Dragonborn Chapter 322: The Assembly (5)
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Many thanks to @Slicktrick and @DarkPriest... Also, happy birthday DarkPriest and I will see to your request!
Jon left the King's study and returned back to the throne room where the a.s.sembly would continue in an hour. He looked around and wanted to sit in some quiet place but a palace guard came to him.
"Thane Jon of Winterhold?"
"A Dunmer lady says she is your Captain of Security Detail is looking for you in the garden of the palace."
"Oh! Jull is here… fine, thank you."
Jon nodded and looked around the place again until he found someone.
"Oh! If it is not Thane Jon?"
Viarmo, the Headmaster of the Bard's College and the famous High Elf who is quite popular between the Nords, recognized Jon right away. Both of them were undoubtedly the tallest two in the meeting. Jon was a Firemane and Viarmo was a High Elf. What vexes High Elves about Jon is that he is always a tad taller than them.
"I was hoping we could talk. A mutual friend of ours sent me with regards." Jon said.
"A mutual friend between me and Thane Jon? Must be quiet the character. Oh! By any chance, is it student Jon Battle-Born or student Lynly Star-Sung?"
"No, it is neither Jon nor Svidi. Why don't we walk to the Garden?"
"Well gladly! Excuse me, gentlemen."
Jon and Viarmo acted with etiquette and walked out the throne room. Both of them were smiling at each other with total ease.
"Will Thane Jon partic.i.p.ate in the Tournament this year? A lot of Fans are waiting for you to come and do a good show again." Viarmo said.
"Really? I would love to entertain but sadly if I joined the tournament, it would be no more than bullying. I already won once and now I won't even struggle. Also, my brothers are busy, Jon Battle-Born is newlywed and spending his honeymoon on vacation while Wulfur is on a trip to Orsinium, some sort of blacksmithing contest."
"Oh! The Annual Forge Tournament of Orsinium. Nords don't get easily invited to that one."
"So that's its name? Why so?"
"As you know, Nords and Orcs are not the greatest friends throughout history especially the Orcs of Orsinium. They have a cult of Trinimac that considers the Nordic G.o.d Shor or Lorkhan a mortal enemy."
"Oh! I see… I think Wulfur can handle some stingy Orcs."
Jon and Viarmo were both birds of a feather. They knew each other's intentions from the very start and their forces have collided many times before.
"How are the things around Skyrim by the by?" Jon asked.
"I would have asked Thane Jon the same question thinking you would know better than I?"
"Than you? Headmaster Viarmo, please don't overestimate me. Bards go where others cannot and I am sure words travel better in Haafingar than Winterhold." Jon said.
"Really? And here I thought bathhouse wenches would do a way better job than bards." Viarmo said.
"As I said, you overestimate me." Jon replied.
The two were naturally talking about their spy organizations. They were tossing words at each other because their interests went into a conflict lately. Anyway, the two of them reached the garden outside the palace and saw two women waiting for them.
"Headmaster Viarmo, let me introduce you to my Security Captain, Jullanar. And this one here is surely our mutual friend! Say h.e.l.lo, Lisette."
As Jon pointed to the other woman. Viarmo narrowed his eyes. It was indeed his agent Lisette, the one he planted in Winterhold a few months ago and was constantly reporting to him.
He looked between Jon and Lisette.
"How long were you captured?" He asked.
"… A few months." Lisette replied.
"Thane Jon, you captured a bard of my people. I'd love to say that the Bards' College is an official guild that has the right to protect its people in a court of law. We are in one right now and I implore you to let release my bard." Viarmo said. He offered Lisette a legal way to escape her captors.
He looked at Jon with cold eyes. Jon brought Lisette to the Blue Palace where he has no shred of power and Viarmo has many friends around the place. He was simply in a better position.
"Really? Is that how are you going to play it?" Jon understood what he wanted to do and looked at Lisette.
"Lis, tell him how many times we slept together."
"How did it feel?"
"What were the orders you took from Headmaster Viarmo?"
"To find information about Thane Jon Dare and relay it to Solitude coded in the book I am writing."
