Disclaimer: I don't own Hieronymus Lex or anything Oblivion-related. That's a good thing.
A note from the publisher:
This journal was discovered in the possession of an Imperial City beggar. We do not know how it made its journey from a Watch Captain's desk into a beggar's hands, but considering the source material it is probably not hard to imagine several scenarios. The journal appears to have been written shortly before Emperor Uriel Septim's assassination in 3E 433, and nothing has been edited apart from correcting a few spelling mistakes. This is the only entry.
What a day! By the Nine, this job will be the death of me.
The morning started off well enough. I strapped on my armour (polished to a professional sheen, of course), stopped to see Jensine (ahh, Jensine! But a moment in the presence of her glorious visage is worth dying for!) and began my rounds. A wonderful start to the day!
Then, while I was keeping an eye on the beggars in the Market District (filthy things. Rumour has it that they're in league with the Gray Fox! Disgraceful!), Thoronir approached me. He owns the Copious Coinpurse, which is, of course, not nearly as magnificent a shop as Jensine's.
Anyhow. The Bosmer looked harassed and worried, and was obviously in need of my help. "Mr. Lex," he began, but I stopped him for a moment.
"Please. No formalities are necessary here, citizen. Just call me Captain Hieronymus."
The Bosmer looked confused, and gaped at me for a moment (likely stunned by my heroic appearance and noble bearing. It can be a curse to be so stunning, you know). "Alright..." he said. "Well, anyway. I would like to report a theft. A sum of 300 Septims was taken from my shop sometime yesterday evening."
"O-HO!" I cried, placing my hands on my hips. I didn't need my legendary powers of deduction to work this out! "This is clearly the work of the Gray Fox. You came to me because you know that he fears the great Hieronymus Lex above all others, I assume?"
"Something like that," replied Thoronir. Honestly, Bosmer are so dense sometimes.
I accompanied Thoronir to his shop, and surveyed the scene of the crime. There were no obvious signs of a break-in - no broken glass, no discarded lockpicks... Nothing. Something did seem out of place, though. But what?
"Ah! I see the thief left behind these!" I declared, picking up a discarded pair of gray trousers from the floor. "Yes, very clever. For if the Gray Fox was to walk out of here fully-clothed, people would notice. There would be an outcry! People would call for me to arrest him in an instant." I nodded to myself, imagining the uproar if the Gray Fox was to simply saunter around the Imperial City like that. "However! If he was to firstly remove his trousers, then people would only notice an odd man running around in his undergarments. All other aspects of his appearance would be overlooked. Thus, there would be no witnesses against the Gray Fox! A genius move. I would expect no less from my arch-nemesis."
Oh, journal. I even impress myself, sometimes.
Thoronir stared at me, stunned once more by my knowledge of the criminal mind's inner workings. He gaped for a full minute, which I found quite annoying, frankly. I know that those with less impressive credentials are bound to be starstruck by my genius sometimes, but by the Nine! I have better things to be doing with my time!
He plucked the trousers from my hands. "Ah, actually... These are part of my shop stock. They were on the counter, here. I simply swept them aside while I was looking for my money."
Alas! This was an unexpected development. I set my magnificent theory to one side for now (the Gray Fox may use it one day. I must remember to order guards to keep an eye on anyone roaming the city in their underwear). "So the despicable thief didn't leave here without any trousers," I mused. "Interesting..." I continued to search the shop for clues, determined to find something that would, at last, lead me to the elusive Gray Fox.
Allow me to elaborate on the rivalry between him and myself, for a moment. You see, the Gray Fox has been a thorn in my side ever since I was promoted to Captain in the Imperial Guard. It's elementary, really - he steals things onmy turf, and so he makes an enemy of me! An enemy he will bitterly lament making when he is rotting away in a jail cell, I tell you. For it is my own personal mission to rid Cyrodiil - no, the whole of Tamriel! - of the Gray Fox and his rotten guild of thieves once and for all! Yes. This journal will record our many battles so that when I succeed at last, I can publish the tales of my epic struggle for the world to read. One day he will be captured and brought to justice, all in the name of Hieronymus Lex, Hero!
That has such a dashing ring to it, I must say. I must ask people to call me that from now on.
