PoTM: Chapter 22, Syndicate

  • Understanding House Dres

     

    By Solamar Dres, Grand Historian for the House, Written in the 84th Year of the Golden Peace

     

    House Dres, one of the Great Houses of the Dunmer, prized agrarian pursuits above all else. The House built its fortune on saltrice plantations and slave labor while maintaining a persistent tradition of Daedra worship and ancestor reverence. Dres controlled the southeastern region of Morrowind, even extending its influence into parts of central Morrowind. It was formally established as a Great House by Grandmaster Thalthil Dres after a successful slave raid that secured our role as the predominant suppliers of slaves to the other Houses.

     

    House Dres constantly resisted efforts to join Dunmer society with the rest of Tamriel. Proud isolationists, we nevertheless believed in the unity of the Great Houses. Our agricultural might fed Morrowind, providing the majority of the foodstuffs necessary for the existence and continuation of Dunmer society. As such, feeding Morrowind provided the bulk of our wealth and influence, supplemented nicely by our control of the slave trade.

     

    The isolationist stance of House Dres was instilled in its customs and world outlook from the very beginning. Not only do we consider the other cultures and races to be inferior to the Dunmer, we deem any extended contact with them where we were not in total control to present a danger to Dunmer society. Ideas, like a plague, can spread without warning and prove to be impossible to contain. Instead, we should concentrate on inter-House relations and improving the position of the Dunmer to make our society stronger and eternal.

     

    7th of Morning Star, 4E 203

     

    Sapphire was leaning against the wall of Alor's house, looking at the entrance into Raven Rock's mine, along with a few dozen other people. Actually all residents of Raven Rock were standing there, waiting for the guards to come out of the mine. She could see it in the poor fools' faces, written all over them. Hope.

     

    They were all hoping.

     

    Some of them more than the others as Sapphire noticed that Dunmer woman, Aphia Velothi. The Dunmer was the only one in the crowd who betrayed other emotions. Worry. Her husband was missing for a whole day, after all, and people were saying they saw him entering the mine.

     

    It all started with that High Elf from the ship, Nerussa’s friend. He was the one who got their hopes up and they were stupid enough to believe him. The Altmer ventured into the mines yesterday and not surprisingly, walked out, a bit scratched up, but alive, informing Councillor Morvayn the mine still held ebony and deposits of Stalhrim. They weren't really inclined to believe him and who could blame them? The mine had been dry for almost two centuries. But they still went in to investigate, first thing in the morning.  

     

    Word got out and now the people were standing there, hoping that it was true. Well, at least some of them, she resisted the urge to snort when she noticed Mogrul in the crowd, a frown of concern etched in his face. Oh, someone's not happy about this, not at all. What's the matter? Someone took your toys, Orc? Mogrul had been like that since yesterday, since that High Elf returned from the mines and Sapphire could tell the Orc certainly was getting antsy around the Elf. She could see it, how he was getting irritated just by the Witch-Elf walking around him, no lowered head, no show of submission, almost as if he was daring Mogrul. She wondered how long would it take before the two came to blows. And who would win if it did?

     

    She scanned the crowd with her eyes, pausing for a second when she noticed Glover. The moment her eyes rested on him, he quickly averted his gaze, pretending he was just scanning the crowd the same way she was. She snorted at that. The damn Breton was still trying to have words with her, to explain things, and no matter how many times she told him to sod off, he would always come back. She was slowly getting to the point of burying a dagger into his eye.

     

    Sapphire then grimaced after she realized what kind of thoughts she was having. Would I really do it? Would I be capable of that? she pondered. She despised the man, for all his cowardice. Everything could have been very different if he didn't leave her mother, if he had stayed with them. Sapphire could have had a father, her mother would have been alive, and Sapphire herself wouldn't be… used. She shook her head, trying to clear it. She saw how it hurt him when she ignored him and that might be better for him than a quick death. Just live with your choice, old man.

     

    The doors to the mine finally opened and a handful of guards with Councillor Morvayn walked out. Everyone was watching in silence, waiting. The tension was slowly growing. Someone coughed. A light breeze picked up ash from the ground. The Councillor then raised his hand, showing everyone something between his fingers. Something black as coal, but glossy, reflecting the dim light of the sunrise.

