The Adventure of the Stolen Skooma – Part 2

About the Skyrim Permadeath Chronicles

 

Previously

 

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A carriage bears Le’Mosh and Nostaw south, to Whiterun. From there, Riverwood is but a short walk uphill, through a thinly wooded area. Wolves accost them en route. The men dispatch the beasts with little trouble.

After, as Le’Mosh wipes clean his blade, Nostaw breaks the silence. “Sir?”

“Mmm?”

“That sword. It’s quite large. For a man your size.”

“Ahh, yes. But I wield it as an extension of my body. You are wondering how.”

“Not exactly, sir. What I meant to say is, well, it looks a bit unusual. Different than most men’s.”

Le’Mosh slips the sword back into the scabbard strapped to his back. “You are passing strange, Nostaw. To stare so openly, almost lustily, at another man’s sword.”

“I…”

“The Rod of Locksher has served justice for unknown centuries. Now it has passed to my hand. I will grip it with all my might and visit justice upon these dark, cold lands.”

“You call your sword a rod?”

Le’Mosh sighs. “It is a long story.”

Locksher comes to Riverwood

Locksher comes to Riverwood

The skies darken and it begins to rain. A stout bridge of stone carries the men over the slow rush of bubbling water. And beyond – Riverwood.

Le’Mosh instructs Nostaw to find the village elder or the nearest thing to an authority figure in the town. He sits and waits under a tree, watching the fish swim.

Nostaw returns with a man in the uniform of an Imperial soldier. “This is Hadvar. He is organizing the handling of the deceased.”

“Ah, very good, very good.” Le’Mosh stands, brushing off his robe. “Tell Hadvar that I, the infamous Inspector Locksher, am very pleased to meet him.” Le’mosh smiles widely at Hadvar.

Nostaw exchanges a confused look with Hadvar. “Ah, sir…”

“Well, don’t just stand there. Translate!” Le’Mosh speaks without breaking his smile.

“Very well.” Nostaw addresses Hadvar. “Inspector Locksher…”

“Infamous!”

“Right.” Nostaw clears his throat.”Ah, er… the Infamous Inspector Locksher is pleased to meet you.”

Le’Mosh grasps Hadvar’s hand and pumps it vigorously. “I am quite happy to make your acquaintance,” he says loudly.

Hadvar blinks away spittle. “O-kay.”

“Nostaw – what did he say?”

“… He said okay.”

“It is okay that we are met, or that I, Inspector Locksher, am here to save the day?”

“I don’t rightly know, sir.”

“It must be the former,” Le’Mosh says. “Certainly, saving the day rates higher than a mere ‘okay’, wouldn’t you say dear boy?”

“I wouldn’t rightly know, sir.”

Le’Mosh sighs heavily. “Fools and imbeciles surround me everywhere I go. That is the great mystery of my life, and it confounds my sleep. How do they keep finding me?”

Nostaw shrugs apologetically at Hadvar.

Hadvar clears his throat. “You’ll be wantin’ to see the body, I reckon.”

The three men look at each other with equal degrees of confusion.

“Nostaw?”

“Oh, right. He asks if you want to see the body.”

“Ah, finally we are getting somewhere. Yes, take us to the body.”

Without waiting for Nostaw to translate, Hadvar turns and strides into a cluster of trees south of the path.

Le’Mosh blinks at the imperial soldier’s back. A slow, knowing smile spreads across his face. “Of course – as a soldier of the Empire, there’s a passing chance he’s spent time in Cyrodiil. Or perhaps his commanders press the Imperial tongue into the mouths of their men. You’ve done well, Nostaw, to fetch a man with whom I can so easily converse. Jolly good job indeed.”

Hadvar leads them to the broad face of the mountain. The dried blood splatters are bright on the gray stone. The dead khajiit sprawls on a rocky ledge. Le’Mosh hunkers near the body. Turns it halfway over, studies the back. Hmms and ahhs.

“Nostaw – your notebook, if you please.” Nostaw hurriedly jots notes as Le’Mosh dictates. “Subject is a young adult khajiit, early twenties. Malnurished.” Le’Mosh forces the khajiit’s mouth open and studies the gums. “Gums are pink, healthy, no discoloration as typically found with skooma addiction. Blood mats his fur, especially on the hands. Bits of skin stick to the claws. His victims, most like.

“Cause of death – arrow wounds to the stomach and upper back. The arrow’s fletching is curious, shot through with queer streaks of silver. I’m unfamiliar with such a bird.” Le’Mosh cocks an eyebrow at first Nostaw and then Hadvar, who stands off several paces with arms crossed over his chest. Both shake their heads. “The feather is unknown to my local guides. Curious.”

The khajiit’s backpack lays upon the stone near the body. The flap is open, spilling its contents. Le’Mosh peers inside. “This bag has been rifled.”

“We only took that which belonged us,” Hadvar says. “That which the thievin’ cat had stole.” He spits into the bushes.

“I don’t suppose you inventoried the bag’s contents before you let everyone take would they would? No? A pity. Well, let’s see what’s left.” Le’Mosh upturns the bag, dumping the contents. It is a meager lot, all told – half-eaten food and a ratty-looking book. Le’Mosh idly leafs the pages before putting the book aside and picking up the last item – a round object wrapped in blood-soaked paper. “A daedra heart? Now this is unexpected.” He takes the book and the heart, placing them within his own backpack.

“And what of the others? His victims?”

“Gone to the great sky,” Hadvar says.

“What of the bowman who ended this khajiit?”

Hadvar shrugs.

“I see. Thank you for your assistance, such as it was.”

As Hadvar wanders away, Nostaw looks up from his notebook. “What now, sir?”

“Onto Helgen.”

“What of the strange arrows? And that daedra heart? What do they mean?”

“I do not know, my dear, foolish Nostaw. I fear our journey has only just begun.”

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