25th of Sun’s Height
For all the trouble that Skyrim had been going through, there was at least one person who seemed unperturbed by the whole mess – Horvald, the ‘overseer’ of Dawnstar Jail. Horvald had been Dawnstar’s jailer for the last fifteen years – always a portly man, his latest post, having been gifted to him for losing a foot to an infected wound and for having served the Dawnstar Guard for almost thirty years, had bundled up with every other element of his ‘promotion’ to turn him into a downright corpulent brute.
Horvald wasn’t the staunchest adherent of Stendarr – neither was he an entirely honest man, having had mistresses and escapades throughout his marriage, amongst other things (he had, nonetheless, cried very sincere tears of sorrow when his faithful wife had died). While this meant that you could earn yourself some privileges through information or valuables in Dawnstar Jail, he wasn’t downright corrupt either – you couldn’t buy your way out of Dawnstar Jail. He wouldn’t exactly understand anyone who would want to get out of Dawnstar Jail, either. Old Horvald had spent so much time in this dimly lit basement that, for him, this torturous abode had become as warm and welcoming as his mother’s arms.
For now, there was naught but an Imperial jailed for lollygagging in the cell, and, to the other part of the room, away from the Imperial and chained to the wall was an Orsimer, who was apparently a Kamal collaborator. Horvald had learned the details from Jod, who had brought the lass earlier today, alongside a bunch of young guards (ah, where were the guards of old, like him and Sven? No criminal could get away those days). He knocked on his peg leg instinctively as he turned the page on the book he had been reading for the last five years. At least he had gotten to the second volume earlier this year.
Before starting up on reading the new page, he took a moment to contemplate the time. The interrogators were meant to arrive earlier. Had something happened? Horvald thought of going up and asking the Captain of the Guard, but then again, waiting wouldn’t hurt, unlike having to hobble all the way out of the jail and then going up the stairs. He took a sip from his flagon of mead.
‘’Oh, for Mara’s sake, I said I was waiting for a friend! For how long do I have to stay here, you damned, lawless barbarians?’’ The Imperial shouted suddenly, clanging the shackle around his ankle to the ground. The ringing, crude sound echoed through the jail, making both the Orsimer lass and Horvald grit their teeth. Leaning back on his chair, Horvald let out a hearty, frustrated roar.
‘’Don’t make me come in there and break your legs, you blaspheming little twit! Shut your mouth, you hear?’’
‘’Oh, it’s all because I’m an Imperial, isn’t it? Bloody Nords, can’t tell a sailor from a thief! Then again, ain’t no difference for you on that matter!’’
‘’You keep talking and I’m going to grind your knee to a pulp!’’
‘’Like you did with yours, eh?’’ The Imperial retorted slyly, and an enraged Horvald slid his chair back, and grabbed the crutch that had been leaning against his table to get up on his feet quickly. Hobbling towards the cell door with the best of his ability, he grabbed one of the iron bars to balance himself as the fingers on his other hand fumbled to find the correct key.
Nearly foaming at the mouth, Horvald managed to frantically get the door open, before almost sliding off his feet and falling on his rear. The Imperial let out a defiant chuckle, and Horvald kicked into the cell, throwing his crutch in. ‘’You bastard, I’m going to choke you, you bastard-‘’
‘’Horvald! What in Oblivion is going on here?’’ Roared out a woman’s voice, assertive, yet tired and obviously frustrated. The Court Wizard, Madena, had arrived, with two guards holding her tools for writing. Late arrivals they were, but they had come just in time to save the Imperial from a thorough beating. Horvald fumbled to find a proper excuse, and, failing, instinctively fell back to his grumbling.
‘’Milady, this damned Imperial’s been pokin’ fun at my bum leg again, won’t let me read, the little shit-‘’
‘’That’s enough. Go take a break at the inn, Horvald. I do not wish to be disturbed during interrogation.’’
Gritting his teeth in frustration, Horvald left, glaring angrily at the grinning Imperial.
A few hours later the interrogation, Horvald came back into the Jail, holding a tray of food carrying two bowls of soup. Obviously mellowed out from his bout of drinking, he seemed almost amiable, whistling a tune to himself as he opened the door to the cell and brought down the tray. The Imperial lashed ravenously at the bowl, obviously hungry, and Horvald replied by spitting a huge, snotty mouthful of spit into one of the bowls. Smiling contently, he put that certain bowl of soup in front of the Imperial, making sure to forget giving him his hunk of bread. ‘’Enjoy yer meal, lad,’’ he said, feeding off the Imperial’s brewing hatred.
He turned to the Orc afterwards. She had been quiet throughout her incarceration – a collaborator she may be, but she’d been respectful to the laws of his jail. He slid the tray in her direction, leaving her with a bowl of hot soup and two lumps of stale bread.
‘’Uh, Barzag, right? I’ve got good news and bad news for ya,’’ he said as he walked out of the cell. ‘’Good news is, this is your last night in the Jail. You’ll be leaving tomorrow morning.’’ He shut the cell door and locked it before continuing.
‘’Bad news is, you’re off for the mines. You’ll be kept there for labor until further orders.’’