The Skyrim Fansite is proud to publish Morgen’s Journal, original Skyrim fiction by screenwriter and film maker Andy Cull. Morgen’s Journal will be presented this week in two parts, followed next week with Andy’s second story, Reyda’s Journal.
To learn more about Andy Cull and his impressive body of work, please read the exclusive interview he gave to the Skyrim Fansite and visit his website at andrewcull.com. Also, be sure to add Morgen as a Skyrim follower. Visit the Morgen mod to learn more!
Morgen’s Journal, Part I
4E 201, 17 Sun’s Height
We can hear the battle from the village, see the fires burning in the valley to the east, great pillars of smoke swirling to the sky.
I cannot sleep tonight. It has been three days now and still they fight. More Imperials marched through the village today. More lambs to be slaughtered at Ulfric’s hands. The screams of the wounded and dying fill the air tonight. How many lives is this land worth? What good will it be Ulfric when you’ve razed it to the ground?
4E 201, 19 Sun’s Height
At breakfast this morning Hodlin warned me to keep my opinions on the war between us. There are fierce Stormcloack supporters here in the village. He said already they whisper of traitors and comeuppance. I told him not to worry. We know every person in this village.
4E 201, 21 Sun’s Height
I did not think that I could love my darling Hodlin anymore but I was wrong! This morning, after months of stealing away to his workshop he finally presented to me the hunting bow he has been crafting. I do not think I have ever seen a finer bow and I do not think I had ever seen my Hodlin look any more proud. That wonderful look of pride in his eyes, that smile, made my heart swell.
4E 201, 22 Sun’s Height
I awoke just before dawn and got to work straight away. I packed dried meats and some bread and cheese into Hodlin’s backpack. I also snuck in some spiced wine that a traveller from Solitude had sold to us. Today my Hodlin leaves to hunt Venison. It will be his first trip with his new bow. It is a trip that he has made many times before, heading for the plains of Whiterun and the wealth of prey that roam there. It could be several days before he returns. I wish that he wouldn’t go away at a time like this. Still, we are low on supplies and soon, if we don’t hunt, we won’t eat.
4E 201, 22 Sun’s Height
Hodlin has gone. Our house is too large and too quiet without him. I do not sleep soundly when he is not next to me.
4E 201, 23 Sun’s Height
Tonight I awoke with a start. The usually comforting silence that wraps itself around the village at night unnerved me. Something was wrong. I lit a candle and sat listening, the darkness around me quiet like a held breath before a scream. And then I heard it.
Someone moved, out in the night, at the back of the house. There! Again! Someone moved by the outside hatch to the cellar. I cupped the candle’s flame so it wouldn’t be seen and moved close to the shutters to look out. Leaning in, until I almost touched the shutters, I tried to look through the gaps in the wood. Oh Hodlin why do you have to be away now?
I heard the cellar hatch open, it sounded like someone half climbed, half fell down into the cellar below. There were too many footsteps to be just one person. I could hear them moving around underneath the house! Terrified, I snuffed the candle, hoping that no one had noticed me. But then someone pressed against the cellar trapdoor only inches from my feet!
The trapdoor nudged, shifted and strained against its bolt. Thank Talos that Hodlin had locked it before he left! Then came a voice. “Morgen!” A muffled whisper. “Morgen!” It was Hodlin! I rushed to the trapdoor, tore back the bolt and threw it open.
As soon as he saw me Hodlin raised a hand to hush me. My heart racing, I saw that the front of his shirt was covered in blood. “What has happened? Hodlin, what has happened to you?”
“Do not worry my love. I am not injured.” Hodlin lead me down into the basement, the light of his candle lantern pushing back the thick darkness of the cellar.
In a corner of the room lying on a pile of hay was a young Imperial soldier. More a child than a man he could barely raise his head to look at us as we approached. His face was so pale, his blood spreading across the hay, his life draining onto our cellar floor. Without any questions I knew what Hodlin wanted me to do and I got to work straight away.
Hodlin had torn strips from his shirt and tied them tightly around the young man’s torso in an attempt to stop the bleeding. It would not be enough. I know no healing magic and the few potions we have in the house would not save this boy if we did not act quickly. I sent Hodlin to bring me a torch from the stable.
Once back, we doused the torch in oil and set it alight. A Stormcloak‘s sword had torn into the boy’s side, slicing through his armour, ripping through his flesh. I got Hodlin to hold the boy tightly, to hold him still, and to muffle his cries. I pressed the burning torch into the soldier’s side. Hodlin muffled his screams but his anguish was terrible. Tears poured down the poor boy’s cheeks. I realised that I was crying too.
The cellar had filled with smoke and the awful smell of burnt flesh. Once more I readied the torch. “I’m sorry.” I said as I pressed it once more into the wound.
The boy had fallen unconscious, his breathing was shallow, weak, but his wound was sealed. I cleaned and dressed the wound as best I could. Hodlin and I spent the night by his side. We had done what we could but only time would tell if he would make it through the night. While we sat Hodlin explained what had happened.
Hodlin had taken a different route when he had set out hunting. He’d tried to circle around the battle going several miles out of his way through thick woodland to avoid the fighting. Making less ground than he had wanted Hodlin had stopped in a clearing to drink from a freshwater stream. That was when the young man stumbled from the forest crying for someone to help him.
