UJON - Book Six, Part Two - In Which The Inn Is Haunted

  • 30th Frostfall (evening)

    “Welcome back, gel. I hear one of the ships out of Windhelm yesterday had a gaggle of new Altmer workers, hoping to pay their way out of Skyrim… And we’ve got a new colleague, I’m sure you passed his premises on the way in? Now, we wouldn’t want you getting bored, would we, so how’s about taking on another job?”

    “Got anything on in Markarth?”

    “I was hoping you’d say that…”

    ***

     

    Nerussa left Rumarin, Lydia and Vigilance in the Bee and Barb the next morning, and rode to Falkreath, where she found Arissa talking to the blacksmith’s pretty apprentice. They rode north, Arissa also having obtained a horse – Nerussa didn’t ask – and paused near the border to the Reach to have lunch, stretch their legs and discuss the details of the plan. They arrived in Markarth in the early evening, and made sure everyone in the Silver-Blood Inn saw just how drunk they were getting, before stumbling up the stairs to bed. The door, strangely, did not quite shut behind them.

    Once the inn had quietened down, they set to work. Nerussa cast her dampening rune and invisibility spells, and edged through the gap in the door. Arissa grimaced at the taste of her potion, and followed. The pair followed the last patron out of the inn, and parted ways. Arissa headed right, taking the sleazier parts of town, while Nerussa moved silently through the Treasury House, the silversmith’s modest, but comfortable (ignoring the beds, at least) home, the house of someone called Nepos who she’d never even heard of before, and the other middle and upper class homes. They met up by the door of the Keep for a while, but of course the doors were unlikely to be opened at night, so they returned to the Inn. Kleppr’s son, who was on night duty, had already been spooked by the Vigilant asking about “strange activity” across the street, and decided to help himself to another drink when the door swung open all by itself, paused like that for a few moments, then closed again.

    The poor residents had enough stolen that no suspicion would fall on them, but not so much that they would suffer undue hardship, or at least, no more than they were used to, and in the Warrens, small piles of septims found their way into the sorts of places only residents were likely to look, and were quietly stumbled upon over the next few days.

    The richer residents all had significant losses. Endon, the silversmith, was devastated at the loss of several items he had made for his wife while they were courting, during his apprenticeship. Even the temple of Dibella was said to have lost a small, solid gold statuette of their beloved goddess, although the priestesses were far too deep in prayer to answer anyone who enquired after it.

    Nerussa and Arissa were very loudly upset, upon waking, to discover Arissa’s boots and Nerussa’s beloved sapphire bracelet, were gone. Their fellow guests and residents of the Inn comforted them, and Hroki, the innkeeper’s daughter, even found a spare pair of boots to lend, and the pair left shortly after breakfast.

    Once they were safely past the Salvius farm and Left Hand Mine, Nerussa dismounted, cast Invisibility with both hands, and concentrated hard on maintaining the spell as she dashed back to the city wall. Edging along a small outcropping of rock over the river outlet, and mercifully out of the line of sight of both guards and stable hands, she carefully slid open the grate Arissa had pointed out, and slipped inside. She was relieved that Arissa seemed to be correct – if anyone in the city knew that the apparently boarded-up old pipe near the city walls was actually accessible and led into a cramped, dusty, but fairly clean and dry little room, it would surely have been checked by now. 

    Nerussa wasn’t entirely sure to whom she should address her little prayer of thanks, but it was quite sincere. She emptied her backpack of the cheap, shredded dresses she had packed it out with, bought from Brand-Shei, Grelka, Bersei and that odious little man in Falkreath, all polite and “I’m not like my rude brother” until he’d had your business, then accusing you of being some sort of thief in the next breath! Some of the rags were used to carefully wrap the more delicate or pointy items, and she quickly filled the bag with jewellery, a number of rare and beautifully covered books, a carefully rolled-up painting, and a fine, enchanted dagger taken from the quarters of a certain old flame of hers. She had felt a strange queasiness looking at his sleeping body, but could not figure out why. They had separated rather abruptly, but had remained on friendly enough terms over the years, although she suspected he resented the fact that her career had progressed while his had, well, ended up with him spending his days lurking around a keep full of Nords. Odd. She hadn’t had that feeling the last time they’d met, only the usual bristling at his jibes about her eyes and the services of a Face Sculptor. 

