Flameguard Background

  • Here are the specs on the character.

    Formatting notes:  Most of the speling erors should be intentional.  The narrator is foreign, and unfamiliar with certain words, or names.  Text in {Braces} is the fourth wall.  Mostly for information outside the story itself, such as Locations when passing between Cells...

    {Windhelm Docks}

    "Ugh!" just the effort of slumping off the pitching ship roiled my stomach.  Mercifully, the sodden boards were stable enough to regain my feet.

    "Still don't have your sea legs, eh Elf?"  The sailor snorted at me.

    "I grew up on fishing boats," I straightened, and raised my chin, "Smaller, and even worse smelling than this." I waved at the still rolling deck, but couldn't look at it for long.  "It's just the Hist Sickness."

    "The what?" He shrugged, and dropped the coil on a peg.

    "The Argonians, they used some sort of poison, or disease on us."  The healers in Blacklight were amazed I survived, when so many older veterans succumbed.  He wandered back to coil another line, so I just hoped my luck would hold out as I made my way toward the city.

    It's so cold here, and the ash is bleached white.  I bent to scoop some from a drift against the wall, then watched it suck the warmth from my hand, and melt into water.  "Ice?"  I would have to get used to more than just the accents around here, or see if I could make my way back to people, and places I can understand.  As soon as I'm healthy, of course.

    "Oh," my heart raced, "Ah," I backed against the door, and clawed at my shield, pressed between me, and it.  They just looked up, stared instead of advancing to surround me, eyes, and teeth, and claws, and scales glinting in the flickers from the candles, and torches, and cookfire.

    "You don't belong here," one hissed, "Pleeze leeve."

    I caught my breath outside, but the sailors had finished stowing the rigging, and were joking about getting some Meade, and wenches, so I followed them.  The Redguard, she was more sympathetic, and listened to my stories between bouts of retching, and the horrible chills.

    {The Grey Quarter}

    Squalor.  The crumbling walls of the docks are exposed to the cold, and wet of the river, but here?  I pulled my robe tight about me, and tried not to think of this bitter wind blowing through the gaps, and cracks in the "Walls."  They seemed more intended to provide a modicrum of privacy than actually shelter someone, keep the warmth in so you wouldn't freeze to death in the bitter night.  I shivered, but the sailors continued on, talking about "Candlehearth Hall."  That sounded warmer, at least, and perhaps I had enough money for a bed.

    "You damned grey-skin," I turned to see if he was talking to me, "Go back to Morrowind!"

    "We are Dunmer," I hissed between my teeth, "And leave her alone."  She was cowering in the corner where he stood to prevent her getting away.  I readied my shield. 

    "You don't belong here, Ash Elf.  None of you do, Skyrim belongs to the Nords!"  My hand warmed even as the anger rose in me, but the discipline of my training overrode it.  "Come on, coward!  You can't beat me without your Magic." He spat, "I fear no Elf, no Lizards.  100 Septims says so."

    "Is that a wager?"  I put them away...

    {Palace of the Kings}

    I tried to relax, instead of straining at my bonds.  I sniffed at the tang of singed hair, and coarse fabric these Nords call clothing.

    "He owes me 100 Coin!"  Rolph, that's what he called him, demanded of a man dressed like a Bear with a battleaxe's haft over his shoulder.

    "Calm down, brother." the Bear man sighed, and patted his shoulder, "What happened, did he just attack you for 'No reason' like the last ones?"

    "I challenged him to a Brawl, but he cheated!  He used magic, just like I bet him he would."

    "Is this true?" the Brother turned to me.  At first, I doubted I would get a fair shake, but this one appears to know his brother better than his family honor.

    "Yes, but."  It wasn't fair, I was too sick to be fighting anyway.  Haral was right, I need to work on my temper, but he was so infuriating!

    "Do you have 100 Septims?" he held up his hand.  I let my head fall, and shook it.  "Then you are in the wrong."

    "Galmar!" a deep powerful Voice echoed through the chamber, "Where in Oblivion Are you?"

    "In here, my Yarl."  He turned to the arch to greet another man as he appeared.  Nice coat, looked warm.  "Just settling another dispute with the Elves."

    The Yarl looked over his shoulder in distaste.  "I see your brother was involved again."

