Hello all! This is it. The next story! The next part. Two things about this story. One: it will be much shorter than the first, consisting of only a few chapters. Two: there is only one POV in this one, but Part III of the Trilogy will return to the original Season Unending setup with a whole host of new POV's. I think they're pretty cool.
Thanks to all you guys who have reviewed Season Unending. I'll thanks you properly next chapter but like I said, Unending is in hibernation and I am now active on this story, otherwise things would get too complicated. But review here, and I'll give you all the thanks you deserve. Sorry to you guys without accounts this time, but it really would be hard to do. Never fear though, you will be mentioned next chapter should you favourite or review.
Cool, let's do this.
Jarl Jon Stormcloak
The chamber was small, with a large round table made of pure silver, with white gold patterns spiralling over its surface. The room was white marble and it glittered by the light of the torches. In the middle of the table, in an inset, with the tips just showing was the crown of Skyrim, a simple bronze circlet inlaid with draconic runes. They read, He who wears this crown is King, and by that right deserves the loyalty of all free men. He expected that he was the only person who could read them here.
Around the table were nine seats, each elegant and imposing. Each was fashioned in a distinct style; that of the Jarl's Hold. In front of him, on the opposite wall, was the seat of Eastmarch, a solid mass of dark granite with silver thread worked into it in fine, but simple pattern on the cushions. He was pleased to see that the Stormcloak bear still roared its disdain in the silver thread, on a ved, black, background, almost untouched by the years the seat had seen.
My seat, thought Jon Stormcloak, Jarl of Windhelm, Warden of the East, Lord of Eastmarch, Marshal of the Old Armies, and also 'The Dragonborn'. Jon was dressed as a Jarl of Eastmarch should be. Unlike many of the Jarl's around him, Jon was dressed in silvery sky-forge steel mail, reaching to his knees. Under that was black leather, above it a long midnight blue doublet trimmed in silver thread that reached to just above the mails length. He had simple black leggings with his skyforge greaves and bracers, the bracers inlaid with small bear heads now. At his side, hung on a black belt with silver fastenings, was Kodaav, his hand and a half sky-forge steel sword, the ancient sword of Clan Stormcloak. At his back was a long black cloak trimmed roughly with dark grey fur. That was a functional thing, as the chamber was frigid and Windhelm was always cold besides. Jon thought his attire was cheap, as compared to the other Jarls.
The kingsmoot was about to take place, at the strike of midnight. The Jarls of Keizaal, Skyrim, had gathered in this special chamber to decide the next High King of Skyrim. Jon was safe in the knowledge that despite what people wanted from him, he wasn't aiming to become King, but he got satisfaction from knowing that there would be little competition should he put his name forward.
Behind him stood Ralof, his Housecarl, and an old friend. Also there was his new Steward, Brunwulf Free-Winter. Brunwulf was a good man, popular in Windhelm, and exactly the kind of person he needed to help him get to grips with the trappings of power.
Jon had only been given a few weeks before the moot had been called. It was of course important that they appoint a High King as soon as possible, but even so the timing annoyed Jon a little; he had been hoping for some time to get to grips with his Jarldom before he interacted with the other Jarls.
Also at Jon's side was his young son, Alsfur. Although Ysold, Jon's wife, had insisted that he stay outside, Jon thought he needed to start learning how to become a Jarl. She had agreed, with the exception that he be returned before one in the morning so he could get some sleep. Just the thought of Ysold made Jon hard, and he wanted this moot to be done with already so he could return to her.
Jon bent down to his kul, son, and grasped him by the shoulder. 'I want you to pay attention, Alsfur. One day, you may be sitting in that seat and you'll need to be strong.' He smiled and Alsfur returned it, brushing dark brown hair out of his eyes, like Jon did with his own jet black hair.
'I'll listen, and become a great Jarl one day;' he told Jon with all the confidence of a child.
'That's my boy.' He straightened up and turned to Ralof. 'Make sure he behaves. This is important business.'
