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The Mystery Letter Chapter 3


Started by Beowulf
Post #16174
Banned

144
Faction & Race:
Ebonheart Pact (Nord)
The figure in black watched as the fair haired youth got up from his bar stool, and made his way over to a small bedroom. He'd seen him talking to the barman… renting a room for the night. The figure in black had heard it clearly, his Khajiit ears pricked up as he listened closely to the Breton youth conversing with the barman. When the boy had left the room, the Khajiit in black moved over to the bar, and put a coin-purse down on the table. It clunked as the full purse came into contact with the old, hollow bar-top. Mralki, who had been spit polishing tankards, turned around at the sound of clinking gold, and eyed the purse greedily. Seeing that the Khajiit wanted to talk, he put down the tankard, and walked over to the man.

"You want something?" he said. The Khajiit looked at the coin-purse, and back at Mralki. He nodded towards it. The Nord frowned, and looked at it. "Why are you giving me money?"

"Take the purse." The Khajiit's heavily accented voice was harsh. The barman flinched, and his eyes were full of both terror and… greed.

"I don't want no trouble… erm… what's your name?"

"My name does not matter. I want you to take the gold, Nord. Then, I'm going to give you just a few options." Mralki looked around the bar nervously. It was completely empty, apart from him, the Khajiit, and the good-looking youth. The boy didn't look as if he'd be much good in a fight… so he had no choice. He extended his hand carefully, and took the gold. Fumbling, and nearly dropping it, he slipped the heavy purse into his satchel. The Khajiit grinned evilly.

"Good boy. You want to hear the options now?" the Nord nodded nervously, pursing his lips together. Maybe he could make a run for it? But what if the Khajiit was just bluffing? Then… He nodded again. "That good. You taking the easy way." The typical Khajiit bad grammar was obvious to the Nord. He could tell that the Khajiit, with a heavy accent, was not particularly educated. He seemed more like a hired thug than someone particularly dangerous… "Now, let's get down to business, worm. I give you two options. One, you do as I say, answer all questions I give you, and neither you or me gets hurt. Two, you refuse to answer my questions, and I kill you slowly and painfully. Make your choice. Or I'll just go with number two."

"Listen… I don't want no trouble," the barman was starting to panic now, raising his hands above his head. "Just… just don't hurt me, and… I'll do anything. You can have the money back, I swear! Just, please, don't hurt me…"

"Stop stuttering. Alright, my first question… what was that boy's name?"

"What boy?"

The Khajiit withdrew a vicious looking dagger, and began to play with it, flipping it between his fingers. The Nord drew back, terrified. "Don't be stupid, Nord worm," said the Khajiit, keeping his voice casual… but Mralki could hear the menace hidden in the words. "The boy who is bunking here. I want to know every last detail you know about him. If you tell me enough, I'll visit him… then I'll leave. If you don't, I'll slit your throat, then kill him, and frame you. Understand?"

The Nord nodded dumbly, and the Khajiit grinned again. "Good. First question… What was that boy's name?"

"Silvanus. Silvanus, and I swear, I don't know his surname. I asked him that, and he just said Silvanus. I didn't ask… I don't ask my customers things like that… I swear that's the truth!"

"Second question," grinned the Khajiit, ignoring the fear in the Nord's voice. "When did he arrive here, and did he say where he came from?"

"He got here about four hours ago, been sitting at the bar and drinking… well, he only had two meads, but he did drink! I don't know where he came from; he wasn't up for conversation…" Mralki noticed that the Khajiit was playing with his blade again, and looked at it fearfully, before continuing, a little faster. "He looked wounded, nasty cuts all over him, and burns too. He didn't talk to me; I swear that's all I know!"

The Khajiit looked at him for a second, before smiling, and reaching out his hand to shake the shaking Nord's.

"Thank you, Mralki. Now, you can sleep in peace." And with that, the Khajiit pulled his dagger from its scabbard, and plunged it into the barman's heart, slitting his throat before he could scream. Then, he pushed the body backwards, and it fell down a trapdoor, out of sight. The Khajiit grinned in satisfaction, and, looking into the bedroom where the boy slept, smiled even wider. He was fast asleep, clothed only in a pair of old trousers… nothing to get in the way of his blade. He crept towards the room, raising his dagger…

Silvanus could not sleep. He didn't like sleeping in public places, like with eating, but he had little choice. He'd rather sleep in an uncomfortable bed than under the stars. He turned over in bed… was it his imagination, or could he hear… shouting? No, whispering, but it sounded… aggressive. He felt his bones go cold as he heard his name… And then, the sound of a dagger… No. They hadn't…

He went rigid, as he heard footsteps getting closer and closer… He heard someone enter his room… someone was getting closer and closer to the bed… Under the covers, he pulled his knife from his belt-pouch and readied himself.