    "The coward cheated!" He literally spat, "And he owes me 100 Coin!"

    "CALM DOWN!" I almost took a step back from the deafening volume.  The Voice of Command, like an Emperor, I could see how it would ring out over the din of a battlefield.  Even Rolph straightened, and relaxed.  {Ulfric is a Nord, not an Imperial, but if any could use that Power, it would be him, or possibly Tullius.}

    "Now," He stepped around to confront him, "I have had enough of your rabble rousing in my city.  Every night, you wander around the Gray Quarter and stir up animosity with the Elves.  They are my guests in My city, and people with the right to live here."  He turned to me, "Go home, Rolph Stone-Fist, and get some rest."  As if he was saying it to me, but the bully wandered off, if not with any humility.  "Now, what should I do with you, Dunmero?  Who are you, and what brings you to my Hold?"

    "Whoomph, 1st Shieldman of the Foyakogo of Balmora."  Okay, that was the lowest rank, but I doubted he knew that.

    "Is that your name?" Galmar scoffed, "I swear he was just clearing his throat."

    My face heated, "It is a noble name, the men of my family have said it with pride back to Lord Whoomph Telvanni of Sadrith Mora!  I..."

    "Foyakogo," He interrupted me, "I have not heard of them."

    I pondered a possible translation, it means Unquenchable Fire, but that would appear to be wishful thinking after our defeat.  "Ah, Flame Guard.  We are, or were an elite cadre.  Defenders of the light of Vvardenfell.  I do not know of any other who survived."

    "What are you doing here?" He repeated, "Galmar, finish the preparations, I will deal with this."

    "At your command, Yarl Ulfric."

    "I have no agenda, only to live as you have said I have the right.  I only just landed this noontime, and was interrupted by this reception."

    "Yes," he sighed, and nodded, "I wish my people were more tolerant, or at least better disciplined.  That's why I rejected Rolph from joining my Stormcloaks, we need good men, and women.  Soldiers to fight For Skyrim, and not against the people who live here, be they Nords, or Mer, nor even the Beast People."  He did tend to go on, wandering out to his Throne Room as he spoke.  "You're not a rabble rouser, are you Whoomph?"  He pronounced it surprisingly well.  "I won't have you causing trouble in the Argonian Assemblage because of this War.  Your War, it has not yet reached the shores of my hold, and I have one of my own to worry about."

    "No Muthsera," after I was sure he was finished, "That won't be a problem."

    "However," he rubbed his chin, "There is the matter of your debt, and insensitive as Rolph is, we have our traditions.  As a foreigner, I don't expect you to understand the Honor of a fight.  We used to Duel, but it was decided that petty squabbles can be settled without killing someone, so those are now reserved for a High Challenge with matters of import.  So, remember no Magic, no Weapons, just Fists.  If you can not keep your Flames in check, I suggest you don't accept any challenges from now on."

    "Yes, Serjo." I held up my bound wrists. 

    He shook his head, "I'm afraid I can't have you wandering my city now.  With the debt, and Rolph's temper, I fear retaliation which tends to escalate until someone does die.  The balance is already tenuous, with your kinsmen between the Argonians at the docks, and some of my subjects who just never learn tolerance.  I have a diplomatic mission I must attend to instead, so for now, I will take you with me."  He held up his hand, "Let him think you were Exiled, it's not a perfect solution, nor even Fair, but will maintain what order we have here until I get back.  At least you will have your Freedom."

    "I understand."


    We stopped by a Shrine to Talos on the way from Windhelm, so Ulfric could pay his respects, and gain His Blessing.  I talked to the men, who did not seem to know how I came to be with them.  Gunjar in particular seemed to be more interested in my homeland than persecuting me because of the grey of my skin, or the points of my ears.

    "I live for battle," he told me, when I admitted to being a soldier of a sort.  He didn't have any War Stories of his own, but he wanted to hear all of mine, so I told him about the Fall of Balmora.

    "We were sent to Balmora from Ald'ruhn by House Redoran to support the Hlaalu.  I'm sorry, House Redoran was our faction, like your Stormcloaks, but connected with the Fighters' Guild in Ald'ruhn.  That is the city of the Redoran, though it is unlike your Windhelm."  I wouldn't even begin to describe the Underskar. 

