Epilogue: My Lady Katarinya

Previously: Daedra in the Dark

One year later

Morgyna was going to miss Solitude.

It was her first time in the capital; her uncle refused to let her visit until the war ended and now it finally had. She loved the city and its refinement; she'd gotten to visit the castles, the bath house, and had even shopped at the famed Radiant Raiment. Now it was time to leave.

Despite being sad about leaving the city, she was still excited about her destination. Her uncle had pulled many strings to get her this appointment and it meant more than anything else in the world.

He was Giraud Germane, Dean of History at the Bard's College in Solitude. He was a Breton, like the rest of her father's family. And like her father, he was a deeply ambitious man.

He was the spitting image of her father, with black hair pulled back in a ponytail. After spending many years in Skyrim, he'd taken on some of the Nordic customs and fashions.

Morgyna favored her mother, a Redguard. She was also black-haired, but brown-skinned, with brown eyes and a high, sweet voice.

"Uncle, you're back!" Morgyna greeted, relieved to find him the common rooms of the college. "I was afraid I wouldn't see you before I left. You were gone for so long." He was supposed to bid her farewell but had disappeared for most the day.

Giraud was getting a quick bite while perusing over a collection of what appeared to be random items.

"Sorry for the delay, little one," he apologized absently. "I stumbled across the wreckage of a carriage just outside the city, on my way back from Frost River."

Morgyna tensed. "Bandits?" She was supposed to set out today and was nervous, considering Skyrim's reputation.

"If so, they're the worst bandits in Skyrim," Giraud raised an eyebrow. "They killed the driver and the accompanying guards, but left all the possessions alone."

That didn't help. "And the passenger?" she asked tightly.

"Presumably missing," he sighed. "A lady, judging by the belongings left behind. Gowns, perfumes, her jewels... The guards confiscated mostly everything, but I managed to keep a few items. These are letters she received from someone who only signed their initial, 'S'. And here," he held out something small, glinting in the light. "A ring that fell between the cushions of her carriage." He handed it to her. "You can keep it; I doubt it has much value compared to the rest of her jewelry. She had expensive taste."

It was a ring, plain silver set with amethyst.

Morgyna was somber, but fascinated. "I wonder who she was," she gasped, taking the ring and turning it over and over.

"Katarinya, according to the letters," her uncle told her. "They all begin the same: 'My Lady Katarinya'."

Morgyna's eyes widened. "Love letters?"

"Possibly," the Dean nodded. "'S' is very familiar with her, and speaks very fondly. They repeatedly talk of missing her and longing to see her again. I'm assuming 'S' is a High Elf; all the letters are written in the Altmeri language."

Now Morgyna was sad. "She's likely dead, isn't it?"

"Or a hostage," Giraud shrugged. "Whoever attacked her carriage only seemed to care about her and nothing else."

Morgyna stiffened. "Maybe it was 'S'."

"Maybe," he shrugged again. "Maybe not." He stood up finally and turned his full attention to his niece. "You're all packed then?"

"Yes, Uncle. My ship leaves in a couple of hours for Dawnstar."

"Good, good," he nodded. "I'll escort you to the docks. It will take about a day to reach Dawnstar, so get plenty of rest on the ship. After that, you'll travel by carriage with an Imperial patrol."

That did make her feel better.

But then his tone changed slightly, became sterner. "Remember, Morgyna, do not get involved with these people. You're there to be a simple lady-in-waiting, nothing more. Be proper, be chaste. You don't want to ruin your reputation. We are not royal; we're not even noble. One small misstep and you'll be back in your father's village."

Morgyna tried not to shudder at the thought. "Yes, Uncle."

"Now, go grab the last of your things. We want to reach the docks early."

Morgyna returned to her chamber; she'd been allowed to sleep in one of the professor's room while they visited their family. She was still holding the ring when she reached her room, and slipped it on her finger without thinking as she bent over the bed to grab her bag.

"Who in Oblivion are you?"

Morgyna jumped, startled as she turned to face the source of the voice. It came from a Redguard woman with dark brown skin, black hair, and gray eyes.

Morgyna stared, baffled. She couldn't recall this woman from anywhere. She wasn't dressed like a student or professor. She was dressed more like a noblewoman, with a long, flowing gown of black lace.

"Morgyna of Darkwater," Morgyna stared, alarmed. "Who are you?"

"I have many names," the woman replied. She glanced down. "What are you doing with my ring?"

"Your ring?" Morgyna's eyes widened. She raised her hand, pulled it off, and offered it back. "Here--" She stopped abruptly, realizing the woman had vanished. Confused, she slid the ring back on, and the woman instantly reappeared.

Morgyna jumped back. "Dear gods...you're a ghost."

The apparition snorted. "Hardly. Now how did you get my ring?"

"My uncle found it in the wreckage of a carriage outside the city."

The apparition regarded her levelly before glancing about herself. "Solitude?"

"Yes, Solitude," Morgyna frowned, confused.

"Fuck," the spirit hissed.

"You must be Katarinya," Morgyna gasped. "My uncle found your letters among your belongings."

"That is but one of my names, yes," Katarinya nodded slightly. After a curious pause, she asked, "Do you live here?"

"No, I'm just visiting," Morgyna replied awkwardly. "I'm actually bound for a ship to Dawnstar."

"What's in Dawnstar?"

"Nothing," Morgyna shrugged. "From there I'm taking a carriage south."

"What's south?"

"Riften," Morgyna answered. "I'm to serve as a lady in the court of Jarl Maven Black-Briar, at Mistveil Keep." She hesitated awkwardly. "Do you know it?"

A slow smile spread wide across Katarinya's face. "As a matter of fact, I do. And I would love nothing more than to see dear old Maven and her dysfunctional brood again."

~ FIN ~


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