The Imperial Auditor - Chapter One

My wagon contained a rebel, a peasant and a rather rough looking individual who may once have been from noble stock, in addition to his hands being bound he was also gagged. The wagons pulled out of the small courtyard and proceeded along tree lined roads, the morning sun breaking through the treetops to dapple my fellow prisoners and I in its light.

Damned Stormcloaks," muttered the peasant, he was an unpleasant looking sort, "life was easy before you came along."

"Watch your tongue horse thief! Do you not realise that you are in the presence of Ulfric, the true high king?" Interrupted the rebel.

That explained who the rough looking noble was, the second greatest thorn in the Empire's side after the Thalmor. Make no mistake, the people of Cyrodiil were not happy with the uneasy truce the Empire had with the Thalmor, but the Empire is a harsh mistress and the majority know better than to push against the laws too often, that was left to the guilds.

"Empire was nice and lazy, then you showed up, ruined it for everyone," complained the peasant.

"Shut yer traps back there!" Shouted the soldier who was driving our wagon.

The wagon fell silent for a time and I began to think of the implications of being in a wagon with the bound leader of the Stormcloaks. This was a terrible sign, from what I could remember the Emperor wanted Ulfric's head on a stake, if the wagons were making the trip to Cyrodiil I would have awful trouble explaining how I came to be one of the prisoners should I be recognised. If the wagons were remaining in Skyrim, then something even more serious must have happened and I was not long for this world, unless I could convince one of the captains otherwise.

As the wagons turned a corner they began their way along a descending path, I now realised we had been held in the mountains, and a large fort came into view.

"End of the line friends, looks like Helgen," observed the Stormcloak.

It seemed my previous thought had been correct, something else had happened, and this was probably the end unless I could speak with a Cyrodilic captain. There was no time to think of that now as the wagons bumped wildly over stones in the road.

"Where are you from horse thief?" Asked the Stormcloak.

"Wha, what do you mean?" Stuttered the thief. He was becoming panicked, and it was obvious that the day would not end well for him.

"A man's last thoughts should always be of home," stated the Stormcloak.

"Rorikstead. I'm from Rorikstead," mumbled the thief.

"Used to be sweet on a lass from Rorikstead, Merta, I think, she went off with a lad from Karthwasten," the Stormcloak said. Then with more abruptly, "What about you imperial?"

I did not have time to answer him for we had arrived in Helgen, which I now realised was a small fortified town. Small children were hurried indoors by their parents, the Imperial flag flying in the wind above the main gate and fort, onlookers leaning on the balustrade of the inn. The wagons stopped in front of the main tower, the area surrounded by Imperial soldiers.

Each prisoner was unloaded, their name and home city logged, and placed in a row facing the tower. Oh the Empire and her mighty lists! How I love the order, everything in its place, even now I know this is the way it should be.

Our wagon was the last to be unloaded, the thief being first in line.

He bolted instantly, hands still bound and stumbling as he ran. "You won't take me alive!"

"Archers!" Ordered a captain.

The archers drew their bows in the direction of the thief. Three loosened arrows towards him, as they hit, he staggered and fell. A soldier walked over to him and nudged the thief with his boot, he then looked towards the captain and nodded.

I was next to leave the wagon, as I carefully stepped down I was approached by a kindly looking Nord soldier. He looked rather out of place in uniform, his bearing better suited a farmer or a blacksmith.

"What's your name Imperial?" He asked.

"Auguris Cedas," I replied. "I think there has been some mistake, I am here on behalf of the Imperial..."

"He's not on the list, what do we do?" The soldier asked his superior.

"He goes to the block, like the others," stated the captain, a harsh sounding woman.

"But..." I protested, "The Master of the Treasury will learn of this!"

"I'm sorry, we will ensure that your body is returned to Cyrodiil," said the soldier.

"Weye," I muttered, "I'm from Weye, near the Imperial City."

I made my way to the lines of prisoners as directed, of all the times for the Empire's lists to fail, it was now. A general was making a speech to Ulfric, I barely listened, my thoughts going back to my family and the events that led me to Skyrim.


Ladia, my wife, was tolerant of my position at the administrative section in Chorrol, this being the city where she grew up. She would often travel with me in the early years of our marriage to visit her family. Following the arrival of our twins, Ladia travelled less often with me, the children and the home taking up much of her time, very often I was asked to work six days in a week.

Soon after the twins reached seven winters I was transferred to the Imperial Treasury, by then Ladia had begun growing various herbs in our garden to sell, and ensuring that Julitta and Jonus were educated appropriately. I was tasked by the Treasury with identifying areas that were not paying their dues to the local Administration, and then where this in turn was not passed onto the Imperial Treasury. The Treasury were desperately trying to acquire additional funds and resources to support the Empire, the crisis having dragged on for far too long after the Great War. Hence my being sent to Skyrim, to identify where and how the populace was made up, and if any improvements to the administration could be made. Ladia had not welcomed this, complaining that I did not spend enough time with her or the children as it was, I had assured her that the task would not take long, and that she was a wonderful wife and mother, and that I would return soon.



The general who I now realised was General Tullius, a true man of the Empire, was still making his speech to Ulfric, although I believe it was more for the benefit of the observing villagers and Thalmor dignitaries who were present. Tullius mentioned that Ulfric had murdered the High King of Skyrim, this was a serious turn of events, and I could imagine the Emperor's reaction, Skyrim was fortunate that the Imperial Army was not at full strength.

The first rebel prisoner was called forward to the headsman's block, I closed my eyes unable to watch.

The priestess offered up a blessing, I heard the prisoner say “For the love of Talos, shut up and let's get this over with.”

The priestess acquiesced, however my eyes remained closed until I heard the headsman's axe complete its journey.

When I reopened my eyes, a soldier was dragging the rebels body away. I noticed that the temperature had dropped suddenly, and the sky was darkening ominously.

"Next prisoner!" Called the captain with the harsh voice.

The kindly Nord soldier waved me over with a sad face. "I'm sorry."

I nodded and began to make my way to the block as a noise, that I find hard to describe, filled the air. It was almost a roar, but I dismissed this as no animal could make a noise such as this. The sky darkened further.

“What was that?” asked the Nord soldier.

“Nothing, proceed as normal!” shouted the captain.

I reached the headsman and his block, I offered a prayer to Zenithar as the headsman forced me to kneel, placing my head on the block. The stench of blood turning my stomach.

“What in Oblivion was that?" shouted Tullius.

"Dragon!" Shouted another soldier, preposterous I thought, there are no such things, they surely would have been documented, there have been no sightings since the Merethic Era, these Nords are mad.

Something crashed into the tower. An attack? A volcanic eruption? I struggled to identify the source of the commotion. The next moment the area was filled with flames and I passed out.


Prologue~~ Table of Contents ~~ Link to Chapter Two


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