Volume 5 – The Adventures The Young Dragonborn
Chapter #267 – Catatoksr (3) : The Thieves Guild
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“Look at how tall you became, you ain’t cut for this job anymore.”
“Come on, Delvin. You’ll hurt my feelers! I can solve it all with a few spells.”
“You still trying to fix everything with magic, ain’t you? And that reminds me… how is your mother?”
“Oh! So they let you into their little secret, didn’t they? Fine, let’s start with the Headmistress.”
“She’s alright, free from responsibilities even though she runs a whole department in the College.”
“I know another monster who can act the same, and speaking of which…”
“She too is alright… and I am going to have siblings.”
“… bloody Daedra! Are we going to have more brats like you?”
“Nope, the world isn’t fit for one more person like me… it would become a disaster.”
“Yeah, tell that to those fuckers who tried to hunt your mother ages ago… still, I am glad you found your home… Crazy folk these Firemanes!”
“Yeah, tell me about it.”
“HA! I remember your mother too bashed Dirge’s head to the ground last time she came here.”
“It is really fun! I hate to kill the guy but the sound of cracking his head to a wall is so addictive.”
Talking to Delvin after all that time is as fun as ever, we were talking in a low tone for the time.
“And these are…” Delvin gestured with his head towards Alina and Jull.
“Oh! You have people now… we heard about what you did in Winterhold, you pissed off all of our connections.”
“… You go build a home in the most isolated piece of land in Skyrim and people still find excuses to hate me… people are hopeless, man.”
“Still, you earned the hate. Erikur, Black-Briar, Silver-Blood and other names you don’t know about… made a lot of enemies and you still walk into Black-Briar territory so freely.”
“Hehe! A wise man once said; ‘We make enemies to make friends’.”
“… Who the fuck is that?”
“Me… just now.”
“Fucking idiot! Hehehe! Still… you earned yourself a seat on the big table, boy. Come.”
Delvin led me to a table where he sits, there were plenty of seats but it was only the two of us. Alina and Jull sat at the table behind me. Alina seemed to not like the place but Jull was curious. That was the case until the other people showed up.
“Is it you, Dare?”
Another old friend appeared… Vex and Tonilia came too.
“The boy became too large just like what Delvin said! This will be the end, huh?” Vex said.
“Come on, big sis. Don’t be so hard on me. I can still prove I am good.”
“How come, the security in your Winterhold is slobby.” She said.
“Oh! First of all, there is no security measure that can work against you. And I know that you didn’t come to Winterhold, Tonilia is the one who came to negotiate terms with some of the traders but failed miserably.”
And now we are playing in the open.
“So you knew I came.”
“Come on, Ton. That is my town and I keep an eye for outsiders. You taught me that.”
“And we are regretting it now.” Vex said.
“You guys just had to come to me. I know I own a lot of money now and I too much in the light but you need me… I know Maven and Erikur are upset with me but I appreciate that we are still friends.”
Brynjolf, Delvin, Vex and Ton looked at each other. They got what I am trying to say.
“… So you’re saying… friends’ share?” Delvin asked.
“Friends share.” I replied.
“Hahaha! The little red cat is back, Vekel, bring this boy a big man’s drink.”
“Finally! I get the big man’s drink. After all these years.”
I was genuinely excited about this.
“Here you go, Jon. And welcome back.”
“Vekel ma man! Two soft drinks for the ladies and… if you have some fresh fish.”
“Weird order!” Vekel tilted his head.
Before I reply, a black cat jumped from under my chair and sat on the table.
“For her meowjesty!”
Everyone widened their eyes when they saw Nefertiti.
“What? You guys think you can act all shady around me without me having someone who can actually sneak on you? Tsk tsk tsk… too mistaken.”
“Oh, I see… things have changed. So, what is the king of Winterhold giving us?”
“Hmmm… I showed good faith lately, helped your people in the College a lot, you know.”
“Yeah, we heard of it. What else?”
“Well, as you can see, the Dare Dragon Company and the East Empire Company are… expecting a baby.” I said then thought of it again, “Gross, right? I tried to make it badass in my head but sounded so gross out loud.”
