WARNING: THIS GETS PRETTY DARK. THERE ARE FETISHES AND DUBIOUS CONSENT INVOLVED. NSFW.
It had been about a month since Mark, Brynjolf, and Karliah had defeated Mercer and escaped Irkngthand. He was eating and sleeping better than he had been in years. He was reading for pleasure again, instead of to take his mind off of the horrible state of things, he was writing and sketching and doing algebraic equations again for fun. And slowly, but surely, he was learning to pick locks with even more finesse than he had had to begin with, he was learning to aim and shoot a bow, he was building up strength in his arms and shoulders and abdomen, he was learning the way of the sword
And it was Brynjolf, day in and day out.