Archive for the month “December, 2011”

Preemptive Strike

TURDAS, 17th of HEARTFIRE

There seemed to be two options at this point. I could continue investigating the murders and be a sitting target for whatever forces were out there. Or I could deliver a clear preemptive strike to the Forsworn by clearing one of their bases and in the process learn more about their forces. I had a potato cabbage soup for breakfast and prepared some rabbit haunches for later. I decided I was going to strike the Forsworn at Broken Redoubt Tower. It was just a matter of following the river back east to its location.

On the way, I encountered some Alik’r warriors looking for a Redguard woman who they believed they had fled to Whiterun. It was afternoon when I arrived at Broken Redoubt Tower. The tower was built into a steep rocky face which rendered attack from behind difficult. I didn’t want to go in through the front door, so I climbed up to the upper balcony and eliminated the two Forsworn guards camped up there. Taking a deep breath, I entered through the second floor door.

Inside there was a huge chamber with gas rising from the floor. I launched one arrow into the heart of one of the Forsworn directly below me and then quickly slid back into the shadows. Then there was another on the walkway directly across from me. It took two arrows in rapid succession to bring her down, but she fell silently without calling attention to myself. I sidestepped any traps as I cleared out the western area. In the eastern wing, there were a set of stairs curving upwards, with a tripwire strung across its path. I stopped as I saw a Forsworn coming down the steps. She didn’t see me though and I was able to kill her with a single arrow. I jumped the tripwire and made my way out to the top balcony of the highest tower. Inside I witnessed a bizarre scene. It was some kind of ritual chamber. I killed what appeared to a Forsworn captain. Upon closer examination of the captain, I saw that there was a gaping hole where the heart used to be. In its place was a strange spiky thing, the color of yellow and blood-red. The gaping wound was loosely stitched together. There was some strange magic keeping him alive. I reached inside, pulled the briar heart out and stored it away.  There was also an altar of Dibella. The statue was smeared with blood. Bloody bones and skulls lay in offering at its feet including a goat head surrounded by candles. I found some valuables including a well-balanced Dwarven Sword and some expensive looking necklaces but no evidence of the Forsworn’s plans or clues to their contingency in Markarth. I will return to Makarth tomorrow and see if my preemptive strike has attracted any further attention from the Forsworn. I secured the room using Detect Life  and  when I was finally satisfied I went to sleep.

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The City Of Stone

MIDDAS, 16th of HEARTFIRE

Stone beds are truly uncomfortable to sleep on. I woke up stiff and muscles aching. I strapped on my armor and walked out to the sound of Kleppr and his wife still arguing. I sat down at the bar and ate some sweet rolls and apples. Today I decided to scout out Ogmund’s House. And then there was also the matter of that mysterious note from Eltrys. Finally, there was Calcelmo who seemed eager to buy my newly acquired Dwarven Frost Dagger. I washed my food down with some water which had a odd metallic taste, no doubt from the mines of Markarth. I left the Silver-Blood Inn.

Walking outside and seeing Markarth in daylight was breathtaking. The city seemed as if it were carved into the stone around it creating a steep vertical sensation. Natural waterfalls poured in from the mountains, feeding into the rushing canal that ran that split the city in two. There was a maze of upper walkways that connected to the keep at the top of the city and the city. I walked across the street to Arnleif and Sons Trading Company. The owner was a woman named Lisbet. She had inherited the store from her husband Gunnar who had died in a Forsworn attack. It seems Forsworn attacks had taken a toll on her business. She had been waiting for a specially-made statue of Dibella but it was taken by the Forsworn. She wanted to hire me on to take the statue back but I told her that I was not for hire at the moment and made my way back out.

As I continued through the town, a man stopped me and asked if I had seen anyone coming or going from the abandoned house in town. The man introduced himself as Vigilant Tyranus and told me that he believed the house may have been used for Daedra worship. I told him I hadn’t seen anything.

I located Ogmund’s house on the upper level of the city. I took a quick look around and studied the lock. It was your simple and standard lock. Breaking in should be fairly easy. I casually strolled away as a guard passed. I continued exploring the city. The lower areas of the city were where the mines and labor camps were located. At the bottom, there was The Warrens which was an old stripped mine, now converted into a makeshift quarantine for the sick and poor. Above the mines ware the stores including the alchemist’s shop The Hag’s Cure and the local smith Ghorza-gra-Bogol. Ghorza grew in an orc stronghold. She told me that Orcs were not treated kindly in Skyrim and kept to themselves. High above the city facing the keep was the Temple of Dibella. Inside, I was told that the sisters were in the process of communing with Dibella and that I would have to come back at another time. I had no interest in disturbing the ceremony so I left.

