Of Two Heroes

BY : Haunter_Rayne
Category: +A through F > Elder Scrolls - Skyrim
Dragon prints: 3318
Disclaimer: I do not own Elder Scrolls or any of its settings, items or content. This is a parody fanfiction for entertain purposes, not for profit.

**Authors Note** Hello all and welcome to my new Elder Scrolls story. This will be a collaboration between my wife and I. We have been talking together about a Skyrim story and this will be me transcribing those conversations into a story form. The basic premise is that my vampire character from Morrowind is my same character who moved over to Cyradiil for the Oblivion crisis. Now years later he is moving to Skyrim and ends up meeting my wife's character. I am the Nerevarine from Morrowind and the Hero of the Oblivion Crisis and I am also a Dragonborn but I am not THE Dragonborn from the Skyrim prophecy. That is my wife's character. And she is much more of a noble hero where as I am not. So things will get… interesting. I hope that you enjoy our shared ideas. Updates to chapters may be sloppy as we brainstorm together.

**Second Note** This story is not related at all to Elder Scrolls Online.

Of Two Heroes

Chapter 1 - Passerbying Titans

A dark horse with red eyes snorted in the cold Skyrim air as he carried his silent rider along the road up from Bruma. Glowing hungry eyes looked onward from behind a metallic mask and stretched over was a dark hood. Daedric shoulder pauldrons shimmered with their custom enchantments above the full length robe that matched the hood above. The robe adorned a large, black, hand over the back and a similar marking was embroidered across the saddle of the steed trotting below him. Below the robes the rider was covered head to toe in enchanted gear, all trophies which he had won from accomplishments over the years. All that remained exposed of him was a long, black scaled, tail stretching down the side of his dark horse, Shadowmere.

However while the rider traveled in calm platitude, that did not mean that there was silence from his traveling companion. "...ho ho ho, and hee hee hee, break that lute across my knee... and if the bard, should choose to fight, why then I'll set his clothes alight..." The rider listened as behind him a crazed man wearing a jester outfit sang a series of songs with mal intent.

Then from behind him another voice cried out. “Please make him stop! I can't take anymore! Just kill me already… He never stops… Rider, how can you stand to listen to all of this?!” From behind him the rider could hear the chains of the prisoner clink in the cart that Cicero was driving. In the wagon was a large nine foot wooden crate, a barrel of food supplies, two chests of various belongings and one iron chained imperial prisoner.

There was a brief moment of silence as Cicero and the prisoner just looked at the back of the rider who was out in front of them. After allowing a pause the rider spoke without turning his head to look back. The argonian voice hissed with delight as he said, “I like the sounds of Cicero's rantings. Listening to the madness that comes from his mouth is as harmonious to me as listening to a pet canary in a cage.” After that he simply continued riding about twelve paces in front of the horse that was pulling Cicero's cart.

After the Argonian had spoken the jester giggled to himself, “Oh yes, hehe. He is a great listener. Ho, hehe, he listens he does, haha! OHHH how the Listener… listens! Ha, ha!” Cicero said, cracking himself up.

“Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP! You don't even make any sense!” The man cried.

As Cicero continued to laugh the rider surprised him as he spoke again. “Please, play the crescendo my friend.”

“Oh yes, yes indeed dear Listener!” The mad man said with glee. Standing up from the front of the wagon he started singing another tune to himself. "...tra la la, tra la lee, da da dum dum, dee dee..." He danced his way a few feet to the back of the wagon until he was standing over the frightened prisoner. Then he reached into his vest pocket and pulled out a knife before giggling deviously.

“Huh? What? No, what are you going to do with that?” He asked, now sounding panicked.

“Why, I am going to play the crescendo for our dear listener of course!” Then he raised the blade over both of their heads until Cicero could see it reflecting in the prisoner's eyes. "...madness is merry, and merriment's might, when the jester comes calling with his knife in the night..."

