Chapter 2 Part 4
Castle Dour was an imposing stone structure that overlooked Solitude and stood on a cliff at the opposite end of the city to where the Blue Palace, the seat of the Jarl, was. Legionaries were all over the place. Standing guard, leaving on patrol or drilling in the main courtyard. It was a constant bustle of activity. Se’rith was stopped at the gate by two guards who demanded to know her presence there. Introducing herself as the new Arch Mage of Winterhold she asked the guards to be taken to General Tulius. She was ushered inside the main entryway and then led up a flight of stone steps to a sturdy wooden door. Inside the General was in deep discussion with another Legion officer, this one a Nord Female. From the snatches of conversation she heard the General was worried about the role Whiterun and its Jarl played in the geopolitics of Skyrim. At the moment Whiterun had yet to declare itself for one side or the other but its proximity to Windhelm clearly had the Imperials worried about possible Stormcloak influence there. The female (a Legate Rikke) strongly argued against trying to influence Barlgruuf as Nords would take offers of unasked for help as an insult. But the General was adamant, Whiterun would come into the Imperial fold and that would be the end of that.
At that Se’rith was introduced by the guard. General Tulius was incredibly surprised to see how young the new Arch Mage was but his candour improved when he heard what Se’rith came to offer. The aid of the College of Winterhold in keeping the Empire together and winning over those Nords taken under sway by Ulfric. In return Se’rith wanted Legion mapower to help rebuild Winterhold. By working together mages and Legion could win the hearts and minds of the Nords and take them away from Ulfric’s rebellion. Tulius, being a fighting man, was not easily swayed as he trusted in the martial might of the Legion to bring down and quell any major Stormcloak offensive. However judging by the strategic map of Skyrim on a table behind him roughly half of the province was already lost to the Empire. As such Tulius was not in a position to turn Winterhold’s aid down.
It was the Legate that came to Se’rith’s aid. She interceded on her behalf and reasoned that wining hearts and minds would be of great help. Furthermore, with an increasing number of dragon sightings since Helgen, if the Legion was seen as protecting the populace from these flying beasts then the General could trumpet all he want about the Legion being protectors of Skyrim while Ulfric could be cast as the murderer and usurper that brought dragons back to Skyrim. This gave the General pause for thought and he fixed his gaze intently on Se’rith. The offer the mage was making was indeed a solid one, but a niggling doubt gnawed at the back of his mind. If he accepted the College’s offer was the Legion admitting a weakness of not being able to deal with the insurrection? Nords hated magic, a lot hated the Legion, what benefit would he gain? It wasn’t until Se’rith told him of the dragon at Whiterun and her role in its destruction that Tulius changed his demeanour. If this dark elf was in good standing with Barlgruuf she could be used to sway Whiterun away from the Stormcloaks. What he needed though was a sign of good faith. Calling Se’rith over to the map he laid his finger on a spot somewhat to the West of Solitude. He explained that if the College wanted to ally itself to the Imperial cause it must prove its worth. He tasked Se’rith with reclaiming a ruined fort called Fort Hraggstad that had been claimed by a band of bandits that had bee raiding the coastal road. The Legion had intentions of sending a detachment of troops to re garrison the fort once it had been cleared. If Se’rith could prove her worth by clearing the Fort, the alliance she craved would be granted.