"Do we have to go to Markarth?" whined Marcurio. "Couldn’t we just skip it and say that we went?”
"I wish," I replied, sighing. "But the peace treaty is shaky and we all have to play nice until all this is over."
We had left Solitude almost two days ago. The High Queen Elisif had commanded that I visit each of the Holds to see how the terms of the peace treaty were coming along while Balgruuf prepared Dragonsreach for the next part of our plan.
"Do you think they might have forgotten by now?" asked Marcurio, referring to our last visit. Marcurio, Erik, and I had unwittingly become involved in some sort of underground Forsworn conspiracy resulting in a city-wide manhunt. We were lucky to had made it out alive.
"I doubt it," I replied. "Those Silver-Blood don’t seem like the kind that would forget anything."
We continued walking. The day was overcast and calm, as if in anticipation of something. The road began to climb steadily. “The crossroads should be coming up at the top of this hill,” remarked Teldryn. “It’s been a while since I’ve been to Markarth. Never been a fan of that city. Too much stone, like living in a tomb.”
A shadow flitted ahead of us. “Look alive. There’s something or someone waiting for us up ahead.”
We proceeded cautiously. True enough, two golden figures jumped out from behind some rocks while a third one in robes came up from behind, hitting me straight on with an electric bolt. I was knocked down immediately, stunned and in pain.
They attacked at once, without explanation. “Blasted Thalmor! Resorting to hiding like common thieves!” Marcurio grumbled as he sent one of them reeling backwards with a powerful fireball.
"Forget about them. Get her!" yelled the Justiciar at the other Thalmor guard, motioning towards me.
I shook my head and tried to get up, but I was still too weak. I rolled out of the way of another strike just in time. Angry, I made myself get up.
The other Thalmor broke away from Teldryn and came rushing towards me. She made it only a few steps before she, too, was sent tumbling down the side of the steep hill by one of Marcurio’s lightning bolts.
I ran headlong towards the surprised Justiciar knowing full well that Marcurio and Teldryn would cover me. With grim determination, the Altmer met my attack and we both locked weapons.
"Who sent you?" I asked as my axe knocked his sword from his hand.
He said nothing, breaking away to get some distance between us. As soon as he began to run away, an ice spike bore right through him. With a yell, he turned towards the edge of the low cliff wall making as if to jump. I grabbed him and swung him around. With a swift movement, the Altmer produced an ebony dagger, but as began to strike, he became engulfed in a ball of fire. With one fell swoop of my axe, I brougt him to his knees.
"Who sent you?" I asked him once more through clenched teeth.
The Thalmor agent glared back and sneered. He died before I had the pleasure of killing him. The note I found on him confirmed my suspicions, however. Elenwyn was hunting me down.