Breezehome, Abandoned Shack, Morthal, Dragon Bridge, Dark Brotherhood lair: Cunning plan, Astrid executed, Imperials informed, Lair location given, Assassin massacre.
We discussed our plan on the way from Riften to Whiterun. The assassins would be looking for Meeko, Lydia and I. They would not know about or be looking for Kharjo. Being Khajiit he would have excellent night vision and superior sneaking and climbing ability. So a few miles before we reached Riften we separated.
Kharjo stopped and changed into some clothes he had in his pack. He waited for ten minutes then proceeded to Whiterun solo.
I had instructed the guards to let Kharjo in when he approached the gates. Otherwise the “No Khajiit” ban would have interfered with our plan.
He stabled Dogmeat and entered the hold. I had given him a map of where Breezehome was. His instructions were to try and out sneak the assassins. He was to listen in on any conversations and report to me when he thinks he has all the relevant information. He is to enter Breezehome via the turret and not the front door.
Lydia and I acted like it was just another night at home. She prepared a very late but welcome supper. I wrote yesterday’s journal entry. Meeko snored and farted in front of the fire.
After a couple of hours Kharjo entered via the turret and was very pleased with himself. There were three assassins and he had overheard their final debrief. Astrid thought I would be a great asset to the Dark Brotherhood. She liked the way I had sneakily killed Grelod and that I showed a little old lady no mercy. The plan was to use non lethal gas to put us all to sleep and then sneak me out of Whiterun. I was to be taken by carriage to an old abandoned shack North, North-East of Morthal, North-West of Ustengrav. Kharjo chuckled as the assassins complained that they would have to carry me through the swamps and I am not little!
I marked an area on their maps where the shack should be.
Kharjo said the assassins were then to remain outside the shack door while Astrid talks to me. I instructed Kharjo to leave via the turret and watch for the assassins enter then leave with me. I gave him some Restoration Potions, When the assassins were out of sight he was to come in and revive both Meeko and Lydia with them. Kharjo was then to don his armour and they were to make their way to the abandoned hut. If they heard commotion in the hut they were to take care of the guards outside and wait a few minutes before entering.
Kharjo embarrassingly admitted he had left his armour in the backpack with Dogmeat. I told him he can use the old Akaviri armour for now. He went upstairs and had a quick look at it. He came down wide eyed. Is it possible to fall in love with a suit of armour? Kharjo did!
So everything was set by 3.00AM. Kharjo made his way out via the turret and Lydia, Meeko and I pretended to go to sleep.
I entertained myself thinking of Rigmor’s childhood stories. I can’t remember what my last thought was before the lights went out.
I woke up and looked around. There were three bound people in the far end of the room.
A young woman who I assumed was Astrid was sitting on a bookshelf in the corner. I was far less groggy than when that dart had hit me in the neck. I pretended to be disoriented to put Astrid at ease. She said,
“Wake up Dragonborn. There are debts to be paid.”
What? Where am I? Who are you?
“Does it matter? You’re warm, dry… and still very much alive. That’s more than can be said for old Grelod. Hmm?”
(Time for some acting.)
You… you know about that? How?
“Grelod dies in her sleep the same day Aventus stops doing the ritual. Somebody of your description seen in both Windhelm and Riften. We are quite good at this you know!”
(Anybody would think I wanted them to know who it was. It seems thinking is not a familiar pastime to Astrid.)
“Oh, but don’t misunderstand. I’m not criticising. It was a good kill. Old crone had it coming. You saved a group of urchins to boot.”
(Gosh, I never realised any of this till she told me! Stupid woman would make a great Greybeard. Except for the gender, age and beard bits of course.)
“But there is a slight… mmm… problem.”
(Just then a muffled scream was heard from just outside the front door. Killers my team might be. Efficient assassins they are not.)
Yes, there is a problem. You are stuck in this little hut with Wulf, Champion of The Divines and killer of Alduin, the World Eater. Somebody your pathetic group of amateurs has tried to assassinate at least five times. Your men outside are now dead and you are surrounded.
I killed Grelod because it was the right thing to do. Not for profit. That is why Aventus spent days doing the ritual. You had far more lucrative prospects than a ten year old orphan. What could he pay you compared to well off businessmen and nobles? You might have got around to him eventually.