The rider closed his eyes and smiled happily as several wet, slopping, stabbing noises were heard and the prison began screaming in pain. The Argonian sighed in contentment and even rose the black gloved fingers of his left hand as if twirling them to musical notes. Cicero was laughing as he continued to stab the prisoner as a crescendo for the Listener to listen to. “Music to my ears.” The rider said and reached down to stroke Shadowmere’s mane affectionately.

“Aahhhhh please, just let me die!” He screamed as the jester was twisting the blade into his thigh.

“Oh no, not yet. Cicero cannot let you be dead yet. We need you alive!... for now hehe.” The dark jester laughed.

“But… you have already stabbed me! Now I am just bleeding to death!” The man whimpered.

However Cicero retorted as if he were personally offended. “Lies! It's not true I tell you. Cicero only stabbed you in places that you don't need! Only in your silly legs, shoulder and hip. You won't die from that!”

But suddenly they were interrupted as the rider spoke up. “It may be his time after all Cicero. It seems that you were right.” He said and pointed to how the road curved around the mountainside ahead. Just as they passed by, a cave atop the hillside with a large bear at the entrance came into view. It wasn't on the road but the bear would surely seem them in just a moment.

“Brilliant, oh dark and glorious one!” The jester cheered. “Cicero is so pleased that his ideas could be of use to you Listener! My, how astounding it is that you saw that bear when we weren't even passed the mountainside yet!” Then he pulled the lock on the wagon door letting the back down. It made a loud clunk which definitely got the bear’s attention. It started running down the hill just as Cicero kicked the crying man from the wagon. He wiped up the blood and then dropped it into a tankard of mead to hide it away. The rider watched as the bear stopped at the base of the hill. It looked from cart with two able bodied people to the man on the ground who was bleeding but still alive. Suddenly it turned on him and began dragging him up the hill towards cave as he kicked and screamed helplessly on the ground.

Cicero climbed back up to make sure the cart horse did not drive the wagon off the road as it bent back the way they had been headed. Meanwhile the Argonian slowed Shadowmere’s trot to ride beside the demented clown. “Bear country indeed.”

- Eighteen Hours Later Near Dawnstar -

“What is life's greatest illusion?” A shadowy voice called out through the cold Skyrim air. Waves crashed along the nearby shore as ice covered everything nearby except for near the entrance to the Black Door.

Standing before the skull engraved entryway the dark rider stood with his prized horse and Cicero waiting behind him. “Innocence, my brother.” His scaled lips hissed out as he responded without a second thought.

“Welcome home.” The door responded and of its own accord cracked open and began to move aside.

Deep within the passage beyond, two figures now stood and surveyed the dilapidated state of the sanctuary interior. “Oh my, dear Listener. It seems that the Dawnstar sanctuary was left in an even worse state than we had expected. This won't do for mother… this won't do at all!” Cicero said as he kicked a pile of fallen bones.

“We will fix it. In time, this location shall be restored. I will procure what is needed to restore the Dark Brotherhood to its rightful glory. In the meantime you shall be the Keeper of this sanctuary.” The dark rider said as they walked the halls together. As soon as he said this several guardians rose from their fallen state and Cicero giggled merrily as they now moved under his command. “You will however, still be expected to fulfill your duties to the Night Mother and as my Silencer on top of this task.”

“Oh thank you, thank you dear Listener. Cicero will not disappoint. Cicero will serve, just as he always has. We will find a nice spot for mother and…”

“No, the Night Mother will not stay in this empty desolate place.” The rider quickly said. “This sanctuary is as of yet unworthy for her presence. You will drop off our personal supplies here and then travel to the Falkreath Sanctuary.” He commanded in a voice that expected no question to his order.

The jester looked a little surprised but then bowed, “As you command, dear Listener. Poor Cicero would not dream of leaving the Night Mother alone by herself. I had been hoping to spend some time with Mother once all this dreary travel was over. But that will just have to wait. Let us hope that the state of the sanctuary in Falkreath will be more suiting for our dear Mother.”

At this the rider then turned and began leading the way back out to where Shadowmere was guarding the cart outside. “By the time you ride to Falkreath I will have located the means of restoring this sanctuary and have traveled to meet you. Do not keep me waiting Cicero.”