I found the Shrine of Talos in an alleyway that connected the two sides of the city. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to hear Eltrys out so I went inside. Indeed, Eltrys was waiting for me. He told me that 20 years ago, Ulfric and his men had driven out the Forsworn. But they had returned and were killing people and the Guard wasn’t doing anything about it. He told me he’d pay me for any information I brought to him. When I pressed him for more information, he told me that Weylin, the killer used to be a smelter worker and that Margaret, the victim, wasn’t a Markarth native. While I didn’t want to get embroiled in a conspiracy, I found myself curious.

I visited the Understone Keep next. The keep was built inside a giant cavern, the remnants of an old Dwarven ruin. I overheard a Nord threatening Brother Verulus over the closing of the Hall of Dead. When I asked Verulus what was going on, he told me that they had found evidence that someone was eating the dead. I swallowed hard when he told me. I told him I would try and help and he gave me the key to the hall. I don’t know why I agreed to help but something intrigued me. Maybe it was my own dark secret. The fact that I had eaten Galerus was something that I had never shared with anyone. I had committed the act after reading about the ancient Bosmer and how they consumed their enemies. In that extreme moment of sadness and anger, I had eaten Galerus so that he might feel the pain that he bestowed upon me.Inside Understone Keep, I found Calcelmo poring over an enchanting table. Calcelmo was doing research on a Dwemer excavation site and he told me that the dagger was important as part of understanding Dwemer craftsmanship. But he was only offering 110 gold for it. And since I hadn’t used the dagger at all and it was at full charge, there was no way I was letting it go for that price. I told him I wasn’t selling and I left.

I fortuitously bumped into Ogmund on the way back to the inn. I stopped and chatted him up. We talked about his days as a famous bard and how many of his songs were taught at the Bards College. I bid him farewell and as I shook his hand, I was able to swiftly snatch his key without him noticing. I returned to the Silver-Blood Inn and had a beef stew for dinner. All I had to do now was wait. Sitting by the fireplace, I met a hired sword named Vorstag who told me that he remembered Margaret. He said that she had the poise of a trained warrior. Kleppr told me that she had rented the most expensive room in the inn. I broke into Margaret’s room and found her journal. She had been sent by General Tullius to secure Cidhna Mine. She ran into a conformation with Thonar Silver-Blood and in her last days, she was plagued with paranoia. I’ll have to check out this Thonar character, but something told me I would have to exercise extreme caution.

As I left the inn late at night, I was stopped by a guard who warned me to stop asking questions. I replied innocently that I wasn’t looking for trouble. Margaret was right, there were indeed eyes and ears everywhere. I broke into Orgmund’s house and stole enough to satisfy Vex’s job.

Arrival In Markarth

TIRDAS, 15th of HEARTFIRE

I woke up fairly early this morning. I decided that I would make the journey down to Markarth today by foot. I was still furious that I had been tricked and betrayed by Jar-Ree. I ate a boiled creme treat and some bread for breakfast and headed out of the city. I headed west out along the main road. Soon, I came across a small town called Dragon’s Bridge which derived its namesake from the large stone dragon head on its southern bridge. I recalled that a messenger from Dragon’ s Bridge had been dispatched to Solitude, regarding a magical cave nearby. Judging by the presence of the Empire’s banners and soldiers, it appears Jarl Elisif had answered the man’s requests. I didn’t stop in the town and moved throughly quickly.

I was passing by the ruins of an old tower when I was suddenly ambushed by a wild woman. She was dressed in barbaric furs and wore a headdress made from the antlers of an elk. I was able to beat her, but found nothing that could identify the woman. I continued when I bumped into an orc on the road. He muttered a passing taunt, something that should have been ignored easily but maybe my anger at the fact that Jar-Ree was still out there caused me to respond.

“You shouldn’t talk to me like that.”

“Why? What are you going to do about it, cry?” He stepped into my face.

“Back off. Now.” I said through clenched teeth.

