189 Chapter LII: Kingsmoot

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(General POV)

The courtyard of Castle Dour, the legionary garrison of Solitude, had been refitted to host the upcoming kingsmoot. Seats and tables had been arranged in a circular fashion with the seat of the High King being opposite to that of the Jarl of Windhelm.

When the Jarls supporting Ulfric arrived at Solitude they were offered to spend the night in the palace and rest, as was customary, but the belligerent Stormcloak demanded that the moot be held immediately and openly accused his hosts of trying to commit treachery by delaying the 'sacred' moot.

Not even ten minutes had passed and insults were already being thrown around by the rebellious Jarls, while the King's supporters were forced to frantically deny such accusations upon their honor.

Though one among them, one Idgrod Ravencrone of Morthal merely spent that time looking forlorn and shaking her head.

As the grumbling and insults grew increasingly more uncontrolled, with the Jarls not even taking their seats, a derisive "Tsk" resounded across the courtyard. All eyes focused on an elaborately robed Dunmer who looked upon the gathered Nords with disdain.

The Royal Thane looked over the gathered Jarls, weighing each and every one of them before his eyes centered on Ulfric Stormcloak "Not even a drink and you all behave as if drunk. So much for the noble dignity of Skyrim's Jarls."

(Reyvin's POV)

And there he is. Tall, broad, dirty blonde hair, and an incredibly punchable face. Respectable beard though...

The Jarl of Windhelm stares at me with well hidden fury "And who are you to comment on how the Jarls of Skyrim conduct themselves?" He obviously recognizes me and knows damn well how useful I am to Torygg so the first thing he does is try and remove me.

I chuckle "So we are just going to ignore the little fact said conduct was that of children, no?" He glares at me and instead of continuing down that line I mock bow "Thane Reyvin Flame-tongue of Solitude, Master Enchanter of Winterhold and dragonslayer of Blackreach." There are some raised eyebrows at the last one but then with a casual shrug I add "But for the purposes of this meeting you may refer to me as Lord Dagoth of Morrowind's sixth great house."

Far more eyebrows are added to that last bit and when they notice that Torygg doesn't deny my claim and his advisors remain unsurprised they immediately accept my status. Just in time as well as I noticed that Elenwen had entered the courtyard just in time to hear me introduce myself. Ah, her face is priceless!

As for revealing my true name so openly, keeping it hidden was simply no longer useful and revealing it would give my words far more weight in this meeting allowing me to sow the seeds of doubt as I willed. Though even that would have been completely useless without my stellar reputation among the Nords.

Ulfric however, openly scoffs at my introduction "So you are just another elf that the boy has allowed to interfere with Skyrim's future."

I roll my eyes and drawl "Do keep control of your rampant hatred Jarl Ulfric or I might be forced to challenge you to a duel to the death over such an insult to my honor." The death threat rolls out of my mouth far easier than I expected it to but unfortunately, the rebel Jarl is too smart to fall for that.

He grits his teeth, knowing damn well that denying a challenge from a high noble, no matter how foreign and a Royal Thane as well would end him up without any justification to challenge the King later on. There is also the fact that I would not care one bit about the no magic rule either and the man knew it. "Very well." He states and takes his seat "Let us speak like 'civilized' folk then."

His glare turns to a rather relaxed Torygg "You, boy, hav-"

"Kindly refer to your elected High King by his title or not at all." Bolgeir Bearclaw, Torygg's personal guard interrupts Ulfric, and even as the Stormcloak looks like he is just about to shout him to pieces the amused glint in his eyes doesn't leave him.

There is a moment of stunned silence and Ulfric's face practically turns to stone as he states "The current High King of Skyrim has allowed foreigners to dictate our lives and defecate upon our culture." His voice is firm as he continues with his declaration "Our traditions, nay our very gods! Have been denied to us by a dying empire and elven schemes!"

A bunch of 'aye!-s' resound from the Stormcloak camp.

He takes a deep breath "My brothers and sisters, I say it is time to take action against such corruption and strike against those that would make slaves of us! Our current High King is unfit to care for the future of our people and would rather have us grovel to the fools of Cyrodiil!"

As his speech turns against the Empire I see Legate Rikke grit her teeth while her hand rests on her sword, gripping it to the point of turning white. Ulfric's right hand man and Rikke's old friend Galmar Stone-fist looks at her with pity in his eyes before turning back to his lord.

"Jarl Ulfric speaks many pretty words." Torygg interrupts the speech, his tone as cold as ice "Yet while he speaks of our people he forgets that those in his domain and that of his supporters suffer needlessly due to his rampant hatred." Torygg sighs sadly but I notice a hint of vindictive glee in his eyes "Just this winter three entire villages have been hit by starvation and were refused aid due to Windhelm's treasury being focused on the procurement of armaments... One might think he is preparing for a war, yet if that were the case one would have to believe that Jarl Ulfric is ready to break one of the highest laws of the Empire and recruit a personal army."

