The Blades are an odd sort of organization. What the common people of Cyrodiil usually see, the public face of the Blades, is rather different from what I see and experience as an actual member of the Blades. When most people think of the Blades, if they think of us at all, they think of the Emperor’s guards—literally knights in shining armor. My armor, to say the least, doesn’t shine. My colleagues have always been spies. No Emperors to guard in Morrowind, after all. So there we have the big distinction—knights and spies, under one roof.
And then there’s me. There must be other assassins in the employ of the Blades, but I’ve never met any save for Sethyas Velas but he doesn’t really count. The normal rules don’t apply to reincarnated Dunmer heroes. But back to my problem. I’m an assassin. I kill people. Killing people can be difficult, in its way, but there is a certain simplicity to the art as I have always practiced it. The process, as I see it, can be broken down into five steps.
1. Receive the name of the target.
2. Find the target.
3. Eliminate the target.
4. Get out alive.
5. Get paid.
Some readers might protest that killing people isn’t that simple. “What about morality?”, they ask. That’s a good question. It is best ignored.
But I digress. What I am trying to say is this: when Adamus Phillida left that infirmary, I was left with a problem. In order to kill members of the Mythic Dawn, I needed to find out who they were. In short, I had to become a spy. Spies need information. Getting information is complicated, much more complicated than simply hunting down and killing those who inconvenience the Empire. Worse, the information I needed was held by Adamus Phillida—a stubborn man holding a very important letter. To do my duty as a Blade, I needed that letter. And to get that letter, I was going to have to compromise my other mission.
Of course, I hated my other mission. Maybe this wasn’t so complicated after all.
I stepped out into the open air, shielded my eyes from the mid-morning sun, and found the office of Commander Adamus Phillida. I found him inside, sitting at a desk of fine mahogany and waiting. “Listen,” I said, “I’ll tell you what I can but first I’ve got to set the ground rules. One, I can’t tell you exactly how I found out what I know. Two, if I anything I tell you leaves this room, and I get in trouble because of it, I will make you disappear. If you can’t agree to those conditions, then we have nothing to discuss. Fair enough?”
“Fair enough,” Phillida said. “Have a seat and tell me why the Blades are suddenly interested in the Dark Brotherhood. They never seemed to care before, but then a few weeks ago, out of the blue, I started getting tips. Some fellow up in Bruma.”
I searched Phillida’s words for a trap. It was easy enough to find and avoid. “While I can never be absolutely certain about our motives—we are spies, after all—I’d say that we’re interested in the Brotherhood for the same reason you’re worried about them. We don’t want them feeding off all the panic and confusion going around. We thought it prudent to keep tabs on them.”
“But you can’t tell me how you’re doing that.”
“Of course not. It would compromise the mission.”
“I think I can guess,” Phillida said. His eyes registered no emotion. “Earlier I mentioned that we had a killing in the prison,” he said, changing the subject. “Any idea who would have commissioned that?”
“Who was it that got killed?”
Phillida’s expression told me that he thought I knew damn well the name of the victim. Not unexpected. He said, “The victim was Valen Dreth, career criminal. A nobody. He’d been locked up a long time. Still, I don’t like the Dark Brotherhood operating in my backyard.”
“Dreth, eh? I heard something about it. But I’m guessing here. I’d investigate the prison guards, and maybe someone who had good reason to keep Dreth from seeing the light of the day.” I added, “But I bet you’ve been doing that anyway.”
“Yes. We have. Do you know of any upcoming commissions in the City? Anybody important in the Brotherhood’s sights?”
I sighed, “No, anybody important we already would have dealt with. That’s the whole point. And,” I added, lying, “no upcoming work in the Imperial City. That I know of. I don’t hear everything, you know.”
“Can you give me any names? Locations?”
I shook my head.
“You can’t tell me.”
I shook my head again. “I wish. Most I can say is that you’re not likely to find any based here. I don’t know of any assassins worked out of the Imperial City.”
Phillida, unsatisfied, stood up from his chair and began pacing around the room. “I’m not sure why I should hand over this letter. I had hoped that you might give me at least one good lead. As I said earlier, I’m retiring soon. I’ve fought the Dark Brotherhood nigh on thirty years now—and I want to win.”
“Look Phillida, you’ve got your duty and I’ve got mine. I’m sympathetic to your aim, but I’ve given you all the help I can. I’ve got zero interest in getting myself kicked out of the Blades, just because you won’t give me a bloody letter. If you don’t want to give it to me, I’ll just take it.”
Phillida snorted. “Just take it?”
Grinning wickedly, I pulled a set of keys out of my pockets. “Same way I got these,” I said. I held up one key. “This one opens the front door of the prison.” Another. “This one opens your office.” One more. “This one opens the city armory. You see how easy it would be for a fellow of my talents?”
“I wondered where those had gotten off to,” Phillida said. “Now I know. That was you, here, the day Valen Dreth was murdered in his cell.” His face was turning red. “Tipped us off to the wood elf in Bruma and killed a man under our very noses on the same bloody day. Clever.” He crumpled up some paper into a ball and tossed it down at my feet. “You can have your letter, Blade. But you'd best pray our paths don’t cross again.”
This post has been edited by canis216: Apr 3 2010, 02:56 AM