The caravan crawled slowly along the road like a gigantic caterpillar, made out of horses pulling carts, which were laden with folded tents and colourful paraphernalia sticking out at all angles imaginable.
Kermit the frog, wrapped in a fur coat to protect his little green self from the unwelcoming winds of this new land, was balancing himself on the edge of the first cart in the procession, with his back turned to the horse - most impolitely, the beast thought - and facing Scooter, who was scribbling busily in a sizeable leather-bound book.
'Check!' Scooter banged the book shut, 'All in order, boss! The Muppet Show is ready to conquer new horizons!'
'I sure hope so...' Kermit glanced around with a small gulp; this endless whiteness had a bad influence on his marsh-bred mind, 'This Skyrim place doesn't look exactly cheering'.
'At least no one is after us with torches and pitchforks!' Scooter remarked brightly.
He must have scared the luck away, for just as he said those words, a group of rather fierce-looking fellows, dressed up as if they were doing a sketch set in Ancient Rome, dashed out of the nearby shrubs, swords bared, and stormed the caravan. Quite naturally, pandemonium reigned; as Sam the Eagle later remarked, a master artist would have found this skirmish worthy of a battle painting. Picture a scene full of action, dynamics, and overall silliness... Carts overturned. Props flying in all directions and exploding as they do so. Punches and pies landing on the heads of the flabbergasted Imperial Soldiers - the punches are mostly administered by Miss Piggy, a true fury in furs, aggravated not only by the enemy's attempts to grab 'her frog', but also by the cries they exchange, along the lines of 'Catch all the swine!', and the pies come from the unassailable duo of Fozzie Bear and the Swedish Chef, who also wields a frying pan, a striking weapon in all senses. A group of attackers fleeing into the snowy beyond with Animal close at their heels, mouth frothing. Sweetums musing whether or not to have a second helping of soldiers. Furniture and scenery springing to life and coming to the Muppets' aid (the alligator luggage being the most valiant of all). Gonzo the Great reciting Charge of the Light Brigade while a platoon of chickens pecks through their adversaries' armour. The power of the Muppets unleashed, giving the attackers no chance to win.
They still won. It remains a mystery to this day how they did it, but they did it. With the supply of pies exhausted and the explosives burned to the ground and the creatures worn out by struggling, the curtain finally fell on the unfortunate theatrical company being stuffed inside roughspun prisoner robes - ye gods, how Miss Piggy writhed and screeched and pork-chopped all and sundry when she was deprived of her luxurious wardrobe! - and then bound in shackles and escorted to a place called Helgen.
'For the last time!' Kermit exclaimed frantically, waving his flippers in the air in order to attract the guards' attention, 'We are not rebels!'
'Agreed,' grumbled a prisoner next to him, 'You are not rebelling against anything. It's us who are rebelling against you once a week'.
Kermit peered at him in surprise, 'St... Statler? What are you doing here?'
'Same as you, being escorted to what looks like sure death,' Statler replied, his tone customarily unpleasant.
'But we are ready for it,' Waldorf piped in, poking his head from behind his fellow heckler's shoulder; the two must have tagged along with the caravan as store-aways, 'Because after your show...'
'Nothing hurts!' they concluded in chorus.
In the cart moving behind them, Lokir, the horse thief from Rorikstead, was throwing a real tantrum.
'Let me out!' he screamed, thrashing against the cart's sides, 'Let me out of this freak show!'
'Freak show? Freak show?' shrieked Miss Piggy, her snout twitching menacingly, 'Well, freak this! Hi-ya!'
And down came her shackled hands on the unfortunate thief's back.
'What in blazes is going on here?' Ralof muttered, edging away from the wriggling bundle next to him, which was barely recognizable as Crazy Harry, tied and gagged but still trying to pronounce something muffled and incoherent that had to be 'Did someone say Blazes?'. Unfortunately for himself and fortunately for everyone else, Harry had no chance to perform his running gag - his hands were bound, his dynamite had been confiscated and anyway, they were approaching their destination.
'I wonder what could have gotten into your soldiers, General,' Elenwen said venomously, lifting herself slightly in her saddle to get a better view, 'They seem to have captured a wandering circus'.
General Tullius said nothing, shielding his eyes with his hand and frowning at the many bizarre creatures that were being dragged through the Helgen gates and lined up in front of the keep together with the Stormcloaks.
'It's just an act, Uncle Kermit, isn't it?' Robin asked innocently, as the first prisoner's head rolled off the block, 'Like the ones we do on the show?'
'Yes, Robin,' Kermit replied in a throttled voice, shrinking his head into his shoulders to such an extent the he seemed just a pair of eyes attached to very wobbly legs. 'It's just an act...'
'Next, the... whatever!' the Imperial Captain bellowed, pointing at Gonzo, who started glancing frantically around to check if there were any other whatevers present that she could have mistaken for.
Hadvar hesitated; none of these strange beings, which looked like refugees from Sheogorath's realm more than anything else, was on the list, and he relied on lists more than on anything else in the world.
The Captain glared at him, 'I said, next prisoner!'
'No, no, no!' Fozzie cried out in desperation, 'Not Gonzo! Can't you see he is innocent! We are all innocent! Well, not that innocent, but... What I mean to say is...'
'Why don't you have your head cut off instead of him?' Statler suggested, 'It's not like you'll miss it'.
'It's no laughing matter!' Fozzie's voice was almost tearful.
'Of course! Your sketches never are!' jeered Waldorf.
'SILENCE!' the Captain bawled out, 'To the block, you foul vision of a hung-over Daedra! Now!'
'Oh cruel fate!' Gonzo soliloquized hoarsely, flinging himself dramatically at the headsman's feet, 'Does this mean I shall see the sun no more? Farewell, my fellow Muppets! We have shared some good times - and bad food - together! Keep me in your heart, Camilla... And Floyd, sorry about those five bucks you lent me; they just looked so fine in my mildew collection...' He paused, raised his head to look at his stupefied audience and hissed angrily, 'Well? I am giving you all a chance to escape! Don't just stand there and let my talents at diversion go to waste! Go run for it or something!'
They did run for it, but not exactly because Gonzo had been so good at distracting the Imperials. They seized this precious opportunity when someone much bigger - but not much uglier - arrived on the scene... Alduin.