I do not think that is how you are supposed to operate. Profit over chaos? I doubt Sithis would approve.
Anyway, I am rambling so let me get to the point.
If your agents had killed me the night before the Battle for Whiterun we may have still won the war but all mortals would have then died at the hands of Malacath.
(Astrid look puzzled at this. Very few people knew the real reason for the New Order invasion. I did not mind telling somebody who was about to die.)
Of course you did not know about how I went into Oblivion and thwarted his plans. How I was the only one who could have done it in time.
You would have killed me that night if your own people had not sold out to the Thalmor. I bet they did not even tell you their ambush worked did they? That they hit me in the neck with a poisoned dart as planned. The Thalmor paid them more than you so the dart had sleep poison, not death poison. Rex must have been in the Thalmor pay packet as well as he provided them with it. They were going to deliver me alive to the Thalmor and that would not have been a holiday for me.
(Astrid looked stricken. She had gone white.)
This is what happens when you run a “kill for profit” organisation. You were a source of income to these people and that is all. You really didn’t expect loyalty did you?
Putting aside Malacath there was also Alduin. If you had successfully assassinated me between the battle and two days ago when I went to Sovngarde and defeated the World Eater you would have also condemned to death every single being on Nirn.
I know Sithis is all about chaos but I doubt he/she would appreciate all mortal life being extinguished because some foolish woman had me murdered for profit!
You don’t have to worry about all those disloyal agents of yours. I will happily slaughter every one of them for you!
“Arnbjorn! No you can’t…”
(So there was somebody she loves amongst them. How sad! I used the Thu’um.)
(The three people trussed up started to panic and pull against their bonds and mumble against their mouth gags.)
You showed not a single thought for the endless people who loved your victims. You at least know whatshisname will soon join you in whatever hell failed assassins go to.
I represent The Divines. They do their best to keep chaos at bay so mortals can live their short lives and enjoy the gifts given us such as freedom of choice.
The gift we have been given that is worth more than all the gold and jewels in existence is the capacity to love!
You and all agents of chaos threaten such precious things. You can’t be allowed to live!
Jump down and draw your weapons Astrid. At least show some backbone in your last moments!
Astrid attacked with two weapons and I must admit she was pretty good. She died anyway.
I searched her and found nothing to lead me to her lair. The dagger she carried was impressive though!
With perfect timing my crew entered with weapons drawn and fangs bared. They looked around and saw no danger so sheathed them.
I thanked them for doing such an excellent job. That our next step was to inform Imperial authority in Morthal.
I addressed the three captives and told them I would not release them. That I did not know if they were innocent victims or rival criminals. I said I would leave the decision on what is to be done with them to the Imperial authorities and they would be here shortly.
With that we left the hut.
I looked at Kharjo in the Akaviri armour. With his feline eyes staring from the full face helmet he was an impressively intimidating sight! I knew he really liked it so I gifted it to him. He was speechless when I told him it was his.
Apart from some trolls the short trip Morthal was uneventful.
I entered Highmoon Hall, the Jarl’s residence, and approached Legate Taurinus Duilis. He greeted me,
“Welcome Legate or is it General or Dragonborn or….?”
Wulf will do just fine. I am here to tell you I just killed Astrid, leader of the Dark Brotherhood.
“You did what? By the Gods! You’d better report this to Commander Maro right away. He’s at the Penitus Oculatus outpost in Dragon Bridge”
I will. There are three people who were being held hostage by Astrid. They are still tied and gagged in an abandoned hut here…
(I marked on his map where the hut was.)
I do not know who they are. I will leave that for you to figure out. You will also find Astrid’s body in there.
With that we left the hall and I summoned Blaze since Kharjo was using Meatloaf. It was just after 1:00PM when we set out for Dragon Bridge.
More Miraax goons. More corpses.
There was a large skirmish just outside a village called Frost River.
We leapt off our horsed and help the Imperial troops defeat the Stormcloaks.
I healed a few of the injured soldiers and approached their captain. I commented that this was the largest Stormcloak force I had seen since the end of the war. She explained the leader was a local. He wanted to take over his home village and use it as a base for other Stormcloaks to use.
We mounted and continued on to Dragon Bridge.
As I entered the town a Stormcloak spy took aim and loosed an arrow my way. He missed and was soonest upon by several Imperial troops. By the time I reached them he was dead.
