She found the grate for the sewer with no problem. She slipped in unnoticed and quickly changed out of her wet clothes and pulled out dry clothing from the knapsack she had made waterproof. She slowly crept her way up to the door and found it locked. She pulled out her set of lock picks and quickly set herself to work. She snapped two almost immediately and swore under her breath. She closed her eyes, counted to ten, then started again. Her adrenaline was getting the better of her and that was when mistakes were made. She felt the pick slide into its comfort zone and she rotated it, hearing the rewarding click as the lock gave way. She let out the breath she had not realized the she had been holding.
She crept inside the entrance, shutting the door softly behind her. Keeping Vex’s words in mind she drank one of her invisibility potions then slowly made her way down the hall until she came to the first intersecting hallway. She looked down it and seeing no one, made her way down that hall until she came to the first intersecting hallway. She looked down it and seeing no one, made her way down that hall. Her footsteps were silent as she made her way to the next intersecting hall. She told herself to breathe again and made her way around the corner and into the dining area of the vast estate. She heard the creaking of the floor just beyond the wall. She drew her bow and nocked an arrow, concentrating on the sounds her heightened hearing gave her. She saw the mercenary at a table and released the arrow. The arrow flung across the room swiftly, hitting the mercenary at the base of his skull. His last breath escaped his lips in a muffled moan as the steel tip severed the brain stem from the spinal column.
Then she heard metal scraping against a scabbard and a voice cry out, “What the – “
‘Damn.’ She quickly concentrated her thoughts on the flame spell she cast as the second mercenary turned the corner and charged her. The spell was enough to knock him back. She grabbed the sword on her hip and rushed him, thrusting the blade upward through his gut, black blood bubbling to the surface of his mouth as the light in his eyes went dim. She saw the third mercenary a second later but not before she felt the bite of steel in her arm. Her eyes blazed hotly as her brain registered the pain. Her reaction was quick; she looked directly in his eyes as she brought the sword up in an arch, the tip of the blade slicing through his cheek and cutting off the tip of his nose. She readjusted her hold on the hilt, grabbed him by the shoulder, shoved him onto his knees and plunged her sword through his mouth and out the back of his neck.
She pulled her sword out of the corpse, wiped it clean on the fur of the dead man’s armor, then continued, sheathing her sword and picking her bow back up. She used a healing spell her mother had taught her at a young age as she moved down the hall. She ventured up the stairs, finding the door to the second floor unlocked. She immediately noticed that these mercenaries were living it up, leaving filled coin purses strewn about. She took out another potion of invisibility and quickly drank it. She stealthily crept forward, drawing an arrow back in her bow as she approached openings.
She saw the thick, hairy bare arm first; he was relaxed at his post, a mistake for him. Her arrow sailed through the air, landing deep in his side, dropping him immediately. Her aim was true; she knew her arrow pierced his bowels. She quickly reached down and pulled the arrow out. She pulled her sword and quickly severed his hamstrings.
She heard rushing feet, she counted three sets of feet. She backed her way into a bedroom and fished out an invisibility potion along with a health potion. She quickly drank those and readied herself with her daggers and her bow. She would be able to disable one mercenary with a single shot from the bow, the other two she could easily take care of with these blades if her aim was true. The first mercenary came rushing in, his greatsword tin his hands. Her arrow embedded itself into his throat, causing him to immediately drop the two-handed sword and grab at the arrow, pulling it out and desperately trying to clasp his hand over his throat as blood poured out of the wound. The sound of his dying gurgling was soon drowned out by the cries of alarm as his two companions ran into the room.
The daggers were in her hand before they saw her in the corner. She gripped the blade of the first dagger in between her thumb and forefinger, the comfort of it’s familiar weight assuring her of her aim. She released the blade and it flew end over end until it sank into the mercenary’s forehead, a dead look in his eyes as his body hit the ground.
The third mercenary reacted faster than she expected by jumping out of the path of her second dagger. He snarled at her. “What’s wrong, you little wench? Didn’t expect that?” He charged at her, his sword raised high above his head. She reacted instinctively. She grabbed a platter that sat on the table next to her and used it to deflect the blow, then she struck him on the side of his head with it. Startled, he took a step back involuntarily, giving her the moment she needed to draw her sword. He looked at her again, his lips drawn back home and be some man’s whore instead of trying to play with the big boys, wench?”
