The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Hope

BY : HeroOfStuds
Category: +A through F > Elder Scrolls - Skyrim
Dragon prints: 192
Disclaimer: I do not own The Elder Scrolls, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Prologue

 

It was a rainy day in the Imperial City; despite that, and despite it only being 30 years since the city was sacked in the Great War, the streets were still bustling. Traders, diplomats, adventurers and laborers all were running about to conduct the regular business of the day.

 

My home was in the Market District of the city, where most of the hectic going-ons of the city happen. I sat by the window on the second floor of the building where my family lived and conducted our business as material traders. I’d just finished my magical studies for the day; my father’s side of the family were Bretons with a long line of powerful mages - which, sadly, I was not. I was able to cast the odd firebolt here, a healing spell there, but I wasn’t the magical powerhouse my elder brother was. My mother’s side were the traders: bankers, entrepreneurs, businessmen. Despite that heritage of trading, nobody was particularly successful. We were all a part of the family business, which was relatively small, with the odd family member going to work for other banks here and there. They were the side I more readily identified with. They were fighters; my grandfather, even, fought in the Great War. It was common with that side to get into brawls with our family’s rivals, and they were all physically adept people.

I was staring out the window, thinking about a lovely Bosmer I’d met at the bar just the other night, when my father came into the room, knocking loudly on the door. I hastily stood up at attention. “Ah - dad! Hey. I’m sorry - I just finished my studies. I-”

“We need to talk.” He was a shorter man with a bit of a belly on him, his ginger hair thinning from age. He was generally a reserved man, not prone to showing too many emotions - I could tell by the look on his face, however, that something was the matter. I knew him to be anxious by nature, but this was different from the usual business fears.

“What’s wrong,” I asked with genuine concern.

 

“...Something’s happened. We…” He suddenly exploded into movement, swiftly shutting the door shut behind him and rushing towards me, his panic filled eyes locking onto mine. “Ulrich - you need to leave. At once. I…” The poor man began hyperventilating.

I placed both of my hands on his shoulders, my brows furrowed with worry. “What are you talking about? Tell me what’s happening.”

His eyes began watering, and his hands gripped tightly to my arms. “My boy… I am so sorry. I… you must go north, to Skyrim. Your brother is there.” He pulled an envelope from his tunic and roughly pressed it to my chest. “You mustn’t look at this, but give it to your brother. He will explain everything to you.” His eyes darted out the window and widened, even more panic stricken. “I - come. You must go out through the escape tunnel.”

I turned to look at what had him so spooked - there were about a dozen Imperial guardsmen outside, some holding torches that burned in the rain, all armed to the teeth. “Wh- Why?! Dibella’s tits, father, what is happening?!”

My mother burst into the room as the guards began pounding on the door and shouting for us to open up. Tears were streaming down her face; her ravenblack hair was a mess to match the makeup being diluted by her teas. “Ulrich… Ulrich, I’m so sorry. Come - come with me. We’ll say goodbye at the escape hatch. Your father and I must stay. Or else - “ She was cut off as the guards began attempting to kick down the door.

“Go, now!” My father grabbed the both of us, dragging us with him downstairs. I was utterly bewildered.

“Wait - shouldn’t I take something with me? How am I sup-” My father gave me a look to be silent as he opened up the escape hatch in the back room, covered by an embroidered carpet.

He roughly shoved a pouch of coins into my hands, his breath frantic. “Take this - go, my son. I love you.” He hurried into the front room, where the shop was - and where the guards were trying to break through.

My mother, crying uncontrollably, pulled me into a tight hug. “There’s not time - I’ll be brief. Your… your father made some bad decisions. Decisions that upset his brother - and the emperor. We don’t think we’ll get a fair trial - but if we were to just leave, our supposed guilt would be…” she stifles another sob. “You have to go find Aldric. Give him that letter. It will clear our family of the charges.”

I was still incredibly confused, bewildered. What in Oblivion was happening? “Wait - what the blazes is going on? What char-” I was cut short by the sound of the guards bursting through the door.

“There he is! By order of Emperor Titus Mede II, you and your family are placed under arrest, Jean Panavan. Where is your wife Matilda and your son Ulrich?” 

I could hear them getting closer. My mother gave me a pained look and a nod; my heart ready to burst from guilt, surprise, rage, and sorrow, I gave her a look of understanding before ducking into the escape tunnel. She shut the hatch close after me, and I heard the carpet being rolled back on top as I pushed my way forward into the darkness - and the future.

 

*****

Four weeks later, I was creeping in the cold and the dark along the road in southern skyrim. It was beautiful - but my nerves made it difficult for me to enjoy the scenery. “So… just a bit further and we’ll be clear of any Imperials, right?” I was more than a little hesitant; my new companion seemed more than a little shady.

