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Chapter 706: Jon's Suggestion
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So what would Jon suggest?
"Rather than giving the Rift to the Empire and the Reach to the Stormcloaks, there are two other holds that would be more significant to the two factions." Jon said with a sly face.
"What? We're still exchanging holds?" Jarl Lela exclaimed.
"Jon Dare, you may be Dragonborn but you absolutely have no right to decide such things." Jarl Igmund stated.
"No no no, just a suggestion." Jon raised his hands, "You can reject it and return to your original exchange if you want. You can also call me petty."
Call him petty? Just what will he do this time?
"Rather than giving Markarth to the Stormcloaks, you can give them Falkreath." Jon said as he looked at General Tullius then turned to Ulfric Stormcloak, "And rather than giving Riften to the Empire, you can give them Dawnstar."
And that was it, Jon's big suggestion that left the council more confused than shocked.
He was petty, way too petty.
It was more of a low blow than anything else.
"Hey! Shut up, you son of a b.i.t.c.h!"
"Jon Dare! By Talos, I'll kill you!"
Falkreath and Dawnstar, there were two very important people who were the Jarls of those places and they were some of Jon's biggest haters, Jarl Siddgeir and Jarl Skald the Elder. The two kiss-a.s.ses of their respective sides of the Civil War.
"What's wrong with you guys?" Jon asked innocently, "I thought you were just convincing Jarl Igmund and Jarl Lela to give up their positions for the greater good."
"I told you to shut up! That's not your place to decide!" Jarl Siddgeir shouted as he pointed with hate towards Jon.
"Goodness!" Jon sighed, "Don't you trust that General Tullius will eventually get your hold back to you?"
Jon's words were stinging and made both Siddgeir and Skald the Elder wrack their brains for a comeback but there was nothing.
"Exchange the Pale for Falkreath?" Yet Ulfric Stormcloak was right to their rescue, "Why would you think we want any of that?"
"Because of the advantages you will have from Falkreath and the advantages the Empire will have in the Pale." Jon said.
"And they are?" General Tullius asked.
"For the Empire, you only have Solitude as a Port in the Sea of Ghosts while the Stormcloaks control their own dockyard of Windhelm in addition to Winterhold and Dawnstar. For Skyrim to trade Ebony, you need to either go through me in Winterhold or venture into the Sea of Ghosts past all the Stormcloak blockades to get it. By Eliminating one Dock for the Stormcloaks, your way to Morrowind will be much easier and you will gain a fully equipped port in Dawnstar. Maybe you could have done the same in Riften but we all know that ships are way faster than caravans and even if Riften gives you the advantage to have a secure road behind Mt. Snow-Throat, the Rift itself is way too treacherous for your patrol to secure it when the Stormcloaks can simply hide anywhere. Moreover, you have no influential allies there after Maven's death, so…"
The Pale was more advantageous to the Empire than the Rift according to Jon. While Dawnstar is way smaller than Riften, its barren wastes of snow are actually ideal to spot any Stormcloak army from miles away and prepare for it.
"As for the Stormcloaks, Falkreath is the only land route for the Imperial Legion of Skyrim to retreat back to Cyrodiil. While the Empire doesn't use the Pale Pa.s.s between Skyrim and Cyrodiil to send reinforcements or supplies, it is eminent that one day, they will use it to send an entire new Legion if they were ever wished for… owning Falkreath will prevent that. As for the real advantages of the Hold; it is easily defendable since you have a large forest that the Imperial Cavalry can't easily navigate through and a big lack that acts as a natural barrier. In addition to that, you have only four ways to access Falkreath and if you were to rebuild and control Helgen, you will have a fort that can block three of those four ways in. The fourth way is actually where the advantages shine. Jarl Ulfric always fancied Markarth but he can't realistically have it since it is not in direct contact with any Stormcloak lands. By having Falkreath, you only need to go through that fourth access point to the west and you'll find yourself floating on Karth river. From there, you can launch your own campaign at Markarth."
Jon gave Ulfric and Tullius something to think about. Just as he said, this will actually help them advance their armies further while taking losses himself.
The Stormcloaks may see the Pale to be useful but it was the front yard for the natural fortress that is Winterhold. Winterhold was the shield of Windhelm and even if Jon was to never build his city on the way, it is still a very difficult place to conquer.
As for the Empire, Falkreath was already a difficult place filled with outlaws and war deserters. The Stormcloaks don't even attack it that often and the Pale Pa.s.s is way too difficult to penetrate from Skyrim's side as it is proven in the historic Battle of Reman-Tsaesci.
If they were to agree to this exchange, some complications might occur but in truth, this is a big step for each side in this stalemate where they can actually rebuild and advance. Jon himself said that after dealing with Alduin and the Dragon Cult, he would leave the war situation to them.
The two sides had to take a second timeout during this meeting and it lasted less than an hour. Occasionally, Jarl Siddgeir and Jarl Skald would start shouting something out but they would be controlled in the end. Their situation was bad and since they made enemies with Jon Dare, he seemed to have trapped them really well.
Of course he is the pettiest person they can ever make enemies with, who else would he be?
The two sides then returned and General Tullius initiated the talk.
"If the Stormcloaks are willing to give the Pale peacefully and in good faith, we will give Falkreath peacefully and in good faith as well." The General spoke.
"So be it." Ulfric replied, "But only until I see the Imperial Banner removed from the forts of Falkreath will I hand over the Pale. I've learned the value of Imperial promises the hard way. Never again."
