In Episode 170, Buffy was gradually recovering in Kvatch’s chapel. We learned more about her injuries as the semiconscious elf overheard a bedside conversation between Countess Odalys, High Priestess Oleta and Sir Mazoga. The next morning, Buffy was able to open her eyes and speak. With the help of Mazoga, she began to come to grips with the reality of Savlian’s death. When she realized Mazoga had no intention of leaving her side, Buffy granted leave to do so - reminding the knight of a promise made to Martin and a destiny shared with Agronak. Mazoga agreed to depart on the quest of escorting Tamriel’s next Emperor to safety and, ultimately, his throne. Rider-
Dragonfly! I love it! Thank you for those kind words. Buffy has amassed many friends in her story – and she needs them now. Darkness Eternal-
Our bowgirl’s month restriction on shooting will likely be aggravated by self doubts as well as the need for a new bow. Her mighty enchanted Slayer was destroyed of course when she blocked the Daedroth’s blow that broke her arm. Her cursed magic at the time prevented her from automatically shielding her bow with a spell as she blocked with it. Thank you so much for your wonderful support during a tough time for Buffy. Rihanae-
Aww, thanks! I’m so glad you can feel some of what Buffy and I do for dear Mazoga. Oleta, as a high priestess (and mother to Lissa
), heals empathically and can ‘sense’ her patients just like Buffy does. She’ll share a little more of what she sensed from Buffy in this next episode. KC-
Thank you. I’m trying to use those notes Savlian had Buffy make on closing an Oblivion Gate as a thread of continuity pointing to the Main Quest of course. Even though Buffy didn’t understand, I’m glad she listened to her paladin in giving them to Mazoga. mALX-
Wow! Thank you so much. You and I have been at this together for a very long time and your support is such a wonderful treasure. SubRosa-
Thank you. Hee! I knew you would get a kick out of Buffy waking up in her University issue ‘green bag’. Despite the heaviness of our current theme, I’m trying hard to inject a (faint) smile here and there. ‘Lunch Bucket’ just seemed such a natural name for an orc to call a donkey. Glargg-
Thank you so much, my Nordic friend. I’m so pleased you are with us! Grits-
It can sometimes be a challenge 'show' things when we stay so rigidly in Buffy's perspective - but a challenge we relish. I'm so glad her sense of hearing alone was able to convey the opening scene that her eyes could not. Thank you for enjoying the little trip down memory lane – that face off between Buff and ‘Zoga over Superian waaay back in Leyawiin is one of my fave moments. Thank you also for endorsing my choice to not stop the book quite yet and letting me share at least the beginnings of Buffy’s long recovery.McBadgere-
Thank you! I’m so glad you got your puter all healed up. I hope your father-in-law is doing better. If he needs a bypass, I so hope the surgery and recovery go well.
* * *
171 Epilogue, Part 2 - Visitors Savlian and I stood arm-in-arm at the gates of our shining city atop the mountain. He was resplendent in his armor and spotless surcoat. I wore a gown of royal blue silk – with matching slippers, of course. He said to the small cluster of new arrivals, “On behalf of Countess Odalys Goldwine, welcome to Kvatch. I’m Savlian Matius, and honored to command those who protect our city. This beautiful elf at my side is the love of my life.”
I smiled proudly. “Welcome to Kvatch. I’m Buffy.”
“Dame Buffy?” My eyes fluttered open, but the Imperial in gleaming armor wearing the insignia of a Legion officer and Kvatch surcoat was not Savlian. “Welcome back to us, Milady,” continued Lucilius. “Sigrid and I have visited each day, hoping to find you awake.”
Seated next to him was my guildmagister. I sighed, but managed a smile. “Thank you both for coming to see me. Lucilius, I see you found the battlefield commission Savlian left for you.”
He nodded awkwardly. “We discovered it while relocating the encampment up to just outside the city gates. When I presented the Captain’s letter to Lady Odalys she immediately placed me in command, assuring me the Legion would not attempt to countermand her decision.”
“C-congratulations,” I managed to say. “Savlian chose wisely.”
“For a time,” said Sigrid as she gracefully changed the subject, “we were worried that you might lose that left arm. Akatosh placed the shattered bone fragments perfectly, but it took Oleta and I several days to mend the mess it made of the flesh between your shoulder and elbow. Guildmagister Carahil from Anvil even visited for a couple days to assist with the final cosmetic repairs. Thanks to her efforts I don’t think you’ll have any residual scarring. I’m delighted to see a hint of color in your cheeks today.”
