Part 67 - Elenwen's Solar

The robe she re-appeared in wasn't anything dramatic, yet. It was tied simply with a cord around the waist, and was currently wrapped around her enough to conceal everything but a slender outline that wasn't lacking in curves. Her hair hung a little looser than it had before, making her look a bit more relaxed.

Elenwen in her robe (for now).

The robe was Taminwe's preferred garment for these situations, Clark recalled. It would naturally work itself loose, and could be allowed to do so, or re-adjusted, as needed. Fastened only at the waist, it could reveal whatever she wanted it to, and when she wanted it to.

It was inevitable that he'd compare the two Altmer, and equally inevitable that Elenwen couldn't quite match up. She certainly was everything another Altmer would dream of, but Taminwe had all the best of a mixed heritage. Not just the endless legs of the High Elves, but the breasts of a Nord, the rounded rear of a Redguard, and enough facial contributions from Breton and Imperial to be quite stunning. Add to those the insatiablity of a Dunmer, and the inexhaustible stamina of an Orc, and you'd just be getting close.

Not only had Clark trained with the best in that game, he'd also learned to keep up with Nords and Orcs when it came to drinking. He knew that Elenwen needed to keep enough of her own faculties, so he just didn't need to drink anymore than her, and he'd have no problems in that regard.

She, however, would want him to think she was just a little more inebriated than the reality. That was part of the whole charade of letting her robe reveal "more than intended". Which should be happening around now, he thought.

Except that the subject of their conversation had wandered to the Dragonborn, Diablita. She wouldn't want him making comparisons there. He'd admitted having met her in Whiterun, but not before. That much would be common knowledge, as his position as Thane would have made it inevitable. Clark was curious as to what, if anything, she'd worn when she came to the Embassy. He knew she rarely had anything on but her chains.

Elenwen decided that it was an opening she could use. "Just her chains," she replied. "It made me wonder whether some piercings would suit me. I was more than a little curious what it would feel like, too. So I had just one done, to find out. Do you prefer this one, or the other?"

Clark wasn't sure what made him think that Elenwen was trying to read his mind, but his earlier memories of Taminwe had made him conceal his thoughts. Both of them had had some telepathic ability, and Medora had helped them develop it as far as they could. Since it made it difficult to do anything that surprised her, he'd spent some time learning how to hide what he was thinking, even from Taminwe, or Medora. It just became a habit to do so in situations like this.

After a moment when he wondered if Elenwen was noticing the block, he let a few inconsequential thoughts escape. Ones that were relevant to what they were doing, so he could see if she was really 'listening'. It took a few attempts to determine the limits of her ability that way, and in the process he got a few helpful stray thoughts from her.

"I wonder if she'd like this ," he thought in her direction, before actually doing it. When he picked up her mental enthusiasm for the idea, he put it into practice. Confirmation was clear.

As he played with Elenwen's pierced nipple, it reminded him how Diablita (of the many piercings) had unfortunately become trapped in Hermaeus Mora's realm of Apocyrpha to replace Miraak. By this time, he could read her mind well enough to know that she was believing him. It was apparent that she'd trust anything she got this way, as she truly considered her telepathic abilities to be unusual, if not unique.

So the other side reminded him of Elisif. He wasn't sure if telling Elenwen that there was a relationhip between them was a good idea, but it didn't seem to be news to her. More important was that she now believed that Elisif was a staunch supporter of the Imperial-Thalmor alliance, and its benefits for Skyrim. The sort of person that they needed to help maintain her position as Jarl, as a counterweight to Ulfric Stormcloak.

The mention of Ulfric revealed a whole raft of memories from the Altmer. He had been her greatest success before Clark, and her proof that this mind-reading really worked. She'd taken him over after the interrogator had finished with his more painful methods, and had acted sympathetic. She'd quite enjoyed the results, as well as the promotion it got her. Ulfric had turned out to be quite a talented lover, as well as a source of information.

Clark let her relive some of the best parts. No point in missing anything, was there? Especially as she thought she was having the same success again. That pleased her, and a happy woman is always better at what she's doing.

What she got from him was a well-crafted mixture of facts and lies. The facts could be checked, but weren't anything she could use. They would, of course, confirm that he was a reliable source. The untruths were more vague. Solstheim was essentially divided between the Dunmer in the south, now free of Miraak's influence, but in constant tension with the Rieklings in the north, who were a bit fiercer in Clark's account than in reality. Elenwen wondered if they were the reason that she hadn't heard from Ancarion, and Clark let her believe it was likely. At no time did he think about the Skaal, as Elenwen didn't seem to know about them.

The mention of Ancarion revealed her concern that she was losing agents. Ancano and Estormo at Winterhold, Lorcalin at the Whiterun hold shrine. The undercover ones, too: Valmir at Forelhost, Shavari in Riften, Gissur right here in the Embassy. She didn't have one in Whiterun, which is why Clark could be so useful. And he can do this, too. She'd better be more careful that Clark didn't find out what she was getting from him, or he'd turn against her, like Ulfric did.

Back at Proudspire the following day, Clark asked Jordis about helping Illdi. "Is she intending to go with you? She's not going to be much help unless you need inspiring music to keep you fighting."

"Don't underestimate her," the housecarl replied. "She's quite a competent mage, especially with her healing, and wards. Almost all Restoration school, but that's what I find the most help. I think that concentrating on the one area has helped her advance faster, too"

"Have you been out with her before? Remember how I took you out to see how you fought when I bought this place. You need to know how you'll work together. You were a bit too likely to jump in the way of my spells when we started."

"Yes, we went and fetched Noster's helmet together. He showed me a thing or two about sneaking, so it wasn't a waste of time, even though we were doing it mainly for the practice."

"So when do you want to go? I'll be around here for a while, as I have palace duties to catch up on, as well as some business deals to attend to."

"When you've caught up on the other business you've been neglecting," she replied, pulling him up the stairs towards the bedroom.