The Strange Hand of Fate: Chapter One

A story of love and loss during the civil war. The Dragonborn's choice truly affected all citizens of Skyrim. This is one citizen's tale.

Viarnil followed the dirt path slowly, letting every footstep resonate through him. The leftover rain from the night before still clung to the tree branches, dripping on his mourning clothes every so often. He was in Falkreath to visit an old friend. The townspeople scoffed at him as he walked past, occasionally muttering a racial slur at him. It didn’t anger Viarnil, however, though it would’ve had he been a young man again. He continued along the path, stopping at a grave. Viarnil bent over, setting his bouquet of dragon lilies and mountain flowers down. He sat in front of the grave, sighing.

“Oh Ondolemar, my old friend. I trust you’re doing well?” he asked. When he first visited the grave, he felt foolish for talking to an insentient piece of stone. Over time though, he felt as if Ondolemar could hear him. “Things haven’t changed much since you’ve been gone. Solitude is still in disrepair, mostly becasue the merchants have stopped coming due to Ulfric's new tarriffs. The remaining elves have been rioting lately, though. I assume you can imagine that the riots don’t end well.” he chuckled. The riots always left a few elves dead. Since Ulfric’s ascension to the throne of High King, everything had changed. Any and all elves in Solitude were forced to live in a walled off section of the city, much like the Gray Quarter in Windhelm. Crime ran rampant there, as the Nords were allowed to beat and rob the elves whenever they felt like it. Viarnil sighed, thinking of past memories.

He came to Skyrim to study the Dwemer, as he always had a fascination with them. His family was supportive of his choice, hoping that he’d become a great scholar, similar to Calcelmo. Calcelmo was actually to become his mentor, that way Viarnil could help excavate Nchuand-Zel. Viarnil arrived in Solitude by boat, and paid a carriage to take him to Markarth. He smiled as he got off the docks, taking a deep breath of the air. This made him gag, as the air smelt of mammoth dung and stale mead. He hopped onto the carriage and prayed that Markarth smelt better.

It smelt like blood in Markarth, due to the silver mines. This didn’t bother Viarnil too much though, as anything was better than mammoth dung. He held the massive Dwemer doors open for a young Nord woman, who thanked him and drew her sword, shoving it through a young man’s chest. He gasped, yelling, “I die for my people!” and fell to the ground, dead. The woman proceeded to sheathe her sword and continue forth, as if nothing had happened. Viarnil stared in shock as a guard ushered him and the other townspeople away. Viarnil decided to get a drink after that.

It was in the Silver-Blood Inn that he met Ondolemar. He was arguing with a man in leather armor, a small group of elves in armor behind him. It was obvious that he was a Thalmor, due to his robes and the way he held himself with an air of arrogance.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, you filthy elf! Your accusation is baseless hogwash!” The leather clad man yelled, throwing his hands up in frustration. If the other patrons heard this argument, they certainly were ignoring it.

“Why, I should throw you in jail just for saying that! I will catch you Ogmund, for this you have my word. I know you’re a Talos worshipper, and I’ll prove it soon enough.” With this, he scoffed and marched towards the door, stopping when he saw Viarnil. Viarnil hadn’t realized he’d been staring at this man since he’d walked through the door until then. He shook his head and ducked away towards the bar. The entourage of elves left, leaving Viarnil to wallow in his embarrassment. He figured a rumor or two would help to ease his mind.

“Bartender, what’s the news here in Markarth?” he questioned. The bartender, whose name was Kleppr, sat Viarnil’s mug of Firebrand Wine down and proceeded to clean another.

“I heard that the Dragonborn’s in town, apparently on some business relating to the war.” Viarnil’s eyes green eyes widened in surprise.

“The Dragonborn? Was that the woman who slayed the young man in the marketplace?” he asked.

“Indeed it was,” Kleppr said. “Apparently Weylin, the man she killed, was a Forsworn assassin, plotting to kill one of our citizens. It’s a miracle she knew, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, I suppose it is. Do you happen to know which side she favors in the war?” Viarnil replied curiously.

“I believe she favors Ulfric. Why, do you have some reason to want to know this, elf?” Kleppr replied, his eyes narrowing. It was obvious he too favored the rebels. Viarnil mustered a polite smile.