     

    “Ebony,” someone murmured in the crowd, saying it almost like a prayer to one of their stupid gods. Everyone suddenly began cheering, their wishes finally coming true. The were hugging each other, patting each other's backs.

     

    For all Sapphire cared, that small piece of Ebony could have been the only piece left in the mine. But the Councillor probably wasn’t the type to fill his people with false hope. So maybe, the mine really was full of ebony, just as the pale elf had said. And for all these people it meant a new beginning, the flow of gold renewed, and she smirked when she glanced at Mogrul.

     

    The Orc certainly wasn't happy about it. The flow of gold meant that people would start paying back what they owed him, slowly but steadily freeing themselves from under his thumb. The clock was ticking for the Orc, the Witch-Elf had struck back.

     

    Mogrul wasn't the only one not cheering. The Dunmer woman, the wife of the Imperial that went missing, was talking with the Councillor now, tears on her face. She fell to her knees, uncontrollably sobbing, and the Councillor hugged her, trying to comfort her. The cheers were slowly dying off as the people noticed, Raven Rock drowning in silence again, interrupted only by the woman's sobs.

     

    “We found Crescius,” the captain of the guard said into the silence. “At the bottom of the main shaft,” he added as delicately as he could. Murmurs spread through the crowd and Sapphire's eyes immediately fell on Mogrul. It was very unlikely the Imperial just threw himself down the shaft of his own volition, especially right after ebony had been found, and if she had to bet her money, she would bet it on the Orc being responsible for that.

     

    “It really breaks my heart,” Mogrul suddenly said, pushing his way through the crowd. “It really breaks my heart to hear such sad news on a grand day like this.” He pointed behind himself at the door leading to the mine, his eyes on the crowd. “Damn! Am I right? Just when it looks like the mines will open again too. But who was in those mines, I ask you?” He looked at the sobbing Dunmer woman, his brow raised in a question. “Who did your husband ask for help? The Altmer. Do all of you really think it was an accident, what happened to Crescius? Think about it again! You all know what happened.” He punctuated his words with a slow nod and Sapphire almost snorted again.

     

    “What are you trying to imply, sera Mogrul?” Councillor asked loudly, clenching his jaws.

     

    “Boy, you all are really stupid. It was the Altmer who killed Crescius,” the Orc said resolutely, watching the crowd with a smirk. Everyone was averting their eyes from his stare, their heads bowing in submission and Sapphire shook her head. What are you so scared of? You all know who did it!

     

    “Malacath’s hairy armpit, you lie with the best of them!” a booming chuckle sounded from the back of the crowd and Sapphire turned to see the pale elf standing there, shaking his head in disbelief, his face not sure if it wanted to be laughing or angry. No armor, just clothes, looking as if he he had just woken up not long ago. He then crossed his arms over his chest and gestured with his chin towards the Orc. “Unfortunately, Mogrul you are not the best at it. My apologies, Councillor, for my intrusion, but I need to respond to this accusation.” He rubbed the bridge of his nose and let out another chuckle which caught in a cough. “I am trying to understand something. Why would I kill a man who asked me to do a favour?” He then seemed to pause his own thought and then nodded, pointing at Mogrul. “ You know? Prove it, Orc.” There wasn’t even a name now, just Orc. “That’s it, you prove it to me,” he challenged directly.

     

    Mogrul snorted. “Finders, keepers. You ever heard that one, Altmer? You killed Crescius so you could claim the ebony for yourself. Or at least a share of it, no?”

     

    “That the best you can do? Finders keepers? For Fuck’s sake! Are we five? Are we talking some wee sand box scuffle about who took the other’s shovel?” the mer narrowed his eyes and Sapphire saw him bare his teeth in a growl. “Alright.” His tone lowered. “Your argument, as ludicrous as it is.” His eyes then found the Councillor’s. “Did I stake a claim in the mine, Councillor Morvayn?”

     

    “No.” The Dunmer responded.

     

    “Have I asked for anything else, Councillor? Did I ask for payment?” Punctuated by another cough.

