Walk with the Shadows Ch 3


    Walk with the Shadows

    Chapter Three: Goldenglow Heist

       It’s been two days since Lucina was given the task of breaking into Goldenglow Estate from Mercer. She got what information from the guild that she could and has been testing the Island’s defenses. Armed mercenaries walk the grounds in pairs. The few gaps in the patrols are brief. Vex mentioned a sewage tunnel that leads to the backdoor of the main house. Burning the beehives is the first step. Putting out the flames and fighting the bees will occupy the guards while she makes her move on the house. To give her some familiarity with the grounds, Lucina stole the building plans from the Jarl’s Keep and committed them to memory as best she could.


       As night falls, Lucina stands on the edge of the Riften Docks watching the small specks moving on the distant island farm turned fortress. She’s ruled out an approach by land. The guards have that path locked down too well. Approaching by boat is not an option either. She’d be a floating target for their archers. As the last light of the sun vanishes and the moons begin their climb into the sky, Lucina dives into Lake Honrich in her guild armor and begins the long swim out to the island. She only moves while under the water and makes as little movement as she can while coming up for air.


       No guards have spotted her as she reaches the back of the island and sneaks along the northern shore looking for a good grip to pull herself up onto the island proper. She finds an exposed tree root and grips it just as the glow of a guard’s torch lights the area above and the toe of a boot pokes out over the edge. She freezes in place. A single sound, so much as a droplet of sweat hitting the water below, and she’s blown. After a nerve racking few seconds, a stream of urine shoots out over the edge and into the lake. Confident her hand was not seen, Lucina rolls her eyes and waits. A few moments later, the guard returns to his patrol and Lucina makes her way to the Bee hives. She waits for the guard patrols to all be turned away from her position then quickly conjures a flame in her palm and lights the bottom of three hives. Per the client’s request, the burn must be controlled only consuming three of the hives but leaving the rest of the hives functional.


       With a column of smoke beginning to rise, Lucina rushes to hide under a wooden bridge leading away from the hives and to the house. She leaps over the edge and clings to the bottom as guards rush from all over the island with water buckets. Once she is confident she is clear, Lucina pulls herself up and moves on to the main house. The lock on the side door is new. Another improvement to the island’s defenses. After looking around for a false rock or hiding place for a key, she takes out her picks and whispers, “Alright, love. Let’s give ya a little tickle…” The lock is stubborn and takes a few tries, but Lucina smiles when she gets it open and slips inside the side door.


      There are still a few guards inside the main house, but the layout is too broad for so few to protect it adequately. Lucina creeps around room to room, but finds little of interest on the ground floor, aside from a few loose Septims and some fresh sweet rolls that she helps herself to. She also pickpockets a few trinkets from the guards before moving on to the upstairs. There is even less of value on the second floor, but there are  more guards. Some are walking the halls and others are sleeping. Lucina looks out of a window to see how the fire is holding out. The blaze is controlled, but the guards are scrambling to keep it that way. They will have it contained  soon. She has to find the safe and get out before her exit window closes.


        She squeezes by a guard, asleep in a chair, and makes it to the master’s quarters. Aringoth runs between windows carrying a bow and a fistful of arrows while talking to himself. He’s an old Bozmer, in over his head. Lucina locks the doors and pulls both of her daggers out. She smiles thinking, ”Time to put on a bit of a show…” She stands and approaches him slowly looking as menacing as she can. Aringoth sees her reflection in the glass and drops his bow. He turns as if looking death in the face and backs into a corner, “Worthless mercenaries… I didn’t think Maven or Mercer would let me get away with this… but I had little choice.”  Keeping her tone as cold as possible, Lucina  says, “The Safe, Elf…” He looks around, “I… I can’t… They might kill me…” Lucina grips her daggers tight enough to make the leather grips creek, “What makes you think I won’t…” He hangs his head, “Fine…. Take the key… The safe is in the basement… The new owner will probably have me killed anyway.” Lucina takes the key, “What new owner? What are you talking about?” The Wood Elf stiffens up, “I’ve already said too much. You have what you came for. Leave me!” She pats him on the shoulder, “Relax… It’s okay...” then swiftly bashes him in the forehead with the pommel of her dagger. He slumps against the wall and slides down to the floor. Lucina knows her time is short. If she doesn’t get out soon, she may not get out at all. On her way out of the room she spots a unique looking bee statuette, “Well well… Aren’t you a looker. Old Delvin will pay a mint for this beauty.” She stuffs it inside her Cuirass and slowly opens the bedroom door.


