Chapter 7 Murder in St. Delyn
Last Seed 22
The sun was mellowing, but I enjoyed the cool breeze more. Te sky was clear, which was a pleasant change from the pouring rain of the night before. It was midday, and I was sitting on one of the crates outside the Lucky Lockup. I felt the thick bandages that covered the cuts on my abdomen, and was reminded of the events of the previous night. In Cyrodiil, I had been imprisoned for a while, and had forgotten the rush that such dangers could bring. It was quite exciting, however near disastrous it may have been.
Although I was ever-so eager to get back into Thieves Guild business, I had decided to take a short trip to Vivec. During the previous night, as Arathor, Charranirr, Magnus, and I were walking home from the Camonna Tong hideout, we had begun to talk. It turned out that Magnus was planning on going to Vivec, in search of the Thieves Guild there. I knew that he wouldn’t be able to find the Guild Master on his own. So I, being such a helpful, young Bosmer, had offered to guide him. I actually had another reason for going, though. I had never actually met Gentleman Jim Stacey, the Vvardenfell Thieves Guild Master, and wanted to introduce myself. At that moment I was simply waiting for Magnus to show up.
And within a few minutes, he did. “Prophiter… correct?” he asked, as he walked up to me.
“Yeah, that’s right,” I responded.
“Well then…” he began. “...let’s be off.” Magnus the Greymind was an interesting fellow, with many recognizably Nordic attributes. He was of tall stature, and had the long locks of hair as many Nords did. Light brown, similar to his beard, and eyes. That wasn’t the reason he was interesting, however. I was instead referring to his use of magicka. I had never really seen any Nord mages. Most were skilled sailors and hunters, and excellent warriors, but few ever bothered to learn the craft of magicka. Magnus called himself a scholar, though he seemed more like a battlemage to me.
Instead of taking a silt strider like I had originally planned, Magnus assured me that the guild guide service would be faster. I didn’t really like the teleportation that the mages controlled. It scared me a bit. I didn’t argue though, because I figured that he knew what he was talking about. Then, within minutes, Magnus and I were walking through the Mages Guild in Vivec. I had never been inside a Mages Guild except for the one in Cyrodiil city. There were strange blue lights that bounced off the walls and filled the hallways. As we walked through the guild hall, the Nord was greeted by several other mages. They spoke briefly of strange things: conjuration and enchantments and the like. I didn’t pay much attention. I spent the time eyeing an attractive pile of gems. They were laid out on a table in the adjacent room. Very pretty. And surely of significant value. I didn’t bother to continue that thought, though. I wasn’t about to incite any more trouble with our two guilds. As we left from the plaza at the height of the Foreign Quarter canton, Magnus queried me. “So, how is it that this Jim Stacey can keep a Thieves Guild base hidden with so many Ordintors around?”
“I don’t know, I’ve never been there before,” I responded speedily. He seemed surprised.
“You’ve…so do you even know where we’re going?” he asked.
“No, I do. Well, basically. It shouldn’t be too hard too find with the directions I was given. We just need to go to Simine Frailine’s bookstore in the lower levels of this canton.” Magnus seemed unimpressed with my method of assistance. I didn’t bother to respond. Before long we were in the canalworks of the Foreign Quarter. After a brief walk through a few halls, we found ourselves at our appointed location.
Inside the bookstore, were, as one could imagine, many books. Along with the numerous tomes, was the bookseller himself, Simine Frailine. He was a commonly dressed, yet neatly groomed Breton man. Of average height, in between Magnus’ and my own. “Hello,” he began, with the polite tone that nearly all Bretons had. “What can I do for you?” Magnus turned slightly, and referred to me, so I opened the conversation.
“My name is Prophiter. I’m a member of the guild and we need to see Gentleman Jim Stacey.” Sir Frailine seemed a little bit surprised at my candidness.
“Here to see Jim Stacey are you? All right. But who are you?” he asked, turning to Magnus.
