In which Leona meets a member of the Dark Brotherhood and must play a deadly type of shell game.
I think someone was watching me that evening. All night I felt prickles at the back of my neck, but when I’d turn around, there would be no one there. I drank too much I think, but also I think I was drugged. When I woke up, I was not at the inn. Judging from the sound of frogs rather than howling winds, I don’t think I was in Winterhold anymore either.
Blearily, through a raging headache, I began to comprehend the situation. A woman, face masked, claimed I’d stolen a kill from her organization. She explained that the boy had performed the Dark Ritual and the old woman was dead. But dead by my hand, not theirs. I’m pretty sure her logic was faulty.
I told her that I’d told the boy I wasn’t from the Dark Brotherhood, that I’d not gone to Riften to kill the woman, that had just happened. They could take the credit, they could even take the reward the boy had given me. I wasn’t going to be claiming the kill if their reputation was on the line. Arguing was futile. I don’t think she really cared if I killed the woman or not, she had a game to play with me regardless.
There were three besides us in the cabin, tied and blindfolded. According to the woman, a contract had been set for one of the three and that I must kill someone to repay the kill I’d stolen in Riften. After that she would let the rest of us leave.
There was an Imperial mercenary, and while he’d killed plenty of people in his life, it was done in the line of duty. I could imagine some lover getting upset at who he’d killed and take a contract on him, but it didn’t seem right to punish a man for doing his job. The old Nord woman was a bitter one and reminded me of Gerlod. She was obstinate and protested her innocence the entire time. Despite what I’d done in Riften, I didn’t think I could do it a second time. Plus I had a theory that the Dark Brotherhood never intended to honor the boy’s contract, if so they wouldn’t take a contract on this woman either.
The third character was a Kahjit trader and he was a slimy bastard. He lied, stole, and cheated and he admitted it. There were plenty of folks who might want him dead. I assume the Dark Brotherhood takes any type of contract so there was nothing to say they would have a contract to kill the bastard. I stood paralyzed in that shack, the woman just watched.
I’m not proud of myself. Looking back, I wonder if I tried hard enough to get her to understand. Did I try hard enough to escape? Could I have fought her an won?
I readied my bow and closed my eyes in a simple prayer to my soul. The arrow flew true and felled the Kahjit. The woman, with mocking laughter unlocked the door. She said if I wished to join the Brotherhood I could travel South and gave me a password to use. I must say, I hope to never see anyone from the Brotherhood again.