"Darwen!" Tsarrina called down to the basement, "Put some clothes on and come talk to the reporter, will you?"

"Is Darwen the Bosmer girl I saw dancing last night?" asked the man from the Black Horse Courier.

"Quite likely" replied Tsarrina. "She does like to dance".

Darwen entered the room like she was walking out onto a stage. She had a dancer's slender figure, with small, high breasts. Her subtle curves were like a sneak attack on your sub-conscious. So when she moved, it was hard not to watch her.

She sat still, so the reporter could concentrate on writing.

Dancing is fun, sex is fun. When I think of work, I think of hunting.

Everyone hunts deer for food, but the only quarry worthy of a true hunter is a bear. I'd hunted bears all through Colovia and the West Weald, selling their pelts, and sometimes fangs .

But then someone told me there were bears in Skyrim that were white like the snow, and I'd never seen one of those. I took a trip up there to see for myself. I did see a white bear, but there was a rider on its back! She told me that in that part of the mountains, it was illegal to hunt the white bears, as they were much too valuable as mounts. Nothing comes close to a sure-footed snow bear for riding in the icy mountains!

So no hunting for me. I traveled back South again, looking for black or brown bears, and I found Bruma. I made that city my base for a while. I hunted in the mountains all week, and returned to town to sell the pelts at Nord Winds on the weekend. To start with, I stayed at the Jerall View Inn, but it was a bit expensive for my simple tastes, and a bit dull, too.

So I tried Olav's Tap and Tack. which had a much livelier crowd. Before long, I felt really at home there and started to relax and enjoy the company. My problems started when a travelling minstrel dropped in and started to play his lute. I can't just listen to music, I have to dance!

Well, all the men wanted to dance with me, so they were buying me drinks. More drinks than I'd have bought for myself. I don't remember much about what happened after that, but when I woke up the following morning, my head hurt, and I wasn't in my room at Olav's. I'm not sure whose house it was, because he'd already gone off to chapel and left me sleeping.

I put on my clothes and checked my purse, in case I'd been robbed. There was more gold in it than I expected to find! So I thought this would be a good time to pay Olav some advance rent on my room, before I wasted it.

Olav took the gold, but he wanted more. He said things had got broken while I was dancing the night before, and I had to pay for the damage I'd caused. Since I couldn't remember most of the previous night, I couldn't argue.

Most of the gold I got for the bear pelts the following week went to pay for those damages. But I had enough left to rent the room for the weekend, and have a meal and a couple of drinks by the fireside. Olav brought me a new drink to try, a mulled ale full of spices that was really tasty! He told me that one of his other customers had bought it for me.

I was just starting to notice how strong the mulled ale was, when the singing and dancing started up again. A few more of the women had joined in tonight, so I wasn't the only one dancing with the men. Olav had banked up the fire, so with all that exercise, it was getting quite warm in the barroom. Skjorta had her blouse unlaced, and pretty soon I'd taken off my fur armor, and was dancing in my underwear. Nobody seemed to mind, and we all kept dancing and singing until I passed out again.

Same deal as the last time. I wake up with a hangover in a strange bed, wishing I'd been awake for the best part. Olav wants the damages paid for again, says he's already got Skjorta's share, and mine's just a bit more than I have in my purse. I went and asked Skjorta about it, but she didn't remember any more than I could. At least it was her husband Olfand that took her home, or she'd have a worse problem than me!.

The next weekend I'm a bit more careful. I buy my own drinks and try and stay in my chair when the dancing starts. It doesn't work. I can't watch other people dance and not join in. I don't notice that my tankard never gets empty, or that the contents are getting stronger. This time I wake up in my room, but I'm completely naked, and my clothes are down in the bar on the floor. My tankard's still on the table, half-full of brandy, just like I must have been. Once again, I've been paid for the fun I presumably shared, but it's not enough to pay off Olav, so I'm still in debt.

I asked Skjorta if she'd help me by watching my tankard, but she's just not reliable. The following week she passed out before I did, and the inevitable repeated itself.

You're probably wondering why I kept returning to the Tap and Tack. Partly that was because I was in debt to Olav, and I wasn't going to leave town until he was paid off. But I also wanted to find out who was spiking my drinks. I wanted to tell him he didn't have to do that, and I was much better sober!

