Letters From Cidna Mine

The desk of Madanach Stiubhart, the imprisoned "King in Rags."

Letters

Contraband

((This is a Skyrim RP Blog))
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About
Forsworn Headcanons

Letters From Cidna Mine: volamer started following you

Justiciar Volamer,

I had heard passing mention of The Beautiful in the past, but that mention has never come from a source that could be relied upon to disclose information about the group without a dismissive or condescending bias. My own experiences with the Forsworn have led me to suspect the motivations of anyone who dismisses the actions of any organized group as being simply one thing or another with the basest of motivations. I find that the information that you have shared sheds light on our ability to find common ground in our discussions. I was a great shock when I was arrested to find that outsiders viewed me as simply a madman and a murdering tyrant, and were unwilling to see the positive results of my actions carried further.

“We create by the right hand of Anu and destroy with the left of Padomay and establish balance. The achievement of balance is much sought after for creation in excess would only depreciate in value.” That is almost exactly what I was taught as a child in regards to living life as a mage following the old ways, except it also came with the warning that one should never destroy so much that creation of something new becomes impossible. For doing so would be to throw the balance off to such a degree that the world as we know it would cease to exist, and that the decision to end everything or not belongs in the hands of the gods, and we are but mere mortals. However, even without taking an arcane perspective, acts of creation do destroy. A child is born, and as it grows it must eat. It gets its food from killing plants and animals for consumption. It must destroy to live.

There is peace to be found in being able to make restitution with one’s past, to let go of the memories that have undue power over ones actions, without forgetting the events that led to the current situation. No experience is completely negative. While our society believes in communal ownership of most goods, I did have in my possession a number of objects of personal and symbolic value before my incarceration. The Nords took them from me when they put me down here, and now that I have accepted this find that I am stronger for the loss. I have nothing but my heart, and I gave it to my land and my people long ago. I have nothing that can be taken from me. For I have become detached from everything, but my self and my purpose. They have made me invulnerable, for they have forced me to reconcile myself with my memories or perish. The chalice of my spirit overflows with potential.

Now that I think of it, that desire for progress within Altmer society must create a great deal of conflict. I have always understood that the Altmer are particular about doing things a certain way out of a desire to remain as close in spirit to your Aldmer ancestors and their forebears as possible. With that in mind, I concluded long ago that Altmer politics must operate within a deep well of conservatism. Your participation within the ranks of The Beautiful at any level must have horrified the elders in your family, even though I imagine that the political appeal of membership must have stemmed from the group’s anti-Imperial stance. It seems a logical conclusion given your current allegiance to the Thalmor.

I do not find it unbecoming of you, that you should share this information. I merely find it surprising that I was the one chosen to receive it. You have honoured me with your disclosure. But surely, a mer of your qualities must have some comrade or ally within the Thalmor stationed here that you feel a sense of kinship with. I do not want to step outside the comfortable boundaries of our correspondence so far, but have you considered sharing any of this with one of them? There are hidden depths within the souls of every person, and they benefit from getting a breath of fresh air every once and a while.

May the old gods watch over you,

Madanach Stiubhart,

King of the Reach

(via volamer-deactivated20120521)

The Missing Children: Imagining the Sustainable Forsworn Community

Ever notice how there are no kids at the redoubts? Or the Forsworn Camps? But there seems to be an endless supply of Forsworn raiding parties, most of whom appear to be at least young adults if not older. Even taking into account that the game suggests how things are instead of making concrete statements, there’s no sign of widespread industry of any kind, including agriculture, to support the people living at the redoubts and camps, and raiding can only provide so much. So how are the people living at the redoubts and camps actually supported? Where are all these people coming from?

Read More

volamer:

kinginrags:

((Holy shit was that ever one hell of a letter. That’s got a lot of headcanon in it. That’s like headcanon cheese. Volamer!mod, I love you, but it’s going to take me forever to write a reply that dose that justice.))

((Holy shit-bags Batman, I didn’t mean to drag on like that. I was writing and researching and at the end I looked at it all, “Oh holy shit, it’s kinda long.” Please, don’t feel like you have to match the length or anything. Sometimes my muse and brain-meats can’t think of a reply. I’m just glad you liked it.))

((Not gonna try to match the length of it, just to keep myself sane. But my muse is bouncing about rasping incoherently in excitement and it’s gonna take me a while to calm him down.))

(via volamer-deactivated20120521)

((Holy shit was that ever one hell of a letter. That’s got a lot of headcanon in it. That’s like headcanon cheese. Volamer!mod, I love you, but it’s going to take me forever to write a reply that dose that justice.))

the-silliest-forsworn replied to your post: The Rebellion and its Aftermath 2

((yet again, SOO AMAZING!!))

