Hey, this might be a weird question, but… would you have any interest in traveling back to Anvil with me?
What, Gaius asks, drop his duties to act as your personal bodyguard? There’s a Fighter’s Guild full of bored mercanaries who would happily take the role.
No, I mean like, so we can figure out more about the nightmare thing. Out of all the people and Khajiit on Nirn, some mysterious entity made you and me in particular have these nightmares. Nightmares about two very specific things, and both starting around the same year. There has to be some plan or motivation behind it, and if we could spend more time comparing the similarities and differences between our experiences, we’d be that much closer to decoding it. I have a courier job to finish, but you’re the best lead I’ve found on this, and it sounds like I’m the best lead you’ve found too. And like… I want to know if you’re into the idea of talking this out further while coming with me back to the coast.
Is that, like, a yes, or…?
It’s “a little”, Gaius says. Assuming everything you’ve said about your king-nightmares is truthful, then you’re right: between the two of us, we might be able to narrow down their cause. At the same time, though, I’m not sure how much you can be trusted. Consider it from my perspective: after fourteen years of unholy nightmares instilling a completely reasonable and justified apprehension of cultists, an ex-cultist suddenly shows up purporting to have similar nightmares and wanting me to come discuss it further. If I were royalty, and I posed such an offer to you, would you trust me and accept it?
Probably not, but I kind of expect others to be more rational than me with this stuff.
Hence “a little”. I might not fully believe you, but I do want to know more about your experiences with the nightmares. I’m not ready to take vacation days so a serial-cultist of allegedly-benign motives can lure me into the woods, but if you’re willing to spend some more time in Kvatch, I’m not averse to your presence.
Aww, you like me! Gaius explains that there’s a large gap between “not being averse to someone’s presence” and “liking them”. You tell him your bar is really low and this counts as a win. He is your friend now, there is no escape.
But no, like, I really need to get this courier job done; a friend is counting on me. I also want to meet up with the Legionnaire who took me here, to show him I’m doing okay and have actual money and skills now. He believed in me, and I kind of want to show him his investment paid off. His belief investment. It’s complicated. It’s a thing.
Right, Gaius says. You’ll be coming back to Kvatch though, I hope?
I mean, probably? It’s not like the city’s gonna just disappear. We’re nightmare buddies now, we’ve gotta figure shit out.
Captain Gaius doesn’t trust you enough to hug you, but he respects you more than to leave you hanging.
While hiring or conjuring a bodyguard is definitely an option, they would 1.) cost probably a third your money or all your magicka, 2.) pale next to the unparalleled protection of the Imperial Legion, and 3.) not be proud of you for completely turning your life around. The option is still on the table if some unexpected horrible disaster somehow causes you to miss Asotil, but your current plan is to not miss him.
Honestly, you have a bunch of books to read, so you don’t have a problem with just waiting out in front of town until you see him approach the base of the mountain. There’s a nice rock out there that’s in sight of the town guards while simultaneously giving you a good view of the road below.
Before you set up your little camp, you still need to get the new book for Quill-Weave and spend a couple updates doing one final comprehensive shopping trip around town. If Asotil usually shows up at 5:00 PM, and his schedule was moved either forward or backward by a maximum of six hours, that gives you a good…
Still. Better safe than sorry.