Walk with the Shadows Ch 7

  • Chapter Seven: Lucina’s Secret

        It’s been a bit of a lazy evening at the Bee and Barb Inn. Folks are calmly enjoying their dinners and company until Lucina bursts into the doors.  People jump as the Imperial marches up the stairs. Keerava nods to Talen-Jei to come mind the bar. Keerava approaches Lucina’s door cautiously. She hears the sound of papers rustling and Lucina talking to herself. “Where is it… Where is it?!” Lucina mumbles as she flips through the old parchments, “No… No…” She suddenly stops and reads:


        21st of Evening Star, 4E 173 


       I watched them from the shadows for a few days. Aside from a few lude remarks from a dock worker as she passes by to work each day, they don’t seem to be having any problems. I gave the dockworker a bit of an attitude adjustment. He should be more respectful from now on. Little Lucina started her lessons yesterday. I think she fancies one of the Breton boys in her group. I could have moved us here years ago, but… Too late for that now. What I had to do has been clear to me for days. It was time I stopped stalling and get to it. I know I would never be able to leave them be if I stayed, I had to leave Cyrodiil. I returned to Meena, I handed her all the gold I had and my enchanted daggers, Reaver and Siphon, and begged her to watch over my wife and child in my stead. The old Argonian stood up and slapped me back in my chair. She told me to keep my things.”The guild takes care of its own.”  She gave me the name of a man in Skyrim that could get me set up with the guild there.


       I went back to Rena’s apartment one last time and watched them through the window. They were eating dinner. They sat on either side of the table as always. Rena would look to the end of the table on her left where I would normally sit and saw only air. She looked so sad. I wanted to rush in, but I knew her sadness would turn to fury. It went against everything in me, but I walked back to the city gate. Meena met me at the stables. She just hugged me and told me not to worry about them. She promised she would look after them like they were her own. I would have been caught or killed a thousand times over, if not for that old Argonian. Fifteen years since she pulled me off the streets of Anvil and she’s still looking out for me. I would entrust my family to no one else. I knew she would keep them safe. I threw up my hood, mounted my horse, and began my journey North.


    (a line is drawn across the page)




       I have taken steps to see that, in the event I or your mother die, this journal finds its way to you. I need you to know, to understand, why I left. If I had the choice, I would have stayed, but the choice was taken from me. That’s not true… I could have tried harder to find legitimate work. I could have done a thousand things differently before that day in the markets. Thieving is all I know. It’s what I am. That’s no excuse, but this is where we are.


       If I am still alive when you get this, I beg you, come to Riften in Skyrim. I am using the name Gallus Desidenius. Someone there will be able to help you find me. There is so much I want to say. If I’m dead, then just know that I never stopped caring about you and, though I must now do it from a distance, I have done all I can to watch over you and keep you safe. Whatever you decide to do with your life, as long as it makes you happy, you have your father’s full support. If anything in these pages has given you an ill impression of your mother, please don’t hold anything against her. She is a good woman and loving mother. She and I have always done only what we felt was best for you. We just have very different ways of doing that. I love you, My Daughter.


    Now and Always,




       Lucina slumps beside the bed and sees Keerava standing in the doorway. Keerava asks, “Are you alright?” Lucina looks down at the page in her hands, “..... No…..” She hands the page to Keerava and lets her read it. “Gallus?” Keerava says, “He’s your father?” Lucina just nods. Keerava hands her the page, “He’s why you came here… I take it you found out what happened to him then?” Lucina is silent and tucks the page back in the bundle. Keerava sits beside her, “I knew him. He was a Thane in the Rift when I got to the city. A good man. Had quite the silver tongue, too. When I tried to buy this place he helped talk the previous owner down from an insane price to something I could… afford…” She looks at Lucina and sees a tear rolling down her cheek. Lucina finally says something, “My mum died a day before I got these papers…” Keerava  just looks at her, “You… You thought he was still alive…”


       A few hours later, Lucina emerges from the Bee and Barb. No more tears. She marches through the streets like she is on a mission. She enters the Cistern through the secret entrance in the city graveyard and Brynjolf says, “There you are, lass. What did…” Lucina blows past him and heads for the training room. When Brynjolf catches up to her, he finds her slashing a dagger at one of the walls. She digs the blade into the mortar, chipping it away. Brynjolf says, “Lass? What are you...?”  Licina’s blade slips into the mortar and strikes something metal. Lucina pauses a moment and takes a deep breath. She pulls the stone with the round symbol out of the wall revealing it to be hollow. Inside is a note and a pair of glowing blades.



       The contents herein are for Lucina Varro. If anyone else finds this, by order of Guild Master Gallus, reseal the stone immediately and tell no one of its existence.


      Lucina, if you have found this, then I am dead. I’m sorry, my Daughter. I don’t know what brought you down the road to the Thieves Guild, but your father has a final gift for you. Contained in this stone are my blades. Reaver and Siphon. Their enchantments are powerful and dangerous. Ask Balimund, or some Smith of skill, how to clean and sharpen them safely. Reaver will set your enemies a blaze and drain the life from its victims while bolstering your health in turn. Siphon can freeze the blood and will steal your foe’s strength adding it to your own for a time. These blades have served me well over the years. I leave them to you. I pray you never have need of them.




