THE MISTAKES OF STORMCLOAKS
The First Mistake
The night had been quiet as a night in Riften could be, but a heaviness set in. The heaviness of rainfall, swelling joints and making old war wounds act up again. Old timers (un)lucky enough to still be alive complained and rubbed at the offending body parts in much the same way the quietly advancing horde of Stormcloaks intended to unleash upon the city. They were hungry for blood and food, for a safe place to stay that didn't open itself to a threat of constant attack. A fort could be easily overrun, but Riften?...Oh-ho! It was perfect for their plans, they figured. They wanted something with a direct supply line and plenty of safety as well as food.
A few drunks stumbled from the Bee and Barb, clutching each other arm-over-shoulder and singing into the night, to a resounding chorus of death threats from the those with homes and those without. The men, of course, paid nearly no damn mind. They were fresh guards, celebrating finally being able to protect their lovely - well, basically lovely - city. Their home. The young men made their way to the gate closest to the Bee and Barb, over the bridge and right in front of a particularly mean looking hunk of muscle who just shook his head.
They pushed their way outside, wanting to take a look at the great stone wall that surrounded the epicenter of their lives. They gave each other pats on the back, sobering up at the sight of their city with the moon rising in the sky, breath catching in appreciation of everything they'd worked so hard for. And the only other things going through their minds? Arrows.
The Stormcloaks swept in, attacking both entrances in tandem after the signal from a flaming arrow in the distance. Guards, once brothers and sisters to the Stormcloaks, dropped in heaps of chain metal and warm blood against the cool air. The half-silenced scream of a woman making her way home was the only thing that alerted Riften to the attack and the strongest defense Riften had, the one it couldn't talk about, didn't find out until far too late.
Blood leaked into the city's gutters, unfortunate corpses fell from the railing to the river below, more than a few slapped wet and hard on the wooden walkways below before sliding into the red-brown water. The sounds of battle reached those capable of fighting back just a little too late and this particular regimen of Stormcloaks seemed to know the city just a little too well... Traitors in the midst of all this chaos watched from relative safety as their friends, the peopled they'd come to know and interact with...die.
Some knew the cost of what they were asking, but many of the younger ones stared in disbelief at what they'd sewn. Innocent bodies of Imperials that hadn't seen the capital city in years were desecrated and strewn about in the growing chaos, their homes targeted and struck down with a vengeance right after the guards were dealt with.
Even the thieves struggled to fend off the mass of Stormcloak bodies in their sewer, having to all but abandon their home - their livelihood and their riches in a mad rush for their lives. Of those that made it to the Graveyard entrance alive, only a few escaped the waiting blades of Stormcloak infantrymen.
The mass of blue and metal and death left the sound of war cries and metal-on-flesh ringing in the air, but... a precious few made it out of the city... THEIR city...
and they want it back.