It is at this point that the story of Matthias the Bather, who I counted as friend and the most honorable of men, becomes confused. It is known that he sought the Thieves Guild of Riften but to what purpose I cannot say. Indeed, factual information about Matthias' adventures in Riften are hard to come by.
While many songs are sung in the taverns of Riften with much laughter and slapping of knees about Matthias' exploits , I do not consider most of these accounts credible even by the loose standards of bard songs. Not even the tale of his fighting two dragons at once at the very gates of Riften itself. As I chose for this biography to focus upon what few facts I could confirm or witnessed myself, I shall not recant those tales here.
There are only two hard bits of evidence of this period of Matthias' life that I could confirm. One was the account of a rumor-monger, who insisted that Matthias did leave Riften with the intent of journeying to the far distant Dwarven ruins of Mzinchaleft. The other was the account of a Windhelm guard who confirmed that Matthias did stop briefly in their town to investigate rumors of a person attempting to summon the assassins known as The Dark Brotherhood...
Lydia: I do not understand why we undertook this journey to retrieve the valkyrie's sword.
Me: Some things are not done for coin, Lydia.
Lydia: By some, perhaps. But not you. my lord.
Me: Ah, but there are ways to barter without coin.
Lydia: So you hope to buy her favor?
Me: Yeah, but she doesn't seem like that kind of girl.
Lydia: *sighs* No. I mean, is that you hope that by winning her good graces, you might persuade her to turn her attentions away from your... new friends?
Me: Yes. And it is for that same reason, that we are investigating these rumors of a young man attempting to summon The Dark Brotherhood. Thieves and Assassins are natural enemies. One kills for money. The other goes out of their way to avoid killing for money. If I can talk some sense into the boy, it will be a feather in my cap.
Lydia: You do not have a cap, milord.
Me: Good point. Make a note - I shall have to steal a cap. And quite possibly a feather.
Aventus: Sweet Mother, Sweet Mother, send your child unto me...
Me: I'd expect a noble house to have better locks.... the Hell?!
Aventus: ... Bloody Mary, Blood Mary, Three Bags Full...
Me: Uh... kid?
Aventus: ... Goblin King, Goblin King, Wherever you may be...
Me: Yoo-hoo? Shorty?
Aventus: Huh? Oh, it's you! I knew you would come!
Aventus: They said I'd regret running away! That I'd never find a copy of The Dark Sacrament! They said it would never work! But it did! You're here!
Me: Woah... slow down there, short stuff. I think you're confused.
Aventus: I hope not... you look just like I pictured. The cruel eyes... the hooded cloak... the slouching posture and thick brow.
Aventus: Oh.. right. I guess we should get down to business. I want you to kill Grelod The Kind, who runs the orphanage in Riften.
Aventus: I know, I know. Everyone says she's a nice old woman, but she isn't! She's mean! She makes us do all these awful chores! She makes us eat terrible things!
Me: I think I get the picture...
Aventus: Oh good! I don't have much - all of my wealth is being held in trust until I'm old enough to take over my estate again. But you can have this family heirloom. It must be worth a bit. Will you take care of things, Mr. Assassin? Sir?
Me: Okay kid. Sure. I'll take care of things for you.
ONE DAY LATER, AT THE RIFTEN ORPHANAGE...
Lydia: You don't believe a word of it, do you?
Me: Me? Of course not. Spoiled rich brat like that? She probably wanted him to make his own bed and told him to eat his vegetables. I'm sure that once we go in there and talk to the lady, she'll be glad to know the boy is safe.
Lydia: But should we really be going to the orphanage this late at night?
Me: Well, I don't want to go talking to her about all this when the kids are awake, do I? Hello, what are those voices?
Gerlod The Kind: ... and the double beatings will continue, until your attitude improves.
Children: *soft crying*
Gerlod The Kind: And one more thing! I will hear no more talk of adoptions! None of you riff-raff is getting adopted. Ever! Nobody needs you, nobody wants you.
Gerlod The Kind: Shut up! The next one who cries will get double puppy stew for breakfast!
Me: *whispered* By Talos' loincloth! The brat was telling the truth! This woman is textbook Lawful Evil! Almost comically so!
Lydia: *whispered* Indeed, my lord. We must go fetch the city guard at once. Inform the Jarl of the cruel treatment these children are suffering.
Me: Hmm? Oh, did you say something? Sorry, I was looking for my most dull arrowhead before I shoot the old bitch.
Gerlord The Kind: ACK!
Child #1: Gerlod! I think....
Child #2: ... she's dead!
Children: ... hurrah! We're saved!
Child #1: He did it! Aventus did it!
Child #2: I knew he could do it!
Child #3: Thank you, Dark Brotherhood!
Lydia: ... how are they not seeing us kneeling here in the corner?
Me: This is Riften. People here are really good at not seeing things happen here.
Lydia: ... but WHY?!
Me: Because there comes a time when even the lowest of men must look evil in the face and say "enough". Because a true man must stand up when the weakest and most helpless are repressed and unable to live in simple dignity. But mostly because that little boy promised me a shiny geegaw for doing it.
Lydia: Whatever happened to Thieves not killing for money?
Me: Meh. Who's going to tell them?