Categories > Games > Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion > The Quest For The Ruby Throne: Book One

Chapter 10: We Know

by karnag_gro_gornish 0 reviews

After Karnag's bloody thirst for vengeance has been sated, a letter arrives for him from a shadowy organization looking to recruit people with his particular set of skills. But as usual, things go ...

Category: Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion - Rating: R - Genres: Drama,Fantasy - Warnings: [!!!] [V] - Published: 2019-09-03 - Updated: 2019-09-20 - 5474 words - Complete

Chapter Ten: We Know
“We Know.” What on Nirn is that supposed to mean? Who knows? What do they know? I scanned the woods as best as I could, even using Meridia's sight, as exhausting as it was to do. But it was as if the arrow and note had come out of thin air and struck my door. With a fair degree of unease, I chose to ignore the oddity and bolted the door closed, going back to bed. I had a full day of work ahead of me tomorrow, getting supplies shipped to the new building spot in rural Hjaalmarch that Jarl Ravencrone generously gifted to Lyanna. After setting aside anything that we could use or that Lyanna was interested in keeping for herself, we sold the rest the goods from Marandru-jo's caravan to Belethor for credit towards building materials, a good ten thousand Septim's worth. The cat scammed a lot of honest people to get that kind of ill-gotten gains. We scavenged the armor and weapons from all of the mercenaries we killed at Silent Moons, opting to melt down and reuse what wasn't worth selling. I had enough iron and steel to keep myself supplied in metal for a good long time, but I was completely out of orichalcum. A visit to my brethren at Dushnikh-yal would remedy that situation, however. After saving one of the chief's wives from bandits, we had a standing arrangement that I was entitled to as much raw orichalcum as I could dig up, which suited my purposes handily.
The following morning, I left just as soon as the sun was up, kissing Serana goodbye as Lucia slept soundly in her room. “I'll be home soon, my love,” I said, preparing my riding gear, “Vilkas is being laid to rest today, then Lyanna and I are going to be planning the new house in Hjaalmarch. I'll be back in a few days.”
“Alright. Be safe. I don't want to finish building OUR home by myself,” she admonished, still reclined in bed, her tired eyes gazing at me with annoyance. “I always am. Besides,” I said, as I walked out the door, “It's my fault the first one was destroyed.”

I reached Whiterun in about half an hour, after stopping in Riverwood to arrange some more supplies to be delivered to our building site. The air in Whiterun was, well, strange. Normally the morning air is full of the sounds of people as they make their way to work in the fields or the shops, the smell of the morning's breakfast cooking at the Bannered Mare, and just the atmosphere of town. But this was not the case today. The air hung heavy, as if laden with some unseen matter. The streets were quiet. No happy conversation. Just quiet footsteps. It was a sullen day, and all of Tamriel seemed to understand why. I made the walk up to the Skyforge, just as I had the day that Kodlak was committed to the flames. To my surprise, Aela was there, returned from Cyrodiil. “Good to see you again,” I said to her. She turned to me, meeting my eyes, and said, “You too, Karnag. I only arrived just last night. I can't believe Vilkas is gone.”
“Does Farkas know?”
“I don't believe so, no. We hadn't gotten word about Vilkas' death, I returned for other reasons. But he must have sensed something. He was acting strange a few days ago.”
“Twins. It makes sense.” Eorlund turned to all of us assembled here, asking, “Who will start?”
“I will,” Aela said, stepping towards the funeral pyre. “Before the ancient flame-”
“We grieve,” we all said in unison. “At this loss,” I said. “We weep,” they replied. “For the fallen,” shouted Skjor. “We shout!” We replied in one loud voice. “And for ourselves,” grumbled Vignar. “We go on,” we replied. Eorlund turned to me and quietly asked, “Dragonborn, would you do the honors?” I motioned for Lyanna to join me, and she stood at my side. We both inhaled, and quietly spoke the word of power, “Yol,” and a gentle flame issued forth from out breaths, breathing life into the Skyforge, and committing Vilkas' body to the eternal flame. The tongues of fire licked against his dead, pallid skin, turning what was once the mortal body of our dear friend to ash and cinder. Off in the distance, we could hear the howl of a grey wolf, a forlorn cry for our brother in arms. It was fitting.
When the gathering disbanded, I found Lyanna by herself, away from the others, drinking alone in silence. “It isn't your fault, Lyanna.”
“I know that, Karnag. That doesn't make me feel any less like a pile of mammoth shit though,” she snapped, slamming her mug to the table next to her bed. “Vilkas is dead. Farkas' brother, Karnag. And I just watched, unable to do a thrice-damned thing about it! He's dead and I couldn't save him!” She collapsed into my arms and cried the most emphatic cries I had ever heard. “I'm so sorry, Lyanna. I should have been there to help,” I said, “It was me they wanted, not Vilkas.” Lyanna's sobs stopped, and she straightened herself out. She looked me in the eyes, with eyes full of rage and sorrow and several other emotions I couldn't identify. “You're right,” she said, with uncharacteristic malice in her voice, “You should have been there. You should have had his back. But you didn't. And he paid the price for it. I don't want your damn pity, Karnag. I want Vilkas back.” Her words cut me deeper than any blade possibly could have. But she wasn't wrong. Not in the slightest. I couldn't find anything else to say, so I averted my eyes to the ground, turned around, and walked away. There was nothing left to say.

