TURDAS, 10th of HEARTFIRE
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.