We entered the Penitus Oculatus headquarters and I approached Commander Maro. He said,
“Greetings Dragonborn. Did you need to see me about something?”
I killed Astrid, the leader of the Dark Brotherhood. Now I want to know where their lair is.
“The leader of the Dark Brotherhood dead? And this is no jest?”
No jest. I tricked her into kidnapping me and slew her near Morthal.
“It has only been a few days since Alduin. Getting bored sitting at home?”
This was personal. Her goons almost killed me on several occasions. She was on my hit list if I survived Alduin.
“Ha! This is a stroke of good fortune. Long have I watched the Dark Brotherhood’s movements… waiting for the time to strike. That time is now! My agents have recently acquired the passphrase to their Sanctuary. It is, ‘Silence, my brother.’ Every assassin in that hole must be put down! Do this and you will be rewarded most handsomely!”
(He then marked the location of their lair on my map.)
I need no payment. You forget I am Legate of the Imperial army so you could say it is my duty. In reality I am doing it for The Divines in their endless battle against chaos. Rest assured all inside will be dealt the same mercy they have shown their victims.
With that we left the headquarters and mounted our horses set off once again.
Not far out of Dragon Bridge I saw a Thalmor patrol escorting a prisoner. I dismounted and approached the Justiciar. She said,
“Stand aside. We are on official Dominion business and have no time to speak to Nord rabble.”
How about the Dragonborn. Or Guardian General. Or a Legate of the Imperial army on imperial soil?
(She looked a bit less sure of herself but still Thalmor arrogance shone through.)
“You could be the Emperor himself and I would still ask why you are interfering with legal Dominion activity.”
I will give you the reason. You do not care if a prisoner is guilty or innocent. You do not distinguish between the severities of perceived crimes. Once hidden away inside the walls of your prisons or forts they are treated with brutality. We are inferior to you so deserve to be treated with contempt. I assume this man is guilty of religious freedom. You are going to tell me Talos worship is sacrilegious and other such bullshit. I put it to you there is no directive from The Divines saying so. The sacrilege is ignorant people like you claiming there is some Divine directive. Therefore as Champion of The Divines I charge you with sacrilege and ask you to show repentance by letting this man go back home.
“Fool. Harming us is against the law. No matter whom you are!”
Look around. No witnesses equals no crime. You claim to be doing the work of The Divines. I know I am. Who do you think gave me my Dragonborn powers? Why do you think I exist? You have one more chance. Let this man go.
She attacked. We killed. No witnesses. No crime.
The prisoner armed himself with a sword and bow from the corpses and went on his way after thanking us. We helped him kill a troll before he disappeared over a hill.
A while later we came across another Thalmor patrol. They had no prisoner with them so we simply attacked and killed without discourse.
Last time I passed this way I had difficulty with bandits who had set up palisades and a bridge across the road. I had wiped them out last time but it looks like new slime had move in.
We wiped them out as well.
When we rode into Rorikstead a huge Dovah called Nahagliiv attacked. He was very powerful and had some necromantic aura that sucked the life force of those caught in it. Guards were dropping dead like flies and I had to take several health potions to survive!
I finally made him land with Dragonrend and warned everybody to stay clear and use ranged weapons.
His attacks were deadly but he was not a physically strong dragon. By using ranged weapons we killed him with no further casualties. I consumed his soul.
At last the door to the Dark Brotherhood lair stood before us. We had no idea what to expect inside but I was sure we could handle it.
The door asked, “What is the music of life?”
I answered “Silence, my brother.”
It opened and we entered.
There were only about six assassins in residence and spread over the large complex. It did not take us long to kill every one of them.
The last to die was Astrid’s beloved Arnbjorn. I killed him as he slept.
I was sure we had kill all there but perhaps agents were still to return home. I decided we would stay the night in case they did.
I put some wards just inside the door that would kill most people if tripped. Were exhausted but decided to have 6 hours keep each with three hours on watch. I took the first watch.
Lydia and Kharjo dragged a couple of beds into the room we decided was the easiest to defend. As they and Meeko settled down to sleep I wrote this journal entry and then kept watch.
When it was time I woke Kharjo for his watch and lay down exhausted.
I know not what time I fell asleep. I do know I had started formulating plans for helping the orphans and abused children of Skyrim.