I've taken a room at the Bee and Barb Inn, parting me from half of my money. If there is one thing I've learned in my very short stay in Riften, it's that for as beautiful the view may be, the city itself is rotted through. I woke yesterday, having slept in the forest, with a scratchy throat and stuffy sinuses. The only decent people I've met so far are the priests at the Temple of Mara - they were good enough to cure my disease and offer me a blessing, which I gladly accepted. I donated some coin to the temple, which means I only have 5 drakes. Hardly enough to buy a snack.
Most of the inhabitants are either part of the Thieves' Guild, bribed officials, or guards who look the other way. I can't imagine why anyone would want to stay here if they had a clean conscious. I stumbled into an apothecary and managed to find a bit of work, retrieving an ore sample from a nearby town, Shor's Stone. It only took an hour, and helped to fill my pockets somewhat.
I also visited the orphanage, and am sad to report that it fairs no better than the rest of Riften. The nord who runs the establishment, a woman by the name of Grelod the Kind, is neglectful, spiteful, viscous and cruel. When I stepped through the door, I witnessed her berating the children, telling them that they were worthless and no one would ever care to adopt them. What possesses a person to say such abhorrent lies? To young children no less! Most shocking of all is rumors that one of the boys who ran away, Aventus, is trying to contact the Dark Brotherhood! I don't know what to believe, but after what I've seen of Grelod, I wouldn't be terribly shocked if the rumors are true. I've decided to set out for Windhelm immediately, to see if I can't find the child. I can't sleep knowing he may be traveling down such a dark path, and I feel I have to at least try to stop him, before it's too late. I'll be taking the carriage, as it's much safer and faster than foot.