Linwe, Ever watch the light go out in someone’s eyes? Ever hold that person’s gurgling corpse and just watch silently, your ears attuned to every wisp of air that billows from those cracked lips? It changes a man. Inside, it pricks the spine with sharpened fingertips. Gently digging deep, those daggers cut through the flesh effortlessly. Perfectly. A masterstroke of imminent pain that leaves one wondering whether he should flee in fear or press his own lips against those of the emptying husk. For a hero like me, it tickles, and I’m not ashamed to admit I giggle like a gleeful girl when humored by her darling crush, digging the heels of my boot into the ground beneath. Alas, when death is observed for the first time, the stomach sinks to an abyss beneath the swimmable depths of the ocean, and the mind plays horrible tricks on you. It seizes you in unending paralysis, and it taunts you… all because you watched the light go out in some poor soul’s eyes. The final curtain. The last act. And those sounds? The last gasps? They reverberate for weeks without rest, waking you up at all hours of the night just to toy with you in your shivering sweat. Too drenched in the cold harbor of night terrors, an early morning romp with the loved one is out of the question. Not even a cuddle. Believe me, Linwe, I’ve tried. What sails in the heat of passion cannot leave the docks in the wintery dew of fear. Only screeches of “wetting the bed” come forth. But you wouldn’t know that, would you, grave robber? You don’t strike me as a killer. You’re more of an Altmer nature scout in big boy clothes. A hardened leader by appearances only, deep down, you’re still a boy playing with the wood sculptures his father carved him. Yet, you want to be an adult. You want to be respected and cheered, loved for grandstanding feats without any of the reciprocation. I am the reckoning you beckoned forth into your world. I have come for the woman’s jewelry you have stolen, here for the tenderest part of a poor, dead girl’s heart – her locket. I know not why you desired this item. I care not to ponder the zany, childish dances you must do before the mirror, singing sweetly to thyself in eloquent verses of flowery etiquette. I will not wager a guess as to how you tightly press the locket close to your bosom underneath the nightgown you have stashed away in your chambers. My mission is solely for the apprehension of an item you plucked from a corpse in the Halls of the Dead, a token for a father. Summerset Shadows is no more. The banner shall roast, and your cohorts shall be stacked alongside its ashes. You brought this upon yourself, and I am the vanquisher to collect the debt of your crimes. Oblivion welcomes you, Cornelius G. Thundercock
Kharjo, The hallway twists and turns with a relentless rhythm. Am I on a ship? Is Riften one gargantuan vessel I had missed on my way into town? Are we leaving port on some journey far from the chaotic winds of Skyrim? I dare not trek outside my room to search for these answers, friend, for I fear the collapsing of my knees under such duress. I fear the unbalancing act that will take place, and the spiraling of my mind that is sure to follow. Most of all, I fear the current of mixed alcohols threatening to erupt. Yet, you’re out there somewhere, lurking in this dangerous lizard den as the very world around us distorts itself. Through the rafters, I hear the cooing slither of reptiles in heat. Talen-Jei and Keerava consummate their union again, their tails once more knocking books and goblets off shelves. Tooth against scale is a louder noise than one would imagine, especially when blended with the occasional raspy shrieks of our fair innkeeper. Her excitable yelps are as gurgled and gruff as that of a sickly, elderly man repeatedly poked with a hot iron. Still, the nocturnal call of love-making fuels the renewed sensation of blood flowing through me. Mjoll has since left for Honeyside, but there are others who may subside this fire. Is Sapphire still awake? If not, Maven Black-Briar may suffice, though I fear she may still lie unconscious upon the floor. We fools, Kharjo, we simple, drunken, riotous buffoons. We just had to test our bare skulls’ sturdiness against the power of an empty bottle? Aye. As you heartily joked, mine was thicker than yours, but as I soundly proved involuntarily of her free will, Maven’s was thickest of all. And now she’s as good as a floor decoration, chalk smearing her face from when you decided to paint her Redguard. Still, we were merry fools, Kharjo. With the aid of our fellows, we downed every last drop, and let me say this to you, slayer of moon sugar and concocter of Elseweyr Fondue, you are a master of the chugging arts. Though my superiority complex claims I still won that drinking contest, you are no lightweight to scoff at. Even Mjoll’s eyes balked in astonishment as you drank so ferociously, and she’s had the misfortune of watching me gluttonously chug mead, nude, atop a mountain only to regurgitate several seconds later in a failed attempt to prove my manhood to the Divines. But you had to smuggle in the moon sugar and the Skooma, didn’t you, Khajiit? They