mALX: Hehe thank you! With Valentine being captain of the guard she is used to being highly respected, so free stuff usually comes to her. Haha
Acadian: Haha I'm glad you are enjoying the story so far. It is a challenge keeping both stories up together, but it's fun! Mysterys already? Of course! Hehe ;P
A quick note to say that this is a long chapter. If I split it up it wouldn't flow as nicely. Luckily the chapter has been broken up, so feel free to return to it whenever you feel like it Previously on Valentine...
Valentine, Captain of the Riften guard discovers her second in command, Jenassa, has been removed from her position by the Jarl and exiled from Riften for an unknown reason.
Valentine also goes on a date with her fiance, Arthur.
Finally, Valentine is approached by Maven Black-Briar to go on a mission to Fort Greenwall to obtain some papers. Valentine has minimal suspicion about this random task.
0.2 Prologue: All about the Mission.
"That's so cool Captain Valentine! Those bandits didn't stand a chance!"
I'd just finished telling the story of the bandit raid that occurred in Riften a year ago, one of many stories I told the orphans of the orphanage. I sat with the Orphans next the housekeeper, Constance Michel, who also happened to be one of my best friend. Runa, the only little girl in the orphanage, sat on my knee whilst all the others sat on the floor.
"Let's play bandit raid!" One of the boys shouted as they all stood up. Luna bounced off my knee insisting that she got to play me.
I laughed and turned to Constance. "Maybe telling them semi-violent stories before bedtime isn't a good thing."
"I sure they'll be fine." Constance laughed. "I'm fairly sure they will behave themselves once Grelod returns."
I continued to look at them. They appeared to be arguing about who got to be the bandit leader.
"They're sweet kids. It's a shame no-one wants to adopt them." I said. It was a shame, really.
"It's really not a case of no-one wanted to adopt them..." Constance started, but her change in tone suggested she'd changed what se was going to say to something else. "Grelod loves the children dearly. She... can't bear to let them go."
I smiled, then looked back at the children. Luna held a stick and was pretending to hit the boys shouting 'I AM VALENTINE! YOU CAN'T BEAT ME!'
Runa then stopped, thought intensely for a second and then looked at me. "What is your first name captain Valentine?"
I smiled, then beckoned her over with my finger.
"If I tell you do you promise not to tell ANYONE else? It's our secret. Only us Captain's can know."
She nodded. I leaned over and whispered my name into her hear. She smiled an ear to ear grin.
"That's pretty!" Runa said before running back over to the others.
There was another moment of silence as we watched the children play.
"The children love your weekly visits, Captain." Constance informed me. "They always ask me when you're coming over. Itís gets rather annoying!"
I laughed, but I didn't look away from the kids, "Like I said, they're sweet kids. It's the least I could do."
After another peaceful silence I then started to tell Constance something really personal, and I wasn't sure why.
"I actually lived here for a while, you know."
"Really?" Constance said, genuinely surprised.
"Yeah," I nodded. "When I was a baby. I didn't stay here long though as my dad adopted me pretty much right away."
"That's so strange. I always thought Griffin was your biological father. You were so close."
"He needed an heir, someone to take his Captain title when he died, and for some reason he thought a girl would be better than a boy, so he chose me."
"And he raised you in battle?" She asked, she sounded slightly horrified.
"No... Well not all the time. The thing about dad was that he really wanted me to make my mark. He trained me to be the best I could be, and he taught me all about world. He wasn't just a father; he was a teacher... a friend."
The memory of my father sparked a moment of emotion. A short silence followed.
"You must miss him terribly." Constance said, a gentle tone to her voice.
As per usual I changed the subject. I couldn't appear vulnerable to anyone.
"Where is Grelod?"
"She is at the market. There is this new import of fruit that she wanted to try out..."
I didn't really listen to her as she mumbled on. I continued to look at the children. They were so happy. I wondered If my childhood had ever been that happy. I knew I loved my dad, but I wasn't sure if that was because I wanted to, or had to. Should I have been given a normal life? Maybe.
All I knew was that I was happy with the way my life turned out, and no amount of self doubt was about to change that.
"Good afternoon Captain!" Greeted Madesi; the Argonian who ran the jewellery stall in the market place. "What gives me the pleasure of your visit?"
"I was wondering if the necklaces I ordered have been made yet?"