“I don’t have to take that from you.” he pulled out his sword and a fight ensued. I defeated him, but instantly regretted the senseless act. Not out of some moral compunction mind you, but because I was ruled by emotions at the moment. I liked my kills clinical and exact. I was acting like some fresh Fighter’s Guild recruit.

I stopped off on the side of the road to have a lunch of cooked beef and then I continued following the main road, using the sign posts to guide me. I was passing by a house next to a mine, when more of those wild women attacked me. They were dressed the same as the first. I broke into the house but it was empty. Whoever these wild barbarians were, they were no more threatening than the common bandit albeit with a penchant for animal pelts, horns and skulls. I continued on my way. When I saw a tent of khajiit traders camped outside, I knew I was close to Markarth. Outside of the city, there were some small mining communities. I saw a circle of people having a heated discussion. It turns out they were talking about the house and mine I had passed. They referred to the wild warriors as Forsworn and spoke on how the Forsworn had killed everyone in the mine except Pavo and Gat who had escaped. I asked one of the miners Skaggi about the Forsworn and he told me that they were natives of the Reach. I offered to clear out the mine, but Skaggi could only offer me his gratitude. Unfortunately, I can’t feed myself on gratitude.

The city of Markarth looked ancient and its golden doors resembled like that strange Dwemer place I had passed. When I entered the city, I witnessed a woman murdered. Screams of terror filled the air as people fled. The city guard were upon the murderer quickly. After the commotion settled, the guards ushered the common people along. An elf named Eltrys called me aside and asked if I had seen what happened. I replied that I hadn’t seen anything. He told me I had dropped a note and left. Picking up and reading the note, it asked me to meet him at the Shrine of Talos. I pocketed the note for the moment, found the local inn (the Silver-Blood Inn) and went inside. I ate a dinner of rabbit haunch at the bar and rented a room for the night from the owner Kleppr.

Rumors of Forsworn agents were heard on everybody’s lips that night in the inn. Many people seemed to think that the murder had some connection with the Forsworn. Furthermore, Kleppr told me that the Hall of Dead had been closed down recently. I excused myself and retired to my room. I couldn’t fall asleep immediately so I read two books. Volume 1 of the Biography of Barenziah told the story of Barenziah, a dark elf princess who was adopted by the Count of Darkmoor. She is happy until a wicked orphan boy named Straw lied to her -telling her that her parents planned to sell her off as a concubine and convinced her to flee. She fled with Straw until they arrived at Riften. Thief of Virtue was a funny story about a handsome thief named Ravius Terinus who tries to rob a baron in Hammerfell. The baron catches on and rouses the guard and Ravius manages to swoon the Baroness and escapes.

Betrayed

MORNDAS, 14th of HEARTFIRE

It was still raining this morning when I woke up. After a breakfast of salmon steak and sliced apples, I made my way down to the Solitude docks. Swimming across to the opposite bank of the Karth River, I followed the water’s edge east to the archipelago. I picked my way across the small rocky islands and sheets of ice floes. The rain had stopped and was replaced by a thick fog. I finally saw the Icerunner run aground on the rocks. When I approached, one of the Blackblood Marauders told me Deeja was waiting for me in the ship’s hold. On the ship’s deck, I saw the bodies of the Imperial Guards and down in the belly of the ship I saw a number of sailors murdered in their beds. For a simple heist, something felt wrong but I ignored it. When I found Deeja, the Argonian bitch told me that the loot had already been moved and I had been a mere pawn in their plan. She attacked me but she was easily defeated, but the noise had attracted the other marauders. I kicked the door shut to give myself time to think.

Damm! I was betrayed! I cursed my stupidity. I should’ve never accepted a job from a stranger. I was blinded by the promise of gold. Furthermore, all the tell-tale signs were there. Dead guards and sailors. This wasn’t the benign robbery job that Jaree-Ra had made it out to be. Well, hindsight is flawless and I had a more immediate problem on my hands: getting past the marauders and off the ship. But I swore when I found Jaree-Ra I would make him suffer. I swung open the door and before the marauder chance to notch an arrow to his bow, I was upon him. I moved my way through the rest of the ship, eliminating the rest of the bandits before they had any idea what was happening. When the ship was cleared, I returned to Darjee’s corpse and searched it. I found a note from Jar-Ree telling her to meet him at Broken Oar Grotto. I didn’t know where Broken Oar Grotto was, but I intended to find out.

