial Treasury. However, that was not the case and I was trapped in a situation not of my choosing.

    There was a gentle knock at the door, and it opened slowly to reveal the Redguard assistant carrying a bowl and jug, which she placed on the chest of drawers and then left as quietly as she had entered.

    I rose slowly from the bed, taking care not to put too much pressure on my ankle and so not to cause my head any further discomfort. The water in the jug was close to freezing, and it certainly cleared the cobwebs from my mind as I splashed my face. I finished my ablutions and pulled on the tunic and trousers which Alvor had given me before leaving Riverwood, and made my way to the door and stepped into the inn’s hall.

    “Saadia, how is that water coming along?” called Hulda from behind the bar.

    “Yes, M’m?” replied the Redguard as she came out of the kitchen.

    “The water Saadia?” Hulda gave Saadia a stern look.

    “Almost ready M’m, I’ll take the jugs upstairs shortly,” she replied standing near the firepit, placing her hand just above one of the iron kettles which stood near the edge.

    I had realised the night before that the more affluent guests were granted rooms on the upper floor, only two rooms were located on the ground floor and these were quite obviously the cheap rooms. Under normal circumstances I would have complained, however the lack of stairs was a blessing and necessity until I had funds again.

    “Ah the Imperial, come on over, I’ve just stoked the fire,” called Hulda, waving to me as she placed a tankard on the counter.

    “So, what is an Imperial doing in Skyrim, if he’s not in the legion?” Hulda walked over to the back of the bar area and lifted the lid of a large clay pot in the darkened corner.

    “Officially, I’m conducting a census for the Imperial Treasury,” Hulda turned to look at me with a raised eyebrow, then went back to ladling a white liquid from the pot into a jug. “I was caught in an attack, then asked by the Jarl to complete a task.”

    “Did you upset someone?” I looked on curiously as Hulda poured the thick liquid into the tankard in front of me. “Filmjölk in old nordic, it’s fermented milk, it will give you a good strong start to the day, and you look like you could use one.”

    “Thank you. And no, not that I’m aware of,” I picked up the tankard cautiously, taking a sip before continuing. “I was told it was of utmost importance.”

    “More likely that someone wanted you out of the way, what other reason would they send a paper pusher out to Skyrim with a war on?” Hulda picked up a tankard and began wiping it.

    I considered this for a time, while supping at my ‘filmjölk’.

    “Now, the Jarl’s housecarl said you’d be a staying for a few days, we can provide something to break your fast in the mornings, but the coin will not cover much more,” she continued, picking up another tankard.

    I nodded, and excused myself, saying that I would look into finding work to supplement my meals as soon as possible.

    As I stepped out back out into Whiterun, the early morning breeze caught me unprepared, I would have to purchase suitable clothing when I had funds again, but first I wanted to pay a visit to the temple.

    The day was bright and the market traders were beginning to set out their wares, the guards continuing their constant vigil against any would-be troublemakers. I made my way carefully upwards upon stone steps, as though heading back to the Jarl’s palace, water rushing either side through stone gullies, the original builders must have located a substantial spring nearby to be able to sustain a growing population.

    I neared the second level, the temple of Kynareth to my left, and the strange boat building to my right. In the centre stood a large old tree, surrounded by benches and carved frames supporting vined flowers, similar to morning glory, but white rather than blue. There were various shrubs and plants growing around the base of the tree, which quite honestly looked dead, however it also looked like it would be more difficult to remove than to leave in place.

    I sat for a time under the shade of one of the branches, pondering my situation again and remembering Ladia’s garden, the late blooming flowers here reminding me of her seasonal planting, making sure that she had the most appropriate alchemical ingredients when they would be most needed.

    “Ah, I sense a troubled soul, may I join you?” a woman wearing the robes of a follower of Kynareth had stopped by me and was gesturing towards the bench.

    I confirmed my acceptance, and she sat a short distance away, drawing back her hood slightly so that I could see her face.

    “We tend the Gildergreen here in Whiterun, or we did, until it was struck by lightning last Midyear, it has not flowered since, we believe it may be a sign that Kynareth sense the troubles across Nirn.”

    I shuffled uncomfortably on the bench, I was not a confirmed follower of Kynareth, and had no wish to be torn from my path, following Zenithar.