"Die, Breton!" Silvanus rolled off the bed, just as a dagger embedded itself in the mattress. "Come here, by Sithis!" a Khajiit, tall and wiry, was straddling his waist, stabbing at his head. Silvanus freed his arms, and drove his knife into the cat's furry face. Howling in pain, the Khajiit assassin fell backwards, and smashed his head on the bed. Silvanus, taking advantage of his upper hand, stabbed for the assassin's throat, but the fight was not over.

The Khajiit sprang up, and the blow went right between his legs, narrowly missing his crotch. Hissing in anger, the assassin stabbed at his head, but Silvanus was ready for him, and dived between his legs, driving his blade into the Khajiit's ankle, and grabbing his other leg, pulling him onto the wooden floor. He stabbed him in the wrist, and as the Khajiit screamed in pain, he took the assassin's ebony blade, and held it too his throat, pinning him to the floor with his body.

"Who ARE you?" whispered Silvanus into the cat's face. The assassin bristled in anger, and sent a bloody fist into Silvanus' face, bloodying his nose. Howling in pain, the Breton dodged backwards, and held his painful nose. It was not broken, merely bleeding, but it hurt like hell. The Khajiit, unarmed, used his fists, punching Silvanus hard in the stomach. Winded, the youth fell back, and narrowly avoided another fist directly at his neck. If the fist had connected, his neck would have been broken, and he would have died there and there. But the Breton did not plan to die that day.

He leapt upwards, avoiding another heated blow, and sprinted out into the bar. The Khajiit followed him, lumbering along, fists raised. Silvanus still had the ebony blade, and so the upper hand, but the assassin was older and bulkier, and so held that advantage.

"Come on, you little kitten, come and get me!" he challenged, as he ran up the stairs. The Khajiit, furious at this little pain, followed him, but was not expecting the hard kick in the chest that sent him flying backwards, down the stairs, breaking all four of his limbs and his back as he landed on the hard bar floor. He screamed in pain, as Silvanus leapt down next to him, and pressed the ebony blade to his exposed throat.

"Who are you?" Silvanus hissed. The Khajiit groaned and whimpered, but Silvanus just pressed the blade harder into his neck; little beads of crimson were appearing among the black fur.

"Please! Aren't I hurt enough?" moaned the Khajiit. Silvanus retracted the blade a little, but did not take it from the assassins' neck.

"I asked you a question. Who are you?"

"I… I cannot say, I mean I'm an assassin!" he screamed as Silvanus pressed the blade into his neck again. "I'm an assassin with the Dark Brotherhood! There was a contract on your name, Silvanus Coppercroft!"

He took the dagger away from his neck, frowning at the Khajiit.

"A contract on… on my name? Who gave it to you?"

"I… I…" Silvanus brought the blade forward again, but the Khajiit answered before he could draw blood again. "No! I don't know who the contract giver was but… but my leader, she says that the giver said it was important you died… I don't know… Please."

"Who is your leader?"
"I can't tell you that. I'm sorry. You'll… you'll have to kill me…"

Silvanus smirked, narrowing his electric blue eyes at the poor assassin in front of him.

"With pleasure." He said, as he slit the Khajiit's throat. His green eyes rolled back into his head, and his life's blood spilled from his throat. Silvanus, satisfied, flicked the blood off his dagger and his hands. The floor was covered in his, the assassin's, and the barman's blood.

Silvanus knew, if anyone came in, he would definitely be held responsible for the deaths; who would believe that he, a 16 year old pretty-boy, would be able to defend himself. They'd think he'd snuck up on the two men… He knew the guards way of thinking; before he'd killed his father and been imprisoned, his trade had required knowledge of how the guards thought…

The youth knelt down, and saw that the Khajiit was carrying a large, black leather belt pouch.

What if some pickpocket like him had stolen it, Silvanus thought, ripping it viciously from the assassin's waist. It was quite heavy, and he heard the enticing tinkle of gold inside… Then, clenching it in his left hand, he kicked open the door into Rorikstead, and sprinted out into the streets. They were deserted, and Silvanus took that as a good sign. No witnesses. Looking left and right, he saw the boundaries, and began to walk, very fast, towards them. He wouldn't run, that'd look too suspicious, but neither would he walk casually. What if the would-be assassin had backups?