"Ah yes!" He said, ducking down to grab two silver necklaces from his merchants chest. "Here they are."
He handed them to me and I smiled. They were truly beautiful.
"Each of the necklaces have been fused with a precious stone; a garnet for you and an amethyst for Arthur." He then grinned. "But they aren't your ordinary run of the mill precious stones."
I looked at him, curious. "Oh, no?"
"No. They are both a rare kind of stone that I had to use a lot of contacts to find. They are called 'Guardian Stones'."
"Really?" I said, confused. "They don't look like guardian stones."
"There are many kinds, you see. There are the Standing stones that dot Skyrim, and there are these. Apparently they have some form of enchantment; but what that is I do not know. But I am sure they will bring you luck."
I looked at the Necklaces thoughtfully and then smiled gratefully at Madesi.
"Thank you, Madesi. If there is anything else I can do to repay you for your kindness, let me know."
Madesi bowed his head and I waved, headed off. I decided to visit Grelka at her Armour store.
"Good afternoon Grelka, how are you?"
"If you're here to ask me to join the guard again you can forget it." said the aggressively charming Nord.
"No, I'm not. Just innocently asking how you are. That's all."
She gave me a look of suspicion, then answered. "I'm fine, I guess. Business is slow. Nobody seems to want to buy armour anymore."
"Oh that's a shame. I'm sure business will pick up eventually. Have you ever thought about a USP?"
"Of course I've though of a Unique Selling Point, but nobody seems to want to buy my armour made from skeever skulls."
I chuckled subtly to myself. "Maybe you should think of something else. Maybe you should offer training to anyone who wants it? You are very skilled in Light Armour."
A spark of brilliance appeared in her eyes. I'd obviously brought an idea to her that she was more than happy with.
"Business will pick up. I'm sure of it." I smiled. She didn't smile back, only nodded.
I continued my patrol, thinking about the necklaces that I held in my hand. The engagement necklaces I wanted to surprise Arthur with.
It was nearing 5pm, which meant that I only had an hour until I had to leave to complete Maven's errand. On the way back to Honeyside I bumped into Mjoll the Lioness, a proud warrior who appeared in Riften not long ago. I'd tried to recruit her with my guards, but she always refused, which was a shame. She would have been a powerful ally.
"Valentine, I have a question for you." Mjoll asked me.
"Okay, but it'll have to be quick." I informed her.
"Have you ever thought about venturing outside the city? Exploring the world?"
Her question was surprising and confusing at the same time.
"Um... not really. I have a duty here. Why?"
She looked disappointed at my response.
"No reason. It was nice to speak with you."
I watched as she headed back to her friend, Aerin. I laughed to myself at the weirdness of Mjoll.
I headed to Honeyside and entered the door, seeing Arthur sat at the dining table, eating.
"Hey honey, I'm home." I greeted him. I took off my boots and kissed him, joining him at the table.
"Good day?" He asked me.
"It was okay." I answered, stealing a piece of lettuce from his plate. "Madesi finally made our engagement necklaces."
I took the necklaces out of my pocket and plonked them on the table. Arthur picked up the one with the Amethyst and examined it.
"This is magnificent craftsmanship." He said, carefully spinning the pendant whilst holding the chain up. I gazed at him, smiling. His face was so serious. He then turned to me.
"I've been thinking."
"Careful. You don't want to strain yourself." I joked.
He laughed, putting the necklace back down on the table. He looked at me and held my hand.
"How about I come with you on your mission tonight?" He said.
"It's not really a mission. She just wants me to fetch something for her. She's too lazy, you see."
Arthur laughed again, "Still, i think it would be nice for both of us to get out of Riften for a little while."
I was unsure about his request. Maven seemed adamant that she only wanted me to fetch the papers. I didn't want to risk either of us getting into serious trouble for breaking the agreement.
I thought about it a moment and came to the realisation that I really didn't care what Maven thought. It's not like she was in charge. Besides, chances where she wouldn't even know Arthur came with me.
"Okay," I said, putting my head in my hands and my elbows on the table. "But it'll most likely just be a fetch and carry. Nothing too exciting."
"Meh, who wants excitement." He smiled.
I looked at him as he grinned at me. I chuckled to myself. "Alright then, you win. You can come with!"
