A Stormcrown Story: The Beginning
By Lord Dacus Sourelius
Third Copy, 3E 39
Volume I: Leaving Starfall
Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a king named Tharlon of Alcaire, who ruled his kingdom with sovereign hand. Outside his borders, times were unstable, and the petty wars of the different powers around the continent ravaged forth in a time they called the Interregnum. Endless battles were fought, hundreds of good soldiers died redundant deaths for their incapable kings and queens who wanted to wear the Red Dragon Crown of the Imperial City, the jewel at the center of Tamriel
For a time, there was a peace when the warlord named Attrebus managed to claim the throne and drove out the Akaviri races. Yet his attempt to hold the title of emperor was in vain, for he had not the blood of the Dragon running through his veins. So eventually his bloodline ended when his descendants and successors were killed by the last followers of Ada'Soom Dir-Kamal, the King Among Demons, and so the Ruby Throne was empty yet again, and the war continued to destroy the lands as if it had never stopped.
King Tharlon of Alcaire cared little for who would sit upon the throne. But his nephew, the High King of Wayrest, did. And thus, the king had no choice but to build an army at his nephew's behest. As the days went by, countless of good-willing countrymen, sons of noblemen and veterans of previous wars, had united under the banner of the Alcaire, and the overshadowing one of the United High Rock Army.
One day, the king was invited by his most trusted general to hold an inspection at the academy on an island at the most southern end of his kingdom. He departed from the harbor of Koeglin Village and arrived on the Isle of Starfall in the evening of the same day. At the coast, he was welcomed and cheered by his loyal subjects who had gathered here to see their beloved monarch.
However, not everyone was so eager to bow before his presence, for there was an assassin hiding amidst the crowd. An agent from the alien lands of Morrowind, sent to end the life of the middle-aged king. As the latter had walked past the mass that was being hold back by his guards, the Dark Elf had found an opening and drew his dagger. From a blind spot, he jumped in between the soldiers and made it to the back of the king with the dagger held in the air. The guards were too late to act. All they were left to do was to warn the king with their yells, while the assassin was ready to strike.
King Tharlon turned around and saw how the dagger came towards him. He was helpless, when right on the last moment the attacker was tackled by a stranger. The crowd held their breath and turned silent. What just happened? Is the king still alive? Draws the stranger still breath? From the ground the stranger arose, unharmed, to the applauding of the people. While the guards were quick to grab the failure of an assassin who was biting dust, the king shook the hands of his savior, and spoke the words: "Thank you stranger. May I know your name?
The man introduced himself as Yurick, a Nord the people here in the village knew as their friendly but stern neighbor. But next to his name, there wasn't much the big man was willing to tell, for he was in a hurry. The king was taken by surprise as he saw the man stumble away after this heroic deed. "Don't you want a reward, perhaps?" he asked, but all the Nord responded with, was: "Sorry, no time. A thousand apologies, sir!" before he disappeared behind the wooden walls of one of the village's houses.
"Push, Juville! Push!" Yurick heard a woman's voice saying by the time he entered a small hut, which movement was followed by the screams and wailing of another woman. The latter was his wife, lying with her legs widespread in the middle of the room.
"I'm sorry I'm late, but here is the medicine you need," Yurick said to the midwife helping Juville. She snatched it from his hands in one quick movement and blended it in an already prepared mug. She gave it to poor Juville, whose head was as red as a tomato and her belly as big as a watermelon. "You can do it! Come on! Keep pushing!" the woman continued, but Yurick's Breton wife shook her head. She cried and after a few more minutes, it was followed by a scream so loud, the whole village could have heard her. Then she was quiet, and another cry was now audible, this time not derived from Juville.
"It's a boy!" the midwife yelled and for the first in a long run, Juville was able to smile again. Yurick too, and he walked over the other side of the room to grab the hand of a small boy hiding partly behind the door frame. "Don't be scared, my little Agnorith," he said to the two-year-old, "Come take a look. You have a brother!"
But the boy still refused. As Yurick asked himself why, he noticed Agnorith's scared look wasn't focused on the mother, but on the entrance behind her. There stood an impressive man in shining armor and his guards behind him: "So that's why you were in such a hurry," the man smiled as he looked down from Yurick to the boy, "You have my congratulations.
"My king!" the midwife gasped and quickly made a bow, but king Tharlon gestured her to stand up: "Tell me, is the boy healthy? And the mother too?"
"Yes, they both appear to be in good health."
"Excellent. It seems the gods have blessed you already, Yurick was it," the king said to the Nord.
"T-Thank you m-my king," Yorick stuttered, not knowing how to respond, "I am honored his majesty has come to witness the birthday of my second son."
"Please, it is the least I could do to the one who saved my life," he smiled and walked further into the room. Yurick quickly tried to run for the chalice to pour some mead for his liege, but he waved him off. He stayed for a little while longer, and asked Yurick how he was quicker to respond than his guards, to which his answer sounded: "I was making haste to bring the medicine to my pregnant wife and I wasn't looking where I was going. By accident I bumped into the man that turned out to be an assassin.
The king looked at him with a surprised glance, then he burst out laughing: "The gods have a good sense for humor then! Still, I want to let this 'accident of you saving my life' not left unrewarded. On this day, I promise that I will look after this child as if it were my own son. Whatever he needs, I shall grant it to him. And when he comes of age, he shall serve me and the sons after me. By the grace of the gods, so shall it be!"
