Part 29 - Palace Duties

Clark went to the Blue Palace for the usual weekly meeting of the Thanes, Elisif's council of advisors. Erikur was complaining about the Empire taxes on shipping, which of course wasn't anything Elisif could change, even if she had any sympathy for the fat merchant. Bryling was more concerned with city security. The legion had been recruiting the city guards, and their ranks were getting a bit thin.

"They only have to keep order in the city these days," Falk reminded her. "The soldiers are patrolling the roads."

"True, but their interests aren't quite the same as Haafingar's. I'd be happier with more men."

Elisif's glance at Clark told him she'd seen the unintended double-entendre. "I don't think Falk would entirely agree with that sentiment, " she added.

Bryling realised what she'd said, and barely suppressed a snort. Erikur sat there nonplussed. It had all gone completely over his head. Perhaps he didn't know about Falk and Bryling, they were trying to be discreet. Sybille had caught on, but her nocturnal habits probably meant she encountered them together more often.

They discussed a few more topics of general concern, and Elisif declared the meeting over. "Falk, talk to Bryling about the guard situation. We might be able to use part-time volunteers, or something. Clark, could you come with me? I'd like you to look over the Palace's books. Erikur's done his best with them, but I'd like a second opinion from another merchant."

"They're properly balanced, if that's what you're concerned with," Erikur asserted.

"And I'm sure you've checked for any missed opportunities you could see," Elisif agreed. "But a second set of eyes might catch something new."

"Last time, you said you'd like to watch me undress," Elisif said, once they were in her room, and the door closed behind them. "Did you mean watch, or did you want to help?"

"Whichever you'd prefer. Let me know when you'd like my assistance."

Elisif stood by a chair, and took off the outer robe she wore. She draped the robe over the chair, and turned to face Clark again. She wore the same dress that she usually did for public audiences, or at least an identical one, but somehow it looked different. Her breasts looked higher, and her areolae were peeking above the neckline. Clark wondered if she'd been teasing the public with those today.

Elisif in her bedroom.

When she slid the dress to the floor, it was clear why she looked different. A lacy corset was pushing her up, and the half-cups presented her nipples delightfully.

Silk stockings covered her legs, held up by thin straps from the bottom of the corset. A minimum of lace ran between her legs to complete the ensemble.

"This was Torygg's favourite outfit. On me, I mean."

"We obviously have something in common," Clark agreed. "And how did he proceed when you presented yourself to him like this?"

"Never the same way twice. He might let me take it off, slowly, one piece at a time; or he might tear it off me with his teeth. Or have me leave it all on."

She turned and bent over, to show him how the lace parted. Clark knew she was enjoying putting on this show for him, so he let her continue. He pulled another chair over, and sat watching.

After a few minutes of strutting around, squeezing her own nipples, and fingering herself, Elisif became impatient, and came to sit on Clark's lap. She presented him a nipple to start on, and started to unlace his fly.

"I'm not sure this chair will last much longer," Clark interrupted. "It wasn't intended to support two people, and certainly not this much activity."

Elisif paused to let him lift her up, and he managed to stand without slipping out. She wrapped her legs around his back, and he walked over to the bed. "Walk around a bit more," she suggested. "This feels good."

"I'd rather you were over the bed in case my foot slips, or I trip over something. I can't see where I'm going."

If she'd been a slender little Wood Elf, they might have been able to sustain that position a bit longer, but he soon had to lay her back onto the bed. She took the opportunity to remove her panties.

"Is that corset comfortable, or do you want to take that off, too?"

"It's laced all up the back, I'll need your help."

Elisif knelt, to give Clark the access he needed, and he set to work.

"Where did you get the unusual gem?" he asked. Elisif was getting dressed, and it was almost as much fun to watch as the opposite direction. She lifted the dress over her head and wriggled it down her body. Then she turned and answered.

"Oh that, I don't know. Torygg brought it back from one of his trips. He had Sybille look it over, but she only found a little magic in it, enough to make it glow. And the box is enchanted with a minor levitation spell to make it float, but that's all. Just a curiosity. I don't know why I've bothered keeping it."

"I found a couple more of those myself, and I've been wondering about them. Perhaps they're pieces of something, and you need to put them all back together, before anything happens."

"You can have that one if you like. Let me know if you find anything out about them."

"I'll do that," he replied.

A few days later, Clark heard the front door of Proudspire Manor open and close again. "Clark! Are you and Jordis busy?" Gilda's voice announced her return from Riften.

"How does she know?" Jordis asked.

"Don't complain, we've had a couple of nights to ourselves," Clark reminded her. "and you've certainly made the most of them."

"Come up and join in," he called down to Gilda.

She strode in, naked already, and straddled Jordis' head. "Catch me up, while I talk to Clark, will you?"

"You know that gem we found? Well I showed it Vex, and she told me it was one of the Stones of Barenziah. Apparently, there's two dozen of them, and they were all once in her crown. They're not worth anything individually, but the whole set would be a different matter. Yes, just there. I'll do the same for you in a moment"

"Jordis and I found another one in a cave the other day. So we have three so far. Only twenty-one more to find."

"We have five. I found one in Whiterun, and another one on the Dainty Sload. That's why I'm back in Solitude. The Guild sent me to do a job for Erikur, payback for the ship's captain cheating him on a deal."

"Are you sure about that? I wouldn't trust anything Erikur told me."

"Yes, the Guild checked the details before they agreed to it. And we have him nicely in our pocket if he gets out of line now. The guards already know that Erikur had dealings with Captain Volk, and we can plant more of the drugs in Erikur's house, just as easily as I did on the Dainty Sload."

"You suspect that Erikur was dealing the stuff?"

"It makes money, so of course he would. That's the only consideration he ever has. And it feels so good."

Clark looked down. He decided that Gilda had caught up enough, and he'd better rescue Jordis before she drowned.