This is a fanfiction, or, as I like to call it, a novelization of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. As such, copyright on the world of Tamriel, the events in the Skyrim game, and the game art included here belongs to Bethesda Softworks. The creation of the character of Deirdre Morningsong is my own, as is the particular weaving together of the various quest lines of the game into a compelling – I hope! – story. Only those familiar with the game will recognize where Bethesda’s creation ends and my own begins. As a fanfiction, or transformative work, it is presented here for non-commercial purposes.
I want to thank the anonymous artists who drew the Bretons in that certain way that allowed me to begin to create a character and a back-story for Deirdre, and also Colleen Delany, the voice actor whose reading of Lydia’s line, “I will protect you with my life,” played such a role in my impression of that character.
I must also acknowledge the ongoing inspiration provided by Jeremy Soule, the composer of the game’s award-winning score, which has provided the soundtrack for my writing. Credit also goes to that uber fan creator, Malukah, whose covers of Skyrim’s songs are not only inspiring in themselves, but show what can be accomplished by a fan who sets out to achieve something of quality.
I found many sources invaluable in sorting through the lore of Tamriel, including the Imperial Library, Elder Scrolls Wiki, UESP Online, fan creations all. Thu’um.org is a great resource for translating and learning the dragon language. I never would have gone to the gate that separates Skyrim from Morrowind, and that plays such a large role in Chapter 55, The Rift Pass, if not for a Finnish gamer and Skyrim explorer named Jesse.
It may seem odd to credit a book that I only began reading as I was doing the final edits on this work, but nonetheless I feel I owe something to Nicola Griffith’s outstanding historical novel, Hild, which explores the early life of St. Hilda of Whitby. Inspired by Griffith’s lush evocation of the natural world of 7th-century England, I went back to make Deirdre’s nature observations much more specific. There are other parallels between our two works, including the woman hero and the askance view of masculine heroism, boasting, and pursuit of a glorious death. There’s one more obvious parallel, but SPOILERS! I’ve known from the outset of writing this that I could be charged with treading on Griffith’s and other women writers’ territory, so let me just say now, drop everything and go read Hild.
Thanks to my kids, Josh and Ben, for turning me on to the world of the Elder Scrolls.
And, of course, a work of this length wouldn’t have been possible without the extraordinary patience and support of my partner, Diane Willcox. All my love, forever.