       She creeps back through the house and finds the door to the basement. “...Balls…” she grumbles, “More guards… How many of them are there?” The lighting is worse down here at least, so sneaking through the basement is easier… She follows fresh grooves in the floor from where something heavy, one would assume to be the safe, was dragged through until she comes to a narrow path where sits a large brute of a Nord, armed with a Steel Battle Axe on his back guarding a doorway to a lower level. Swinging such a large weapon in the confined space would be less than Ideal, but she has no desire to test his skill. She has to get by him and down the stairs where the grooves lead, but there are several candles lighting the doorway. No way she can get by him unseen. She takes the bolt out of her crossbow and throws it at a wall further down the passage. The bolt strikes a mound of dirt and causes a patch of mud to fall loose. The Nord rises and goes to the darkened corner to investigate. Lucina hurries through the doorway, down the stairs, and reloads the crossbow when she reaches the bottom of the passage. She aims up waiting to see if the Nord would resume his post or follow her down. After several seconds, she sees no sign of him. She breathes a sigh of relief and puts the crossbow away then looks to her left where she finds her target and then some. A safe, a chest, three fat bags of gold, and even a hatch leading down into the sewers under the island. With a grin, she says, “Mmmm… Hello there. Complete with an escape route… How kind.”


       The key works on the safe. She finds a little over one hundred gold inside and a document detailing the sale of Goldenglow Estate to an unnamed party. The only identifying mark of the buyer is a small symbol depicting a dagger piercing a black dot. She finds another two hundred gold in the chest and Ties the bags of gold to her belt. She looks down the hatch, but there’s no ladder and it’s too dark to see the bottom. She flicks a Septim down the hole and waits for it to hit something. She doesn’t wait long and hopes it’s not too far. She says, “Well… at least it wasn’t a splash” She slides into the smelly hole and hangs from her fingertips for a moment before dropping down. She lands hard, but steady then follows the tunnels.


       She has to kill a few large skeevers as she makes her way out. The tunnels lead to a manhole that comes out just outside the main house. She peeks around the corner to see the full damage of the fire she set. Three of the hives are in ruins, but the rest seem undamaged. The guards are covered in minor burns and bee stings. She creeps across the dock on the back of the island and steals a small skiff. She starts paddling and is halfway back to the Riften docks before the first guard returns to the back of the island. Confident she is too far out for arrows. She just waves and the fool gives a confused wave in return.


       After tying off the skiff to the Riften dock, she counts up the gold and trinkets she collected in the night's venture. “Four hundred thirty-seven gold… six silver rings, four gold and silver necklaces, two sweet rolls, a bottle of Black Briar Reserve, and the Bee Statuette… nice…” She steps up on the docks and uses her crossbow to shoot a hole in the skiff. She watches the boat with the Goldenglow Estate logo emblazoned on the side slowly sink. She pulls a large sack from a barrel, she stashed earlier that day, containing a change of clothes. She quickly swaps outfits and puts her haul and armor into the sack. With the sack on her back she enters the city through the Brewery to avoid any guards and skirts the town wall till she gets to the hidden graveyard entrance to the guild. Her first stop is the Guild’s fence in the Flagon. She trades off the rings and necklaces to Tonillia and hits up Delvin about the golden bee. She makes more off the bee than the rest of her haul putting the nights take at a little over a thousand Septims. Walking back to the cistern, she thinks, “Putting up with the stench down here, might be worth it…“ She pauses a moment and thinks about the condition the guild is in, “If they have this much coin for a single night’s take, why is the guild in such a state of disrepair?”


       She returns to the cistern and looks for Brynjolf. She finds him sitting at a table eating some kind of soup. She says, “Eh, Bryn…” He looks back at her, “Word is that Goldengolw’s been hit… Good job, lass” She sits across from him, “Yeah yeah.. Here’s what was in the safe.” She tosses the bill of sale for Goldenglow on the table. Brynjolf opens the folded document, “What’s this?... Aringoth sold Goldenglow!? What’s that idiot thinking? He has no idea of Maven’s anger when she’s been cut out of a deal…. He’ll find out soon enough. If only this had the buyers name instead of this odd symbol… Any idea what that is?” Lucina just looks at him awkwardly, “I got into Skyrim less than a week ago. You’re asking ME???” Brynjolf looks back at the bill, “Blast… I’ll check with my sources and talk with Mercer… You did us proud. Keep this up and you’ll do well here.” Lucina taps on the table, “Ya forgetting something there, Northman?” Brynjolf looks up, “Huh? Oh… right…Your pay for the job. You’re smart as a whip, lass.” He hands her a purse from his waist. Another four hundred gold. She again looks around and wonders about the state of the guild.