     

    “You were in the mines-” Mogrul started but was immediately interrupted by another funny chuckle from the Mer, letting everyone in the town know how annoyed he was. It was dangerous. The Mer rubbed the back of his neck and his eyes shifted to the Orc again.

     

    “To kill skeevers and spiders! Dammit! Because my partner and I needed the coin for supplies. Then we came out, with you and your goons waiting for us outside, threatening to kill Crescius, unless I gave you all that I found.” He pointed at Slitter. “That blade right there.” He huffed, waving his hand in dismissal. “Gah! Which, Bloody Oblivion, he is not even holding correctly, I found it inside, the prize from the Dragon Priest that dwelled inside. The Dragon Priest I killed. The book, the mask. And I gave it all,” He then bowed mockingly, “to the town’s savior, Mogrul.” The last words were about as sarcastic as one could get.

     

    “Of course, of course. We all know how trustworthy Altmer are these days. False accusations, that's what Altmer do. Just point fingers, Thalmor,” Mogrul growled, looking at the crowd. And Sapphire felt a smirk crawling up on her face. She could see it too. Mogrul was losing the crowd. He pushed it with Thalmor. It was clear that the Witch-Elf was a bloody Witch-Elf, but no, definitely not Thalmor. Actually opposite, from the limited conversation she heard between he and Nerussa.

     

    “Oh so now, all you can do is flip the argument?” The Elf retorted with raised eyebrows. “I had more engaging debates with the skeevers and spiders down in the mines, but oh well.” He coughed again and cleared his throat. “We ventured into the mines during daylight. The old man stayed behind, near the chasm, safe. You think I would have actually let him go further? I am a warrior of centuries, he is gentlefolk. No, I left him, protected, and continued with my partner. By the time the sun was setting, we had returned to Raven Rock with Crescius,” the High Elf crossed his arms over his chest. “We celebrated the discovery at the Retching Netch together and then he left. Said his wife was waiting.” He turned to the widow. “I am sorry. If I had known…” He then shifted his attention back to a scowling Mogrul and narrowed his eyes. “I then stayed there the whole night, because after killing a dragon priest, you do get tired.”

     

    And then Mogrul smiled, grinned even. It was a grin proclaiming he had won. “And who can corroborate that?” he asked, looking at the crowd, baring his tusks in a full grin now. Sapphire felt her smirk slowly disappearing as she looked at the people, at their faces. They weren't prepared to defy the Orc, because whoever did that would probably find out what living Oblivion looks like. And then the Altmer flashed a calm smile, meeting Mogrul’s challenge, though the eyes were snapping with a certain fire that she found hard to place.

     

    She knew the Mer vaguely from his appearances in the Ratway. Once to ask Nerussa to get his dumb dog back and to check on some stupid stable hand and his wife. Words about a Fist and whatever shit that was said, Guild members looking up, as if on reflex, when the word ‘Thalmor’ was whispered. The other time was to find an old coot in the Warrens, the Thalmor hot on his heels. They found the Thalmor corpses when Bryn and Nerussa investigated later. This power play with Mogrul, however, the Mer didn’t seem the type for games like that to her, normally very polite and knightly. Like a bloody storybook.

     

    “I can,” someone in the crowd stated and Sapphire narrowed her eyes when she noticed it was an old Dunmer, leaning against a cane. Pretty much a bag of bones. “I don't shleep much, you know,” he flashed a toothless grin. “Sho I can teshtify that the Altmer didn’t leave the Retching Netch the whole night,” There was a toothless chuckle. “And with that pretty thing in the shame room, hish partner,” Sapphire noticed the pale Nord woman had approached, her hooded, tired face forming a frown, “I wouldn’t leave either.”  He then poked a black-haired Dunmer woman standing next to him and cleared his throat. “My nieshe can confirm that too.”

     

    The frown the old mer got from Mogrul was full of anger and promised wrath. It was almost a surprise that the stare didn't kill the Dunmer on the spot then and there.

     

    “I can confirm it too,” Glover said loudly and Sapphire felt her jaws clench. You bloody idiot.

