Tara Geonette stretched out her right arm, lit a fireball in her hand, and sent it towards the distant fox.
The fox turned to ash seconds later, never aware of its impending destruction. That would teach it to come looking for crops to steal, Tara thought. She’d need to remind everyone to keep an eye out for any other wildlife that might damage the crops. Deer, foxes, rabbits, whatever stepped on the property, they’d need to be killed and skinned for their meat.
The farm needed to look well cared for, which included keeping out pests.
Tara surveyed the rest of the property. Her property. She stood on the upper floor balcony of the stone tower, outside of the room she’d turned into her bedroom and personal lab. The top floor was all hers, as it should be. From this balcony, she could see all areas of the farm and past the road to the other low lying farmlands near them.
The lower half of the tower housed the community kitchen and training area. The small stone and wood farmhouse next to the tower served as the bunkhouse for her disciples. There were ten of them now, with more to come.
The farm was the perfect size for the burgeoning cult. The Order of the Fire Queen is what Lysona had started calling them. Perfect.
Lysona’s skills as an alchemist had come in handy and Tara had left most of the day to day running of the farm up to her. She was quite capable and malleable.
Because they needed to keep a low profile, in plain sight, Tara insisted most of the crops planted and harvested be the same as the previous owners’. Which meant mostly wheat was grown. They kept the wheat on the outer sections, so from the road, things looked no different. Further in, they’d added leeks, carrots, tomatoes, and potatoes to even out what they could harvest for themselves, reducing the need to go to town.
Lysona had found hidden areas behind the tower, plus within its basement to grow the alchemy ingredients needed for potions and poisons. One had to be completely on the land to see the nightshade and deathbells sprouting.
Seven months after leaving that cave near Wayrest, and Tara finally felt like she had a place to grow her cult and powers.
So much of the Rivenspire region was still in turmoil, even all this time after the fighting from King Ranser’s War. Finding land large enough for her needs, but held by an insignificant noble family no one would miss had not been easy. Other prospects had not panned out. Alcaire had earned her the next three recruits, after Bedore and Lysona, but the people had been suspicious and the politics of the region seemed unstable. Perhaps it’d simply been too close to Wayrest for her tastes.
The tower and surrounding land here in Rivenspire, south of the city of Shornhelm, had belonged to the Hawkston family. The “sale” had gone smoothly enough.
Tara had ordered Bedore to kill Carolabyth, which was enough to convince her husband, Perard, to sign over the land. They’d not had to kill their daughter, Vannara, to convince the man his farm wasn’t worth that much.
Their daughter had lived, until Tara killed her and Perard, placing their souls, along with Carolbyth’s, in her soul chest. Best to not have any witnesses, she’d reminded Bedore and the others. No matter their promises, they would’ve eventually told someone of being forced off their land by necromancers.
Tara needed more souls, anyway. By handling their deaths herself, she was assured of the suffering they’d gone through, which was key.
Bedore had done well enough, but his incineration of Carolabyth had been too fast.
He didn’t have the same control over fire as she did, Tara reminded herself. No one did.
She lit flames in her left hand and admired them. Fire had always come easy to her. If there was a magic she did not have to work at, it was flames of any sort. Even when she was just a baby, her parents claimed, she’d been producing flames in her hands.
Conjuration still took some focus, though she was a master now, so the magicka drain was minimal. Illusion magic was the same.
There was something about burning people alive that satisfied her.
Conjuration was more a means to an end, though there was joy in resurrecting someone you’d just killed. The power you could have over them eternally. Well, that was her right. Not enough people understood that. Yet.
Tara extinguished the flames in her hand and turned away from the view of her property. She looked through the open balcony doors at Bedore, still asleep in her bed.
Yes. She’d need to work with him on his fire spells. Teach him the control to slowly roast people alive. Teach him to not only tolerate the screams of agony flames could elicit, but to appreciate them. Roll that sound around in your mind and rejoice how it marked a soul before trapping. The power that pain added to the strength of a soul.
He needed to appreciate torture more.
Tara let a smile creep across her face. Maybe they could get in a lesson today, between her long list of tasks to do.
First, though, time to have more fun with him in bed. She still wasn’t sure how he felt about her. Was this just mutual attraction, satisfying some carnal lust? Was he drawn to her for her power? Was he ambitious and saw her as a path to his own domination? He could be hard to read.
Those dark blue eyes and black hair. A body as chiseled as his face.
She’d understand him sometime soon. The more time they spent together, the more she’d be able to read him, no matter how private he was trying to be. He did not stand a chance.
Regardless, time for some morning fun. She stepped back into her bedroom for a start to the new day.
(Tara Geonette recreated in Skyrim’s engine. I’d originally created her in ESO)