Of course not, dear Listener. Cicero would never dream of… uh, where is your horse?” He faltered as they exited the sanctuary together. They looked upon the watery shore of the Sea of Ghosts. There before them was the cart with their supplies and the crate holding the Night Mother's coffin. Cicero's cart horse was there but Shadowmere seemed to be missing. “Oh what's that?” The jester called seeing a corpse on the ground nearby. After running over to check he remarked, “Why, it's a bandit! Eww, a trampled bandit. Watch your shoes dear Listener.”

The rider scowled and scanned around their surroundings. Seeing a shimmer of life in his vision he pointed to the north just over the snow bank. Cicero was quick to scramble up in that direction where he found Shadowmere standing proudly over the corpse of a second bandit who had attempted to run for his life. The rider waited and after a moment saw Cicero returning while holding his horse by the reigns. “Hehehe, silly little thieves thinking that they could steal from us… thinking that just because we weren't around that our goods had been… unattended. How wrong their were.”

The rider now reaches up and stroked Shadowmere"s blood covered snout. “Good boy.” He said.

- Stepping off the Ship from Solstheim -

“Stupid bloody cultists…” A stern woman growled to herself as she stepped off from the small ash covered boat into the docks of Windhelm. “If I ever find where that ‘Miraak’ went then I'll shoot an arrow so far up his ass that he can use it to pick his teeth!” Turning she dropped a few gold for the boatman that ferried her across. She waved with her thanks and started down the snow covered path heading west from the city. “I can't believe that he stole a dragon soul from me… from a dragon that ‘I’ killed… TWICE! HE DID IT TWICE!” She yelled to herself angrily.

Just then she looked up seeing a lone bandit standing there with a confused look on his face. “Uhh…” He was wielding a Nordic Warhammer which was already held above head to strike, however he seemed to have hesitated, now staring at the female talking to herself like she was a mad woman.

She just looked him straight in the eye without even a flinch and aggressively yelled, “WHAT?!”

The bandit faulted backward a bit, lowering his weapon and muttered out, “Uh, nothing… I guess.”

The female lifted her head and raised her chin aggressively at him. In doing so she revealed the beautiful face of a young Dunmer in her mid twenties but despite her fair complexion she seemed battle worn and had war paint on her face. “Walk away!” She barked as she continued down her own path.

“Yeah, yeah… I'm going.” Said the bandit, strolling off to look for a quieter mark.

“Stupid n’wah…” She muttered back as she continued west on the road. “...and stupid Ralis… calling me back to Solstheim over and over…”

- On the Road North of Whiterun -

A few hours later she now walked down from the Pale toward White Watch Tower. She set her Stalhrim Bow behind her back after dispatching a few wolves. She pulled her hood back over her head revealing a copper jeweled crown above her painted face. “Aww, it's good to be able to smell nature again.” She said to herself as the plant life this far south had started to show green again. “I've spent far too much time in lands covered by either snow or ash.” It made the Dunmer smile as she saw a passing butterfly and could now see a flower or two along the roadside. It wasn't until she heard loud voices coming from down the road that she was brought out of her blissful reprieve. Instinctively her hand when to her dragonbone dagger at her side but she paused when she saw three men ahead who did not look like bandits.

Three nordic looking farmers seemed to be standing around together just off the roadside. They were shouting but the Dunmer could tell they were just drunk and not arguing. Releasing her weapon she approached down the road but remained wary. She could hear the conversation from a good distance away as two of them stood arm in arm together.

"Ah, is there any way you'd rather spend the day than drinking Honningbrew Mead?" Said one with skin so dark that he almost looked like a Redguard.

"Drink Honningbrew Mead with a wench on each arm? Ha ha!" Answered the other who was a shorter fellow

"I'd rather have two bottles of mead then two wenches, friend."

"Why's that?”

"The meads won't argue your ear off about which one should go first!"

"Ha! Too true, my friend. Too true..."

