The first volume of this series told the story
of Barenziah's origin, heiress of the throne of Mournhold
until her father king rebelled against His Excellency Tiber
Septim and brought ruin to the province of Morrowind. Due
to the benevolence of the Emperor, the child Barenziah was
not destroyed with her parents, but reared by the Baron Sven
of Blackmoor. She grew beautiful, pious, and trusting in his
care. This trust was exploited by a wicked orphan stable boy
at Baron Sven's estate, who with lies, tricked her into fleeing
Blackmoor with him. After many adventures on the road, they
settled in Rifton, a Skyrim city on the border of Morrowind.
The stable boy Straw was not altogether evil.
He did love Barenziah in his own selfish fashion, and the
lie was the only way he could think of that he might have
her. She, of course, felt only friendship for him, but he
was hopeful that she would change her mind. He wanted to buy
a small farm and settle down in marriage, but his earnings
were barely enough to feed and shelter them.
After only a short time in Rifton, Straw fell
in with a bold villian of a Khajiit thief named Therris, who
proposed that they rob the Imperial commandant's house. Therris
said that he had a client, a traitor to the Empire, who would
pay well for the information they would find there. Barenziah
happened to overhear this plan and was appalled. She stole
from their rooms and walked the streets of Rifton in desperation,
torn between loyalty to the Empire and to her friend.
In the end, loyalty to the Empire prevailed
over personal friendship, and she approached the commandant's
house, revealed her true identity and warned him of her friends'
plan. The commandant listened to her tale, praised her courage
and assured her that no harm would come to her.
General Symmachus had been scouring the countryside
in search of her since her disappearance had just arrived
in Rifton, hot in pursuit. He took her into his custody, and
informed her that, far from being sold, she was to be instated
as Queen of Mournhold as soon as she turned eighteen. Until
that time, she was to live with the Imperial family in the
new Imperial City, where she would learn something of Imperial
government and make the acquaintance of people of importance.
And so it came to pass. In the Imperial City,
Barenziah became great friends with Tiber Septim during the
last years of his reign; Tiber's heir Pelagius also came to
love her as a sister. The ballads of the day praised her beauty,
chastity, wit, and learning. On her eighteenth birthday, the
entire Imperial City turned out to watch her procession back
to Mournhold. Sorrowful as they were at her departure, all
knew that she was ready to be the glorious sovereign of the
new kingdom of Mournhold.
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