    “I sense your unease, no I do not wish you leave the side of your chosen Divine, they are all worthy, though some followers are more,” she paused, while behind us a booming voice began speaking of Talos, “shall we say fanatical in their beliefs.”

    I felt even more unease listening to the preacher behind. “How is it possible that the statue still stands, and he openly preaches his beliefs?”

    “This is Skyrim, the Nords do not like to be told who to worship, most here still refer to Kynareth as Kyne, as I said these are troubled times, and we should also attend to your troubles,” she replied, then continuing, “My name is Danica, I am the priestess of Kynareth here in Skyrim.”

    “I am Auguris, an administrator from Cyrodiil,” I began, not really knowing what to say, or where to start, I placed my elbows on my knees, and head in my hands. “Since being sent to Skyrim, everything has gone wrong, I have lost my horse, my possessions.”

    “But, my friend, you have clothes on your back, not rags,” Danica held up her hand, interrupting me.

    “A blacksmith in Riverwood gifted them to me, though I hope to repay him once I am in a position to.”

    “Things may go wrong, but things can also go well, hence you finding the blacksmith, Alvor I believe?” I felt I was being admonished, but politely.

    “Yes, I gave some assistance to his daughter Dorthe in reading,” I replied, my back stiffening.

    “Then your debt is already repaid, an exchange of goods, service or goodwill is worth more to a true Nord than gold, something you Imperials could stand to learn,” Danica moved as if to stand. “Of course, if you stand at a Nord’s side with a sword, axe or mead in your hand, then, you are almost family! Now come inside, and we’ll tend to that injury of yours.”

    I was startled, “How?”

    “My friend, I am a priestess of Kynareth, I can sense these things, however I also sense possibilities, but here is not the place to discuss them.”Danica led me into the temple, which contained a large central chamber, an injured farmer and a townswoman were being tended by two acolytes, but otherwise the temple was empty.

    I was led to a small alcove, where Danica asked me to explain my injury, which I duly did, recounting as much of the events of Helgen as I dared, lest I be considered insane as well as injured. Danica appeared to accept most of my tale, and on occasion sucked in a hissing breath with a shake of the head.

    “Very well, I will ask Acolyte Jenssen to tend to the ankle, however I sense there is more to you than you may be aware, hmm, we will need to look into this,” mused Danica, a far away look in her eyes. “But now, you must prepare for the path that has been laid before you.”

    Acolyte Jenssen was a rather grumpy Nord, though that may have been more due to my being an Imperial than an instant dislike, or at least I hoped so. Jenssen confirmed that I would need to return again to the temple the following day after casting his healing spell.

    As I made my way to the southwest door I paused by the collection box and deposited some of the gold coins that I had left from my work in Riverwood. Danica approached me again, placing a hand upon my arm.

    “I wonder, if you have been blessed more by Mara than by Zenithar. We will speak more on the morrow.”


    TIA: Wax Seal


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6 Comments   |   Karver the Lorc and 3 others like this.
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  June 24, 2018
    I have to agree with Paws. Well not have to... want to. It's the little things which breathe life into a story, the milk, although such a small part of the story adds so much weight to your world. 
    Can't wait for next chapter.
    • Meli
      I have to agree with Paws. Well not have to... want to. It's the little things which breathe life into a story, the milk, although such a small part of the story adds so much weight to your world. 
      Can't wait for next chapter.
        ·  June 24, 2018
      I'm hoping to continue in the same vein, but I think I'm starting to have the same problem as you Sotek. Auguris really has taken over, and everything now moves at his pace lol
  • Paws
    Paws   ·  November 29, 2017
    The fermented milk is a nice touch, small details like that add weight to the setting. I wonder if it tastes as nice as it sounds? 
    • Meli
      The fermented milk is a nice touch, small details like that add weight to the setting. I wonder if it tastes as nice as it sounds? 
        ·  November 29, 2017
      Thanks Phil, we'll get to the fighting at some point soon ;-) but I quite like painting in the details as well. As for the milk I can ask my Swedish colleague as it seems it's still on the menu there...
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  November 19, 2017
    Yes, he's like the little engine that could. I want to see him go there too. :D
  • Karver the Lorc
    Karver the Lorc   ·  November 19, 2017
    Yes! Auguris is back in all his ink and quill glory! And there's more to him than meets the eye. I so need to see him go to Bleak Falls now! :D