made the winged demons come – the Cliff Racers as Mjoll so astutely observed. I thought they left, but suddenly it seems, I can hear them once more. My ears still listen to their wings flapping down the halls, fluttering once or twice as they wait. What are they waiting for? Are they watching in wonder at the Argonian love fest still raging at this hour? Are they devouring the others at this inn? It matters not. My women are down there, and wee Cornelius burns with an intensity unmatched by any beast. I know now what I must do – what we must do together, brother. We must slay these beasts. We must skewer these winged spawn with the purity and smoldering reckoning of intelligent beast’s oldest tool – fire. Through this act, we shall warden them off for good – strike the paralyzing terror of being incinerated alive. I shall construct a torch, and then I shall come for you first, so that we may fight side-by-side. In the off-chance you have met your maker or whatever silly charlatan you creatures pray to, I shall hold a ceremony in your honor and construct a memorial effigy. Kharjo, you are and always shall be my greatest friend. Know that, and know that its truth is eternal. Fare thee well, Cornelius G. Thundercock
Stormcloaks, One never raises arms against the Dovahkiin. Aye, to do so tempts a severance betwixt head and neck of unfortunate odds and damning probabilities. Assuredly the more cowardly choice of action, one never attacks the riding beast of the Dovahkiin either. As your incapable brethren garrisoned at Fort Sungard discovered, this is a grave choice that solidifies a death most unpleasant. With the intention of strengthening my one-handed skills, as I find my solitary bachelorhood rather quiet as of late, I charged forth into this battle with a readiness to empower my right arm. An eagerness to bulge those muscles fueled my insatiable desire to swing wildly in a berserker rage, to slash unrestrainedly at your whimpering dogs in blue. In my mind’s eye, your brethren would keel over like lambs amidst the slaughtering of a wolf pack. Alas, my one-handed workout never came to be. No release of pent-up tension dissolved itself. No volcano of frenetic energy spewed forth its bombardments. Aye. My faithful Shadowmere did all the work. Strong and tireless, my horse barreled forth like a castrated bull. Cloaked in darkness with eyes that glow more sinisterly than the combined gleaming orbs of the Daedric lords, Shadowmere trampled an entire army of Stormcloaks single-hooved. An arrow protruding from his rump, the beast rampaged to correct this violation of his rear entryway. Let me tell you, surviving fellows, that being trampled to death is no pretty sight. Shadowmere knows not the slowness of exhaustion. He knows not the face of weariness or the signs of it in his joints. Eternally stalwart, my steed kicked recklessly until every last soldier’s skull was akin to a squashed tomato. Pulverized and juicy, the fort was a battleground of raining fruit this day. No staircase nor height could save any fleeing rebel from Shadowmere’s vengeance. With that solitary arrow, all had sealed their fates. Know this, he who may find this letter, these men did not die honorably. Overcome by a domesticated beast, their deaths were as dishonorable as deaths can be. More accolades and bravery would have been welcomed from tripping into an open well or slipping haphazardly down a staircase like a common drunkard. Aye. ‘Tis a petty way to die. Do not curry a horse’s vengeance, Cornelius G Thundercock
– An effigy smolders in Solitude tonight. A mannequin mockery of a long dead king soaks in the vengeance-filled incinerations of jubilation over his death. Poor King Olaf – the traitor who betrayed the Nords to the Dov. Were I allowed to interrupt the scorching of his damned soul, I would give him respite by relieving myself upon his still charring figure. No. It’s to the alleyway with me, to some hidden location where I can unleash my gut-eviscerating swill into one of these empty spiced wine bottles. Sorex Vinius will not know what hit him when he takes a swig of this, swishing it around in his foul mouth like an unappreciative brat with no sense of taste. Still, I’ve had so much of Evette San’s wonderful drink flood my belly that my flowing river may, perchance, lead to his belligerent drunkenness, an indulgence of pre-filtered alcohol. I suppose that’s a win? One bottle down, another started. The waterfall will not cease, nor shall parasitic beavers I carry from my travels damn it. I shall repay the bloke who told me there would be free meat pies and then handed me an apple pie instead. Dastardly bastard – No meat in that pie, none at all. The wolf inside me doesn’t appreciate liars, especially ones that tantalize his predator brain with salivating tales of meat-filled pastries. Think of it. The best of both worlds joined forces – pastry and flesh. The only way such a combination could be perfected would be the union of venison and sweet roll or rabbit leg and honey treat. Augh! These thoughts bounce within my skull as a creek of spittle oozes down my chapped lips and over my scarred chin. Molten saliva. Is it my own steadfast dementedness from drink, or is it my hunger for such a concoction? I know not. Aye. The only thing I do know is that in my stupor, in my imaginative voyage to the realm of baked goods, I overfilled the second bottle and soiled my boots. Jordis the Sword-Maiden will have need to wear out her knees scrubbing tonight. Perhaps I should suggest some low-cut nightwear? –Cornelius