'Right, Jarl Jon. I'll watch him.' Ralof replied, with his customary grin.
Jon strode to his chair and sat Alsfur down in a seat on the wall behind him as the other Jarl's were doing to their own heirs. The Jarl's seats were close enough to the walls to allow the Jarl's to confer with their Housecarls and Stewards as the moot progressed, yet still allow them a degree of independence.
Jon Stormcloak sat himself in his own chair. It was comfortable and he consoled himself with idea that if it dragged on he could just fall asleep. All the Jarl's had seated themselves now and the moon had reached a peak; Jon prepared himself. As a Stormcloak of Windhelm, the oldest family in Skyrim, possibly all of human Tamriel, he was to announce the moot. He readied himself.
'My Jarls,' (tradition dictated that only the Jarl's spoke in a moot, everyone else was technically not present.) 'We have gathered here today to choose a new High King.' Jon's voice cut the air. As he controlled the thu'um his voice was distinct, clear and powerful. In this case it was immensely useful. All the Jarls watched him as he continued.
'First, all weapons must be relinquished as a sign of peace.' Jon stood and drew Kodaav, noticing the looks it drew from the young heirs and the few glances from the more military of the Jarls who greatly respected Jon's prowess. He placed it in front of him, so the blade faced towards the du'ul, crown, in the centre of the table, but kept the hilt within easy reach. This was also custom, so if a fight broke out he could defend himself, but any grab for his weapon would be seen. Jon kept his dagger though, for it was used to draw attention in the moot by slamming it against the table.
Together the other Jarls stood, and drew their own weapons, some used by them in past battles, a few ceremonial for those Jarls who didn't fight.
They all sat together and Jon completed his last duty by proclaiming; 'Let us begin!'
Jarl Elisif Kings-Blood the Fair sat on Jon's right. Solitude considered itself the next most important city in Skyrim and although the table was round, there was a subtle ordering system. All the Jarl's drew power from Windhelm, it being the first city, and because the King, or Queen, now resided in Solitude in general, the Jarl of Solitude claimed rights and resided on Jon's right. However as the chamber was perfectly circular with four exits; soon any primacy would be lost as the moot continued.
'I, Jarl Elisif of Clan Kings-Blood, Jarl of Solitude, would put my name forward as High Queen of Skyrim.' She looked around, waiting for challengers. Her lilting voice carried through the chamber.
Jarl Igmund Oath stood, breaking the silence. 'I, Jarl Igmund of Clan Oath, Jarl of Markarth would put my name forward.' As was right he had to present his plans if he won the crown, being the first 'challenger'. 'I would increase trade, especially that of Markarth and Windhelm, who could feel free to trade at exclusive prices for granite and silver.' He inclined his head to Jon, and Stormcloak returned it. Igmund was obviously trying to curry favour with a major Hold, such as Jon's, but more importantly he was trying to win the support of a great hun, hero; an important part of Nordic culture. Jon realised that he wasn't going to be able to be impartial. His position dictated that he couldn't.
By now, most of the Jarls were looking expectantly at Jon, waiting for him to claim. Jon didn't need to technically, but he stood anyway, and stated his own intentions;
'I wish it to be known that I, Jarl Jon of Clan Stormcloak, Jarl of Windhelm will have no part in becoming King. I will pledge my support to a candidate more worthy of the position.' He sat and ripples ran through the room. Jon himself felt slightly relieved that he was now out of the running.
Balgruuf took the opportunity to assert his own claim. 'I, Jarl Balgruuf of Clan Wind-Shifter, Jarl of Whiterun, would put my name forward as High King. I would ensure that crime is kept down and that the Jarls would keep their independence even as we are allied with the Empire.' The Jarls voiced their agreement at the last part. That was three of the Jarls who ruled major Holds now who had put forward their names. Only Maven Black-Briar, the new Jarl of Riften, having been appointed by the people in the recent Civil War, hadn't spoken yet. She stood.