"What are the motives of Headmaster Viarmo?"
"Find out information and sell it."
"What is his allegiance?"
"No one. Headmaster Viarmo works for the ones who may do good for Skyrim and widen the network of the Bards."
"Fine, ENOUGH!" Viarmo lashed out and stopped Jon.
Jon nodded looked at Viarmo with a wide smile. The latter seemed disturbed by Jon's action but forced himself to calm down.
"By the way, Lisette lost the ability to lie. You can ask her anything and she will answer with complete honesty." Jon said with a proud look at Lisette.
"Yeah, truth… Wonderful!" Viarmo was still in a sour mood. "What can I do for you, Thane Jon?"
Jon smiled got even wider.
"I am afraid this is the wrong question. The right one is, what can I do for you, Headmaster Viarmo?"
Viarmo's eyes narrowed as he looked at Jon and tilted his head a little.
"I am afraid you will need to be a bit clearer here."
"Simple, you sent Lisette to me way before I become a man of power or anything. You saw something within me and I am also indebted to you that you took care of my friends who studied at the College. Let bygones be bygones and let's start anew." Jon said.
"… I am afraid that is not possible." Viarmo said. "Lisette is one of my people and now his mind is your hostage. Will you trust anyone like that?"
"Her mind? I am afraid you misunderstood. Lisette is completely free from any hypnosis or Illusion or any of that, she has her will intact and she can do whatever she wants. She just can't lie, that's all."
"How is that even possible?"
"The minds of us mortals have many functions that make the person seek survival. Resisting the idea of jumping off a cliff, resisting consuming harmful stuff, fearing wild beasts, telling truths that may hurt us. All I did was to simply switch off the one function that rules the thing about truths and lies. Lisette's instincts can't lie anymore… of course, I can fix that."
Viarmo was silent still. He looked at his student and shuddered from the thought of having her completely toyed by Jon. He signed up for this mission of information a long time ago knowing the risks and he was bitten by foes scarier than Jon but Jon was way too ruthless and his methods were all shady and secretive.
"I am sorry to force you to play by my rules but… that's what we both do, right? We can't win so we enforce our rules." Jon said.
Viarmo sighed and didn't say anything.
"My bard, can you please?"
"You don't even need to ask." Jon smiled and walked behind Lisette, he held her head gently and sneaked the [Skeleton Key] with his other hand. He simple undid the lock he did on her brain.
"Here you go, Lisette. You are home safe and sound as promised."
Before she could reply, Viarmo took her hand and dragged her to his side.
"Can we talk business now?" Jon asked.
"Very well. By the way, was that the same thing you did for Jarl Korir? Manipulating his brain?" Viarmo asked.
"I don't know what you are talking about." Jon replied with an answer that made him look guilty.
Viarmo saw Lisette off and looked at Jon again.
"Dealing with you is like walking into the Darkness, Thane Jon. What we don't know is usually what gets us killed."
"You are right. That's why people make friends.h.i.+ps with each other rather than sending spies."
Jon's answer made Viarmo laugh.
"HA! Friends? Look around you, Thane Jon. We're all liars here. Why think people like us do what we do? Why did you use your… whatever that was on the girl? It is all the same answer in the end. Everyone is your enemy here, Thane Jon."
"Oh! What a miserable fellow you are. I already know so. I just said that you needed to know who I am and you failed and I promise you that you will always fail. The things I keep hidden are hidden for a reason and if they are open to the world then I don't want to be blamed for the actions I will be forced to make. Now, these actions will sink a lot of people in a s.h.i.+t hole and that includes anyone who is related to me and the whole d.a.m.n Winterhold. You said you wanted your network to reach in Winterhold? Ask me… nicely."
Viarmo started thinking before talking.
"Why are you doing that?" He asked.
