Red Diamond's Pride, Docks of Solitude, Haafingar Senior Inspector Sorenn 1st of Morningstar, Middas, 4E203 The waters were calm around the docks, as was expected with the great arch of Solitude shielding the ships from the wrath of the Sea of Ghosts. Wind still snaked through and sent chills down spines like the fingers of lovers. The frigid cold of Skyrim that seemed to stay present throughout the year hardly bothered the Colovians, born of rough stock from Anvil to Bruma. They worked shirtless and barefoot and slept soundly below deck. Life was as normal as one could find in these days. The dragons were no longer plaguing the countryside, Forsworn raids were decreasing in frequency and bandits seemed to be staying in their strongholds for now. The Legion had all but stopped their offensive campaign to the critique of many both within and without their ranks. General Tullius was transferred to the Valenwood-Colovia Border, something Sorenn did not envy him for. He'd seen his fair share of fighting within those jungles. The Stormcloaks were hardly in a place for any notion of a large push against the Legion; The Stormcloaks have lost their leader to a massive stroke last month and the stirrings of the Clans who once held his banner seem to no longer walk like men but slither and flick tongues like snakes and nip at each other like jackals around carrion. Sorenn knew what was in store for Skyrim now. He'd seen it in Valenwood and was all too familiar. The Thalmor was always watching, a point of a dagger hovering over a gap in the armor, waiting. Spying on Nords was always an oft unwanted task, especially when one was an altmer these days. No amount of playing the good guy would get anyone to talk to Sorenn and whatever notion of honor and brotherhood Nords spat out of their mouths day-in, day-out seemed to quiet down when a fat purse is thrown their way. If Sorenn could do it, so could that bastard, Valiano, just with a different outstretched hand. So long as it wasn't golden-skinned, they would take it. Sorenn lifted the short glass cup to his lips and took in the last of the brandy. He took one last breath of sea air and strode back into his quarters. They were located belowdeck and cut off from the main hold by wooden walls and a door but a glass window near his desk still let him see outside into the lives of those sleeping or lounging around until it was their shift on the topdeck. A modest candle with a small flame served to illuminate the entirety of the small room and the chair and bed inside it. A wooden chest cleverly enchanted to only open upon his touch was shoved away into the corner. At the moment, it held his Penitus Oculatus armor and weapon. He wore his middle-class clothing and bear-fur cloak, not exactly used to the cold yet, even after a month of it. He sat down at his desk and looked at the parchment he was scribbling his report on. Another scroll sent off to Cyrodiil with the help of a specially-bred and trained messenger crow written in very expensive enchanted ink to tell his higher-ups back in Telhall that he still didn't know where Inspector Vilhalm could be. There was one thing he added onto the tail of the report. A break in the case and possibly the spy-war against the Thalmor. He rolled it up and took it to the topdeck, handing it off to Arronil before he headed to Castle Dour to tie it onto one of the crows. Sorenn reminded himself again to put in a request for a crow to be sent to the ship so Arronil didn't have to risk going the distance between Red Diamond's Pride and Solitude. He decided today would be the day and returned to the topdeck before Arronil could leave without him. He caught up to the fellow altmer and told him he would accompany him and just like the very presence of Molag Bal himself, he felt the otherworldly chill of hopelessness creep up his spine and threaten to explode his brain. Flavia Cessus was quite literally on her high horse with her men in much the same position. Flavia, Leonus and Christoph were his three devils to be burdened with once again. Every time he left the ship he'd have to be escorted by them, as per the agreement between himself and Head Intendant Skalla for letting him enjoy a position in his Detachment. As if it were a damned vacation, Sorenn thought. "You know the rules, Heartlander," Flavia began again with that putrid mouth of hers, "We have to tail you. We heard about your record and we do things differently up here in Skyrim." "Do you enjoy being a wretched harlot who only serves to make me long for the quietness of death?" Sorenn asked. Arronil cracked the slightest of smiles at that. He seldom smiled since his parents were caught up in the wrong side of the Thalmor's military reforms. Anyone who was anyone knew the reforms were more than just a changing of uniforms and shifting around of personnel. Any who held but an inkling of doubt in Thalmor rule were put to the sword. Arronil's parents not excluded. Now, the only time he smiled was when dead Thalmor were involved. "Only as much as you do. It's my job, Sorenn, I have to do it." Flavia said, not sounding too convinced. "Fine, if it makes you feel like a good Inspector." Sorenn mocked. It was not lost on Flavia, he heard her huff and Christoph put a hand over a snickering mouth. "You have room to talk. Have you made any progress in the case, super-spy?" She asked, annoyed. "No." He lied. There was one thing that would make his history with the Oculatus that much more decorated. Something you can't say, bitch, he looked at Flavia. They made it to the gates of Solitude, the huge doors grumbling open with the grace of old watchmen. Sorenn and Arronil stepped through and made their way to Castle Dour. The Legionaries held a hand out to stop the two altmer. "I know what this is about, it's because I'm mer isn't it?" Sorenn accused, arms akimbo. "And just who are you? I can't let just anyone come up here and prance around. Everything around you is Imperial Legion property." The Legionary challenged, resting a hand on the hilt of his sword. Sorenn looked at Arronil. His fellow nodded and Sorenn produced his badge, "I'll be speaking to your commanding officer, boy." The door opened and out stepped Legate Fastus. The two looked each other up and down before shaking hands and smiling. Sorenn knew Legate Fastus in his Legion days. Fastus was getting old and retirement was nearing but he still wanted a position fighting for the Empire until his final days of his officer's commission. Skyrim seemed to be the only conflict at the time of his transfer request. When General Tullius was put on the Valenwood border some Legates joined him but Fastus opted to stay. Sorenn didn't blame the man. "New recruits cycled in, huh?" Fastus nodded and chuckled, "Another message for you to send back to Telhall. You know which crow to send." Sorenn said. "Yeah, yeah. I'll have it sent out at the soonest opportunity." He assured, taking the scroll. "Good to know. Big days ahead, Fastus. Probably won't be boring." Sorenn said before turning around with Arronil in tow. "Hopefully." Fastus mumbled at Sorenn's back. Sorenn would scold himself back at the ship for forgetting to ask for a crow again.