'I, Jarl Maven of Clan Black-Briar, Jarl of Riften, would put my name forward. I would foster trade to all Holds and ensure that banditry was minimised in trade and crime.' She looked around, and sat. All the major Jarls had committed now, except Jon. He realised that it made him the most powerful person in this room. Suddenly, another Jarl stood; Jarl Siddgeir of Clan Stuhn, Jarl of Falkreath stood. He controlled a minor Hold, but a large one with a prosperous timber trade and wide, fertile lands. Siddgeir was also young, only a few years older than Elisif and the rumours of how he had first obtained his Jarldom were suspicious, at best. Jon didn't like him; he was greedy and arrogant, but well adept at keeping his true nature hidden form the other Jarls. But having the royal court at Falkreath was out of the question. He would have to improve Falkreath massively, a job he may ask his Jarls to help with if he should become Jun, King. And then Jon saw it; his plan. He wanted the power of being King, while giving Falkreath the boost it needed to become a major Hold.
'I, Jarl Siddgeir, of Falkreath would put forward a claim. I would supply free timber once a month to each Hold, and I would also build a new military fort in Falkreath Hold where young Nords could come to learn the arts of war and fighting. This, I would do if I was King.' Jon noticed the 'young Nord' part of his proposal. He looked at his own son, and at Balgruuf's own young son. Another attempt to curry favour seeing as war is an integral part of Nordic culture. It would be a good opportunity for young Nords to learn the prestigious art of war, safely. It was a good idea, Jon had to concede grudgingly to himself.
He sat and they waited. When no one came forward, the moot really began.
Jarl Korir of House Winter, Jarl of Winterhold, thumped his dagger on the table, and the Jarls turned their heads to look at him. He was a Nord in his early-thirties with thick, shoulder length auburn hair. He was dressed in white and light grey, the Winterhold colours, with a small silver crown, the emblem of Winterhold, fastening his cloak.
'I want to give my support to Jarl Siddgeir, who I believe would benefit us all with his policies. He would make a fine King.' He sat and they exchanged a nod. It looked forced though, and Jon regarded them suspiciously. The mood tensed. The moot had begun properly and the Jarls started to review past insults, alliances and other things in an attempt to determine who they would support first. This was a dangerous part, as anyone could be struck out, or win, in a matter of minutes.
The new Jarl of Dawnstar, a retired Imperial Legate called Brina Merilis stood. 'I pledge my support to Elisif, the Fair. I believe that she could lead us with grace and wisdom, into a new Skyrim.' Jon nodded, thoughtful. That was expected. They were both strong Imperial supporters, and their Holds bordered each other, even if they were radically different people.
Another Jarl stood, this time Idgrod of Clan Ravencrone, Jarl of Morthal. She was old, but still sharp and she confidently proclaimed; 'I pledge my vote to Igmund, Jarl of the Reach.' She sat and he nodded to her. Jon was the decider; he could vote either Maven or Balgruuf, or lend his support to another. He stood.
'I pledge my support…' Jon looked at Balgruuf, who he knew well; an honourable and capable man, as opposed to Maven, an up-jumped mead baron. '…to Balgruuf, of Whiterun.' He sat and they exchanged nodded. More murmuring as the Jarls realised that one, Maven, had been kicked out of the running, having obtained no votes, and two; Jarl Jon Stormcloak, 'the Dragonborn' had supported Balgruuf. This would give the Jarl of Whiterun a big advantage.
At this point the Jarls stood to take a break, intended for alliances to be made, threats to be shared and to let the Jarls refresh their minds. Jon moved outside the chamber and moved over to Ralof.
'Return Alsfur back to Ysold, and ask if she'll see me in the one of these rooms.'
'Right, my Jarl.' He took Alsfur by the shoulder after Jon had kissed his forehead and bid him goodnight. Jon then turned to Brunwulf.
'What do you think?' He asked the older Nord.
