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The Edged Lexicon

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Sitting at the dark, candlelit table of a bustling tavern, Nadine Rielle finished her second bottle of mead. The noise of the inn surrounded her: fellow patrons revelling in merriment, a bard singing songs of victory and valour, pots and pans clattering in the kitchen. She picked idly at the label, steadying her nerves as she waited for her contact to arrive.

For as long as Nadine had been an adult, she had been travelling across Tamriel in search of new and exciting lands. She’d learned how to keep her blade sharp and readied from the stalwart warriors of Ancient Nord steel and the mysterious and deadly swordsmen of Hammerfell. She’d picked up tricks on how to melt into the shadows from a kindly old Shadowscale assassin, visited the College of Winterhold to hone her arcane skills, and stopped by the Bards College to gain an appreciation of the arts of poetry, music and storytelling. She’d also picked up tricks from a group of Khajiit rogues on how to pick locks and gain entry into places she shouldn’t, which is the particular set of skills that were being called on by the stranger she was about to meet - a man by the name of Brynjolf, known for being one of the higher ups within the Thieves Guild.

Working with rogues, breaking and entering...these were not areas of adventure she was especially familiar with, but the reward in question was too tantalising to pass up. The opportunity to see it in the flesh alone was enough.

“Good evening, lass. I’m guessing you’re Nadine.”

She looked up, taken aback by the soft-spoken accent - not loutish or rough as she had somewhat snobbishly suspected, but also not arrogant or smug either. It was somehow both masculine and gentle at the same time. She was even more surprised when she saw who the accent belonged to - a well-built, but not overly imposing Nord man, with gorgeous long, red hair and piercing green eyes. For a moment, she forgot about the point of their meeting completely, thinking only about how devastatingly handsome this man in front of her was.

“Uhh...yes, that’s me.” Then, after a pause slightly longer than it should have been, she responded, “Brynjolf?”

“That’s the one.” he grinned, taking her hand, “Pleasure to meet you.”

“Likewise,” Nadine replied, hoping she wasn’t blushing furiously.

“What’s your poison?”

Nadine looked at Brynjolf with an expression of puzzlement.

“Can I get you a drink?”

“Oh! Yes, of course,” she replied, making a mental note of the idiom. “Mead, please. Honningbrew if they’ve got any left.”

“Hmm, interesting choice.” Brynjolf raised an eyebrow, mouth curling into a cheeky smile.  “I’d have had you down as drinking fancy wines.”

“I’m fond of both. No sense limiting yourself to just one when you could drink deep of all life’s experiences,” Nadine said, feeling uncharacteristically bold. Then, feeling this previous statement may have been a bit too forward, she added hastily, “Plus, tonight felt like a mead sort of evening.”

Nadine felt the distance between the two close as he leant in to her, his breath hot against her skin as he spoke, voice soft as velvet. “Full of surprises already, aren’t you?”

As Brynjolf went to the bar, Nadine wondered if another drink was a brilliant idea or a terrible one. She was already feeling the last two going to her head. On one hand, it gave her some much needed courage. She would need that for the contract. On the other hand, it made her feel giddy, especially around this gorgeous, charming stranger. There was something about him that made her want to abandon all decency and lose herself in his hair, his eyes, his…

“Here you go, lass,” Brynjolf said as he sat the bottle of mead down on the table in front of Nadine, catching her off guard. “Now, let’s talk business.”

 


 

 

Nadine had struggled to maintain composure throughout the remainder of her and Brynjolf’s meeting. Between her inner monologue wheedling at her to pay attention, Nadine and her baser instincts making other suggestions, it was a challenge for her to focus on the details of the contract.

The object in question was an ancient tome, known as the Edged Lexicon in more esoteric circles of interest. Nobody knew its true name; the symbols sprawling across the cover of the book being something even the most learned of mages and scholars had been unable to discern or translate. It wasn’t a Daedric artifact as such, but had almost as much value as one. It was an original copy, and Brynjolf had contacts who could fetch a significant amount of coin for it. Before he did so, however, Nadine wished to pore over the contents herself, suspecting that it might be written in the Daedric alphabet. She knew that if she could find someone to help her translate it, she could gain the kind of knowledge most mages only dream of obtaining; her notes on the book alone would be worth a decent amount of coin, and reason enough to do it. All in all, a mutually beneficial agreement.

Nadine looked over the details of the job once more, making sure she hadn’t glossed over any vital information.