“You talk big for a man with no balls.” He swung at her but she was prepared this time. As his swing went wide, she brought her own sword up, the point entering his chest cavity and exiting through his back. “Men get so testy about their balls,” she snickered.
She made her way through the rest of the halls until she came upon a locked room in the very corner of the floor. She used a detect life spell and saw a life essence in the center of the room, seemingly in a crouched position. “Come out, come out wherever you are, elf,” she taunted under her breath as she skillfully picked the lock, opening it with ease. She walked into the room and found the elf hiding behind a bookcase. She sheathed her sword and stared at him.
“Worthless mercenaries,” he grumbled as he stood up, sneering at her. “I didn’t think Maven or Mercer would allow me to get away with this, but I had little choice.”
Meliandra cocked an eyebrow at him. “Yeah, little choice.” She gave a false laugh. “Look, I just want the key to your safe. Mercer and Maven can deal with you.”
He shook his head. “I can’t. If I do I might as well cut my own throat.”
She laughed at him. “What makes you think I won’t?”
He paled. “Fine. Take it!” He threw the key at her. “Once the new owner find outs I gave in, I’m as good as dead anyway.”
“New owner?” she silted her head to the side. “What are you talking about?”
He shook his head. “I’ve already said too much. I gave you what you came here for, now go. Leave me in peace.”
“What peace you might have left.”
She turned and headed back down the hall towards the stairwell. She grabbed the gold she saw laying around and seeing healing potions, took those as well. She gave thought to what Aringoth said about selling Goldenglow. She knew of Maven Black-Briar, had seen her on occasion, but had never met her. She knew what happened when she snapped her fingers and she knew about her temperament. She knew that Maven was going to be livid about the sale and she thanked the Eight that she was not the person who was going to have to tell her that piece of news.
She found herself in front of a locked iron gate. She pulled out her lockpicks again and set herself to work. Once she got it opened, she silently crept into the room, listening for any sound. She doubted Vex got even close to this far in. She heard voices down below; slowly made her way down the stairs to see a set of closed doors on the other side of the room. Very carefully she opened the door to the basement and slipped in unnoticed. She saw two mercenaries in the far corner; they were talking and both held tankards in their hands. She slowly nocked an arrow into place as she lined up her target. She bit her lip and released the arrow, quickly drawing another and nocking it while lining up her next shot. She heard the tankard hit the floor as her second target came into view. A moment later, he lay on the floor like his partner was. She made her way through the set of closed doors and then through the halls beyond. She began to think that there were no more mercenaries down when she came upon a hallway with a sheer to the floor. She saw the slight reflection of a mercenary standing in the midst of the oil. She quickly cast a spell of flames and listened to the man scream as the flames from the oil died on out then ventured into the room, seeing the stairwell that led even further below the estate. She found the safe in the corner of the room and quickly opened it up with Aringoth’s key. She grabbed the coin purse and shoved it into her knapsack, then pulled out the piece of paper and, unfolding it, read it.
This document acknowledges the sale of Goldenglow Estate and all property, assets and materials contained within. Payment of the property has been made in full by Gulum-Ei as an agent on behalf of the buyer. All dealings with the Thieves Guild in Riften is to cease immediately. To deter any possible retribution for this act, you are to take immediate steps to protect our assets in any way you see fit. I think you’ll find that the Thieves Guild is far more bark than bite and will likely avoid Goldenglow Estate rather than thin their already dwindling members.
“Good luck and may this be the start of a long and lucrative partnership.”
She folded the bill of sale and tucked it into the tunic she wore under her armor, the safest place for it. She closed up the safe and found her way back outside and toward the hives. As she did she thought about the bill of sale and could only imagine what Mercer’s reaction was going to be. She shook her head and could only ask herself what had Aringoth been thinking?
The moons hung high in Tamriel’s sky. She could make out the shape of the five beehives across from the house, she stealthily crept her over to them. As the flames of the first hive licked the sky, she heard a mercenary raise the shout of alarm. As the second hive caught fire she could hear the sound of rushing feet against the crackling of the flames. The third hive joined the brilliance of the fire, lighting up the early morning sky. By the time the mercenaries stood in front of the burning hives, she was deep beneath the waters, hidden by the cloak of night, swimming toward the docks of Riften.