“My name is Magnus the Greymind, and I am a member of the Mages guild. The Wood Elf here is my guide.” Frailine didn’t respond to Magnus’ introduction and instead turned to back to me.
“All right. You can go through, seeing as you’re in the guild. The two of us followed Frailine into the back of his shop, which appeared to be his home as well. We then passed a locked door which led to the Guild Master himself. Inside were two males, a Redguard and a Dunmer. As it turned out after a brief introduction, the Redguard was Gentleman Jim Stacey and his Dunmer companion was known as Crazy-Legs Arantamo. I liked that name.
Magnus then began to explain the case of someone named Edwinna Elbert, and asked Jim Stacey if he had any animosity towards the Mages Guild. At that point I had nothing to contribute to the conversation, and I simply tried to pay attention to everything that was said. Stacey mentioned how he had heard of the incident from Aengoth the Jeweler. He also mentioned how Aengoth had requested more agents, possibly for a strike against Edwinna’s Guild. It seemed that Magnus’ attempts for diplomacy were not in vain, however. Gentleman Jim Stacey then told us how, while business would not be interfered, he had no contempt for the Mages Guild. In the end, they had come to a decision that any hostilities by Aengoth would not be reinforced by the rest of the Thieves Guild, and that Jim Stacey appreciated the gesture.
The situation seemed to be dealt with, and Magnus and I made our way to leave. Before we did though, the guild master, to my surprise, had words for me. “Blackcap, before you go, I have a job for you if you’re interested.” I readily agreed to whatever task Jim Stacey had for me. “I know that you’re new to Vvardenfell, but I believe that you could handle a small, yet important task for me. A fellow member was sent to investigate certain business. He briefly reported back to me, and could use an extra hand in his task. Find Nads Theran in the St. Delyn canton, South 2, and help him in any way you can.”
I then left the Thieves Guild base along with Magnus. We stood alone in the canalworks. “Well…” Magnus began. “..thank-you for showing me the way here. I must be on my way, however. I have work to attend to.”
“Yeah, I can imagine. Let’s get out of this canton, and we can both make our separate ways from there.” We began to leave the canalworks, and headed towards the Foreign Quarter plaza. “So, I suppose that you’re pleased with whatever Jim Stacey had to say to you,” Magnus said to me.
“Well, yes. I’m glad to receive a job directly from the guild master. It’s surprising.” At that point we were entering the pass from the lower to upper waistworks.
“Why is it surprising?” he then asked me.
“Well, usually the Guildmaster doesn’t deal with anyone below the rank of Captain.” Magnus thought on that momentarily.
“Hmm…rank. So that’s why he called you a Blackcap.”
“Yeah. Blackcap, that’s me. Say, you’re a guild member. What’s your rank in the Mages Guild?” I queried.
“I’m a Warlock.” he responded.
“Warlock, sounds creepy. Is that one of the higher ranks?”
“The only levels higher than a Warlock are Wizards, Master Wizards, and then the title of Arch-Mage. And there can be only one Arch-mage in Vvardenfell.” It was interesting, I thought, as we were outside the doors of the plaza, how the Imperial guild system was set up. I had been in the Thieves Guild for a few years, and I was at the fourth of ten ranks. It made me wonder how long Magnus must have been in his own guild to reach the sixth level. I new I wouldn’t be finding out, though.
“Good-bye,” he said, showing little emotion other than a brief head nod. And then, without hesitation, he turned and entered the Foreign Quarter plaza.
What a drab fellow,” I said to myself, aloud.
I then turned and gazed out at the landscape below. I leaned against the ledge of the highest level of the whole city of Vivec. There was a gentle breeze, and it was about 3 o’clock. Everything was quite peaceful.
I then broke away from the fuzziness and regained my anxiety untowards the mission at hand. I speedily headed towards the St. Delyn Canton. Vivec was a large, poorly constructed city. There were bridges to get across from one canton to the other, but they were in the worst places. There were also ferries around to take lazy travelers from place to place, but I didn’t much like them. I preferred the layout of the smaller city of Balmora.
