Taminwe had a few words for the reporter before he left. "Expect a trip to Leyawiin soon, There's something going on down there and the Champion and I will be paying a visit before long. We'll need you to pick up any ripples from the main splash, if you know what I mean."

The assignment came in on the same day he was due to visit the Red Dragon Club again, so he went there first. Shurgak's greeting told him that he should ask for Miranda's services. and after taking a glass of Tamika's from Tilasa at the bar, he followed Miranda down the corridor to a private room.

Miranda spent the first few minutes dutifully attending to her client before she said anything. The way she grinned like a cat told him she was really enjoying this part of her job, and she didn't stop when she passed on her information. He'd already been told that he was going to the Castle to report on the death of a mysterious stranger in the servants' quarters, but Miranda already knew the truth behind the mystery. The stranger had been a forger, hired to produce a fake document to support the claim of Alessia Caro's cousin to the vacant throne.

The unfinished document, together with the seal they were going to use to make it look authentic, were now in the hands of the Elder Council. The Champion of Cyrodiil had been forced to kill the forger when he attacked him, but Taminwe had got the rest of the story straight from the cousin in Senchal. Having experienced her methods, the reporter could imagine how she did that!

They hadn't been able to pin anything directly on the Countess, so that's why he was needed. If any rumours or clues had been missed, the Council needed to know. The announcement of the plot's discovery in the Courier would help suppress any further attempts along similar lines, so his report there was equally important. The more detailed it was, the better the deterrant.

One more thing. They already knew that the beggars had seen the Countess with the forger, but that couldn't be used in his article. If anyone else had done so, then it was good to print. That made sense to him. The general public wouldn't trust the word of a beggar, but on the other hand, they were a source to be protected because they were so reliable.

When he got to Leyawiin, he spent most of his time inside the castle. The locals really hadn't noticed the stranger in their town, especially as he'd disappeared into the castle almost as soon as he arrived. The beggars spot strangers right away, as they're more likely to cough up a coin the first time they're approached. Everyone else ignores them.

Only the private quarters of the castle seemed to have any guards, and he was able to enter the servants' quarters without challenge. They seemed to have been built for a much larger staff than were currently employed, so it was easy to imagine the stranger finding a vacant room he could use. He had to ask which one it was, and he was shown a small chamber at the end of a corridor, opposite the door to one of the towers.

Apart from a bloodstain on the floor, there was little evidence of the occupant. He'd only left a quill and inkwell on top of an empty crate. The reporter already knew that the document that the forger had been working on was taken by the Champion, along with the fake seal of Pelagius IV that he was going to use on it. He asked if anyone had seen the man alive, talked to him? No, they'd only seen his body, and they might not have found that if the guard hadn't heard the fight. Nobody came down to this end of the place unless they needed something from the stores in the tower, and they couldn't remember the last time that happened.

Further chat with the servants gave him the impression that there was even more to the maze of rooms and corridors beneath the castle than he'd been able to see. There were parts that nobody visited, and rumours of secret passages, and ghosts, and noises in the night. All of which would provide excellent cover for any illegal activities anyone wanted to perform. But nothing told him what, if anything, actually was taking place.

He was able to talk briefly with On-Staya Sundew, the castle steward, and ask her if any official documents had gone missing. After all, a forger might be trying to replace a land grant with a larger one, or something like that. He really wanted to know if there were any documents here that might have born the seal that the forger had copied. She reacted by checking the ones she was concerned about, just as he'd hoped. None of them were old enough to have a seal before Uriel VII's, and most only bore a city or provincial seal anyway.

He'd have liked to talk with Hildara Mothril, the Countess' maid, as well, but Alessia Caro was visiting her mother in Chorrol, and Hildara was with her. Nobody else had access to the private quarters, so he had to leave that part of the castle unchecked.

Back in town, most of the talk related to the background rivalry between the Khajiits and Argonians. That was all at a low level and didn't represent anything significant. They'd always contested the city in the past, and having a buffer of neutral territory now let them jeer at each other without having to do anything serious.

If anything, they now had some common ground. Both sides seemed to resent the Countess and her Imperial ways, but held the Count in better favour, perhaps because he was at least doing something about the bandits. He didn't seem to be as distrusting of other races as his wife. He'd even made that Orc Mazoga a Knight-Errant and had her helping with the bandit problem. The reporter had his own suspicions that the Black Bow Bandits were too convenient as a distraction from other affairs.

Nobody told him anything that related to the forger, or that plot. Either they hadn't noticed, or they didn't think it was that important.

That all left him with a problem of what he could write for the Courier. He had the evidence of the quill and inkwell to confirm a forger at work, but couldn't disclose the nature of the actual document.

He could, however, take all the possibilities and print them, and see which ones provoked further tips from the public. Was the document connected to smuggling, or the Black Bow Bandits, or illegal immigration from Elsweyr and Black Marsh? Was the castle involved, or just a convenient warren for the forger to hide in? A good full-spectrum speculation was the right kind of article here.

Back at the Red Dragon Club, Taminwe gave him a long and vigorous debriefing. She was delighted at how well he had done in noticing all the little details. She took particular note of his conclusion that the seal had been made elsewhere. The reporter had noticed that the forger had had no materials or tools for creating it, so he must have brought it with him. He'd also need an impression of the real seal on a document, to make the fake seal match. There wasn't one in Leyawiin, as he'd discovered.

Leyawiin castle was the perfect place for the forged document to be "discovered", but that was no clue as to why it had to be created there. Perhaps they didn't want to risk any courier being intercepted by bandits or highwaymen?

Taminwe agreed with him about the article for the Courier. Stirring up talk about all the various issues in Leyawiin was the best way to make use of the current dead end. She had a few other pieces of information to add that he might find helpful.

The Champion had investigated the theft of a painting at Chorrol castle a while back. If the forger had been working there at the time, the investigation might have made him move on in a hurry. It was also possible that the document with Pelagius' seal came from Chorrol. The castle had had other thefts in the past, and the Honorblade had only recently been returned. One of those thefts might not have been what it seemed, especially if it involved a document.