I left the ship and washed the blood off myself by the water. I ate some pheasant roast and bread for lunch and began head back to Solitude. I stopped at the East Empire Company Warehouse and the Solitude Lighthouse, but no one there had any answers for me regarding the location of Broken Oar Grotto. Back at Winking Skeever, I asked Corpulus if he had heard any rumors, hoping for some mention of Jar-Ree or the Blackblood Marauders but it turned up nothing. I may not find you today Jaree-Ra. But when I do, mark my words: I will make you pay.

Extinguishing The Fire

SUNDAS, 13th of HEARTFIRE

As I left my room, I swiped a meal of bread and seared slaughter fish from the table. Downstairs, I ran into Vivienne Onis who I had seen around town. She was dancing to the music of the bard. She recognized me from Roggvir’s execution. It turns out her cousin was Fura, the daughter of the alchemist Angeline. Outside, it was cold, gray and raining. As I was walking, I was discreetly called over by an argonian named Jaree-Ra who asked if I was looking to make some easy gold. Jaree-Ra wanted to raid an incoming weapons ship called the Icerunner. He wanted to put out the Solitude lighthouse fire, forcing the Icerunner to crash – providing us an easy way to loot the ship. It seemed simple enough so I agreed.

A bridge divides Solitude connecting Castle Dour which houses the Imperial Legion and Thalmor, with the Emperor’s Tower that leads down to the docks. There’s a ramp that leads up to the bridge and a platform that sits in between where the blacksmith and fletcher work their respective trades. I met Beirand, the Imperial’s smith. Beirand was selling a beautiful set of Elven Armor and a Dwarven Dagger of Frost that chilled to the touch. I traded in my Orcish Dagger and bought the Dagger of Frost. I also introduced myself to Finhada, the fletcher who specialized in bows and arrows. Later, I went down to the Imperial-financed East Empire Company shipping docks. It was only then looking back up at Solitude that I realized a large part of the city was built on a natural stone bridge that extended into the sea.

I was coming back from the docks when I was approached by a courier with a note. The note was from someone named Calcelmo in Markarth. He had discovered that I had purchased the Dwarven Dagger of Frost and said he needed one for his research. The note said he was willing to pay me handsomely for it. Considering I spent roughly 700 gold for it, I decided that when I arrived at Markarth I would speak to this Calcelmo and see what he had to offer. I strolled the castle courtyard watching the Imperial soldiers practice their archery and swordplay. I discovered the Thalmor Headquarters located in the castle. I poked my head inside and looked around. There didn’t seem to be anyone present so I helped myself to some food, expensive jewelry, and gold.

Leaving the castle,  I walked to the point of the city farthest on the natural stone bridge – the Blue Palace. Inside, I met Melaron who advised  me to steer clear of Sybille Stentor, the court wizard. Upstairs, I overheard a meeting between Jarl Elisif and a messenger.  The messenger’s name was Varnius from Dragon’s Bridge and he claimed that there were unnatural magics coming from a cave nearby. Stentor dismissed the claims as superstition, but it was decided that troops would be sent to Dragon’s Bridge nonetheless. I returned to the inn to dry off and have some hot horker stew. The rich meaty stew seemed to help get the cold out of my bones. With some light still left in the day, I returned to the docks to try and find the Solitude Lighthouse. I exited through the lower Emperor’s Tower, following the shoreline of the sea. I passed by a docked ship before I found the lighthouse. Oddly I found no resistance or guards as I climbed to the top of the lighthouse and extinguished the fire. I headed back in the dark freezing rain with only lantern posts guiding the way. I found Jaree-Da waiting for me on the docks of the East Empire Company. He informed me that the Icerunner had indeed swung wide of the eastern shoal and crashed on the eastern coast. His sister and a group of Blackblood Marauders were told to expect me. I returned to the Winking Skeever for the evening. I stripped off my wet clothes to dry. Tomorrow, I seek out the ruins of the Icerunner.

