She went through the drawers in the room Susanna the Wicked had occupied during her time in Windhelm, looking for clues as to who this woman was, see if there was any connection between her and her killer. She found bottles of elixirs in the box on her dresser; sniffing them cautiously, determining the contents to be somewhat harmless. Noting the markings on the bottles, and knowing the lifestyle the woman had had, she came to the conclusion that the elixirs were to either prevent or terminate a pregnancy. She rummaged through the drawers of the dresser and found only clothing. Upon opening the door to an end table, she saw a stack of journals; something told her these were important as she took them out and sat at the table in the room. Bringing the candle closer to her, she opened the first journal and began to read. As she read in silence, her eyebrow rose and fell with both surprise and suspicion.
For a few hours, she sat reading, turning the pages in silence, stopping only occasionally to stretch. By the time she had read the last page of the last leather-bound journal, she knew she had to bring them to Ulfric, what they contained would not calm his paranoia of conspirators, but it would prove to Ulfric that allowing her to look into this Butcher matter had been for his benefit in the long run. She gathered them together, putting them in a small backpack and nudged the dozing Nord on the bed. “Come on, you can get your beauty sleep later. I need to get these to the jarl.”
“Ulfric? Why him?” he asked, yawning as he got off the bed Susanna had once called hers. She looked at him and he shook his head saying, “Yeah, never mind about that. Stupid question.”
They made their way through the inn and out the doors into the cold winds. She looked at the clouds gathering overhead, a shiver making its way through her Breton skin and she pulled her cloak closer to her body as she made her way across the stone boulders that made up the streets of Windhelm to the Palace of the Kings. The guards at the palace were getting used to seeing her and held the door open for her and Vorstag; she barely inclined her head toward the tall Nord as they passed through, instead seeking out the jarl.
“What do you need, girl?” came Galmar’s gruff voice from beside her.
“Jarl Ulfric; I have information he needs to see.”
He glanced at the pack on her shoulder. “Show him what?”
She met his eyes. “It’s about Susanna the Wicked.”
She tilted her head and smiled. “I think its best I show it directly to Ulfric; he is the one who gave me authority in this matter.”
He smirked. “Have it your way, thief. But know that I’ve got my eye on you.”
She watched as the older man walked to the barracks, a slight limp to his gait. She spotted the steward and approached him as he reviewed a list handed to him by a servant. He afforded her a glance as he addressed the maid, handing her the list back before turning his attention to Meliandra, a tired smile on his lips. Asking where the jarl was, he directed her to the training arena in the east wing then proceeded to attend to his duties.
“Want me to go with you, Mel?”
“No,” she shook her head. “Wait for me here,” she said as she headed toward the passageway Jorleif had indicated would lead her to the training arena. Venturing in to the semi-darkened halls, she realized that she had traversed these halls the night she had been caught, but instead of going the same route, she was diverted in another direction. Unlike last time, she walked in the light, taking a moment to look at the paintings and suits of armor along the walls. Soon she came to a set of doors, slightly ajar; she hesitated before opening the door.
He wore only pants, no armor at all, his back to her as he held onto a bar secured into poles and pulled himself up, then lowered himself back down, then he repeated the action again and again. His hair dripped sweat onto his glistening back as the muscles rippled with his exertion; she had not realized how broad his shoulder or how large his biceps were. Her eyes lowered as she continued studying the jarl’s muscular body, paying attention to the fluidity of his movements. She watched as he let go of the bar above his head, landing with a soft thud upon the ground. Startled, she cleared her throat to announce her presence as she walked toward him.
He turned to see the Breton approaching him; he had been wondering how long she was going to be standing behind him, watching. He glanced up at the greatsword hanging on the wall that had given him the view of her entrance, a slight grin tugging on his lips. “Something I can help you with, Meliandra?”
She held a backpack out to him in her slender hand. “In here you’ll find a set of journals I retrieved from Susanna the Wicked’s room at the inn,” she said, meeting his gaze. “It appears that Susanna and Mila were acquainted, extremely well to be accurate.”
He took the offered pack, opened it and looked inside. He counted the few volumes then looked at the Breton. “You read all of these?” he asked flatly.
“Do I need to read these then?” he asked.
She sighed. “I’d say yes, but the decision is ultimately up to you.”
He nodded, closed the pack, and handed it back to her. “Was Susanna part of Mila’s conspiracy?” he asked as he picked up a jug of water and poured it over his head, cooling himself off from the heat of his workout.
“Yes and no. Yes, in that she made the connections for Mila. No in that’s the extent of her dealings as far as I can tell.”
