These pages are extracts from the diary of Adrian Caro, a nomadic Imperial who recently crossed the border into the harsh but beautiful province of Skyrim.
It has been a while since my last post in this journal, a journal started in
the case of my demise for, perhaps, another to read. Much has happened since
then, least of all my arrival in Skyrim, most extraordinarily of all my
narrow brush with death. I suppose I should start from the beginning. It was
about a week before the resumption of this diary that I found myself in a
merchants caravan bound for Skyrim. Embarking from my country was not an
easy decision, the green hills of Cyrodil, seat of the Empire, have long been
my home. But I had little choice, the reasons for which I shall not go
into right now and besides, I had wandered that land long enough.
We were just approaching the border into Skyrim when a clamour erupted from the
head of the caravan. We were heavily outnumbered by our unknown assailants
and the guards fell almost instantly. I, along with a few other survivors,
were tied up and bundled into a carriage. Next I knew I was trundling down the
road in what seemed to be a prison convoy, led by none other than Imperial
troops. I tried desperately to communicate to them that I had committed no
wrongdoing, but their ears were deaf to my pleas.
Exhausted I sat back, resigned to my fate. A searing pain in my head,
doubtless caused by my imprisoners, making it difficult to focus. As I did so
the prisoner across from me, a Nord of a disheveled but tough appearance,
began to speak. From him I learned that he too was ambushed by the Imperial
Legion as were we all. I also learned that the prisoner sat next to me,
by the name of “Ulfric Stormcloak”, was the “true high king” or so spake the
former. My heart sank, there had been an error, a most heinous error.
I had heard rumours of civil war in Skyrim, but did not expect for one moment
to be trussed up and sent for execution on arrival. Not by the Legion!
I would have protested further but the pleas caught in my throat, my energy
spent. I soon found myself being wheeled towards the gates of a small town,
of which I knew not the name. A guardsman cried out “General Tullius sir, the
headsman is waiting!” those words sealed my fate. Tears began to well in my
eyes. I knew of the general, he was highly regarded back home not least by
myself. I fought back the tears, determined to go to my end with dignity.
A prisoner across from me began to pray. Not in the solemn fashion of a priest
at the altar, more a crazed beg for divine mercy. I thought momentarily of doing the same,
perhaps Talos would look kindly upon me. I did not. The first Nord began again
to speak, reminiscing wistfully before the grave. He told me that this town
was Helgen and that he was once “sweet” on a girl from here. He told me of his
youth and how the walls of his gaolers once gave him comfort, in a land not
touched by the destructive hand of war, before trailing off as we jerked to a
Climbing out of the carriage I joined a line of prisoners, a Nordic Imperial
soldier with a roll of parchment stood at the front, reeling off the names of
the doomed. When it was my turn he realised my name was not there, “freedom?!”
was my first thought. It was not to be however, after conferring with his
captain it was decided I would be executed anyway and my last ray of hope was
extinguished. The Nord apologised and I could see he was sincere, as little
help as it was. General Tullius stepped forth, resplendent in his Imperial
armour and addressed Ulfric Stormcloak. I can not recall exactly what he said,
my mind being a haze at that point.
The first captive was led to the block, the executioner’s axe glinted
menacingly in the sunlight before coming down with a sickening crunch. The
captive’s head rolled a short distance before coming to a stop, vacant eyes
boring into mine. It was more than I could stand. His body was kicked from the
block and the captain called for the next one…