Middas: Day the First of Rain's Hand; Fourth Era Two Hundred and One.
Today marks the first day of the fourth month named Rain's Hand. I do not wish to record any of my plans, should one of my peers discover this journal's existence before I have the opportunity to utilize them, but I intend to use this month efficiently, and it is befitting that Sapphire finally showed her face in the Cistern this morning. She is infinitely prettier than I am now, as a long pink gash has developed across my face since our last encounter over one month ago.
Her smug look as she saw this scar was a hard target to resist and my good fingers twitched in excitement to land a punch there. A good bruise or broken nose would certainly fix the recently mentioned issue regarding vanity, and perhaps settle the scores in that regard. (At least until the damage healed.) I may not be an Altmer, but my appearance was, until recently, a point of pride, which is unfortunate to admit, but I digress.
I can tell you now that my thoughts have been absent from this journal for a very good reason, so I wish you not to be offended. I am feeling out of sorts, and as you can see, my writing is not its usual script, but shaky and barely legible. She decided to crack the bones in my fingers when I went to reach for one of my daggers, and I haven't been able to do anything since. That's the reason why I haven't written down a single word until now, and I believe it is a sufficient reason not to do so.
The last month has been regrettable. The first several days after the incident proved dull, and were spent resting. It is lucky that I developed a small relationship with the alchemist living opposite the sewers, and it had been there I had stayed until he was adequately sure my wounds would not become infected.
The remaining days after that week up until now were spent avoiding the people of Riften, as they were now frightened by the sudden shift in my appearance and feared the worst. You could say my cover had been blown completely, as I had obviously tangled with the wrong sort of people and come out the weaker. Any not affected by my brief stint of crime in the city had now heard rumors, or saw my face.
As of my presence in the Guild itself, glorified rumors which were circulating upon my arrival have long since died out and I have, more or less, become part of the common rabble. I have not spoken with any of the members which were pleasant with me on my first days here, and it is safe to say that I am now as celebrated as a Skeever stealing from the stores.
In the same way the residents of Riften whispered about my tangle with a bad people, I can only assume my fellow thieves thought opposite. I should probably have showed up earlier, because if I were them, I would assume I had been caught by one righteous authority or another, roughed up and thrown in a jail cell. I certainly would not be expecting a bad apple in the barrel, which sunk a dagger in another apple's back.
That was a horrible metaphor. I apologise, they are not my strong suit. I apparently forget that apples do not have hands…or backs.
Since, I have dwelled quietly amongst them and became appreciative of their indifferent natures. Still, no one knows the extent of my injuries beyond myself, Sapphire and the alchemist who tended them. I shall not even describe all of them here, but you now know about my scar and my broken fingers.
What became of the gold I had gained during my first days in Riften was an anomaly. It had not appeared to have gone to the Guild, that much was obvious, though it probably had not remained with Sapphire either, as she appeared no more or less rich. I could only assume she had a large stash somewhere, or some large debts. This was a thought which I have ruminated upon since.
It is safe to say that I have taken quite a few steps backwards since my arrival in Riften and am almost ready to admit that I was better off in Cyrodiil.
Anyway, I suppose it is time to get back into action and put down the quill to nap, or something. My hand is starting to hurt, and the quality and subject of my writing is beginning to fall prey to the loopy effects of the potions the Alchemist has given me. Perhaps I'll improve upon his recipe.
Turdas: Day the Second of Rain's Hand; Fourth Era Two Hundred and One.
It is shocking that Sapphire had the audacity to approach me this afternoon, as it appears it was not clear that I had remained silent. She is a curious Nord, and I am quickly coming to learn that her only consistency is her mistrust of everyone around her. This is a problem in my regard, and I must now proceed with doubled caution, as any misstep in my plans will be noticed and reacted on.
On a slightly happier note, I have successfully completed my first job in the Guild in a month. Unfortunately, it was one which had been passed off so many times that the original distributor of the job was no longer known, and I cannot hope to receive recognition for my efforts. Regardless, I needed the practice, as my execution was not even a shadow of what it was before. It was nice to earn my keep in the Guild, anyway, and I no longer live in fear of losing my bed.
Scratch that last comment. I found some bright-eyed inductee lying in my bed not one hour after I wrote that sentence, and am beginning to think there is some twisted force working against me at the moment. I heard a rumor that this very person is the new savior of the Guild, and am beginning to think this hope belongs to every new face. I am slightly insulted, but also plan to fiercely take that challenge and rip it to shreds. I think I'll start by throwing my boot up the arseholes behind.
