It's approaching the middle of the fourth era, the year of Arkay: 228. Skyrim has been in relative peace for over twenty five years following the deeds of the dragonborn, and the splitting of the province. This peace was furthered when the Thalmor broke the White-Gold Concordat five years after the split, and they were subsequently forced to withdraw from Skyrim to defend their other borders. With their exit, Ulfric ruled an independent Skyrim. At his side through this all was the mysterious, and lovely Valania. She is said to be responsible for his rationale changes, and the way he became more accepting. Though just a year after Ulfric's rule, Valania Disappeared; having bore the king only a single heir.
The High King has fallen though, found dead in his sleep. His son seeks to take the throne and continue his father's legacy, but as it always is in the cold frost bitten land, someone challenges him. This man comes, claiming to the son of The Dragonborn; The result of his fathers affair with the Valania. With the old legends of his mother's affair reawakened, the heir to Skyrim and his half brother go to war. Some rally with the Heir, others still remember what The Dragonborn did for them, and rally with his son. Where would you stand in this conflict?
Chronology of Events
The temporary peace treaty ushered in by the Dragonborn became a lasting ordeal. Minor skirmishes still persisted, but it seemed neither side was ready for a full on strike against the other. This tenuous peace lasted for five years before couriers from Cyrodil brought word that the Thalmor were in the midst of launching yet another assault on Imperial Territory. With this news, General Tallius was called back to Cyrodil in order to help defeat the coming enemy. His replacement proved to be far less capable of dealing with either the Nords, or Ulfric Stormcloak.
Luckily for him Ulfric had become obsessed with a woman named Valania Amreh. A beautiful sorceress known for her trademark dusky skintone, and believed to be of mixed Nord and Dunmer descent. Her near affair of a relationship with Ulfric lasted some time before she was captured by the new Imperial Governor, and held for ransom at the cost of the holds under Ulfric's control. Furious, the Would be High King planned a full on assault, but before he managed to plunge into that chaos it became known that Valania had been kidnapped by the Thalmor.
Both sides now had their eye on the coming threat within their own borders, but before they either side could launch an appropriate counter, the Dragonborn made his last charge in life. Defeating the Thalmor that had kidnapped the beautiful sorceress, he uncovered a plot the group had to awaken ancient magics that could poison all of Skyrim. He managed to break the foul curse they plotted, but in doing so he became deathly ill. Valania spirited the proud warrior away afterwards to try and help him heal. She was gone for over ten months, but returned eventually with news of the Savior's death. This is also the origin behind the rumors of her alleged affair.
From there she married Ulric stormcloak, and together they pushed the weakening imperial influence out of Skyrim. This Ulfric's leadership, and the inspiration brought on by Valania's tale of how the Dragonborn gave a gift to the peoples of Skyrim that she would see give, every hold eventually embraced his rule. The only naysayer remained Former High king Torygg's wife Elisif, but even she kept her quiet for the time being. This ushered in the Reign of Ulfric Stormloak, and a continued time of relative peace in the province.
Enforced by his wife's claim that the dragonborns bestowed the gift of the dragons onto all children of Skyrim, Ulfric Stormcloak began his time as High King. The first couple years were unsteady as his prejudice against the other races was still fresh in the peoples minds. Alania's tale had lightened this, however, as it told that anyone capable of heeding the Dragonborn's call was a 'Child of Skyrim'. As even the occasional mer became capable of wielding the power of the Voice, all arguments against their right to stay in Skyrim subsided.
This time of glory for Ulfric was marred after Valania gave birth to their first, and subsequently, their only child. It seemed everything was headed toward a shining future, until shortly after the young heir's first birthday; and Valania disappeared. Ulfric, while maintaining the rule he had claimed, seemed to fall into a state of loss. The various factions within Skyrim gained more power during this time, able to sway political decisions as the High King became more reliant on them. This of course led to some corruption, but it only smoldered beneath the surface of a seemingly golden age in the harsh land.
Later on, as Ulfric reached his twilight years that Reliance on the various Factions like the companions finally came back to bite him. The empire, and the Thalmor had yet to give up on ruling that wealthy land. Bot recovering from their long war, they were unable to organize a direct strike against the sovereign nation; so they began to manipulate outcast groups within it's borders. This led to what became known as 'The Forsworn Resurgence', where the faction regained power and a new king with Thalmor aid. The High King found himself ill equipped to handle the situation, and the companions and other factions were too few to fend them off.