By the time I arrived at the construction site, a load of lumber and hewn stone was being dropped off via carriage from Riverwood. I assisted the Bosmer carriage driver in unloading the supplies, thanked him with a few gold for his trouble, and set to planning out the floor plan. Following the same principle as the previous house we built, I decided to do this a bit differently. Since we still had the tile that we never had the opportunity to use, as well as all the tools that thankfully were not damaged in the blaze, I set to work getting a rough idea of the proportions of the entry way and the main hall. That was when everything went black.

I have no idea how long I was out for, but I woke up in an unfamiliar place that stank of death with a pain in the back of my head reminiscent of the hangover I had from the party two weeks ago. I blinked a few times to bring my vision into focus. “By the Nine,” I muttered under my breath, “Where am I?”
“Somewhere special,” a voice said from behind me. I whipped around to see a woman, dressed all in black, form-fitting leather, sitting on a low table behind where I was laying. “Who in Oblivion are you?”
“That's not important right now. I'm more interested in you, Karnag gro-Gornish. You've made quite a name for yourself. Word around Skyrim is you're an Orc who gets results. I like that. I have a proposal for you.”
“I had a dream like this once, and I'm sorry to disappoint, but I'm faithfully married. Not interested.”
“Not like that, get your mind out of the gutter. You see, there's a slight problem. You killed Marandru-jo.”
“What, you friends of the rug?”
“Not in the slightest. The issue is, Marandru-jo was already going to be, let's say, taken care of, by my associates; the Dark Brotherhood.”
“The Dark Brotherhood? You all still exist? I thought you were all killed off years ago.”
“True, our numbers have waned, but we're still very much alive. The fact remains, Marandru-jo had a Dark Brotherhood contract placed on his head. A contract that you stole.”
“So what do you want, gold? What I have is mine, and you don't scare me, Nord.”
“Heavens, no. I want you to kill for me, Karnag. What you haven't realized yet is in this room are three people. One of them has a contract out on them. I want you to figure out which one it is, and kill them. Once you do, our debt is square.”
“And then what?”
“We'll talk about that in a minute. For now, get to know our friends here. Make your choice. Make your kill. Then we'll talk business.” I turned around, and the woman wasn't lying. Somehow I had been completely oblivious to them, but tied up on the opposite end of the room were three people. I checked my belt, and sure enough my weapons were still there. Alright, I thought to myself, just kill one of them and get out of here. I took the hood off the head of the first one and asked, “Why would someone want you dead?” The Nord cowering in fear in front of me saw my face and immediately shrieked in fear. “Come on, man, show some spine. Why would someone want a whelp like you dead?”
“My name is Fultheim,” he stammered out, “I'm a mercenary, you know, a sellsword? I made my living selling my sword arm for years, killed lots of men.”
“I doubt that. You,” I said, taking off the hood of the next person, “Why would someone want you dead?” The old crone spat in my one good eye, saying, “Let me go! I have a house full of brats to feed!”
“Charming,” I said, my mind already halfway made-up. I moved to the last person and pulled their hood off. I didn't need to ask, I just drew my sword and loped off the head of the filthy Khajiit kneeling in front of me. After everything I'd been through the last several weeks, I was in no mood to speak to another one of those pretentious fur balls.
From behind me, the woman stood from the table, slowly clapping her hands. “The conniving Khajiit. Cat like that was sure to have enemies. No wonder you chose him.”
“I don't have much tolerance for rugs these days. Now, you going to tell me who you are and what you want?”
“Of course. I am Astrid. I lead the local Dark Brotherhood chapter. Consider your debt paid, Karnag.” She lowered her hood, revealing striking blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. “And we have a business offer for you, if you're interested in making a good bit of gold.”
“I can always use more gold.”
“That's what I like to hear. I know you're familiar with Falkreath. Meet us at our sanctuary there, in the pine forest, just to the south of town. There will be a black door with a certain, 'do not enter,' attitude. The passphrase is, 'silence, brother.' Welcome to the family. Oh, and you understand of course, we can't leave witnesses. Please take care of our other two guests, if you wouldn't mind.”
“Wait, so who had the contract out on them?”
“That doesn't really matter now, does it? I ordered you to kill someone, and you did without hesitation. The rest is just tedium. See you soon, I hope.” Astrid opened the door to the cabin and closed it behind her, leaving me alone with the two remaining “guests,” as she so put it. I took out my sword again, and I cut Fultheim's bindings loose. “Leave, before I change my mind. Double cross me and you will regret it for the rest of your life, which won't be very long.” The Nord didn't bother responding, he simply ran scared from the cabin out into the darkness. “And you,” I said, turning to the old hag. “Well, are you going to just stand there? Let me go!”
“No. I don't think I will.”
“You've been very, very rude to me. I dislike rude people. But don't take this personally, this is business.” I plunged my blade through her chest, and she collapsed on her side in a pool of blood that was not entirely her own.