Meliandra entered the cistern and looked toward the desk the Guild Master sat at. Not seeing him she headed toward the room often used by members for privacy. She didn’t see Brynjolf in his usual bed and wondered where he was. As she neared the room she could hear Mercer’s voice as he spoke in a commanding voice to someone with him. She could not quite make out what he was saying and she found herself curious and softened her steps. As she drew closer to the door she realized that Mercer was in the midst of a sexual encounter it took her a moment to place the woman’s voice as being Haelga, the owner of the bunkhouse. She found herself intrigued as she listened to the moans and statements of pleasure from the woman while Mercer called her vulgar names as he grunted his primal pleasure. Suddenly she heard the woman cry out as her orgasm echoed against the store walls followed by the satisfied grunts of Mercer. The slap of an ass echoed against the walls and then she heard the telltale sound of gold coins landing on a bed.
“Clean yourself off and get out of here, whore,” he growled. “And hurry up; I’ve got business to attend to.”
Meliandra backed herself out into the passageway, not wanting the bunkhouse owner to see her. As it was, moments after she heard the woman’s footsteps grow silent than she heard Mercer’s commanding voice, “Stop lurking in the shadows and get your ass in here.”
Feeling the slight burning sensation of embarrassment on her cheeks, she walked into the room; she refused to make eye contact with Mercer, who seemed to be gloating as he pulled the pants on, his chest bare. She couldn’t help but noticed the definition of his abdomen, firm like the cobblestone paths alongside the city walls; she averted her eyes from him completely.
“I hope you were more successful at sneaking around at Goldenglow than you were at trying to sneak around out there while I was grabbing a piece of ass.”
She cleared her throat and nodded. “Yes, sir, I was definitely successful at Goldenglow. I found out quite a bit too. You’re not going to be happy, boss.”
He pulled his boots on, grabbed the top of his Thieves Guild armor and approached her. “Don’t keep me waiting, Meliandra. What did you find out?”
He stood before her; her eyes gathered in details about his bare chest before he clasped the tunic closed. She found that she was holding her breath and slowly released it. “Aringoth sold Goldenglow.”
“Excuse me?” His voice was filled with disbelief. “He would never do something as foolish as that, he knows how unhealthy of a decision that would be on his part.”
She frowned as she unclasped her armor, opening it to reveal the tight-fitting tunic top beneath it. She watched as his eyes lingered on her breasts, full and large, the look in his eyes evident as he smiled while watching her reach into the tunic and withdrawing the bill of sale. She handed it to him and watched as his eyes boiled with the anger that rose up within him.
“That fucking two-timing, back-stabbing piece of mammoth shit!” he exploded. “Maven’s going to have his head on a platter when she finds out about his!” He looked back at her, his eyes once lurid now hard and cold boring into hers. Strangely she found his gaze overpowering as her heart beat slightly faster in her chest. “What about the hives?”
She nodded, “Three destroyed, completely burned.”
Mercer nodded as well. “At least Maven will be happy about that.” He looked her over once more, a slight smile to his lips. “Brynjolf appears to be right about you. You pulled off a job that our best infiltrator wasn’t able to do.” He reached over and slowly closed the clasps on her armor, his fingers lingering on her clothing his eyes never leaving hers.
“You’ve earned your pay and a bonus. Come see me later and I’ll have the gold for you. Go get a job from Delvin or Vex; I’ll come find you when I need you again.”
She nodded, then walked out to find Delvin. She walked into the Flagon and found him at his usual table and to her relief she noted that Vex was nowhere to be found; she wasn’t looking forward to Vex finding out how successful she had been. She pulled up the chair by Delvin and sat down.
“Got any work for me?” she asked as she reached over and broke off a piece of bread and shoved it into her mouth, chasing it down with a swallow of the mead next to her.
“Aye, got one that just came in. Real nice and east.” He reached over, got the quill and inkwell and a scrap of paper and wrote down the details, then slipped it over to her.
She looked at the paper, nodded and put the paper in her pocket. “have you seen Brynjolf?”
The older man shook his head. “Sorry, Meliandra, can’t say that I have, not since last night that is. Him and Vex were talking pretty heatedly about something before he took off.”
She slowly nodded her head. “Thanks, Delvin.” She stood up and walked back into the cistern and made her way to her bed. She wanted to get some sleep before she headed out to Whiterun for Delvin but her mind was swimming as she found her thoughts returning to what she had heard earlier with Mercer and Haelga; she kept seeing his bare chest and even now she found herself feeling the excitement rush through her. She could still hear Haelga’s moans of pleasure and found herself wondering what it would be like to have Mercer deep inside of her. She tossed and turned until sleep finally overwhelmed her.