“Good haul on that heist, eh?” I say to Lilth as we head down into the Flagon, over encumbered by the weight of our loot.
“Yeah! That was awesome! We were just in, then out! Stealth!” Lilth grins, skipping over to a table and dumping out her bag. Gold, gems, jewelry, and cutlery slide out like a tidal wave. I empty my own pack as well, making the pile even larger. I pick out a silver and moonstone circlet and slip it onto my arm, like a bracelet.
“Lilth, check it out.” I pose. “Khajiit is fabulous!”
“Nice work.” A heavily accented voice says from behind. I don’t even have to look to know it’s Delvin.
“This one brought you a present.” I smile, and offer the circlet. He takes it, and examines it.
“And I got one for you too.” He replies, tossing a coin purse. I pocket the gold immediately after catching it. I turn back to find Lilth anxiously rummaging through the pile.
“Looking for this?” I ask, holding up a golden necklace. She looks up, sees the chain dangling from my hand, and goes to snatch it away, but I move at the last second.
“J’zuri! Give it!”
“Fine, fine. Here you go.” I say, handing it to her. She walks over to Vex, and they exchange prizes. I pull up a chair and sit down, sorting through the heap on the table, mentally taking note of everything but the tons of septims. We’ll count them after. Twenty amethysts, nine necklaces, forty-two pieces of silverware, Amulet of Talos, thirteen rings-
“Did you two get that all from just one house?” Someone exclaims. I turn in my seat to see Legona, a Bosmeri vampire, standing behind me. She’s a few years younger than me.
“Yeah, amazing what your dad leaves lying around your place, huh?” I stifle a laugh as her look turns from impressed to downright horrified. “Kidding, we were down in Whiterun.” She lightly punches my arm before heading down into the cistern. I grin mischieviously as I continue counting out the loot. I barely lift my head when I hear the door to the Flagon close and pick up Syraa’tah’s (the right hand of Brynjolf, the Guildmaster) scent.
“Nice work, J’zuri.” She says, examining a silver goblet.
“I helped too!” Lilth cries indignantly. Ta ignores her and keeps looking through the pile. She gets up, glaring at the Khajiit next to me. My fur stands on end. This can’t end well. It’s well known that Ta does not like Dunmer, and Lilth can be a little crazy at times.
“Maybe we should get a drink to celebrate a great haul.” I blurt out quickly, leaping to my feet. Both of them stare at me, Lilth’s outburst forgotten. The silence intensifies for a moment as they look at each other. Finally, Lilth speaks.
“Fine with me. You suggested it, so you have to buy!”
“Alright. C'mon." I pull her over to the bar, relieved that I managed to distract them. I glance over my shoulder at Tah and she nods, ever so slightly. The others don't notice it, but I understand that she wants a drink too.
"Two bottles of Black-Briar, please!" Lilth says to Vekel, the bartender.
"Actually, make that five. Seph and Val should be here soon." I throw in quickly. Sephona and Vallila are two Altmer mages we ran into up in Winterhold. We quickly became friends (saving each other does that sometimes) and we have a drink now and then together. I pull out a handful of septims and put it on the counter. Vekel swiftly counts them out and hands the few extra coins back.
"Here y'are." He says, putting five bottles of mead on the counter. I take two, and turn to find Lilth balancing one on her head and holding two in her hands.
"Nice." I grin as we walk back to the table.
"Why'd you get five? There's only four of us that are old enough to drink." She reminds me.
"Oh! Did J'zuri buy for Legona again?" I ask as convincingly confused as possible.
"Yes." Lilth laughs, setting the meads on the table.
"Ah well. Maybe we can feed it to Bryn." I sit down and open my bottle. "To the Guild?" I hold it out.
"To the Guild!" Lilth agrees, and we clink our drinks together before taking a long sip. "You did tell them where the secret entrance is, right?" She asks afterwards.
I shrug, "Khajiit is pretty sure she did."
"Maybe I should go look for them..." Lilth gets up. "Be back in a second." She exits the Flagon. The moment she's gone, I grab the extra bottle of mead and hand it to Syraa'Tah.
"This one thanks you." She says, smiling slightly.
I wave her off, "It was no trouble." She pulls up a chair beside me and drinks some of the mead. A few moments later, Lilth returns with two Altmer following close behind. They both have to duck under the doorway, which I have to suppress a laugh at.
"So much for telling them about the entrance, J'zuri." Lilth huffs.
I raise my hands in a gesture of surrender, "I thought I did." I turn to the other two. "Hi Seph, hey Val. You made it, eh?"
"Yeah. Is this really the headquarters of the Thieves Guild?" Sephona's voice drops to a whisper, like she want anyone to overhear. I chuckle and simply nod.