     

    “Me too,” the owner of the Retching Netch lifted his hand, staring defiantly at Mogrul. “Had honey nut treats and milk.”

     

    “And they were delicious, sera Geldris.” The pale elf added with a polite nod, back to being the bloody knight again.

     

    You bloody idiots, every one of you, she shook her head. You get to taste the possibility of freedom on your tongues and you immediately raise your heads high in defiance. Idiots! He's still here, he still bloody rules this shithole! Too soon, you are defying him too soon!

     

    “Is that all, sera Mogrul?” Councillor Morvayn asked with a non-saying tone in his voice and the Orc growled in response, picking his path through the crowd with Slitter behind his heels. He passed the High Elf, locking stares with him and baring his tusks, to let him know he crossed the line. As if the Mer gave a damn. He nodded back, but the eyes didn’t change, still snapping away. Sapphire noticed a smug smirk on the captain of the guard's face and shook her head.

     

    You all just brought Oblivion down upon yourselves.

     

    The pale elf walked towards the fresh widow and helped her to her feet, slowly walking her towards her house. But it didn't really matter. They were all going to pay, she just knew it. He gave one more look over his shoulder as he, leading the widow while he passed Sapphire, whispering.

     

    “Zu'u, faal Sadon Dovah, faal Wuth Tu, ofan hi hin stin. Kuz nii…”

     

    Sapphire blinked at the word Dovah. Shit, was that the--She noticed Mogrul motioning at her, letting her know that she should follow him and she clenched her jaws.  

    The chair ended up in a pile of splinters after Mogrul tossed it against the wall right at the moment he entered the study of his house. “Fucking Altmeri cunt!” he growled and grabbed the other chair, smashing it against the floor. “Who the fuck does he think he is?!” he spat, barring his tusks. He felt like killing something in that moment. He needed to kill something real bad. His hand went to the shaft of his flail, thinking about using it on that stupid piece of wood that was called a table.

     

    “Do you want me to kill him?” Slitter dared to ask, that stupid sword with a red blade in his hands. He was itching to use it. “Make an example of him?”

     

    Mogrul's fist landed on the Dunmer's jaw, sending him on the floor, making drop the weapon. “Are you fucking stupid or what?” He bellowed. “We kill him now and we make a martyr of him, you idiot!”

     

    “You shouldn't have killed the Imperial,” the Nord girl, Sapphire, said with a cold voice. Just stating the obvious, without a single drop of emotion. “You should have killed the elf first.”

     

    He bared his tusks at her, coming so close to her their noses were nearly touching and he looked into those two jewels that were her eyes. “Are you telling me what should I do, girl? Are you?”

     

    She didn't even flinch, just stared back at him. “Just saying,” she replied.

     

    He stared, his hand twitching as he was repeatedly clenching it into a fist. “Yeah? And what about the others, eh? The old piece of shit, the innkeeper and...your dear daddy? What should I do about them, eh? Fuck them up real bad, maybe?”

     

    “Maybe,” she said and Mogrul snorted. He looked at Slitter still lying on the floor and growled.

     

    “Get your arse up.” The Dunmer obeyed, sheathing the weapon again. Mogrul then walked towards the table, leaning against it, thinking about the girl. He wasn't sure if she was just playing tough or if she really didn't give a crap about what happened to the people. She seemed tough, tough like she ate steel ingots for breakfast. Balls of steel that one has.

     

    He was turned with his back towards her and he felt the holes her stare was burning through his flesh and felt a smile pushing on his face. Would she try to kill him? She could probably make it, only three steps were between them. Slitter wouldn't probably be able to react quickly enough with that new big stupid sword of his. On that, the Altmer cunt was probably right. He stared at the table, at the holes and dents in it and he waited. But she didn’t come.

     

    He shook his head. Maybe she would do it, but only because she wasn't still understanding the bigger picture. He quickly turned around and saw her standing one step closer. He smiled. Oh yes, you still don't get it. She needed a little push.

     

    “How long will it take until everyone pays their debts?” he thought out loud, looking at Slitter. The mine certainly did complicate things. The moment everyone settles their debts Mogrul would lose his control over them. No protection money, no guard backing him up, no Councillor ignoring him anymore.

