A Plan You Won't Like

I was up as soon as the first rays of sunlight began to kiss the clouds in the sky. I had a few of the items I had hunted the night before, found a small stream for my horse to get some water, then it was off as fast as his hoofs could carry us back to the city of Bruma.

The sun was just coming up over the Velothi Mountain range to the east as I rode at full gallop past the Imperial City. I had a number of rather heavy items to sell, but didn't want to linger in this part of the province.

I rode as fast as the curves in the Silver Road would allow us, since there were a number of bandits and trolls along the way.

Once we made it to Bruma, I let my horse rest, went into the city, and sold the items I needed to get rid of. One of the guards made me aware of a house that was for sale in the city. He said the old man that had owned it had long since moved back to Skyrim. Asking the Countess of Bruma, we quickly closed the deal on the house.


I couldn't believe it! I finally had a place of my own. I now also had a very good reason to make sure nothing bad happened to Bruma!

I jumped back on my horse and we continued the trip to Cloud Ruler Temple.

Outside, a number of guards were continuing to practice bashing swords into each other. Several of them waved at me. I tried not to blush as I headed into the central chambers of the temple.


As I entered the central chamber, I could hear Jauffre in a somewhat heated conversation with Martin.

"With all due respect, sire," said Jauffre, "there must be another way. The risk is too great."

"I know the risk." replied Martin, "I was at Kvatch. But there is no other way. We have no choice."

Jauffre looked at the ground, shaking his head. "The Countess will never agree to it."

"She will. She must." countered Martin.

"Very well." replied Jauffre, sounding someone aprehensive. "The Blades are, as always, at your disposal." Jauffre bowed, turning to leave, when he saw me standing there. He knew I had just overheard this rather brisk conversation.


"I see you've returned, and with a prize for Martin, no less." he said with a smile.

"I have the second item he needed." I replied. "I should add that Martin was right: it wasn't easy to get."

Jauffre smiled again. "You've done well, Shakula. The Bruma garrison is much stronger now. We should be able to put up a good fight even against a determined assault."

"They'll think twice before they attack us now." I said, trying to sound positive about the situation.


"Well, you should speak with Martin." replied Jauffre. "He has a plan, but it's, a bit, well, you'd better speak with him about it."

I couldn't help but wonder what was causing Jauffre to be so unsettled. I had never seen him like that before.

But there, just a few feet away from me was the answer to that last question. And he looked as concerned as Jauffre.


"You're back!" he said, smiling. "And you've got the Great Welkynd Stone!"

"I said I would." I replied, handing him the stone. "I woudn't want to miss out on all the action here."

Martin's eyes glowed in wonder as he gazed at the stone. "You did. I can count on you." he replied. He seemed almost mesmerized by the stone in his hand. "I never thought to see a Great Welkynd Stone." he said, finally. "It is as beautiful as all the old tales say...But of course, its beauty is a mask for its deadly power, like everything that was ever crafted by the Ayleids." He finally put the stone on the table, looking back to me. "Now we need only one more item, and we'll be ready to open a portal to Mankar Camoran's realm."

"I'm ready." I replied. "What's the last item we need to get?"


Martin's face became much more serious. "I should have seen it sooner." he continued. "It's the counterpart to the Great Welkynd Stone, just as the first two were the opposed powers of the daedra and the divines. Welkynd stones contain th concentrated power of Mundus; their counterparts are sigil stones, which are used to hold open Oblivion Gates. A Great Sigil Stone, then, is what we require."

"Ok." said, feeling up to the challenge, "Where do I need to go to find one?"

"You're not going to like it." replied Martin. "Jauffre doesn't like it."

I looked back at Jauffre, standing in the background, who just rolled his eyes to the ceiling, looking innocent.

"The countess of Bruma certainly isn't going to like it." Martin continued.

"I'm already not liking the idea that no one likes whatever it is." I said. "What's the catch?"

"Well, Great Sigil Stones are the anchors of Great Gates." explained Martin. "The kind of gate the Mythic Dawn opened at Kvatch. The kind of Gate the Mythic Dawn wants to open here to destroy Bruma."


"Sooooooo, we let them open the gate that we didn't want them to open in the first place?" I asked aprehensively.

"I said you weren't going to like it." he replied. "The risk is great, I know. I was at Kvatch. I saw the terrible power of the daedric siege engine. But we have no choice. The only way to recover the Amulet of Kings is to allow the Mythic Dawn to proceed with their plan to attack Bruma."

