Following many adventures at the College of Winterhold, in particular, the discovery that her grandfather was a Nord of Windhelm, and a magical family heirloom called the Book of Fate, Eldaline, a senior Thalmor dignitary, has ended an unexpected love affair with the Jarl of Winterhold, who has responded vengefully by delivering her to Ulfric Stormcloak.

Skavild, her library assistant, formerly a Stormcloak warrior originally selected to assassinate her, has worked this out and is in pursuit. Unfortunately, he is also being followed.

"You are to return to Winterhold, on the Jarl's orders!"

"Perhaps I will hold, but perhaps I won't go back to Winterhold." Said Skavild, dismounting. "Perhaps I'll regret taking off the heads of two brother Nords, but perhaps they'll force my hand. Will they?"

"Do you not see what the sorceress has done to you, kinsman?" The first guard growled. "Turned your head, dressed you in shiny elven armour, and made you betray your only cause. Come back with us! The Jarl demands it."

"Then the Jarl can come after me himself." Said Skavild. "And if you can't recognise Nord armour when you see it, you should try wearing some."

"And another thing. Have you seen the size of my sword? Also, I'm Skavild, of Solitude, and I've walked the planes of Oblivion, and killed whole barrows full of draugr, a crazed Thalmor wizard who stole the power of a god, and the Necromancer Pervert of Yngvild. So get lost, because I'm pressed for time."

The guards left at this point, thinking better of their plans, and Skavild went on his way.

"How fare you this cold night?" Said Skavild, at a hamlet he hoped was in Eastmarch. "And, is this the road to Windhelm?"

"If it's work you're looking for, how about chopping up some wood for the fire?" Said the woman.

"How about I chop you, or you just tell me if this is the road to bloody Windhelm or not? Why can no one answer a question without asking me to do something for them first?"

He was irritated. And no wonder, because he'd spent more than a year as Eldaline's library assistant and for all its disadvantages, going everywhere with an angry-looking elf was somehow a deterrent to people asking for help.

On the road from Anga's Mill to the Windhelm bridge, Skavild met some Imperials who wanted directions to Solitude.

He met some Khajiit with big eyes, all of whom had lost their amulets.

He even met some conjurers, who wanted to avenge the Necromancer-Pervert of Yngvild.

And they were all trying Skavild's patience.

But it was the checkpoints and rigorous security that delayed him the most.

"Turn back!" Said the soldier. "Windhelm is closed to travellers."

"The city of kings, closed to Nords?"

"I said, turn back, traveller. Ulfric Stormcloak has ordered it."

"Fine, I'm going south anyway." Skavild grumbled. He muttered: "Going south, like all my plans. Jarl's orders this, Jarl's orders that. Something must have happened."

Skavild saw two checkpoints in all, one at each approach to the Windhelm Bridge. It was a clear night, and even from over the estuary, he could see the torches of many guards patrolling the docks.

"Something strange going on in Windhelm."

"Here she is, my Jarl." The guard said.

"It's you." Said the Jarl.

"You are the one from my nightmares."

"We meet at last, Wilfred Storm-Cloak." Said Eldaline.

To be continued