Reaching the path leading out to the wilderness, he thought fast. Where could he go next? He needed to get to Markarth. His cousin, Cosnach, would let him stay with him in the Warrens… He could start up a life there. In Markarth. It made his heart sink to think of the thought. Staying somewhere forever… family, a job, only joy spending his nights drinking in the bar… But where was his choice? He'd been to school, when he was 10, but that time was far gone. He was, aged 16, of age and allowed to live on his own…

He couldn't go back to the farm. If the soldiers had remembered he was missing, then that'd be the first place they went to look…

Silvanus was about 10 minutes out of Rorikstead, so let his pace slow then stop entirely. Seeing a comfortable looking log, he sat down on it, and decided to look through the belt-pouch he'd stolen. Before he settled to a normal life, he wanted to find out who was trying to get him killed and why, and end their life in the most horrible way he could think of… Maybe the belt-pouch would hold some clue to which bastard he'd upset was out for his death.

Opening it was difficult. He presumed it was enchanted somehow, but he was no magical expert at all, and it took all of his strength to prise the straps open, and open it. He could feel the edges trying to snap back together, so emptied out all of the contents into the grass, and threw the pouch over his shoulder impatiently.

Then, he settled down to look at his treasure.

A small bag, containing around 20 or 30 pieces of gold was what first caught his eye. Satisfied with his first find, he shoved that into Haming's stolen belt-pouch. A tiny iron dagger also caught his eye, and he pocketed that too. A piece of bread… Should he eat it? He wasn't going to take any risks with something edible from an assassin, so threw it, like with the assassin's belt-pouch, over his shoulder into the wilderness. A tiny, red bottle of poison was also of his interest; that was hastily shoved into his pockets. But, in the end, what was of most interest to him, was a small piece of parchment, rolled up, and tied with a black ribbon. It smelt of something intriguing… He lifted it to his nose and sniffed… Nightshade! Coughing, he fell backwards, but realised something… It smelt nice. It was not deadly, as such, and smelt like the poisonous plant, but with a nice smell covering it over… Almost like incense. It made his head swim, but in a good way. Wondering why the assassin had a perfumed letter, he frowned, and pulled the ribbon off it, and opened it, to find italic, neat hand-writing filling most of the page. Eagerly, he began to read:

Dear Brother

As instructed, you are to kill Silvanus Coppercroft. The Black Sacrament has been performed, and somebody wants this poor fool dead. We've already received payment, so failure is not an option.

-Astrid

Silvanus grinned despite himself. Whoever this Astrid person was, she'd be disappointed. This assassin HAD failed. Failure was an option. And it was the option that the stupid Khajiit had picked. He laughed, imagining this person's face… The Khajiit had fought like a tiger (excuse the pun), so Silvanus presumed he'd been a high up assassin, as well as the fact that he was almost certain that the cat was so stupid he couldn't even remember his own mission.

"Why else would this Astrid person write down exactly what he has to do?" he muttered to himself.

But… who was Astrid? He hadn't heard of an Astrid before. An unusual name, even for a Nord. He frowned, and read the letter through again… It sounded very official. So the Dark Brotherhood was after him, after all. But he didn't honestly care who this person was; she was just the person who did the deed; the boss. What Silvanus wanted to know, was who was the person who set all this in motion?

He was still considering this as a cart wheeled by. A fat man was in the driving seat, looking very hot and bothered, and like he'd rather not be driving it at all. It the back were a few barrels, and a large quantity of hay.

"Hey!" the fat man looked down at him.

"Yeah? You alright?"

"Yes. Where are you headed?"
"Karthwasten, in the Reach. I've been bloody driving this cart all the way from Riften, and I'm tired as hell. Urgent delivery, apparently, to the mine."

"I can drive carts."
The fat man looked at him suspiciously. Silvanus kept his earnest face on, and smiled angelically at the man, although secretly, his plans did not involve taking the fat oaf to Karthwasten. The fat man waited a moment, then, with a sigh, moved over on the seat.

"Here," he said. "You take the reins, and I'll take you to…"

"Markarth."

"Markarth. You give me five septims, and you can have some of my food too…"

To be continued.
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Post #16199
Member

21
Faction & Race:
Daggerfall Covenant (Breton)
I really liked it. I was hoping the Khajiit would let Mralki live, you know with him having a son and all. I think the part where the Khajiit fell down the stairs and broke most of his limbs was a little exaggerated, but then again it isn't impossible. I'm thinking of the normal inns you see in game, and most of those stairs aren't that high. Again, it's just speculation and it is possible to. Maybe just his back, or an arm or two.

Overall, it really was intense. Thumbs_up I need to make a note to read the other ones. Nice work!


afk
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