Stepping into the orphanage, I was met with a terrible, and yet, happy sight.
Grelod the Kind was dead. I am stunned by this turn of events.*
I asked about it to the children, who had just gotten up. They said they didn't know, but that Grelod usually makes breakfast for herself in the morning, and that it looks like she died of natural causes. They said that she usually drank a solution every morning as she had pains in her chest. One little boy spoke up.
"I saw Grelod clutch her chest before she fell over!"
A warm feeling swept over me, and I felt that Kyne was reassuring me. A heart disease then. Something that had festered for a long time and was probably kept at bay by her solutions she drank. Looks like the most recent drought didn't help her. Thank Kyne, I don't have to kill her.
I then realize that I am at the scene of what appears to be murder, and I rush out, stumbling over my own feet as I push the front doors open.
The marketplace is nearby, and I scuttle over there, hoping to look non-suspicious.
Um, excuse me? I worked hard for my coin, killing animals left and right! Okay, maybe a bit of taking things off of dead bodies, but it's not like they were using anything!
Well, even after being rude, I suppose a simple delivery job will be ok.
I hate Riften. Everything is just so shady. NO! Madesi is nice, there's no way I'd ever steal from him!
Marise is an interesting vendor. She uses ground-up Ice Wraith teeth as a preservative for her foods, so she can actually boast that she has the freshest fruits available.
I went ahead and accepted this quest to get some extras for her, because I'm sure I can buy them somewhere eventually. Or find them. I'm certainly not going out of my way to kill Ice Wraiths.
I do a bit of hunting and exploring outside of the city, as it's still early and I wanted to hang around for a day before heading back to Windhelm.
I help her out with her harvest, expressly ignoring her desired quest.
Hope this isn't a bandit camp...
Ah! Fellow hunters! How be ye? They don't have much to say, so I continue hunting. They spot a fox running off though, and set after it pretty quick.
Nothing like wild horses running around to give you a smile.
I head back into the city to the tavern, I believe it's called the Bee and Barb.
Despite being shady, I like the atmosphere in taverns.
NO! No shady deals!
Since there was a follower of Mara here, I donate what I can to the temple.
One rented room later, I'm snoozing away, preparing for my day-long trip tomorrow back to Windhelm.
Before I hit the road the next morning, I stop by Madesi's stall and let him know I'll try and help him out. He's pretty grateful, and gives me a list of things to find. Two flawless sapphires, a mammoth tusk, and a chunk of gold ore. Sure, I'll keep my eye on--
ANOTHER mammoth tusk! Come on, that's sorta risking life and limb there! I grumble to myself and remind myself to really do some training to go head to head with those things.
Hey look, these guys again. Bothering a woman. Again. I give them a harsh glare I go by and they disperse quickly.
Okay, these guys seem fun.
A bit close to the giant camp to be drinking, but sure, whatever floats your boat, I guess.
Free drink! Can't turn that down!
Right before I hit Windhelm, I run into a little inn and some farmland around it, kind of tucked away out of sight.
Inside was a very easy quest to just talk to some guy about him not having to pay his bill. Didn't get much for it, but my speech improved.
Finally back in Windhelm, I put my horse at the stable (really need to name him) and head into the city to find the boy.
I nod at his question and he hops up and down and yells in excitement. "Aha! I knew you could do it! I just knew it! I knew the Dark Brotherhood would save me!"
I shook my head. "No, I didn't kill her. The Dark Brotherhood didn't kill her. She was already dead when I got there."
He stopped jumping around and looked at me, confused. "Then....how? Who killed her?"
"I think Kynareth did," I answered truthfully, as that was my belief on the matter. "She just keeled over and died while making breakfast. I had asked her for help with the problem the night before I went to see Grelod."
Aventus sat down on a nearby chair. "So...the Black Sacrament...never worked?"
"No, the Dark Brotherhood did not hear you. They are mostly disbanded anyway, just mercenaries and thieves work for them. Their code is no longer followed--they've been struggling for survival since the Third Era. And the Great War wiped out all of their hideouts. There is no one, anymore, just don't think about them. Don't give them a greater name than they deserve."
Aventus nodded. "I understand. I'll go ahead and head back to the orphanage when everything is sorted out with Grelod."
I give him enough coin for the carriage ride to Riften and head back out of the house, confidant that I had done the best I could for the situation.
After that, I found a wood chopping area so I could replenish my firewood supply after my last camping session in the woods.
Outta the way, grandpa!
I also make some improvements on my gear and weapons.
Tomorrow I'll head to Darkwater Crossing to deliver the woman's goods to her parents, and then probably head back to Whiterun and inquire about a house. I can only live out of inns for so long.
Part 6 ----- Part 8
*You might be wondering about the Grelod issue. Due to the way Skyrim works, she is basically necessary to kill to start a quest that I want to go through. However, Markus doesn't kill people unnecessarily. Yes, he will fight back and kill if need be, but he won't go up to an old woman and completely destroy her in cold blood. So...think of this as divine intervention, developer console style.*