The Lady of Winterhold

Previously: Enter Tatianna

I can do this, Tatianna told herself. I can do this.

"Malur, is it?" she asked the Dunmeri steward.

"Yes, my lady," he nodded, his tone only a little less nervous than before. He had a strong Dunmeri accent which she found amusing, seeing she herself sounded more like a High Elf, same as her sister.

"I take it your my husband-to-be's steward."

"Yes, my lady."

"So you're tasked with managing the household in terms of accounts, servants...?"

He nodded again. "That's correct, my lady."

"And yet I see no servants."

"Well, the Jarl only recently took over the residence while the former Jarl went into exile."

Tatianna raised an eyebrow. "And took all the servants with him?"

The steward winced, confirming her fears.

She handed him her coin pouch. Despite all her traveling, it was still quite heavy. "Servants, Malur. Now. Bribe them, beat them, drag them here--I don't care what you do to convince them. This place is dusty, dank, and filled with cobwebs that all need to be cleared now."

"Yes, my lady."

"Make sure at least one of them knows how to cook and make sure our larder is stocked. I want a roasted pig for supper, and I'd like to try some Emberbrand wine."

"Of course, my lady."

"Spare no expense, but keep whatever change is leftover."

His eyes widened. "Thank you, my lady."

"Of course, Malur." For the first time in her life, money was the least of her issues, thanks to Minerva.

If my sister thinks she can ship me off to Winterhold, she can fucking pay for my comfort.


The chamber she was to share with the Jarl was about the same size as her chamber at the Palace of Kings, but the ceiling was lower, the walls and floor plainer, and she was overall underwhelmed.

It was going to need a lot of rugs, curtains, and incense to make her feel better about sleeping here.

In the meantime, she changed out of her travel clothes and into some proper furs and boots. She wasn't dirty from travel; the boat ride was brief and she'd ridden in a carriage. Even so, she longed for a hot bath, but had no intentions of proceeding without the aid of a handmaiden.

Malur returned sooner than later; in a matter of hours he'd found people who were more than happy to work for the new Lady of Winterhold. The war had left many a peasant and refugee cold and hungry, and they were just grateful for some food and a warm place to stay. He'd also set up an account with the local butcher, baker, fishery, and vegetable vendor, all of whom were delivering food that very afternoon.

As a reward for his swift service, Tatianna gifted him some new clothes.

"I hope you don't mind hand-me-downs," she chuckled. "I collected a lot of clothes and trinkets in Cyrodiil; you never know when such things come in handy. These clothes, I believe, belonged to Count Someone of Somewhere."

Malur was more than grateful, of course; he hurried to his room to change, and hurried back to her.

"These are quite fine, my lady, thank you," he told her, touching the silk and admiring the embroidery.

"You're the steward of the Jarl," she smiled, "you ought to look like one." She'd laid out more clothes on the bed. "These furs supposedly belonged to Ulfric Stormcloak; my sister sent them as a gift to Kraldar. She knew he didn't want to dress like an Imperial so soon."

"He will be most appreciative, my lady."

"Now, about my intended's court," Tatianna began. "Who all resides here?"

"There is the Imperial captain of the guard, of course."

"Of course."

"Not a chatty fellow; a bit elderly in fact. Might even be a little touched."


"There's also my fellow Dunmer, Legate Sevan Telendas."

"Excellent. I should probably speak with him soon," Tatianna said, though she had no clue what they'd discuss. She was not a warrior and knew nothing of military strategy.

"And there's of course my niece, Jenassa, visiting from Whiterun. She's a skilled nightblade, and will protect you, should you decide to explore the town."

"Noted," Tatianna nodded. "I should definitely speak with her. How are are we for servants?"

"I hired Kjen, a Nord from Ivarstead," Malur told her. "He once served at Castle Mistveil in Riften, but he left when the Black-Briars took over. He's a good housekeeper, promises to keep the floors swepts, the fires burnings, and the cobwebs clear.

"There's also Agryn, a Breton, a cook from Darkwater. He says meat pies are his specialty, and he promises not skip out on spices."

Thank the gods. "And the third?"

"A nice Bosmeri girl for you, my lady," Malur nodded, pleased with himself. "Sisandra's her name. She's never served in a great house, but she can sew, draw your baths, and help Kjen keep the hall clean."

Tatianna felt her whole body relax. "See to it she's protected. Neither the other servants nor any of the guards should touch her, on pain of death. I won't be lady of one of those houses."

"Bless you, madam," Malur bowed his head slightly.

"I'll need to meet her right away, of course."

"I'll send her right in, my lady."

"And one last thing, Malur...go ahead and hire a bard. I refused to live in a house without music."


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