Now she giggled at their conversation, finding that she had stopped to listen to them without interruption. Hearing a new voice, the darker skinned nord stepped closer to extend their merriment. "Hail, friend! It's good to see another merry soul enjoying this fine day. Ah, but you look tired. Come, share a bottle of Honningbrew Mead with me!" His breath was heavy with alcohol but it was sweat and not as repulsive as one would usually expect a drunkard to be.

She offered a smile to the kind man, keeping her hood down for him to see her face. “Uhh, Honningbrew Mead?” She asked, not having tried that particular brand before.

"You've never had a taste of sweet Honningbrew? Why, it's only the finest mead outside of Sovngarde! Its sweetness is like a fair maiden's kiss on a starry night. And it's got enough kick to put a frost troll on his hind quarters! Ha! But enough talk. Come! Won't you share a drink with me and my companions?"

Sensing no ill intent with these men she smiled and nodded, “I would be happy to share a drink with you and your friends. My name is Valyne.”

He smiled and handed her a bottle of Mead. "Ha, nothing like fine spirits to help raise your... well, your spirits! Cheers, my friend! May your adventures find you fame and fortune!" Then he stepped back over to his friends and gave them each a slap on the back. “Come find us in Whiterun if you ever want to sit down for a drink!” Then they traveled ahead of her, stumbling back and forth down the road she had been traveling.

She took a moment to look the bottle over and then try a small sip, not wanting to intoxicate herself but still give her an appraisal for the flavor. She smiled finding that the farmer had been correct, it definitely had a sweet taste with plenty of kick. Then she looked back up contemplating the encounter. “That was nice. I don't normally meet kind men on the road like that. I… that made me really happy.” She sighed in contentment before pocketing the bottle in her robe and continuing south down the path.

However it wasn't much further down, that Valyne saw yet another stranger in the distance. However this time her eyes went wide with surprise and she was almost inclined to draw her bow and shoot the stranger on sight. There before her stood a pale man dressed as a court jester. However his visage was not bright colored and happy. He wore a black outfit adorned in red and everything about him seemed to give off a murderous intent. He stomped beside a cart arguing with himself as he kicked a broken cartwheel. “Agh, bother and befuddle. Stuck here! Stuck! My mother, my poor mother. Unmoving. At rest, but too still!”

She struggled with her decision on how to proceed. Had she not just been put in such a pleasant mood she might have chosen differently but she decided to not partake in senseless violence and walked closer to approach the man. Just to be careful she lowered her hood back over her head and asked, “Is there a problem?”

He now turned towards her as if he were not surprised by her approach at all and said, "Poor Cicero is stuck. Can't you see? I was transporting my dear, sweet mother. Well, not her. Her corpse! She's quite dead. I'm taking mother to a new home. A new crypt. But... aggh! Wagon wheel! Damnedest wagon wheel! It broke! Don't you see?" His voice was shrill and whiny. She couldn't be sure if he was intentionally trying to be creepy or if this were just his normal attitude.

“Is there someway I can help?” She asked, not entirely wanting to get involved with the stranger but not wanting to completely abandon someone in need either.

"Oh. Oh yes! Yes, the kindly stranger can certainly help! Go to the farm - the Loreius Farm. Just over there, off the road. Talk to Loreius. He has tools! He can help me! But he won't! He refuses! Convince Loreius to fix my wheel! Do that, and poor Cicero will reward you. With coin! Gleamy, shiny coin!" As should be expected from a jester he began to twirl in place excitedly.

However to Valyne’s discomfort she stared at his performing in shock while silently thinking,”OOOOkay, dancing man. He is definitely a little crazy.”

However at her silence the man continued without being prompted. "The farmer is at his farm! Where else would he be? Loreius is his name. Talk to him. Convince him to help poor Cicero." Not wanting to encourage him to rant further she nodded and stepped away from him to walk up the path to the nearby farm.

As she traveled up the loosely graveled road she saw a balding man wearing a brown tunic standing right by his front door. "Oh, for the love of Mara. What now?" He said in agitation as she approached him.

