Epilogue: Thank You

Did I really have sex with an imaginary person? Fairuz asked herself the hundredth time ,as she hurried up the steps to the Arcanaeum. Her heart pounded and her mind was a whirlwind of crazy.

Because I would do that. I'm big enough of a weirdo to totally do that. Nobody wants to kiss me, nobody thinks I'm pretty, so of course I'd completely make someone up to do all that for me.

She frantically made her way through the library, searching for Eleanor, the library assistant. The young Breton was taking a break in a corner behind the main desk.

Fairuz strode right up to her and unceremoniusly demanded, "I'm looking for a guy, tall, Altmer, blond. Dresses like a nobleman and goes by the name Norion. He's been in here every day for the past few weeks."

Eleanor blinked, taken aback by both the interruption and the question. "Norion? As in...the Norion who used to go here?"

Fairuz's anxiety paused. She reminded herself that the last time she got worked up, she technically burst into flames. The last thing she needed now was to be the psycho first year who burned down half the Arcanaeum.

"You know him?"

"I did," Eleanor nodded. "He was a couple years ahead of me. But he hasn't been back since he graduated. I don't even know if he's still alive." Her tone turned somber as her shoulders sagged. "We lost a lot of alumni in the war."

A ghost then, Fairuz cringed. I was really bumping uglies in the bath house...with a ghost.

My patheticness truly knows no bounds.

"How do you know Norion?" the Breton asked, puzzled.

"He's been tutoring me for weeks now, and yet for some reason, no one else has seen him but me."

The Breton's head rose and fell. "Sounds like Illusion magic. Alteration bends reality in the outside world, but Illusion--"

"--is between the caster and the mind of the target," Fairuz finished impatiently. "Yes, I know--why would someone I've never met before cast a spell like that on me?"

"I don't know," Eleanor shook her head. "You'd have to ask him. Last I heard, he was working in some high-end tailor shop in Solitude."

She'd gotten all the answers she could for now. Fairuz turned to go, but Eleanor suddenly added, "It might not have been intentional, you know."

Fairuz turned back to her. "What do you mean?"

"He probably was just reaching out to a kindred mind and found yours by accident," the Breton said. "If so, then you must have some real talent buried in there. Such a connection is extremely rare."

"I would concur."

Fairuz turned to see Professor Phinis Gestor sitting behind her. Phinis was a Breton mage she actively avoided on account of him being a cranky, cantankerous old man. She believed deep down old Phinis really hated students, but stayed at the College simply because he had nowhere else to go.

"You're Fairuz Atiyeh, correct?"

"Yes, sir," she nodded.

"Those were some test scores you got there," he said. It was weird because he was complimenting her...but grumbling. "Hadn't seen a first year that smart in a very long time. What are you doing this summer, Miss Atiyeh?"

She floundered, not sure where this was coming from and what it had to do with anything. "I, um...I don't really know--"

"Every year, we offered select students internships with some of our more successful alumni. As fate would have it, my old classmate is now court mage at the Blue Palace. I was going to recommend one of the seniors, except I don't like any of them."

Fairuz blinked, dazed. The past half day had been a whirlwind of emotions, so much that she was now back to being numb.

"Thank you, sir," she finally said breathlessly. "I promise to work hard and represent the school well."

"You'll also get to kill two birds with one stone."


"You can track down Norion and ask him what the hell he thinks he's doing."

Yes, she nodded slowly to herself. Yes, I could.

"Now, my old friend is very hard to impress," Phinis continued. "So if you require assistance with summoning techniques, let me know. Though, you really should contain your summons to the College grounds. City folk don't need Atronachs roaming their streets. The summoning of undead is even less advisable outside of the College."

Fairuz was flabbergasted. "Summoning the what?"


Six Months Later

The rest of the year passed much more smoothly, almost uneventfully. Fairuz rejoined her fellow first years, this time as a platonic friend who was equally focused on her studies. Over the next semester, she easily mastered several more Novice-level spells in all six schools of magic.

But even as she studied and practiced day and night, Fairuz was a creature in limbo, quietly counting down to the days she'd return to Solitude.

It felt like an eternity until it didn't. Her boat docked early one sunny morning in the great harbor of the city, and as she climbed the winding road into this city, she suddenly felt as though she needed more time.

All the questions came rushing back, and they brought new friends.

Should I have written? she wondered. What if he doesn't know me? What if the spell was a misfire and I'm just a complete stranger obsessing over another complete stranger? I might be a great big nerd and everything now, but I'm still a really big loser when it comes to stuff like this.

She came to stand before the door of Radiant Raiment and hesitated. She thought about calling the whole thing off, about going to straight to Blue Palace and forgetting all about him.

Except she couldn't. There was no way she could forget about him, about everything that happened. Not if there was a chance it was real.

Her feet led her indoors, as though of their own will. As she walked the room, taking in the sights of fine clothes and smells of expensive perfume, everything felt suddenly felt extremely familiar.

She slowly turned round and round, murmuring to herself, "I've been here before."


She turned to see a familiar face, Elven, blond, tall. And this time, he was wearing resplendent mage robes.

It was him. It was really him.

He's real, her eyes widened. He was alive.

She nervously swallowed, not exactly sure where to start. "Hi, my name is--" She stopped herself, blinking rapidly. "Wait a minute! You know me!" Her whole face brightened. "You remember!"

Gone was his easy confidence, his laidback vibe. Instead, he was visibly shaken. "I was beginning to think you were a dream," he whispered, looking over and over again as though he couldn't believe his eyes.

"I thought you were a ghost!" she almost laughed. "And that was after I thought I was going crazy. What spell was that?"

"I was trying to astral project," he explained slowly, as though in a daze. "I thought if I could bend physical and mental reality, I could visit the College and see my old professors again, without leaving my home."

"Well, you succeeded," she commended him. "Sort of, anyway. When I told the staff what was happening, they were really impressed, even if they couldn't understand it. The popular theory was that we have similar minds or something. That's why you connected with me and not the others."

"It wasn't just that." He shifted uncomfortably then began again, almost shy, "It's just that, um, I remembered you...from here, from the shop."

It finally hit her. "I stopped in and bought some clothes before I left for Dawnstar," she gasped. "My mage robes too! How did I not recognize you?"

"You didn't see me when you were here," he shook his head slowly. "But I saw you. I watched you talking to my sisters. And I remember thinking what a beautiful woman you were."

Fairuz was grinning like an idiot now. "I hope you don't think I'm some crazed stalker," she sheepishly told him. "I got an internship at the Blue Palace for the summer."

"Congratulations," he bowed his head slightly. "I got the same internship years ago. The court mage was different though. Very different."

They stared at each other for a long moment before, she finally admitted, "It's good to see you again, Norion. You know, in the flesh."

"And you," he said warmly, flashing that slow, wry smile of his. "I hope we can spend some time together while you're here."

And just like that, all her questions melted away.

"I'd like that," she nodded.

"I can lock the store and walk you to the palace now, if you'd like," he offered.

"Thank you," she blushed. "For this and everything else."

He beamed back at her. "It's my pleasure."

~ FIN ~


Post a Comment

Spam and hateful comments will be deleted.

Popular Posts