I continued my search for disloyal guards, and was getting pretty tired of it, up until I checked with one of the guards in the Throne Room itself. Ivulen Irano had some interesting things to say as soon as I mentioned my desire to join the Royal Guards, and hinted I might have connections with House Hlaalu.

"Oh? Really?" he whispered, "Does Tienius Delitian know that? Did you talk to Aleri Aren? You should tell her that you're House Hlaalu. Really. But don't tell Tienius Delitian. Just tell Aleri Aren."

I decided to take a walk across the courtyard and chat with Aleri Aren in the guard's quarters.


It didn't take long to find her.

"I've been a Royal Guard all my life," she said, "and so was my mother and her mother. I served King Llethan for many years, and now I'll serve King Helseth. Long live the King, and long live the Emperor."

"So, several generations of your family have been doing this?" I asked.

"Of course." she replied. "It's in our blood." She paused for a moment, looking me over, then added "You know, it's none of my business, of course, but why do you want to be a guard? You look like you've done well enough for yourself as an adventurer."

I said that I was looking for something a bit less exciting for my old age (always a convincing argument, considering how old I truly was), then mentioned I had connections with House Hlaalu, and that Ivulen Irano said not to mention it to anyone but her.     


"He what?" she said, startled. Ivulen Irano told you to tell me about your Hlaalu connections? And told you NOT to tell Tienius Delitian? I have no idea what that's all about. Are you sure you heard him right? He's not the brightest star in the sky ... he gets confused sometimes. I wouldn't worry about it. I'll talk to Ivulen Irano later when I get a chance. I'm sure it's just a misunderstanding.

I began to suspect that Ivulen Irano said something to me that he shouldn't have, and Aleri Aren was trying to cover up for him.

I know that Tienius had hinted to his guards that he had concerns about me hiding close dealings with House Hlaalu in the past (a nice cover story, considering that Hlaalu had always been a bit under-handed with business dealings anyway). I headed back to Tienius to report my findings.


He agreed that there was something odd here between Aleri Aren and Ivulen Irano. He suggested that I see if I could uncover something more tangible, something in writing, if possible. He suggested that I check with Irano's possessions in the Guard Quarters.

"But be careful!" he warned, "Don't get caught, or you'll be attacked like a common thief!"

He wasn't kidding. If things went bad for me there, I'd be totally on my own.


I headed back to the Guards Quarters, but prior to entering, I used the Amulet of Shadows.

Such a useful tool - I was so glad I had found this toy so long ago.


I gingerly opened and closed the door, trying not to make any noise. It was still broad daylight outside, and I wanted to make sure no one saw that I had returned.


I went through a number of rooms, having to reactivate the Amulet of Shadows several times to remain hidden. One of the guards came right next to me, fumbling through one of the chests for something of his. I thought he would never leave, that my amulet would run out of charge, and that my mission would have to be abandoned until another time.

Finally, he left, and I was once again free to explore the lockers of the guards.

I couldn't find anything odd in any of the chests, but just as I was about to give up, I noticed a piece of paper on the floor under a bed. It was a copy of the guard duty rosters for the past several weeks. The handwriting was difficult to read, but three names were always spelled correctly - Milvela Dralen, Ivulen Irano, and Aleri Aren - and those watches when all three are the only guards in the Throne Room were underlined twice.


I returned to the Throne Room and presented this information to Tienius Delitian.

He looked at the information, his face showing signs of concern.

"This is Ivulen Irano's handwriting on the note you found." he said. "See here?" he said, pointing to the schedule. "He only notes the watches when Dralen, Aren, and Irano are the only guards in the Throne Room. I believe I'll change the watch schedules to prevent that. And I'll need to keep a close eye on all three."

He put the note inside his armor, smiled, and continued, "Very shrewd work, Eldorf Dragonmeal. You've brought me clear evidence of disloyalty among the guards. Now, I need your help finding evidence of conspiracy against King Helseth among the Hlaalu nobles."

"Conspiracy?" I asked.

"Well, the old king's Hlaalu supporters haven't accepted King Helseth's accession to the Throne with good grace." he replied. "Maybe they think that another candidate - a Hlaalu candidate, for example - would be better. Maybe they have some plan to express such a preference. If so, I doubt they would be candid about it. But maybe you should search Llethan Manor for documents, diaries, or other tangible evidence of such plans."

I was a bit uncomfortable with this. I knew how the previous king's widow felt already. Still, there was no tangible proof that Helseth was a killer - just a hint. I decided to accept this mission, though I did so with reservations.


I headed back to Llethan Manor in Godsreach, still not sure if I would confront anyone directly, or if I should once again use stealth.


At the last moment, I decided that stealth was the better method, as a lot less people would be hurt or killed in this manner (including myself).

I made my way past everyone, checked out every room, and eventually, found a very bad piece of paper. On it, was a note to the widow's cousin.

I cannot agree. I am a merchant, and have no skill at arms. You are a noble, and in your prime were proven on practice and tournament grounds - though, in truth, you have never fought a dual, and have few gifts as a liar. No one can doubt Hloggar the
Bloody's aptitude and enthusiasm for mayhem, but he is not a subtle man, more suited for a brawl or battlefield than an assassin's role. And we cannot trust the Dark Brotherhood, Helseth owns them. They promise discretion, but their promises are worthless. I am afraid we must approach the Morag Tong. I agree with you. They will probably refuse. But at least they can be trusted to be discreet. If, in the end, we are forced to choose among ourselves, I fear it must be you. And we will have to wrack our brains for some plausible pretext that will get you into Helseth's presence. I am disappointed, though not surprised, at lack of public outcry over Athyn's murder. The popular sentiment seems to be to avoid personal risk and accept Helseth. It's short-sighted, but understandable. I have noted, however, that the writer of The Common Tongue is sympathetic to our cause, clever and eloquent. He may be able to sway opinion. We should try to identify this fellow and try to bring him into our counsels.
Your faithful servant,
Bedal Alen"


As much as I hated to do it, I snatched the letter off the desk, unseen, and quietly made my way out the door with it. If Tienius wanted tangible evidence of a conspiracy to kill the king, well, this would be it.


Tienius was very impressed by my work.

"This letter you've found is very interest." he said. "Forven Berano, Hloggar the Bloody, and Bedal Alen are obviously conspiring to assassinate King Helseth. This is treason, punishable by death. I will immediately draw up writs for their execution. You would do the king a great service if you would execute these traitors."

Decided to gain the king's favor, I agreed. I didn't tell him that I planned to give each of them the option of leaving the province instead of being killed.

"Excellent." he replied. "When you've executed these traitors, report back to me."

He handed me three Royal Writs of Execution, then asked me if I had any questions. I asked where each of these people could be found.

"Ah, smart question." he replied. "Forven Berano, he's a faithful, Temple-going noble, so you might find him in or around the Temple. Hloggar the Bloody, well, I'm not sure. Like a lot of those Nord louts, he may be too cheap to pay for lodgings, so he might be staying in the sewers. Now, Bedal Alen, that's going to be hard - I have no idea where to look. He could be anywhere in the city. Ask around - someone might know where he's staying."


I headed back to Godsreach, getting a bit tired. The sun was setting, but it was still pleasant and warm out. There were things to do, such as hunt down assassins, but I decided that this would be a job for tomorrow, after a good night's rest.

In the mean time, I decided to see what this city was like after dark.











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