Character Sketch: Julian Nerio

  • Character number two.  I'm sure you can guess his profession by the end of this piece.


    The Winking Skeever.  What a charming name, Julian thought.  The barest hint of a smirk crossed his handsome face before it was replaced by his habitual feigned expression of polite interest.  What will these provincials think of next, he mused, gathering his expensively tooled leather bag and tossing the stable boy a septim.  

    The inside of the inn was filled with the murmur of chatter, laughter, and the voice of the girl bard singing whatever the latest popular lay was.  Something about the Age of Aggression, or Oppression, or some such tiresome nonsense.  Her voice wasn’t too bad, he reflected; maybe if she had some proper training in the Imperial City she could amount to something.  A young brunette woman, Cyrodiilic by the looks of her, looked him up and down speculatively as he stepped toward the bar and ordered some wine.  Julian pretended not to see her.  At least this place wasn’t as much of a hellhole as Morthal had been. They had decent wine here.  He’d have to ask the proprietor about some brandy, something drinkable to rid him of the memory of that awful mead that Penitus Oculatus officer in Dragon Bridge had talked him into trying.

    He took a table far back in the corner with his back to the wall, closest to the hearth, to take the chill off.  When he’d settled himself and taken a sip of his wine - quite good, actually, but last year’s Nerio vintage was still better - he glanced casually back at the girl in the light blue dress, taking in the entirety of the public room in one slow sweeping survey.  He let his eyes rest on her face, giving her a slight inviting smile while he assessed the other patrons. She had blue eyes, a smiling mouth, pretty in a socially acceptable sort of way.  The room was mostly Nords; a couple of Cyrodiilics seated at the bar, a sellsword of uncertain parentage back in the opposite corner, some sailors with garish facial tattoos.  The Argonian by the door was clearly on private business and wished not to be bothered, and the two Redguards in Imperial casuals chatted idly about fletching, and bows, and the uptick in business with the war.  No one who appeared to be too threatening, certainly no one who recognized him, or seemed terribly interested in making his acquaintance, except possibly that young woman.  

    Julian mentally reviewed his business pitch, and did some quick calculations.  He had sent four contracts back to his father’s estate on Lake Rumare, a total of at least 40,000 septims, and three others were under consideration.  But a contract here in the capital had been the ostensible goal of his trip from the beginning. Perhaps if he managed to secure this one...certainly if he managed to secure a contract with the steward in the Blue Palace.  His father had expected him to fail, of course, to live in limbo in this backwater trying to win his way back into the family graces.  But what old Nerio had failed to account for was the dismal quality of the beverages in this place.  No innkeeper worth his salt could turn down the crisp round flavors of the Nerio grape, the hint of smokiness from the applewood casks.  He gazed speculatively at the signet ring on his left hand, the etched gold crest of his house crossed swords entwined in vines, and the brief burn of anger rose in his chest.  Who was he kidding?  The old man would never consent for him to return in less than two years’ time, never before the talk and the speculation had died down.  He was stuck in this frozen wasteland until then.

    He straightened the folds of his fine black clothes, adjusted his red silk collar, and rose smoothly, carrying his bag with him.  Vinius, he thought the proprietor’s name was. It took only a few minutes to invite Vinius over, politely pull out his chair for him, and decant a glass of Nerio from the bottle cradled in his leather case.  Corpulus was appreciative; he swirled the wine in his glass, savored the aroma, and complimented young Nerio on his neatly trimmed mustache; good to see he’d kept his sense of propriety and hadn’t yet grown one of those unkempt Nord beards to keep warm.  They chatted politely about the Blue Palace for a few minutes before Vinius took a first careful sip.  The man was a fount of information; he briefly outlined all of the members of the court, hinted about an affair between Thane Bryling and the steward, Falk Firebrand, and expressed a few carefully oblique thoughts on Thane Erikur with a moue of distaste, followed by another smiling sip of his wine.  Vinius casually let drop that Firebrand had a taste for Stros M’Kai rum - a useful tidbit if one wished to persuade him to take on a contract.  Old Nerio could certainly manage to include some Stros M’Kai in his regular deliveries; one could find anything in the Imperial City.  

    It was clear that Corpulus perceived Julian as a man of some refinement, and thought himself an equally urbane cosmopolitan in a city of some note.  Julian complimented his taste in clothing, asked about his tailor, discussed the possibility of going hunting together some time.  They compared notes on common acquaintances in the Imperial City, and Julian was relieved to find that they knew very few of the same people.  Of course not. An innkeeper?  They could hardly be expected to have moved in the same circles.  This meant that news of his indiscretions would not reach Solitude for some time yet.

    It was not much longer before Julian felt confident that Vinius would sign his contract.  The important work concluded, he felt free to let his gaze linger more boldly on that young woman as the two men talked and sipped.  Vinius, noting his interest, mentioned that her name was Vivianne.  Responding with a grateful smile, he wondered with a brief thrill how she would react to the two gleaming, honed knives when he pressed them to her tender pale skin.


  • Drifa Skir
    Drifa Skir   ·  January 18, 2014
    More the idea that there are conventional forms of pretty, and unconventional forms of pretty.  She's conventionally pretty, not particularly striking or unusual.
  • Lazy
    Lazy   ·  January 18, 2014
    I didn't know being pretty could be socially unacceptable.
  • Drifa Skir
    Drifa Skir   ·  January 10, 2014
    Ha, don't worry, we won't ever confuse the two Julians :)
  • Drifa Skir
    Drifa Skir   ·  January 9, 2014
    It isn't exactly escalation; it has more to do with Julian's ever-present ulterior motives.  It will become clearer.