Katja on Her Own
After seeing the party off on the road outside the Suite, Katja walked back inside. As much as she was already missing Anders and Wyll, this rare opportunity for time to herself seemed like a treasure trove, and she felt unable to decide what to spend it on first. After some consideration, she returned to the master bedroom and resumed going through her wardrobe.
I need more nice clothes, she thought. As a person of some prominence in Skyrim, especially locally, she was beginning to sense that that the catch-as-catch-can casualness that had marked her garb for so many years was no longer in keeping with her public image. She had some wonderful armor now, and Taarie in Solitude was making her a wedding dress that would be the talk of the province; but as she spent less and less time prowling dungeons or slaying dragons, she needed garb that expressed both her individual tastes and her position as a person who was rich, famous, and influential. Let’s not forget fabulously beautiful, she chided herself. Keeping a grip on the size of her head was just one of her problems.
It was a pity there was not a clothing shop closer to home. Perhaps she could design some everyday clothes for herself that did not exactly resemble the everyday clothing of every other wealthy woman in Whiterun. But did she have the time, and the skill, to sew them herself? Most commoners of course made their own clothing, and simple enough clothing it was. Perhaps she needed to pay a call at Dragonsreach and discuss the matter with some of the ladies of the court. They must know someone in the area whose skill with a needle was beyond the ordinary.
That decision reached, Katja threw most of the clothes back in the trunk and tucked some others into her pack, to sell at Belethor’s on her next trip to town. Which would be soon, she realized – she still needed to get Lydia and Argis’ invitations to the wedding party on the 18th delivered, and there was less than two weeks to go before the event. Yesterday evening, after their return from Whiterun and the forging of the partnership with Warmaiden’s, she’d pressed Wyll into service with her penning copies of the party invitation.
Katja had seen books everywhere in Skyrim – often multiple, and identical, copies of the same title. Somewhere, these books were created. But nowhere had she learned how or where that happened. They might have hatched from eggs, for all the information she had. So, to produce the 16 party invitations she and Wyll had had to pen the same text by hand, 16 times. She was pleased to learn that, as unlikely as it might seem, Wyll proved to have a clear, attractive hand with a quill pen. What a treasure he was!
When the invitation copies had been written, the evening was wearing late and she’d stacked them up on the table in the Master Suite, having other amusements in mind. Had she known both Wyll and Anders would be slipping from her grasp the very next day, she might have skipped the invitations entirely. Ah, well. Now she brought a candle over from a nightstand to sit on the table as she folded each invitation, and sealed it with a blob of wax into which she pressed her Dragonborn signet.
Katja didn’t have a lot of occasions to produce official Dragonborn correspondence, but it had occurred to her some months back that it might be useful to be able to do so; so she had designed a signet for herself and had it crafted by the family of jewelers who did business near the front gates of Markarth during one of her early visits there. Preferring to wear as few rings as possible, she had the seal mounted on a handle and kept it in a drawer when not in use.
Now to address them. She pulled out a fresh quill and Lydia’s list, which thoughtfully included not only the names but the locations of the invitees. Designations such as “Second house on the right side of the Temple of Kynareth, Cloud District, Whiterun,” were as much address as you ever got in Skyrim if your house didn’t actually have a name. Katja had heard that in Cyrodiil the Imperials had established a mail service. That would be a little impractical in this broad and sparsely-populated province, she feared.
By the time she had finished preparing the invitations for delivery it was suppertime, and Katja decided to wait until tomorrow to see about delivering them. She broke bread with Igmund and Raerek at her usual table. The old men weren’t bad companions, but she was beginning to wonder if she’d adopted them for life. They were enjoying themselves so much at the Suite that it would seem heartless to dump them back off in the basement of the Blue Palace, after Argis and Lydia’s wedding.
After eating Katja went back upstairs and put on a robe, heading for a soak in the hot pool. She was going to miss having this so close to hand when they moved to their own house – unless maybe they could somehow figure out how to build one of their own. Rather than socialize with the other people in the pool, she lay back in the hot water and spent a few minutes fantasizing about her dream home. Then, relaxed yet energized, she returned upstairs and put on her smithing outfit. She had enchanted a circlet, armor, gloves, boots, ring and necklace with the Enhance Smithing enchantment, which improved her work to a master’s standard.
She’d mostly been doing production work just to earn some money lately, making a few pieces from scratch and improving others that had come into her hands. Now Katja took the time to try some experimentation. A Daedric bow had fallen into her possession, more powerful than any she had previously owned, and she now set about trying to copy it. She’d been studying some tomes on the subject, and learned that they were made of ebony but magically enhanced by the fusion of a Daedra heart into the metal. The exact technique was difficult, but by the end of the evening she was looking at two Daedric bows and could not tell one from the other.
Feeling immensely pleased, Katja disrobed and slipped into the basement’s bed all by herself. This was the first time she had ever slept here alone, and she missed Wyll’s presence enormously. She lay right in the center of it with her arms and legs outstretched, staring up at the ceiling, and sighed deeply. Then she curled up into a ball, lying on her side, and went to sleep.