I nearly choke myself to death by forcing my laughter down when I see the self-proclaimed Lawgiver of Riften look at Ulfric in outrage. Dear gods, the Black-briar might actually be the better option for that poor city.

The King intertwines his fingers in front of his mouth as he stares down at Ulfric from his throne "You wouldn't commit high treason Ulfric, would you?" He taps his cheek mockingly "For was it not Emperor Talos himself that confirmed the law that no lord shall recruit a personal army?"

Elenwen suddenly stands up and whirls toward Torygg "The White-gold concorda-"

"The White-gold concordat forbids the worship of one Divine Talos, it does not in fact forbid the honoring of one Emperor Hjalti Early-beard otherwise known as Tiber Septim or Talos, sit your ass down Ambassador." I interject with a lazy drawl.

She glares at me but one look at my eyes aglow with frankly ridiculous amounts of magical power is enough to make her shut her mouth.

There goes your plan to discredit Torygg you spindly bitch.

I even notice a hint of respect in Ulfric's eyes but it is quickly hidden behind his steely gaze.

"Thank you for your timely assistance in legal matters Lord Dagoth." Torygg states with light amusement.

Ulfric takes a moment to center himself before speaking "What I do within my own hold and however many guards I deign to recruit is no business of the crown. The sudden influx of suspiciously tall bandits has me worried for my people's safety." He openly sneers at Elenwen.

"Very well" Torygg takes control of the conversation once more "But I still fail to see credible justification for your attempt at usurpation."

Ulfric's face goes a bit red before his aristocratic training kicks in and he calms down "Credible justification? Usurpation?" He practically seethes "This is a moot for the kingship of Skyrim, all the justification I need is my lack of confidence in your ability to lead our people!"

"Quite." Torygg does an impressive imitation of my signature drawl "Yet all I have heard are excuses for you to seize personal power. You say I am incapable of protecting our people yet last year I struck down an invasion of Reachmen."

Most of the Jarls present, even those on Ulfric's side nod and mutter their appreciation of his deeds.

"You say that my people suffer and that their traditions are under attack." Torygg continues his verbal assassination "Yet last year I have managed the greatest administrative catastrophe left behind by the great war and brought the people of the Srawl to order and taught them the honor of their ancestors."

"The High King speaks true." Thane Helm interjects "For many years the residents of the Sprawl had suffered without hope, only for the King to liberate us from our own greed and honor our work and deeds."

Ulfric scoffs "You speak of those deeds as if they are your own." He sneers at Torygg "But were they not all orchestrated by your Court Mage? Are you so lowly as to take his achievements as your own?"

I laugh out loud "Oh please, do accuse him of having capable advisors, you will sound so right you will forget how idiotic you made yourself look."

Before Ulfric can respond to my jape, Torygg lets out a derisive snort "Of course I was helped by others, or have you forgotten, Ulfric that it is with our shield brothers that we achieve the greatest of glories?" He scoffs "The very fact that you cannot even comprehend the idea that a King's subjects matter far more than the King shows just what kind of ruler you wish to be." A vindictive glint can be seen in Torygg's eyes as he states "Nothing but a petty tyrant."

Immediately, another shouting match erupts between the gathered nobles. It gets to the point that their housecarls position themselves in front of them just in case.

Being a sporting lad I summon my glaive and unleash my magical presence, rings included, causing everyone present to shiver. My crown covers my face as I state in my dreadful thu'um-enhanced voice "Kindly compose yourselves."

Every single one of the 'rebel' Jarls except Ulfric slams their asses back down while he looks at me with eyes burning with battle lust.

"Hiding behind the skirt of your Thane Torygg?" He questions the king with a sneer.

"A King that does not act when not necessary is one who honors the wisdom of his ancestors." Torygg quotes a saying with a smirk.

"So you do not deny it?" Questions Ulfric.

Torygg tilts his head mockingly "Why would I deny being right?"

"I see" Stormcloak proceeds as if he heard nothing "Since you refuse to fight your own battles I shall force you to do so."

Prick.

"Are you challenging me Ulfric?" Torygg asks as if he is the one doubting the other's prowess.

Ulfric pulls out his axe and points it at the King "Since you wish to hide behind words and platitudes we shall settle this in the old way, we shall battle for the right of kingship!"

"Hahahahahaha!" Torygg laughs drawing confused glances "Oh we shall battle Ulfric the traitor." He glares at the man with pure hatred, knowing full well that his people were about to be sundered and their blood spilled on a massive scale "We shall battle but even if I am to fall you shall not be King."

"That is not for you to decide." Ulfric hisses.

"Indeed it is not." Torygg nods and points his right hand out toward the gathered Jarls "The choice is theirs, and they know as well as I... That a tyrant shall never rule Skyrim!"

Ulfric's gaze falters for but a moment but then his eyes turn to steel once again. There it is, the first chink in the armor.

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The first stone is thrown!

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