Ulfric Stormcloak looked out his bedroom window at the morning sun, which peeked out from behind the clouds. A few snowflakes drifted from the sky, but all in all, it was a lovely day in Eastmarch. The Evening Star temperatures were frigid as usual, but after the events of two days ago, he knew it could be a lot worse.
Nilsine groaned behind him, and he turned away from the window and went to the bed, where he sat down next to her and brushed a lock of hair behind her ear. She had been ill for several days, and Ulfric worried for her well-being. “How do you feel?”
Farkas and Athis stayed at Hjerim for a week before returning to Whiterun. During that time, Selene told them about some of her activities with the Stormcloaks and caught up with the goings on at Jorrvaskr. Athis slept a lot, and it was good to have Farkas to herself for a while. With their new relationships, most of their residual sexual tension had relaxed, and they could be together as friends without worrying about doing something they would regret. Together, they caught up on the more personal aspects of their lives. She had missed the long, fireside talks they’d had on the road where they told each other all their silly hopes and dreams, and it was refreshing to do so again. Farkas was still with Saadia, and he was starting to entertain the notion of asking her to marry him. He was, however, less than thrilled with Selene’s current love interest. Truth be known, at the moment, so was she.
A courier came the next day with a satchel of intelligence reports. A couple of Ulfric’s other operatives had infiltrated Understone Keep in Markarth and one of the Imperial camps, and they had obtained loads of secret information. Selene’s job over the next fortnight was to cull through the pages, summarize, and figure out a way to use the data to their advantage. Unfortunately there wasn’t much in the way of useful information because most of the plans and schedules were out of date. After listening to an angry tirade from Ulfric about the speed—or lack thereof—of correspondence from The Reach, Selene found two items that were not time sensitive. Buried amid a long list of notes the spy had written about miscellaneous goings on in Understone Keep was a note questioning the loyalties of Raerek, the jarl’s steward. Though he was unfailingly loyal to Jarl Igmund, who was his nephew, there were hints that Raerek secretly worshiped Talos.
Selene stood before Jarl Balgruuf the Greater wearing her Stormcloak uniform, and he looked her over. “I see you’ve abandoned your wolf armor for different colors,” he observed.
She pulled Ulfric’s axe from her back, and Irileth sprang into action, stepping between her and the throne. “Relax, Irileth. I’m not going to attack the jarl.” She peered around the housecarl at Balgruuf. “Jarl Ulfric asked me to give you his axe.”