Seems easy enough, she thought, might as well strike while the iron’s hot.

Normally, she would have considered this sort of behaviour foolhardy. Tonight, feeling much more brazen in her haze of mead and desire, she let her impulsiveness override her usually cautious nature.  

She arrived at the location Brynjolf had marked on her map, furtively glancing round to check for any unexpected surprises - mercenaries, traps, skeevers - and was thankful to find none awaited her. Good. She climbed up the balcony stairs, picking the lock on the second storey door with relative ease. She needn’t have worried about this job. Honestly, she was surprised one of the members of the Thieves Guild hadn’t handled the breaking and entering part of the operation, but she was being paid for it, so she didn’t really care.

With bated breath, she crept further into the dwelling, passing shelves well stocked with wine bottles and wheels of cheese. Maybe she should take a few for the road?  

Stop it, you’re not actually a thief, Nadine chided herself internally. You’re here for the book, and that’s it. Behave yourself.

As she slowly paced the floorboards of the bedroom, she kicked herself for her somewhat relative morality, deciding that some bread and cheese would be bloody brilliant right now.

There it was. The display case, with the book very much inside. The lock on this case appeared to be similar to the Ancient Nordic locks she had come across on her tomb explorations, only this time it was emblazoned with Daedric symbols.

Ah. This is why they sent me.

Relishing the thought of a good puzzle, she got to work, cracking the code in minutes. She inhaled deeply, taking in the musty scent of an ancient tome - one of her favourite smells - before placing the book in her knapsack and getting ready to make her escape. Then, she heard something. A mercenary, perhaps? No, it sounded like… slapping. Wet, like horker flesh. She thought she could hear voices, from outside the bedroom door. Then, the sound of a woman… moaning?

She knew she should leave, but something inside her compelled her to open the door and see what was on the other side.

Barely breathing, and as stealthily as she could, she inched the door open, revealing a mezzanine balcony overlooking the house’s living area. Peering downwards, she could make out a hearth, long dining table, two large, luxurious armchairs, and what looked to be a leather bench. She couldn’t make out the figures of any people but could certainly hear them - now recognising the sounds as unmistakably carnal in nature.

Nadine knew now that she was definitely intruding; what was happening in the room below was something she wasn’t meant to witness, but something about the situation - the happenings of the evening, the charismatic, roguish redhead, the liquid courage she’d imbibed - encouraged her to delve further. She wanted to behave in ways she normally wouldn’t, in ways she knew she shouldn’t. Her whole body surged with an impulsive hunger, the heat and wetness between her legs growing. She wondered briefly if the book was filled with some sort of dark Daedric energy as she skulked further along the mezzanine, eager to get a look at what was happening below.

Gaining a suitable vantage point, she spotted a large, robust four poster bed near the back of the room, the sturdy hardwood posts snaking up to almost meet the balcony. On the bed, she saw three figures - a Redguard man, dark and striking, with a shaved head and full, thick beard, his body beautifully muscular and toned; a stunningly deep skinned Imperial woman, whom she was sure she recognised, with honey toned hair that currently draped down to her plump breasts, her figure curvaceous and feminine yet toned and strong; and an enormous figure of a Nord male, also seeming familiar to her, imposing and extremely muscular, dark haired, bearded and hirsute. As the Redguard was pistoning in and out of the Imperial woman’s opening, she was using her mouth to pleasure the Nord man - a feat in itself, Nadine marveled, as he was rather well endowed. Grabbing her honeyed locks, he thrust himself in and out of her, seemingly using her mouth as another hole, while the Redguard gripped her supple hips and buttocks and continued to pound into her roughly. Between the creaks of furniture and guttural grunting, she could make out slews of obscenities - slut, cunt, whore - that were met with unbridled enthusiasm from the Imperial woman as she moaned around the appendage that filled her mouth, the three bodies moving in unison.

Nadine had never seen such depravity. She had also never been so turned on in her life.

She bit her lip, revelling in the naughtiness of it all. She shouldn't be here...this was so, terribly wrong...

She willed herself to move, to leave, to run and never come back, but in keeping with the theme of the evening, lust won out. Loosening the laces on her tunic slightly, she allowed her hands to wander to her flushed, full breasts. She thought back to Brynjolf, imagining his piercing green eyes staring into her own, his red hair like autumn flaring out behind him as he undressed her; thought of his gentle soft lips tempered by stubble scratching as he kissed along her neck, sounds of the deviance below creeping up to meet her. Her breathing grew shallower, more ragged. Her head swam. She stretched out, attempting to readjust herself.