    "Balmora is on the River Odai, so we assembled on the Bridges to hold them while others held the gates, and the citizens evacuated.  They came from the river, though, like thousands of Slaughterfish, and the surface rippled with the wake of their swimming. 

    I knew there were great numbers of them, but I never imagined."  I shook my head, "There is no way to describe it, have you ever watched a breeze blow across a field of grain? " He nodded, being a farmer, I though it was a good bet.  "It was like that, but instead of Blades of grass, it was their swords, and spears, and horns as they poured out. 

    We hadn't the numbers to surround the city, so we took to the streets, and alleys.  That was our training, to form a mobile Wall with our Shields, and burn in front of us as we advance, or retreat.  But some of them, it seemed they could heal faster than we could wound them.  They poured right through the flames, clawing and snapping at our shields, and pulling them away to get into our ranks.

    The more powerful Sorcerers can not only withstand the fire, but feed off of it to power their magic.  We were the rank, and file, I never attained that rank, so once the line was broken, we opened up to allow the Bladesmen to engage with their Dai Katana.  It is a sword, like his Claymore, the one with the horns on his helmet?  Yes, you use both hands, but the blade is thin, and curved for slashing.  Masters of it can even cut many deeply with a single stroke.

    That was our strategy, though out numbered, my Commander Haral called it "Force Multiplication."  Certain units working together are greater than their number.  Like our Shield Wall, a handfull of us could block a narrow bridge, or alley, and hold it against many more with flames to burn them.  It was sound strategy, and could have worked, but we only formed the Order of the Flame Guard after they were at the shores of Vvardenfel.  It was not even a year before we were over-run, so we had only hundreds against thousands of thousands.

    And, they fought our Flames with Hist.  I do not understand it, I have an uncle in the Telvanni, that is the wizards' House.  He said it comes from a relative of the fungus the Telvanni make their towers from, but the legends say it speaks to them.  They lick it's sap, and become fearless Berserkers, as well as concocting poisons, and potions from it as the Khajiit make Skooma from Moon Sugar.

    Our healers had never seen anything like it, though.  They must have developed it into a poison they say breeds, and spreads more like a disease.  It sapped my strength, so I couldn't raise my shield with one bite.  That's another thing, the Saxhleel are not affected by it the way others are.

    As it spread from the wound, I couldn't Heal, and my Magicka wouldn't recover.  It doesn't seem to spread from victim to victim, but it takes over your whole body, until you have no Strength, or Will, nor Endurance.  The healers say there must be something in my blood that fought it, else I would have died with all the rest.  I nearly did."

    I had not ment to go on so long, but he listened so well, nodding, and smiling, and his mouth hung open for some of it.  "Battle is no great thing, kid.  It is just something we do, when we must."

    We stopped at camps along the way, and to the south it was warmer, with the Ice Ash only visible in the mountains.  I soaked up the warmth, and breathed deeply the sweet vapors of ingneous pools as we approached them.  The others complained, held their noses, and joked about the Brimstone odor.

    I had not realized, to us it is a nutritious ingredient, and flavor we use as much as Salt.  I took some, and kept it to flavor the hard bland tack they brought along.  Ulfric came to me, said I was free to go, and I asked him "Go where?"  The men weren't treating me wrong, and they were at least headed somewhere to do something. 

    "Don't judge us Nords by one man," I do not remember when he said it, "We're a proud people, as are yours, though some may go too far.  I respect all Men, and Mer, but some have taken this war as against the Elves, or the Imperials, that is not my goal. 

    This is Skyrim, our lands, and we have the right to rule it.  The Empire wants to take over, let the Thalmor tell us who is a God, and for that we fight.  It has nothing to do with who they are, it's about who We are. I would fight as hard, and as bravely if they were other Nords at our borders."

    By then, we had marched up the trail, to a small town surrounded by forests, with a river at the base of a mountain.  As the sun set behind it, it loomed over the valley like the great Red Mountain, except with a pointed tip like all the ones around here.  Covered in this "snow" no plume of smoke rose and drifted away to tell us which way the wind was blowing.

    I reflected on that, this was not my land, and I had no sense of direction.  My only purpose since leaving Gnaar Mok had ended, in defeat.  Morrowind was part of Argonia now, and I wept for it.

