Amelia Stormbringer sat comfortably on her bed, reading a book. She was at peace, a long, well-deserved peace, and it had come in such strange circumstances that it was still hard for her to imagine. If someone would have told her five years ago that she would end up in this place, on the path she now walked, she never would have believed them. She had always been a fighter—she had been a mercenary since the age of eighteen—but fighting and murder were two different things.
Amelia was twenty-seven years old. She was tiny—just under 5’2” tall. Although Vallanil said she was a raving beauty, she had always thought of herself as cute. But she could work with cute. She had red hair that she had always kept short because long hair could be used as a handhold by the enemy. She usually wore black and red, whether it was her armor or clothing, although she rarely wore dresses. She wasn’t fond of most jewelry, with a couple of notable exceptions, one of them being earrings. She loved them and always wore them, and she had over a hundred pairs in her collection. Her eyes had once been blue, but they were red now. Only a magical ring kept them from glowing red all the time and giving up her nature.
A/N: With the defeat of Alduin in 4E 205, the Fifth Era began. Rowan was born in Year Zero of the Fifth Era.
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5E 11, 20 Second Seed
Ten-year-old Rowan Stormblade crept through the Cistern slowly, silently, hugging the wall as best she could. She would do it this time; she just knew it. Her daddy was distracted, talking to Rune about a job he had done. He didn’t even know she was in the Cistern. Just a few more feet. She slipped across the doorway leading to the vault, and she thought she saw Rune’s eyes flash in her direction—they were hard to miss these days, their golden glow unmistakable even in the dark—but he didn’t show any sign that he had seen her. Then she was right behind her daddy. Slowly, carefully, she eased forward and reached for the coin purse that hung from his belt. She took hold of the string with one hand and started to cut with her dagger. She had done it!
Brynjolf raised his hand and placed it over hers before she could cut the string.
Selene and Blanche stopped at Oengul’s forge and restocked their arrows, then went into the White Phial for some potions. Most of the vendors’ stalls were still closed, but the women were able to get some mead, cheese, and dried meat from Niranye before heading out of town. Selene borrowed Brann again, and they were on their way.
They rode hard for a while, but as they reached the north end of the Aalto, Selene slowed up and turned to Blanche. “Listen, I’m sorry for what Ulfric did.” Blanche raised the eyebrow at her, and she added, “I know he’s not my responsibility, but I still feel I need to apologize for him.” She breathed a heavy sigh. “You want to know a secret? I’m so mad at him that I could Shout him across the room, but on some level I still love the man. Don’t get me wrong—I worship the ground Brynjolf walks on, and I’m happier than I’ve ever been—but Ulfric is the kind of man who stays with you. For good or for bad, really.”
There are many different interpretations to this card, depending on who you ask. The most common hints that it is a card of trickery or a victory by manipulation or unfair means. Beware—actions have consequences, and they may catch up with you, resulting in shame, disgrace, and dishonor.
Solitude was…crowded. Ralof had done his job, though, and they got Ulfric from the Palace of the Kings to the Blue Palace without incident. They arrived the day before the Moot, just ahead of Laila Law-Giver, who was last. Jarl Elisif put most of her guests up in the palace, but Selene and Brynjolf chose to stay at Proudspire Manor, where they were more comfortable. Besides, they had guests of their own. Half the Thieves Guild had turned up to reap the bounty afforded by all those wealthy people congregating for the coronation, which was to be held the day after the Moot. Selene also had a special project in mind for the Guild.