Friday, August 5, 2016

Skyrim Day 044 - No Arrows In My Back

28 Heartfire, 4E201

Another day in passing and I am still at Riften, slowly drowning in the particular corrupt drive towards profit that seems to keep the Hold in one piece.

Everything started to go wrong as soon as I woke this morning. Surprisingly all of my goods were still in my pack and no one seemed to have attempted to open my door, but as soon as I descended the ladder into the common room I was approached by a man calling himself 'Louis Letrush' who, sparing any pleasantries, asked if I was interested in earning some coin.

I was and I should have known better than to tell anyone in Riften that. But I did and was in turn told a tale of a man's noble quest to breed the finest horses in "acquiring" one owned by the powerful Black-Briar family. One of the family, a son of the family unfortunately named 'Sibbi', agreed to sell Louis the horse, Frost, when Louis began to shop around and he paid Sibbi half the cost with the understanding the second half would arrive as the horse did.

But the Black-Briar matriarch, Maven, had Sibbi arrested, possibly due to the horse deal or some other matter entirely. Sibbi let Louis know that his arrest exempted him from completing their transaction and pocketed Louis's pre-delivery payment. Understandably upset by this, Louis asked me to speak to Sibbi and convince him, in whatever way I needed to, that their deal was to be completed to Louis's satisfaction.

This seemed simple, which should have been warning enough to leave it alone. But I agreed to speak with Sibbi and left my promises at that. Over breakfast I spoke with the male Argonian, Talen-Jei, and we got to talking about our mutual arrival at Riften. His story was a familiar one: he had been traveling the provinces trying to find a place to settle down and his wandering eventually brought him to Riften. Keerava owned the Inn then and he immediately became smitten with her, privately vowing to not leave the decrepit city without her.

Noble as that was, it did not translate into earnings enough to pay for a traditional Black Marsh wedding band. He explained the meaning of the band, but I do not remember much of it other than that it involved three amethysts, not a commonly seen item in Riften, largely due to someone selling or stealing it as soon as it was spotted. I, however, had three of the gemstones courtesy of the Dwemer constructs I pried them out of and offered them freely, having little use for more coin.

Talen-Jei was clearly taken aback by a sudden act of generosity erupting within Riften's walls and pocketed them quickly, wisely nervous about anyone else witnessing our trade. He told me to wait for a moment, disappeared into a room behind the counter, and reappeared with a vial which he said contained a powerful healing draught. He had been saving it for an emergency, but felt that my lifestyle would likely make more use out of it. I thanked him and left.

A second Black-Briar interrupted my walk from the Inn to the jail, this time a woman, Ingun, stopped to ask if I was interested, once again, in earning some coin. She gushed about how obsessed she was with alchemy and its the ability to snuff out a person's life with a simple ingredient. She certainly came off as a bit unhinged, but offered good money for nirnroot, nightshade, and deathbell, so I agree to supply her with any should I come across the plants in my travels.

Even the smith of Riften had goods he needed, this time a Fire Atronach's salts to make his forge burn hotter. It would appear that the cities reputation inhibits deliveries of many items, for nearly everyone I spoke to was lacking something they were willing to pay for. Fire salts are something I am likely to find, so I agreed to his request as well.

The Jarl, Laila Law-Giver, is a most politely described as "distracted" and more accurately as a complete buffoon. I only spent a few minutes inside her Hall, but it was enough for me to see that she has no idea where the power lies in Riften: during my short stay I watched her steward override three of her decisions, with nary an objection.
During our very short conversation she asked after a task she had sent to the College about eliminating a nearby rogue mage that has been terrorizing travelers along the west road. I promised to look into the matter, but it is doubtful she will remember the job needed doing if I return after having done it.

My next stop was Riften's jail. The guard at the entrance did not care if I entered or not, stating that just arriving at all meant I was there on important business. The logic of this statement escaped me, but he unlocked the door, so I agreed with him and visited Sibbi Black-Briar.
His cell was luxuriously outfitted as befitting his family's influence and wealth. His imprisonment was clearly not the punishment it seemed to be and I wondered what the true purpose behind his relocation was. Whatever the reason, Sibbi was not bothered by it and was treating his imprisonment as a vacation of sorts, making demands of the guards and generally getting his way. He cockily admitted to his part in Louis's plan. He breezily washed his hands of the matter, handing me a key to his family's estate east of Riften while telling me to get the horse myself if Louis wanted it so badly. What a strange family.

I could have gone west to take care of the Jarl's magicka bandit, but I found myself leaving Riften via the east gate towards the Black-Briar estate. Stealing horses is never something I reduced myself to in the past, but I admit I felt a little thrill at the thought of taking something from the most powerful family in the city. Perhaps there really is a thief inside of every Khajiit. My plan was a simple one: pretend to be delivering jewelry to the estate to gain entrance, swipe the ownership papers of 'Frost', then leave via the horse's back. Unfortunately it did not work out quite that way.
Sibbi had warned me of the mercenaries guarding the house, but I thought I would be able to bluff my way past them. Instead I found myself immediately assaulted, the mercenaries evidently having been told to kill anyone who approached who was not with a Black-Briar family member. The Redguard who intercepted me on the grounds was little more than a bandit though and I had little trouble with her. I decided to avoid anyone else I found inside.

This was a far easier task than it should have been, for all the mercenaries in the house were completely drunk. I had no trouble remaining unseen and found the ownership deed for Frost in an upstairs bedroom. With that in hand I had only to lead the horse to Louis and I would be done. I sneaked back out of the home and Frost gave me no objection when I mounted up. I heard a shout behind me as I rode off, but whomever it was was quickly left behind.

The jostling almost immediately became unbearable painful and I was relieved to reach Louis without any delay. For my crime I received over a thousand Septims, more than enough to bribe my way out of anything else. Sibbi will probably keep his mouth shut to avoid crossing his mother any further and a Khajiit looks like any other one while she is riding away on a horse.

That was enough for one day and I returned to the Bee and Barb, paying another ten Septims for my room again tonight. Tomorrow I will visit this bandit-mage, then hopefully be done with Riften entirely.

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