“The whole encampment is now just outside the walls?” I asked, moving the subject right back to Kvatch.
“Aye,” replied Lucilius. “Things are happening quickly. Countess Umbranox of Anvil has dispatched her castle’s chief engineer to help coordinate our rebuilding. She’s even sent another large tent to serve as temporary court and quarters for Lady Odalys and her steward.”
“What color is this one?” I asked, almost managing a smile. “As outlandish as the others?”
“Of course,” replied Sigrid. “Alternating vertical stripes of purple and white.”
“Captain Matius would be pleased with the progress, were he here to see it,” said Lucilius. “Fortunately, the castle’s coffers were not empty. Adequate amounts of lumber, along with stone and other supplies, are beginning to arrive.”
“Who is your second in command, Lucilius?”
“Merandil, who sends both his regards and appreciation for your brave service with his archers. He’s overseeing the withdrawal of soldiers back to their cities and the transition of Camp Defiance to house the influx of workers and tradesmen arriving to help rebuild Kvatch.”
“I hope he serves you as well as you did Savlian.”
“Thank you, Milady. You’ll be pleased to know that when we moved the encampment, I had everything arranged everything inside your tent just the way you and the Captain had it. It’s waiting for you as soon as Oleta says you’re ready to leave the chapel.”
“I-it’s not my tent,” I said. “It’s the command tent – yours now.”
Lucilius produced a handkerchief for the tears that had found their way down my cheeks then he started to protest, “But you-“
“I can’t stay there,” I interrupted. “Not without Savlian.”
“Of course Buffy doesn’t want to be alone, Lucilius,” said Sigrid as she placed a hand on his arm to stay any further protests. She then looked at me. “I’ll move your belongings into one of the sleeping tents within the guild, so you’ll be close to your fellow mages.” Her fingers moved from Lucilius’ arm to my right hand and I could see her eyes moisten. “I just can’t believe he’s gone, Buffy.”
“It’s my fault, Sigrid,” I said quietly. I blinked to stem some tears and used Lucilius’ handkerchief to dab at those that escaped. “My potions were all crushed by the falling roof trap and that Dremora mage cursed my magic. I was foolish and arrogant to not have carried even a single scroll of dispelling that might have changed the outcome. Savlian’s steel was there for me – even to his death. Yet, when he needed my magic, I-I failed him.”
“Don’t tread that path,” admonished Sigrid gently. “He knew all about your limitations and loved you as much for them as in spite of them. In fact, I’m sure your vulnerability is a large part of what drew him to you. Buffy, you are the best thing that ever happened to Savlian Matius.”
I squeezed Sigrid’s hand gratefully. “As he was to me.”
“That’s enough visiting for today,” said Oleta as she appeared at the foot of my bed. “Lucilius, put those muscles to use and carefully carry Dame Buffy to the altar for her daily blessing. Then I want you two to leave so my patient can get a good night of rest.”
Once Lucilius completed his task and returned me to bed, I was exhausted. I closed my eyes, anxious for sleep so I could be with Savlian.
“Good, Buffy!” encouraged the High Priestess. “I’m barely holding your arm and you’re walking without a trace of limp from that right ankle.”
As we slowly made our way from Akatosh’s altar of healing, I said, “Thanks for agreeing to drop the ‘Dame’ stuff, Oleta. I’m feeling much less lightheaded on my feet this morning.”
“Sit,” the Redguard commanded as we approached my bed. “I’m going to unbind that left arm from your side.” As Oleta worked, she said, “You have visitors coming soon and I want to finish before they arrive.”
“Visitors?” I repeated.
“Yes,” she replied cryptically. “Now, keep this sling on for another week as a reminder to limit use of that arm.” A gentle finger wag accompanied her next words: “Oh, and I don’t want you using a bow for at least a month.”
At the sudden clattering of hooves on stone, I spun my head toward the sound. “Superian!” I cried out. She was flanked by Bolden and Moria.
Oleta announced, “I reluctantly approved a short visit.”
As Bolden led the wide-eyed mare to my bedside, she stopped her nervous prancing and lowered her head to investigate. My one good arm wrapped around her long nose as tears streamed down my face. The vibration of my mare’s contented nicker was like a soothing potion to this mess of an elf. “Thank you,” I managed to mouth up at the stable master.