Creak.

Nadine froze as she heard the sound, noticing the people below hear it, too. Shit.

The Nord man was the first to react, his head turning in Nadine’s direction.

“Who’s there? Show yourself!”

Their eyes met, if only for a second. Panicked, Nadine cloaked herself and disappeared into the shadows, running as fast as she could from the scene of the crime.

By the time Ulfberth War-Bear reached the top of the balcony to investigate, she was long gone.

 


 

Nadine galloped for miles, unsure if she was running from someone following or just her own shame, eventually stopping at the most remote looking inn she could find. Caught peeking at someone's private business. Gods, she was going to have a reputation as the province pervert…

She still had to meet with Brynjolf to confirm she had obtained the book, which she was dreading. She wasn't sure how fast news spread, or even if it would… She decided she could worry about that in the morning, and at least attempt to get a good night’s sleep. She considered having a nightcap, but ultimately decided against it - drink was what got her into this mess in the first place. She washed off as much of the day’s grime as she could and settled into bed, trying to calm her jangling nerves. She couldn’t shake the myriad feelings tumbling around her head, nor could she shake the memory of the liaison she had witnessed. With her intense nervousness mingling with her shame and arousal, she eventually drifted off into a fitful sleep.

She awoke early the next morning with the sun beaming through her window, birds singing outside. If anything, she was even more restless than she had been the night before, and just as nervous. Adrenaline still coursed through her veins, and she was still plagued by the burning desire that lay between her legs. Throwing on her clothes, she set out with the same impulsivity she had shown the night before, deciding that if she was going to be under any fire from Brynjolf or the Thieves Guild for bungling the job, she might as well get it over with.

First things first, she thought, I should really have a proper wash.

She followed a nearby river upstream until she reached a waterfall, secluded enough to make a perfect bathing spot. Removing her clothes and folding them neatly, she sat them in a hollowed-out tree trunk, alongside her knapsack and boots. No stranger to bathing in semi-public places, the nature of her adventuresome spirit meant that she often had to improvise when it came to sleeping and bathing arrangements. Nadine had relied on whatever the land could provide and she enjoyed being at one with nature. She breathed in the clean countryside air, admiring its scents: fresh grass and rich earth, with hints of nearby lavender.

The sun kissed her naked skin as she waded into the pool, adjusting quickly to the feeling of the cool water against her feet and legs. When she reached the waterfall, she dove in headfirst, yelping out in shock at the cold and the impact. Her discomfort quickly turned to mirth, and she let out peals of sweet laughter, revelling in the feeling.

Normally she would have bathed as quickly as possible, eager to get on with the day’s escapades, but today she felt different. Yesterday’s dangerous, nervous energy still flowed through her, and she felt a thrill from being nude outdoors that she usually didn’t experience. She wanted to take her time a little, to savour the feelings she so often denied herself. Tilting her head back, she felt the water run through her dark, flowing hair, cascading down her shoulders as she combed through the locks with her fingers. The rivulets of water traced the rest of her body, as her hands followed - her gorgeous, plump breasts, skin soft and pale, beautifully complemented by rosy nipples, like ripe berries ready to be picked; her stomach with its little paunch (something Nadine had always smiled fondly at, finding it both adorable and a friendly reminder of her love of Breton cuisine), framed by her curvaceous hips and strong, well-toned thighs, evidence of her years of horse riding; her perfectly round, well-padded bottom and delicate mound, excitement collecting on the petals of her divine sex.

Hot and bothered but relatively clean, Nadine dried herself off as best she could and carefully got dressed, taking care not to look as if she’d just bathed in a waterfall. Granted, it was Skyrim during the Fourth Era, so she doubted it was an uncommon practice, but she didn’t want to have any cause to look unprofessional - at least, not any more unprofessional than she was already. Climbing atop her steed, she set off to the Bannered Mare in Whiterun, where she’d been ordered to rendezvous with Brynjolf when the job was complete.

When she arrived, the bustle of lunchtime was just beginning. Making her way through the kitchen and up the stairs, she knocked the door of the room Brynjolf had told her he would be in.

“Come in,” came his frosty response. She knew already that this couldn’t be good news.

“Good afternoon, Brynjolf. I managed to procure the book we were after.” Nadine had hoped this would somehow overshadow her other, rather major transgression. It didn’t.