((yay! thanks!))

The Rebellion and its Aftermath 2

In the previous headcanon it was mentioned that the Empire and Skyrim can be compared to real life colonial powers. Historically, nations that have engaged in colonization have justified their attitude towards the people they conquered by taking a paternalistic approach, stating that their goal in the colonized country was the uplifting of the native people into a civilized state.

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Letters To an Old Friend

half-nord-dovahkiin:

Dear Madanach,

I do recall your stone carvings littering your desk on occasion. Did you ever finish that one of the horses?

Oh Madanach. I have missed your council most surely. I must admit to you now though, I have lost two other children before their time. I cannot say if this one will even survive its term in me as it is, Priestess of Dibella or no.

I have the property to maintain this child. I have money. I have an older brother who currently is tickled positively pink that he will be an uncle. And I will see the faces of my forefathers in the face of that child, not his father.

It will be a painful thing to watch if he or she develops the more subtle traces of its father’s personality, but above all it will be my child. Mine as it grows in me and mine when it finds its path in life. Mine when it is happy and mine when it is sad.

If he were to take Solitude, it would be a miracle of the Divines. He does not listen to what reports I am able to give him. His spends more time as of late with his pregnant wife than he does on this war. I think he has forgotten that while he tarries men bleed and die for him.I do not think he would survive the ordeal of being imprisoned two decades. He would manage to get himself gutted or shout a rock slide onto himself.

Torygg made the mistake of trusting him and did not have the martial training that I have. And if he dared use the Thu’um while we fought he would find that there are many more shouts than just Unrelenting Force, and I know how to use most of them.

Madanach, I do not think that Tamriel will ever know peace again. The war between brothers was the harbinger for the end of days at the might maw of Alduin. When Alduin was defeated, by the Dragonborns, the land was thrust into an era like which there has never been. The old Nord word for war was “Season Unending” and I believe we might have just found it.

May your swords stay sharp and your wits sharper,

Talia Hawksley Black-River

Dear Talia,

If we are thinking of the same horses, I did finish it, and I still have that carving. There have been many others, most of them have been given away. 

It saddens me to hear that you have lost two children before birth and at such a young age, but your fierce attitude towards this one will serve you well. Before I was imprisoned I would occasionally watch my sister’s children for her. It was never longer than a day, and the girls were well behaved and self-sufficient, but the task was still exhausting. I asked my sister once how she and her husband managed the children and the farm, and her reply was that some days all she had in her was, “piss, vinegar, and sheer stubbornness.” 

Men better than Stormcloak have had their heads turned by a pretty face. It surprises me that this woman shares his faith that his ambitions will be fulfilled without effort. Certainly, he is a compelling and emotive speaker, all who know something of the Voice are, but at this rate he will be nothing but a figurehead for feuding factions should he gain control of the country. Most of his “supporters” seem to be fighting against Tullius, the Empire, and the Concordat, and not for the Stormcloak cause.

"Season Unending" sounds like a metaphor for a terrible, and long winter, spoken by those caught up in the middle of it. Seemingly endless darkness, biting wind, and a bone-chilling coldness that makes completing even the simplest tasks a monumental struggle. Winter and warfare share these things in common. But seasons are cyclical, and winter always rolls over into spring, why should civilizations be any different? Most historians agree on that the height of Tamriel’s plenty, its summer, was centuries ago. Perhaps we are witnessing the end of autumn and the beginnings of winter’s cold grip. This will bring chaos, death and destruction, as all lasting change does, but spring will come again. It will just take its time getting here.

May the old gods watch over you and smile,

Madanach Stiubhart,

King of the Reach

(Source: kinginrags, via rider-of-orhan)

Letters From Cidna Mine: volamer started following you

volamer:

Madanach Stiubhart,


Say as you wish about your craftsmanship, but I find the very work of your hand to be pleasing. Perhaps this sort of mentality is common of the creator. I often find myself destroying the very drawings I spend hours on. Let me remind you that I don’t just see a chess set. I don’t see “a table of rocks” as an ignorant Imperial worded earlier. Such words are the sure mark of a narrow-minded fool.

Picture me holding a piece in my hand, which is very much the case as I write this letter to you. I can feel each engraved mark in this stone, both jagged and smooth. I can feel unto my own the very hands that worked with painstaking passion on material expression. I can see and feel the very man who, devoid of his land and freedom, worked his very soul into something that can’t be taken away from him. I can feel strength and yearning under these fingertips of mine. It’s intoxicating.

