The Adventure of the Stolen Skooma – Part 6

About the Skyrim Permadeath Chronicles

 

Previously

 

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Under gray skies and a light but persistent rain, Inspector Le’Mosh and Nostaw enter Falkreath. It is late morning.

Encountering Falkreath“I think it best if we split up,” Le’Mosh says. “Mayhap tongues will unravel for you that would otherwise remain stuck fast for me.”

Nostaw looks dubious. “Sir? Are you certain that is wise?”

“Of course it’s wise… I came up with it, didn’t I?”

“As you say, sir. It’s only…” Nostaw’s eyes brighten. “Who will translate for you?”

“The infamous Inspector Le’Mosh can manage for a few hours without you, have no fear on that account.”

Nostaw frowns. “Yes sir. Only, be careful.”

The men part company with plans to meet at the town’s tavern later that evening.

Unencumbered from the lumbering nord brute, Le’Mosh wanders puddle-strewn streets with his hood up, taking the measure of Falkreath. He comes upon the tavern and decides to go inside. The best information often resides in such places, and ale was ever the most effective way of making wary men talk.

The interior is dark and warm. Inspector Le’Mosh greets some of the customers. They immediately start in on their personal problems, hinting heavily that Le’Mosh could solve their woes, and mayhap a single shiny gold piece would be in it for him for the trouble. Mayhap they could solve their own problems if they weren’t sitting around a tavern before mid-day. Mayhap, that was where such problems began. Le’Mosh kept such thoughts to himself – without Nostaw, he couldn’t be sure how it would come out. His nordish was only passing fair.

A female elf dressed richly hovers over an enchanting table. Altmer. Le’Mosh remembers the altmer woman they’d found dead in the underground bandit fortress and decides to make some inquiries.

“Pleasant day,” he says in greeting.

She doesn’t look up. “I am not seeking companionship.”

“Neither am I. I couldn’t help noticing you are an altmer.”

“Let me save you some embarrassment. The answer is no.”

“But you don’t know the question yet!”

She straightens. “If you knew who I am… what I was, you’d not bother me with your adolescent fantasies.”

“What you were?”

“Thalmor.” She turns back to the table. “Leastwise, I was until they decided to cut ties for not following orders.” She favors him with a wicked grin. “I’m just as dangerous as ever though, so try me at your own peril.”

Le’Mosh holds up his hands. “My apologies. I am without my translator. Mayhap I have unintentionally insulted you. I am inspecting the disappearance of an altmer woman from the nearby roads.”

“And you thought since I’m also an altmer, surely I know this woman?” Her voice is full of malice.

Le’Mosh backs away. That’d gone poorly, but it wasn’t entirely fruitless. Two altmer women within walking distance of Helgen, one dead, the other an admitted agent of the Thalmor. Coincidence? Not in his experience.

He decides to pay a visit to the Jarl. He didn’t need the Jarl’s permission, but a man doesn’t sniff around another’s undergarments without first letting him know his purpose.

Jarl Siddgeir is a young man, sitting his throne with all the grace of a man taking his leisure at the privy. “Who are you and why do you bother me?”

“Inspector Le’Mosh Locksher, at your service. I am inspecting some matters at General Tullius’ request.”

The Jarl’s frown deepened.

“Might I ask you some questions?”

“My throat is dry. I beg, fetch me some wine first.”

Le’Mosh scans the tables along the periphery. “Which vintage does the Jarl prefer?”

“Black-Briar Mead.” Jarl Siddgeir smirks. “From Riften.”

“Riften? I see. Well then, good-day to you sir.”

Le’Mosh slinks to the shadows and lurks there until he is forgotten. Then he slips into the Jarl’s private quarters. Time to determine if the Jarl was purposefully obstructing his inspection, or was just a crass and unhelpful fellow. Using his lock-picking tools, Le’Mosh opens a display case. The books that had been locked within were unremarkable, and not entirely worth locking up in his opinion. Mayhap, these were the only three books Jarl Siddgeir had read in the span of his life, and he wanted to memorialize them.

A quick but thorough look through the drawers and nightstand does not turn up anything. If Siddgeir is involved, he is careful to cover his tracks.

Le’Mosh slips back into the common room and ventures across the hall. In a tiny, ill-lit room, a lean Imperial commander studies a map. Introducing himself as Legate Skulnar, he says, “You must be the Inspector?”Legate Skulnar

“Indeed I am.”

“You were expected some days ago.”

“Erm… yes. Waylaid by bandits, as it were.”

Skulnar shakes his head. “You might as well not come. I’m afraid the trail has gone cold by now. You’ll certainly get no help from him.” He nods in the Jarl’s direction. “Stormcloak sympathizer… little better than a rebel himself.”

“He was not very helpful. Insulting, even.”

They study the map in silence. “What will you do?” Skulnar says.

“See the jail, talk to some guards.”

“You’re wasting your time.”

“Every stone must be upturned, Legate. Every corner examined.” Le’Mosh sighs. At one point, he’d thought this would be an easy case.

Across the rain-whipped yard to Falkreath’s jail. Off-duty guards loiter on the first floor. They eye Le’Mosh curiously but don’t stop him when he descends the stairs to the jail. A single guard idly wanders. He shows Le’Mosh to the khajiit’s cell, but he won’t let the inspector inside.

There is only one prisoner. Stripped to the waist, skin pulled tight to ribs, he meets Le’Mosh’s gaze and comes to the bars. And then he starts ranting about transforming under the moon’s sway and other nonsense.

Le’Mosh returns to the upper floor and sits beside a guard taking his mid-day meal. He grunts in greeting as Le’Mosh sits.

Chatting up the Guard“I used to be an adventurer,” he says wistfully. “Then I got married. Had kids. Had to quit. Hours were too long, pay too irregular. But not a day passes that I don’t think about hopping ahorse and making for the countryside.”

“Indeed. Say, have any of your fellow guards gone missing? Or, mayhap, fallen ill and unable to work?”

“No, can’t say as they have.”

“Anybody with a sudden windfall of gold?”

The guard shrugged, shook his head. “This to do with that khajiit fella gone missing? I heard he turned up in Riverwood and went on a killin frenzy.”

“We’re still piecing it all together. Do you know that came of his wagon?”

“The one with all the skooma? We locked it up real good, even kept a watch on it. Sarge thought the khajiit might try for it. Once we heard he was dead, we relaxed a bit. Then it was gone.”

Le’Mosh nods, wishing Nostaw was along to record everything. Le’Mosh’s memory for fine details wasn’t the best. “Who knew about the wagon?”

The guard laughs. “Who didn’t might be a better question. Word got all around town once we realized what we’d caught. Busting a skooma ring – can you imagine? Sarge said we’d all be getting medals.” He shrugs. “Guess they forgot about that too.”

The rain had not slackened while he was inside. Persistent and miserable.

Le’Mosh stands in the rain, looking around at everything, seeing nothing.

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