The Bard’s College

LOREDAS, 12th of HEARTFIRE

 

I decided that I was going to spend my day better acquainting myself with the capital of Skyrim and its people. I woke up at around noon and enjoyed a meal of salmon steak with a boiled creme tart and a honey nut treat for the sweet tooth. I did some window shopping. My first stop was at the local apothecary Angeline’s Aromatic to peruse her stock. The owner Angeline Morrard told me she had a daughter named Fura in the Imperial Army stationed at Whiterun, but hadn’t heard from her. I apologized and told her I had never met someone named Fura in my travels. Next, I stopped in the general store Bits and Pieces. Bits and Pieces was owned by a  wife and husband duo named Sayma and Beirand. While Sayma ran the store, Beirand was the local smith. During out conversation, Sayma revealed that she felt King Torygg had never been a great king, but nonetheless his death had turned Solitude upside down as evidenced by the execution that greeted me yesterday. I bought some Dwarven Arrows from Sayma, thanked her, and left.

Following the noise of the crowd, I arrived at the market square. There were children playing out in the courtyard and the shouts of the merchants peddling their wares filled the air. Evette San, the spice vendor, told me that business had been slower than usual, especially with the Burning of King Olaf being cancelled. It turns out The Burning of King Olaf is a popular local festival in which an effigy of King Olaf is burned. However, with the recent death of Torygg, the festival had been declared in bad taste. She asked me to help her pick up some spices from the East Empire Company dock, but I told her that I wasn’t really planning on heading that way at this time.

I continued west up the hill and underneath the bridge. At the very top of the hill sat the Blue Palace which I figured is where the Jarl stayed. In between, were many of the residences. I located the famous Bards College of Solitude which I had heard so much about. It was a huge building with three floors including a very impressive library and an open foyer with stained glass windows that filled the space with natural light. I was seized with the desire to learn an instrument, so I asked the headmaster Viarma if I could apply. I was disappointed when instead of offering lessons, he told me that applicants were required to perform tasks. Viarma wanted me to go to Dead Man’s Respite and retrieve King Olaf’s verse from a poem called the Poetic Edda. He wanted to perform this verse to Jarl Elisif, in the hopes that she would lift the ban on the festival. I put the task out of my mind since I already had enough to do.

Viarma did mention the college’s historian Girard whose name I recognized. I remembered that the author Adonato who I met in Windhelm had asked me to deliver his manuscript of Olaf and the Dragon. I delivered the book in exchange for 400 gold. The day had flown by and by now it was getting late. I returned to the Winking Skeever and had a filling dinner of baked potatoes and cooked beef.

Solitude

FREDAS, 11th of HEARTFIRE

I shoved down a honey nut treat and a sweet roll as I headed out of the Whiterun gates to the carriage. My mouth was still full when I told Bjornlam that I was going to Solitude. I threw my bag in the back and climbed in.

“First time to Solitude, eh?” he asked. I nodded. “Beautiful city. The capital of Skyrim…” he trailed off as I pulled the hood down over my eyes.

I woke back up around midday from the carriage wheel hitting a big bump. “Sorry about that!” he shouted back at me. With about six more hours until arrival at Solitude, I decided to read some books while daylight was still available:

  • Herbane’s Bestiary: Ice Wraiths. I have never seen an ice wraith before, but the book says they are beasts that camouflage themselves in the snow and attack when you least suspect. The author suggests that straight forward combat is the best tactic.
  • Vernaccus and Bourlor. A comical story. Vernaccus is a minor daedra whom the other daedra make fun of, so he goes on murderous rampages. Bourlor is a archer who never misses. Bourlor takes a shot at Vernaccus, but Vernaccus vanishes and the arrow hits a tree. Bourlor goes to his death, broken over missing a shot. Vernaccus meanwhile becomes popular and shrines are built for him. One day Vernaccus sees that there are people throwing rocks at his shrine. He appears in front of them, but they continue throwing rocks at him. Humiliated he retreats but while doing so, an arrowhead embedded n the wood impales him and kills him. The same arrowhead that Bourlor had shot years ago.
  • Of Crossed Daggers: The History of Riften by Dwennon Wyndell. Quite fascinating. Riften was actually once a major affluent trading city between Skyrim and Morrowind. But it was taken over by a tyrannical and corrupt Jarl who drained the city of its money in building his castle. The people eventually revolted setting the Jarl’s castle on fire, but the fire spread and consumed the whole city. Riften has never recovered.
  • Three Thieves. A story of three thieves: Lledas master of silent assassination, Imalyn, expert lock picker, and Galsiah infiltrator. They planned a heist together, but Lledas took the money. Lledas was actually a fake name. But they other two ended up finding him and killing him. The most interesting thing about the book though was the assassination techniques that Lledas details. Galerus had always taught me to cover the mouth first and then cut the throat in a swift motion, letting the blood spray away from you, but I had never thought of covering the victim’s head first with a burlap sack, drawing the string tight and then supplying the killing blow. I will have to try it sometime.
  • The Book of Daedra. A list of daedra and their respective dominions and spheres.