After a decent amount of searching, I eventually found the door Astrid mentioned. It was tucked away in an isolated hollow just outside of Falkreath. Given the amount of time I've lived here, I'm surprised I never noticed it before. I walked up to the door, decorated with ornate skull motifs, and raised the knocker, knocking three times against the cold stone. A voice issued forth from the door, and asked me a simple question; “What is the music of life?” Following Astrid's instructions, I opted to skip the more flippant answers that came to mind, replying, “Silence, brother.” A moment passed, and I heard a mechanical sound like a lock releasing. “Welcome home,” the voice said. I pulled against the door, and it swung open. I entered the cave behind it, and the door swung closed behind me, as if it had been pushed by an invisible hand. Walking down the stone stairs carved into the cave, it opened into a small antechamber, where I found Astrid leaning against a wall, as if waiting for me. “Good, you came,” she said, a sneaky smile creeping across the corners of her mouth, “We've been expecting you. Welcome home, brother.”
“Listen, Astrid,” I said, holding up my hands to show non-aggression, “I'm not interested in joining some religious cult. I have enough deities vying for my soul as it is, between half a dozen Daedra and the fact that I have a reserved seat at the table in Sovngarde, I'm here strictly on business. I don't want to be a part of any 'family,' I already have my own. You need someone taken care of? I can make that happen for the right price. Other than that, I have my own business to attend to.”
“That is exactly why I invited you here. You see, what I said earlier, about our numbers waning, I wasn't lying. We're spread pretty thin here. We have more jobs coming in than we can complete. So, you help us with some more, shall I say, challenging contracts, and you get paid. Plain and simple.”
“Then we have an understanding. So, I'm here. What do you want me to do?”
“Eager. I like that,” she said, moving over to the table in the center of the room, “Well, as it so happens, we've had a request come in that sounds right up the alley of someone with your background. You're familiar with the East Empire Company, yes?”
“All too well. They tried to recruit me into their private navy after the war with the Dominion. I told them to stick it.”
“Well, we don't need you to masquerade as a longshoreman or a pirate or any of that nonsense. What we need is someone who can get past the guards without raising suspicion. Your status as a Legate in the Imperial Legion-”
“Retired Legate. I can't just walk into Castle Dour without orders.”
“That's alright. I don't need you in Castle Dour, I need you to kill Vittoria Vicci, head of the Solitude branch of the East Empire Company. She's under constant guard, and will be difficult to get to, unless a prominent Imperial war hero, such as yourself, were to arrange a meeting with her.”
“I see where you're going with this. Get Vicci away from her security detail, make sure she goes to wherever Imperials go when they die, and get out.”
“Precisely. You up for it?”
“How much does it pay?”
“That depends on how good of a job you do.”
“What do you mean 'how good of a job?' Dead is dead, why does it matter?”
“Because the client wants this to send a message. The catch is, you need to make sure she dies in public, not in some storeroom where it'll be a week before anyone finds the body. The trick is getting away clean and avoiding the headsman's axe. Think you're up for the challenge?”
“You still didn't mention how much the job pays.”
“The more grandiose the kill, the better the pay. Cap is five thousand Septims, that's the maximum we have in the budget for this job. Minimum is five hundred.”
“You have yourself a deal, Astrid.” I held out my hand, and she shook it. As I tried to release my grip, she pulled me close in, saying, “Be professional, represent us well, and get the job done. Don't screw this up.”
“Message received.”