Red Eagle, Legend tells us that your very name means the color of blood. A hero to the Forsworn, your carnal vengeance inspires them to band together and take action, a serpent’s many-headed strike against those who would infringe upon their ways. From one bloodthirsty warrior to another, I admire the sentiment. But admire the sentiment is all I can afford… Today I waged war against your fabled resting place. I seek to angrily clutch your legendary sword, desiring to unsheathe and wield it wildly in battle against all who would oppose Dovahkiin. A small band of rogues at my command, we slaughtered your would-be followers like a gluttonous orc slaughters a wheel of cheese. Your eyes would well with tears and your skull would fill with disappointing thoughts, had you seen this massacre. ‘Twas a brutality even I had not known was within me. Forsworn forces darted up and down the hillside, flailing their bony arms in the air like screeching children fleeing a perilous school teacher with a ruler in hand. Clad in animal furs and jeweled in pointed fangs of fallen beasts, these friends of yours were as intimidating as an armada of feeble old women with rusty daggers, intent of claiming seating in an overcrowded tavern for a breakfast buffet. However, it was pleasurable nonetheless. Joy scurried down my spine in childlike glee as your forces shrieked and tumbled to the ground. A woman here. A man-boy there. All splattered before me as I licked my lips in ecstasy, my ears resonating with the soothing chimes of under-developed warriors slain. To be honest, I have never witnessed mass carnage of this magnitude before. It seems I brought with me the perfect army. Aela the Huntress stood at my side, her bow in hand. A flame atronach conjured from my able fingers, skidding playfully across the landscape to alight the hills so late at night. Above, the trembling of fury thundered down a storm of fire and brimstone as my faithful dova brethren Odahviing lay siege to the encampment with his mighty thu’um. Bodies smoldered. Tents evaporated into ash. A whole settlement of would-be saviors of Skyrim disappeared in the course of a few dozen seconds. You read that correctly, sullen leader. Only their game boards remained while your devotees all met the glimmering firestorm of obliteration in mere seconds. Those that fled and hid surely lasted longer than the few who stood ground to battle, but no one was spared. Believe me, Red Eagle, when I say our massacre was thorough. As my late wife could attest, I never leave a job unfinished. To spite thee further, I ripped the briar heart from out the Forsworn leader’s chest and devoured it before his fading vision. Before Arklay welcomed the pitiful wretch in death, his last memories fell upon that which may have been personally most gruesome – a cloaked man peppering a still beating organ with spice, then munching heartily into the dripping body-fruit. Indeed, it was quite tasty, though it lacked some worldly flavor. ‘Twas like clenching a juicy, sun-warmed tomato between the jaws. Sweet… yet salted with the essence of living animal – a child, it would seem, judging by the lack of experience. And now, Red Eagle, I come for thee. Your weapon shall be mine, and your accursed spirit shall be sent forth from this realm. If your worshippers are any indication of your fighting prowess, a battle with you shall be like a feathery skip through a meadow, daintily plucking flowers and humming the tunes fair maidens hum when they are feeling the freshness of blooming season. Pretenders, all of them were. Just like like. Mother’s boys who read too many adventure stories and never took time to train. I imagine, before they banded at your resting place, they stood ’round a campfire at home rolling dice and fantasizing about the adventures they were not having. Milk-drinkers. Do whatever it is that walking corpses do, friend, lest ye have any regrets upon my final, vanquishing blow. I come for you, and I will crush you. See you soon, Cornelius G. Thunderock