Arthur and I entered fort Greenwall from the second story entrance. For some bizarre reason every door was locked, apart from that one.
We traversed through the Fort; it was eerily silent. There was nobody around. I expected a few bandits to have made residence here, but there was nothing.
"Are you sure this is the right place?" Arthur asked me as we walked through the unknown.
I turned to him, "Yeah, what makes you think that?"
He shrugged his shoulders, "I don't know," He then looked at me with a serious expression, "It's just odd how all the doors were locked and the key didn't work."
"That's just Maven. She'd DIE to protect those papers i reckon. She's gone all out to protect them."
"I guess, But didn't you say the papers were her sons? Why would Maven work so hard to protect them rather then just take them home?" Arthur replied, slightly unconvinced...
We continued to travel through the Fort. Every single door was locked with an unlockable lock; even my lock picking skills provided useless.
"This is too strange," Arthur proclaimed. "I've never known an abandoned Fort to be so... safe."
"Why are you so suspicious?" I asked him, confused and slightly curious.
"Why aren't you?" He asked.
We stopped walking; I put my hands on my hips and looked at him. "What is this Arthur? Are you worried or something?"
Arthur looked bedazzled, "What on Nirn would I be worried about?"
I said nothing, just glared at him with the question still in my eyes. Eventually he gave me an honest answer.
"I find it hard to understand why you are so quick to take every order? You're the captain! YOU give the orders."
I folded my arms and thought about how Iíd explain, "Yeah, I'm captain, but every boss has a boss. The citizens are my boss. If they make a request, I do it, it's literally as simple as that; unless it involves mud crabs.
Arthur sighed and then said nothing for a second. "I just worry that one day you'll take the wrong order and get yourself killed."
Although this comment could have been seen as incredibly insulting of my skill, I couldn't help but smile. I approached Arthur, grabbed his face and kissed him. When I pulled away we said nothing for a while, only smiled.
"Come on." I said, grabbing his hand and leading him down the corridor.
Eventually, after many failed unlocking attempts on previous ones, we found an unlocked door.
I turned to Arthur, "Bingo."
I opened the door to reveal a large room with only a single treasure chest at the end. By large, I mean HUGE; as easily as big as my entire house. Was it strange that the whole room had only a single chest? Maybe. Maybe Maven assumed that A chest in an empty room would be seem unimportant to potential thieves.
We walked over to the chest and I tried to open it. It was locked.
I huffed in frustration, then scratched my head.
"Maybe the key you have is for the chest?" Arthur suggested.
I smiled and squeezed his cheek, "This is why I love you!"
I took the key out of my pocket and put it in the chest. I turned the key to unlock the chest. Nothing happened. It didn't unlock or anything.
"Whatever. She probably gave me the wrong key. We'll head back and talk to her."
"Okay." Arthur replied.
We walked over to the door to leave the room, only to find that it was locked.
"What?" I said, frantically trying to open the door.
Then I heard the sound of clanging metal. I turned to see the ceiling literally raining men dressed in Black and Red garments. They all had weapons; they all looked at Arthur and I. It seemed they were lying in wait the whole time.Assassins.
I'd dealt with an Assassin of the Dark Brotherhood before. Someone had hired one to take out Haelga, but I managed to stop him just in time.
"You're here because I've killed one of yours, arenít you?"
Then, stupidly, one of the Assassins revealed the true contractor. He turned to his brother and said, "I thought it was because that Black-Brair woman hired us? Is this the wrong Valentine?"
In retaliation the questioned Assassin killed his blabbermouth accomplice with a throat slit.I should have known from the beginning.
Maven had set us up. For some reason she sent me here at this exact time to get me killed. It was clever. She'd rigged all the locks, and then the chest lock was wired to lock the room door when it was used; letting the assassins know we were trapped.
There must had been about twenty of them when I looked at Arthur as the Assassins glared at us with menace in there eyes. He looked at me, then without saying a word he unsheathed his sword. I looked back at the assassins, unsheathing my two swords for a dual wield.
"I'm sorry..." I said to Arthur with compassion. The man I loved warned me it probably wasn't safe. I should have trusted his judgement.
"Don't be sorry," He said. He then looked at me and smiled. "Be strong."
I smiled back, then looked at our foes. I led Arthur as we charged for an attack.This post has been edited by Rihanae: Jul 18 2012, 04:03 PM