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Fresh Blood

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The Dragonborn stood in the center of the cistern, Riften's sunshine pouring in from the skylight. The Thieves Guild was back to its former glory. He knew the day was coming, but Brynjolf had finally named him the official Guildmaster. He was technically already there, there was just a little work that needed to be done before it could be finalized.

A few months had passed since his "coronation" to Guildmaster. Brynjolf had a new recruit for the Guild, it seemed, and the Dragonborn was awaiting their entrance. When the door to the Ragged Flagon creaked open, he lifted his chin to see Brynjolf guiding in some young whelp. He must have been around twenty, perhaps an Imperial. He wasn't quite tall enough to be a Nord.

"Welcome to the cistern," the Dragon greeted with a confident grin, his attention fixed to the new blood. "Brynjolf's told me a little about you. What's your name?"

"Alex, sir."

"Well, Alex," he spoke, circling around the boy. His tone turned serious. "This is the Thieves Guild. If you're going to work for us, there's some things you need to know and understand."

"Of course, what is it?"

"Rule number one - when you're out on a job, you keep your blade clean," he ordered. "We don't kill or assault our marks. If our clients wanted their marks dead, they'd give their coin to somebody else. You kill our marks, our clients get angry and don't pay us. It's bad for business."

"Somebody else" usually implied the Dark Brotherhood, but their faction might as well have been extinct. Now if somebody wanted somebody dead, they had to have the guts to do it themselves, or pay somebody off. As one of the Companions, he knew they didn't deal in killing innocent people for gold, no matter what the offer was.

"Understood," the boy replied.

"Rule number two - if you get caught and can't pay off your bounty, you're on your own with getting out of the prison. We're thieves. We work in the shadows. You might have been there, but you were never there. A lot of your jobs will be solitary, so you need to be vigilant. Eyes open, walk with the shadows."

The mantra was a common thing he heard from his fellow Nightingale, Karliah. He hoped the words would be of use to the new blood. Remaining silent, his recruit nodded in agreement and waited for his Guildmaster to finish.

"Rule number three, you don't get paid for dirty work, around here. If you do your work right, and clean, you will get rich, quick."

Another nod from the recruit.

"Rule number four, don't be stupid," he warned. "A lot of the people here are highly trained or have been in this Guild for longer than you've been alive. Longer than I've been Guildmaster, even. If you assault a Guild member or steal from anybody in the Guild, you will be taught some manners, and those lessons will be painful. You also risk expulsion from the Guild. Cause trouble in the Flagon, and our friend Dirge will have no problem escorting you out."

"Yes, sir..." he replied.

"Last rule, don't ever cross Maven Black-Briar. If you get on Maven's bad side, we never heard of you."

"Duly noted."

The Dragonborn grinned. "I'm glad we see eye-to-eye. If you need training of any kind, talk to the people around the Cistern and the Flagon. You'll probably find the help you're looking for. There's a training room down that hall with the barrels. That ladder over there leads to our secret entrance, just pull the chain and the way will open to the graveyard. If you want to come back in, there's a button in that diamond Shadowmark. Press it. You have a bed to sleep in and a chest to keep your things. If you want work, you talk to Vex or Delvin."

"Yes, sir. When will I get my first big assignment?"

The Dragonborn chuckled and scratched at his forearm as he shook his head. "Not yet, lad. You've still got your toes in the water, you're not ready for a big job yet. Do some smaller jobs first, and then we'll see." He was sure his introduction was a lot more pleasant than when he'd been inducted to the Guild under Mercer's brief rule, but he still worried about turning him off.

"Is that it?"

"Look around you," he ordered, his arms loose to gesture at the area. "No doubt, you heard the Guild was back on its feet. We're like a family, down here. We will treat you very well if you do right by us. We are all small parts of one big machine. Your actions affect everybody else, so keep your head on straight and this machine will work just fine. Get caught on the job or bloody your blade, and the machine falters. Are we clear?"

"Yes sir."

"Alright, now go to the Flagon and talk to Tonilia. She'll get you set up with your new armor. Welcome to the Thieves Guild, whelp."