“The, um, little man really needs your help. With his wagon?” She said, unsure of how to exactly describe the awkward gentleman back on the road.

But the farmer seemed none too pleased to be bothered. "That Cicero feller? Hmph. Tell me something I don't know. Crazy fool's already asked me about five times. Seems he's not satisfied with my answer. Why can't he just leave us alone?"

Valyne now felt her curiosity rise though at hearing such a strong rejection from the farmer. “So what's the problem? I'm sure he'll pay you…”

"Pay me? You think this is about money? Have you seen the man? He's completely out of his head. A jester? Here, in Skyrim? Ain't been a merryman in these parts for a hundred years. And he's transporting some giant box. Says it's a coffin, and he's going to bury his mother. Mother my eye. He could have anything in there. War contraband. Weapons. Skooma. Ain't no way I'm getting involved in any of that."

The woman just stood there shocked. Her eye twitched as she felt her blood boil and her hot Dunmer temper began to rise. “Wait seriously?!” She shouted as the farmer looked at her dumbfounded. “Just because he's a little different? And yes I understand there is a war going on. But you automatically assume that it's something bad when it's his mom in there? Really?!” She took a breath, realizing that she was screaming at the man and ended with saying, “He's a stranger who needs assistance. Please, do the right thing.”

"What? And just who in Mara's name are you, anyway? Hmm? Come here, telling me my business. And for what? To help a... a... a fool!" He bantered back angrily.

“You know you should help him.” She said, giving him a stern look to persuade the man. “It's simple. If you help him, he’ll leave you alone and be gone.”

“Look, I... I... You're right. You're right. Feller might be nutters, might not. But fact is, he needs help. I turn him away, what kind of man am I, hmm? Look, um... Thanks. And I'm sorry for my unneighborly reaction. If you talk to Cicero, you be sure and tell him I'll be down to help soon."

Valyne nodded and turned to walk away while scowling from his stubbornness. “Good. And maybe now the creepy jester man won't murder you in your sleep since you agreed to help him.” She whispered under her breath.

As she approached the jester, she saw that he had returned to speaking out loud to himself. "Poor mother... Her new home seems so very far..."

“I talked to Loreius. He's agreed to fix your wagon wheel.” She said, carefully watching for what his reaction will be.

"You... you did? He has? Oh stranger! You have made Cicero so happy! So jubilant and ecstatic! But more! Even more! My mother thanks you! Here, here. For your troubles! Shiny, clinky gold! A few coins for a kind deed! And thank you! Thank you again."

“And again, more with the silly dancing.” She thought to herself as he handed her a large pouch of gold.

"I will wait for Loreius! Oh yes, mother and I will wait right here, right here until he fixes our wheel."

“You do that Cicero. It was interesting getting to meet you.” She said leaving before he could speak again. Once she was further down the road she had a difficult time shaking his creepy vibe off of her but it gave her a sense of relief as the stone walls of Whiterun came into view. “Finally. Time to drop some stuff off at home and then I have other places that I need to be.”

- Down in the Thieves Guild Cistern -

Another day of exploration had passed before Valyne climbed down the hidden ladder from the Riften cemetery entrance. She looked forward to seeing familiar faces but was surprised to see the large open room devoid of thieves. “Hello? Brynjolf?” She called out. But he was nowhere to be seen. Mercer was not there to be walking the catwalks, Niruin was not there to be practicing his archery and Sapphire was not there to be scowling at everyone who looked at her. “Where is everybody?” She asked herself and looked around carefully to make sure the hideout had not been invaded by the town guard or something. Proceeding forward to the Ragged Flagon she found her missing guild members but they were all encircled around a newcomer who was sitting with Mercer at a table.

“Oy, lass. Good timing. Come over here. You're in for a treat.” Called Brynjolf as he saw her approaching. Stepping over to him he pointed out, “See that man there having a chat with Mercer? That's the Gray Fox, the greatest thief who ever lived.”