I finally arrived at Solitude, early in the evening. As I approached the city gates, I learned I had arrived just in time for the execution of Roggvir, the city guard who allowed Ulfric to escape after killing the High King. Yells of traitor filled the air. I watched from the shadows as they beheaded him. I scanned the skies half expecting a dragon to show up at the last minute. None did.

Solitude was a beautiful city. Colorful flags had been strung up around the town. I found Radiant Raiment, the store whose book numbers I had to forge. I walked in and met the owner Endarie, a pretentious rude elf. Scanning the store, I did not see the ledger. I would have to wait to try and break-in later and find it. I walked across the street to The Winking Skeever and met the barkeep Corpulus Vinius who told me that the Bards College was looking for members to join and that I should talk to Viarmo. I ordered a seared slaughter fish for dinner from him and ate it with some sliced carrots. I took a seat at the table in the corner and listened to the bard Lisette sing.

After midnight, the crowd had mostly cleared.I walked back over to Radiant Raiment. Under the cloak of night, I broke into the store. I located the ledger in a room on the second floor. I forged the numbers. I took what gold I could find and stole some jewels from the store. Having finished the job, I returned to the Winking Skeever and rented a room for the night.

Pest Control

TURDAS, 10th of HEARTFIRE

The Meadery Formerly Known As Honningbrew

For breakfast this morning, I had some salmon steak with tomato before heading out towards Honningbrew Meadery. I stopped to change into common clothes at a nearby farm. I needed to convince Sabjorn I was just a helpful farmer. When I entered the meadery, I saw a dead skeever on the floor – a strong indication that Mallus’s sabotage had succeeded. Sabjorn was in an agitated and flustered state. He confirmed the story. There wasgoing to be a tasting of the Honningbrew Reserve for the Captain of the Guard today and he needed the place cleared of pests before the event. I played the role of the hesitant sword-for-hire accepting the job for the right amount of pay. I also happened upon an interesting fact during our conversation. It turns out Mallus actually works for Sabjorn. Sabjorn lent Mallus some coin that Mallus was never able to pay back, hence allowing Sabjorn to exploit Mallus for free labor. Seems Mallus’s vendetta is personal.

Honestly, I had expected this to be a simple operation of clearing a basement of some diseased skeever, but nothing is ever simple is it? Imagine my surprise when I find that the tunnels underneath Honningbrew’s basement opened up into a massive subterranean cave.  The walls of the tunnels gave off a luminescent glow, reflecting the light from the glowing fungi that lined its surface. I pulled spider webs out of my eyes and mouth as I proceeded deeper into the cavern. Unfortunately, skeever were not only the pests that called the place home. There were also frostbite spiders and some lunatic mage named Hamelyn. I had rounded the corner when I was hit with a lightning bolt straight to the chest. The shock paralyzed me and my whole body felt as if every nerve was on fire. I only managed to barely dodge the next bolt and run back the way I came. I managed to kill any skeevers that came after me and re-arm some bear traps, hoping to slow down any pursuers. I got into cover and peeked around the corner. I was able to dodge more incoming lightning attacks. Finally, when Hamelyn expended himself of magic, he made the mistake of pulling out a dagger and running towards me. I caught him as he rounded the corner, impaling him on my sword.

Checking my equipment, I realized that I had been bit on the hand by a skeever during the fight. There was pus forming around the edges and it didn’t look pretty. I would have to cure the poison back in Whiterun. From his journal, I discovered that Hamelyn was some scorned alchemist from the College of Winterhold. He had made his residence in the tunnels under Honningbrew, all the while hatching his mad plot to get revenge with an army of skeever. I disposed of Hamelyn’s body and planted the poison in the nest. I made my way into the boilery where I opened the vat for the Honningbrew Reserve and dumped the remaining poison inside. I retraced my steps back through the tunnels, changed back into my common clothes and emerged back into Sabjorn’s bar. Mallus had arrived as well.

