4E 205 – Guilt

Mira read through the letter again. Katla had kept it short. For its brevity, there was a lot to absorb.

Tara was heading to the Imperial Palace here in Cyrodiil. She’d been made personal bodyguard to the new queen, Rigmor Morgan-Mede. She’d be living there. For the first time in years, they were living in the same province.

Katla, too, would be living in the Imperial City. She couldn’t live with Tara, but would be nearby.

“…told her to have loved ones nearby. Helps with the stress of the job. Plus, I should be safe there. So many Imperial guards and the Penitus Oculatus…”

Katla had suggested Mira arrange to visit her when she was settled in an apartment and setup a teleport spell between Mira’s home and Katla’s new one.

“…not sure if you think that’s proper, but it would let me visit you unseen. I hate teleporting, but whatever keeps us safe…”

The idea was good. Mira had no ill intent, so appearing inside someone’s home in the city wouldn’t be a problem.

Plus, maybe she could see Tara soon. Apologize.


“You! Magic! All you ever do is hurt me with it! Nothing but pain! This whole fucking family!”

If Tara would let her.

The real news wasn’t Tara and Katla coming to Cyrodiil, though.

“…Geonette is alive in Oblivion somewhere. With Lysona Meric and a lot of order members. Something happened to Tara there, Mira. She didn’t tell me much, but…”

Tara Geonette, who had lived over a thousand years ago, was somehow still alive. In Oblivion.

Mira ran her right hand through her hair, then caught it on a knot.

Had she brushed her hair today? No.

She hadn’t bathed since…

Mira put down the letter and slowly stood from the chair she’d been sitting in since…

She’d slept in it. Her joints cracked to confirm. She felt stiff.

Pull yourself together, she thought.

“You! Magic! All you ever do is hurt me with it!”

How was she supposed to pull herself together? Tara was right. She’d caused her nothing but pain. The whole family had.


Mira made her way to her bedroom on the second floor of the house. The first floor held her living area, comfortable chairs and sofas with plenty of bookcases and side tables to hold books for reading. She’d once imagined hosting parties, entertaining mages from all over Tamriel here. She couldn’t remember when she’d given up on the idea.

When you stopped thinking you were the greatest mage that ever lived.

Now, the living area, with the kitchen next to it, were the rooms she spent the least amount of time in.

She much preferred her reading room on the third floor, with her laboratory next to it. Plus her balcony with the excellent view of Chorrol.

She’d fallen in love with the city when she’d spent time helping heal its citizens during an outbreak of blood lung. The count and countess had been graceful, and grateful. They’d had their steward offer her a home for sale and asked her to become court wizard.

She’d declined the job, but purchased the home. Chorrol’s weather, and closeness to the Great Forest, had charmed her and settled the matter. The romance with Sir Gaersmith had helped, until it’d ended. At least he’d left the city.

If Mira wasn’t going to live in High Rock, here is where she wanted to be.

She looked at herself in the mirror. Her hair was unkempt, knotted, and sticking up where it’d been pressed into the chair. Her robes, simple red ones she wore around the house, were rumpled. When had she last changed out of them? She looked exhausted, yet all she’d done lately was sleep.

Pull yourself together.

She needed a bath. And food. Mira realized she was famished. When had she last eaten? Yesterday? No, two days ago? Maybe.

She grabbed a fresh pair of undergarments and robes, then made her way back downstairs. Off the kitchen, in the back of her home, was the bathing area. A large, square sunken tub, lined with stone tiles, and fed by pipes took up almost all the room. There was a stone bench on the side, where she set down her fresh clothes.

Mira stripped and stepped down into the tub. The water was cold, as the pipes only fed cold water to it. She shivered and stepped back. How had she forgotten this?

She cast a spell of flames, warming the water. She eased herself in and felt her muscles relax. The stiffness from sitting in that chair for hours, or days, melted away with the steam and warmth.

After the bath, she stepped into the kitchen. What did she even have to eat?

Her eyes traveled along the table to the bowl of fruit in its center. Her nose twitched to the smell that matched the sight before her eyes. A half-eaten apple sat on the table, next to the bowl, rotting. Was this the last thing she’d eaten? An apple she hadn’t finished?

Pull yourself together.

She cleaned up the rotting fruit and looked at her cupboards. No fresh bread, cheese, nothing. Pull herself together indeed. Time for some fresh air and food.

Mira headed to the market. There was a collection of merchants at Great Oak Place, an area in the city shaded by a grand oak that had grown through the ages, dating back to the Second Era. There were always market stalls setup under it with daily wares to sell. Mira’s favorite one was run by an older Imperial, selling fresh goods from the nearby Odiil Farm.

She bought a chicken, carrots, fresh lemons, basil, two loaves of a multigrain bread, and some goat cheese. The day was bright, the light of the afternoon was slowly shifting towards the golden air of evening. She let herself feel the warmth of the sun on her face, and took in the beauty of the Great Oak, its leaves a dark green at their peak of summer growth.

She started on dinner as soon as she arrived home. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d cooked much for herself. The baked chicken recipe consisted of lemon, basil, and garlic. A simple one Mom had cooked a lot when Mira was little. When she seemed happier. Before Tara was born.