Valyne looked on not having expected to see such a scene upon her return. But being true to her nature she couldn't help but blurt out the blunt and obvious facts as she saw them. “Wait, you mean the Argonian? The Gray Fox is an Argonian?”

Brynjolf chuckled, “Well not according to legend. But see that gray cowl he is wearing? That is the cowl of Nocturnal alright, there's no denying it. So I guess it must be so. He is also the official guild leader for every den of the thieves guild but he doesn't usually tend to stay in any one location for very long. It definitely comes as quite a surprise for us to see him here.”

“What is he doing here?” Valyne asked.

“Dunno for sure. He came in asking for help in restoring an old sanctuary near Dawnstar. Delvin said he knew the place and might have some connections to help. But then Mercer decided to step in. He doesn't like it because that sanctuary has ties to the Dark Brotherhood so now Mercer is giving him the third degree.”

Valyne scowled, “The Dark Brotherhood? Why would the Gray Fox want to do anything related to them?”

“Heh, you've got me over a barrel with your questions here lass. Again, I don't have an answer for you. I assume that's the very thing Mercer is trying to find out. Normally I would say that a request from the Gray Fox shouldn't be our business to question. He's always got his own motivations to go by that are far above our petty crimes. And he's never led the guild astray in all the centuries that his legend has existed for. But Mercer is still the guild master of this den. So if those two are at odds, then that is a disagreement that I won't be getting in the middle of.”

Valyne seemed a little annoyed and wanted to press the matter further. However she had no personal connection to the Gray Fox or his business and she had her own matters to deal with. “Where is Vex? I came back because I have something that I wanted to show her.”

Now Brynjolf chuckled again. “Maybe saying the Gray Fox’s visit being a treat for you was a bit presumptuous. If you're wanting to talk to Vex you're going to have to wait until they're done.” He said pointing to the table. Looking again she saw that Mercer, Delvin and Vex were all at the table together with the visitor to the Ragged Flagon. “The Gray Fox asked for her specifically to sit with them. If you ask me I'd say that lizard took one glance her way and took a liking to her. But it could just be my imagination. He seems to be treating Delvin with the same charm he's given her.”

Having had enough of guesses and speculation Valyne turned from Brynjolf and went to step closer to the table so she could hear the conversation.

“There is no need to jump to such conclusions Mercer. No such patch or ‘joining’ as you said is being struck with the Dark Brotherhood.” The Gray Fox said. His voice sounded clear and charming, far beyond the usual candor of traditional Argonian speech. “You are reading far too much into this and you are missing the bigger picture here.” He sighed as Mercer grumbled agitatedly. “It is no secret that the prestige of the Thieves Guild in Skyrim has dwindled. People no longer respect or fear the guild. The beggars do not serve as your eyes or ears because the guild is no longer able to provide for them. In order to restore order you are going to need two things. The infamy of the guild will need to be rebuilt through time and effort. And the second thing that the guild is going to need is gold. Lots and lots of gold. The Dark Brotherhood is simply a customer willing to pay quite the hefty sum in exchange for a service. There is nothing more to it than that.”

“Of course there is more to it than that!” Mercer yelled as he slammed his fist down on the table. “The Thieves Guild has never supported the actions of the Dark Brotherhood and to help them goes against all we stand for.”

“And it never has to. I'm not saying to send Thieves out on contract killings. I'm saying things like new tables, beds, wall tapestries and the such wanting to be recovered in exchange for hefty sums of gold. You do remember gold, don't you Mercer? Or has it been so long since your den here has recovered any?”

There was a silence as the Fox’s words stung the hearts of the guild hall. But it was Delvin who spoke up next saying, “Mercer, I hear your point but what the Gray Fox is proposing makes sense. It's a good deal for us and it doesn't directly relate us to anything the Dark Brotherhood is getting up to. Besides, I actually know their guild master. Astrid and I have had… dealings in the past. I know a few vendors where we can get what they're asking for and let's just say that I own a few favors to Astrid that this would clear up.”