“Oh - that’s right. The Imperials won’t be around here. They’ve got a few… heh, ‘secret’ camps in the region, but they won’t come this far east,” said Lokir. I’d met him at the tavern in Bruma - I luckily had a few friends there who I asked for help getting smuggled across the border, and they pointed me his way. I wasn’t too sure how to feel about getting help from a thief, but… what option did I have? “Oh, come off it - we’re almost there. Once we get to Windhelm, we’ll be in the clear, trust me. Now - we’re almost to Darkwater Crossing. There’s a little camp there - we’ll rest there for the ni-” He suddenly froze and held up a hand for me to stop.

 

I saw why - an Imperial scout had just popped up out of the bushes ahead. He had his bow drawn, aimed straight at us. Without moving his head, I saw him whisper, as if to somebody else hiding in the bush with him. His light brown, shoulder length brown hair rustled ever so slightly in the chilly night breeze. Time seemed to slow down; his mouth stopped moving, and I heard some whispering back to him. The few seconds it took seemed to drag on for hours until, finally, he gave a small nod and lowered his bow.
 

That’s when all hell broke loose.

Walking further down the road towards us I could see torches being held aloft by soldiers on horseback. Squint in the dark, I could barely make out their uniforms - but I noticed they were distinctly not Imperial. Suddenly, horns sounded out, and dozens of Imperial soldiers rushed from the bushes and treeline, charging towards this incoming caravan of soldiers. In the back of my head I vaguely recalled hearing about the Stormcloaks, the rebels in Skyrim - these must be some of them. I had no time to dwell on that, though; the fighting had just started. I could see one of the Stormcloaks attempt to charge a pair of heavily armored Imperials - he was shot straight off his mount by the archer who had aimed his bow at us. His horse kept surging forward, rushing past the Imperials in a mad dash. My companion Lokir saw this as the opportunity for himself that it was. Without even looking back at me he rushed for the horse. “I’m done with Skyrim! I hope you all burn in Oblivion!” He managed to climb on top of the horse - but, he wasn’t quite fast enough, and it hurtled by, on and up the slope. “Shit!” I saw him begin searching around wildly for some sort of escape. A pair of mounted Imperials emerged from the trees behind us and charged forward. I have no idea what Lokir was thinking - he rushed at them wildly, catching the horsemen off guard, pulled one from his horse, and mounted up. The other horseman was quick to react, however, and used his spear to thwack the thief on the head; the Nord slumped forward and fell off the steed.


I was dumbstruck but what was happening. So dumbstruck, that I was not paying attention when an Imperial officer came up to me from behind, blade drawn, and bashed me with her shield and knocked me to the ground with an ‘oof’. “On the ground, prisoner!” My eyes looked up to meet hers, and I could see a mad fire in her eyes; the overzealous self righteousness that comes to a person who desires power solely to have control over other people. “Looks like your friend there abandoned you - now, watch as the might of the Empire finally puts an end to this ridiculous insurrection!” She had a maniacal smile on her face as she planted her boot on my back, brandishing her blade and waving it at the battle in front of us. The Stormcloaks fought with fire and vigor, but it wasn’t enough; the Imperials were too many. I saw who I assumed to be their leader, a particularly tall and strong looking nord with ornate fur armor, shout for his remaining trips to stand down; there had been at least fifty in his entourage, but they’d been cut down to just under half of that. I saw a pair of Imperials rush towards him and quickly bind his hands and gag his mouth. The Stormcloaks began throwing down their arms.

 

It was over.

 

Panic filled my mind; this was it. The Imperials captured me. If they found out who I was, they’d send me back home - it would all be for nothing. My parents - they’d lose it all. Would we be executed? No. The Emperor wasn’t that cruel - but I don’t what they were said to have done. Should I have looked at that letter?

I cleared my mind, shaking my head with a grunt. No. It wasn’t over. Not yet. Maybe I could get out of it.

The officer with her boot on my back pounded her shield with her sword and let out a gleeful laugh. “We’ve done it! Get the wagons out - we’re on to Helgen. Soldier - mount up. Send word to General Tulius - the operation was a success.” I felt her turn, pulling her weight off my back - and I saw my chance. I shoved myself up with a surprising amount of strength, catching her off guard and sending her sprawling onto her back with a yelp. I saw a horse that one of the Stormcloaks had ridden in on - it was left unattended. Hope filled my heart - I can do this! I sprinted, the fastest I’ve ever run in my life, towards the horse…

 

Right by the brown haired archer who had nearly shot my before, who swung his bow right at my head.

 

I was knocked out cold.

 



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