"It's a good thing, this orphanage. What do you think we should name it?" Alvoid asked his pregnant wife, approvingly looking the brand-new building up and down. The wind rustled her raven locks a bit before she turned and smiled at him. "I don't know, love. Whatever we choose should emit an aura of Nordic culture." "How about..." Alvoid thought for a moment, stroking his scruffy beard. "Honorhall Orphanage. That's definitely the one, Grelod." He smiled, taking his wife's hands in his as they locked eye contact. "Honorhall Orphanage it shall be, then. This is going to be a wonderful place to take in children. We'll never see another poor, starving orphan upon the streets again." She replied, closing her eyes as she listened to the unusually quiet yet pleasant atmosphere in Riften.
Three months later, the couple had happily sent a young Bosmer girl by the name of Wyanlir off to her new parents' home. As the girl looked back at Alvoid and Grelod, she smiled as if to thank them for all the help and care they'd given her at her time at Honorhall. Their orphanage was so successful in so little time that all the orphans it had ever housed had been adopted into new, loving homes of families who would love them unconditionally for the rest of their lives.
"It looks like we're going to have a lot of time on our hands," Constance Michel, the 16-year-old assistant, declared. "I haven't picked up any letters from the courier lately. It seems that there are no longer any orphans in any of the nine holds." She exchanged smiles with Grelod and Alvoid, proud that their humble little orphanage had been so successful in rescuing orphaned children from the harsh world of Skyrim. "It's a good thing, too. The baby is due any day now." Grelod smiled, holding her swelling stomach. Constance and Alvoid gave each other a grin, excited at the prospect of the child's arrival. "He's going to be a strong one. I can tell this one's going to be a leader someday." Alvoid proudly declared, kneeling down to listen to the baby in Grelod's stomach.
The next week, as Constance had predicted, no new orphans arrived. Grelod had noticed her husband becoming unusually distant. Initially, she thought nothing of it, but when he continuously snuck out late at night, the slight curiosity that had formed in her mind began to grow into suspicion.
After Alvoid had crept out of their room for the twenty-first time, Grelod decided she'd had enough of his mysterious disappearances. She eased out of bed, putting a hand on her aching back. Pregnancy certainly did have its drawbacks. She slipped out of her nightgown and into her daytime dress, popping her feet into her simple brown shoes. She quietly opened her creaky wooden door and crept through the hall to the front door. As soon as she put her hand on the doorknob, a quiet patter of footsteps echoed in the halls, stopping behind her.
"Ma'am? What are you doing up so late at night?" Grelod turned around to see Constance, eyeing her superior curiously. "Dammit." Grelod muttered under her breath. "Alvoid has been...well, sneaking off at night with no explanation. I'm sick of it, and I want some answers now. I'm going to find him." Constance nodded, very well aware of the risks of aggravating a pregnant woman. "I'm not going to get in your way, ma'am. That's the last thing I would want to do. I'm coming with you." "Are you sure?" "Absolutely. Riften isn't a safe city, and there's no telling what could happen to a defenseless, pregnant woman wandering the streets alone at night."
The two women stepped out into the frosty air of Skyrim, the wind blowing bitterly as a storm slowly rolled in. "We'd better find Alvoid before the storm gets here. Wouldn't want you to catch a cold." Constance gave a reassuring smile to the heavily pregnant woman. "Our best bet is to search the tavern. He had a drinking problem a while back, but now he usually likes to head down to the Bee and Barb for a only drink or two." Grelod explained, looking over at the tavern, the windows brightly lit. "Alright. We'd better hurry."
Constance entered the Bee and Barb first, stopping in her tracks immediately. "What's wrong, girl? Let's keep moving." "Oh, Gods. Oh, Gods." Constance murmured quietly, tears beginning to fill her eyes. Grelod stepped into the tavern and closed the door behind her. When she turned around, her heart nearly stopped.
Alvoid merrily laughed, taking a big swig of wine before offering some to the young woman on his lap. The woman was dressed in a light red outfit, though it did a poor job of covering her. She eagerly accepted the wine before Alvoid put the empty bottle down, bringing his lips to her for a passionate kiss. Grelod's heart broke at the sight. He kissed the girl more passionately than he had ever kissed her. "Alvoid!" She yelled, shuddering with anger, sadness, and heartbreak. Alvoid froze, his face paling. Simultaneously, he and the young woman craned their necks. "How...how could you?!" Grelod roared, Constance giving a frightened squeak as she hid in the corner. Grelod wasn't even angry at her, and she was absolutely petrified.