"And I just purchased a house in that city." I thought out loud. "At least you'll be safe here."

Martin took on a stern look. "No." he replied. "I'll lead the defense of Bruma myself. If I am to be Emperor, it's time I start acting like one."

I protested. "Martin, if you're killed in battle, there is nothing left to fight over, even if we retrieve the Amulet. I'll lead the battle."

Martin shook his head 'no'. "Remember when we first met in Kvatch? I told you that I didn't want any part of the gods' plan. I still don't know if there is a divine plan. But I've come to realize that it doesn't matter. What matters is that we act. That we do what's right, when confronted with evil. That's what you did at Kvatch. It wasn't the gods that saved us, it was you. Were you acting for the gods? I don't know. But now it's my turn to act."

I could see he had made up his mind. He was finally "in charge."


"As you command." I replied, resigned to the decision.

"Please, my friend." he implored, "I need your judgement, not your obedience. I explain myself to you so you understand me. And so you can explain to the Countess. I'm afraid she may take a bit more conveniencing than you."

"I'll inform the Countess at once." I replied, realizing that he was right. If we needed such a stone, this would be the only way to get it.

"Good." he replied. "Have her meet me in the Chapel of Talos for a council of war. That seems a fitting place to make such desperate plans. The Mythic Dawn will need to open three gates in order to open a Great Gate. We'll need to keep them outside the city walls for as long as possible. Once the Great Gate is open, you'll have a limited amount of time to get in there and grab the Great Sigil Stone."


I kept thinking to myself, "I just purchased a house in Bruma."

How exactly was I going to explain this to the Countess of Bruma? And we had such a nice, friendly conversation just an hour ago, too.

I'd have to make arrangements to move my things from the Mages Guild offices in Chorrol to this location. Of course, if Martin's plan failed, all of my potions could be destroyed. I guess I'd better make sure his plan succeedes.


I stopped and purchased a few enchanted arrows, then headed over to speak with the Countess Narina Carvain.

"Greetings, Hero of Kvatch." she said. "What news from Cloud Ruler Temple?"

I figured I should just be straight with her, explaining the need to retrieve the Great Sigil Stone. And in the process, explained that the last heir to the Imperial Throne was behind the plan.

She thought about what I had told her for a few moments, the full weight of the danger slowly sinking in upon her shoulders. "A desperate plan indeed." she said. "This...Prince? Emperor? Martin would risk my whole city to gain a Great Sigil Stone?"

"We must recover the Amulet, Countess." I replied.


More quiet thought. She looked at her Captain of the Guard, then back to me. "This is the only way to stop this invasion from Oblivion?" she asked. I nodded in agreement. "I must confess," she continued, "you are the first person to speak of victory against these daedra. This war has seemed hopeless to me, but what else was there to do but hold on and wait for a hero to arise and save us? And now it seems there is an heir to the throne after all, hidden at Cloud Ruler Temple...and perhaps a hero as well?"

I couldn't think of a good answer for her. "Martin waits at the Chapel." was all I could respond with. The Countess wasn't pleased with my response.

"You avoid answering my question." she replied. "Very well. Don't think I doubt you. The rulers of Bruma have long had dealings with Clould Ruler Temple. We know whom they serve."

She rose up from her throne. "I will meet Martin at the Chapel. When all is ready, I will order my men to stop closing the Gates and prepare for battle."


I decided to get ready for a big battle. That would mean some slightly different equipment. I found a man in Bruma selling enchanted armor that would increase marksmanship. This would help with the upcoming battle Martin was expecting. I had a few enchanted bows I had both found and purchased that would have silencing effects. I knew some of the creatures coming through the Oblivion Gates had the ability to summon other creatures, and a spell of silence would stop that from becoming too big a problem.

I purchased everything I could get from him.

"Expecting to go on a large-scale hunt soon?" he jokingly asked.

"Absolutely." I replied with a smile.


I took the items back to my newly-purchased home and tried things on. I had to admit, it looked a little odd on me, but then again, once this battle was all over, it would help keep me warm while I was out hunting.

Now I just needed time to get back to Chorrol to get everything we'd need for this battle.


I headed over to the Chapel of Talos to meet with Martin and the Countess. I had to let them know to hold off on things until I was fully prepared for this major battle.

The gods knew I certainly had a reason to protect Bruma now, since this was going to be my new home.






COMING UP: Preparations for Battle

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