You try to calm down a bit and think rationally. You need to go to this dinner; you already told Quill-Weave you were coming. Not to mention you could really, really go for a good meal right about now. You bet they have dinner rolls and expensive meat and casseroles and fancy desserts and who knows what else. Quill-Weave implied it was actually made by cooks. You can’t remember the last time you had someone else make a meal for you.
Of course, it happens to also involve facing one of your greatest fears.
You’re right, this is ridiculous. You breathe deep and slow to keep yourself from hyperventilating. It’s just a card. There is nothing to be afraid of. It can’t hurt you, it can’t move, it can’t even think. You could tear it in half if you wanted to! Well, okay, maybe not since it’s laminated, but you could sure try.
What even makes it a king? A little “K” in the corner? A spiky hat? If you had covered up the “n” on the Knave card, it wouldn’t have made it any scarier. Even if you drew a little crown on that knave, it wouldn’t have made him a king. It would’ve just been a knave in a crown. Maybe that’s all royalty is: normal people with a title and some fancy clothing. Kings, Counts, Emperors – other than their job, they’re no different than the rest of us! They don’t even have special powers or anything. That would be silly.
You are a grown woman, and a wizard. You do have special powers. You’ve fought monsters. You can’t be afraid of a little card.
You pick up the King of Hearts. You’re gonna try this again.
You proved great courage when you faced the imps, so you can do it.
Hey King of Hearts.
No offense, but you look like you eat babies or something.
I mean I guess I’m in no position to judge someone else for having gigantic pointy teeth, but I mean, at least I learned to smile with my mouth closed. You look like the kind of person who uses skulls for interior decorating. Though, um, I guess I did that earlier today too.
I’m sorry, if you haven’t noticed here, I’m kind of terrified of royalty. It’s nothing personal. I mean maybe you’re a great guy. Or maybe you only became a king because you married a princess or something, and received a kingdom? I mean, I have to admit having a kingdom sounds pretty nice! This sounds totally childish and stupid but sometimes I wish I wasn’t afraid of royalty just so I could wish I was a princess. That’s what normal little girls are supposed to do when growing up, right? I guess I kind of missed out on all that.
You’re probably not a bad person, King of Hearts. I bet you’re trying as hard as you can to be a good king and not scare people with your terrifying maw. I hope you… like your job? I’m sorry.
What I’m trying to say is that it’s okay Katia.
It’s okay to be afraid.
No one’s going to hate you for being afraid.
You are completely terrified.
But you’re not going to let that stop you.
You’re Katia Fucking Managan. You came here because you wanted a better life, and you’re not going to be torn down by the same dumb phobia that ruined your last life. You will go to that dinner, eat a ridiculous amount of food, talk to a countess, and be fucking terrified the whole time.
But it doesn’t matter. This is an opportunity, and you’re not going to let it slip past. It’s time to be more than the slutty, homeless, alcoholic Khajiit with an irrational fear of royalty. It’s time to be Katia Managan.
Kiss him. This instant.
Well okay you’re not ready to go that far. Baby steps, here.
You dry off, get dressed, and pocket the lockpick, King, and Knave. Maybe if you get bored at dinner you can play some two-card solitaire. You don’t actually know how to play solitaire, but you’re almost certain you can come up with a simplified version of it that can be played with two cards.
You search around for a hairbrush or comb but obviously find nothing. Maybe slightly damp, messy fur works for you? You don’t know; you’re no stylist. You are thinking you might leave the cowl here, though, so you look a bit more formal.
Not wanting to leave this place a complete mess, you stack up the remaining cards and use the towel to mop up some of the water you spilled. You’re thinking you’ll just leave the tub here until you get back; the only way you can think to empty it would be using the bucket, and that would eat up any time you have for visiting Trevaia before dinner.