A quick stop at Radiant Raiment in Solitude had me looking as about as inconspicuous as I was going to get for this job. I kept a dagger concealed in my waistband, the blade of which I rubbed with the petals of freshly picked Nightshade and Deathbell. Not having my armor handy made me feel exposed, much less not having Meridia's blade or my crossbow, but discretion is the better part of valor. Or, in this case, efficiency.
The docks were heavily guarded, as Astrid mentioned they would be, but after one of the guards recognized me from the Legion, I was given free roam. This is going far too easy, I thought to myself, but I dashed the thought from my mind. My target was near at hand and I had no intention of mucking up this job, not when five thousand Septims were on the line. That much gold could pay for all the renovations I needed to do around Lakeview with enough left over to keep fed for a month without lifting a finger. Whoever wants Vicci dead must either have incredibly deep pockets, or must want her dead very badly, I thought to myself as I prepared to make my move. “Well met, Ms Vicci,” I said in my most charming voice possible, “I'm Karnag gro-Gornish, I believe General Tullius sent word ahead I'd be visiting you.”
“I'm afraid I didn't get any message from the General, Mr. gro-Gornish. But That doesn't mean we can't still do business. How can the East Empire Company be of service?”
“Well that is a bother. I'll have to tell the General to get a refund on that courier service, then, eh?” I gave my best fake laugh, which seemed convincing enough for Vicci to lower her guard. “Regardless, this business isn't on behalf of the Legion anyway. The General was just being cordial. I have some...personal business to discuss. Might I come around the counter here? I'd rather keep my voice down, if you don't mind. The walls have ears, after all.”
“Well, normally I would say no, but I see no harm in an exception for such a decorated veteran such as yourself. Come on around, Karnag.”
“Thank you, my wife will thank you!” I fake laughed again as I came around the counter she stood at and got within arm's reach of her. “Now, what is it that you're needing?”
“Well,” I said under my breath, leaning inwards, “I'm having an issue I hope you can resolve.” She leaned towards me, presenting the perfect window to strike. “What issue is that?”
“You're still breathing.” Before she had time to realize what I had said, I slid my knife from my waistband, slicing her throat wide open. “Nothing personal, Vittoria,” I said as I backed away a few paces, allowing her to fall to the ground in an acceptably grandiose fashion, “Only business.” I broke into a sprint as quickly as I could, pushing aside the stunned guards before they had time to react. Well, what now, I remember asking myself under my breath as I ran. I don't know, I didn't think I'd get this far. Do what I do best, improvise.

In truth, improvisation is much easier said than done. Sitting in a jail cell surrounded by the stink of Castle Dour's dungeon was an all-too powerful motivator to do a better job of planning my escape route for the next job, that is assuming I don't get sent to the executioner for the second time in my life.
As these thoughts milled about in my head, the jailer opened my cell door. “You, Orc, on your feet. The High Queen wants a word.” I didn't dignify the brashness of his tone with a response, and simply did as I was told. I was led in chains to the Blue Palace, and presented to High Queen Elisif the Fair. “As ordered, your majesty, the prisoner gro-Gornish.”
“Thank you, Reburrus, that will be all for now,” she said in a very formal tone. “Karnag gro-Gornish, this is an interesting situation you've found yourself in, isn't it?”
“You must not know me all that well, your highness. This is just a typical Loredas for me.”
“That's why you're standing before me and not the headsman, Karnag. You are an individual of...unique talents. Talents that would be a shame to be wasted.”
“I already served two tours of duty with the Legion, if that's what you're getting at.”
“I'm well aware of your service to the Empire, Karnag. If it were not for your position as Legate, even retired, we would not be having this conversation. You see, I need someone for a special assignment, and you're just the person for the job.”
“I get that a lot. How much are you paying?
“Your payment will be in the form of your freedom and your crimes conveniently forgotten. Not something a man guilty of cold blooded murder is offered regularly.”
“You have my attention.”
“There is an old Dwarven ruin in the Rift, known as Avanchnzel. Rumor has it that there is a Dwarven lexicon, a very rare and ancient artifact, said to contain unknown volumes of knowledge lost to time. Retrieve it from the ruin and return it to me, and you are a free man. You will have an Imperial Escort on this mission, and if you try to run, you will be summarily executed. Do we have a deal?”
“My freedom for some old Dwarven tech? Sounds like a good deal to me. Congratulations, Lady Elisif, you have retained my services.”
“That's where you're wrong, gro-Gornish. You've been given a second chance. Don't squander it. Reburrus, release the prisoner, but do not let him out of your sight.”