However, a reconstructed form of The Blades emerged as well, aided in secret by The Empire. They were able to help turn the tide, aiding in the battles until it seemed The powerful Warrior buried within Ulfric awoke. He erected his ill prepared armies, and marched them upon the forsworn, pushing them back to the fringes. They survived to continue their occasional raids on Skyrim, but it seemed The Ulfric of old was back; and some worried of what that meant for the mer in Skyrim. Fortunately, or unfortunately for some, the High king passed a short time later. Bringing an end to his rule, and the beginnings of an even greater conflict then the stormcloak rebellion.
Where We Stand Now
The son Valania left Ulfric, hardened from the Forsworn Resurgence, began his path to becoming high king. After a single year to mourn the mysterious death of his father, he invited all the Jarls to a meeting in Windhelm to discuss his coronation as High King. Many pleased with the ascension, but the aging Lady Elisif had another point to bring up. She stated that Albinus, The heir, had a legitimate challenger among them. The stares were raised, and that's when Baldr Came forward: a powerful warrior whom till now served as Eliis's thane.
Badlr stated his claim through blood of the queen and the Dragonborn, and his deed through the many accomplishments he'd made. Albinus was furious at the display, and called for his arrest; but it did not go as he planned. Roughly half the Jarl's sided that the man had a claim, and so the meting at Windhelm almost turned into a bloodbath. Through careful diplomacy, the Jarl's managed to call a delay on the meeting in hopes of cooling the situation. It only added fire to the hearth, though, for in the time since that meeting both sides have rallied their followers.
Two brothers, if Baldr's claim is true, now vie for the throne in the first succession war Skyrim has seen in generations. Every hold is caught in the conflict, every man and woman. From the Harbinger of the Companions to the opportunistic adventurer delving into the ancient dragon temples. Yet is there more here then a simple succession war? Many claim that Valania will not sit idly while her sons wage war on holy grounds, yet others say it was the witch's plan all along. The only certainty is that if not stopped, this conflict will end in a new treaty. A treaty writ with steel, and signed in royal blood.
This is some general information Regarding the two competitors, and what their plans are.
Albinus Stormcloak: The prince has been before the eye of the people his entire life. First celebrated when it was known the Valania had first conceived, then looked upon secretly as an ill omen upon her disappearance. Despite this rough start, he quickly gained a measure of respect from his peoples. First by the word of his hunting success in his teen years, then by the word of his joining with Skyrims military. He was further adored when he climbed the 7,000 steps like his father before him to study with the reclusive Greybeards of High Hrothgar.
Popular opinion of him decreased slightly when the Forsworn Resurgence came. He proved quickly not to be the war commander his father was. One battle after another was lost, and they were holding on due to the aid the various guilds were giving them. Though once his father came out of his stupor, it seemed he taught the prince much; for it was Albinus who lead the final charges against the Forsworn. Though as of late it seems he has distanced himself from his mother's image. Many believe it is due to Baldr's appearance and thus the reawakened rumors of his mothers harlotry.
So far Albinus has brought many claims of what he'll offer Skyrim. Increased trade, continued independence and negotiations with the other provinces that his father never considered. He's also vowed to the people that he'll stop the corruption plaguing Skyrim from the guild involvement, while still keeping them as important foundations for the province. His dislike of The Empire is also well known, and he's mentioned on more then one occasion that he'll never let them get their greedy hands on the great Nation of Skyrim again.
Baldr:Far less is known about the thane of Solitude. He was largely unknown until he arrived in Elisif's court, bearing a small gift for her. It was an ancient relic from the old era, and one even the Dragonborn had seemingly failed to recover for her. This granted him immediate favor in her court, and after quite a few more accomplishments, he was risen to thane at a very young age. Considering Solitude's proximity to the borders of Skyrim, it's believed his presence is the main reason the hold did not fall into forsworn hands.
Baldr is a great commander, skilled in swordsmanship, destruction magic and Thu'ums. His connection with Elisif has many worried on his actual ability to rule politically. Some also have a distaste of how he used her to get his message across at the meeting. Regardless he's seen as the more capable leader for a time of war, but again that has people worried about the peace in skyrim being sundered.
Baldr offers Skyrim the glory of the old days. Where every Jarl had a say, where the feudal system could come back. He promises to keep the borders secured, and that no one shall take away Skyrim's independence. He has a distinct dislike of the various guilds, and many of his supporters believe he'll limit their presence in skyrim even more then the empire did. He's as of yet declined to say anything about relations with the Empire, but has made it known that the Thalmor will not be tolerated. The many public executions of captured Thalmor spies have accentuated this, and given him a slight reputation as a cruel inquisitor.
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