Dear _____, The night was treacherously chilly. Frosts billowing down from the mountains settled in my bones, colder than usual. I could feel the frigid air slowing the blood, dimming my Dragonborn pulse to a quiet murmur – a ferocious maul of a bear cast into the throes of hibernation. I had heard word there was an opportunity of a fight in this tundra, of a brutal pummeling betwixt two men of the fisting persuasion. Hushed whispers around town said that my opponent’s name was Stone-fist, Rolff Stone-fist. No ordinary name, I must confess I felt a sensation of fear mix with the thrill of beating someone raw. But what if I was the defeated party? What if I was the one whose face was discolored into the pulpy swirls of a night sky auroras? What if I were the one relegated to look like any ordinary Elven woman in Windhelm after a drunken celebration of Nord pride? The anticipation of the unknown drew me in, I must confess. It reeled me into its toothless Falmer mouth plagued with rotten, festering gums of fish stink and disease. Whichever way the fight went, I would have achieved that gnawing urge to know disrupting the back of my skull, pounding incessantly like a spoiled child performing the Black Sacrament to have his parents killed for refusing a sweet roll after supper. Aye, it’s a frigid night in Windhelm. My heart can barely keep me warm, let alone fuel my passionate battle against an apparent force of stone. Before the battle, I drink a bottle of mead. I leave some of the sweetness to coat my lips, so when I bleed, the taste is a mixture of destiny and achievement. I’ve fought dragons. I’ve fought bears and wolves and vampires. I’ve killed scary, old people in their sleep when children have asked me to and threatened little girls when a meek little boy gave me his life savings of two gold to do so, but I’ve never fought this man. I’ve never even met him. The only knowledge I have of him are the legends that people whisper – legends of his drunkenness and anger and rage. They murmur legends of his midnight taunts in the Gray Quarters, howling for a bitter duel. When I finally cross paths with him, we agree to fight for mead money. His eyebrows furrow over his beady, little eyes, and his bulbous nose bobs like a fungal growth along an old tree. “Stone, meet cock,” I mutter under forced breath. “Thunder. Cock.” Our fists fly at each other like trolls engaged in a deadly hug. Who will win? Who will drink the brew of champions tonight? In less than a minute, the battle is over. Rolff is down, spitting blood from his split lip and whimpering like the dog I shouted at yesterday for doing its business on my lawn. He wipes his mouth then nurses a purple bee hive oozing life essence on his cheek. A man of stone fists, he is not. Like sex, the battle was over before it began. Rolff was mere murmured legends and rumors, nothing but a sham. Camilla used to say such things about me, taunting me about the irony of my name when we lie in bed together. “Your thunderous bravado sounds more like a whimper to me, my love,” she would say. I pity Rolff Stone-Fist as much as she pitied me. Will he, in turn, slay me as I slew her? Doubtful. Not even the mighty World-Eater can defeat me. For I am the Dragonborn! Hear me bellow! It’s time for a drink, Cornelius G. Thundercock
You just had to kill her, didn’t you Calixto? You couldn’t leave her leave her be. Oh, I know your purpose. I know why. I read your petty “butcher” journal entries. I saw your infernal blathering about your deceased wife, scowling over your tear-soaked ink stains regarding her desired return, and frankly, I have no sympathy for you. You crossed a line, egg sac licker. With your sissified knife, you sliced the wrong throat, bringing me into this fray with my adamant fury. Did you not care to glance over her shoulder as you carved from behind, Calixto? Did you not see those glorious cabbages nestled so perfectly in that yellow and green ensemble, waiting for the right traveler to harvest them? Susanna was like a flower, one smuggling bulbous treasures that would make the Thieves Guild and Madesi quiver with childish glee, eyes alight with mystified fascination. And worst of all, Calixto, they were real. Those tunic cannons were no mere illusions of sorcery or conjuration. They were the living fruits of scientific breeding. Perfection. Eugenics proved right. And you slew her. You marched up behind her, frothy, deranged drool dribbling out of your mouth like a common boatsman on the Ship of Fools, and you stabbed her. Like a bumbling, demented child stomping through the forest, you haphazardly ravaged the most precious flower in all of Windhelm before I could have buzzed by her, touched her petals and collected her pollen for my trophy case. Would you have alerted me sooner that you were going to harvest her flesh, I would have reinforced my courage with mead and made a pass at her steadfast. “Hey singing canary, I’m a lonely Dragonborn bear looking for a taste of honey. You interested?” But no. Mere fantasies now. For eternity, I can only relegate myself unto her in dreams, visions of sorrow and pain and perpetual longing. Oh Susanna, how I wished to know why they called you “the Wicked”? And here we are, Calixto. Your corpse is lying amidst the middle of Windhelm’s streets, cast about like someone’s garbage. The stench of death is beginning to settle in, but the guards are fast approaching. I’ll be made a hero for this, for slaying a serial murderer, but what does that make of me? I’ve killed in cold blood too, Calixto. I know the thrill. I know the taste. I’ve relished the speckled blade. What do you call the murderer who slays a murderer? I guess it’s time for me to pay my final respects to my beloved Susanna. So long, murderous wretch, Cornelius G. Thundercock P.S. Your wife was a cheap, street-strutting harlot from what the townsfolk tell me.