“No detours, prisoner.”
“Calm down, meat head. We're going to want another sword arm if we're heading into Avanchnzel. I've heard of the place, full of all sorts of nasty things.”
“Who are we picking up?”
“Someone who I trust a lot more than you right now.” My glorified babysitter and I stabled our horses and walked through the Whiterun city gates. The city had the atmosphere I remember returned, the mandatory period of mourning ended and things returned somewhat to normal. When we reached Jorrvaskr, we found it empty save for the person I was looking for; Lyanna. I approached her, saying, “Hey, I need you for something.”
“Hey, Karnag. Look, I'm sorry for-”
“Save it. I've got a job. No pay, dangerous, we might not survive. But you come with me, we're square in my mind and we go our separate ways. You in?” Lyanna looked up from her mug she had obviously been drowning her sorrows in with a penitent expression and nodded silently. “Give me a few minutes to get my gear, I'll meet you at the stables, yeah?”
“I'll be waiting.”

The three of us rode the rest of the way to Avanchnzel in relative silence. All of creation seemed to sense the intense anger inside of me and shuddered at my passing. The winds blew at our backs, the creatures of the forests even seemed to recognize our right to passage. It was an eerie feeling, seeing the world fold away, as if in fear, or respect.
When we arrived at the crumbing Dwarven ruin, a quick survey of the place showed only one entrance. “Brace yourselves,” I said, drawing my sword, “There's no telling what's on the other side of this door.” I leaned my entire weight against the door, and it barely moved. A simple, “Fus,” was enough to make it yield, however. We fanned out, weapons drawn, and I cast a simple magelight spell so that we could see in the underground space. The inside of the ruin was immense, far larger than any Nord ruin I've ever been in. We walked to a ledge, and there was a long drop off, with twisting walkways and various offshoots. “Damn,” I swore, “It's going to take forever to find the lexicon in all this.”
“According to the High Queen's records,” Reburrus said, leaning against a piece of railing, “The Lexicon was kept in the boilery at the lowest level of the city.” Just as he finished his sentence, the anchors that kept the railing in place gave way, and Reburrus tipped over the edge into the chasm below. I grabbed his outstretched hand as he dangled over the pit. “Pull me up dammit!” He shouted. “Give me your other hand,” Lyanna said, reaching out to help, but the piece of stone she knelt on gave way, and she began to fall as well. I grabbed her as well, using all my strength to hold on to both of them. “I can't hold both of you,” I said through labored grunts. I made eye contact with Reburrus, whose expression changed from fear to absolute terror. I made my choice. I let go of him. His screams as he fell the uncountable fathoms to his death echoed off the stone facades of the Dwarven city, punctuated by a sickening crack as he hit the bottom. Then silence. I pulled Lyanna to safety, and rolled over onto my back, exhausted from the ordeal. “Fuck,” I said, “Are you alright?”
“You saved me, Karnag.”
“Of course I did.”
“Why? After I said all those awful things to you?”
“By the Nine, I don't give a damn about words, Lyanna. At the end of the day, all that matters is family. And by now, you're the closest thing I have to a sister.” She laid down on the stone floor next to me, and after a minute or so of silence, she began to laugh. It was contagious, and so did I after a moment. Our laughs reverberated throughout the chasm, to the point where we both began to cry. After we settled down, I said, “Well, we still have a job to finish. How about we figure out how to get down without dying.”
“I noticed something when I was about to die. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw what looked to be an elevator, off behind that door over there,” she said, gesturing to the large brazen door to our right. “The shaft looked like it went all the way down. I didn't get the greatest look at it, dangling inches from death and all, but it might be a good start.”
“Works for me,” I said, rising to my feet. Leaning against the door, almost camouflaged by the brassy designs, was an old Dwarven war hammer. I Picked it up, thinking to myself that it might come in handy. If nothing else, Dwarven bronze was always a good metal to have a supply of, especially since nobody except the dwarves know how to make it, and they're all long gone.
