Tara reached the high point of the road and turned around for one last look.
The farmhouse looked small from here, tiny already, though she hadn’t walked that far yet.
Correction; what had been home for nearly eighteen years. Now, it’d become her source of pain. Time to go and build a life without pain. Her life. Her way.
A gentle breeze pressed strands of her hair across her nose. She twitched slightly and tucked the auburn hairs back into her loose bun. The scar tissue from the errant fireball still itched from time to time.
She blinked back sudden tears, drew in a deep breath and turned away from the farmhouse and her family. She walked.
If calculations were right, she’d turn eighteen just as she crossed into Cyrodiil. Her satchel felt scarily light for the journey. She had her camping gear, enough food for a few days. And, hopefully, enough septims to buy more food at inns along the way. And bribe a guard or two, if any gave her trouble crossing the border. And if septims would satisfy their wants.
She touched her steel dagger and then the woodcutting axe she’d stolen from her father for reassurance. She was strong for her size, and the years spent chopping wood, and chickens, had given her skills with the axe. Plus, Hardan, the old Great War veteran, had taught her a thing or two about fighting.
She was going to miss him. If anyone understood why she was leaving, it was him.
“No matter how much family loves you, they cannot always see past their nose,” he’d said during her last visit.
“Forgive him, Tara,” he’d added. “He will come around one day. Have patience.”
Stones crunched underfoot as the road dipped low and curved southward. The rising sun burst rays across her face.
Forgive her father? No. Not now. Maybe not ever. Patience was something she lacked. Just ask half the boys in town with bloodied noses; earned when they made moves after she said no to advances. You, at best, got one response from her. After that, the temper took over.
“You have more fire in you than the dragons of legend!” Hardan had once joked.
Tara snapped herself out of memories and paused to adjust her satchel across her shoulders. She was glad for her strength and the muscle definition that broadcast to others she wasn’t easy prey. She hoped. Being a Breton, she was short. Not a big deal in Wayrest, or the whole province of High Rock, of course, as this was home to Bretons. The rest of Tamriel would see her as small. She needed to remember to display her strength however she could.
She touched the axe again and picked up her pace. She wanted to grab a boat in Koeglin Village that would take her to Hammerfell today. Wayrest’s docks had been out of the question. Too many of her father’s loyalists would have brought her back home.
Take this in, she breathed. She looked around as she walked, admiring the tall grasses spreading across the land.
Enjoy the beauty here. Commit them to memory, she thought. You may never see it again.
By the grace of Dibella, she hoped she would one day.