“So I heard. Unfortunately, so did Adrianne Avenicci and Ulfberth War-Bear, the owners of the book. You didn’t exactly make a quiet escape, and now the two of them are at my throat because, while they don’t know who you are, they know that you’re associated with my outfit and that makes me culpable.”

Nadine gulped. “I’m sorry, Brynjolf. I didn’t mean for you to be the one responsible, I can go back and explain myself - ”

“That’s going to do little to take the heat off me, lass. Admirable in other circumstances, maybe, but it’s not going to wash here.” Brynjolf paused, giving her a strange look before he continued. “Now, while I was busy admiring the business end of Ulfberth’s battleaxe, I got the impression that perhaps you’d seen something you shouldn’t have. Is that correct?”

Nadine’s face flushed furiously as she nodded.

“Tell me what you saw.”

What?  This was not a contingency she had planned for at all. Mouth open and body burning with humiliation, she attempted to form the words.

“They… together, with a Redguard stranger… on a bed-”

“Blazes, lass, I thought Bretons were meant to be masters of Speechcraft. Tell me every single detail of what you saw.”

Nadine squirmed. Was she really going to be forced to relive the embarrassment of the previous night?

“I saw Adrianne and Ulfberth, with a Redguard man,” she said hesitantly, voice shaky and thin. “A stranger. They were all on the four poster bed in the living room.”

“Oh? So not in the bedroom where the book was, then?”

Bloody thief didn’t miss a trick.

“Er, no… once I’d retrieved the book, I heard noises, and wandered into the homestead further to investigate. That’s when I saw… when I saw them.”

A devious smile formed on Brynjolf’s lips. “Hmm, so this particular discovery wasn’t entirely accidental, then? Your curiosity got the better of you?”

Staring at the floor, Nadine nodded.

“Maybe you’re not quite the sweet, innocent maiden I took you for.” Brynjolf’s voice was tinged with a dark, seductive tone - as if willing Nadine to go on, to tell him her deepest, dirtiest truths. She was already starting to lose her head again despite herself, humiliation mingling with desire as he drew her deeper into their perilous game.

“I saw the three of them on the bed. Adrianne was in the middle - she was pleasuring her husband with her mouth while the Redguard stranger was thrusting into her, um, opening.”

“Oh, I think we can do better than that,” Brynjolf purred. “I would say ‘Ulfberth was fucking Adrianne’s mouth with his cock while the Redguard was fucking her cunt’.”

Nadine gasped slightly at the coarseness of the language, although she had to admit that it suited the tone of the actions much better.

“Try saying that instead, lass.”

She swallowed, cringing slightly. “Ulfberth fucked Adrianne’s mouth with his cock while the Redguard stranger fucked her cunt.”

“Much better. Sounds like you got quite the eyeful, eh?”

Once again, Nadine nodded, cheeks blazing.

“Bet you must’ve been pretty hot and bothered by that scene, eh lass?”

At this point, she was certain she was about to burst into flame at any moment. This question, above all others, was especially probing. Why should Brynjolf need to know this? She was shaken to her core. Suddenly, she had the jarring realisation that physically, absolutely nothing was forcing her to be here. The door was situated directly behind her, so escape wasn’t an issue. Brynjolf’s manner, while commanding, wasn’t menacing or sinister, and as her eyes travelled south and glanced at his ever-growing bulge she realised what was compelling her to stay.

Her eyes had lingered just a little too long, and Brynjolf had noticed. He shifted his hips forward, the outline of his cock now pressing obscenely against his tight leather trousers.

“Maybe you’d like to do more than just watch?”

Nadine didn’t know how to react. This was much more forward than anything else had been thus far, and she felt a bit out of her depth.

As if sensing her hesitation, Brynjolf’s demeanour softened slightly, his smile warm and inviting.

“You know as well as I do that you can leave anytime you like,” he crooned, voice honey-tipped and seductive. “But you and I also know that you’re a very naughty girl who likes to get a good eyeful and if you want to do this, you’re going to need to play by the rules of the game. Is that understood?”

A thrill jolted through her body, and the aching need that lay deep in her core grew ever stronger. She nodded enthusiastically, squeaking out something resembling acquiescence.

“Good lass. Now undress.”

He watched intently as she did so from his position at the foot of the bed, like a predator studying its prey.