We were just in time as the tasting was about to start. Mallus and I watched with some apprehension as Commander Caius took his first sip of Honningbrew Reserve. He immediately spat it out, furious that Sabjorn had not taken care of the pest problem. Despite his protests, Sabjorn was hauled off to prison while Mallus tried to stifle a laugh. Honningbrew Meadery would now become a part of Briar-Black and Maven had handed control of this meadery to Mallus. From indebted servitude to ownership, Mallus got a good deal.

There was one last thing left to do. I told Mallus I needed to access Sabjorn’s books and Mallus gave me the keys to the office upstairs. I unlocked the office and entered. I found a note from Sabjorn’s mysterious benefactor, but there was no name, only a symbol. The same symbol that marked the Goldenglow deed. Coincidence? I think not. Perhaps Maven would know more. I ransacked the room for any remaining gold. Then I sat down at the Sabjorn’s desk and propped my legs up on the table. I ate the salmon steak that Sabjorn had prepared and for the first time since I had entered Skyrim, I took a sip of Honningbrew Mead. It was actually quite delicious.

It was getting late, so I bid farewell to Mallus and made my way back to Whiterun. Back at Whiterun, I managed to make it into Belethor’s store before closing time. I sold him some books that I had already read. I then stopped at the Temple of Kynareth to cure myself of the poison from the skeever bite. I was in no rush to get back to Maven and there were jobs out west in Solitude and Maraketh that I had to take care of. I took my dinner in the back room of The Bannered Mare and then took to an early sleep. Tomorrow, I would take a carriage to Solitude.

Return To Whiterun

MIDDAS, 9th of HEARTFIRE

Today I return to Whiterun. I ate a quick breakfast of apples and sweet rolls before heading out of the city. It was still early and most of Riften was just rising from its slumber. The air was damp and cool as I hailed the carriage. I climbed in the back and we set off.

We pulled into Whiterun early evening. During the trip, I occupied my time reading as best as I could, despite the frequent bumps. These are the books I read on the way:

  •  Chance’s Folly by Zylmoc Bolge.  It was a story about a thief named Chance who decided to rob the treasures of the Heran Ancestral Tomb. She decided to take Ulstyr, a Breton who she presumed to be dumb but brutish enough to handle the fights, while she handled the lock picking. Her thinking was that she could eventually abandon him, but he turned the tables on her. And she died trapped in the tomb. Days later, Ulstyr returned and took the treasure for himself.
  • Mixed Unit Tactics in the Five Years War Volume One by Codus Callonus. Talks about the tactics used in the war between the Bosmer and Khajiit. The book talks about how the Khajiit took advantage of both ground and tree forces to split and divide the Bosmer.
  • The Armorer’s Challenge by Mymophonus. Tells the story of Hazadir and Sirollus Saccus, two armorers commissioned to design the armor for Imperial troops in the Black Marsh. While Saccus was generally considered the finest armorer, Hazadir was able to create armor that took into account both the environment of the Black Marsh but also knowledge of Argonian battle tactics and weaponry.
  • The Yellow Book of Riddles. Like the title suggests.
  • Watcher of Stones by Gelyph Sig, Thane of Bjorin. A book about some guy who is obsessed with the Guardian Stones and their ability to change the fates.
  • Twin Secrets by Brarily Theran. Talks about the Law of Firsts – in that once an item is enchanted with a spell, it will not enchant again. The author claims he discovered how to break the Law of Firsts from a dragon and was able to successfully imbue a weapon with two enchantments.

It seems Arcadia’s death has been swept under the rug, no doubt attributed to a random act of burglary gone awry. And knowing Whiterun’s guards, they probably weren’t interested in launching an in-depth investigation. For now, I was safe. Nonetheless, it was strange being back in Whiterun.Ysolda, the aspiring merchant, was still sitting at the same place as if she had never left. I remember her asking me for a mammoth tusk. It was weighing me down and I had no real need for it so I gave her the one I had happened across during my travels. She thanked me and shared some trade secrets among merchants that would help me getter better deals.

Mallus Maccius

I eventually found Mallus sitting by himself in the back of the kitchen. He had a pale sickly pallor to his lean face was accented by high cheekbones and dark circles underneath his eyes. Mallus laid out the plan: Honningbrew’s owner Sabjorn was about to hold a tasting for Whiterun’s Captain of the Guard. Mallus had opened up a passageway for pests into Honningbrew’s meadery. I was to visit Sabjorn and offer my helpful assistance. While there I was to poison the vats of mead with the pest poison ensuring Sabjorn’s downfall and the end of Honningbrew.