       “What’s it say, Lass?” Brynjolf asks. Lucina looks at him, “Can you keep a secret?” Brynjolf finds the question odd, “Well… yes.” Lucina nods, “Good… So can I.” She stuffs the letter into her Cuirass then takes her father’s blades from the stone. She can feel the power contained in the twin daggers. She lays her blades on a table in the training room and puts Reaver and Siphon into her scabbards. “Perfect fit...” she says. Brynjolf watches her cautiously, “Did you get anything in Solitude?” Lucina gives the daggers a few swings. The dummies ignite when Reaver connects and they freeze at the touch of Siphon. “Yes,” she says, “I got the name of the buyer and convince the lizard to work for the Guild again.” Lucina sheaths her blades and returns to the Cistern. She walks over to Mercer and he looks up from his desk, “Did Gulum-Ei give up anything on the buyer?” Lucina sets the Goldenglow deed on the desk, “Karliah… That’s the name he gave me.” Mercer stands up noticeably shaken, “No… It-it can’t be. I haven’t heard that name in decades. This is grave news indeed. She’s someone I hoped to never cross paths with again.” Lucina looks down, “Gulum-Ei said she… she was a murderer… That true?” Mercer lowers his head a moment, “Karliah betrayed everything this Guild stood for. She murdered my predecessor in cold blood. She betrayed the Guild and vanished.” “Why?” Lucina asks, “Why has she come back?” Mercer thinks a moment, “We were partners. We went together on every heist. I know her techniques. Her skills. If she kills me, there’s no one alive that can stop her…. If we only knew where she was.” Lucina looks him in the eye, “She told Gulum-Ei that she was going ‘where the end began’. That mean anything to you?” Mercer scowls, “There’s only one place that could be. The place where she murdered Gallus. A ruin called Snow Veil Sanctum. We have to go out there and stop her before she disappears again.” Lucina looks at him curiously, “We? If she’s after you, shouldn’t you…” Mercer interrupts her, “I’m going!... And you’re coming with me. Together we’re going to kill her.” Lucina tries to hide a smile, “Whatever you say, Boss.” Mercer composes himself and says, “Good. You did well. Go see Tonillia. I’ve had her arrange for a higher quality armor piece for you. I have to make some arrangements with Maven before we leave. Prepare yourself. Karliah is a master thief and marksman. We’ll only get one shot at this.”


       After talking with Tonillia in the Ragged Flagon, Lucina receives an improved Guild cuirass. A better quality piece of armor that gently pulses with magika from it’s enchantments. Lucina heads back up to the city to speak with the blacksmith, Balimund. For a modest price he agrees to sharpen the enchanted blades and teach her how to properly clean them. She tries to watch and carefully study the precautions needed to work on such weapons safely, but her mind is not focused on education. Her thoughts are clouded by rage. All she can think about is the moment she will drive these weapons into the heart of her father’s killer. “How long is this going to take?” she asks. The Smith keeps his eye fixed on the blade in his hand, “You can’t rush this. It’s going to take several hours at least. I’ll have the steel ready by morning. You should probably go to the court mage and get some filled soul gems as well. The enchantments will probably need recharging soon.” She counts out the gold for Balimund’s work then heads for the Jarl’s Keep.


       As she enters the hall, the court is assembled for dinner. Several of the Thanes are present along with housecarls and Maven’s children. The court mage, a Bozmer named Wylandriah, is in her study mumbling to herself. Lucina walks up to her and asks about any filled soul gems she may have for trade. While the elf needs multiple reminders of what exactly Lucina is there for, over the next hour she is instructed on how to use the power of a filled soul gem to recharge an enchanted weapon.


       On her way out of the Keep, Lucina looks back to Maven and remembers being told about a Skooma dealer in the city. Not her usual type of job, but she needs something to focus her mind. If Karliah is as dangerous as Mercer claims, she will need to clear her head. Turning her rage loose on some poison peddlers suits her fine. She doesn’t have blades, but her crossbow is ready for some action.


       After talking to some of the beggars, Lucina locates a Skooma addict. An argonian named Wujeeta that works the docks. If anyone can point her in the right direction, it’s her. She watches the Argonian for an hour before approaching her. She is shivering from nose to tail. Clear signs of Skooma withdrawal. Lucina walks up slowly, “You seem ill friend. Are you well?” Wujeeta turns quickly, “I’m.. I… You have to help me… I’m going to lose my job at the fishery! If Bolli catches me like this again…” Lucina smiles, “Easy… easy. Let me guess. Skooma? Here. A healing potion. It can help with the shakes. You can get more at the apothecary in town.” The argonian takes the bottle and culps it down quickly. She gradually stops shivering and a sense of calm washes over her.