She had never been nude in front of anyone before, and she was nervous, but she wanted to please him, to obey him. As she loosened laces with shaky, unsure hands, feeling Brynjolf’s eyes burning into her, she felt as if her heart were about to burst out of her chest. She let her dress fall off her body, the fabric softly dragging across her goosepimpled skin and stiff nipples. For every garment she removed, Brynjolf would offer up some small encouragement: a look telling her to continue, a moan of approval, or something moving within his own trousers. Before long, she was completely bare, a newfound brazenness running through her.

“Come here, lay across my lap.”

He explored her body with his deft fingers and hands: caressing the gentle curves of her calves and waist, kneading her soft, round bottom and fondling her breasts while he plucked at her hard, protruding nipples. Slowly but gradually, he worked his way to more and more intimate places, fingers travelling from calves to inner thighs to the warm, moist parting of her dripping cunt. Her initial gasp of surprise quickly gave way to low moans of pleasure as his finger explored the delicate folds of her labia, occasionally dipping into her tight channel, leaving only to toy with her engorged clit.

“Such a willing, wanton slut,” Brynjolf murmured, the sounds of his approval punctuated by the sounds of Nadine’s breathing, short and ragged as he toyed with her. “I think perhaps such a deviant minx deserves a spanking. What do you reckon?”

His fingers manipulated her aching cunt in the most sensitive of parts as his soft, seductive voice worked over her mind. She moaned out in intense pleasure, wanting this man to do whatever he pleased with her, to make her his .

“Ask me nicely, lass.”

She squirmed, his pet name making her melt. “Please give me a spanking, Brynjolf.”

“With pleasure.”

Bringing his hand across Nadine’s supple buttocks with conviction, he administered a few firm swats per cheek, varying the pressure and speed. He alternated between spanking and massaging, occasionally stopping to dip back into her cunt to see how wet his punishment was making her. The combination of punishment and reward was intoxicating and delicious, and Nadine’s enjoyment was painfully apparent. As she felt something hot and hard twitch and press against her, she realised that she wasn’t the only one enjoying it.

“That should do - hopefully you’ve learned your lesson, though I highly doubt it. Now you can get on your knees in front of me and help me get out of these.” Brynjolf gestured at his trousers.

With trembling fingers, Nadine quickly got to work on the various buckles and belts that comprised his armoured breeches, which were now straining considerably against his fully erect member. Finally, she released his lower half from his clothing, and proceeded to free his aching cock from his loincloth. She took a moment to admire it - the way it looked standing to attention, throbbing and proud, with a rivulet of precum glistening from the slit on the head; the way it felt in her hand, firm and resolute but with the tiniest amount of give, still undeniably flesh and blood, hot and thick and twitching with every impulse and move she made. She was shaken from her reverie when Brynjolf cupped her chin with his fingers and tilted her head up to face his, reminding her why she was there – and that if she’d like to stay, she’d best get busy.

She didn’t need to be asked twice, and advanced on his cock with vigorous fervour. She began by lapping at the droplet of precum she had spotted earlier with her tongue, light gentle licks at first, then longer laps from the head down to the base. She had always had a keen thirst for knowledge, consuming any new information she could find with a voracity that would astonish Hermaeus Mora, and jumped at the chance to learn new skills. This was no different, and every movement of her tongue, every manipulation of her fingers, everything her mouth, hands, body did and every sound, twitch, motion Brynjolf made in response was an opportunity to master a new art. She felt his hands tangle in her hair as he guided her to take him deeper into her mouth - struggling at first to accommodate so much of him, but spurred on by his grunts of approval and her own ability. It wasn’t long before they found a rhythm, the pace quickening until, unable to hold back any longer, Brynjolf came. Nadine tried to swallow all of his cum as it spurted out from his still engorged, pulsating cock. Some of it dribbled out onto her chin and breasts, but she managed to keep most of it.

Sweaty and spent, Brynjolf helped lift Nadine to her feet, settling her back onto his lap.

“Since you did such a good job, I think I should return the favour.”

