The Silver Fox - Arc 1, Chapter 7

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    Elise

    27th Last Seed 4E 201

     

    The Rift reminded me of the autumn days in the regions of Stormhaven and Glenumbra. It was less cold out in the south. The chill air was still present but it was more tolerable than it was in Winterhold. And there’s no snow, thank Kynareth!

     

    The two-and-a-half day journey to Riften did not come without setbacks. My first carriage suffered a broken wheel just as we crossed the Eastmarch-Rift border. Fortunately there was a small town nearby called Vernim Wood where I managed to join a Khajiit caravan also bound for Riften.

     

    I was surprised that the Khajiit would be willing to trade in Skyrim – of all places. The caravan’s leader, Ahkari told me that they were just one of three caravans travelling around Skyrim on fixed routes. Theirs travelled between Riften and Dawnstar.

     

    “We are approaching Riften.” Ahkari said from the front seat of the wagon.

     

    The caravan stopped near the city gates and set up shop at the side of the road. Unfortunately for the Khajiit, the Nords won’t allow their kind to enter because of their bigoted views of their race being thieves, smugglers and, skooma addicts. A shame such prejudice exist in this province.

     

    I had to make my way into Riften on foot. I disembarked off the wagon and thanked Ahkari and her company for the ride.

     

    “The pleasure is ours, Elise.” The black-furred Khajiit answered. “Please visit us if you ever wish to trade. We are more than welcome.”

     

    “I will, Ahkari.” I said, slightly bowing my head as a sign of gratitude.

     

    “This one advises you to keep your pockets light.” Kharjo added with a tone of caution. He was one of the caravan’s guards and wore a set of steel plate armor. “Riften is known to be the home of the Thieves’ Guild and visitors are fresh prey for them.”

     

    So even in Skyrim there’s a Thieves’ Guild. I wasn’t surprised that such a group exist. In High Rock, there were rumors of a Thieves’ Guild that operate mainly around the Iliac Bay region. Note that the keyword there was ‘rumors’. What surprised me about this province’s Thieves’ Guild however was how widely known it is to the locals. ‘Home of the Thieves’ Guild’ was not something you normally hear people say out in the open.

     

    “I will be careful then. Thank you for the warning, Kharjo.” I said.

     

    “May the road lead you to warm sands.”

     

    I bid my farewell one last time to the caravan and headed for the gates. Two guards were posted at the entrance. They wore similar attire to the guards stationed in Winterhold. The only difference was that the cloth was purple instead of white. As I approached, one of the guards ordered me to stop.

     

    “Halt, in order to enter Riften, you need to pay the visitor's tax.”

     

    Visitor’s tax? I sighed. I guess somethings never change regardless of where you are. I paid for the toll, taking twenty-five septims from my coin purse and placed it on the man’s hand.

     

    He smiled and said, “Welcome to Riften, ma’am.”

     

    They opened the gates for me and I entered. I still couldn’t help but feel skeptical about the guard. If I recalled correctly, the Winterhold guards never charged a visitor’s tax when I first arrived. Also, weren’t they called ‘tolls’? I guess it doesn’t matter really. I’ll only be here for a few hours.

     

    I came across a small street with buildings on each side. On the right, a woman in iron armor was conversing with a man, mentioning about how she had another run-in with the Thieves’ Guild.

     

    “Hey, you there!” A gruff voice suddenly called out. I looked to my left to see a Nord in steel armor, leaning against a beam. “Yeah you, girl in the robes. I don’t know you. You in Riften lookin’ for trouble?”

     

    Great, first few minutes in this city and now I’m getting threatened by this ugly brute. What ever happened to warm hospitality?

     

    Remaining calm and composed, I replied. “No, sir, I’m just visiting. I was wondering if you could—”

     

    “Yeah? Well, I got news for you; there's nothing to see here.” He interrupted me before I could finish. That’s just rude of him! Even the commoners in High Rock show at least a decent amount of modesty compared to this man. “Last thing the Black-Briars need is some stranger stickin' their nose where it doesn't belong.”

     

    “The Black-Briars?” The name sounded like a house name. “Are they some kind of noble house?”

     

    The Nord snorted before explaining. “The Black-Briars have Riften in their pocket and the Thieves Guild watchin' their back, so keep your nose out of their business. Me? I'm Maul. I watch the streets for 'em. If you need dirt on anythin', I'm your guy... but it'll cost you.”

     

    I was shocked. How could a clan possess that much control over a city? And in league with a group of thieves no less. Shouldn’t the Jarl be aware about this? Frankly, I was more intent on carrying out Arniel’s task first.

