4E 205 – The Assignment

When they arrived in Dragon Bridge, Tara noticed the uptick in activity. Agents were everywhere, more than she’d ever seen together at once. Tents were setup around the outpost, all the way to the lumber mill. The outpost couldn’t hold this many agents, so they’d setup camp. Everyone was doing some task.

“The commander should be inside,” Cines said. He nodded and rode off to stable his horse.

Tara did the same, tying Twilight to her usual spot. She took another look around at all the agents.

Packing up. That’s what they were doing.

Inside, the outpost was crowded. Several agents sat at the center table, writing reports, or orders. One was packing up a travel bag.

Another stood before Commander Maro, who was giving him instructions.

“Quintus’ camp is near the border. Meet with him. He’s aware we’re setting up a new outpost in the area, and will have suggestions for suitable spots. Dismissed.”

“It’s been an honor, sir,” the agent saluted. The Imperial nodded at Tara as he left the outpost.

“Blaton,” Maro said. He looked both tired and energized. His armor shone bright, as if he’d made sure to have it polished and cleaned. “Walk with me.”

The two of them stepped outside and Tara followed Maro towards the bridge. Maro turned left near it and walked along the cliff side to a large flat stone outcrop that jutted above the Karth River. The stone gave a scenic look at the land across the river, and on clear days, an excellent view of Solitude further down the river.

Evening was coming on, pinks and blues lit up the thin clouds. Solitude’s windmill was visible, and the bright lights from the Blue Palace could be seen. The air had already cooled noticeably. Tara relished the breeze after the ride from Solitude.

They stood alone for a few minutes, admiring the view. They were out of earshot, which Tara assumed was the goal.

“I hope you enjoyed your time off,” Maro said. “You’re about to be very busy.”

“What’s happened, sir?”

Maro gave her a smile. Tara hadn’t seen one on his face before. “The Empire has new leadership. The Penitus Oculatus is officially reformed. I’ll leave some agents here, but the bulk of the order is headed to our headquarters in the Imperial City.”

Tara blinked. A new leader? The Imperial City? Cyrodiil?

“Once the move is complete, I will be retiring as commander,” Maro added.

Tara felt the look of shock cross her face.

“Long overdue, Blaton,” Maro said. “Had we not lost Mede II under my command, I would’ve retired years ago.” Maro looked serious again. “Keeping us together, even while we were considered disbanded, doesn’t make up for losing an emperor. It is something, though. Lord Chancellor Blackwell convinced me to stay on long enough to see us be reinstated.” Maro nodded at her. “The Empire has new leaders, and so should the Penitus Oculatus.”

Tara looked back towards Solitude. So much had changed within the past two weeks. Inside her and around her. She didn’t like it.

“I have a special assignment for you,” Maro said.

More change coming. Tara swallowed.

“Lord Chancellor Blackwell asked for my best agent. You’re that agent.”


“The new royal family needs new personal guards,” Maro said. “As is standard, one will be the new commander, Commander Marius. For the second guard, Blackwell asked for my best. A loyal agent I know can handle what it entails to be the personal bodyguard to our new queen.”

Tara realized she was holding her breath. She released it. “Personal guard to the queen?”  

“Yes,” Maro said. “And her child, who should be born any day now. It’s possible the baby has already arrived.”

Freta’s words came to her.

When you fail the one, don’t fail the other.

You have to protect her.


All of them, my little Breton.

“Details of the royal family are in this file. You’ll need to know them as well as you know your own family.” Maro handed her a thick collection of parchment sheets, loosely bound.  

“I’m behind on the reports out of Cyrodiil,” Tara said. She counted at least fifty pages in the file. “Can you summarize what’s happened?”

Maro pulled in a breath. He glanced back at Dragon Bridge, perhaps considering how much time he had before fresh demands overwhelmed him again.

“Our new queen turned out to be a pretender,” he said.


“Someone with a claim to the throne,” Maro said. “You’re not much of a Breton, are you?”  

“Oh,” Tara let a laugh escape. “Right. My noble training is…rusty.”

“You’ll need to get up to speed fast,” Maro chided. “These aren’t regular nobles.”

“Yes, sir.”

Gods, she’d have to deal with all the pomp and ridiculousness of a royal court. What kind of snobs was she about to work for? She thought of all the noble families Father had forced her to have dinner with. All the boys he’d wanted her married off to. How was she supposed to protect people like that? She’d want to kill them herself.

“Our new queen is the former countess of Bruma,” Maro said. “Turns out, she is a descendant of the Mede Dynasty, from Titus Mede I. She’s a distant cousin of Mede II. This gave her a claim to the throne, once Mede II disappeared.”

Bruma. Tara did love Bruma. Maybe there was hope.

“Mede II knew of her ancestry, and had appointed her countess when the previous Bruma family was lost.” He pointed at the file. “She was eighteen at the time, late in the year 201.”

He cleared his throat.

“While Mede II knew this, he kept it a secret. As did the countess herself. Seems she wasn’t much interested in the noble life.” He tapped the file. Tara took it to mean she’d read details in the file.

“She was discovered, though, by Emperor Sethius, and put on trial. She was convicted and the noble houses exiled her to the Imperial prison on the island of Roscrea. She should have spent decades there.”

Tara raised an eyebrow. Roscrea was rumored to be cold, desolate. How had she escaped?  

Maro tapped the file. “Two things happened, though. First, and this is important to keep to yourself,” Maro paused. Tara nodded.

“Akaviri attacked the island.”