"Winterhold is my beautiful poem. Even though I was not born there, I love that place and it is my home. Don't think of it too much, I am a poet too. I want the matters in my hold to flow naturally and I can't be the hero every day. One day I will die, disappear, or fall into some sort of crisis that I can't survive. I don't want others to see Winterhold as a week organization without me. With your network inside, I will be sure that the information flow won't get hijacked by someone I can't deal with. The 'Thieves' Guild' control the information flow in the streets for now but they are getting greedy for politics. I want you to fill that place for me and limit their influence. Also, you too will be limited from the streets and from me and my family. The top dog of information in Winterhold is me."
"The [Black Pigeons] you mean?" He said.
"??" Jon tilted his head.
"It is the name of our [Team 0] in the streets." Jull said.
"Oh! I see, [Black Pigeons]! I'd have preferred cats."
Viarmo looked from Jon to Jullanar.
"I a.s.sume you are the mysterious a.s.sistant of Thane Jon."
"Mysterious? Me?" Jullanar asked.
"Of course. The Dark Elf lady that appeared with Thane Jon in Winterhold 2 years ago. No one knows where you came from or what your origins are. Thane Jon boarded the s.h.i.+p from Solitude alone and landed on Winterhold with you. I call that mysterious." Viarmo said.
"Didn't I say not to look after me or my family?" Jon said with cold eyes.
"Haha! No need to worry about me, Thane Jon. These are the general information we managed to get, we didn't manage to go further anyway."
"Please don't. But more importantly, do you find my terms acceptable?"
"Using us to close the gap between your personal information network and the Thieves Guild? I find it very satisfying."
Jon and Viarmo shook hands.
"From now on, let's have a healthy partners.h.i.+p. My security captain Jullanar, my housecarl Trudvar and my secretary Siv are the ones your people can contact in Winterhold. My Fiancee will take over my position if I wasn't available."
"Thank you, Thane Jon."
"Thank you too, Headmaster Viarmo." Jon was about to turn but he paused and looked at Viarmo again.
"I had two requests in mind."
"Well, I'll see what I can do. How can I help?" Viarmo said.
"The first is regarding the Imperial Legion in Winterhold, the ones in command right now are really a bother. I was wondering if you can introduce me to a better candidate that can serve Winerhold's 'methods' with a strong motive. A Legionary with some bad feelings about the Thalmor will do very well."
"Ah! I see. I have a close friend of mine, a Legate in the Legion. He will fit what you want really well but… you need to have an open mind when you deal with him."
"Fine by me. The second matter I had in mind is Thane Erikur."
"Ha! You are making him the second matter in your mind while he is making you the first. This will be good, what do you want to know?"
"Not much, just what is he up to now?"
Jon and Jull walked into the Blue Palace together once again.
"You are sighing for the next ten minutes." Jull said.
"Sorry, I am just a bit disappointed."
"In that slimy Viarmo?"
"Nope. Viarmo is good, I am talking about Erikur."
"What is there to talk about? We should kill him and make his mother wear his entrails around her neck."
"… Did you come across Sheogorath lately? More importantly, trying to defame then kill me, huh! I wish to know how he will do that."
"Just let me gut him like the stinky fish he is."
"No need. He can't endanger anyone I love and we are together. Let's see what he will do."
"You sure of winning?"
"Love always win, Jull. Once a day and twice on Sunday."
"That sounds like our s.e.x schedule."
"It sure does."
"But do you trust him? Your new friend, Viarmo. Shouldn't we have brought Alina so that she can tell if he lies to us?"
"He is not my friend, he is not my enemy. He is both and not at the same time. I expect him to betray me and work with me. A handshaking and a hand stabbing. Expect that from Viarmo and you will know how to handle him. His motives are unclear, I don't know what he wants or what he is or what is he planning to do next. My only advantage on him is that he can't figure out my methods and I agreed to keep him close and well-monitored. He won't move a muscle in Winterhold without us knowing. I want you to learn how to deal with people like him in the future, Jull."
"Fine." Jullanar replied with a sweet and mischievous smile.
Jon walked through the door of the Throne room walked in. High King Torygg was not there yet but his arrival seemed to be announced. Everyone was looking at Jon and Korir now.
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Dragonborn Chapter 322: The Assembly (5)
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Dragonborn Chapter 322: The Assembly (5) summary
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