     

    “I appreciate the… offer, Maul.” I said with a bit of discomfort. What kind of man sells street gossip in the open? “But I must decline. I’m actually here to meet someone. Could you point me to where I could find someone by the name of Wylandriah?”

     

    “Do I look like a tourist guide to you?” He scowled before walking away. “I’m done talking to you. Go bother someone else.”

     

    It took all my self-control to not throw a firebolt behind that Nord’s back. Fortunately, I managed to find someone who pointed out to me where I could find Wylandriah. She was living in Mistveil Keep, working as the court mage. The keep was located at the south-end of the city, overlooking the Grand Plaza.

     

    This was great! Now all I had to do was meet Arniel’s associate, retrieve this Dwemer artifact and head back to the college. This should be a walk in the park!

     

    <<<<>>>>

     

    “Sorry, but the keep is closed to visitors for the time being.”

     

    My gleeful expression cracked when I heard those words. As soon as I reached the large studded wooden doors of the keep, I was denied entry by the guards.

     

    “But I need to see the court mage!” I complained. “It’s important.”

     

    “Do you have information about the dragon attack?” One of the guards asked an unexpected question.

     

    “I… no,” What does dragons have to do with this? “But it’s—”

     

    “Then I’m sorry, but we can’t help you. Come back tomorrow and try again.”

     

    I left the keep with my spirits dampened. “Now what?” I asked myself. I guess the best thing to do was rent a room at the local inn and try again the next day. The day wasn’t over yet however. I might as well take a walk around the city to ease my mind off things.

     

    I found that Riften was small for a city – about a quarter the size of Daggerfall. The locals say that the city used to be as big as Whiterun before the Riften Revolt of 129 left much of the city consumed in fire.  Even now the city is still rebuilding. Its main source of income were mead and fish, the former being produced at Black-Briar Meadery.

     

    As I passed the meadery, I spotted a boy carrying a rather large ornate pot. He was struggling to keep it balanced as he moved. Why is that boy carrying that pot? I wondered.

     

    Curious, I decided to follow him. The boy entered an alleyway and into a general store. The sign beside the doorway read ‘The Pawned Prawn’.

     

    The soft ding of the doorbell announced my presence as I entered the store, but no one greeted me. I saw the boy near the counter, his pot placed on top. He was talking with the store’s owner and from the sound of their conversation, it wasn’t a pleasant one.

     

    “For the last time, kid.” The merchant said with an irritated voice, “I’m a simple merchant, not a collector of silly curiosities.”

     

    “C’mon, mister.” The boy begged innocently. He was dressed in fur and had a small bow and quiver on his back. “This weird pot has to be worth something. I mean look at it, it’s all shiny and stuff.”

     

    The merchant was unfazed, “I said no!”

     

    “I’m not asking for much, mister. Just a small cut of venison and some—”

     

    Suddenly, the doorbell rang again and this time it caught the merchant’s attention. The man who entered was an Imperial, tall, lean and black-haired with a stubble on his pointed chin. He wore a brown jerkin over a white tunic, dark pants and hide boots.

     

    “Why don’t you use that little bow of yours to hunt some nice juicy rats?” The merchant suggested to the boy as he eyed the new customer. “Now go away! You’re going to scare off my real customers.” He then turned to the man and said, “Renartus, what brings you here?”

     

    “Just here to buy some supplies for the shop, Bersi.” The man replied in friendly and mellow tone before pulling out a list from his pocket. “Here’s the list of things I’ll—wait, is that what I think it is?” He leaned forward on the counter and narrowed his eyes on the boy’s pot. “The solid metal frame and ornamentation… By the Eight! This is one fine Dwemer artifact. Whose is it?”

     

    “Well, well. Looks like someone is interested in something I have to sell.” The boy said with a smug look on his face.

     

    “So that pot’s made by the Dwarves, big deal. Dwarven ruins are everywhere here in Skyrim and they’re filled with junk like that.” Bersi revealed.

     

    “Junk!?” Renartus seemed offended. “Bersi, the Dwarves aren’t into the business of making ‘junk’.” He twitched two fingers up for further emphasis, “And, it’s a Dwemer urn not a pot. An authentic one nonetheless, with fine craftsmanship. I bet it must be at least two thousand years old, or even older!”

     

    “Now wait just a moment!” The merchant, Bersi shouted. “How do you know about Dwarven stuff, Renartus?”

     

    “Well knowing these sorts of things is kind of my speciality really. Now that I remembered, I actually saw an urn similar to this one a couple of weeks ago.” He leaned over the counter and whispered something in the merchant’s ear.

