“So that was the guy who did the gates?” Ayano asked once Mierfa had returned from inquiring about who was just executed.
“Yup, exactly that guy.” She sighed, “A real shame too, had a daughter. I suppose I’ll have to keep an eye out for her.”
“So, what now?” Ayano had to ask. “We check out that key, and then what?”
“Before we do any of that, I’ve got to report back to Jarl Elisif that I finished up that task she gave me, then I want to get a fresh change of clothes from my place- maybe we can rest up a bit after traveling all this way?” Mierfa listed a few things off, “Then we can go investigate the key, I guess.”
“So…” Ayano continued, “Any other secrets you’d like to share? Are you Thane of any other holds? Got any other uncles or aunts?”
“Thane of Morthal- I helped clear out a vampire infestation a few months back.” A shrug followed, “Nothing else that comes to mind, sorry!”
Ayano was amazed by Solitude’s Blue Palace. All of Solitude was grown over with bright greens and large plants- but the entrance to the Palace itself was massively overgrown with Bamboo trees to the point it felt like they’d left a city and entered a tropical jungle once more.
As they entered the Blue Palace, the sounds of discussion came from the floor above them.
“I swear to you, unnatural magics are coming from that cave! There are strange noises and lights! We need someone to investigate!” Varnius Junius was proclaiming to the Jarl.
“Then we will immediately send out a legion to scour the cave and secure the town. Haafingar’s people will always be safe under my rule!” Elisif replied as Mierfa and Ayano ascended the stairs to the main landing.
Varnius was taken back in awe, “Th…thank you, my Jarl thank you.”
“Your eminence,” Sybille, the Jarl’s court wizard, said to the woman on the throne, “my scrying has suggested nothing in the area. Dragon Bridge is under imperial control. This is likely superstitious nonsense.”
“Perhaps a more,” Falk Firebeard, one of the Jarl’s advisers, added on with a cautious tone, “tempered reaction… might be called for?”
“Oh. Yes, of course you are right,” Elisif nodded, a frown over taking her as her eyes scanned the room. Then she smiled slightly upon seeing her Thane. “Falk, tell Captain Aldis I said to assign a few extra soldiers to Dragon Bridge.”
“Thank you, Jarl Elisif. But about the cave…?” Varnius was persistent about what he viewed to be a danger to his people.
“I’ll send my Thane to investigate it personally,” Elisif declared. “She’s just returned from a quest I’d assigned her, and so she’ll be the best bet for investigating this mysterious cave of yours, Varnius. You can return to Dragon’s Bridge with an easy mind.”
Mierfa and Ayano shared a look as she said, “I have a feeling we’re not going to get a chance to rest up first.”
“So who’s your friend, my Thane?” Elisif asked of the Drow girl with a cheerful smile.
“This is Ayano- he’s the guy the Greybeards called up,” Mierfa explained, “The Dragonborn.”
“And yet you come here to Solitude?” Elisif asked with some curiosity.
Ayano, who up til this point had remained silent, simply shrugged, “I’ve had some pressing business to take care of elsewhere first. The Greybeards can wait until I finish it up.”
“Many would not take such an attitude to being summoned, you’ve got courage to say such things in public!” Elisif remarked. “So what brings you to Solitude?”
“Business,” Ayano repeated, not elaborating on the point any further. “Like I said.”
“I see,” The Jarl mused.
“So what’s this about a cave?” Mierfa asked.
“Wolfskull cave- just to the west of Solitude- there have been many reports recently about suspicious activity there. I think it would be best for you to investigate it,” the Jarl said, “if that’s alright with you?”
“That’s fine with me so long as I get a chance to rest up first. The trip from Whiterun was tiring, and I’d like to tidy up a bit before I head back that way,” Mierfa agreed.
“Yes,” Elisif giggled just a little, “I can imagine that is quite the story you have to tell, if it involves the Dragonborn. By the way, those are some rather…interesting robes you’ve got there. They seem a bit rough around the edges though…”
“I had to cut them off of a burnt up Thalmor mage to replace my own clothes,” Mierfa said without shame, explaining without an interruption about how the Thalmor mage in question died, “he got caught up in a fight between Ayano and I and the dragon. Took the full force of a fire breath thinking he could just brush it off with a ward spell.”
“So Dragons truly have returned to Skyrim?” Elisif asked, “I’d thought the rumors to be true, but to hear of a first hand account of someone surviving…”
“Well, they’re back,” Ayano said, interjecting into the conversation rather suddenly, “and I can kill them. So yeah. Not rumors. Not Legends.” He looked the Jarl in the eyes and said rather firmly:
“They are as real as you and I.”