Mallus told me that the warehouse and meadery were attached by a tunnel and that to get the brewing vats, I should start in the basement of the storeroom of the warehouse. Sounds simple enough, but nothing ever really is. I excused myself and left Mallus to his meal. I rented a room for the evening as I was tired from the trip. Tomorrow, I pay a visit to Sabjorn.

Mead Your Competition

TIRDAS, 8th of HEARTFIRE

Maven Black-Briar

Woke up later than usual today, probably due to my late night escapades. I had a boiled creme treat and apple to eat. As I left my room at the Bee and Barb, I saw Maven sitting at a table waiting for me. She was a calculating, pragmatic woman and despite her aloof attitude I recognized a shrewd businesswoman that was not to be taken lightly. Maven wanted me to help put her competition Honningbrew Meadery out of business and also figure out how their business took off so quickly. She told me to meet her contact, Mallus Maccius, at the Bannered Mare in Whiterun.

Was I ready to go back to Whiterun? It had been two weeks since I had killed Arcadia and fled, but it seemed like an eternity. A lot had changed since then. I’ve grown stronger, more confident in my abilities and I now had the protection of the Thieves Guild behind me. Any investigation into the murder would have slowed down by now and I couldn’t keep hiding forever. I decided that tomorrow I would take a carriage back to Whiterun. However, first there was some jobs I had to collect on. I dropped the Golden Urn I had stollen from Mjoll off with Vex. She paid me for the job and asked if I was ready for more. I told her I was interested in doing a shill job and she said she had just the thing. I was to plant a stolen garnet in Valindor’s house in Riften. She slipped me the garnet and walked off.

The shill job proved to be fast and easy money. I found Valindor’s house on the lower docks of the city. There didn’t seem to be anyone home and the lower docks didn’t see much foot traffic, so I picked the lock and entered. I put the stolen garnet in a chest and then quietly slipped back out. I reported back to Vex and if she was surprised that I finished the job so quickly she didn’t show it. I told her that I wanted a challenge. Vex said she had just gotten a new sweep job in that fit that description: I had to clear Ogmund’s house in Makarth of valuables.

With the rest of the day open to me, I decided to learn a thing or two about pickpocketing from Vipir the Fleet. He showed me how to divert attention , how finger speed and lightness were crucial in execution particularly from a sleeping victim. I was still nowhere close to Vipir’s expertise, but if I was to avail that ring from Aerin’s finger, I needed to learn more. After my lessons, I stopped in Elgrim’s Elixrs but no one greeted me when I entered. I heard Elgrim in the back talking so while he was occupied, I quickly helped myself to some potions and ingredients. I had just shoved a Chaurus Egg into my knapsack, when Elgrim walked to the front. I pretended to be perusing his goods and introduced myself to Elgrim.

Elgrim was an Elder who lived with his wife. His apprentice was Ingrun Black-Briar. She wasn’t there but Elgrim spoke highly of her potential. I left his store and sat down at a bench in the market square. I began to examine the Chaurus Egg I had stolen from Elgrim’s store. It had a hard bumpy outer shell. I knew from the recipe that it was a key component in a potion of invisibility. I took out my dagger to crack a small hole in the shell. I dipped my finger in and tasted it. It was extremely salty and bitter and it had an immediate noticeable effect on my constitution. If I could combine it with something else, it might create a weakness to poison potion.

I wandered Riften for a while afterwards and stopped in the Temple of Mara.  I met Maramol who explained to me that Mara was the Goddess of Love, encompassing emotions like love, compassion, and understanding. I approached the altar and looked at the statue. It was a woman, hands open to the side, eyes closed with her face looking upwards as if soaking in the rays of the sun. I don’t know what compelled me to take the next steps, but I knelt at the altar and spoke quietly: “You are not one of my Gods and I have not come here today to ask for your compassion. I came here to tell you that I am a murderer and a thief. This is my gift and my curse. I accept my fate.” I rose and walked out of the temple briskly. “Blessing of Mara upon you!” Maramol called out after me. Back at the Ragged Flagon, I ate a meal of baked potato and goat leg roast and got ready for bed.

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