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More often than not, visiting Riften is a boon to my business in Whiterun; the rumors I hear are often invaluable.  Besides it being one of the most active port cities in Skyrim, the seat of an organization that I am actively a part of resides there.  There’s no secret to it. If anything, it’s another reason for there to be continual suspicion within the city itself. Riften has a tendency to lean towards this "trust no one" mentality.  The only place where this mentality seems to not exist within the city is underground, within the passageways and tunnels that the Thieves Guild lives and thrives in. 

It was down here on one of my many visits to Riften that I heard an Argonian talking about a Dunmer he met in Whiterun. My attention was captured. What happens in Whiterun isn’t just my business, but it often times involves me. There’s a way that I handle the cons, grifts, heists, burglaries, shill jobs… that doesn’t come back onto me, the guild or the city. We’re allowed to work here, unhindered, because of simple respects that are paid. So, when I hear an Argonian talking about a Dunmer selling relics of the Five Hundred Companions? I am paying full attention.

Relics of the Five Hundred Companions have been buried, protected, collected and hoarded for years. They are items that tell the tales of Ysgramor’s journey to Atmora following the Night of Tears in which the Mer laid waste to the early Nord settlers in Skyrim in the Merethic era. The five hundred companions were who returned to Skyrim with Ysgramor and laid claim to the land, taking Skyrim and a good portion of Tamriel as our own.  These five hundred are the reason that Whiterun exists today.  They were the original Companions who built the walls of Jorvasskr as their mead hall and an entire hold grew up around it.  

So, for someone to gallivant about Whiterun claiming to be in possession of the relics left behind from this time, not just the Thieves Guild is going to take notice. More to the point, I’m going to take notice. Skyrim teems with the bastards of Companions and I am no different. Their history is my history. Upon hearing the Argonian, I knew I had to find this Dunmer; I had to see just what a citizen of Morrowind had found or even knew about these founding warriors beyond the fact that it was they who took over Morrowind in the Merethic era. 

Finding a Dunmer in Whiterun is fairly easy; it’s not a hold in which too many races outside of the Nords venture to. Other than the Companions and the Gildergreen there is little reason to come to Whiterun. While Windhelm is the seat of Skyrim, if one were to ask me, Whiterun is the soul of Skyrim. The Nords of Whiterun are always sure to point out what or who is different. Especially when a Dunmer is involved and even more so when that Dunmer is claiming to sell relics of the Five Hundred Companions, the Companions residing within Jorvasskr alone were more than willing to put aside their differences with me and point me in the right direction. 
 
That direction was a ruin in the southern mountainous regions of Whiterun Hold.  The Dunmer had overstayed his welcome within the city after selling two identical relics to two different houses, claiming the same lineage when the historical tomes have them immigrating from Atmora at different times in the Merethic Era.  The Companions had the intention of hunting him down when they were done with their mead.  Nords have a tendency to think less of the Mer races; a lone Dunmer in the wilds of Skyrim was more like to find his end there and not truly worth the effort. On the other hand, he either had a partner or could survive them long enough to obtain these relics.  And from the few I was able to see in Whiterun, he was getting them from a legitimate source. 

Draugr. 

Every thief, adventurer, tomb raider, or relic hunter is familiar with the walking dead servants of the Dragons. They’re both a joke and formidable opponent. I have learned over time, just to sneak past as well as I can.  Being born under the Shadow gives one more than a few advantages and I would need each of those advantages when I tracked the Dunmer into the halls of Bleak Falls Burrow.  Alongside my partner, we tracked him into the inner chambers of the barrow, where he slept, surrounded by barrels of weapons, urns and other artifacts that he was passing off as relics from the Five Hundred Companions. 

It had been as I thought when I first heard the Argonian tell it.  This wasn’t something to plan a heist around; this was a grift that needed to be stopped before it invariably came back on the Thieves Guild.  This Dunmer was no part of our operations. And while I’m sure he understood the impact of passing off forged relics such as he was making these out to be, I don’t think he understood how Nords might react to this. Our history is holy, if anyone ever questioned that; they only need make a single trip to the Bard’s College in Solitude. 

Finding the Dunmer and ending his business trade wasn’t hard, gauging the impact that his small time doing business in Whiterun had… it was obvious with the amount of angry Nords and even angrier Companions who had driven him out of the city. While I presumed that it would be thought that the Thieves Guild would be to blame, no believed that Nords would fool Nords in such a manner; no true Nord would profit off the history of another Nord by telling a lie. 

Astridr Black-bow | Tales of a Magpie


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