A horn call rose into the air.
"By the Eight, more
trouble?" The senior guardsman closed his eyes and groaned as he ran out of profanities to mutter. He turned away from the bar counter populated by drunks he had recently been about to glower down at, and marched out of the tavern in swift steps. The men accompanying him on the patrol followed obediently in a weary thunder of hurrying boots.
Lord Imkrusar Ordale pushed himself away from the wall he was resting against to watch them, not quite smiling. Ever since he had arranged for those murders around the city, Daggerfall had become a festering pool of tension by day, and a battlefield of various nobles and their hired blades engaging in skirmishes in clubs, taverns, and then the streets by night - everyone blaming each other.
He knew from a far-speak with his operative inside Garon Denworth's manor that no noble meeting was to be held today, and this only fuelled the need for swift action on his part. With the confusion brewing, now was the time to strike.
Rumours as to the reasoning of the abrupt halt of the event were of course racing from tavern to tavern and along every street. Naturally, some had the duke dead, others proclaimed that the king had taken a personal interest and forbidden the meeting. Still others said that Denworth's notorious ancestor, Larktan Denworth, had returned from the grave, transformed by necromancy into a four-headded zombie-like monster, and was demanding noblewomen be brought to him "to breed the perfect offspring to warm the throne of Daggerfall.""
Imkrusar had chuckled aloud at that one. Sure, and Molag Bal was intent on spreading joy and kindness to every part of Tamriel. It sounded like something Harlwystyr
would have done.
He enjoyed the fact that the Old Meddler - nay, Old Fool - knew not of his plans. Oh but he always believed himself so clever. When this was all done, he was going to enjoy blaming things on the sage. With all the magic about to be involved, a proper scapegoat would be needed.
Not that he had overmuch time to spare for such pleasant musings just now. There were agents to acquire and who would do his bidding; walking and working where he could not be allowed to be seen himself. Agents he would "recruit" from the ambitious lesser nobility of Daggerfall and Wayrest. The young families, those lowly snobs so hungry for more power that they'd do almost anything. They usually frequented these taverns to gain useful information they could reach through whispering in public places.
Some of them might even be capable enough to prove useful, and these were the ones Lord Ordale would seek out. And conquer.
Having entered the establishment and ventured to the far back room, he elegantly thrust aside a silky curtain and silently moved to the shoulder of one of these useful few. "Lord Mreldvar?"
A lanky-looking man peered up with a doubtful frown from the decorated silver decanter he'd been about to empty into an equally splendid goblet, suspicion reflected in his eyes by the candlelight coming from the middle of the table. "Should I... know you, Sir? How did you get in here?"
"Your hireblades are no more than mere soldiers, Ulston. They're no match for the king's court wizard."
A collective gasp came from the men clustered around Mreldvar in this shady alcove, but Imkrusar graced them all with a velvet grin and added, "And still less of a match for me."
Uncertain silence followed and hung in the air for what seemed a very long time, causing many of the men to cast swift glances at their patron, trying to pry silent orders from his expression, hands at their sword hilts.
They found no such orders.
Lord Ulston Mreldvar seemed to be having some sort of mute seizure; his entire body had gone stiff in the chair for an instant, then trembling violently, his eyes rolling up in his head to display the white mass underneath. Then, quite abruptly, he'd relaxed. His face went soft, his eyes reappeared, and a kind smile swam onto his face.
"Peace, all," he said huskily. "I... know this man. A fellow noble... An old friend, from years long ago."
Imkrusar clapped the minor noble's shoulder gently. "Well, we'll speak another time, Ulston," he said and backed out of the alcove, his head bowed like a toady.
Through those spells he had acquired from his Telvanni contacts, one mind was now invaded and his property; the man was now his property. He would use Mreldvar's body to carry out his will in Denworth's manor - if that lord also had such paltry magical protections.
Mreldvar down, Denworth not far ahead...
Keeping his easy smile, Imkrusar strolled on.