Anyway! My search was proving fruitless, and I must confess that I was beginning to feel a touch disheartened by the whole affair. Plus, it was past lunchtime already. It isn't easy to hunt for clues while one is hungry, of course. I sighed and turned back to Thoronir, who was munching an apple. Blasted Bosmer could have offered me one! Alas, he must have been too intimidated by my godlike magnificence. "When did you say you last saw the missing money?" I asked.
"Yesterday evening. I left it on the shop counter while I took a quick trip outside to meet with my new supplier. The coins were all gone when I got back."
"Your supplier..." I mused, and stroked my chin thoughtfully (that makes me look really intelligent. I should try doing it in front of Jensine). "He wouldn't happen to be a man all dressed in gray, would he? Cowl over his head? Possibly in his undergarments?"
"No," replied the Bosmer. "He's blonde and tends to wear black clothing. No cowl. Always wears pants. Honestly, Captain, do you really think that I would do business with the Gray Fox?"
My eyes flashed menacingly (I imagine) as I glared down at Thoronir (I can be really impressive when I glare like that. Perhaps something else to show Jensine?). "How did you know I was talking about the Gray Fox?" I boomed. "Seen him, have you? Had personal contact and recognized the description from seeing him at your many meetings? O-HO! I see! You're one of the Thieves Guild! Did you think I wouldn't find out, scum?!"
Thoronir looked affronted and said something about "wanted posters all over town" (why would he want posters...? I must remember to investigate this further), but was spared further questioning by someone entering the shop. It was my secret love, a vision of comely beauty! The lovely Jensine!
"Good day, Thoronir. And... oh, it's you," she mumbled. See how she is too bashful to even speak my name! And she glared at me too, obviously to mask her burning love for me. One day there will be no need to hide it, my sweet! "Did you get my note?" she asked, looking back at the Bosmer.
"Note?" he asked, confused. I admit to being a tad concerned at the time that she meant a love-note, but my fears were thankfully unfounded. Imagine, the lovely Jensine sending love-notes to other men in an attempt to play hard-to-get! Such tactics are beneath her.
"Yes. I left you a note over here," she replied, motioning towards the clothing display that the trousers had apparently fallen from earlier. "You left a lot of money out on the countertop, and left the door unlocked! Anyone would have strolled in and taken it! So I hid it in a drawer, and left a note to tell you where it was." Jensine opened a drawer, revealing the lost money. "I don't see the note, is it lost? I also wrote that I'd like to speak to you about the Society of Concerned Merchants."
"STOLEN!" I roared, making the two jump. "Someone must have stolen the note that you left! This is an outrage. I blame the Gray Fox," I growled, setting my face into what I imagine was a very fierce and heroic expression.
Jensine stared at me, awed. "I'm sure the wind just blew it out of sight or something," she said. Poor naive Jensine! She can never understand just how devious and cunning the Gray Fox is, of course. Bless her innocent soul!
I said my farewells and took my leave, beginning the long walk back to the barracks. The search for Jensine's note would have to wait for now, as I was tired and hungry. I met a younger guard on the way to my quarters who was complaining of overcrowding in the prison. "It's mad," he whined. "The prison is totally full. We have to stop imprisoning people for every trivial little offense!"
"Nonsense. Crime isnever trivial," I said, impressively. "Just throw the next prisoner into the off-limits cell. The one opposite Dreth. Nobody will mind. I mean, it isn't as if it's ever used for anything, is it?"
On this, I then retired to my quarters for a well-deserved rest. I had been planning to drink my last bottle of the finest Cyrodilic Brandy, but found myself too exhausted to do so. So, I believe I shall sleep now and recharge before I go to hunt for Jensine's note. Another quest for the Heroic Hieronymus! Huzzah!
So farewell for now, oh journal! I shall awaken refreshed and able. The Gray Fox should watch out, for this may be the day that I bring him to justice at last!
- Captain Hieronymus Lex,
Hero and Paragon of Justice
The brandy was delicious. Thankyou very much for saving it for me. I also appreciate you leaving this out on your desk for me to read - it's a magnificent work of comedy, well done! However, I shall not be taking your advice on roaming the streets pantsless - I have it on good authority that you and your guards would be alerted very quickly by the uncovered buttocks of any young men in the area, and I would not want to draw unnecessary attention to myself or my rear. I'm sure that you understand my concern.
The Gray Fox
P.S. Jensine's "innocent soul" isn't as pure as you think it is, if you take my meaning. An associate of mine has first-hand knowledge! If you would like the details, you need only ask the local beggars. You'll find them very obliging. Farewell!