“Superian needed the visit more than you,” said Bolden. “She’s been difficult to handle and, for the past several days, has had little interest in eating.”
Moria added, “Only by letting her sniff your turnip could we settle her down.”
“Tunic,” corrected Bolden. “Sigrid gave us the remnants of what you wore under your armor during the battle to free Kvatch.”
Undeterred, Moria continued, “I figured since smelling your turnick made her feel better, you might like having something of hers to sniff when she’s not here.” Unwrapping a small piece of burlap to reveal the gift, she added, “I dried it in the sun first.”
The High Priestess wrinkled her nose, clearly not amused. “You can just wrap that right back up and take it with you when you go, young lady – perhaps to fertilize some flowers. I’m quite sure this patient doesn’t require such a. . . reminder to recall the smell of her mare.”
Ignoring Moria’s impressive pout as the girl rewrapped Superian’s ‘present’, Oleta continued, “Now, I need to get a broom and some supplies from the undercroft. Since my other priest left yesterday, work here has increased.” Rolling her eyes, she added, “Typical mysterious Martin; all he would say is that Akatosh was calling him to serve in a different way. It’s fortunate that both orcish knights, along with their squire and that Talosian monk, happened to be heading east and agreed to let Martin travel with them for a time.”
Bolden said, “I thought Tavia was giving you a hand here in the chapel, now that Martin’s gone.”
“Oh, she’s been a wonderful help,” replied Oleta. “In fact I expect to appoint her as a Charity Sister soon.”
Moria’s eyes opened wide.
“Don’t you worry, child,” said Oleta. “Once folks start to move back into the city, Tavia and your whole Orphans Guild will have a home right here in the House of Akatosh.” As she headed for the stone steps leading down to the undercroft, Oleta admonished over one shoulder, “By the time I return, I expect this fine animal will have found the nourishment her spirit needs so she can return to the stable for some proper food.”
Nuzzling Superian as best I could, I said to Bolden, “Lucilius and Sigrid told me the whole encampment has been moved to the upper plateau just outside the city walls. Did the stable move as well?”
“Aye,” replied the Redguard. “Back to its original spot, but fully rebuilding High Country Stables is pretty far down the Countess’ list of priorities. I guess I can understand that. Work is just beginning on the castle, guilds, homes and shops inside the walls, but you can already see progress on Weedum-Ja’s Wolf’s Head Tavern. At least the arena is lower on the list than the stable. In fact, Lady Odalys has proclaimed she’ll transition our amphitheater from blood sport to musical concerts and stage plays. I’m not so sure how that’ll work out.”
“Don’t try my patience, stable master.” The High Priestess had reappeared upstairs. “It’s time for hoofed visitors to leave and this elf needs her rest. She has a big day tomorrow, for I expect to release her in the morning.” Brandishing the broom in her hands as if she meant business, Oleta added, “Now, shoo!”
“I’m so grateful to you both,” I said, “for bringing Superian to visit.”
“Not as grateful as she is, I’m sure,” replied Bolden as he and Moria obediently led my mare toward the chapel’s door.
“You’re letting me out of here tomorrow?” I said to Oleta. “Are y-you sure I’m ready?”
After a last stern look at Superian’s rump, her face softened. She leaned the broom against a column then gracefully sat beside me on the bed. “Your ankle is all better and that troublesome arm is mending nicely.” Her gentle fingers brushed some blond strays from my face. “Buffy, I know your heart was also broken. Even the Dragon God of Time’s full bounty cannot completely heal that. It will get better though, and you will find you are not alone in your loss. Besides, you don’t need the roof of Akatosh over your head. Kynareth will bring you comfort.”
“Kynareth?” Despite blinking back tears, I said, “But, High Priestess, I am a child of Mara.”
“I’m aware that elves grow up slowly, but I expect you are a child no longer. I have spent much time with hands laid upon you. There is an odd duality to your spirit. . . as if another somehow dwells within you. Regardless, I sense both Mara and the ancient Nordic variation of Kynareth. It is Mara who taught you to love, but the free spirited Goddess of sky, travelers and forest that can help you mourn. You are a wood elf and need to spend time outdoors. Embrace the cleansing tears of Kyne – what we call rain.”