As I arrived at the St. Delyn canton, and circled around to the southern side, I noticed a woman leaving one of the apartments, in quite a hurry. She was a Dunmer, wearing netch leather armor. I passed her by as I glanced at the inscription on one of the apartment doors. South 3. Not my stop. I kept walking, and then checked the next of three doors. South 1. Again, not the right house. There was only one left, and I had a nervous feeling in my body as I approached the same door that the woman had ran out of. South 2. Nads Theran’s home. As I placed my hand on the door handle and gently squeezed it, I turned my head to the left to see the woman turning around the corner of the canton. Her head, as well, turned to take a quick look at me. It was an instant of suspicion, from both of us. Perhaps fate had given us a preview of what was yet to come. In my strange state of what was both adrenaline and hypnosis, I then turned the handle and opened the door. To what seemed like no surprise, yet a brutal shock, was the dead, bloodied body of a Dunmer, who I could assume only to be Nads Theran. Two seconds of frozen time passed, before I broke out my trance.
Some people have said that an individual can be judged on the actions of their heart, and their response to life’s challenges. I would never claim to understand that, but I swear that I broke off at a speed near faster than I had ever ran in my life.
The woman in netch leather armor. She couldn’t have gotten far. I raced around the corner that she had passed, and saw her. She continued to walk quickly towards the Redoran canton, just to the north. As I came closer, she turned around, and spotted me. That only heightened the intensity of the chase. She ran to the Redoran canton, and across the bridge to the Arena. I stayed in pace with her, as she entered the Arena canton. I saw her dart into the Arena fighter’s quarters. My speed was unbroken, and I followed her inside. She knocked several people out of the way, as well as several pieces of furniture, to impede my progress. The Dunmer woman then burst into the canalworks. We ran down into a secluded corner, where she came to an abrupt stop. I soon realized, by the look of resolve on her face, that I had possibly made a mistake by following her that far. She pulled out a shortsword, and advanced upon me. I backed up and pulled out my own.
She lunged at my midsection with her chitin blade. I darted to the side to avoid it. Her strikes were fast and aggressive, and I barely managed to deflect them with my own blade. We ensued in a series of strikes, blocks, and dodges; neither of us landing a solid blow on the other. We both simultaneously recoiled from the fight, as there seemed to finally be a break in both of our motives.
“Why are you following me?” she asked demandingly.
“Why did you kill Nads Theran?” I asked in response.
“That’s none of your business. And if you don’t turn away right away right now, you’ll end up the same.” I said nothing for a moment, and took the opportunity to catch my breath.
“I can’t let you get away with killing him.” Nothing was said after that, for it seemed that we both knew that one of our blades would be ending up in the other’s body. I leaned forward, and tried to prepare myself for her attack. She turned to the side and pointed her shortsword directly at me. That little move was merely a distraction, though, for her to pull out a throwing knife. With amazing speed, the Dunmer turned and sent the knife sailing towards my right shoulder. With equal quickness, I spun to the left and dodged the blade’s path. I had avoided the attack, but only to realize that it was yet another ruse. With my back now open to her, she advanced upon me. I had to twist my body and swing my blade blindly just to barely knock her sword away from my torso.
I wasn’t the most proficient swordsman, or an experienced fighter, but one thing that I was quite good at, was not getting killed. Every person in Tamriel was born under one of the thirteen constellations. A different arrangement of the stars and the moons on one’s birth date gave them different natural abilities. I was born under the sign of the Thief. Anyone born under the Thief’s sign had a strong instinct to pull themselves from the path of anything that would do them harm. It was what gave me such natural agility, and the speed to dodge her potentially lethal strikes.
I quickly kicked her in the side, and swung my blade at hers. Our battle continued, with several more clashes of steel and evasive maneuvers. Eventually though, and like all good things, our combat came to an end. With a well placed knee to my head, she knocked me back and out of consciousness. As I stumbled back and fell to the ground, she ran, not even waiting around to finish me off. Lucky for me.