     

    “Four, five months?” Slitter offered, unsure.

     

    “Three months,” Sapphire said resolutely and he raised his eyebrows. He gestured for her to continue. “If they sell the ebony to both Morrowind and Empire that is,” she added. “East Empire Company won't let it go to Windhelm, which is the closest port, because of the Civil War. There's an embargo, which means that captain Gjalund's bribing the Imperials. So Raven Rock would have to start selling the stuff in Dawnstar or Solitude, with the East Empire Company's blessing. No bribes, lower taxes, a lot of money. And then reasonable prices in Morrowind of course.”

     

    “You don't even know how much money they owe,” Mogrul remarked and Sapphire just shrugged.

     

    “Three months,” she repeated without hesitation.

     

    “Alright. Though if you're wrong I'll probably kill you,” he shrugged, trying to throw her off-balance a little. Her stare got harder and he smirked. Now we're getting somewhere. “Slitter, ease off the protection money from now on. Let's try to play nice and all that. We won't give them a reason to turn on us the moment the last drake is paid. That would really ruin my day, you know? When I get all the money and they lock us in or kill us on the spot.”

     

    “So we'll do nothing about the rebels?” Slitter raised his eyebrows.

     

    “You're so bloody stupid I'm surprised you're still alive,” Sapphire murmured and Mogrul's eyebrows raised in amusement. “We'll just have to be more subtle now, you idiot.”

     

    “Don't test me, girl,” the Dunmer growled, clenching the pommel of his sword so hard his knuckles turned white - even on his grey skin.

     

    “Like two cocks on a rubbish heap,” Mogrul chuckled, shaking his head. “Only she doesn't have a cock,” he pointed on Sapphire. “Though she definitely has bigger balls than you, Slitter. And more brains. Just as she says, we have to be more subtle now. Going to be smart.” He rubbed his forehead, thinking about those who dared to support the Altmer.

     

    He couldn't allow that shit. Once they start, it catches on like fire, especially without a response from him. “Geldis Sadri just brewed a new batch of Sujamma, right? His best, as he keeps saying. What if something happens to that batch?”

     

    Slitter grimaced. “Like...no Sujamma? At all? Aw maaaan.”

     

    “I can do it,” Sapphire volunteered and the Orc sneered at that. Nah, you won’t get out of it so easily.

     

    “No, little ‘Mallory,’” he shook his head, putting as much emphasis on her true surname as he could. “You’re going to pay a visit to your daddy.”

     

    Her face was a mask of stone, not betraying a single angaid of emotion when she asked: “What do you want me to do?”

     

    “Oh, no,” he chuckled, the vile grin spreading on his face. “Where would be fun in that, girl? Figure something out. Be creative. Impress me.”

     

    She narrowed her eyes and Mogrul’s hand went to his waist, to the shaft of his flail. “You do realize that if I sabotage his business, he’ll earn nothing. And he owes you half of his shit, right? Well, half of nothing is nothing,” she stated and he clenched his jaws. He really hoped she would try something, that he had finally cracked her shell. But no, all he was getting was this pragmatic bullshit.

     

    “I’ll settle for half of nothing then,” he shrugged. He then remembered he wanted to give her a little push, to show her the bigger picture. He looked on the table, at the written contracts lying there and smiled. He grabbed a few of them and handed them to Sapphire. “The Gar Skarr is still at the docks, right? Give these to the captain, he’ll know what to do. Now get out of my face.”

     

    The moment she left Slitter turned to Mogrul with a frown. “Do you trust her?”

     

    The Orc shook his head in amusement, feeling a smirk on his face. “I don't trust anyone, not even you.” He noticed Slitter's grimace and grinned. Just because he and Slitter knew each other for years didn't mean they were friends, or that Mogrul trusted him. In their line of business, trust wasn't exactly the promise of a long and happy life. One always had to watch his back. Always. “Don't tell me I hurt your feelings.”

     

    “Not at all,” the Dunmer murmured under his breath and then he straightened, mischief in his eyes. “What about the Altmer?”

