I do not know how to proceed. My heart is confusing my mind again.
I went to the tavern to play, as I had been threatened to do. I did not apply more of the cologne, so I did not have quite so much of the overwhelming crowd as I did the night before. Things were going well considering I had been performing because of the various violences that had been suggested upon my person or personal effects should I not agree, along with the threat to have me blacklisted by the Thieves Guild.
Then I noticed a Mer with far too much interest in me. At first I thought perhaps we was staring out of interest in my beauty or my skill. Yet so intense were his gazes, it began to make me feel uncomfortable. During the evening he moved closer and closer and I started to fear that, given his noble bearing and the hair arranged in the style most popular with the Hlaalu and Indoril families, that he may be one of Urtisa’s spies, caught up with me at last.
The truth was far worse. I realized, when I got a chance to look at him clearly, that it was someone I knew. An actually friend. No, more than that, it was a brother. There was Avon, looking quite a bit stiffer than I had recalled of him, watching at me in this shady Riften tavern. (I do suppose that with Riften it is a given that the place is shady, but this place is so even by Riften standards)
Avon, with whom I used to argue about morality and who I used to convince to steal petals off the corsages of elderly noblewomen during feasts. Avon, who I helped to lose his virginity and who I had spent years to coax out of his stiff and anxious shell so that he might enjoy his life. We were rivals in contests of love making, acts of brazen prowess, and the affections of those around us. He was like the little brother I had without being bound by blood. He and Ervis and I spent most of our youth together and a great deal of our early adult lives as well. He was one of the three people I had regretted not being able to tell of my escape plans.
Yet here he was, sitting in the tavern I had been threatened into playing at, looking like he wanted to speak to me.
What had I to say? Sorry that I ran away without telling you, one of the most important people in my life? I couldn’t quite figure out how to apologize for what had happened six years ago. And yet, I also could not help to think that the only reason that he might have for being out of the temple, would be if he was tricked into being the one to bring me back home. Could this be a plot by my too clever, but dumber than a scrib, wife? I had no way of knowing! Further, I did not know what to say to him. I needed time to sort out all my feelings since I left. To organize my thoughts and to speak with him. I have been running from the guilty thoughts as long as I have been running from Morrowind.
So when he came up to me, eyes bright and full of hope, asking if I remembered him, I had to bite my tongue and play the part I always did. I asked him, with a smile as bright as any fool could manage, if he was one of my illustrious patrons, for surely I should not have forgotten him. He told me he knew me from much further back and asked if I did not recognize him again.
I looked him in his eyes, so full of that youthful exuberance and desire for me, a man who spent the better part of 70 years learning and growing and discovering with him, to acknowledge him as a friend, as a brother, and I told him no. The lies flew as easily from my lips as ever they did, but on the inside I felt myself cracking. I longed to run away, but he continued to insist, prodding without ever outright saying things that might put me in jeopardy. He was so insistent. He was so earnest. I began to panic internally. He was going to break me.
p>That was when the Nords stepped in and told him they would beat him with their fists and throw him in the gutter, leaving him to die the filth he was if he did not stop bothering me. I knew I should say something. I knew I should stop them and say, no, this is my brother, it is fine. But I could not find the words. I could not even move. I could do nothing. I was numb inside. It was like watching the action around me while I hovered above it, not quite in my body, yet aware. I wanted to say something, anything, but I could not find my voice. I was frightened, as I have not been in more time than I can recall. I was frozen, like an obsidian statue, Mer in form, but stuck in place, unmoving.
He brushed aside the Nords, looked me in the face, straight through my soul, with those eyes burning with spite and unfallen tears and told me that he indeed must be mistaken. Said that the man he came to know as a brother would n’er have treated his kin so poorly. That he had wasted his time on a hope of seeing someone he had missed and loved so much. Told me I would never have to worry about him bothering me again, for never again would we meet.
As he left, I felt myself die on the inside. The words stung worse than being thrown on a wasps nest. My heart was shattered. I could hardly breathe, even as the Nords began to joke that that had been the worst swindling scheme they had ever seen from a Dunmer and maybe the fancy men were getting slow and dumb.
I settled my money with the tavern owner, telling her that I would not be back the next night. With the decrease in earnings, she grumbled and told me even were I still in town not to bother to come back. Then as I went to leave, the two Nords decided to escort me in case, in my naïveté, the conman might yet try to scheme me.
How am I to rectify this overwhelming guilt? I wanted to find Avon. I asked my brave Nord chaperones if they knew anything about the man. One said he had heard that the man had been sell enchanted fishing lures or magic nets to the workers along the docks but that the city was kicking him out as of yesterday for his mischief.
Azura knows I did the wrong thing by Avon. Yet what do I do? Shall I let this go and consider it a painful but final break between myself and my family and home? Or should I let this anguish steer me to searching him out and trying to make some recompense for my words and actions? There is still a chance this is a very elaborate scheme of Urtisa’s and that even if Avon is not intending to betray me, that he way be being used to do so.
I have not slept all night. I have been writing and thinking and drinking. No sleep will come to me now. I am too despaired by the mix of ends my life has brought me to.
Perhaps I should give up on Qau-dar and my hunt for the Altmer who took him who knows where. Maybe the Altmer booked him passage back to Elsweyr. I have no way to know for certain. Maybe all along Qau-dar was planning at some point to run off, but I had been useful enough for him to stay until now.
I wish I had Avon’s council in how to proceed. Yet what to do about him is so far the biggest decision I have to make and the most time sensitive. If he is truly being kicked out of the city, then he is likely going to be leaving this morning.
I need to find Avon. I can decide to apologize or not when I find him, but if I decide to apologize after he has left, then I stand no chance. It is already daybreak. I must go. I need the help of all the tribunal in order to sort this out.