    In any case, she was smiling now, as she lifted the pack onto her back and made her way back through the pipe, dual-casting Invisibility once more before walking – running would likely cause far too much noise – back to Arissa and the horses, just as the Khajiit merchant caravan was setting up shop for the day.

     

      

     

    1st Sun’s Dusk (early morning)

     

    Well, we made it back to Riften well within the forty-eight hours I promised Delvin, so with the bonus for that, and after selling nearly everything to Tonilla, and splitting the proceeds with Arissa, I have a little over 1700 septims. Delvin told me to keep anything from Endon separate, turns out he wants to work with us, so of course his items will be kept safe for now, then returned to him once Markarth has calmed down a little.

     

    For now, I’m to meet with him next time I’m in Markarth, probably early next week, it’s Loredas morning, now, just about. I need to get up to Solitude first, see about looking for a way into the Embassy. I don’t really know why I’m even entertaining that Breton woman’s fool notion, clearly we didn’t cause dragons to return to Nirn. Still, thinking about it, there’s likely other documents in there that I’d like to have in my possession.

     

    Looking at that part of the map, I remembered I’d agreed to do a favour for Enthir, the shady little Bosmer up at the College, in exchange for him returning an amulet he “acquired” from Onmund, the lone Nord student. I must be going soft. Enthir’s a useful fellow, though, I suspect I could probably convince him to take stolen items off my hands if I really needed to, although between Tonilla and Niranye, I don’t really think it’s necessary at the moment. In any case, he needs me to “retrieve” a staff of his from a cave near Dragon Bridge. After that, I’d like to return the horn to Ustengrav, I presume that’s what I’m supposed to do.

     

    ***

     

    Gods, Vex just burst into the Cistern in an absolute rage. Something about a job she’d been given, which, going by her temper, didn’t go according to plan. She and Brynjolf went through into the Flagon, fewer ears to prick up, I suppose. Sapphire, the Nord girl who was trying to fleece that poor young Redguard from the stables, and Cynric, a Breton who apparently used to work as a jailbreaker, came over to talk, well, gossip really, as soon as they’d gone. The Guild is evidently deep in the pockets of that ghastly Black-Briar woman, and they had a deal with her to keep certain arrangements with the honey farm on that little island in the lake to the west of Riften. Something was getting in the way of the usual arrangements, Sapphire says, and apparently Vex was meant to get in there and find out what. Cynric seemed very surprised at her coming back so upset, she’s apparently something of an expert at that type of job. Presumably Maven won’t be happy, which I can’t say is something that really upsets me.

     

    I don’t come in here a great deal, but it’s still too early (or too late) to pick everyone else up from the Bee & Barb. About half the regulars are off on jobs, but I’ve had a bit of a chat with someone called Vipir the Fleet, and a couple of others whose names I can’t remember. I haven’t really slept the last few nights, but I’m feeling rather awake. Still, I should probably try to get a few hours’ sleep, given I’ve got a rather big plan for later today – the Jarl has put out a bounty of 3000 septims on a dragon which appears to have its lair south of the city. The other item I kept back from the haul was a fire-enchanted crossbow, to match Lydia’s frost-enchanted one, so between those that should be most dragons covered. Rumarin’s bound bow seems to work well on the creatures, and Arissa seems to have a ready supply of poisons. All told, with today’s profits, it should be enough to buy Lydia a horse from the stable here, and make the last of the improvements to Breezehome, with a little left over for some training.

     Table of Contents

Comments

3 Comments   |   The Long-Chapper and 1 other like this.
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  May 7
    Haha the sneaky so and so...
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  April 16
    Hehehe, looks like Nerussa is getting better at being a thief. :D
    • Gnewna
      Gnewna
      The Long-Chapper
      The Long-Chapper
      The Long-Chapper
      Hehehe, looks like Nerussa is getting better at being a thief. :D
        ·  April 16
      Yeah - this was a fun job :)