Wowie gee! As soon as you open the chapel doors Sigrid pops out with a freshly cleaned robe, pile of treasure, and your official Mages Guild membership certificate. She proclaims this was all just a big test to make sure you were ready to join the Guild.
And now that you’ve passed, everything is going to be okay. You curl up by the warm fireplace and relax. It turns out you just had to keep trying, keep believing in yourself, and everything finally came together. Everything finally worked out.
What, this bottle? Yeah, you’re not even sure why you picked it up.
You cooly toss the bottle to the ground and let it shatter to a million pieces. Katia Managan is brave and successful and doesn’t need to get plastered out of her mind to forget what a failure she is. When the going gets tough, she’s fine because she knows everything will get better eventually.
She knows everything will be okay.
Useless Cat: get the bottle. Check to see if there is some sweet, sweet alcohol in there. Good ol’ alcohol. Alcohol never judges. Alcohol never lets you down. Alcohol never steals all your stuff and leaves you naked in the rain. You love alcohol, and you know what? Alcohol loves you! If there is indeed alcohol in there, drink it. You know it’s what you need right now.
Yes! You want to down this whole bottle and get wasted to bits. You want to stumble naked into the nearest building and do who-knows-what to what-knows-who and forget about it all the next morning. You want to wake up filled with regrets and ready to drown them out again. You found this bottle and it’s yours fair and square and pretending things will get better just isn’t working and after tonight you think you damn well deserve it! You feel sad, cheated, and just want this day to finish up on its own so you can pick up the pieces when you’re good and ready.
But you made yourself a promise and even if you wouldn’t have made it if you had known what was coming you don’t want to let everyone down again and it feels awful. Your mind is racing with at least three dozen pages worth of thoughts and feelings and plans and fantasies pulling you every which way and you don’t need that right now. You just want to feel better. You just want things to be okay.
You choke back a fresh wave of tears and take slow, deep breaths. You can still fix this. You’re stronger this time and don’t need to drink. This is a setback but you can still pull through. All the bad feelings, they’re just the prequel to something good. You’ll see.
But the more you think about it, the less true it feels. You just wanted to have one person believe in you by showing her you could do one simple job. Now, at best you’ll only be a slight disappointment. Just like every other time, you’ll have to go on knowing that no matter how hard you try, you’re still worth a little less than everyone else. If even that.
You tell yourself you just… have to shake that feeling. Find some way to make the future feel bright and giddy again, and quell that black claw gripping at your heart.
Clothes! You’ll go find some.
This. Isn’t. Your. Fault.
NONE OF IT IS.
Even the bravest of heroes couldn’t stand up to Sigrid. She’s a master alchemist with the ability to charm anyone out of their pants. Literally, in your case. There was nothing you could have done. And snapping out of it as early as you did is a great feat all in itself. And we? The voices in your head? We were the ones that told you to go in, even when we shouldn’t have. This is our fault, not yours.
And as for the letter… you can’t control the rain.
Yeah, you can’t control the rain. You can’t control other people. But you damn well could’ve kept yourself from skipping starry-eyed into a creepy building because oooh, mages! You could’ve left at any point. Maybe if you weren’t so useless you could’ve even done something about it. Broken in through a window and stolen your stuff back, or found evidence to convict Sigrid of a crime. Even if the town guards aren’t under her control, they’re not going to believe the word of some dirty slutcat. You know they never did back home.
Or how about this: maybe you could’ve concentrated on your one, simple delivery task rather than getting lost in some dumb wizard fantasy. Maybe if you had gotten the stars out of your eyes long enough to actually listen to the mages you met you would’ve noticed no one was taking you seriously to begin with. Realized you’re a fucking Khajiit who can’t even make magicka, almost twenty years old and can barely start fires – something any fucking mage could do with the exception that you have to wear a goddamn leash to keep from accidentally burning the fucking town down. Maybe you could’ve had an uncharacteristic moment of lucidity and noticed mages are just another shitheap of uncaring bastards looking to fuck you over and throw you away like every other goddamn person you ever tried to care about.
THIS BARREL IS EMPTY WHY ARE YOU EVEN SEARCHING IT?
One thing. You wanted one thing and you were too much of a fucking idiot to realize it was hopeless and pointless and bound to ruin everything. Stuck on some childish idea that you could be anything, do anything, and just be some selfish bitch that’s never happy with what she has. Fuck, you don’t even know what you’re mad at anymore, you just hate yourself and everything you ever ruined for yourself and everyone and want to stop thinking about what a worthless mindless thoughtless imbecile you are. You just want to stop fucking thinking about it.
Right. Alright. You have to think about this logically. Alcohol is a potential solution here. An effective one! One bottle, everything feels better. The worries, the sadness, the self-loathing, even if just for a night, it goes away. You can feel good again.
But then you’re just running away. It will cause problems, and then in the morning these problems will still be there, and you’ll have to deal with them. But you will have had a good, care free night’s sleep and be totally ready to deal with all the problems ever, tomorrow. That sounds great! It’s booze time. Booooooze o’clock.
But… maybe you’re just saying that because you’re an alcoholic. Maybe you have a problem. I mean, you know you have a problem, but maybe things will actually get better if you quit. I mean, things probably would have gotten better if you had quit earlier. If you hadn’t spent years drinking nightmares away, you could’ve done something. Maybe you could’ve become a merchant, or an alchemist, or an armorer. You would’ve been scared at night, sure, but wake up to a happy life every morning. Maybe if you didn’t have the option to hide your face in a bottle you would’ve gotten over your phobias entirely. Maybe alcohol ruined everything!
THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!
You apologize to the bottle, you didn’t mean to hurt its feelings and you know it’s just looking out for you and
Fuck fuck FUCK you’re talking to a bottle! You need a drink. You need a not drink. You’re a mess.
KATIA. QUIT DOING WHAT OTHERS TELL YOU THAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING. DECIDE FOR YOURSELF WHAT YOU NEED TO DO.
Right. Up to you. You decide your first course of action pretty quickly.
You drop onto the chapel floor and just cry. You cry and cry because you’re stupid and easy and can’t fix anything no matter how hard you try. You cry because your best is worse than everyone else’s average. You cry because your parents never loved you and you’re a disappointment to everyone, even yourself. You cry because all you wanted was to be someone and that’s never going to happen. And when that’s done, you cry a little more because you’re ashamed of being such a crybaby.
You try to get all the emotions out, try to clear your mind and maybe, just maybe feel ready to tackle the night ahead of you, feel as though this is the time you finally turn things around. But no matter how hard you try, how hard you weep and bawl and try to get it all out, you’re still just a fuckup. No matter what you try, that knowledge is still there, gripping onto your every thought and reminding you that things are never going to change.
You’re not strong. You’re not a hero. You’re not even worthy of the name Katia Managan. You’re sad and angry and nothing makes sense, but you know this is probably the clearest your head is going to get.
Someday, things are going to get better. Someday, you are going to fight and persevere and everything will feel great. You think.
But for now, you know what you have to do.
And at the very least, there is no way you could possibly make yourself feel any worse.