“My only reason is curiosity. Now, I have business to attend to.” he said, rising from the barstool. He kept a quick pace on the way to Understone Keep, for he was worried now. If the rebels had the Dragonborn on their side, they’d surely win the war. This would be awful news for anyone in the Empire who wasn’t a Nord. Who knows what would happen to Viarnil should the Stormcloaks win? They’d most likely toss him out of Markarth! That would destroy any hopes of continuing his research.

Viarnil pulled his papers out of his pocket, walking up the steps to show Jarl Igmund’s steward that he was allowed to stay in Understone Keep. He was walking up the stone steps when he saw the Thalmor man again, walking towards him. He stopped before Viarnil and stared at him. “It’s nice to see another Altmer in this craggy wretch of a city. I saw you briefly in the Inn after I finished chatting with Ogmund. Pleased to meet you.” he said, extending his hand.

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Viarnil opened his eyes, fixating them upon the Ondolemar’s grave. Suddenly Viarnil found it hard to breathe as he realized tears were spilling out of his eyes. He hunched over the grave, breathing shakily as he cried.

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  • I am in LOVE already. I can't wait to read more! 

    • Oh thank you! I'm excited to contine :)

  • I’m quite impressed as well. 

    • Thanks so much! This is my first time sharing my writing on a site like this so I'm quite happy it's well recieved!

  • It isn't every day someone writes fanfiction about an Altmer. You've done a pretty stellar job setting up the plot and the pace, as well as introducing your main character without revealing anything about him other than that he's an Altmer scholar. Yet, at the same time, you've also proposed his personal feelings towards the people of Skyrim while also maintaining that he is above such trifles - very Altmer-esque to feel so superior that the opinions of the beasts mean nothing and are not worth being upset over. However, I think most importantly, you've managed to set the stage for the relationship between Ondolemar and Viarnil. Who were they to each other? We don't know, but we know they must have been close - or, at least, Viarnil felt close to Ondolemar - to be visiting his grave so often that he's grow accustomed to speaking to the tombstone.

    I do have a couple of critiques to make, hope it doesn't offend. Mostly of the spelling and grammatical variety.

    he felt foolish for talking to a non-sentient piece of stone

    Though non-sentient does work, the proper term is insentient. Not really too heinous of an error - not really much of an error at all - but you might consider revising. I find that hyphenated words cause an unintended break in reading, which could potentially interrupt story flow. Entirely up to you if you wish to amend it.

    changed much since you’ve been gone. Solitude is still in disrepair since the war.

    This point isn't so much critique as it is I just personally think it sounds bad. The repetition of the word "since" twice in as many sentences I feel is bit overwhelming. You could amend it in various ways. I'd actually suggest just cutting out "since the war". The war, I think, is obvious that it happened once you read a tad bit more. Alternatively, you could cut it out and say instead ..."Solitude is still in disrepair, and the remaining elves keep rioting"... Tons of other options.

    bother Viarnil to much

    You're missing an "o" in "too"

    here in Markarth?” he questioned. The bartender, whose name was Kleppr, sat Viarnil’s mug of Firebrand Wine down and proceeded to clean another. “I heard that the Dragonborn’s in town, 

    New lines of dialogue from a new character should always be placed in a separate paragraph from other lines of dialogue to avoid confusion. The rest of the paragraph makes it a bit plain that the bartender says this second line, but as its written in the same instance as the preceding line from Viarnil, it's initially difficult to determine who says it. Might want to consider spacing it out.


    Other than that, I haven't much to say other than impressive work. You've done wonderfully setting up what feels like it will be a beautiful story. I do so look forward to the next installment!


    • Thanks so much for pointing those out, I just fixed them :)  I have quite a bit of experience working with the Altmer race, mostly because they are my all-time favorite race (wihch you could probably tell based on my username). I hope you continue to enjoy the rest! i promise I'll revise it more before I publish it lol.

      • Cheers, mate!

        No matter how many times you look through your own work, you will always miss something. It helps to have a fresh set of eyes. As I said before, I highly anticipate further works from you

  • You don’t see a lot of high elf focused stories. Truly a shame given their obvious superiority. 

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