With one hand wrapped around her waist and the other between her legs, he eased her thighs apart, running his fingers over the rivulets of wetness that now traced down her inner thighs - evidence of one very naughty girl indeed. After working his finger into the dewy hairs of her cunt and teasing for a short while, he withdrew, bringing it up to his mouth and sucking off her collected juices. Something about the way he did this - the raw, primal manner, like someone voraciously devouring succulent meat from bone - made her body shudder and heightened her own hunger. He returned his finger to her yearning cunt, where he toyed with her clit for a short while, pausing to run his finger up and down, feeling his skilled digit being enveloped by the silken folds of her quivering labia. He urged in deeper, until he felt her warm, wet opening accept his finger, and gently massaged in a “come hither” motion, slow and shallow at first, venturing in deeper and plunging in harder as he felt her breathing pick up and her moans intensify. She felt like her body was on fire - every nerve ending ablaze and pulsing. She was in a complete trance of lust unlike anything she had ever felt. Had she possessed the ability to achieve rational thought at that moment, she might have wondered if he had cast some sort of incantation on her, rendering her completely at his mercy. She couldn’t say she minded.

Suddenly, he pulled his finger out and flipped her on to the bed, resituating himself between her legs. This time, he slipped two fingers into her, and got to work with his tongue everywhere his fingers couldn’t manage. He worked her over with a primitive need, his fingers pumping into her skillfully as his mouth devoured her cunt. This proved to be too much for Nadine, and she cried out, body quivering as she was tipped over the edge into her first orgasm.

It was like the sweetest mead she’d ever tasted, or some new, amazing piece of divine arcane knowledge - a door opening in her soul as her body convulsed and spasmed, suspended somewhere between Aetherius and Nirn. Aftershocks wracked her as she came down, Brynjolf caressing her skin and gently stroking her hair.

“You okay, lass?” He smiled. “That seemed pretty intense.”

“It was.” Nadine beamed back. “I’ve never felt anything like that before.”

“Was that your first?” he asked, a note of genuine surprise in his voice.

Blushing, she sighed. “I’m afraid so. That’s a rather embarrassing admission for someone my age, isn’t it?”

There was a hint of hesitation in Brynjolf’s voice. “I wouldn’t say that, exactly - I guess I just find it odd that a girl with such a varied taste and wandering spirit would lack that particular piece of knowledge. Especially one so easy on the eye.”

Smiling at his charm, the flirtatiousness softening the blow, she continued. “It’s not that I haven’t been curious about it, I’ve just never really met anyone who’s piqued my interest - romantically, maybe, but I’m realising now not really sexually. And the only offers I generally tend to get are from drunken, leering bandits in dodgy taverns, or the kinds of men who look and smell like the spawn of a skeever.”

“Which one of those am I, then?” Brynjolf teased.

Nadine grinned. “The exception, obviously. Anyway...I could give you a thousand reasons as to why it’s never happened, but ultimately I suppose it comes down to the fact that I’ve been so focused on exploring everything else that I’ve overlooked this one very major thing.” She paused. “It just sort of...eluded me, I suppose.”

“Fair enough.” Brynjolf conceded, smiling - soft and sympathetic this time, like he’d solved a puzzle Nadine was still struggling on.

“So, I’m assuming you’re in a good mood? I hope so, because I have something to tell you that you may be less than thrilled to hear.”

Her heart sank. What next?

“I meant to tell you sooner, but obviously things got a bit...side-tracked. Turns out the book you procured from Ulfberth and Adrianne wasn’t the original that we were looking for, which means what you have in your possession is a very convincing, but not very valuable replica.”

“Ah.”

“Yep. So, that’s the bad news. The good news is they’re willing to part with the original, although they want us to go fetch something from Darkwater Crossing for their trouble.”

Nadine shrugged, her demeanour brightening. “Sounds doable.”

“They also want to speak to you in person when we get back with the goods.”

Just as soon as Nadine’s spirits had started to lift, they plummeted back down. Having to face the very people who caught her?

“I know it seems a daunting task, lass, but I think it’s worth doing. Just imagine the coin we could both make from this book - the knowledge you could gain! You can’t put a price on that.”

“That’s if Ulfberth and Adrianne don’t kill me first,” Nadine muttered.

“Don’t worry about those two. Their bark is worse than their bite. Just go in, make your apologies, sweet talk them a bit if you have to. I’m sure you’re more than capable of that, lass.” He winked cheekily at Nadine, making her heart skip a beat. Charming bloody bastard. “And if all else fails, an offer of cold hard septims usually does the trick.” He pulled a small leather satchel from his pocket, coins jangling. “I’m happy to put my money where my mouth is if you are.”

Hurriedly dressing herself, Nadine’s internal voice reassured her that she was doing this for the book, just for the book, pointedly ignoring the dampness that once again formed in her smallclothes.

“Fine,” she sighed. “I’m in. Let’s go.”