Mira nearly dropped the knife she was slicing lemons with.

Before Tara was born.

Yes. Things had changed after Tara was born. Mira couldn’t remember her parents ever being a loving couple. They’d always bickered.

After Tara, though, the real fights had begun. Father assaulting Mom. Mom going distant, quiet.

When Tara had first produced those spontaneous flames, things had gotten even worse.

There was something about Tara.

No wonder Mira had felt instinctively Tara needed to be at that cave, that ancient home of the order. In front of that barrier.

She added firewood to the bottom of the stone oven and sent a few sparks at the logs to start the wood burning. If there was one benefit to being a mage, it was never having a problem lighting a fire.

Mira finished preparing the chicken and put it in the oven, once it was hot enough. She set the bread on the stone edge of it, so heat from the oven would warm it.

She pulled out several carrots from the bunch and started slicing them.

Yes, she needed to know what else had happened to Tara with Geonette.

“…she said Geonette made her relive every painful memory. How is that possible?”

Mira shivered. How many of those painful memories included her?

Pull yourself together.

She sautéed the carrots with butter and more basil. She couldn’t dwell on that. What was done was done. Guilt wasn’t going to solve anything right now.

Dinner was ready shortly and Mira dived into it, burning her mouth on the first bite of chicken. She took a deep breath and savored the flavor. The chicken seemed like the best thing she’d ever eaten. She really hadn’t eaten in days to think that.

She made notes in her journal as she ate.

Yes, she needed to know exactly what else had happened to Tara. Maybe Katla’s next letter would have more information.

If not, she or Katla would have to convince Tara to tell them. It was important, Mira was sure of it.

“…How is that possible?”

Mira didn’t know. Illusion magic wasn’t her favorite school of magic. Of course it wasn’t. Not after the damage she’d seen it do to her little sister.

The damage you did to her.

Mira’s calm spells were legendary. The creatures she’d stopped with it. She’d had all that practice. Of course, she was good. She’d limited her pursuit of the rest of the school, though. She knew all the essential spells, but had not studied anything deeper.

Was there a way to peer into others’ minds?

She’d need to research, but it was feasible, for a powerful mage. How strong of a mage was Geonette? Perhaps something else had allowed it to happen. Tara had been in Oblivion, after all.

Geonette probably had elevated abilities there. Especially if she’d created the realm herself.

Mira grabbed the letter Katla had written and scanned it. She’d not described the realm in the letter. Mira needed to know. Was this a pocket realm Geonette had created for herself and her followers? It had to be, but without a description, she couldn’t be sure.

Mira finished eating and cleaned up.

She needed to know more about Oblivion. Things outside of the Oblivion Crisis. Why hadn’t she researched when they’d gotten back from the cave?

She looked up the stairs towards the third floor.

Pull yourself together.

She climbed the stairs and paused at the landing for the second floor.

Pull yourself together.

Right. She needed to deal with this.

Mira finished the climb and stepped into her lab, the room the stairs emptied into. When Tara had sent that wave, much of the lab had been disturbed. Loose ingredients covered the floor. A few potions had shattered and Mira saw their long dried stains coating the rug the alchemy table sat on.

The reading room was more of a mess. All the books were still on the floor. Half the teleportation orbs, too. Soul gems and scrolls were scattered about. The table and one of the chairs still sat on their side.


The look in Tara’s eyes. The pure rage.

The wave that had shoved Mira into the bookcase. Knocked her to the ground.

She thought of that first wave, when Tara was five. One of those had shoved her to the ground, too.

After Tara and Katla had left, Mira had cried. Then what? She couldn’t remember.

Had she gone downstairs and done almost nothing for two weeks? She remembered sleeping a lot.

She’d felt nothing.

Master Wizard Artoria had once described the sensation to her, as he discussed a noble he’d tried to treat with various potions. The man had eventually committed suicide. Nothing had helped him.

“He did not suffer sadness, as I wrongly assumed,” Artoria had told her. He’d realized too late, the man suffered from something far worse.

Depressed was the word he’d coined. A state where events pressed you into a feeling of having no hope. Feeling numb.


Yes, that’s where Mira had been these last couple of weeks. Feeling nothing, as if she was nothing.

A void.

Is that how Tara had felt for years because of what Mira had done to her?

Pull yourself together. For her. For yourself.

Mira started cleaning up the lab and reading room.

6 thoughts on “4E 205 – Guilt

  1. Brandi, you certainly give your story a lot of feeling, immersive is the description I would use. Thank you for time and effort you are putting into this.

  2. No no, we can take a very long time, I’m enjoying it too much, anyway, you have write about Tara being with Rigmor and the Dragonbum, as Riggsy calls him, until after RoT. and that could take years.

    1. We’ll definitely go through the “Rigmor Years”. I have to be careful with my writing, but, yeah, we’re in 4E 205, so plenty to go. I know how Tara’s story ends…I’ll get there.

  3. Mark Dodd has to be careful as well not to give anything away as we approach the first part of RoT. I like Tara, she has had a shit childhood, similar to Rigmors thats why they will hit it off so well I’m guessing so I hope her story ends well.

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