Saturday, February 4, 2012

Skyrim: A Journal of War - Chapter Twenty Three - Birds Of A Feather


Brynjolf: Karliah, this story you tell is like a bad Bard's Tale.
Me: I know. I lived it and I barely believe it myself. But it's true.
Karliah: I have told you all, Brynjolf. How Mercer betrayed me and Gallus, killing him and leaving me for dead. How even before that Gallus suspected he was stealing from the guild coffers. How Gallus tracked all of this in a secret journal, written in the lost Falmer language so that few others could read it -
Me: Which required me to break into a museum, make a rubbing of the one translation key of the Falmer written language known to exist. WAY more boring than it sounds...
Brynjolf: But what proof do you have, Karliah? That Matthias is willing to speak for you speaks well for you but that will not be enough for Vex and Delvin. And the only other proof you have is a journal written in a language that is obscure even among scholars.
Karliah: Open the vault. You still have two guildsmen apart from the Master hold the keys, I trust?
Brynjolf: Aye. Delvin and myself. Let me call him and Vex in here and we'll have the truth of it!

Brynjolf: By Talos' Loincloth! The loot!
Delvin: The swag!
Vex: The booty!
Brynjolf: It's all gone!
Me: I hate to say I told you so...
Brynjolf: Don't, lad.
Me: Can I at least soak in the quiet irony of a bunch of master thieves getting robbed?
Brynjolf: As long as it's quiet.
Karliah: NOW, do you believe me?
Brynjolf: Yes! But what do we do now?
Vex: Hunt Mercer Frey down! String him up!
Delvin: Or we could consider how our wickedness has resulted in the loss of our filthy lucre and abandon our wicked ways for lives of charity and moderation?

ALL: ... Naaaaaaaaaaaaah!
Delvin: Thank goodness. I can only handle a little moderation at a time.
Brynjolf: It's agreed then. We will bring Mercer Frey to justice. OUR justice!
Me: Yes!
Brynjolf: And Matthias will go to his mansion to search for clues to where he's hiding!
Me: Wait - he has a mansion in Riften? And you never thought he may have been stealing from the treasury before now?!
Brynjolf: We just assumed he'd stolen the deed and was squatting.
Me: Fine. But before I go, tell me... why me?
Brynjolf: It has to be you, lad. He'd expect us coming after him but Mercer still thinks you are dead. That gives you the element of surprise you need.
Me: That's a pretty flimsy excuse.
Brynjolf: And you're a pretty flimsy man. Now get going!


Okay, if the empty vault wasn't a dead giveaway something is up and the fact that he has a mansion wasn't suspect, you'd think the fact that he's got a small army of bandits living IN his fortified, trap-filled mansion would have aroused suspicion. Hello, what's this letter say?

Me: Blah Blah Blah. Don't know how you did it. Blah Blah Blah. Broken into their sealed armory. Blah Blah Blah. Location of rare gemstones you requested.... uh-oh. This ain't good.


Brynjolf: By The Nine! It's worse than we thought! Not only has he looted our treasury - now he's going after every single rare gemstone in Skyrim! At this rate we won't have anything worth stealing!
Me: What I don't get is how he's pulling all this off.
Karliah: Not only did Mercer Frey betray the guild... he betrayed the sacred trust placed on him by Nocturnal.
Brynjolf: Huh? What's that?
Me: You mean she didn't tell you while I was out? Karliah, Gallus and Mercer were all Nightingales.
Brynjolf: I thought that was just a tale? A way to keep the young foot-pads in line.
Karliah: The Nightingales are quite real, Brynjolf, as you will soon find out. For as long as there has been a Thieves' Guild in Skyrim, there have been Nightingales - three mortal thieves blessed by Nocturnal with skill beyond skills. In exchange, they vow to protect her hidden temple - The Twilight Sepulcher.

Brynjolf: I know the legends, Karliah... but I never believed them. So all of this is true?
Karliah: Yes, Brynjolf. But there is more the legends did not speak of. And if you would see Mercer pay for his crimes, you must come with me before I tell you more.
Me: Have fun, boss.
Karliah: You must come too, Matthias.
Me: Awww... but I have stuff to do. Stuff like Mjoll.
Karliah: But you must!
Me: See, that's where you're wrong. I'm a chosen agent of destiny. Dragonborn. I've already been charged with one holy quest to save the world that I've been putting off in favor of debasing myself and stealing everything that isn't nailed down and apart from a bunch of people I don't care about getting killed by dragons, nothing bad has happened. Whatever this is, it can wait.
Karliah: No, it can't. If we do not act soon, you'll never be able to steal anything ever again without having five guards instantly teleported to wherever you are.
Me: Sorry. Not good enough.
Karliah: *sighs* What if I promise you a shiny new set of armor once we get there?
Me: What are we waiting for?!


Me: Hey, Brynjolf? Does your new armor ride up in the crotch too?
Brynjolf: Like you wouldn't believe.

Karliah: Now that you are all properly attired, I can tell you the rest. Mercer has stolen The Skeleton Key - an artifact of Noctural that is responsible for controlling the force of luck in our realm.
Me: Name like that I'd expect it to be some kind of magical lockpick.
Karliah: It is a magical lock pick... and more! It is a conduit for Nocturnal's power. Placed in the Twilight Sepulcher, it disperses Nocturnal's blessings in the form of luck.
Brynjolf: That seems a bit... strange.
Karliah: Haven't you ever had things go your way or go wrong for no reason? A mark turns around just as you're about to cut their purse? Or you picked a lock that was far more difficult than you should have been able to manage easily?
Brynjolf: Of course. Every thief has.
Karliah: That is Nocturnal - blessing you or cursing you as she sees fit. But you've been cursed more than you've been blessed lately, haven't you?
Me: Yeah.
Brynjolf: Aye, the whole guild has.
Karliah: Because Mercer has The Key. And if we are to bring him to justice, reclaim the key and restore the guild... you two must join me and become Nightingales as well!
Brynjolf: Which is why you brought us here and dressed us up like this?
Karliah: Yes. You must be dressed appropriately when you pledge your soul to Nocturnal for life and beyond.
Me: Okay.
Karliah: The fate of... what?
Me: I said, okay. Let's get this over with.
Karliah: You are... willing to pledge your soul?
Me: Do I really have a choice?
Karliah: Not really, no.
Me: Well, there you go.
Brynjolf: Are you sure about this, lad? Figured you'd want to avoid being tied down.
Me: Yeah, well... way I figure it, if my soul's going to belong to someone, it should be a goddess who is kindly disposed towards thieves and keeping them employed.
Karliah: Well put. Now, let us perform the ceremony...

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