"My king! You honor me-" Yurick felt to one knee and bowed his head, but the ever-gracious king shook his head: "The honor is all mine. Well then, there rests only one question left to ask."
"Ask and I shall answer."
"What is the name of the child?" king Tharlon required and Yurick took his time to look to his wife. She was too tired to speak, but with a simple smile, he knew what name he had to choose: "Hjalti, my king," the Nord answered proudly, "His name is Hjalti."
And so it was on Sundas the 24th of Mid Year in CE 828 that Hjalti was born, the son of a mere peasant with the promise to rise out of his stature and to grow up as a prince. And the king held his vow. After he finished his visit at the Academy south of the village, and after he had returned to his home in Alcaire Castle, a well-dressed courier showed up to the humble residence of Yurick and his family to deliver all kinds of needs and luxuries to the little boy. And the next week the same happened. And the week after, and then thereafter and so on.
Alas, the promise of the widwife did not stand, however. Whereas the boy grew up to be a healthy young boy as she said, the mother died of complications a few weeks after giving birth. It happened very suddenly and a few days later a letter arrived from king Tharlon with his regret he couldn't help her. Yurick however, was quick to end his own grieve, and focused on the youngest son solely. His fixation to Hjalti's destiny was so great, it made Agnorith jealous.
And it was not only his father who would almost seem to forget he existed, but the whole village as well. With the gifts from the king, which Yurick could spend in the village, its prosperity flourished, and the young Hjalti was hailed as the hero of Starfall. At the same time Agnorith was seen as the annoying one who couldn't grant his younger brother the fame he deserved. A rivalry between him and Hjalti was born.
"Hall-tit!" the black-haired boy was called out by the low teenage voice of his brother. Hjalti was practicing his archery skills at the moment and the whizzing of an arrow shooting through the air followed, and it ended with a soft whack when the projectile hit the straw target. Hjalti frowned his dark but thin eyebrows above his blue eyes: "You know father will whip you if he hears you call me that," he said without turning his head, his eyes still focused on the target while he drew another arrow.
"Are you a snitch then who can't come up for himself? If it bothers you, why not come take me on yourself? Let the old man out of it," the brother challenged him. Agnorith's facial features made him look unmistakably the brother of Hjalti, only he had dark brown hair and a much more prominent jawline. He was only two years older than Hjalti, but he was much bigger, most to the Nordic blood from his father. One that Hjalti seemed to lack. He was more like the mother, or so the neighbors told him as Hjalti had never known her himself.
In spite of his strict training from the moment he could walk and talk, Hjalti knew he couldn't take on his brother in a fair fight. That was of course mostly because of the difference in height and muscles, but next to that, Agnorith was no stranger to martial arts as well. After all, he was still in competition with his brother. So, if Hjalti got training, he made sure he found someone to train him too. The only difference was that the servants of the king had arranged Hjalti to have a private instructor in the Acadamy next to the money for the carriage riding him to the place, whereas Agnorith had to train with an old veteran from the Cyrodiil Wars, who was the only willing to train the brother.
From the village, it was a three-hours walk to the Academy, and if he could, Agnorith was willing to walk that every day, just to become better and to stay ahead of Hjalti. But father never let him. Agnorith had to do almost all the housekeeping, so the young adolescent was too busy -for what Yurick would call: "All that nonsense. Your brother is the one blessed by the gods, so don't waste your time by trying to imitate him.
For now, Agnorith had to obey his father, but the man was getting old. So the boy was just biding his time. And in the meantime, he could take pride that he was at least stronger than this so called protégé of a brother.
"What?" Hjalti answered curtly, and put down his bow, "You're not here to just torment me. So, out with it, before I use you as target practice."
"A little aggressive, are we, Hall-tit?" Agnorith teased as he leaned against a wooden pole near the open space. Around them were the buildings of the village and behind Agnorith was the sound of the waves clashing against the rocks. The place was formerly a lawn for a small herd of sheep beloning to one of the villagers, but Yorick had used the king's money to turn the place into his son's personal training yard.
"There are some men wanting to see you," Agnorith continued, "Soldiers from Alcaire Castle." Hjalti's eyes widened and with mixed feelings, he said: "You don't mean…?"
"Yup, you're leaving, and I will finally be free from you," Agnorith smiled. And he was right. When Hjalti returned home, there were no words needed to make the message clear to him. Of course, one soldier still did explain it all, and just in case, his words were followed by Hjalti's proud father.
The thirteen-year-old child always knew this day was coming, but now that it was finally here, he didn't know how to respond to it. He was going to live inside a palace now, full of splendors and luxuries. But he had to leave all this behind. His father, his friends... Agnorith had always said that there, Hjalti would be no one special, a mere servant among many others.
What if he was right? Or what if he wasn't ready yet? What if he was a failure and the king would send him back? Then Hjalti would bring shame upon himself and his father! However, there was no going back now. As Yurick handed him his stuff he had packed, and after the villagers gathered to wave him goodbye, a soldier put his hand on the boy's shoulder to guide him towards the harbor with the words: "Come, your new life awaits you."
This is the first volume (chapter) of a story with 20 volumes in total that depicts the life of Tiber Septim, and the first book of the Stormcrown Trilogy. It's supposed to be like an in-game book of the Elder Scrolls universe, hence why it says it's written by "Lord Dacus Sourelius".
I'll publish a chapter every week.
I thank you for reading the first volume and I hope you have enjoyed it!
All rights belong to Bethesda