Part 6 - Forsworn

They went back through the market district and visited Arnleif and Sons. Lisbet told them that yes, she had been looking for Dibella statues. She'd even ordered one specially for a customer, but it had been stolen on its way to her, and she'd paid for it in advance. "I'd reward you if you found it for me," she told Clark.

"Maybe I already have," he replied. "I have a couple out on my wagon that we got from a Forsworn hideout. How will I know if it's the right one?"

"The makers mark them on the base, and number them. Bring them in and I'll be able to check the numbers against my order."

Clark left Vicuņa chatting with Lisbet and went out to fetch the statues. As he closed the door behind him, he noticed a man drawing a knife from his belt and stepping behind a woman at the meat stall. He stepped forward and grabbed the man's arm before he could use the knife, twisting it behind his back, and forcing him to drop the weapon.

The market guard had drawn his sword, and thrust it through the would-be assassin, narrowly missing Clark. He hadn't needed to do that, as Clark had already removed the threat. Unless he was trying to make sure the man didn't talk.

Clark made no attempt to heal the man's wound, although he probably could have saved his life. He suspected it would be futile anyway. The guard was telling everyone "No Forsworn here. We'll deal with this, so just leave it to us."

Instead, he approached the woman who was the intended victim. She told him her name was Margret, but she was reluctant to talk much in public. She told Clark to ask for her at the Silver-Blood Inn later. As he turned away, a man came up to him and handed him a note. "I think you dropped this while you were struggling with that man." Clark put the note in his pocket. The guard was still watching, and he felt uneasy.

He went out to the wagon, and fetched the statues of Dibella they'd found in Broken Tower Redoubt, bringing them back to Lisbet.

Lisbet and statues.

"This is it!" she exclaimed. "The same one I ordered. You say the Forsworn had taken it?"

"Do you want to tell her the whole story, or shall I?" Clark asked.

"I already told her most of it before you got back," was the reponse. "I'd just got to the part where we entered the last tower."

"You don't need a full-sized statue, do you?" Clark asked Lisbet. "If you do, I know where you can get one. It just needs a bit of cleaning up."

When they left the store, the guards had had a shift-change, and the one who'd been watching him before was gone. Perhaps this was a safe time to go see Margret, and to read that note.

"I'll be expecting my next lesson tonight," Vicuņa reminded him, before setting off back to the brothel. "Volume two awaits."

The note just asked him to meet at the Shrine of Talos tonight. It was signed by an Eltrys, which was more a Breton name than a Nord one. Perhaps that was a clue as to which side he was on. Margret could be on either. If the Forsworn were trying to kill her, probably not theirs.

She turned out to be a Nord, but from Cyrodiil, rather than a local. She was using the cover of purchasing silver jewelry for her sister to spy on Thonar Silver-Blood for the Imperial Legion. There was something suspicious about the Cidhna Mine operation, and General Tullius had asked her to find out what she could. "I'm not staying around to give them a second chance to kill me. This would be a good time to report back with the little I know." She gave Clark a necklace she'd bought, as a reward for saving her life, and showed him her notes on everything she'd already discovered about the mine, and Thonar.

Leaving the inn, Clark was threatened by another guard. "We don't like outsiders snooping around. Back off. You don't want to find out what happens to trouble-makers here."

Clark insisted that he wasn't trying to cause trouble, but the guard told him he'd found it anyway. "We're the ones who keep the peace here. Stay out of our business."

Of course, that just made Clark more curious. There was a situation here that the guards were getting very anxious about, and it had something to do with the Silver-Bloods and the Forsworn. Since those were the blockage to expanding his interests in Markarth, Clark would like this to come to a quick conclusion. He'd already been told by the people at Karthwasten that the Forsworn attack there was much too well-timed to be a coincidence.

However, none of that fit well with recent history. When Ulfric Stormcloak had siezed Markarth back from the Reachmen, he'd done it in the most brutal way possible. It didn't make sense that they'd be working together now.

He decided to go meet with Eltrys, the man who'd given him the note, before he headed back to the brothel.

The Shrine of Talos was a public enough place for a meeting, but there was only one other person there when Clark entered. Eltrys was indeed a Breton, and it turned out that his wife was the scribe at the Treasury House who'd just written up the agreement for the new brothel. She'd have a good idea what was going on in the city's business, from what passed her desk.

Eltrys had seen patterns in what his wife had told him. Things that made him think that the Forsworn were doing Thonar's bidding. He wasn't certain that Weylin, the would-be assassin was one of the Forsworn, but Clark had heard him say something as he drew his dagger. The information Clark had obtained from Margret fit in perfectly. Of course Thonar would set the Forsworn on her if he suspected anything. "What we don't know is how orders get to them," Eltrys said.

"I'll see what I can find out," Clark told him. "But I'll have to move slowly and carefully. The guards are already watching me, and I don't want to put anyone else in danger."

For that reason, Clark decided to avoid the Treasury House. Eltrys had told him that his wife, Rhiada, was pregnant, and he didn't want any of the trouble to start there. Perhaps he'd do better investigating where the would-be assassin, Weylin, lived, down in the Warrens. That could wait until tomorrow, as the place should be deserted when they were all at work.

Tonight he had Vicuņa's next lesson to occupy his time.