I had noticed that you paid particular attention to the Knights, Madanach. I find sense in this. While they are equal to the Bishop, the Knight is of high importance early on. You know as well as I, that a Knight’s position can make or break your very strategy. Perhaps it’s safe to say that you’re putting much thought on how to position your Knights in the future. Won’t you agree?

Of course, going down into a Skeever den like Cidhna Mine would be unbecoming of me. While I won’t deny my apparent desire to see in you person, I know better than to execute such a foolish endeavor. Regardless, I can’t help but express this very idea because you must be made aware of how I value your intellect. Individuals like yourself are a scarcity in these lands, and I feel it’s a personal obligation of mine to never over-look such.

I would agree. It is not money or a lavishing title that defines true power. I believe I shall recall what I had stated in one of my previous letters: I value the mind as a prime weapon of choice. A blade can slice through flesh, but flesh can heal. Words can tear apart flesh along with the very foundations of will and honor—and such may never be restored. The mind can weave words that can raise a fool above his King and pin the loyalty of families against one another. One can weave armies at the ready without raising a single sword to the call but with words alone.

You have my thanks for this friendly reminder. I find it funny that despite me being here for twelve years, I have yet to gain an understanding of the seasons. However, I have noticed the considerable amount of rainfall recently and the malleable firmness of the soil because of it.

With kind Regards,

Justiciar Volamer

Justiciar Volamer,

I am surprised that you’ve picked up on the additional things that I poured into the making of the chess set. But in retrospect, it shouldn’t be surprising. Your job requires you to be observant and maintain vigilance to a greater or lesser degree at all times, and I had already come to the conclusion that you had an artist’s sensibilities. 

I am paying very close attention to how I position my Knights. The number of pieces on the board is dwindling on both sides, but Silver-Blood recently promoted a Pawn.

I would imagine that those who have witnessed you destroying your drawings often react with censure and recrimination that you could commit such an act. I have found that regarding destruction of any kind as inherently negative is a common attitude outside of my people, as I was recently reminded during correspondence with a College Mage. As children, we are taught that creation and destruction are born of the same place and that we should all endeavor to create more than we destroy. Perhaps the value in your drawings comes not from the artistic skill with which you render your subject, but the outlet they provide for all those occurances that have happened in you life that you cannot speak of. To destroy something of artistic merit is a shame, but in destroying your drawings you protect your private, and vulnerable inner self, which allows you to continue to create.

I have found that the wisest and most intelligent individuals that I have met are often the least likely to open their mouth and speak, and that when they do they seldom feel the need to shout from the rooftops, perhaps because they understand the power of their own words. As a result, they can be easily overlooked.

You mentioned in a previous letter that you had seen the passing of more than four hundred years? I can scarcely fathom what it must be like to have the memory of all that time adding weight to my mind, except to think that the mundane and commonplace events of everyday life must blur together in recollection, punctuated by that which is truly memorable. They do for me and I am not yet sixty. It is no wonder that the passage of the seasons in a land that is not your home has escaped your understanding. However, I cannot judge anyone for that. The only reason I knew of current season and its effects is because I have been getting reports of some of the lesser roads into Hjaalmarch and High Rock having been washed out recently.

May the old gods watch over you,

Madanach Stiubhart

King of the Reach

(via volamer-deactivated20120521)

Letters To an Old Friend

half-nord-dovahkiin:

Madanach Stiubhart, King of the Reach,

The master of waiting breaking his vigilance prematurely? You flatter me, Madanach. I’m afraid these personal matters branch into those of my more private life rather than trouble with Thalmor. My fiance, or perhaps more appropriately, managed to get a child on me and decided to skip out of town. I would be appreciative if he managed to meet an end if he were so stupid as to roam through the Reach.

A redheaded briarheart. He sounds as though he was a lion among men. I shall ensure I remind Galmar of the times. May those men never be forgotten.

I have little doubt that Stormcloak is the same man as he was twenty years ago. Men don’t change and if they do, I’ve found it’s usually for the worse than for the better. I think there will be some irony found should that man ever land his arse on that throne.

Good health is just another way of saying, dying at the slowest possible rate.

Wars are not over until all the men and mer who fought in the conflicts can no longer tell the tales. Typically in finding respite in a bed made of dirt, six feet underground.

May your swords stay sharp and your wits sharper,

Talia Hawksley Black-River

PS: I had heard of some of the tales of Hjialti Early-Beard, but never of his origins. How intriguing, I suppose I will investigate more tales of Tiber Septim. After all, Thalmor want to try me for worshiping him; might as well know something about it.

Dear Talia,

Just because I can wait, and patiently, doesn’t mean that I enjoy waiting for the unknown to resolve itself. I simply understand that I have to accept that not everything is under my control, and in the meantime I channel my nervous energy into stone carving. 