By then, the entire bar had caught on to what was happening. The people murmured disapprovingly, occasionally languidly shouting at Alvoid, asking how he could betray his pregnant wife. The young woman, not knowing what to do, hopped off the married man's lap and darted out the back door of the bar. "Alvoid, I...I thought you loved me." Grelod balled her fists, holding back tears. Alvoid's eyes sank, and he mumbled something incoherent under his breath before shooting up from his seat and dashing up the stairs. "Alvoid! ALVOID! Get back here!" Grelod yelled. She ran up the stairs and watch Alvoid run into a room, locking the door behind him.
Grelod stormed up to the door and pounded on it furiously. "Open the door, dammit! I just want to talk to you! We can work this out, I love you!" She yelled, getting choked up in her words. "I'm sorry, Grelod." He mumbled. Grelod heard the scraping of a chair against the floor. "Are you barricading this door? Please, just let me in and we'll talk!" Grelod cried, tears of frustration spilling out onto her cheeks. She wiped the salty tears away and marched downstairs to the innkeeper, who raised his hand, stopping the pregnant woman cold. "You don't need to say anything. I've got a key right here." He explained, tossing her a brass key.
Grelod marched up the stairs, giving Constance a look of sadness as she cowered in the corner. She approached the door and brushed her raven locks out of her face before inhaling deeply. "Alvoid, I love you. I'm unbelievably angry at you for your disloyalty, but I know we can work this out. If you've barricaded the door, please just take everything down and let me in."
Grelod exhaled, exasperated. She put the key in the lock and turned it, opening the door.
"ALVOID, WHAT THE HELL?!" She gasped, putting a hand to her mouth.
Alvoid dangled from a makeshift noose of bedsheets tied to the wooden beams of the ceiling. The chair she had heard scraping against the floor lay on the ground, overturned. Grelod slowly walked in, tears flooding down her cheeks. "WHY?!"
Grelod gave a cry of pain, clutching her stomach tightly. She put her hand against the door frame, weakly holding herself up. She felt the unmistakable clenching of contractions. She could hear footsteps rapidly ascending the wooden stairs. "Oh, Gods! Alvoid!" Constance yelled, discovering the gruesome sight of Alvoid's corpse. "Grelod, are you alright?" Constance asked, tears in her eyes. "I'm having the baby!" "Someone help! Grelod is having her baby!"
Several agonizing hours later, Grelod rested in her bed at the orphanage with her new baby boy. "He's beautiful, Grelod." Constance smiled, looking at the gurgling baby boy. "He's not my child anymore." "What?" "He's not my child anymore!" Grelod roared. "Take him out of this room and leave me be! I'm disowning him!" The rivers of tears began to roll down her cheeks once more. Constance hurriedly picked up the baby. "But what about his name?" "I don't give a rat's ass about him anymore. You decide. Let's see if anyone comes to adopt this riffraff." Grelod snarled. Constance began to sob, quickly leaving the room. "And never tell him who his parents are." "What do I tell him?!" Constance asked, choking back tears. "Tell him his father's gone." Grelod murmured, before raising her voice once more. "And tell him his mother died when he was born."
Grelod's words had some truth to them. She hadn't actually died, but on the inside, she was too far gone.
That night, Constance Michel named the baby Samuel, after her own father.
Twelve years later, Grelod's hair had turned white from stress, and her face grew wrinkly from excessively frowning. Shortly after Samuel's birth, she had selfishly disallowed adoption of any orphans that showed up at Honorhall Orphanage. She berated the four orphans at Honorhall as well as beat them. She didn't hold back her abusive nature when it came to Samuel. If anything, she hated him a little more than the others, even Aventus Aretino, the boy who had escaped and fled to Windhelm.
One fateful day, Grelod had just wrapped up threatening the orphans, Constance looking on with sorrow, when a hooded stranger entered the orphanage, wielding an unsheathed daedric dagger. The mysterious visitor approached Grelod immediately. Grelod sourly glared at the intruder. "What do you want? You have no business being in here." She frowned, crossing her arms. "Aventus Aretino says hello." The shadowy stranger replied before plunging their dagger into her skull.
A/N: Thank you for reading this one-shot. Be sure to check out my other Skyrim stories Where The Cold Awaits and Shambles Of A Dying World. I advise you to read Where The Cold Awaits first, though, since the second story is a sequel to it.