To any would-be vampires into blood-sucking buffoonery, His vision fades. His second life grows dim as he slowly turns to ash. I’ve slain him – the vampire master. Morvarth was his name, and like those pin-headed politicians and Imperial scum, he was a creature of darkness intent on bending an entire town to his self-righteous will. He failed, as vampires are prone to do when gazing into the beaming light of purity that emanates from Cornelius G. Thundercock’s brandished steel, but his failure was only the beginning of a steady streaming of vampire-slaying – heed these words. I have a team now – a small band of rogues to aid me in my quest to wipe this vampire blight from Skyrim. We have weapons, armor, decent shoes and bad attitudes. We even have code names. Thonnir is the first member of the crew. Weighing in at what I’m guessing is 250 pounds of lumber-jacked man muscle, this log-splitter wields an axe like an unruly extra appendage, proving his handiwork by dicing the skulls of fallen vampire thralls with relative ease. A man whose wife was taken by the blood-sucking scum who may read this, he goes by the code name ‘Widower’. Don’t let the name fool you. His heart has been taken, and now all that’s left is his unquenchable thirst for vengeance. Widower will split you like an old piece of firewood. Benor is the second member of the crew. Unlike the others who offered their arms and fled, Benor was beaten into submission, only given rest when his tears and squealing pleas for forgiveness became unbearable. He boastfully wagered he could take down his challenger, which made the loss all the sweeter when I re-shaped his face. Like a mad dog who just defecated on the living room floor, a bop on the nose set this pup right. Giving his warrior spirit and battle-readiness, Benor joined the team with great admiration for its leader. He slew vampires as if they were mere arthritic skeevers, despite all the bloodied bruises and welts from the street brawl previous. For this dedication in spite of the facial discoloration and a swollen mug, his code name is ‘Blueberry’. And now I come to the team leader, speaking of myself. If you have not crossed paths with or heard stories of those who rubbed weaponry against the Thundercock, you have been living under a rock (which, coincidentally, Morvarth was). I am the one who can separate the flow of air with my booming voice and trained tongue. I am the Dragonborn, and for my air-splitting voice, my code name is ‘Windbreaker’. And you, lurkers of a dark underworld of blood and disease – we will hunt you. We will find you. We will break you, and we will make mockeries of your corpses. Bored children like entertainment, and with your dead bodies, we shall make puppet shows out of you, placing sticks up your spines and strings on your fingers. You will dance for us, amusing us with your silly antics as your undead corpses rot before our very eyes. Like children playing with dead animals, we’ll make you kiss and put on passionate shows of tragic plays, sewing your limbs back on should they fall off during production. We’ll also squat-taunt you to our hearts’ content. Mark my words, vampires, and mark them well. My team will hunt every last one of you down. Fear the Milk-Drinkers, for their determined glares will be the last you’ll see before death consumes you once more… this time for eternity. ~Cornelius G Thundercock P.S. Be thee a lady vampire, we may be able to work out a private arrangement. Leave notice at Breezehome in Whiterun.
Dear Frodnar, You let your guard slip, mate. Just like you quit at playing “hide ‘n’ seek” yesterday. I hid for hours, slightly exposed from behind the bushes outside your home, waiting for your little form to skip by and prove your keen observance. It was only fair you should find me, was it not, after I found you with such relative ease? Shows how much strength and resolve you have, quitter. Aye. You talk a good game, lad, but you walk a piss-poor trail. Well friend, after you let me sit there for hours, I got mad, and I pranked YOU, didn’t I? Don’t worry, he went quietly. One quick stroke, and down he tumbled like a mangy bundle of rags. But fret not, Frodnar. This doggie? He’s only the beginning. You better discover some new hiding spots, as I may have hired some bandits to slaughter your family. You wish to prove your worth as a tough guy? Now’s your chance. If you fail, your dad will be murdered before your eyes, and your mom will go with even less ease. Have a good morning, Cornelius
Marise, Surprise! Enjoy the “present” in your stall this morning, you tricksy Dunmer? You thought you could sell me a bad sweet roll and get away with it, didn’t you? Give a moldy, diseased treat to the Dragonborn, eh? He’s only going to save our lives; what’s the trouble? Why not? Aye. That present is the aftermath wrought from the wretched roll you sold me. It snaked its way through my bowels, churning into a filthy, sloppy froth of a stew with an uncanny stench of ultimate evil even Daedra fear. I thought I’d share it with you, seeing as it was your intention to poison me. And now, because of your treacherous ways, Janessa thinks my bladder incontinent. You want to make me a fool? So be it. I shall destroy you yet when you least expect it. Best regards, Cornelius G. Thundercock P.S. You can wash my leggings your sweet rolls so ruefully soiled. I wrapped them around your cabbages.