Hodlin couldn’t refuse him. Regardless of his allegiance he was only a child and Holdin would not let him die if he could help it. Hodlin had done what he could but soon realised that he was ill equipped to treat the young soldier’s wounds with only the most basic supplies in his hunting pack. Taking him back to the house would be a huge risk. If he were caught by the staunch Stormcloak supporters in the village Hodlin and the boy would be killed. But what choice did he have? Hodlin had waited until sunset and then had carried the young soldier through the cover of the dark woods back to our home. He prayed that no one had seen or heard him return. You are a good man, my Hodlin, my good man and I am grateful to Talos that you are my husband.
4E 201, 26 Sun’s Height
It has been several days now since Hodlin brought the young Imperial to our home and in that time I have hardly left his side. Today the boy ate his first meal. Just a little stew but it is a start. His wound shows no sign of infection but his pain is clear. Hodlin has packed the boy’s armour into his backpack and tonight, once the village sleeps, he will take them to the woods and get rid of them. If we are found to be harbouring an Imperial soldier… I do not wish to imagine what would happen to us all.
4E 201, 28 Sun’s Height
We saw their torches first. I counted at least ten. Searing through the night, heading up from the valley, from the battlefield, towards the village. Stormcloak soldiers, marching victorious from the massacre below. Hodlin grabbed his backpack, quickly hoisting its weight onto his back. He had to leave now, get rid of the boy’s armor, before the patrol made it to the village.
Rushing from the cellar, Hodlin was gone into the night. He made me lock the hatch behind him and I sat with the young Imperial in the darkness, waiting, silently praying that the patrol would pass straight through the village.
Above I could hear the soldiers shouting, some of them were drunk. A few villagers came out of their houses to cheer them on. Their noise grew until it peaked outside our house. I held my breath. But then the cheering and shouting began to fade as the soldiers moved on into the night. I looked down in the darkness to see the young boy looking up at me terrified. “It will be alright” I said. And then I heard someone call out.
I recognised the voice: Godrel Stonearm calling the soldiers, “Over here!” Those were the words that damned us.
Godrel had seen Hodlin leave. He’d had his suspicions ever since the night Hodlin brought the Imperial to our house but those were confirmed when he stopped Hodlin on the edge of the village and the soldiers made him turn out his backpack.
First they hammered at our door. I sat in the cellar, silent, the young Imperial holding my hand tightly with all the strength he could muster. I could hear Hodlin protesting that they were wrong, trying to explain the contents of his backpack. Next they tried to beat the cellar hatch in. Each terrible slam seemed to shake the whole house. The noise tore through the silence of the cellar., deafening, screaming in the dark.
The wood splintered but would not split. Then I heard his voice. The Stormcloak commander. He gave the order to burn the house to the ground.
Hodlin fought against his captors. I could hear them beat him, hear him hit the ground. “For Talos Sake! We’re all Nords! This is madness!” Other villagers had gathered outside. People we thought were our friends. A growing frenzy hungry for blood. I could smell the fire above me spreading, our home burning, our lives fast turning to choking ash.
And then the fire was upon us, the ceiling above us first glowing red then flame twisting, curling between the floorboards. Fingers of fire taking hold. In only a moment the ceiling was ablaze, a wall of flame, heat that seemed to pull my very breath from my lungs. I looked down at the young man and once more I said, “I’m sorry.” I closed my eyes.
The hands came from nowhere, rough, tearing at me. I lost my grip on the Imperial soldier. I tried to fight, to wrestle free but I was too weak. The Stormcloaks had burst in when the cellar hatch had collapsed. They hadn’t finished with us yet.
I was thrown hard onto the ground. I gasped for air, my lungs burning. “Hodlin!” I cried out choking on the cold night air. “Hodlin!” They threw the Imperial soldier on the ground next to me. Hodlin called back. I pulled myself from the mud to see him being held by two Stormcloaks. The Commander fixed me with a stare filled with disgust. That was when I noticed his piercing blue eyes. I will never forget those eyes.
“This is what happens to traitors!” He shouted to the crowd and then without hesitation tore his blade across my Hodlin’s throat. The soldiers dropped him as if he meant nothing, leaving him choking, bleeding to death in the dirt. I managed to pull myself to my feet but the Commander grabbed me and threw me to the ground once more.
Behind me I heard the boy cry out. One of the soldiers had run him through with a long sword. Some of the villagers cheered! The soldier put his foot on the boy’s chest and used it to lever the sword from his body. The young Imperial was thrown backwards, dead, onto the blood covered earth.
I got to my feet again and ran to my Hodlin. This time the Commander didn’t stop me. He knew that my Hodlin was already dead, he had torn our last moments from us, he had no need to hold me back now. I sat in the mud and held my darling husband to me. The Commander simply turned his back and walked away. He ordered his men to leave me alive as a lesson.
I fought but couldn’t stop them taking the young soldier’s body for a terrible, gruesome keepsake. One of the soldiers punched me in the stomach, winding me, leaving me lying in the mud by my Hodlin’s side. Our house burned more violently than ever, flames tearing at the sky as if they were trying to set the world alight.
The story continues in Morgan’s Journal, Part II…