     

    “Eight hund—” The merchant was speechless. Even I was astounded.

     

    As the Imperial left him with his mouth agaped, he turned towards the boy and said, “Kid, tell you what, since my pal Bersi here doesn’t want your ‘junk’, how about I pay a fifty septims for it?”

     

    “Oh no, you don’t!” Bersi snapped. “You’re not going to steal my customer at my own shop, Renartus. Kid, I’ll pay you a hundred septims for the urn.”

     

    “A hundred fifty septims,” Renartus added.

     

    “Two hundred,” Bersi countered.

     

    “Two fifty!”

     

    “Three hundred!”

     

    For some reason I felt like a bystander at an auction. Both men were spitting out numbers, each larger than the last until finally, the Imperial pulled out the largest number he had.

     

    “Listen, kid.” He said, crouching down to get within eye level. “Eight hundred septims. Just give me a couple of days and I’ll have—”

     

    “A thousand septims!” Bersi bellowed. “I have the gold right here and I’ll throw in a sweetroll. My wife baked it fresh this morning. Take it or leave it, kid. I don’t got all day.”

     

    “Deal!” The boy happily accepted the merchant’s offer and took the bag of gold along with sweetroll before leaving with a broad smile on his face.

     

    “I knew I shouldn’t open my big mouth.” Renartus let out a heavy sigh. “Anyways, let’s get back to where we were shall we?”

     

    Once the two men were finished with their business dealing, Bersi said, “Alright, I’ll have it delivered to your shop in two day’s time.”

     

    “A pleasure doing business with you, Bersi.” Renartus tipped his head. “And may Zenithar bless you with good profit in selling that urn. I bet you can sell it for two thousand septims back in the Imperial City.”

     

    Bersi chuckled.“Giving me sales advices now, Renartus?”

     

    “It was just a suggestion. Now I think I should now. I kept your customer waiting for far too long.”

     

    Customer? I blinked my eyes, clueless of what he meant until I realized that both men were staring at me. And that’s when it hit me. Oh, I’m the customer.

     

    “You’re here to buy something, miss, or just gawk?” Bersi said, immediately switching back to the grouchy tone he used just a moment ago.

     

    “I-I…” I started stammering.

     

    Dammit, I only came here because I was curious about the boy. But now that he’s gone, I suppose there was no point for me to be here. Though leaving without buying anything would leave a bad impression of me.

     

    I darted my eyes around the store, looking for something to buy. Then I found it, hanging above the wall behind the counter – a satchel. That would do. “I… actually wanted to buy that satchel, sir.” I pointed.

     

    “Oh,” The merchant grabbed the satchel and placed it on the counter. “That’ll be seventy five septims, miss.”

     

    “Okay, let me just…” I reached for my coin purse on my belt to pay, only to find it… Gone?! No no no! This can’t be right, I thought to myself, panicking as I moved my hands around my waist. I could’ve sworn I had my coin purse with me when I entered the city.

     

    “Are you going to pay up, lady?” Bersi asked me impatiently. I could see the scowl forming at the edge of his lips. It was a telltale sign that he was going to kick me out if I say I didn’t have the money.

     

    Suddenly, I heard a soft clink, and a small coin bag appeared on the counter. “I’ll pay for her satchel.” Renartus said, flashing a wink at me.

     

    I could only stare speechless at the man’s kind gesture.

     

    “You’re always the good samaritan, Renartus.” Bersi commented as he took the coin bag.

     

    “I’m just doing my good deed for the day, Bersi.”

     

    I walked out of the Pawned Prawn, slinging my newly-purchased satchel over my shoulder. The black leather was a nice contrast to the purple color of my college robes. “Thank you for your help back there,” I said to my saviour walking beside me.

     

    “No problem,” The man replied with a nonchalant wave of his hand. “Judging from what happened back there; I’d say you lost your coin purse. Word of advice: always keep your coin purse hidden while you’re in Riften. Thieves are always lurking around the streets here.”  

     

    “Yeah, I had someone told me about that.” I said with a sheepish laugh before moving on to formally introduce myself. “I’m Elise Desrosiers.”

     

    “Renartus Vulpin,” He extended a hand and I shook it. “Nice robes by the way. You’re a mage or something?”

     

    “Well sort of,” I revealed. “I’m actually a student at the College of Winterhold. I intend on becoming a great mage one day!”

     

    “Isn’t that swell.” Renartus smiled at my enthusiasm.

     

    “Well, Renartus, it’s nice meeting you, but I need to go now. I still need to find an inn in this city.”