    {Falkreath Stormcloak Camp}

    Today, we made our way down to this pass, where Forest gave way to Frost, so I offered to carry Gunjar's blanket for him.  I still shivered, and slipped in the patches of ice as we climbed around the base of the Mountain.  Toward Cyrodiil, they didn't share the particulars of the mission with me, as I am not one of them, but at least I knew where we were headed. 

    Amazing how welcome the sight of their fur tents, and campfires were.  I was exhausted by the cold, but a warm night's rest was not to be.  "Ambush!" was the first sign, then Imperial Soldiers burst out all around us.  They came in force, an army to our small band of tens, and me in the middle of it.

    Discipline.  That's what won the day, not Numbers.  The Stormcloaks weren't an Army, as I understand it, but a loose group of Barbarians.  They charged yelling fearsomely, and some of the Imperials Routed, but eventually, they regrouped, and surrounded us.

    But Ulfric.  There was a Force Multiplier.  His voice carried not just Command, but Power.  I'd never seen anything like it, he Shouted like a Thunderclap, and the shield wall broke, some knocked back to their knees, while those who were exposed flew back right off their feet.

    Even that wasn't enough.  I fell back, guarding, and burning anything that got too close.  Trained for overwhelming odds, but only in Ranks, I stood no chance alone, surrounded by bellowing savages against a numerically superior, AND disciplined force.

    It was over before we even knew they were there.  "ENOUGH!"  Ulfric was the first to lay down his axe, "We will not die here this day."  Even though he was clear across the cordon of shields, I could hear him as if he whispered in my ear.

    "True Nords Never back down!" someone yelled.

    "I said ENOUGH!" He waited for the echoes do trail off in the distance.  "ZUN HAAL VIIK!"  Her Warhammer clattered to the ground at her feet.

    The Stormcloaks Surrendered.


    "Disarm them!"  A Captain ordered, then some soldiers came to me.

    "What about this one?"  They held me at sword point, so I kept my shield up.

    "Tye him up with the rest."  They took my shield, and struggled to get the bindings around my Gauntlets.

    "What manner of armor is this?"  She sounded Nordic, and had the pale skin with blond curls hanging beneath the edge of her helmet.  "It's like Steel, but so light!"

    "Bonemold." I relaxed my fingers to let her male comrade slip them off.  She hung my shield on her back.

    "Boots."  He wound strands of leather around my wrists.

    "I am unarmed, would you strip me as well?"  I kicked them off too.

    "You have Robes," he sneered, and pulled off my Helmet.  N'wah Fetchers, the woman tried them on, while he led me to the Cart.  Ulfric was bound, and Gagged, and they had to help me up with nothing but Netch leather wrappings to keep my feet warm.  This was getting tiresome, getting captured, and tied up every other day.

    "You some kind of Mage, Elf?"  The blond Nord asked me when I sat down, "I've never seen robes like yours before."

    "Where I am from," I nodded, "We are called Sorcerers.  We use Spells, and Armor, but I have special training."

    "You got a funny way to fight," he nodded, "But if it works." 

    {Author's Note:  I'm not going to recount all the dialog, and lines we've all heard countless times playing this game.}

    "You weren't with us on the way from Windhelm," I held out my hands.  "I'm Whoomph."

    "Raloph," he touched them, then sat back, "We waited at the camp for Ulfric to arrive, I don't know how they set up that Ambush."

    "I smell Magic," I'd heard of Illusionists powerful enough to cloak an entire army, but thought it was just one of my Uncles' stories.  "Did you see any Altmeri in the attack?"

    "Like the Aldmeri Dominion?" he shook his head, "The Thalmor are supposed to be supporting Tullius' Century by our reports, but I never seen one."

    "Yes, the Aldmeri Dominion refers to the Aldmer, ancestors of all Elves.  Altmeri is plural of Altmer, so we are the Dunmeri, while I am a Dunmero, or Dunmeris."

    He shugged, "Good to know, I guess."  Nice guy, but not real warm in the head.  I won't say all Nords are like that, but it doesn't appear to be uncommon.

