1 Last Seed, 4e 201 Aricette - age 20

"Absolutely not. You're not going." Savos said, glaring and crumpling the missive and throwing it across the room.

"Why not? They call for help, and I can help. I'm the only one who can and you know it, Ata," Aricette said, her blue eyes glinting with a steely resolve.

"It's too dangerous," Savos replied. It was a feeble excuse and he knew it, Aricette could take care of herself, magically anyway. "You know magic, julikal, but you do not understand the world or the way it works. You have no part in this war and if they catch you traveling with the rebels, they will execute you. Do you understand that?"

"So what do you propose, hiding behind the college walls forever?" Aricette snapped. Savos turned to her, glaring. While she may have gotten better with her mental wards against other people's emotions, she could never handle her Ata looking at her with disappointment as he seemed to do now. She lowered her eyes, avoiding his gaze.

"That's exactly what I'm suggesting. You stay here where it's safe and teach apprentices what you know. Maybe even replace Mirabelle as Master Wizard. It's no secret you are more adept than she at most spells," he said, and Aricette snorted and rolled her eyes.

"No, Ata. I want to explore, to travel and maybe someday settle down and have my family. I can't do any of those things if I never leave this place," she said. Savos knew she was right, but that didn't mean he thought this was the best time to do it. He closed his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose.

"I don't think this is a good idea, Ari. All of your travel will come to a sudden end if you're executed for treason," he said.

"I know, Ata, but I've spent years in the Arcaneum reading about the world. I want—no, I need to go experience it, no matter how short of an experience it might be. You don't know what the Divines have in store for me, and neither do I, but I know if I stay here where it's safe, I will never learn. I already don't know who left me on the seashore or why. I won't find those answers here either," she said. Her lip trembled and she bit it as tears filled her eyes.

"Oh, muhrjul, I don't know that you will ever find those answers," Savos whispered, his gaze softening. Aricette closed her eyes and looked away, willing herself not to cry.

"I know, Ata, but I have to find my place in the world, and that means I have to risk something. Please try to understand," Aricette said.

"I understand, julikal," Savos replied. "All too well."

2 Last Seed, 4e 201

Aricette finished squeezing the last of her belongings in her pack and glanced around the living quarters she shared with Savos. Tears filled her eyes as she drifted around the room, her hands trailing along the furniture of the seating area. It was these rooms where she'd grown up, protected and loved, where she was home. The prospect of never seeing it or her Ata again tugged at her core and threatened her resolve. Savos was right, she could stay here and challenge Mirabelle for the position of Master Wizard and Aricette knew she'd succeed. She just didn't wish to. Mirabelle had become less frosty to her over the years, Aricette knew that it was only because of Ata, but it was better than the constant insults and hostility she endured most of her life. Challenging her for Master Wizard and taking away Mirabelle's purpose at the college would do more harm than good, and even though the woman infuriated Aricette, she saw no reason to make her suffer. Aricette sighed, threw her bag over her shoulder, and found her cloak draped over a chair. She picked it up, took one last glance around the room and headed down the stairs and outside.

It was a cloudless day; the sunlight radiating from the stone walls of the college. Savos stood in the courtyard next to the statue of Gauldur, waiting for her. Aricette smiled and went to embrace him when he held out his arms to her. They stood that way for a long time, before he kissed the side of her head and took a step back, looking her over.

"I love you, julikal. Stay safe," Savos whispered, his voice thick. Aricette swallowed hard, nodding, and kissed his cheek.

"I love you too, Ata," she said, a tear escaping down her cheek and Savos wiped it away.

"Go now, before the carriage leaves," he said.

Aricette nodded and walked away from him, throwing her cloak around her shoulders and using a telekinesis spell to open the gates. She stopped, turning back to him and waving goodbye. He returned it, watching as she turned and made her way across the bridge. He watched after her until her auburn curls were no longer visible. The courtyard was empty now, and he stood in silence for a long time, staring at the statue, unable to shake the feeling he'd never see her alive again.

Aricette stepped off the bridge, noticing the guard's nervous glance at her. She smiled at him, and he seemed to relax a little. She followed the major road to the other side of town, taking in the tiny village as she went. Even though she'd spent most of her time at the college, Winterhold was home to her, and a twinge of sadness went through her when she thought of how long it might be before she returned. She pushed the thought away and kept putting one foot in front of the other until she reached the waiting carriage.

"Where do you want to go?" the driver said, looking down at her from his seat and pulling his cloak tighter around him.

"How much to go to Windhelm?" she asked.

"Twenty septims," he said, as Aricette handed him the coins. He counted them and nodded toward the carriage.

"Climb in back and we'll be off," he said. She did as the driver instructed, settling herself against the side of the wagon as it lurched forward and she focused on the college until it faded from view.