Then one Sundas, a stranger came into the chapel where I'd gone to nurse my usual hangover. He'd watched me dancing in Olav's bar, getting totally naked, and passing out on the floor. He'd talked to Olav while I danced. Olav spilled the whole story to him. I'd never broken anything; that was just a ruse to keep me coming back and dancing for him. Olav had been the one adding to my drinks, and he'd made even more gold pimping me to the men once I got legless enough. If my head hadn't been pounding, I'd have gone and killed Olav there and then - as slowly as possible.

The man had a better idea. He told me about Gweden Farm, and suggested I move down here. I didn't really owe Olav anything, and the bear hunting was just as good on the Gold Coast as anywhere else.

But the thing that really swayed my decision was the prospect of a warm bath. That was something you don't get too often up in Bruma. Tsarrina has a tub in the lower basement, and for a few gold pieces you can share it with one of the girls. I was down there when Tsarrina called. That's my second favorite "special duty", after dancing, of course.

I still take a bit of time off to go bear hunting once in a while. Tsarrina's always worried when I do that, but it's not dangerous if you have a good bow. And it's because I know my bears that I got involved with the pirates down in Leyawiin. The boss is also the Master of the Fighter's Guild, and they had a contract to stop arms shipments to the Black Bow bandits. He went down there himself to investigate, and came across a white bear pelt.

He brought it here and showed it to me. I'd seen the white bears in Skyrim, and I knew any white pelt had to be contraband. I'm a good tracker, if I say so myself, and I persuaded the boss to take me to where he found the pelt. We followed the trail of the smugglers, from a small dock on the Topal Bay, to a cave near Leyawiin that he knew was a bandit lair.

That confirmed the bandit connection, but we needed to tie the pelt to its source. He told me he'd found it in a rowboat. That was likely to have come from the Damsel, a ship in the docks that he'd been watching, but he had no proof. We asked around in town, and discovered that he hadn't found the only white pelt. Someone had just sold another to Gundalas. He didn't know the strange Khajiit, but the beggars did. She was the captain of the Damsel!

That was the piece of the puzzle we'd been missing, so we went on board to investigate. The boss was expecting to find an Argonian named Wave-Walker in charge of the vessel, as he was the one that told him about the rowboat. He was a member of the Blackwood Company, and he'd been hired to guard the ship, while the crew was away. But we couldn't find him, and the doors and hatches were all locked tight.

Except for one. There was a balcony door on the outside of the captain's cabin, They'd either forgotten about that one, or didn't think we could reach it, We went over the stern railing and entered the ship that way. The captain attacked us immediately, and we had to fight more of her crew on the decks below.

Wave-Walker was locked in a cabin on the lower deck. We also found the bodies of two Argonians in the hold, who'd obviously been tortured to death. Apparently the pirates had been working for both sides. They'd been smuggling weapons in for the bandits, and bodies out for the Count, probably dumping them at sea.

The boss had an idea. The Blackwood Company was struggling to reform itself as a proper hired security outfit. He'd killed off the previous leaders himself, when he destroyed the Hist tree they'd been using. The new head, Jee-Tah, was trying to run things honestly, but they had a bad reputation to dispel. The Fighters Guild was getting all the contracts, once again.

The idea was to turn the Blackwood Company into a naval patrol, hunting for pirates and smugglers. They had a number of good sailors in their ranks, and now the Damsel was available. They didn't really need a contact for the work, they could make enough income from any contraband thay confiscated. Now he'd found those dead Argonians, he had some leverage if the Count objected, too.

The Blackwood Company would no longer be in competion with the Fighters Guild this way. They'd handle anything off-shore, and leave the land jobs to the Guild.

Jee-tah liked the idea. Wave-Walker could captain the ship, and he'd run things back at base. Handle the financial side and record-keeping. The boss suspected he got sea-sick, but he didn't say anything.

Wave-Walker brought me back to Anvil in the Damsel. I wanted to bring him and his crew here to meet the rest of my team, but he was eager to go back and start patroling the Topal Bay.

Now I come to think of it, I'd bet he thought I was in the Fighters Guild, like the boss. Silly Argonian!