For the residents of Bruma, a city known for its snowy avenues and frigid, Skyrim-like temperatures, nothing is quite as important as the warmth and safety of one's own home. But even the most secure dwelling can harbor a deadly secret. In the case of Baenlin, an elderly Elf nobleman who had called Bruma home for nearly forty-three years, death came not from the icy cold, nor from the sting of a burglar's blade, but from a killer far more insidious -- structural instability.
According to Gromm, Baenlin's longtime live-in manservant, the day of his master's death was like any other. Baenlin lived as a recluse, and rarely left the comfort of his home. He spent his morning breakfasting, and his afternoons reading or napping, but it was in the late evening hours before bedtime, when Baenlin relaxed in his favorite chair as was his custom, when disaster struck. A stuffed Minotaur head mounted on the wall directly over the chair came crashing down, killing the unsuspecting noble instantly.
As horrible as Baenlin's death may seem, even more horrible is the revelation that this was not an isolated incident, as previously thought. In fact, through a series of interviews and an in-depth investigation, the Black Horse Courier has learned that many of Bruma's homes are actually deathtraps waiting to spring.
"Me and my boys, we done repair work on half these houses. They're a bleedin' mess! Rotted wood, rusty nails, misaligned foundations. Them Nords, they're good for drinkin' and killin', but they can't build a house worth a damn!"
So said Antoine Dubois, owner of Dubois and Sons Carpentry, a thriving house-building business headquartered in the Breton nation of High Rock. Because of his expertise, Dubois has been known to offer his services throughout the Empire, and has visited Bruma on numerous occasions. In his opinion, this predominantly Nord city features some of the most poorly-constructed dwellings in all the Empire.
"Yeah, I know what the Nords say. It's the snow! It's rots the wood, it does this, it does that. Whine, whine, whine! The mead-swillin' savages wouldn't know oakwood from oranges. Truth is, they just don't know anything about the latest architectural methods. The work is unsafe and sloppy. That head that fell on the Elf? An infant could've secured those bindings better! It's no wonder they came loose! But I've seen this type of thing all over Bruma. Did you know that until I came in to do repair work on the roof, you couldn't attend a service in the Chapel without getting snowed on? Now that's just wrong."
When asked what he thought of the issues, Baenlin's nephew, Caenlin, who inherited his uncle's estate and is now residing in the very house where he was killed, had this to say:
"It was a tragic, tragic accident. I always told my poor uncle that head would fall on him some day, but would he listen? Now, I've heard the rumors that some think there was foul play involved, but that's nonsense, of course. Everybody knows this city is falling apart. It could have happened to anyone."
And so, as the city of Bruma mourns the loss of one of its oldest and most respected residents, there are those who can't help but wonder -- am I next?