     

    That definitely killed Mogrul's mood. The Altmer wasn't anything but trouble since he arrived and all Mogrul wanted was to have him killed. Badly. Make him bleed, make him beg. That would definitely satisfy the Orc, but he wondered if that would hurt the Altmer enough. Maybe it would hurt him more if that Nord woman of his came to harm. Maybe. Maybe tomorrow… “Nothing for now. I have to think it through. In the meantime, make sure no one trades with him or even talks to him. Make everyone know he's not welcome here. Now go.”

     

    Slitter stared at him for a second then with a grunt he left, leaving Mogrul alone with his thoughts of vengeance.

     

    Mogrul was realizing he completely forgot about the old Dunmer and his involvement, but that wasn't a priority now. The old bag of bones would hardly run away, so Mogrul knew he could deal with him later. Probably...

    She didn’t head straight to the ship, no, instead, she took a sharp turn between Glover's house and the residence of Councillor Morvayn, stepping into the shadows between. She made sure no was around, that no one was watching her, and she was certain as she unrolled one of the papers.

     

    It was contract, a written agreement about a loan. Right at the top was a symbol, with Deshaan Syndicate written under it. What in bloody Oblivion is the Deshaan Syndicate? The rest of the contract were terms of agreement, everything leading back to the Syndicate. So Mogrul isn't alone, he has this Syndicate backing him up. Damn, he certainly is much smarter than you gave him credit for.

     

    She frowned as she reached the last term, shock appearing on her face. “What the shit?” she murmured, reading that sentence over again... in case the broker of this deal comes to harm or perishes under any circumstance, the indebted are obliged to pay double of what they owe to another representative of Deshaan Syndicate…

     

    The bloody cunt! she cursed in her mind, leaning against the wall. This was it, this was what was making Mogrul untouchable. How many of these contracts had he written over the years in Raven Rock? Everyone was indebted to him, even the town's ruler. If anything happened to him they all would have to pay double of what they owed. Double! It would ruin the whole town, make beggars of them.

     

    She rolled the contract and put it among the others, now heading towards the ship in the dock, all the while frowning as if she just ate something vile. She could kill Mogrul, she knew she could do it and she nearly did it, back in his house. She was ready to do it, but she hesitated, thinking about the consequences. And now she knew, and she was arguing with herself if she really cared.

     

    What were these people to her? They were nothing, even less than nothing. She didn't give a crap about them. It was none of her business if they had to pay with everything they had if Mogrul died. What was stopping her then?

     

    She had been pondering that for a while.

     

    Why was she at Raven Rock in the first place? Because she wanted to beat the crap out of Glover, and that she did. She went to Solstheim under the pretence of finding the cultists responsible for killing Vex and Brynjolf, but she didn't really give a crap about that either. Vex and Brynjolf were dead, she wasn't. The first couldn't be changed and the second could be changed very easily by getting herself killed by those cultists. So screw those cultists.

     

    Mogrul killed Ravyn though, right in front of her. And she promised the Orc she would kill him one day. Was that all? She didn't like Ravyn at all, yet she couldn't help herself when she saw the life fading from him. The anger, the helplessness. She wanted to fight it, but she couldn't and she was cursing herself for that.

     

    It wasn't about revenge or justice. No. The Orc made her feel helpless. Just like those bandits did years ago. And back then, she had endured a lot, waited for her moment to slit all their throats. She had promised herself she wouldn’t feel helpless ever again, but Mogrul made her feel that way. He had to die for that.

     

    She suddenly grunted. Yes, she would wait for her moment, she would wait for a moment when Mogrul wouldn’t be protected by bloody contracts or Redoran guard. So for the time being, it was better to work for him than work against him or being crushed under his heels.

     

    She walked on the Gar Skarr's deck, asking one of the sailors for the captain. He pointed at a Dunmer with a stupid hat on his head and she frowned. She walked up to him and handed over the contracts to him. “From Mogrul.”

     

    He frowned and unrolled one of the papers. “Ah, yes. Delivery to Deshaan Syndicate. I will get it done.”

     

    “Good,” she murmured and turned to leave.

     

    “You work for Mogrul, Nord?” the captain stopped her and she looked over her soldier.

