Mercer Frey: And you're sure he said Karliah is back? And that this would "end where it first began"?
Me: Yeah. I'm guessing that means something to you?
Mercer Frey: Twenty-five years ago, Karliah was a friend. Before she killed the old guild master. Seduced him. Poisoned him. Tried to take over.
Me: Sounds like a classic female rogue.
Mercer Frey: Oh, she is. And she's good. Too good for you to stand any chance against her.
Me: ... does that mean?
Mercer Frey: You will accompany me to the ruins where she's hiding. Together we will bring this rogue rogue to justice.
Me: Sir, may I say how impressed I am that you are willing to get your hands dirty and actually do something yourself rather than sending an underling?
Mercer Frey: Oh, I don't plan to get my hands dirty, son. You'll still be leading the charge... through the undead-infested, booby-trapped tomb known as The Snow Veil Sanctum!
Me: And suddenly it all makes sense.
ONE DAY LATER...
Mjoll: I hope your ally gets here soon, beloved.
Me: Relax, dear. Here he comes now.
Mercer Frey: Okay, kid... let's get in - by Talos! It's Mjoll The Lioness! In a really impractical outfit!
Me: Relax, Mer... uh... friend! She's here to help us.
Mjoll: Love, why does your friend seem so nervous?
Me: He's excited, my love. Excited to see that such a famous thief hunter has come to aid in our quest to bring a notorious thief to justice. Isn't that right?
Mercer Frey: Uh.. yes! That's me. Blushing like a schoolgirl.
Me: But Skyrim doesn't have any schools.
Mercer Frey: Ixnay!
Mjoll: Oh, I see. Well, don't worry. Famous as I am, I put my trousers on one leg at a time. Or at least I did before Matthias found me this lovely Ancient Nord Armor. Any friend of my husband's is a friend of mine. As is any man who would see justice done.
Mercer Frey: Ha-ha, yes. Perhaps it would be best if you guarded the front door to make sure none of those... thieves sneak up behind us while your... "beloved" and I go inside and look around.
Me: I think that's a great plan!
Mjoll: Oh, very well. But don't stay away too long.
Mercer Frey: Of course not. Matthias, can I have a word with you as we head down into the pit?
Mercer Frey: Are you INSANE bringing that woman here?
Me: I'm sorry, Guildmaster. I would have left her at home, but when I said I was going after a thief, she insisted on coming.
Mercer Frey: ... you're friends with her?
Me: Ah. Bit more than that - we're married.
Mercer Frey: You married the Champion of Riften?!
Me: And talked her into strutting around in that impractical "armor".
Mercer Frey: Why?
Me: Have you seen that woman's body?!
Mercer Frey: No! Why did you marry her?
Me: Again, have you seen that woman's body?!
Mercer Frey: You like to live dangerously, don't you?
Me: We're thieves. It's what we do.
Mercer Frey: Point taken. So any questions before we go in there?
Me: Just two. First, aren't we going to get in trouble for doing this? I mean, killing somebody in the line of duty is against the Thieves' Code.
Mercer Frey: True. Except when dealing with those who violate the Thieves' Code in such a way that death is the only suitable punishment... like killing a superior. I have an long-standing arrangement with The Dark Brotherhood. If I need someone in the guild taken care of, we do it ourselves.
Me: Okay. I hope you didn't pay them in advance. And my second question?
Mercer Frey: Yes?
Me: Have you seen that woman's body?!
Mercer Frey: I think I've misjudged you, Matthias.
Mercer Frey: Oh, yes. When you first came to us, I thought you were a weasel who'd sell his own sister if it would profit him.
Me: And now?
Mercer Frey: Now I KNOW you're a weasel who'd sell his own sister if it would profit him.
Mercer Frey: But seriously, son, I am impressed. You've taken one of the greatest enemies of our guild and made her your wife, doing your work right under her nose. You haven't set off a single trap since we got down here. You found that sailboat model Delvin has been looking for hidden away in that alcove. You even managed to sneak attack a zombie. That's not even supposed to be possible!
Me: Does this mean I'm getting promoted?
Mercer Frey: We don't have ranks in the guilds anymore, son.
Mercer Frey: But I am going to teach you a few tricks. Take a look at this door, for instance... one of the famous Nord puzzle doors. Completely inaccessible if you don't have the right dragon claw key and don't spin the stone circles around the right way, right?
Mercer Frey: Wrong! Watch me work this.
Me: ... goodnight.
Me: Buh... I'm really getting to hate this.
Karliah: How are you feeling?
Me: ... you shot me.
Me: You tried to kill me!
Karliah: No. I saved your life. My arrow was tipped with a unique paralytic poison. It slowed your heart and kept you bleeding out. I spent the better part of a year perfecting it.
Me: Then why did you shoot me instead of Mercer?
Karliah: I promise you, the thought had crossed my mind. The poison on that arrow took me a year to perfect; I only had enough for a single shot.
Mjoll: What's going on here?!?
Me: Mjoll! How did you get here?
Karliah: Who is this? And how did she sneak up behind me?
Me: *sighs* This is Mjoll, the Lioness. My wife and protector. Mjoll, I think this is the woman we were hunting. But it's gotten complicated. I think.
Karliah: To put it mildly. Mercer Frey is a traitor. He tried to kill me, framed me for his crimes and just left your husband for dead.
Mjoll: That seems unlikely.
Me: I agree. But since she dragged me out of that tomb when she could have left me behind, I think we owe it to her to hear her out.
From The Saga Of Matthias The Bather; Written by Sven
Karliah told the duo her story. Of how she had been part of a trio of adventurers, charged with a holy mission. How the treacherous Mercer Frey - secretly a member of the Thieves' Guild - had killed her lover and framed her for his many crimes. But more, she told of a journal whose contents would clear her name... if only it could be translated from the strange tongue they were written in.