He nodded then said, “It appears that allowing you to look into this Butcher was a good thing.”
She smiled. “Yes. And because we’ve given Mila a day with no questioning, she should be well enough to question again starting tomorrow.”
“Good,” he replied, turning to retrieve his tunic and, pulling it over his head, continued speaking to the Breton. “Does she know that Susanna is dead?”
“No,” she answered.
“Then use it to your advantage,” he said as he stood next to her.
She smiled broadly. “Of course.”
He looked at her, his height imposing to her frame, short even for a Breton. He could not deny to himself that every day he saw her, he found himself liking her more and more, his physical attraction causing him to take leave of his sense more often than not. He took her chin in his hand and tilted her head up, looking into her eyes, a smile on his lips. “Meliandra Valeria, you’re going to prove to be more valuable than I thought.” With that, he released her chin and continued walking out of the arena.
She stared after the Nord jarl, her blood simmering, but didn’t know if it was because she felt he was demeaning her or if because she thought he was going to kiss her, a thought she hated to admit excited her. She caught up with him, falling two steps behind him. “Do you want an update on the Butcher?”
“Do you know who it is?”
“No, but I- “
“Talk to me when you find out who it is.”
“But, sir- “
He stopped and looked her in the eye. “If you need assistance about anything, go to my steward. Is there something you don’t understand about that?”
Her eyes blazed back at him as she met his gaze and answered, “No, sir. I’ll take my leave of you.” And with that she stalked off to find Jorleif again.
He watched her stalk off with a smirk on his face, he had to admit to himself that he thought she was cute when she was mad, and his thoughts went to the many ways he would use to calm the fire behind her eyes. He watched until she was out of his sight, slightly disappointed in seeing her leave, then headed to his chambers. Perhaps Rory would be there waiting for him.
Jorleif had directed Meliandra to Viola, the elderly spinster of Windhelm about the flyer about the Butcher. Meliandra got the impression that the woman was somewhat of a busybody, that she knew more about the people in this city than people realized; she made sure to make a mental note of this as she found the woman walking to the marketplace. Upon showing the woman the necklace she had found, she was directed to Calixto, the proprietor of an oddity museum.
She recognized the Imperial as she walked into the shop as the man from the graveyard; he seemed to be agitated and distracted at her entrance, something she noted in the back of her mind. She took the necklace from the pouch on her hip and showed it to him. “I was wondering if you could tell me about this?”
The man took the amulet in his hand and examined it. “Ah, yes, I’ve heard of this.” He cleared his throat then continued, taking on a lecturing tone. “This, my dear, is the Wheelstone. It’s really nothing, just a piece of ceremonial jewelry traditionally given to the court wizard of Windhelm.”
“You mean this belongs to Wuunferth the Unliving?”
He shrugged. “One would suspect but I have never seen him wear it or even display it. You know,” he said scratching his beard, “I’d be willing to buy it off you for a fair price if you’d like to sell it?”
“Shouldn’t I bring it to it’s rightful owner?”
The man’s eyes widened for a moment then calmly replied, “Like I said, I’ve never seen him with it, I don’t think he cares much for it. Plus, one must be wary when they deal with that man; he is known to be a necromancer.” He reached over and picked up a coin purse, and opening it, continued, “I’ll pay you five hundred gold for it.”
Meliandra gave thought to it then nodded her agreement. “You’ve got yourself a deal.”
Minutes later she was heading back to the Palace, going over what she had uncovered in her mind, Vorstag silently following her. Things seemingly added up, but she still felt like something wasn’t right with the entire situation at all. She glanced behind her at Vorstag and asked for his thoughts.
He shrugged. “Well, the old lady thinks it’s the wizard and then that guy at that curiosity museum reaffirmed her suspicions. Sounds pretty cut and dry to me. That wizard’s killing people.”
She nodded but remained silent, her thoughts churning as her gut told her that something was not right.
He stood upon the bridge looking down upon the city, watching the movements of the Breton thief below intently. He knew she had a sexual relationship with Ralof, though it appeared that it was a mutual consent between the two that neither sought to further that relationship to anything more than fuck buddies. His dick throbbed at the thought of her bent over on all fours, panting like a bitch in heat as she took his dick in that pussy of hers, pounding her hard as she gasped his name. He imagined grabbing that raven hair of hers and pulling her had back with one hand as he fucked her, his other hand slapping her ass.
He lost sight of the woman and grunted, turning to head back to the Palace. The image of the young thief letting Ralof have his way with her thrilled him, though he’d never admit to such a thing. He smiled to himself; he did not trust this Breton, but he was beginning to enjoy having her around.