     

    “What's it to you?”

     

    Captain shrugged. “Just don't want any trouble. I will make sure my crew doesn't get in your way.”

     

    She snorted and walked away, shaking her head. So Mogrul has a certain reputation. No shit. And you're now part of that reputation, Sapphire.

     

    It's just survival, nothing more, she argued with herself, knowing that she'd do what needed to be done in order to survive.

    Venhen was standing in his rented room in Retching Netch, looking over Neriila's shoulder. The room wasn't much, four steps wide and long, with two beds, a writing desk, a table and two chairs, everything very simple and one would almost say rugged. Dust was everywhere and it was waking him up in the night as he struggled to breathe. But everyone had to make certain sacrifices.

     

    His eyes were on the paper she was writing. She was sitting at the writing desk, painting a certain symbol on a paper.

     

    “Sho what did the Reaversh shay?” he asked out loud and she stopped painting for a second, then she put more paint on her brush and renewed her efforts.

     

    “They're with us,” she answered simply and Venhen narrowed his eyes in annoyance. It was too short answer for his liking and he opened his mouth to reprimand her for being so cryptic, but before he could say anything, she continued. “The moment the Orc is dead, they're in. The gang at the derelict ship is already at our disposal and we have enough favours to pull in the other gangs to our fold the moment the Orc is out of the game.”

     

    “Good, very good,” Venhen murmured. It was about time, he was getting really tired of the Orc. Though he could be amusing at times, just like he was today. Trying to put the blame on the Altmer… that was funny, very funny. Hilarious even. Did he really believe he would pull that off? It was precisely the moment Venhen was looking for. He stepped out of the line in the Altmer's favour, and few others followed him.

     

    But why did he do that? What was the High Elf to him? Nothing really. But he's getting under the Orc's skin. And as long as Mogrul is focused on the Altmer, he won't be looking in my direction.

     

    He looked at the piece of paper under Neriila's hands, at the symbol she was drawing. It was no different from the original Neriila stole from Mogrul's house.

     

    Deshaan Syndicate. He suddenly chuckled. Oh, it will be so much fun. I will liberate this town from the Orc's clutches and everyone will be thanking me and patting me on the back. And then I'll come out with this piece of paper, proclaiming myself a representative of the Deshaan Syndicate. And they will all pay me double of what they owe.

     

    What a lovely day tomorrow will be.

    It was already dark when she knocked on Glover's door, the forge next to her emanating a faint warmth, the embers barely smoldering. It was almost like an imitation of warmth, an echo - which didn't make much sense, but she was like that sometimes. Her thoughts going all kinds of crazy on her.

     

    The door opened and Glover looked at her, frowning. “Sapphire? Wh-”

     

    She pushed him aside and walked in, looking around the small dining room. “We need to talk,” she said over her shoulder and Glover stared for a second and then he nodded, sitting down on the bench at the table.

     

    “He sent you, didn't he?”

     

    “Yeah,” she confirmed it and rubbed her eyes. “What did you expect? You stood up to him. He has to make an example of you.”

     

    “Didn't expect anything less,” he murmured and opened a bottle of that Dunmeri liquor, pouring it down his throat. “But it still was the right thing to do. That Elf opened the mines - well, sort of. He gave us a chance for freedom. Couldn't have him be lynched for something he didn't do.”

     

    “It was stupid,” she snorted, grabbing the bottle from Glover and sending some of the liquid into her stomach. It burned in her throat and for a moment she thought it went into her lungs as she struggled to breathe. It was like liquid fire. “It was too soon.” She replied, though her voice was hoarse from the alcohol’s fire.  “You can't risk it with the contracts' terms still in place.”

     

    “I can't just stand and do nothing,” Glover growled, his hand sliding over his short hair.

     

    “Suddenly trying to play the hero?” she raised her eyebrows. “Make amends for your past mistakes?” Sapphire just couldn't help herself. Everything in her literally screamed at her to let it all out on Glover, but she was trying to keep it bottled. Though something always slipped out.