“Point is… we can reach places the East Empire Company can’t reach now. With the decline of the Empire and the current state of its international relationships, places like Morrowind, Black Marsh and Eastern Skyrim will be hard to trade with for some time. With Winterhold best trade route being the sea, we will connect that all together with our neutral stance…”
“… but you can’t handle all that alone, and that’s where you need us.” Delvin followed up.
“Couldn’t put it better myself.”
Silence took over for a while as Vekel brought up the drinks and the fish for Nefertiti. We took sips while thinking of the next move.
“I see… but what guarantees that what you said is true?” Vex asked.
“Oh come on, just one word… War!”
The atmosphere turned gloomy all of a sudden. The word ‘War’ is not something a thief would want to hear. It wrecks business and causes lazy clumsy people to sober up, it empties the coffers and makes life hard for everyone starting with the thieves who get a lot of competition during the time of war. The main reason why thieves would hate war the most.
“You don’t have a proof…” Vex tried to deny me but Delvin and Tonilia interrupted her.
“He is right.”
“What he said is true.”
I smiled at their reaction.
“We were having a rough time lately. This curse haunting the Guild is making everyone’s life hard. Tell you the truth, your offer is the best thing we got so far… but what do you want to get back in return?”
“… Well, you can already guess that a neutral side is bad for whatever war is going to start, someone’s trying to be peaceful will make both sides always suspect that he is working for the other side. I need someone to keep tabs on everybody while supports Winterhold. You give me that and I will let the merry little band run the docks of Winterhold, there will be rules but you will have some luck with me around. Isn’t that right, Delvin? You always said that thing.”
“Ah yes! Your luck is league on its own, the whole guild can get cursed but you will always be the luckiest brat in the bunch.”
“Glad you still admit that.”
“Fine, kid. We’re onboard but only when Mercer agrees.” Delvin said and looked at Brynjolf.
“Easy! I’ll convince him.” Brynjolf said.
This meeting went really well. I know the weak point of the Thieves Guild and I acted on it. They are desperate but still arrogant and don’t want to admit that they are cursed. Only Delvin understands the matter and he believes… no, he doesn’t believe but he knows that my luck is different than the guilds’.
The reason why I came back here was to make some real allies to the Dare Dragon Company. The Thieves Guild cut contact with me ever since I established myself in Winterhold because of the sharp competition I have but as soon as I fixed myself with a powerful partner like the East Empire Company, I managed to make a real footing in the business world. The problem with the business world is that nothing is hardly definite and a superpower like the East Empire Company would calculate their gains and losses before anything, with the Thieves Guild, I can make the East Empire Company see more gains than losses.
This is how incredible the guild can be. They may be thieves and cutpurses but the ones who sit on the big table are the true money magicians.
Also, I will be able to control the Black Market when it comes to Winterhold. An organization I was raised in and learned from is much better than someone I don’t speak the same language with.
The main point is… I can’t control Winterhold on my own anymore. Criminals will appear as soon as the work is done and the Thieves Guild will surely be the best underworld organization I can rely on. Dealing with a disease you already know is better than one you don’t know.
We started talking away from business right after that until someone came out from the back of the Ragged Flagon, a large figure and green to yellow scales. Once the figure saw, Jullanar, it walked towards her.
“Hey there, sweet thing. I see you found…”
Before the Argonian keeps on with his words, a beam of silver light flew towards his face at an insane speed. The Argonian raised his hand and attempted to catch the knife that was about to obliterate his face with his Aura but the knife curved in the air and dodged his hand. His eyes widened and he dodged right away.
“Call me that again and you won’t be this lucky.” Jullanar raised her hand and the knife she threw flew back to her palm.
‘Telekinesis Shots’, Jullanar’s latest awesomeness. Undodgeable, Untraceable, Unpredictable.
There is normally no one who can cause trouble in the Ragged Flagon but no one would blame Jullanar. Being harassed by an Argonian is really a turn-off for everyone.
The Argonian seemed to be surprised but he ignored my stare and seemed to be thinking of causing some trouble for Jull but someone interfered.