Morndas: Day the Sixth of Rain's Hand; Fourth Era Two Hundred and One.
I revisited the alchemist I mentioned previously, and he says my wounds have healed nicely. The balm he had applied to help with the process had almost halved the time necessary to recuperate and the scarring is far more subtle than could have been hoped for. He called the concoction a 'disinfectant', something he had invented himself. I swear that man is going to be worth at least a hundred thousand Septims one day. Or, if I make the sum first, I'll appropriate it to him for his genius.
The only dark clouds which have not begun to recede since the event seem to be the darkest. I attempted to speak with Delvin Mallory today, whilst I passed him in the Flagon, but again he would not even utter a single word to me, and I began to fear the worst. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Sapphire in the shadows, her eyes set upon me as her fingers played with a stack of coins. I can only guess what this activity symbolized to her, but I assumed she was privy to a game of cat and mouse.
So, like the proper thief I was, I stopped moaning and utilized my skills to gain access to a rather juicy bit of information which I can solidly bet my life would put me back in the guild's good graces.
I can only hope I do not get killed in the process.
Middas: Day the Eighth of Rain's Hand; Fourth Era Two Hundred and One.
"Word on the street says Goldenglow's been hit."
Those were the first words I had heard uttered by the red-headed Nord in just over a month, and I could barely keep my emotions in check. It had been beyond a struggle. Every time I drew my bow to let an arrow fly into the bandit who stood between me and the look on Sapphire's face after she hears of what I am capable of once I am actually prepared for a fight, I was reminded of how she had bested me.
Aringoth, a curious man who had given several sell-swords the job of protecting a couple of bees, was too busy being cowardly to notice the fact that I had essentially put him out of business in little more than four hours and in the process made him the target of my frustrations. I had kept him alive, not just as required of me, but to spread the pain which I was wallowing in. I guess I am petty for that, but let us not linger on my faults.
Unfortunately, Sapphire had left on one of her many excursions from the city when I returned and though I was disappointed, I reminded myself that she had to eventually return and I would wait until then to receive the reward which so motivated me to win.
To say my success came unexpectedly was the understatement of the Era. I am pleased to say it had brought along the exact result I had hoped for. Not only had I impressed Vex, who had failed this mission just prior to my success, but I had appeased Delvin with a curious item which he proudly placed behind the Guildmaster's desk.
Though, it was Brynjolf who presented me with the best and most telling prize of the lot: Mercer Frey.
My meeting with the Guildmaster was brief, though telling. He was a man who did not relish conversation; his manner was harsh, even for me, and he swiftly gave out orders with little explanation and expected flawless execution. It was an efficient process which caused me to raise my brow. How could such a man run an operation which could barely more than limp?
Suspicions aside, I am now in possession of more gold than I started with and even know how to spend, and the directions to wait in an empty room in The Bee & Barb where I am required to conduct myself most properly in the presence of a prominent benefactor to the Guild.
I am beside myself with pride, and cannot wipe this grin off my face. My only hesitation is that this shall not last, and the only reason my plans turned out so well counted upon the absence of Sapphire.
Turdas: Day the Thirtieth of Rain's Hand; Fourth Era Two Hundred and One.
I return to you a little over three weeks later, at the closing of the month to relay happy news. This benefactor was none other than Maven Black-briar, whom I had never seen, though heard many things. She, like Mercer Frey, cared little for conversation though I soon understood it is only her who is above the Guildmaster, and she whom I actually serve. It was that knowledge which caused me to adjust my previous plans, and her request which had become my primary goal. I hastened in the direction of Whiterun once again, abandoning my journal in my haste.
While in Whiterun, I managed to work out a deal at the stable and am now in possession of my own personal caravan and horse. I expect this should prove practical in the near future, as the boundaries of Riften are already too small. It has actually been extremely convenient, as stocking a common wagon with the amount of boxes I had acquired during my travels would have raised the suspicions of even the dullest of men.
The extra coin I would need to maintain and store this vehicle was of little stress to me, as I had reason to believe I would not have issue any more. By this, I mean I was staggeringly successful with Maven's request, though I would think the task would not have been a challenge even for her to attempt should she have been the type. Either way, she looked somewhat less merciless upon hearing the news.
Anyway, I return to the Guild to find Sapphire is missing once more, though I had to begun to think this a fortunate occurrence, as her presence would only sour my experience.
This has been a short entry, but it has been days since I last bathed and I probably smell like the horse I rode in on. I can barely sit here and smell myself.
