Okay, first things first. This is a story that follows the Main Quest and elements of the Civil War that have been remixed to suit my story. Rate well, hope it's good.

A story of Thanes and Jarls, love and war, friendship and rivalry and the concept of power…

Ralof, of Riverwood

The Nord across from Ralof was waking up. About time, too. Then Ralof looked back at the Nord's hair, black as midnight, but matted heavily with blood. Perhaps it was only fair after all that he was only just waking up. In fact, he was pretty sure that the Nord should be dead. The injury was, after all Ralof conceded, one that lesser men died from. But the man wasn't dead. Not yet.

He groaned as he woke, muttering curses under his breath. Ralof thought that it was time to announce his presence.

'So, you're finally awake.'

The Nord jerked up, his eyes snapping open. Ralof flinched slightly; Talos! His eyes were a light blue, more silvery blue, and he had whitish silver mixed in among it. But what really shocked Ralof was the deepness of his eyes. They looked powerful. Almost like they were humming with energy, desperate to get out. But as he registered Ralof, this flare died slowly, almost like he was suppressing it.

He spoke, 'Who are you, brother Nord?'

'Ralof, of Riverwood. You were caught in that ambush, right? Trying to cross the border?'

'I crossed the border. Pity the Empire's so good at enforcing unjust laws, but can't win a war to save its hide;' the Nord replied, bitterness not quite remaining from entering his tone.

'Got a bone to pick with the Empire, huh? You'll have another in an hour or so.' Ralof turned to the next man. 'And your name, horse thief?'

The man looked up; his tangled hair pushed back, shoulder length. His thin face was not impassive like Ralof's dark-haired friend. It displayed fear.

'Lokir, of Rorikstead.'

'Ah, a nice village. I've been there many a time.' Ralof began to muse, before the Nord opposite him jerked up again.

'Rorikstead? You come from Rorikstead?'

'Yeah, what of it?'

The Nord looked almost excited, if that was possible from such a gloomy figure; 'You know of a farm, south of-'

'Quiet there!' The guard hushed them and the carriage fell silent. Lokir began to quietly talk to the Nord opposite him.

He was big, a few inches taller than Ralof himself, although this wasn't apparent as the man was sitting, like the rest of them, bound and, unlike the rest of them, gagged. His long hair was braided down the back, and reached his shoulders too. His face was long, and displayed a fearsome strength. A few small scars adorned his rough features, and his face displayed a few lines. The Nord's build was that of a bear, and one of a man of thirty, whereas Ralof knew him to instead be around his mid-forties. His neat beard, the same yellowy blond as his hair, was neat and he wore a expensive, heavy fur cloak.

'I'm talking to you, Nord!'

'Hey!' Ralof intervened between the big man and Lokir; 'You're talking to Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak, of Windhelm, and true High King of Skyrim!'

Lokir looked shocked; 'Ulfric? You're the leader of the rebellion. If they've got you… Gods! Where are they taking us?'

'Make your ancestors proud, and be quiet.' Ralof had only contempt for Lokir. He was no true Nord.

'Quite there!' The guard was a stickler for the rules. As were all Imperials.

Helgen, a fortified hamlet, in Falkreath Hold. This was to be his place of death.

Ralof looked at the town, and towers.

'Strange, Imperial towers used to make me feel so safe;' Ralof said to no one in particular.

'That is strange. They used to make me feel the same.' It was the mysterious Nord who had spoken. He looked strange, as if he was regarding Ralof for the first time. Ralof shivered under his intense gaze. The Nord continued; 'what did they do to you?'

Now that Ralof had unwittingly coaxed a few words from him, he noticed the Nord's voice. It rumbled, not unpleasantly, but despite its strength it was perfectly clear, like a running stream. There was no waver as he spoke. It sounded vaguely familiar, and then it struck Ralof. Jarl Ulfric spoke in a similar manner. There was clearly more to this man than he originally thought.

By now the wagons were grinding to a halt, and Lokir was speaking again.

'No! I'm not a criminal, get me out of here!'

'Horse thief, face your death like a Nord!' The mysterious figure opposite Ralof spoke, his voice ringing with authority. Lokir quickly fell silent, subdued and the dark haired Nord looked at him with disgust. Ralof shared his feelings; no true Nord cried like a youngling. They are the men of the North, and as such have had to adapt to survive. Ralof wondered whether he really did hail from Rorikstead after all, and then a memory flitted back; Rorikstead was famous for its superior harvests; he would never have known hardship.

'Okay prisoners, get off and line up;' the Imperial Captain was typical of the south, strict and self-centred. Ralof made his way down, with Ulfric leading and Lokir directly in front. The mysterious Nord followed him. Ralof dropped to the dirt, and straightened up. Now that they were lined up the differences in height could be seen. They all towered over the Imperial men (Imperial being a race of man, as well as a faction) by a good four inches at least, and Ulfric had six inches over them.

Ralof looked to his right, at the mysterious Nord and suppressed his surprise again; he towered over all of them, at least eight inches taller than the Imperials; dwarfing Ralof and Lokir. His build was strong, lighter than Ulfric's, but the way he carried himself suggested that again, something was hidden in him waiting to emerge. In any case, there was a lot more to this Nord than met the eye.

'Ralof of Riverwood.' Ralof was disturbed from his pondering. Time to meet my end, he thought. The idea of death didn't disturb him though. After all, Sovngarde awaited the valiant dead, a place of drink and song; where heroes exchanged their stories. Death was not to be feared.

Ralof followed Jarl Ulfric to the execution centre and waited in a corner. He heard Lokir run and heard the arrow whistle pass, but he was glad to see the dark-haired Nord was as calm and silent as ever. There might be a place in Sovngarde for him, Ralof mused. There was certainly far more to be seen from him, and this curiosity was quickly becoming the only thing Ralof regretted in his death. That, and the death of the Stormcloaks. With Jarl Ulfric's demise their cause was almost certainly doomed. Fate worked in mysterious ways; maybe it was never to be.

'You, the Nord in the rags!' The mysterious Nord moved forward to take his place, looking strangely calm. However his eyes were misty; he wasn't as calm as he appeared. The Nord rested his head on the block, his body sagging with despair. There was definitely more to this Nord than met the eye. But before Ralof could think of anything more, the headsman raised his axe and brung it down…