Something not any of the people here would have imagined happened and a large figure appeared behind the Argonian. Without even looking behind him, the Argonian realized he would be screwed if he moved a muscle or breathed out of rhyme.
From everyone’s point of view, they saw a large monster cat appeared behind the Argonian. Its head was over the Argonian’s as it growled at him. Her voice was akin to an angry beast and her blue eyes reflected an angry cold light. However, from my point of view, I saw a cute big ball of fluff who was trying to intimidate the bad guys who annoy her friends.
How Freaking Adorable!
“Ehem, Nefertiti, it is okay now. You have made your point.”
With me saying so, Nefertiti disappeared in the shadow and reappeared on my lap. She acted lazily and purred when I scratched her chin.
Ah! My heart… it is melting! You don’t know true love unless you see a cat acting overprotective over you.
The people in the room were looking between me, Nefertiti and Jullanar. They then looked at Alina for a second and backed away.
“… these past three years… what happened?” Delvin asked.
“Let’s just say, even Oblivion couldn’t swallow us.”
“I am not asking anymore. Hey, Swims! Act with more manners around here, man.” Delvin looked at the Argonian who moved a bit later.
The Argonian nodded and joined us… on the big table.
“Don’t worry about him, Jon. He is a bit of troublemaker and a money bringer but he is a bit off lately. You two haven’t met here before have you?”
“Jon this is Swims-at-Night, the best Argonian smuggler in Tamriel… or so he presents himself. Swims, this is Jon Dare the…”
“The Thane of Winterhold!”
Swims-at-Night extended his hand and I responded to his handshake.
“Now, Swims. That shipment you promised.” Delvin said.
“… I will deliver, Delvin. Some complications on the southern mountains, that’s all.” Swims seemed annoyed. “Mercer already gave me the earful.”
“Well, I am glad he is acting like the Guild Master for once.” Delvin mocked.
“You owe me a Drink, Swims.” I said as soon as they finished.
“Hehe, yes I do. Vekel, that Bloodwine I brought you, a bottle for the gentleman on my tab.”
Oh, an Argonian Bloodwine! that’s rare.
“You still didn’t say… why you dragged Sapphire all the way here.” Brynjolf reminded me.
“Oh! It became a bit personal between me and her. Say, Brynjolf. You let that chick run the kids of the orphanage?”
“Yes… just like the old days, the understanding we had…”
“Doesn’t involve kids less than ten years old.”
As I said so, the place became silent.
“Sapphire!” Brynjolf called out.
As he said so, the girl came running from the table on the other side.
“You did it once again, didn’t you? The kids were younger than what I told you.”
“But… Brynjolf… these kids came to me.”
“And you had to shew them away.” Brynjolf said.
“Wait wait wait! Came to you?” I asked.
“… Yes, they are hungry.”
“Why? Is there a food problem in Riften?”
“No… it is that devil who runs the orphanage.” Delvin said.
“Wait! Grelod is not feeding the kids now?”
“It is far worse than we thought it would turn out. The place is turning into a mess and the Jarl don’t even hear of it.” Delvin said.
“And where did you find the kids?” Brynjolf asked me.
“In the market.”
Brynjolf glared at Sapphire right away.
“We said the market is off limits, Sapphire. Dammit!”
There seems to be something I am not catching up too.
“What’s with the market? We all operated there when we were young.”
“No, things are different now. The Jarl left most of the guards in the market to fight the Skooma, the market now became the Skooma den and not safe to operate for the rats at all. Last year, a kid was killed by an addict and his body was found in the canal, that’s why we don’t operate in the market anymore. Sapphire, you are answering for this.”
Brynjolf took Sapphire from her arm and dragged her into the main hideout.
It seems the situation is bad. The orphanage and the market. That idiot Jarl is also being led by the nose again.
“Sigh! Delvin, you still have my cards.”
As I said so, everyone looked at me with wide eyes.
Delvin waved at Vekel who came towards me with a tray and black card on it. The black card gas a drawing of a red cat.
“Oh, boy! I thought you will never ask.”