Tara searched her memory for the history she’d read of the place. The Akaviri were from the continent of Akavir, east of Tamriel, somewhere across the Padomaic Ocean. They’d invaded Tamriel before, far back in the First Era and again in the Second. Defeated each time. Supposedly, several different races lived there, all of a beast nature, serpent-folk Tsaesci, and some others she couldn’t remember.

Emperor Uriel Septim V had attempted to conquer them early in the Third Era. Few had survived to tell the tale. The Emperor had been slain in battle.

If they’d invaded Roscrea, was another war on the way?

“The threat of another invasion is being dealt with,” Maro said. “As always, the Penitus Oculatus is focused on the Empire’s rulers. Remember that.”

Tara nodded. The royal family. Her responsibility.

“Lucky for the countess, before the Akaviri could kill her, the Last Dragonborn arrived and together they defeated the invaders and eventually made their way to Bruma,” Maro continued.

Tara held up her hand. This was not the summary she was expecting. “The Last Dragonborn? The hero who saved us all from Alduin?”

Maro nodded. He tapped the file. “You have a lot of reading to do. Yes, they knew each other from before she was made countess.” He tapped the file again.

“War broke out once it was known the countess was again in Bruma. There are rumors the Akaviri invasion was the work of Sethius’ wife, Morag Sethius. Turns out she was a true vampire. A daughter of Coldharbour.”

Daughter of Coldharbour was the title given to vampires created by Molag Bal. Women who’d undergone a ritual by the Daedric Lord himself and survived. If what she’d read about the ritual was true, Tara shuddered. She thought of Rorikstead.

“What I know is this,” Maro said. “Some noble houses, cities, sided with the Emperor and some with Bruma. War broke out. The countess and the Dragonborn fought together and led a fierce army. They won, and had camped outside the Imperial City. Instead of negotiating a truce of some sort, Emperor Sethius fought the Dragonborn in combat and lost. He is dead.”

Tara blinked. “That means…”

“The Dragonborn sits on the Ruby Throne, yes, with the countess as queen.”

“Are they…”

“They are married. Whether it is for political convenience, or actual love, I don’t know,” Maro said. “Blackwell reports they are committed to ruling together and raising the forthcoming child together.”

Tara studied the ground for a minute. She then looked at the file. So much to read and grasp. Right now, her head spun.

“They have been crowned.” Maro interrupted her thoughts. “Blackwell sent word after their coronation for the Penitus Oculatus to be reformed.”

Tara looked out towards Solitude. The windmill was fading in the approaching night. More lights from the city were visible. It’d be too late to ride home. She’d need to stay here tonight.

Soon, home wasn’t going to be Solitude. Not with this assignment.

“You need to be at the Imperial Palace within two weeks,” Maro said. “Take care of whatever business you need to here, but get there in a fortnight. Report to Marius as soon as you arrive.”

“How long is the assignment?”

Katla. Was Katla going to need to move to Cyrodiil? What would they do with the Lucky Skeever? Would Katla be safer here, away from Tara? Away from…

I’ll even spare Katla for you.

“For however long they rule and want you as a personal bodyguard,” Maro said. “They can change their mind. Dismiss you on a whim, of course.” Maro leveled his eyes at her. “This assignment could last years, Blaton. You need to be prepared for that.”

Tara nodded. “It’s a lot to take in, sir.” Her thoughts raced. So many things to do. To consider.

“I suggest you move your girlfriend to the Imperial City,” Maro said. “Have your loved ones as close as possible.” He looked at Solitude. “You’ll want that, trust me. You’ll be staying in the Imperial Palace. She can’t, of course, but there are plenty of safe, good places to live in the city.”

He paused. “Are assassins still after her?”

Tara swallowed. “It’s complicated, but I don’t think more assassins will come after her.”  

“Check in with one of the Professor ranks. They’ll know of the safest options. You can also explain your situation to Blackwell. He’s a busy man, but you’ll be working with him a lot, anyway. He needs to be aware of your unique situation.”

Maro grew thoughtful. “You’re an agent. While whatever is going on with your girlfriend is personal, use all resources at your disposal. The safer she is, the better you can do your job. I trust you to be discrete and understand boundaries.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“I need to get back,” Maro said. “Any more questions?”

Tara looked back at Solitude. This was really happening. Personal bodyguard to the royal family.

She turned back to Maro. “Why me?”

Maro smirked. He’d been waiting for that question.

“The loyalty test, for one. You still think about Varro?”

Tara nodded.

“Your job as an agent is to be a tool for the Empire. You have to do your job. Do the right thing. The best agents aren’t mindless animals, though. You did your job, in spite of your doubts. In spite of the weight you now carry from obeying.”

His looked shifted. As she’d seen only once before from him, it held a hint of understanding.

“I sent you on jobs I thought would get you killed. Jobs that would either break you, or prove what Rikke saw in you. What I hoped was on the other side of that drinking problem.”

“You thought I’d fail?”

“I failed my emperor,” Maro said. “I lost Mede II. I needed to test agents. Mold ones that won’t make that mistake. I saw the potential in you. You haven’t let me down, Blaton.”

He took a deep breath. “Regardless of your rank, this is a high honor, to be directly trusted with the care of the queen. Don’t fail me.”

…don’t fail the other.

Tara saluted Maro. He nodded.

“Last question, sir,” Tara said. “What is the queen’s name?”

“Rigmor Morgan-Mede.”

3 thoughts on “4E 205 – The Assignment

  1. Loved reading this. Both you and Mark Dodd have a ritting skills that really appeal to me, thank you. Rigmor Is the best Skyrim mod I have ever played.

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