If memory serves correct, you do not have much in the way of older kin that you would trust to mentor you, so I am going to write some hard statements and ask difficult questions that really ought to come from your mother. This man will do what he will do, if he is the sort that would get a good woman pregnant and then abandon her then it is likely that you willl not be able to count on him to be reliable. So, do not factor him into your decisions for the future. If you choose to take him back as a lover that is your choice because your life is yours to live. This is ultimately about you, your life, and what might end up being a life-changing event for you.

Do you even want to be a mother? Now? Or a few years from now?

Do you have what you need physically, emotionally, and practically to raise a child the way you would want it to be raised?

Do you have support from your friends and your community?

Can you deal with the fact that every time you look at the child you will see things its father passed down to it and nothing you can do will ever change that?

If you need a woman to talk to, or decide that you’re not going to go through with it, the priestesses of Dibella will not judge you. They charge a nominal fee for abortion services. 

I would be really tempted to form up a militia group if Stormcloak ends up on the throne, then storm my way into Solitude and throw him into a hole for two decades. See how he likes it. Still, watch your back around him, he’s dangerous when he bothers to pull his head out of his ass because he has an idea. Torygg counted him as a friend.

Wars are a constant, when we have reasons to go to war. At this rate, we will all be blind, deaf, dumb, multiple amputees before Tamriel knows true peace again. 

May the old gods watch over you and smile,

Madanach Stiubhart,

King of the Reach

(Source: kinginrags, via rider-of-orhan)

Reachman Culture :: A Different Perspective of the Madmen

sigruntrueshot:

((Also known as Headcanon 10! This is somewhat of an OOC post in some places, so bear with me!

The portrait Sigrun requested from King Madanach was in part because an avid researcher of the Forsworn culture wanted to depict the truth about the Reachmen from his own experience living with them for a time in Bruca’s Leap. He promised Sigrun a manuscript of this book to send to Madanach (kinginrags.tumblr.com) so that he may read it over for accuracy.

It is also my massive (and I mean massive) headcanon on Forsworn culture (Etienne Arouet, a Breton, speaks for me, but even he presents his own beliefs on the matter and unless there is an OOC post directly from me, it’s in his character). It is somewhat lengthy, so I put it under a “read more”. I suggest you click this and then copy paste the content into Word, or check out my GoogleDoc copy of it, as I understand my layout font can be very small.

As usual, a headcanon is something that is canonical in my head. You are free to dispute it or even completely disagree with it; even adopt aspects of it, if you wish.

There are a few categories that you can use CTRL+F to find if you don’t want to read the entire thing. The categories are as follows:))

•    Preface
•    Reach Names
•    Reach Ancestry
•    The Forsworn Cause
•    Reach Dialect
•    Reach Holidays
•    Reach Customs
•    The Old Gods
•    The Old Ways
•    Reach Magic
•    The King of the Reach
•    End

Read More

((Squee!))

(Source: nherei)

amelia-the-breton:

Madanach Stiubhart,

I was quite surprised to find that not only had you responded in a timely manner, but it was very heavy in terms of content as well. I sincerely hope you do not find this to be an affront, but you sound a lot like my mother. She was a woman of the Reach, a highlander, and she was the one who taught me my personal philosophy in regards to magic. She, too, spoke of magic as an infinite, living thing that flows within and without. That is why she taught me three very simple lessons that remind me of the cost and consequences of magic as a whole. I have come to apply those lessons to my daily life as well. Perhaps, I have more of the Reach within me than I had previously estimated. She was as strong and wise woman, as you seem to be a very strong and wise man. It is a shame that this part of my heritage is missing from me. 

The idea of a Briarheart being honed not made is quite an interesting one. Perhaps, that is the short coming of the conventional approach in that we raise what is offered to us in a pinch. To grow with force of will in order to become something greater than yourself is quite a task to instill in a child. I suppose they grow with a heavy burden but great hope in their heart as well.  

This has been most informative. 

Mòran taing.

- Amelia Rose Bertrand

Amelia Rose Bertrand,

That your mother was a Reachwoman and taught you some of our ways will serve you well in your quest. It is important to understand that all things in life come will a price, but, like a merchant might horde his savings to put towards a large purchase, those of us who live in the Reach can cultivate our own caches to use towards spellcrafting.

The creation of a Briarheart or a Hagraven for service to one of our communities is is a process that is heavily reliant on this concept, and the most visible example of it in practice. But we all do this. To follow the old ways is to understand that you have a sacred duty to the land. We are its stewards, caretakers, and gardeners. We look after the land, and the land looks after us.