    Ulfric scoffed in his gag, at least he appeared to have some education.  I thought it fortunate that nobody realized that with our hands bound out front, we could just untie each other, or pull down the gag over Ulfric's mouth.  That would probably lead to something stupid, like getting us all killed. 

    Looking at it, I wondered at the power of his voice.  I'd never heard of anything like that, even legends of someone shouting like thunder, staggering those before them, or knocking their weapons right from their hands. That could be very useful, if not just a Nord thing.  We all have our innate talents, these men seem no more discomfitted by the cold than I am worried about being burned by the sun.  I had seen for myself the truth behind legends that a Nord's Battlecry could strike fear in the enemy, so perhaps this was just a Master of that.

    "There!"  Just in the gate, I saw a black robed Aldmeress on horseback with an entourage of others. Raloph twisted to look, and I felt my suspicions confirmed.  I know not these Thalmor, the First, and Second Aldmeri Dominions were disbanded centuries ago when the Bosmeri of Valenwood seceded from the Summerset Isles.  There was a War in Cyrodiil, reported to be against another Elven Army, but we weren't involved, and it never made it as far as Morrowind.  I'm better acquinted with history than current events, since the Eruption, and Invasion of our island.

    We came to a stop, and our names were called until they got to me.  Other than the Stormcloaks, and I, there was a thief from Rorikstead who tried to flee, and showed that to be suicidal.  The same Captain ordered me executed with the rest, and I regretted for the first time not taking my freedom in Ivarstead when I had the chance.

    I thought I was Lucky, surviving Balmora, and the Hist Sickness, escaping the devastation that used to be my home, only to come here, and be put to death for not knowing when to run.  The Redhead, I didn't catch his name, but he was brave to the end, mouthing off even as he was pushed over the block.  Then the axe came down. 

    I was not that brave, I held my tongue, and resigned myself to this.  Dead young, far from home after failing to save it, no friends, my family was right on the coast when the Argonian Horde poured onto the shore.  I sighed, and rested my head on the bloodstained wood.  My hands hurt, but I would be damned if I turned away from the end.

    And then, He came.  I'm well read on the legends, so I'm pretty sure I recognize a Dragon when I see one.  The axe fell, but beside me, and the the Headsman staggered to his knee from the force of his landing.  It spoke, again I was nearly deafened by the Voice like a Thunderclap, and fire rained from the sky.  I was so stunned, and grateful that it took me moment to recover my senses, and run.

    For the tower, Ulfric was Unbound, with some of his soldiers, but I climbed higher.  "Legends don't burn down villages."  That's the last I heard from  him for quite some time.  The wall burst open, and the dragon took a breath.  "YOL,.!"

    That can't be good, so I tried to jump on His back, but slid down to a slanted thatched ledge.  I managed to climb up, and around, then jump down fairly safely, and run across the court before He landed in front of me.  I ducked, covering myself with my hands.  "Tor Shuuuuuuuuhl!"

    Ah.  He took off again, and I looked warily over at the smoldering cinder that used to be an Imperial soldier.  My heart thudded in my ears, and my vision contracted to right in front of me, surrounded by a pulsing red border.

    "That," I got to my feet, "Hurt."  A little Nord boy stood there staring at me, mouth hanging open until someone grabbed him, and carried him off...


  • Rüby Psiberzerker
    Rüby Psiberzerker   ·  May 11, 2013
    Glad you liked it, @Shaw.  I hadn't planned on continuing this, but I certainly could if I thought anyone would read it.  This was mostly to shew who the Flameguard was, and where he was coming from.  Even if I do, I doubt there would be much more of Ulfr...  more
  • AS88
    AS88   ·  May 11, 2013
    I'll be following this, and I agree with the others about Ulfric; it's nice to see people's different angles on him.
  • Rüby Psiberzerker
    Rüby Psiberzerker   ·  April 25, 2013
    Ulfric isn't a blind Bigot.  I've never seen him say, or do a single Racist thing.  A lot of people do out of Reverse Causality, "Some nord are Racist>Some Nords are Stormcloaks>Stormcloaks are Racist>Ulfric leads the Stormcloaks>Ulfric is the...  more
  • Grey Fox
    Grey Fox   ·  April 24, 2013
    I always like when people don't paint Ulfric as some kind of blind bigot. Also, I like that you made your own lore without it seeming out of place.