     

    “The Bee and Barb would be the place to go,” He gladly informed. “It’s just around the corner. Keerava could set you up with a nice room, and Talen makes some of the best drinks here in this corner of Skyrim. Oh wait, one more thing, here...” He shoved a hand into his pocket and handed me a leather purse.

     

    “Wh-why are you giving me this?” I asked, confused.

     

    “For the rent, of course.” Renartus replied. “I mean, how are you going to pay if you don’t have the coin?”

     

    “Oh,” I reflected back, mentally facepalming myself for forgetting that minor problem. “I appreciate the help, but I really shouldn’t… I mean it’s not right for me—”

     

    “It's fine,” He assured to me with a sincere look. “It’s only a few septims, anyways.”

     

    “Oh, thank you,” was all I could say before he walked away. Then he stopped, turned his head around and waved his hand at me.

     

    I waved back, a small smile creeping up my face. What a nice and kind man, that Renartus Vulpin.

     

     

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Comments

10 Comments   |   A Shadow Under the Moons and 3 others like this.
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  May 1
      I am
    not mentioning Zootopia... damn.

    A great chapter here Kaiser, so many
    between the line moments.

    Suddenly, I heard a soft clink, and a small
    coin bag appeared on the counter. “I’ll pay for her...  more
  • SpottedFawn
    SpottedFawn   ·  April 22
    This is a great chapter, Kaiser! XD Anyone else getting a Zootopia vibe? Renartus is Nick, Elise is Judy? This can only end... badly for Elise. She has a lot to learn about Riften. I have my suspicions about that urn, too.
    • KaiserSoSay
      KaiserSoSay
      SpottedFawn
      SpottedFawn
      SpottedFawn
      This is a great chapter, Kaiser! XD Anyone else getting a Zootopia vibe? Renartus is Nick, Elise is Judy? This can only end... badly for Elise. She has a lot to learn about Riften. I have my suspicions about that urn, too.
        ·  April 22
      I'm​ glad someone noticed the similarities. :D
      Zootopia was one of the best movies I watched last year. You could say some of the scenes rubbed off on me while I was writing a few chapters.
      • SpottedFawn
        SpottedFawn
        KaiserSoSay
        KaiserSoSay
        KaiserSoSay
        I'm​ glad someone noticed the similarities. :D
        Zootopia was one of the best movies I watched last year. You could say some of the scenes rubbed off on me while I was writing a few chapters.
          ·  April 22
        It's definitely one of my all-time favorites! Really enjoyed it. :)
  • The Lorc of Flowers
    The Lorc of Flowers   ·  April 10
    I have a strong feeling of deja vu here, with the boy and urn. I would swear I saw a video on youtube of that scene. Storyteller I think? 
      Also, I really love one small detail here and that is when Elise decides to buy something only bec...  more
    • KaiserSoSay
      KaiserSoSay
      The Lorc of Flowers
      The Lorc of Flowers
      The Lorc of Flowers
      I have a strong feeling of deja vu here, with the boy and urn. I would swear I saw a video on youtube of that scene. Storyteller I think? 
        Also, I really love one small detail here and that is when Elise decides to buy something only because s...  more
        ·  April 10
      I admit that I took the idea from the first episode of Storyteller. Not the most original of ideas, but it suits Renartus (plus the video was good despite the 'graphics'). By now, you'll probably have a clue at what happens next, heh.
      Yeah, it's tho...  more
  • A Shadow Under the Moons
    A Shadow Under the Moons   ·  April 9
    I've seen so many jaded characters that Elise's more innocent outlook on life is delightfully refreshing. Nicely done, Kaiser-jo.
    • KaiserSoSay
      KaiserSoSay
      A Shadow Under the Moons
      A Shadow Under the Moons
      A Shadow Under the Moons
      I've seen so many jaded characters that Elise's more innocent outlook on life is delightfully refreshing. Nicely done, Kaiser-jo.
        ·  April 9
      Be sure to read from the start to get a better grasp of the story. :)
      • A Shadow Under the Moons
        A Shadow Under the Moons
        KaiserSoSay
        KaiserSoSay
        KaiserSoSay
        Be sure to read from the start to get a better grasp of the story. :)
          ·  April 9
        Oh, I actually did. I have a bad habit of only liking the last chapter when reading to catch up, sorry. ><
        • KaiserSoSay
          KaiserSoSay
          A Shadow Under the Moons
          A Shadow Under the Moons
          A Shadow Under the Moons
          Oh, I actually did. I have a bad habit of only liking the last chapter when reading to catch up, sorry. ><
            ·  April 9
          Heh, guess you aren't the only one.