I scratch this out with haste while I walk through Daggerfall, on my way to an inn called the Rosy Lion – I have begun the pursuit of Truth!
As I’m certain you remember, I had found that note with the list of three items upon it. I chose to follow it in logical order, starting with the first item – Three Blood Oranges. I left Roy’s body and headed for the Grocer in the Market Square, owned by a rather roguish man, hair tied back in a tight bun, clothing a bit tattered. His name was Christoph Lamant, and he looked rather confused when I mentioned three blood oranges. Once I explained how I came upon the note, he made explained that the dead man, who’s name is – was – Roy, was a King’s Intelligence Agent!
Immediately I thought it to be another mention of Copper and her Ring of Dagger’s, but unfortunately this turned out to be a mention of King Casamir’s intelligence, the leader of Daggerfall, rather than King Emeric’s intelligence, High King of all of High Rock. A lesser intelligence, but still an intelligence, eh?
Christoph also informed me that Roy – or perhaps the people Roy was spying upon, that part was unclear – may have been involved in Dark Magic. Yes, I know what you are thinking and I am as well! Molag Bal! How is he involved in all of this?? I am beginning to suspect that our good Cleric Talborad may have struck upon something, though nothing yet proves the Chancellor’s involvement.
When I asked further questions about dark magic, Christoph refused to involve himself further and asked me to leave. I moved on to the next item on the list: a Crescent Emblem Cloak – oh, how that description itself gave me shivers! It is the perfect item to lead with in the article – make a note of that, for I am bound to forget.
Where was I…ah yes, the cloak! The tailor’s stall stands in the same market as the grocer, staffed by a hairy gentlemen in a lilac tunic, very pleasant and welcoming, named Kareem. When I walked up to him he suggested I choose something in silk – though flattered, I asked outright for “a crescent emblem cloak.”
His eyes, Mylindra! They revealed all I needed to know! This man knew exactly what I was talking about. He grew afraid, head swiveling, and leaned in closer.
I explained what had happened, and Kareem seemed genuinely upset. He asked after the dog, and I realized, with a touch of surprise, I had completely forgotten about the loyal hound. I had no answer for him.
While I didn’t get an actual cloak, I received something even better – confirmation that I am dealing with the world of dark magic! But after a cryptic statement about “information channels” that lit my mind afire with possibilities, Kareem closed his mouth and his shop.
Next on the list – Black Roses with Thorns. Off to the florist. A lovely young woman named Diane, very astute and professional yet warm and friendly. She wore a long green dress with an intricate design down the front in silver.
Her face, Mylindra, when I asked for black thorn roses…it paled, slacked a little, her eyes wide.
“You’ll get yourself killed.” This she told me a little while later, after demanding to know why Roy was not in front of her and how I had learned the code word.. Yes, the code word! Apparently Roy used these three traders to get word to the Captain of the guard and the King’s Intelligence about certain goings-on in the dark magic world – and “roses with black thorns” was one of the most dire of warnings!
“If I die in the pursuit of Truth, I die gladly,” I replied in what I thought to be a very gallant tone. Diane just sighed. I went on, “Roy and I are quite similar. We both believe certain information should be made available to certain people. The only difference is that I believe “certain people” to be “everyone.”
To this Diane studied me for a moment, then said,
“Go see Captain Aresin. He’s commander of the guard here in Daggerfall.”
See Mylindra? I know you have little faith in the belief that the truth is always best and “will set you free” and other such clichés, but they are true! I am more certain than ever that this is a story that will set the world alight – following the trail of information truly is exciting!
I immediately set off for Castle Daggerfall, which soars above the city to the North. To get to the staircase leading to the castle, you must cross a most tranquil and beautiful bridge. It crosses a shallow river, and is on the opposite side of the city from where I discovered poor Roy’s body.
It began to rain as I crossed the bridge. I pulled my cowl closer about my face, tucking my parchments inside my shirt. Just as I had secured my pen in my pocket, a strange mist popped into existence directly in front of me, coalesced to a solid form, and stood up, all within a single moment!!
I reacted by dropping my mouth open and staggering back. The man – for he was clearly a man now – yelled something I couldn’t understand or was too stunned to hear, and leapt at me.
From my right a short shape disengaged itself and intercepted the attacker – a Banekin! From the Daedric realms! Lighting flashed down from the sky, struck the man and nailed him to the cobblestone. The Banekin skipped and skittered in their typical fashion, quite gleefully if I must be honest.
The man climbed to his feet, wicked dagger in hand. He had cropped red hair, shaved on one side, and dark tattoos or paint covering his eyes. I roused my strength and ran into the fray, beating at him with my fists. I had no thought for my dagger – I must defeat this man immediately, as quickly as possible, before he can summon his strength and strike me!
I and the Banekin pummeled him, but he would not fall. Just as my strength began to flag, a warrior appeared like Ysgrammor himself had come to my aid! The gallant hero struck the attacker down with a single blow from his blood-stained axe and, with hardly a pause, continued down the bridge as though nothing had happened. I called out my thanks to him, but he did not acknowledge me. Breath heaving a bit more than I would have liked, I turned to the Banekin. It looked up at me, grinned, and varnished.
I can only assume the Mages Guild has given me a Familiar of some sort to protect me in my travels – for which I am exceedingly grateful! Without that Banekin I would certainly have died at the first blow from the assassin – yes, assassin! For that is what he must have been, sent to kill me for interceding in this matter—
But that is a thought for later. I proceeded most cautiously to the foot of the castle steps, avoiding the shadows, where Captain Aresin waited. He stood at the edge of the promontory, looking out over the Market Square.
At first he tried to usher me away as yet another visitor, but when I explained that I had information from Roy and the exact nature of that information, the Captain immediately engaged me with the exclamation, “Mara’s Hands!” (a new use of the Goddess’ name that I have never heard before – could you enter it in my running list of phrases? The list is in the top drawer of my desk, please make a new column titled “High Rock – Daggerfall”, thank you).
He made mention of “dark nature magic” – is this Daedric magic, or some other form of magic? I had no time to ask any questions. The Captain, as suits his position, is a brusque, serious person, shaved head, narrowed eyes, a gigantic Greatsword slung over his back like a weightless rucksack. Quite a noble bearing as well, despite the lack of hair.
To summarize, the Captain requested that I assume Roy’s role. Well, he may not have said those words exactly, but I can read between the syllables. I am to gather more information for him from a contact at the Rosy Lion Inn – an Orc, no less!! – and who better to gather information than Tirvril Dathnim, Cyrodill’s most famous information distributor??
Oh, make a note of that name, “information distributor” – perhaps some amalgamation of those words for the future paper of news you had mentioned some months back!
My hand grows tired from writing so quickly – I will give this note to the Mages Guild as soon as I return from the Rosy Lion Inn.