I returned to the guild no more than two hours later, smelling fresher than a dozen roses, to find that most of everyone had gathered in The Flagon, half of which looked ready to tear the other apart. I suppose I should be grateful I am a half decent sneak as I was able to catch some of the argument before they found me.
"That bitch is beggin' for a dogfight." Dirge, the tavern's bouncer, growled. He was leaning over a table where Delvin, Vex, and Brynjolf had gathered, each with varying amounts of anger and stress upon their faces.
"I know she's been a little unsteady, but I didn't think the lass was stupid enough to attempt a stunt like this." Brynjolf's face was dark behind his hair, his shoulders slumped, and he was clutching a steel tankard of mead. He brought the mug to his face and drained the last of it, and revealed a deep scowl etched in his moistened lips.
Delvin Mallory picked up a pitcher to pour out another round. "I suppose she's too good a thief to think she has limits." He chuckled, his face like stonework. He leaned back in his chair, and let out a sigh, a rough hand running over his stubbled face. "That curse is gonna be the end of us, mark my words."
Vex had her arms across her chest and was chewing her bottom lip, her eyes narrowing and shifting between the three men before they flickered across the room, where they settled upon a smug looking Sapphire.
"There's the bitch now." Sapphire's voice was like knives, and they cut deep into my chest and rendered me still. For a long minute I couldn't move, and the whole room shifted towards me. I watched with mouth agape as she moved through the crowd, her eyes digging into me accusingly.
I could see Brynjolf's disappointment on his face, then a sneer pulling all his features towards his curled nose, and I saw my plans to harm Sapphire swiftly fall to ruin. It appeared that no matter what I did from that point forwards, she would always have the upper hand and I could have no say in the matter.
"Does this look familiar, lass?" Brynjolf towered over me, and his large hand dangled a silver sapphire necklace in front of my baffled face. He didn't give me much time to reply, though he probably grew tired of my mouth flapping open and closed like a fish. "Sapphire has told us all about you."
"I started to notice small amounts of gold disappearing from my nightstand." Sapphire decided to interject, her lips beginning to twitch into a smirk. "A gold piece here. A jewel there. You think you're real clever, don't you?" The whole room seemed to glare at me, and I felt my cheeks redden, not out of embarrassment, but anger. I stared back at Sapphire with equal hatred, my fingers twisting against each other as I attempted to resist releasing it upon her face.
"After she got caught stealing from Maven last month, I noticed it stopped for the week she was locked away in a cell. Funny, that." Her arms shot out to shove me against the hard stone wall. She was now close enough that I could feel her breath on my face, and my body began to shiver. My face was so twisted at this point I resembled a wolf, teeth bared, and ready to snap.
"Fuck off, Nord." I growled, shoving her body away from mine, and half a dozen men pinned my arms against the walls around me. I could barely shift under all the pressure.
"So, I placed a marked necklace in my strongbox." She continued, ignoring, or more likely spurring on my ramped up rage. "Lo and behold, this idiot was stupid enough to steal that, too."
"Is this true, Nyx?" Mercer Frey's cool voice finally spoke, and a couple faces turned in his direction, and I found him hidden within the crowd.
"Of course not." I spat, shoving against the pressure on my shoulders.
"We found the necklace by your bunk." Brynjolf eyed me suspiciously; brandishing the necklace in my face like it was some incontestable proof. "You're looking pretty guilty, if you ask me."
"Don't believe a word that footpad says." Sapphire sneered, bringing her face near mine again, as she went about taunting me. Teasing me. Baiting me.
"Do you want my dagger in your pretty face?" I spat, mocking her tone. "Give you a scar just like mine? Do I make it look nice?"
"Shut up, elf." Her hands drew her dagger and held it up to my throat. "You don't steal from another guild member. That's the rules. You should know that."
"But it is okay to draw a dagger upon one? These rules are as riddled with holes as your corpse is going to be after I'm through with you." The pressure on my limbs increased, and I reeled back painfully against the wall to escape from it.
"Oh, I don't think you're a guild member anymore." Sapphire teased, pushing the dagger deeper into my throat. I could feel a trail of blood trickling from the tip of the blade, and I knew it would take little more effort on her part to tear my throat open.
"Fine." My eyes glinted wildly in the dim light of the sewers as they bore into hers, the tendons in my throat relaxing as she withdrew her blade. "Strip me of my dagger and my bow, give me my things, and you'll never see my face again."
This satisfied the men holding me against the wall, and they took my weapons and tossed me my bag. Shouldering it, I glared at Sapphire with a look I've never had before and whispered:
"You should have slit my throat when you had the chance."