Falkreath Sanctuary was doomed.
Cicero knew it from the very moment he set foot inside that musty, humid cave. There was too much tension seething in the air. The arrival of the Night Mother had set an unwanted change in motion. It was the seed that germinated doubt in the hearts and minds of Astrid’s underlings. Her siblings would not betray her. No. But they would follow the Listener if one arose, and to Astrid, that was just as unforgivable as a knife in the back.
So the scene was set, and Cicero had his parts to play. To Astrid and her surly husband, Cicero was the witless fool. They saw him as a man broken by time and duty. They saw madness because that is what he wanted them to see— and maybe he was a little bit mad. That only made his ruse all the more believable.
To the others, he was the Fool of Hearts. Full of jokes and mirth to anyone who would pay attention, and when his exuberance began to wear on the maudlin assassins, he slipped into a more sedate, pol