"So, are we gonna get to hear some of your amazing violin-playing tonight or what?" Vallila asks, poking my shoulder lightly.
"I wouldn't call it amazing, I'm not that good at it." I say, my face warm with embarrassment.
"Are you kidding me, lass? Not that good?" I jump, startled by the new voice, and turn to find Brynjolf leaning on the table.
"Oh sure, just give this one a heart attack..." I mumble.
He ignores my muttering and continues on. "I've heard her play loads of times, she's excellent!"
"When have you heard me play? This one's only played in the Flagon once that she can remember..." I demand.
"I'm not called a thief for no reason, lass." He winks.
"Come on, lass. Just a few songs?" Lilth teases.
I glare at her, but give in. "Alright but only a couple."
"Yay!" Sephona and Lilth cheer.
"I have to go grab it, then it'll probably need tuning." I tell them, before getting up and heading into the cistern. I walk over to my bed, and get to my knees, looking underneath it. Of course, its all the way at the back. I manage to squeeze under the bed and grab the handle of the case.
"Lose something?" A soft voice from behind asks. I go to get up and bash my head. I spit out an oath in Ta'agra angrily and pull myself out. "Sorry! Didn't mean to startle you!"
"Its fine - ow - Karliah." I kneel on the ground and open the case, making sure the violin and bow are still there out of habit. Satisfied that both are still there, I close it with a snap and get up. I gingerly touch my head and, finding no blood, give a thumbs-up. "Khajiit is fine, its just a bump."
"What were you doing under there, anyway?"
I hold up the case. "Bryn and Lilth are makin' this one play a few songs for everyone."
"I didn't know you played the violin." She replies.
"Khajiit hasn't played in ages, actually." Karliah accompanies me back to the Flagon. I gently place my case on our table and open it again. I take out the violin and bow. The familiar weight is once again back on my shoulder, after so long. I glide the bow along the strings and it lets out a squealing wail. I cringe as I begin the process of tuning it to the proper notes.
Twenty minutes later
"Finally!" I sigh, drawing the bow across the strings and a blur of random sounds ring out. "Alright, time to actually play something..." I begin stringing together notes out of nowhere, not really playing a recognizable song yet.
"Oh my gods! I -hic- know this!" Sephona exclaims suddenly, getting to her feet and beginning to sing.
"The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside.
Couldn't keep it in, heaven knows I tried...
Don't let them in, don't let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know
Well, now they know...
Let it go, let it go" she begins casting frost spells into the air. They spin around like snowflakes, floating around the Flagon
"Can't hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door" My fingers dance upon the strings, finding the different notes before I even think of them.
"I don't care what they're going to say
Let the storm rage on...
The cold never bothered me anyway" She pauses a moment before launching into the next verse.
"Its funny how some distance makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can't get to me at all
Its time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I'm free" Sephona steps up onto a table and, surprisingly, keeps her balance despite having drank several bottles of mead.
"Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You'll never see me cry
Here I stand," She puts her foot down, sending icy spikes to the edge of the table.
"And here I stay
Let the storm rage on...
My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one though crystallizes like an icy blast
I'm never going back, the past is in the past
Let it go, let it go
And I'll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand, in the light of day
Let storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway" Sephona turns and goes to walk away, only to slip off the table. Luckily for her, Brynjolf is right there and catches her. I set my violin down to take a drink.
"That was good." Delvin mutters, the words slurred together even more than normal. Sephona simply grins.
"D'you know th' song of th' drergonbron?" Lilth asks.
"Yeah." I reply. "Just give me a few to take a break."
"I really like that song. You and Sephona did a good job." I start at Legona's voice and turn.
"Thanks." I set my mead back on the table. “Alright, Lilth. You know the words to this, right?”
“‘Course I do!” She leaps to her feet excitedly and almost trips over a chair. I pick up my violin again. I play through the intro of the song before she begins.
Nalol we know fairies
why die for you my fur pelts” She pauses, unsure of what comes next.
“Uh.. ark fine no rock pail grou-” Her knees buckle and it’s Delvin’s turn to catch someone. He grabs her in the nick of time.
“She’s out cold.” He observes.
“Just a bit.” I agree, still softly playing the music.
“This one knows the rest!” Ta pipes up.
“Fod nust hon zindro zaan,
Dovahkiin, fah hin kogaan mu draal!”
“Legona!” Karliah’s voice rings out sharply in the somewhat quiet Flagon. I turn to see the young Bosmer, face covered by her hood, standing beside one of the tables.
“What?” She asks innocently.
“You know what.”
Legona scowls, “Fine.” and wanders off.
Karliah shakes her head, “You are all such bad influences.”
“Mhm.” I say, not really paying attention. I stumble over to a seat and plop down, nearly falling off. I rest my head on my arms and fall asleep almost instantly.