A/N: This takes place during the main quest when you infiltrate the Thalmor Embassy and involves a main character from one of my other stories. It was inspired partly due to dialogue you can have with Maven if you are a member of the Thieves Guild and also my deep wish to tell her off.

)O(

Maven Black-Briar scanned the room. All the guests had arrived to Elenwen's little party, including that drunk Razelan and that insufferable Erikur. She looked down her nose as the latter tried unsuccessfully to chat up a serving girl. And of course there was the mad Jarl of Morthal, looking around and acting wiser than everyone else due to her supposed visions; her eyes met briefly with Maven's before the most powerful woman in Riften looked away.

Hello, what's this...? Someone new walked in the door. Elenwen went immediately to greet the late guest, smiling falsely. She was a Dunmer, which wasn't particularly surprising; most elves had plenty of reason to be sympathetic to the Thalmor agenda. Yet she still seemed out of place here. It was evident in the clothes she wore, how her left hand absently sought the comforting hilt of a sword that wasn't there, and the way she kept one eye on Elenwen while the other strayed to the Bosmer serving drinks and the door behind him.

After Elenwen presumably got bored of their conversation, the Dunmer walked over to the bar and exchanged a few hushed words with the servant, then asked for a drink somewhat loudly. It was when she made her way over that Maven realized who she was. Maven had never seen Skyrim's most infamous thief besides the legendary Grey Fox without her hood before, but there was no mistaking that scar across her cheek.

"I didn't know you had dealings with the Thalmor." the Dunmer said, her voice suggesting a humorous coincidence but her eyes betraying the fact that she wasn't pleased to run into someone who knew her and her business.

"Have you learned nothing of me? I have dealings with everyone. And the Thalmor are not people you want as enemies." Maven watched Maggot Sathren's face over the rim of her goblet, but nothing changed. A master of neutral expressions, that woman was.

"Are you here on guild business?" the guild master asked next.

Maven tensed. "Do not speak of the guild here. Part of having dealings with everyone is not letting all your connections become aware of the others." After a moment's pause she asked: "Are you?"

"Hard to say. I could be here on Dark Brotherhood business, who knows?" Maggot smiled deviously.

"I could reveal your lies right now, you know."

"Ah, but would you risk losing such a valuable partnership?" She wasn't sure if the Dunmer was referring to Maven's alliance with the Thieves Guild or the Thalmor. "Not to mention all your worldly possessions and probably your life. Besides, you don't really know why I'm here. My invitation is real and I'm an elf of some standing, at least in Riften and Whiterun and in more shrouded circles. You kept the guild afloat before I came along; I'm thankful for that, truly I am."

"I—" she began, but Maggot cut her off. No one had ever interrupted Maven Black-Briar.

"But you're not vital anymore, not in a world with more luck and dragons in it. Your employees are afraid of you, so is everyone else in Riften, but you didn't earn it. You once told me about your connections to the guild and the brotherhood, that you have the jarl's ear and the guards in your pocket. Well guess what? So do I. By the way, you're nothing but a client to the Dark Brotherhood, and we have lots of those now. You can send the Thalmor after me, but I think they'll already want me dead in a few minutes."

Despite herself, Maven was...impressed, actually. She'd apparently seriously underestimated the woman, or maybe the Dunmer had learned a thing or two. Clearly it wasn't all talk; she wouldn't be able to retaliate. It angered Maven and wounded her pride, but she did not particularly desire to challenge someone who regularly slayed dragons and somehow rose through the ranks of Tamriel's most feared guilds. More importantly, she'd done all of it herself.

"Good luck to you, then." Maven said grudgingly. "And may our partnership be a long one, for both our sakes."

"Thank you. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think Razelan is about to propose a toast..."

The drunk stood up and started rambling on about Elenwen and how everyone here tonight were figuratively in bed with her, as if that were something to drink to. Then again, the disgusting man would probably drink to anything. After he was escorted out, no one seemed to notice the Dunmer's absence.

Maven didn't know what Maggot was planning nor if she should hope for her success or failure. People were to be tolerated at the best of times; she was used to them being below her, and now one had actually managed to surpass her level of influence. Maven Black-Briar disliked feeling helpless. Since she could not glare at the feeling until it went away or send assassins after it, she opted to ignore it and have another drink.