He pulled at his sadon, grey, beard. 'I think that Siddgeir would make a bad king.'
'So do I. He's too…'
'Arrogant, disdainful.' Brunwulf supplied.
'I agree. Not to mention lazy and incompetent. Under Siddgeir, Skyrim would suffer.'
'Yes, but, my Jarl, I think he has brought his support. I suspect even now he's doing deals.'
'Yes, but what is he trading and where is a minor Hold getting it?' Jon asked.
'I wouldn't worry now, my Jarl. Wait to see how he plays, and then we'll decide on the next course of action.'
'It may be too late.' Jon warned Brunwulf.
'It may, but a Jarl can't accuse another of false play, especially one as new as yourself, and in a game where it is perfectly legal.'
'Aye, I'll wait. Until then I'll stay loyal to Balgruuf.'
'As you will, my Jarl.'
At that moment Ralof returned with Ysold, her brown hair flying, clad in a light dress. Her pregnancy was at four months now, and a slight bulge was beginning to show. She had also gained a little weight as a result, but Jon had never seen her more beautiful. The Jarl strode over to his Housecarl.
'Assign a man to follow Jarl Siddgeir.' Ralof looked confused. 'Just do it,' Jon insisted.
Ralof moved off and Jon led Ysold to an empty room down the corridor. He closed the door and turned to Ysold, who was watched Jon with an amused expression on her face.
'You know, if you wanted to see me so badly, you could have come to our chamber,' she told him playfully.
Jon smiled, but pushed the thought out of his mind. 'No, as much I'd like to, but it's about the Kingsmoot.'
Her expression became serious. 'What do you mean?'
'I've decided to support Balgruuf's claim to the throne. What do you think?' Jon respected Ysold's opinion highly, and he wanted to ensure they both agreed on his decision before he went to far with it.
'I lived in Whiterun Hold; he's honourable and just, if a little proud. He would make a fine King.' She looked at Jon carefully. 'Why?'
'Our son will one day be Jarl of Windhelm. He will likely live under Balgruuf's descendents, and I want to ensure that they will do well by him. That, and Skyrim needs a strong King… after my Father.'
Ysold's face softened. 'Oh, Jon, you can't promise that. The Septims were a good line, but even they had some bad stock. I hate to say this, but he'll have to make his own way… when he becomes Jarl,' she finished awkwardly. It was obvious what it entailed.
Jon felt slightly foolish, but she cupped him face. 'It's not stupid to care, just… well that was a little stupid.' She kissed him to show Jon that she didn't care, and he returned it passionately. His hands began to explore her body, before a loud knock rocked the door. Ysold pushed him away, playfully, giggling.
'Wait until after you've done your duty to do your… other duty.'
'You'll stay awake.' Jon asked smiling.
She looked Jon up and down, before deciding; 'We'll have some difficulty with the mail, but I suppose I could wait.'
'It'll be worth it.'
'Oh, I know it will.' She smiled naughtily. 'Now go get us a new King. And do it quickly.'
'I will.' Jon slapped her arse as she walked past him and she giggled again.
Out of the room, Jon watched her go before turning on Carl Ralof, who had knocked.
'What's so important?' he said angrily, annoyed that he had been disturbed at such a bad time.
Ralof raised his eyebrows. 'You may be Jarl Jon now, but I remember the grumpy git on his way to the chopping block.'
'No, you're right.' Jon sighed and rubbed his face. 'It was uncalled for. But, Ysold was there and…'
'Oh, I know. No harm done, and besides I would abandon the moot for that.' He grinned. 'But you still need to attend said moot, which is beginning.'
'Ah, right. I forgot.' Jon began to stride to the chamber, trying to put Ysold from his mind with Ralof following.
'I know you did,' his Housecarl grinned.
I hope that lived up to Unending's standards. Please write a review, and you will see more of Jon's reign as Jarl in Part III seeing as in this one he has only just gotten into the job.
Review and stay alive.