Chapter 5 – Proving Grounds

Avingard’s trek back to Solitude was uneventful. The sun had given way to dark clouds, which dropped snow in the higher elevation, and then rain when Avingard descended down to the road leading to Solitude. By the time Avingard arrived at the gates to Solitude he was soaking wet. As he began to feel the cold from the rain, Avingard sped up his pace until he reached Castle Dour, and quickly entered.

As Avingard approached Legate Rikke and General Tullius were have a very serious conversation about their plans to combat the Stormcloak rebellion.

“Tell me again,” General Tullius can be heard saying, “why I’m wasting men chasing after a fairy tale?”

“If Ulfric gets his hands on that crown,” Rikke replied, “it won’t be a fairy tale. It’ll be a problem.”

“Don’t you Nords put any stock in your own traditions? I though the Moot chose the king,” Tullius questions seeming frustrated. “We’re backing Elisif. When the Moot meets, they’ll do the sensible thing.”

“Not everyone’s agreed to the Moot,” Legate Rikke retorted. “We follow our hearts.”

“So what – Ulfric gets this crown and then suddenly he’s High King?” General Tullius questioned.

“No it’s not as simple as that, but the Jagged Crown would be a potent symbol for his cause to rally around,” explained Legate Rikke. “But, if we found it first…”

“And we gave it to Elisif?” General Tullius interrupted.

“In the absence of the Moot, it would further legitimize her claim,” Legate Rikke said.

“Perhaps…I’m entrusting you with what resources I can spare,” General Tullius reluctantly agreed to the plan. “But I’m warning you if this turns out to be a waste of time and men…”

“It won’t be a waste,” Legate Rikke assured the General.

Legate Rikke the noticed that Avingard had entered the room. “Welcome back, soldier,” she greeted Avingard. “I’m glad you made it in one piece. I’ll send men to garrison the fort right away. You did well. I’m impressed.”

Avingard nodded to Rikke to acknowledge here approval of the task completion.

But before we go any further, it’s time for you to officially join the Legion,” she said to Avingard. “Speak with General Tullius. He’ll administer the oath.”

Avingard the walks toward General Tullius, who was attentively listening to Legate Rikke express her satisfaction with the completion of the task she had given to Avingard.

“In joining the Legion, you’ll be taking an oath binding you to the service of the Emperor and thus to every citizen of the Empire,” General Tullius explained to Avingard. “Are you prepared to make that commitment?”

“I’m ready to take the Oath,” replies Avingard intently.

“Well, then. Repeat after me,” General Tullius begins the Oath, to which Avingard repeats after him.

Upon my honor I do swear undying loyalty to the Emperor, Titus Mede II and unwavering obedience to the officers of his great Empire.
May those above judge me, and those below take me, if I fail in my duty.
Long live the Emperor! Long live the Empire!

General Tullius About to Administer the Imperial Legion Oath
General Tullius about to administer the Imperial Legion oath to Avingard.

“Welcome to the Imperial Legion, soldier,” General Tullius congratulates Avingard. “Just remember, we take care of our own. Once you’re in the Legion, you’re in it for life. Speak to Beirand, he’s normally out by the forge. He’ll get you outfitted. Also, since you have just joined the Legion, you will be required to keep you your appearance. You will need to shave and trim back you hair. Now if I’m not mistaken, Legate Rikke has a special assignment for you.”

Avingard then turns to Legate Rikke and asks about the special assignment.

“Welcome to the Legion, auxiliary. Listen up,” Rikke then gets serious. “Ulfric’s right-hand man, Galmar Sonefist, has located what he believes is the final resting place of the Jagged Crown. We’re going to make sure he doesn’t get his hands on it. The rest of my men are already assembling outside Koranjund. I’ll meet you there as soon as I finish up here.”

Curious as to what the Jagged Crown is, Avingard asks, “what’s the Jagged Crown?”

“A legendary crown, dating back to King Harald’s time, or before,” Legate Rikke begins. “A powerful relic of a golden age, long since passed. “Legend has it that the crows is made form the bones and teeth of ancient dragons, and is said to increase the power of the wearer. Whatever the truth, if Ulfric gets his hands on it, it would be a powerful symbol around which to rally support for his cause.”

“How do we know the crown is in Korvanjund?”

“Well, to be frank, we don’t,” Legate Rikke continues, “Its location was lost with King Borgas, when the Great Hunt killed him while off on his Alessian campaigns. Supposedly, his body was brought back to Skyrim and secretly buried with the crown. Knowledge of that location was lost, in the Wars of Succession. But my agents report that Galmar is pretty damnded convinced Koranjund is the tomb of King Borgas. I know Galmar. We fought in many wars together. He’s not a sentimental man taken to fancy. If he believes the crown is there…he’s likely found it.”

Not wanting to waste more the Legate Rikke’s time, Avingard thanks her for the information and then heads out of Castle Dour to find Beirand.

Walking down the main road in Solitude, towards to gates, he eventually notices a forge above the road, just at the top of a ramp. Waling up to the top, Avingard notices a large Nord tanning some leather.

“Beirand?” Avingard asks as he approaches the man, who nods in agreement. “General Tullius said you’d get me outfitted.”

“Yep. I have just one question for you,” Beirand replies. “Light, medium, or heavy?”

Beirand at His Forge.
Beirand at his Forge providing Avingard with his Imperial Legion armor.

Avingard replies that he will wear the heavy armor, to which Beirand replies, “they don’t make finder steel anywhere else. If this doesn’t keep you from dying, nothing will. Now that’s it. One free outfit per soldier. You lose that, or get it banged up, you’ll need to pay like everyone else.”

Avingard thanks Beirand for the armor and then suits up, replacing his old steel armor for the new Imperial Legion armor. Not needing his old armor, plus it was heavy to carry around, he returns to Beirand and sells what he can.

While knowing the task of the Jagged Crown needs to be done as quickly as possible, Avingard quickly finds someone to trim back his hair, while at the same time he quickly shaves off his facial hair. Avingard was now ready to join Legate Rikke’s soldiers in retrieving the Jagged Crown.

Avingard - Imperial Legion Auxiliary
Avingard – Imperial Legion Auxiliary.

By the time Avingard left Solitude, the rain had gone and the clouds had given way to the sun. The warm sun felt good to Avingard as he left Solitude to begin his service to the Empire, against the Stormcloaks, in the divided province of Skyrim.

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