The Gray Fox gave a shifty look towards Delvin at this confession. He seemed curious about it but didn't comment. Instead he waited for Mercer's next response but it was Vex who spoke up next “I don't like it.” She said shortly. Everyone looked to her which she didn't seem to mind but when the Gray Fox turned towards her she seemed to look away avoiding his gaze. “Even if we get something we need in return it just seems wrong to do anything that would assist those murderous bastards.” Mercer seemed to smile seeing someone agree with him but was surprised when the Fox reached out towards her.

He gripped Vex’s chin in his left gloved hand and gently turned her face back towards him. “But there's more… isn't there?” He hissed out, sounding more Argonian now than he did while speaking before. Vex looked the Fox in the eyes as he held her chin. Her heart started to beat rapidly as she felt a strength in him she hadn't felt before. She pulled her face away not appreciating being touched but could not hide that her chest was rising and falling now.

“Y-yes.” She mumbled and didn't enjoy it when Mercer glared at her disapprovingly. “Even if I don't like it, I feel that your infamy should still count for something. If the Gray Fox thinks that this is a good move for the guild then I think it should be considered. And besides, it might present us with new opportunities to increase our own fame for the guild again.”

There was some whispering from the other members but Mercer raised his hand which silenced the commotion. “How do you mean?”

Vex now looked like her confidence was back and proudly stated, “Well am I or am I not the best infiltrator in this guild? If we agree to supply the Dark Brotherhood with what they want then they will have to give us the password to breach their Black Door. Then we will have access to one of their sanctuaries. Their members have to be pretty well equipped to pull off their contracts and we know they take trophies from their kills. I say we help them for now and then after rumors spread of a high profile kill we sneak in at night and rob the whole Brotherhood blind!”

Several members of the guild gasped at her suggestion and the Gray Fox broke out into a hardy laugh. “Hahaha, oh my, what ambition this one has! Rob the Dark Brotherhood blind? Ooh, Vex was it? I like you.” The Gray Fox hissed seductively while laying a tender hand over her own on the table. Vex looked shocked by his forwardness. She pulled her hand away stubbornly but could not deny the immediate flush on her cheeks. The Fox grinned happily but was surprised as Mercer suddenly dropped the point of a dagger into the table.

“You keep your claws to yourself! You may be the greatest thief in history but this is a thieves den, not a brothel!" Vex stood from the table turning her back to the conversation now, feeling bitter as it sounded as if her guild master had just callously called her a whore. In actuality though she had lost her voice to speak confidently and did not want to spoil her reputation by showing that she desired the Gray Fox even before he had flirted with her. “This whole proposal is ludicrous. Steal from the Dark Brotherhood? And what if we get caught? They would likely murder us all in response! It can't be done!” Mercer screamed.

Now Vex chuckled, though still keeping her back to everyone. “No it isn't. He stole an Elder Scroll out of the Imperial Palace. You think I can't slip passed a group of lowly cut throats?”

“Fine!” Mercer shouted. “Delvin if you think you can round up supplies then go ahead. It appears that we aren't left with much choice in the matter. But mark my words, if this whole thing turns sour on us!”

Now Delvin leaned back into the conversation. “That won't happen. I've never known Astrid to renege on a deal. And she remembers who her friends are.”

“Bah!” Mercer yelled and stood up from his seat.

Ignoring this Delvin leaned forward, “So Mr. Fox, how do we go about get this deal struck? Shall I write a letter to Astrid?”

However the Argonian raised a hand. “No need for that. Here is a list of the rooms and provisions that supplies are needed for.” He said, handing Delvin a paper.

“Hmm, I see. Well there is quite a bit here. It might take several payments from the Brotherhood to procure all of this. It would be about two hundred thousand gold for it all.”

Now several members who were watching, Brynjolf included, made jokes about how that sum would certainly help things around the guild if it were paid. However every eye in the room suddenly spread wide as the Gray Fox reached into his cloak. “Two hundred thousand you say?” After spilling a mass of septims onto the table, more than most of them had ever seen in their lives, the Gray Fox counted out the amount that Delvin specified and then returned the rest to his coin sack which had even more buried within.