This statement caused General Tullius to let go of his calm protocol and go flying in rage.
"You know what, Ulfric! You have no intention of coming to terms. You're here to blacken the Empire's name, and I won't be party to it!" The General said.
"You're losing this war and you know it, Tullius." Ulfric replied, "You mock Nord traditions and think you are better than us, Barbarians of the North. Skyrim will never again bow to your false Empire and if you're thinking you can force us on our knees, you're as deluded as your dead Emperor when he signed away our freedom to the Thalmor."
"If you think that winning a few battles means you're winning the war, you're even worse at strategy than diplomacy." General Tullius replied, "Soon enough I'll have you back under the headsman's axe, and this time there won't be any dragon to save you."
Ulfric and Tullius were fated to start bickering this way and Jon simply sat down and let it happen. He knew that this scene was inevitable despite the last move that got him rid of his political enemies in Falkreath and the Pale.
However, one man couldn't let this scene continue this way.
The man sitting next to Delphine, the Elder whose name is Esbern, stood up and interrupted the squabble. As all eyes turned to him, he started speaking to the crowd.
"Are you so blind to our danger that you can't see past your petty disagreements? Here you sit arguing about… nothing! While the fate of the land hangs in the balance!" He said.
"Is he with you, Delphine?" Ulfric asked while eyeing the old man with obvious displeasure, "If so, I advise you to tell him to watch his tongue."
"He is with me." Delphine replied, "And I advise you both to listen to what he has to say before you do anything rash."
Esbern walked to stand right next to Master Arngeir in order to give himself an angle of importance.
"Don't you understand the danger? Don't you understand what the return of the dragons means?" Esbern asked the Nords who are present in this scene before answering his own question, "Alduin has returned! The World-Eater! Even now, he devours the souls of your fallen comrades! He grows more powerful with every soldier slain in your pointless war! Can you not put aside your hatred for even one moment in the face of this mortal danger?"
While the people were starting to listen, the one to interrupt Esbern was Amba.s.sador Elenwen of the Aldmeri Dominion.
"A very pretty speech, but what does it have to do with..." She was just about to make her opinion on the matter but she received a backlash she never expected.
"""Shut up!""" General Tullius, Ulfric Stormcloak, and Jon Dare simultaneously shouted at Elenwen the exact same words at the exact same time.
"Haven't we told you not to talk?" (Ulfric)
"What in Oblivion, Elenwen?" (Tullius)
"Elenwen, you dumb b.i.t.c.h!" (Jon)
"You only observe, you dumb b.i.t.c.h!" (Ulfric)
"How much vocabulary do they teach you in Thalmor s.h.i.t holes to not understand that?" (Jon)
"You were told not to talk, G.o.ddammit!" (Tullius)
"Did you doze off or something, you dumb b.i.t.c.h." (Jon)
"Why did you even open your dumb b.i.t.c.h mouth?" (Tullius)
"Just stay put and never talk again, dumb b.i.t.c.h!" (Ulfric)
The three men shouted their lungs out at the dumb b.i.t.c.h causing everyone to just be stunned for a moment. Somehow, the three of them felt so relieved and a smile appeared on their faces.
"Told you it would be refreshing to let her stay." Jon spoke to Ulfric.
"Yes, that put a weight off my chest." Ulfric agreed.
"I know, right?" Even the General was smiling.
Elenwen, on the other hand, was still recovering from what just happened and remained frozen. Not only her but everyone else was eyeing the three VIPs with utter disbelief.
Meanwhile and in a sneaky way, Jon retreated his sin artifact, l.u.s.t, from under the table as it stopped gleaming. l.u.s.t's desire inducement was so powerful it made those two men just let it all out on poor Elenwen.
"Ehem! Back to the matter at hand!" General Tullius spoke after clearing his voice while appearing in a much better mood, "I don't know about the end of the world, but this dragon situation has gotten out of hand. If this truce will help the Dragonborn here put an end to that menace, we both gain. Remember that, Ulfric."
"Yes." Ulfric nodded, "If he's right about Alduin... we both have just as much to lose here, Tullius."
"Nothing like a Thalmor Dumb b.i.t.c.h to bring us humans together, aye?" Jon was pleased seeing Ulfric and Tullius come to terms.
After that, the two factions retreated, had their intertalks, and decided on things before showing their willingness to make a truce. Jon and Esbern had to explain to each side the situation with Dragons and how they are actually a threat to end the world.
"It seems we may have an agreement." Master Arngeir announced the end of the peace council, "Jarl Ulfric... General Tullius... These are the terms currently on the table.
Falkreath shall be handed over to the Ulfric's forces. Jarl Siddgeir will step down, and Dengeir of Stuhn will become the Jarl of Falkreath.
The Pale shall be handed over to the Empire's forces. Jarl Skald the Elder will step down and Brina Merilis will be Jarl of the Pale.
The Empire will pay appropriate compensation for the ma.s.sacre at Barleydark Farm and the Stormcloaks will pay appropriate compensation for the ma.s.sacre at Karthwasten.
Do you both agree to this?"
Master Arngeir looked at both the General and Ulfric.
"The sons of Skyrim will live up to their agreements. As long as the Imperials hold to theirs." Ulfric replied.
"The Empire can live with these terms, yes. For a temporary truce, until the dragon menace is dealt with." Tullius replied then turned to Ulfric, "After that, Ulfric... there will be a reckoning. Count on it."
A/n: Help me reach my Goal on P4treon & Join Discord! ➡️ https://linktr.ee/donovel ⬅️