Journal of Anya Fire-Heart – Morndas, 15th of Hearthfire, 4th Era, Year 201
‘With Friends Like These…’
I woke up this morning and as I was leaving the Dead Man’s Drink, the barmaid Narri made the remark that it wouldn’t take me too long to have men of the town wrapped around my finger. She said it like it was something I should want. My only purposes for men, the more I think of it, is to either fight alongside me in the Stormcloak cause or die on my Blade. If they could smith me something or let me use their forge to let me smith my own, so much the better.
I decided to start with the smith Lod. He spoke of the dog he had seen on the road and I told him I would look for it but I insisted on being paid something in advance. He agreed and gave me some fresh meat to attract the dog. After this I decided to visit the new Jarl of Falkreath – Dengeir of Stuhn.
In truth, he is not the new Jarl. He had held the post before Jarl Siddgeir and is Siddgeir’s uncle. Siddgeir had been placed in power when Dengeir had indicated he would side with the Stormcloaks. Our victory had put Dengeir back on the throne of Falkreath. Dengeir had made some changes as Tekla his former maid had been made Steward in place of the High Elf Nenya. My conversation with Dengeir indicated that he was doing well. He also indicated that while he felt Ulfric was a Power hunger man, he would rather follow him than some Imperial emperor in Cyrodiil. He offered me a position of Thane if I would help his people. This was more of a formality as he told me that he felt he had been helped by me. I agreed and went to find some people to help.
I went down to the priest of Arkay in the cemetery and at his direction helped the farmer and his wife who had just lost a child. I helped them harvest their crop and promised the priest I would look into recovering his journal. I told Dengeir what I had done and he awarded me with being Thane of Falkreath. This of course included a personal housecarl Rayya a Redguard. She started to follow me from then on and after speaking to Tekla the new Steward I purchased land near the lake. My hope is to build a new home there that fits my expanding needs. Rayya in the short time I have known here seems to be very knowledgeable about Falkreath and has the necessary connections. We spent some time building the initial house. Once finished with the initial work, I asked her to be the steward of Lakeview Manor, my new home. This will allow her to fulfill her oath as housecarl but at the same time allow me to travel and adventure alone. She agreed.
Note: The game Skyrim has one very unrealistic element, if you have the materials you could put up a manor home with a great hall and three different additions in a single day. I am not going to try to justify this in writing other than to say it happened like any other thing that happened that day. If I was taking more time with this project I might actually require a couple of weeks and a work crew (imaginary) to justify the building, but this is fan fiction so I am just going to run with what the game allows you to do and the reader will just have to justify it in their own minds
I had to visit Half Moon Mill to set up lumber deliveries. The woman I talked to was suspicious to me; she seemed way to eager to have guests. Then I turned my attention traveling just down the road to the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary. I found my way to the Black Door and gave the pass phrase and was let in. The Sanctuary itself is a hollowed out network of caverns using old Nord ruins for extra support. The Dark Brotherhood flag was in a lot of places and in one cavern there is a stained glass window with a depiction of Sithis.
Astrid greeted me and in our conversation I learned a few things of import. 1) That the Night Mother was coming to the sanctuary. 2) While it used to be true that contracts were given out by the Night Mother though the Listener, there hadn’t been a Listener in a long time. That meant the new way of doing things was for the Brotherhood to hear someone was doing the Black Sacrament and then make arrangements. 3) That while the Brotherhood once had Five Tenants to guide it, they were no longer followed.
I am not sure of the wisdom of abandoning supernatural powers and traditions. I had heard of the Five Tenets and the one I was now counting on was that nor member of the dark brotherhood could kill another. It essentially made the Black Sacrament that someone was doing on me null and void because no member of the Dark Brotherhood could now kill me. When I asked Astrid about this she told me that this was still true in principle, so I was now safe.
I met the other members of the Family; who when I first saw them were telling some of the more amusing stories of some of their kills. Babette, who is a vampire and looks ten years old, was telling how she killed a man who was probably a child rapist. Festus Krex who is a very powerful mage told a story of a killing where he used a new spell to make a priest turn inside out. Finally, the family was chiding Arnbjorn for the fact that he a dog (read werewolf) had to kill a khajiit (read little kitty). In the end the group broke up and I talked to Nazir, the guy who hands out the contracts. He gave me three very easy killings.
It should be noted that I have long debated the ethics of this involvement with the Dark Brotherhood. In the end I feel it is my role in the Stormcloaks to do the dirty work that Ulfric and others will not do because of their honor. I am a blacksmith’s daughter, so the concept of the honor of battle is a little flexible in my mind. I am practical in my outlook on things and some things might be dirty and difficult to do, but they must be done. Ulfric and Galmar will not touch these things as is right, but I can; so I do.
What follows is a few notes on each of the family members I know so far:
1) Astrid – leader of this chapter of the Dark Brotherhood. She has remarkable talent and while she does not have a lot of respect for old traditions, she seems very capable.
2) Nazir – Redguard male who had a twisted sense of humor that I can appreciate. He hands out the jobs. Even with just a first meeting I could tell he was capable. He also trains in the art of moving in light armor.
3) Veezara – Argonian male Shadowscale. He once served the King of Black March but no longer. Astrid has given him purpose again and so he is loyal to her.
4) Gabriella – Dark elf female. She is a beautiful woman but harbors a dark deadly seductive side. She is a spell caster and I suspect a master of the school of illusion.
5) Babette – Looks like a ten-year old girl but is actually some centuries old. This gives her an advantage few could gain. No one ever suspects her of being either a killer or a vampire. She is also a master alchemist. I see her as the most dangerous of the family and I am glad she is on my side.
6) Festus Krex – The Brotherhood’s resident mage who. as he puts it, is the cranky old uncle of the group. A child prodigy of magic, he taught at the College of Winterhold for two years, but eventually joined the Dark Brotherhood.
7) Arnbjorn – Astrid’s husband. He called me out for being a werewolf and figured rightly that I had become one through the Companions. The same had happened to him but he had left because they didn’t approve of his methods. The Dark Brotherhood was more accepting.
After wandering the sanctuary and gathering books that I didn’t have, I headed back out and made my way to Falkreath. On the way I found the dog the blacksmith was looking for. Unfortunately he is more than a dog. I suspect a daedra. He spoke to me; told me his name was Barbas and that he needed my help. I told him that I had a lot to do and he said that was OK and he would wait for me outside Haemar’s Shame when I wanted to do something useful. I continued on to Falkreath and then back to my new Home at Lakeview Manor. My new carriage driver named Gunjar took me to Whiterun. I am currently sitting in my bedroom at Breezehome as I pen these words.
Today has been a lot of arranging and building. I suspect the next couple of days will be the same, so if I don’t write for a day or two, it wouldn’t be surprising. I have to move my stuff from Breezehome, which I will still maintain as a place to sleep, cook and eat when I am in Whiterun. My main residence though is going to shift to Lakeview Manor. There is just more room and it is more secluded from prying eyes
Today has caused a lot of reflection on my part. The Dark Brotherhood may be killers but they are all also broken in some way that normal society would not accept so do they really have options? I don’t know. I know today was the first day I felt like I was among people who could relate to my won broken nature. The didn’t accept me despite it; I think they actually accepted me because of it. It is something to think on.
Next: Building and Planning