We kicked down the door and with some, “persuasion,” I was able to get the lever thrown on the elevator platform, and the ancient machine shuddered to life, descending deep into the ruin. I cast another ball of magelight so that we could see where we were going, and after a few minutes of travel, the elevator finally hissed to a stop at the bottom of its shaft. We exited through the exit way into a room filled with Dwarven steam boilers. “This must be the boilery,” I said. No sooner than I spoke those words than came the sound of the clashing of metal and the hiss of steam, followed by the sound of heavy footsteps. My blood ran cold, recognizing the pattern, not needing to see what it was that made the sound. “Lyanna, run!”
“What, why?”
“Run, dammit! Centurion!” The name was enough to instill fear in any seasoned adventurer, and we both scrambled for cover. We crouched behind a piece of machinery. “How do we get past it?” Lyanna whispered to me, trying to keep from alerting the guardian of the ruin. “We don't. No way past it. We need to take it down.”
“Are you mad, Karnag?” She said, giving me the most incredulous look. “How in Oblivion do you propose the two of us do that?”
“I need you to shout at me.”
“Shout at you?”
“Shout at me. The first two words of Unrelenting force. Trust me, just do it,” I said, bracing my stance, and my grip on the hammer I picked up earlier. She stood opposite me, took a deep breath, and did exactly as told, shouting the words, “Fus, ro,” at my chest. I had never felt the direct force of her Thu'um before, but it was stronger than I expected it to be. She nearly knocked me off my feet, but I remained standing. “Again!” I shouted. She complied, shouting at me a second time. I could feel the adrenaline surge pumping through me, but it wasn't enough. By this time, the Centurion was aware of our position, and was closing in on us. “Again!” This time, it was just enough. My blood boiled over, rage surging through every fiber of my being. I released a blood-curdling battle cry, and charged the Centurion, hammer at the ready. I immediately struck the weak point of the towering automaton, it's knee joints, knocking it off balance. The rest of my attack is a blur of swinging hammer and the clashing of metal. By the time the adrenaline surge wore off, the Centurion was more or less a pile of scrap metal, and the hammer in my hands had been reduced to little more than a bronze club. Still good metal, and after collapsing to rest for a few minutes to regain my stamina, I scavenged what I could carry from the Centurion, and Lyanna and I pressed onward.

On a small pedestal towards the back of the room, was a small black cube with red inscriptions on it in a language I didn't recognize. “This must be the lexicon,” I said, picking up the object. It was considerably heavier than it appeared it should be, and warm to the touch. Our task complete, Lyanna and I turned our backs on this place, praying that the gods themselves wipe it from the face of Tamriel. We took the elevator back up to the place we entered from, and mounted our horses, tied just outside. Lyanna took the reigns of Reburrus' horse in her hands along with her own, no reason to let the animal to the wolves. We headed for Solitude, the worst of our journey behind us. Or so we thought.
High Queen Elisif was less than pleased at the loss of Reburrus, but given that I completed my task, still held up her end of the arrangement, and had my crimes expunged from the public record. I thanked her majesty for her clemency, and Lyanna and I departed Solitude, finally going home. I told her that I would meet her in Whiterun the following day, and that I had business to attend to in Falkreath first. Believing my “business” to be of the marital variety, Lyanna gave me a coy smile, but physical relations were the furthest thing from my mind right now. I still hadn't been paid.
I reached the sanctuary, gave the passphrase, and entered. After a little searching around, I found Astrid in a side room by herself, sharpening a dagger. “I've come for my payment, Astrid,” I said to her back. She turned around, somewhat startled. “I didn't hear you come in. Well, well, you do not disappoint, Karnag. You followed the job to the letter, and didn't lose your head in the process. I must say, I'm impressed. Are you sure you aren't interested in a change in career?”
“Like I said before, I have a family of my own. You pay me, I'll do what you ask of me. Simple as that.”
“I like a man who's easy to work with. Very well, you've earned your pay, every last Septim. We'll be in touch when we need you.”
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