For anyone not caught up through the second book, this week’s edition of Your Hands Only has major spoilers.
I love your story, I love the way you flesh out characters that are kind of “meh” at best in canon and give them backstories, exes, hopes, fears, all that fun stuff, and I love the way you make OCs that fit seamlessly into the universe of the Elder Scrolls. Really!
Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I have an important question… or two. First, where did you initially get the idea for The Rise of House Sigeweald? Second, has your son read any of your writing and if so, what did he think of it?
This last one isn’t really a question, but for the sake of doing this in threes, too… your son is adorable and can you give him a hug for me? I’m hugging my computer but I don’t think it’s working and my arms are starting to hurt.
Oh wow, thank you so much for the compliment. That’s the stuff that keeps me going.
I’m going to work backwards. I did offer my son a hug from you. He was confused, but as he is a rather affectionate child, did not fret too much. He has not read my fan fiction and I pray to baby Talos he never does. I have toyed with the idea of writing him a more age-appropriate story (he’s nine), on one of his obsessions but right now it’s all Godzilla and Brooklyn 99 and I’m not touching either one of those.
I am assuming that one day, after Todd Howard releases Skyrim: Special Edition for the Classroom Smart Board, that he and his friends will discover my story. Won’t that be exciting?
Now, as to your other question, here goes. The genesis of The Rise of House Sigeweald goes back well before Skyrim was released to around the time I “finished” my Oblivion story. Now, I never actually wrote my Oblivion story from beginning to end, so that it was ever completed is debatable. But to the extent that Elspeth’s story has a history and canon, my Oblivion story exists and it pretty much ended with a pregnant and distraught Hero of Kvatch.
From that point, my original intent was to write a story set in Skyrim following the adventures of The Hero of Kvatch (Maeve)/Martin Septim’s daughter (then named Vivienne). In the original story, Isobel fled Cyrodiil before Maeve made it back to Cloud Ruler Temple. Because of this, Maeve assumes that Isobel’s son, Trebonius, is the rightful heir to the throne.
So, twenty or so years after the Oblivion Crisis, Maeve had married her fellow Blade, Achilles, had another child and was keeping Vivienne’s true paternity secret. There is a lot of fighting and such over the Ruby Throne, which Maeve believes will be stopped if they can reveal a Septim heir.
Initially she was going to reveal Vivienne to be a Septim but she had no proof and then what if Isobel and her child came to challenge them? As she’s trying to work this out, her former mentor-turned-nemesis, the Nerevarine, Xeri (yep, except she’s a Redguard) came to her because she had a vision. Vivienne needed to go to Skyrim to discover the true Septim heir. Now, Xeri had betrayed Maeve in the past and usually Maeve isn’t too forgiving. However, you don’t just turn away the reincarnated Lord Nerevar Indoril. She even offered to train Vivienne, so she would be well prepared for her journey.
So, Vivienne heads north to Skyrim, where she is to meet the niece of her nanny, Runa. What I had planned was that they would find Trebonius and embark on the Trials of St. Alessia, which would end up revealing that Vivienne, not Trebonius, was the true Septim heir.
Okay, well that story got set aside when I got married, had a baby, and finished graduate school. And then Skyrim came out. By then I was no longer interested in finishing that story and I just wanted to play Skyrim. But I decided that Vivienne would be my first character, and while I was playing, I couldn’t help but write that story in my head, incorporating the quests in Skyrim. I wrote so much but it made no freaking sense because of the timelines. Then one day, after reading some stories over at ericanorth.net, I thought, what if I shoved 200 years of ancestors into my story, and I started crafting what is now,The Rise of House Sigewead with the following major changes:
- Elspeth is the protagonist but Vivienne is still the name of Maeve and Martin’s daughter.
- Trygve Wartooth took on Trebonius’ role. Now, in the current story lore, Isobel and Trebonius did make it Skyrim safely over 200 years ago and lived a lovely peaceful life but have no connection whatsoever to Trygve Wartooth. I thought about making a distant relation, but I couldn’t think of an interesting way to reveal it.
- Xeri is now a Dunmer and not in any way related to the Nerevarine.
- Runa hasn’t changed much, except that her history involves the Great War.
- Bedyn is kind of loosely based on Achille who was the Blade Maeve married to help conceal Vivienne’s paternity.
- Runa’s niece was never officially named, but Lydia seemed to fit. And that gave me a really nice way to change up the way that she and Elspeth met, giving them sort of a pre-established history but also letting their relationship develop.
Well, I hope that answers your question. Suffice to say, Elspeth & Co. have been with me for a very long time.