Calder and I continued the hunt for the stones, looking through the Markarth and Falkreath areas with no luck. At the Pinewatch bandit place where Dex was previously arrowed to death, Calder also died after being hacked, stabbed, and taking two arrows to the face. Unfortunately the stone there was already gone too so he died for nothing. It was around this point that I noticed Shadowmere was no longer following me, probably due to its old master turning into dust before its eyes.
No matter, next stop was Whiterun where I knew the guards wanted my head. Nice of them to still ask if I'd like to surrender though, and one of them was even so nice as to ask me to stop all the yelling as it was frightening people (i agreed) - just before trying to kill me. Got into the local pub which was quickly being emptied of inhabitants but found Rayna an ex-imperial soldier willing to follow me into battle. She probably was impressed by my Stormcloak killing ability.
After clearing the streets we checked the crypts where we didn't find a stone but instead found fresh coffins for a whole group of familiar names. Always wondered what happened to Uthgerd - turns out she was moved down here awhile ago. Next stop was Dragonsreach itself, so after fighting through more guards we made our way past the slain Jarl Vignar (from my last visit) to his quarters and there waiting for us is Jarl Bossman! He had returned from his exile in Solitude and seemed to now be running the show again, and he was still pissed off from our last meeting. Fought our way past him (a few times) but alas, there was no stone to be found up here either.
A true nord never backs down. Just like Aerys Targaryen?
(art by GoranGligovic)
(art by GoranGligovic)
Luckily the next spot, a keep full of necromancers did have one. Decided to dismiss Rayna back to Whiterun since she was a handy asset to have in that location when I picked up the mage Ralan. Unfortunately he was a complete loser who wouldn't want to go past the entry points of the next few places I explored (including a charrus infested lighthouse) and soon met his end (via friendly fire arrow) against some conjurers in a cave where again - there was no stone.
Replaced him with a barbarian lady named Sunni who showed off her skills by slaying a brash redguard right in the tavern I found her in. With her I found the last two remaining stones and was tasked to retrieve the crown they sat on from a falmer infested cave. The crown was retrieved but Sunni was left floating face down in a pool of water after getting eviscerated by the falmer bastards. Having completed the "end game" for the thieves guild I figured it was time to go get the person who most wanted them dead - Mjoll the Lioness who now resided at Skyhaven Temple.