The briarheart alchemical ingredient that is used for the creation of a Briarheart warrior comes from a plant that the warrior dedicated years to cultivating. By putting some of himself into the plant, and encouraging it to grow he reinforces his direct connection to the land. When he is cut down before his time, the heart of the plant is harvested and placed within his body. If the plant was given everything it needed to thrive, it will be filled with the desire to continue living, and will serve as the lifeforce of the risen Briarheart.

Should a warrior survive into old age, and the heart of his plant is never used to bring him back, the plant becomes a monument to his life, and serves to protect the community after the warrior’s death.

May the old gods watch over you,

Madanach Stiubhart,

King of the Reach

(via amelia-the-breton-deactivated20)

sigruntrueshot submitted: 

((the book is coming along, I promise xD))

((NP, I just don’t want to post a Headcanon that shoots it out of the water

amelia-the-breton:

Madanach Stiubhart,

It is a matter of great concern to me that the subject of Reach Magic be properly settled, perhaps, in an academic nature. There are many whispers and half-truths regarding it and it is slightly saddening to see that no one has decided to pursue it in a more academic manner. Not for many years, it would seem. The question, for now, lies solely in the Briarheart and, I suppose, it is a question of “why” and a little bit of “how.”

I, myself, practice the art of Necromancy, but it would seem to me that the Briarheart is beyond the conventional Necromancy that we are allowed in the College and what is achieved by non-Reach mages. While I have yet to encounter one myself, I have been told that the Briarheart retains a sense of sentience after re-animations and is wholly autonomous in his actions. Is this true and how is that possible? All Resurrection spells that I know require input from the mage, but somehow the man moves again and is still a man? Somewhat undead and yet still living? Most fascinating. 

It is my hope that you will shed some light on this subject.

Warm Regards,
Amelia Rose Bertrand

P.S. I thank you for the clarification. I daresay that I will not attempt the use of the Reach Wind any time soon, but it is a beautiful language, I will admit. Especially when sung. My mother used to sing to me in the Voice. Of course, that is a matter of a separate letter if you are so inclined.   

Amelia Rose Bertrand,

I had wondered what it was that would entice a College Mage, whose use of a tongue foreign to her was grammatically correct but far too formal, to studying our way of witchcraft. But a practicing Necromancer would have many reasons for being interested in our ways.

Of the two hundred plus Briarhearts currently roaming the Reach, there is only one I know of who has been brought back unexpectedly changed from who he had been previous to dying. And he has a butterfly in his chest, not a briarheart. All of them are capable of independent thought and action. In fact the only major change that is typical is an emotional one. A Briarheart is incapable of embracing the softer emotions that give life its full range of colour. The creation of one starts when they first pick up a blade as children.

The way of this is hard explain when isolated on its own. Your training has taught you to compartmentalize your actions and your thinking. This is a false construct born of the empirical need to arrange things in tidy hierarchies. It is a useful tool for organization, but little more. A philosophically holistic approach is needed.

Magic is life. Magic is death. Life is death. Death is life. All things in creation and destruction are born of the same divine source, and return to it after death. But a life well lived is one that creates more than it destroys.

A Reachman does not practice magic the way you think of it. A Reachman lives the way of magic, a life full of intention, in connection with the land, and (ideally) cognizant of the consequences of every action taken.

May the old gods watch over you,

Madanach Stiubhart,

King of the Reach

(via amelia-the-breton-deactivated20)

amelia-the-breton-deactivated20 asked: Madanach Stiubhart, Feasgar math. Is mise Amelia Rose Bertrand. 'Sann à College of Winterhold a tha mi. Hopefully that was correct, I do not truly speak the language, forgive my inaccuracies. I have poured over the single tome I found on Reach magic and had a thought of, perhaps, contacting you for further inquiry. Although I am apprehensive about this subject, it is best to shun ignorance. Your reply will be most welcomed and looked forward to. Taing mhór. Merci.

Amelia Rose Bertrand,

Ciamar a tha sibh?

You and I both know that a respectful effort counts for much, so long as the intention is true. 

I would be happy to answer your questions to the best of my ability. Using the terminology of the College, my areas of expertise are in Restoration, Conjuration and Destruction. I primarily work in the element of frost. I have limited experience working in what you would consider to be the other schools.

May the old gods watch over you,

Madanach Stiubhart,

King of the Reach

PS: For your edification. Your introductory statement should read, “Hallo. S’mise Amelia Rose Bertrand. Tha mi às an College of Winterhold.” And in the Low Voice we say, “Tapadh leat,” or “Mòran taing,” for “Thank you.”