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Shaken and Stormcloak May 29, 2012
20th, Last Seed, 4E 201
Dear Mother and Father,
Its quite refreshing leaving Solitude. Living in the capital of Skyrim easily makes us forget the vast landscape and the various people that dot across all nine Holds. True, we are the most fortunate. I cannot bear to think what the people of Riverwood must endure on a daily basis. Simple living with nature coupled with defenseless walls. The people of Solitude can simply toss aside their worries like an afterthought, same goes for the beggars. If I had no septim in my pockets, I'd rather go door to door in my own city. Riften is the last place on Tamriel for the vulnerable.
Oh, but a day doesn't go by where I don't yearn for spiced wine. Do not get me started on the infamous Breton cheese either. No matter how many times I've left Solitude for traveling pleasantries or for a campaign, my taste buds always go back home. Not even the most succulent and smoky venison of Whiterun can top the fine cooks of Solitude.
I'm writing this to you from Ivarstead's Inn. Ivarstead is a nice enough little community but I, no matter my devotion to the Gods, cannot fathom how they live under the shadow of that monastery. Some of the townsfolk tell me they hear all sorts of strange howls above the 7000 steps once in a blue moon. I'm sure they felt the full bellow of the Greybeards when they summoned the Dragonborne. To answer your question, no one here has an idea who it is. Visitors hardly pass through and if they do, they're simple pilgrims like myself. Other than that, the natives here either farm or fish. I believe there's one man who leaves supplies for the Greybeards, like I'm about to do myself.
I never dreamed of climbing that many steps to the Throat of the World. My fear of heights is no secret. Mara knows I detest Markarth for this very reason. However, the past few months of my life--the Thalmor capture and torture, rethinking loyalties and so on...I feel they were a test by the Divines. With every chain that struck across my back, my faith in Talos only increased. The same God who I prayed to behind closed doors, but didn't mind shelving for the sake of the diplomacy. Ironically, this became my undoing. Strangely enough, I thank whoever reported me to them. If it were not for that, I'd continue to live my life as a oblivious soldier, blindly serving the Emperor like everyone else and my grandfathers before me. If it were not for the mouth blabbering fool, I would not have made the long journey to Ivarstead.
I promised myself I'd make it all the way up those seemingly endless steps. Myself, my robes, casting staff and dried fruit. Hopefully, the Greybeards will accept my offering--as small as it is. I hear frost Trolls make their home on the snowy slopes but that will not prevent me from praying along the shrines made of stone going up. I can't believe it took me about 40 years to finally make this journey. You probably think your daughter is insane, and you're right. My feet will be caked in snow, blood and who knows what else, just so I can leave something in the chest outside the monastery.
But, afterwards, I will not do what I told you. Yes, I anticipate visiting the College of Winterhold, and if they accept me, I'll spend my days studying in seclusion. However, the notion of thriving like an educated hermit is not the first thing on the to do list.
As your daughter, even if I'm well beyond of age, a widow and a seasoned soldier, I will have to act on my last string of rebellion. You were both upset when I sought refuge in spell tomes instead of a hunting bow. And now, I must embrace the strange truth in the hushed rumors your customers have been spewing.
I regret not embracing Ulfric Stormcloak when he first entered the gates of Solitude. Instead, I stewed in my library even if there was a commotion outside. I regret lashing out against my brothers, the rebels, who I branded as piss smelling, butter knife wielding idiots. It frightens me knowing that at one point, my palm chugged out fireballs that hit the face of someone's daughter or son. How I enjoyed grabbing a fresh faced warrior by the ear and dragging him to an Imperial camp while he shrieked like a Hagraven seems like a distant memory. They all feel like the hateful thoughts of someone else.
Never in my so-called military career did I wish to call myself a Stormcloak.
At first, I thought I'd have no place among their ranks. Sure, I wear the heavy armor of a warrior but my specialty is the Arcane. Its no secret what the Nords think of magic. I wrongly assumed most of the rebels swilled in dirt infused farms as children, but they all come from various walks in life--a priestess of Talos from Windhelm, a farmer from Whiterun, an aspiring bard from the Reach and so on.
And there are plenty of others like me. A former soldier in the Legion. After Ivarstead, I have no fear in going to Windhelm. No matter the suspicion they have of outsiders, even as a Nord magic wielder, I will proudly endure any trials that will come my way if it means fighting for Skyrim's freedom in the long run.
I pray, should the war ever flood over Solitude's gates, the Gods will keep you both safe. What you said is true, the Stormcloak uprising has divided our kin and this rings even more so for our family. It was not an easy choice to retire my Imperial colors . I spent my days in the temple thinking. Mayhaps, I was just a bitter and battered veteran who detested the Aldmeri Dominion like every other sane civilian of the Empire. Maybe, the feeling of resentment will pass and time will work itself out. The Great War is still new for those who relive those terrible memories.
Or, I could do something about it.
I'm so sorry. I just could not live with myself walled up in Solitude while our kin continue to scream in silence while they're dragged off for worshipping our beloved God. I could not stomach the phony sermons the priests at the Temple of the Divines, do doubt scripted by our Elven overlords the way -they want it-. With their fake smiles, telling visitors Talos is only a man. I could barely look at my comrades while they continue to work as puppets for the Dominion. This is not the Empire I proudly bled for. And it ate me up inside knowing I once sacrificed my life for the same proud citizens. Most of these 'friends' I have are nothing more than familiar strangers.
Please, no matter your thoughts on politics, forgive me. May we meet in Sovngarde if I cannot see you again.
Your loving daughter,
-Former Imperial Legion Battlemage.
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