The guild members were stunned. Vex rushed right up to him and shouted, “What are you doing?! You have the wealth of a king! You could by the guild out of ruin and still afford a castle with just the coin you are carrying on you! Meanwhile us thieves have to risk our lives just to get by!"

Everyone could tell that she was enraged and most of the guild shared her feelings to a degree or two. But the Fox remained calm and collected as he said, “I am rich because I am successful, and have been for over two hundred years. Long ago, lifetimes before you were born, I robbed and conquered my way through Morrowind. I took half of the Treasury of the Tribunal Temple with me when I did. Then for over the last hundred years I pillaged Cyrodiil like a golden goose for all I could. You think a mere Elder Scroll is the highlight of my life's accomplishments? Oh no, the tale of this Gray Fox goes so much deeper than that.”

Suddenly everyone in the room noticed that the Fox was now standing mere inches from Vex’s face but no one could remember quite when he had moved or how he had gotten there. He stood staring into Vex’s eyes watching her knees going weak as he whispered, “I have stolen treasures of beauty that you cannot imagine. I have held artifacts of power that help reshape worlds. And when I find something that interests me, I take it.” Vex could not help but imagine images of her undressed with the Argonian doing things to her body that she had never allowed any previous lover to do with her before. Succumbing she fell backwards into a chair behind her. Smiling at her, he then turned towards Delvin and spoke again. “Payment has been made. Will this amount be sufficient?”

Delvin gasped and was shoveling the coin into a purse for safe keeping. “Yes, yes this will be fine.” He said happy to accept the transaction. Mercer waved at the situation and turned his back as he stormed off to leave the room. Once he had, everyone seemed to disperse with the excitement seeming to have ended. Mercer had stepped away, Vex walked off to a separate table to distance herself from her embarrassment, Delvin was already scouting contacts of his to make the necessary purchases and several lower members of the guild were now pestering the Gray Fox with questions about his exploits.

This left Valyne with the opportunity to finally speak with Vex like she had wanted. “Hello Vex, I found something that I wanted you to take a look at.” She asked trying to get the imperial woman's attention. Taking a seat beside her Valyne revealed a jewel of pale red inset inside of a golden case.

The guild infiltrator looked over the jewel but then glanced up to Valyne in surprise. “Been awhile since I've seen one of those. What you've got there is a stone of Berenziah.”

Valyne glanced down to it again and asked wondering, “Is it worth anything?”

“Not like that it isn't. The stone was pried off of Berenziah’s ceremonial crown by a thief in order to cover his tracks. I think there were twenty four of them in all. Most people just keep them as a curiosity. Some guild members have tried to locate them over the years, but they haven't been successful… well, until now. Tell you what, if you find the rest of them, talk to me again. Otherwise, keep it and maybe it'll bring you luck.”

**Authors Ending Note** Okay so here is a basic run through of our character's information. Yes I know my Argonian is ridiculously overpowered but that is because he has the accumulated and carried over (accurate) statics of the previous two games. He kept all his best gear and abilities he got from Morrowind and Oblivion and all the DLC in between. This is the story we want: The Old meets The New. My wife has the viewpoint that just because my character has more power than her, that it doesn't necessarily make my character “better" than hers. And it's her character's struggle to fight for that in this story. While I have more physical and magical ability, my character is simpler in personality and desire. While my wife's character is weaker, she has a much deeper emotional range and struggles with her moral concepts.

The Argonian- Age 236, lvl 60, Nerevarine, Vampire, Listener for the Dark Brotherhood, Gray Fox, Dragon Order: Champion of Cyrodiil

Wielding Eltonbrand and Hopesfire with the Bow of Shadows on his back. Additionally Mehrunes’ Dagger is (hidden) in his boot.

The Dark Elf, Valyne- Age 25, lvl 24, Dragonborn, Novice member of the Skyrim Thieves Guild

Wielding a Dragonbone Dagger with a Stalhrim Bow on her back.


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