       She leaves Brynjolf to follow up on the Symbol and heads back to the Flagon for some drinks and to see if Vex or Delvin have any extra jobs lined up. Vex tells Lucina about a house in Solitude that’s said to have some family heirlooms that are in dispute and the client is paying well over their value for their retrieval. Lucina asks if Delvin has a job in Solitude as well. He doesn’t have a job in Haafingar, but does have one in Eastmarch. He just wants her to go out into Eastmarch and start a crime spree. Nothing too big, but big enough to get people talking about the guild again. Catch is that if she is caught or has to kill anyone, then she doesn’t get a cut of the profits. The two Holds are on opposite sides of the province, but the pay on offer is good. 


       Shortly thereafter, she makes her way with her sack back to the Bee and Barb.  She has a bed in the Cistern, but this is a lot of coin to leave laying around a place crawling with thieves. At this rate, she realizes she’s going to need a safe house to store her ill gotten gains soon… The floor boards are getting cramped.


       Lucina enters her room and takes an accounting of her stash before hanging up her armor. She gives it a light cleaning and then heads down stairs. She puts some gold on the bar and asks if the house could run her a bath. Keerava just stares at her coldly. Lucina rolls her eyes, “Look! You’ve made more off me the last three days than you had to pay for a month. Now, I can be your friend on the inside or be the bitch that haunts you!”  Keerava walks over slowly and counts the gold, “Talen!” The waiter walks over, “Finally kicking her out?” Lucina just glares at Keerava. After a moment, Keerava says, “No… She wants a bath upstairs. See to it.” Shocked, Talen says, “What?!?!” “Do it!” she tells him. Talen grumbles, but grabs a bucket to collect some water for the bath. Keerava looks to the thief and says “I’ve lived in this town for over twenty years. I know how the city works. You play straight with me and keep your friends off my scales and… you can stay… as long as you can pay.” Lucina sits at the bar and holds out her hand, “Fair enough… Lucina...”  Keerava shakes her hand, “You’re a strange thief.” Lucina shrugs, “Meh… been called worse.”


       After her bath, she returns to her room and places a small ice rune on the door after locking it. She goes through her stash and replaces the floor boards, as usual, then grabs the bundle of old parchments from the nightstand. She pulls up the bed sheets and holds the parchment up to the candle light….


    18th of Evening Star, 4E 173


      I finally made it back to the Imperial city. Spent most of the day paying off street urchins to rip down wanted posters. I don’t know how long I stood outside our door in the Waterfront working up the nerve to open it. I had a grand speech in my head and was certain that groveling was in my immediate future, but when I opened the door the house was empty. My things were left in a pile on the bed. A note was on the table that just said “Don’t look for us”. I ignored it immediately, of course. I questioned Rena’s friends, her coworkers, and even the clerks at the shops she liked. I ran around the city for hours. No one knew where she had gone. That or they just wouldn’t tell me. So I went to my Guild contacts. Put out the word to keep an eye out for them.


       It took four days before I heard anything. Those were the worst four days of my life. My mind wandered between them being held by the College and being tortured for information about the guild to Rena just sailing off with one of the louts that would whistle at her from the docks. When I got Meena’s missive about a woman and child matching Rena and Lucina’s description, I raced down to Bravil as fast as I could. Meena met me outside the city and told me where to find Rena. At first I didn’t believe her, but when I saw her enter the local chapter of the College of Whispers, I couldn’t breathe. I watched from an alley for over an hour. She was no prisoner. She was working as a maid. I’m still not sure if it was the best job she could find or just one last dig at me. She was also using her family name instead of mine. It was clear that no speech or story or song would sway her back. She was done with me. I had broken her heart for the last time.


       I waited till she finished her shift and followed her home. She had a small apartment in the middle of the city. It was a little bigger than our house on the Waterfront. When she went out to get dinner, I broke in and looked around. She didn’t have much inside yet. A bed, a table, a few chairs, a small desk, and boxes of things from the house that she had no where to put yet. As I left and relocked the door, I heard little Lucina laughing. I followed the sound to see her chasing a dog through the back alleys with some other children. I don’t think she understood what had happened nor what story her mother would tell her, but I knew I had a decision to make. And there is only one option open to me that I can live with. I’m just not sure if I am strong enough to actually do it. I’m going to stick around Bravil for a while. I don’t like spying on Rena, but I need to know they are safe and cared for before I can… Do what must be done…

       Lucina stares at the page for a moment and whispers, “Where are you?” She tucks the parchent back into its place and places the bundle back in the nightstand before blowing out the candle.



    The story so far:

    walk-with-the-shadows-ch-1 Walk with the Shadows Ch 2


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