       Lucina just looks at her, “Better?... Just take a minor healing potion for about a week. Let that poison work it’s way out of your system.” Wujeeta leans back against a post, “I don’t mean to do this to myself, but… Thank you. If I can ever do anything…” Lucina’s smile gets a bit bigger, “Well.. since you mention it. Perhaps you can tell me where you get your Skooma.” It takes some prodding but Lucina gets the location of the dealer. A warehouse on the docks that only the Jarl has a key to. She checks out the warehouse, but the front door is the only way in and it’s locked up tight with a dwemer puzzle lock. Someone REALLY doesn’t want anyone getting in here.


       Lucina returns to the Jarl’s Keep and catches Maven as she is about to leave her throne and retire for the evening. “What in oblivion do you want?” Maven asks. Lucina tells Maven about the Skooma dealer hiding out in the warehouse. “If you want that scum out of the Rift, I need your key.” Lucina says. “So you’re handling this?... Alright.” Maven nods to her housecarl Maul. He hands the key to Lucina. Maven scowls at the thief, “I want him dealt with… permanently. Do I make myself clear?” Lucina bows to the Jarl, “Understood, my Jarl.” Then she turns and heads out of the keep. Maul looks to Maven and says, “You sure we can trust her to get this done? I can go out there and…” Maven interrupts him, “That woman is proving to be very useful. The only place you are going is my bed chamber… Now!” Maul steps up to Maven and they share a silent stare before he says, “Whatever you say... Jarl.”


       Night has fallen as Lucina approaches the warehouse and opens the door slowly. With her crossbow drawn and loaded, she creeps inside. The place reeks of moonsugar and cheap mead. The sound of heavy breathing draws her attention. A sound she follows to a lone Orc brute, clad in nordic steel armor with an Elven Long sword on his hip, in a small nook. He’s in the midst of a Skooma trip. Lucina puts her crossbow on the floor and pulls a steel bolt from her quiver. She moves softly until she is close enough to her target. She leaps onto his back and swiftly jabs the bolt into his throat multiple times. The Orc slams her into a wall, knocking the wind from her. They both fall to the ground as the Orc tries to pull his sword and crawl away from his attacker. Lucina crawls over to her crossbow and fires a bolt poisoned with frostbite spider venom into his backside. Both bloodlose and the effects of the poison make quick work of the Brute. She reloads her crossbow and takes a moment to catch her breath before moving through the warehouse.


       Once Lucina has composed herself, she takes the elven sword and continues searching the rest of the warehouse. She finds only one other Orc in the basement of the warehouse. He too is wearing a pricey suit of steel armor. Lucina dips a bolt in a paralytic poison and makes no attempt to hide the sound of the crossbow locking the bolt in place. The Orc turns quickly and Lucina releases the bolt. The shot finds its mark in the target’s neck and strikes with such force that the orc is knocked off his feet. Paralysis sets in quickly as the Skooma dealer grunts and groans on the floor.


       Lucina walks over slowly to the Orc, speaking in a monotone voice. She says, “So you like drugs do you?... I have one here. My own recipe.” Lucina pulls a purple vial from her satchel. The Orc’s eyes lock on the bottle with an expression of fear and anger to him. Lucina kneels down, “I call it Silent Night. Part paralytic and part poison.” She takes the top off the vial and pours the contents into the Orc’s mouth then covers his mouth and nose. When he finally swallows the concoction; Lucina says, “You will feel a burning sensation at first as it works its way to your stomach. It will dissolve your organs little by little. It’s when you feel your heart start really pounding that you should worry. Once it reaches your heart, it will spread everywhere. Your blood will boil in your veins and your entire body will feel like it’s on fire, but with the paralytic, you will not be able to make a sound no matter how badly you want to scream.”


       Tears begin to roll down the Orcs cheeks as Lucina follows the smell of moonsugar to the drug stash. She finds a letter on a desk alerting the Orc to the next shipment of Skooma coming to the city from a place called Cragslane Cavern. Lucina walks around the basement blowing out candles until it’s completely dark. A small flame rises from her palm as she walks over to the Orc. “So… Does it seem now that peddling your poison was worth it? Did you get enough coin and hurt enough people? You are going to be in the dark, burning, and no one will hear you… You won’t be alone long. I’m going to use this poison on someone very special very soon.” She stands and walks away leaving the Orc in the cold dark of the basement.


       Lucina returns to the Mistveil Keep and speaks with the captain of the guard. She tells him of the skooma den and the source of the drug supply. “I trust you and your men can handle the drug den itself, Captain.” She says. The captain reads the supplier’s note, “We will handle things from here. That Orc has been plaguing this city far too long.” he hands her a small purse of gold, “The bounty isn’t much, but I will remember the service you have done for Riften.” Lucina gives a slight nod to the Captain before taking her leave and returning to the Bee and Barb for the night.



    The story so far:

    walk-with-the-shadows-ch-1 Walk with the Shadows Ch 2 Walk with the Shadows Ch 3 Walk with the Shadows Ch 4 Walk with the Shadows Ch 5 Walk with the Shadows Ch 6


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