     

    “Look, I know I can't fix the-”

     

    “No, you can't,” she interrupted him, not interested in what was he about to say. She didn't want to hear. There had been times when she was younger, when she was imagining what the man who sired her would tell her. How would his apology sound, how would his face look. And how would she react, how many different ways she would kill him.

     

    And here she was, not interested in any of that.

     

    “Just lay low, until the debts are paid and Mogrul's gone,” she got up from the bench, standing over Glover. “Don't play hero because you sure aren't one.” She handed him the bottle and nodded towards it. “Take a proper swig.”

     

    He frowned and obeyed, taking several gulps until tears came out of his eyes. He then put the bottle aside, coughing and then he took several deep breaths. He nodded at her, ready.

     

    She grabbed his left hand and with a quick twist, she broke his wrist.



     

Comments

10 Comments   |   Meli and 7 others like this.
  • Paws
    Paws   ·  November 14
    It feels like we're heading towards the end-game. The pieces on the board are making their moves in earnest but I'm pretty sure I don't know how it will play out. There's a wildcard in the form of a certain runty Orc who, if I were to put money on it, wil...  more
  • Teineeva
    Teineeva   ·  November 11
    Venhen is the best at being the worst. Albee is the best at being the nastiest party crasher that ever was and Mogrul is starting to look almost pathetic. Venhen's willingness to pretend being of the Deshaan syndicate almost makes me think the whole organ...  more
    • The Lorc of Flowers
      The Lorc of Flowers
      Teineeva
      Teineeva
      Teineeva
      Venhen is the best at being the worst. Albee is the best at being the nastiest party crasher that ever was and Mogrul is starting to look almost pathetic. Venhen's willingness to pretend being of the Deshaan syndicate almost makes me think the whole organ...  more
        ·  November 11
      Mogrul's loosing his shit and Venhen's the best and smartest.


      And no, we still do not know how Tel Mithryn makes money. :)
      • Teineeva
        Teineeva
        The Lorc of Flowers
        The Lorc of Flowers
        The Lorc of Flowers
        Mogrul's loosing his shit and Venhen's the best and smartest.


        And no, we still do not know how Tel Mithryn makes money. :)
          ·  November 11
        Do you know how Tel Mithryn makes its money?
        • The Lorc of Flowers
          The Lorc of Flowers
          Teineeva
          Teineeva
          Teineeva
          Do you know how Tel Mithryn makes its money?
            ·  November 11
          Grulmar knows it and that means I know it :D
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  November 8
    I call for more Venhen Ules stories! I do! Adored him in No Honor Among Thieves and I adore him here in all of his toothlesh, lishpy glory. And lol, that old Dovah's patience is growing thin. 
  • KaiserSoSay
    KaiserSoSay   ·  November 8
    Man, you can just feel the eye-roll from the crowd when Mogrul tries to put the blame on Albee. Trying to hurt his lady friend? Don't you know what happened to the last guy who tried that?
    • The Lorc of Flowers
      The Lorc of Flowers
      KaiserSoSay
      KaiserSoSay
      KaiserSoSay
      Man, you can just feel the eye-roll from the crowd when Mogrul tries to put the blame on Albee. Trying to hurt his lady friend? Don't you know what happened to the last guy who tried that?
        ·  November 8
      Mogrul's losing control and trying to pin the guilt on Albee was just desperate, without any solid plan. It definitely deserves an eye-roll :D
      What happened to the last guy who tried? Hmm, let's see. Got an avalanche dropped on his arse? :D
  • A Shadow Under the Moons
    A Shadow Under the Moons   ·  November 7
    Heh heh, typical Albee, just him being here throws a spanner into people's plots and machinations. And Venhen trying to use that for his own ends... very cunning, though not quite so wise.
    • The Lorc of Flowers
      The Lorc of Flowers
      A Shadow Under the Moons
      A Shadow Under the Moons
      A Shadow Under the Moons
      Heh heh, typical Albee, just him being here throws a spanner into people's plots and machinations. And Venhen trying to use that for his own ends... very cunning, though not quite so wise.
        ·  November 8
      Albee's a terrible party crasher :D As for Venhen...well, he's Venhen Ules, right? Can't expect any less from him. :)