Epilogue 2 - Greta

"Well, that's the last of the farm equipment sold off," Clark announced. "What have we got left?"

"There's a few things I want to keep, but most of the rest is just rubbish, that we'll burn before we leave. I'm undecided about these two statuettes, though."

Gilda had a pair of statuettes of Dibella that belonged to her mother. They were not like the uniform ones you find all over Skyrim, and not even the same as each other. One showed Dibella naked, but she was kneeling down to smell the fragrance of a growing liliy, and the flower, and her hair, hid most of her face, while her arms and hair also hid her breasts.

The other showed Dibella standing with a lily in one hand, at which she appeared to be gazing. She was fully clothed, in a hooded robe. The lily was beautiful, but the woman was a bit ordinary. Clark thought it was copied from one that once stood in Anvil, next to the chapel.

"I kind of like this one, the kneeling one. But I'm not so keen on the other one. They were bought as a pair, by the same artist, so I'm reluctant to sell them separately," Gilda told him. "Maybe I won't sell them. I could keep this one, and give the other to my aunt Hilde, ma's sister.

"She lives on the other side of the mountains, in a little village at the head of the next valley. The two valleys couldn't be more different. In this one, the farms are all strung out along the road, which eventually passes through the mountains into Skyrim. In the next one, the farms are all clustered around a market village at the head of the valley, as there's no pass, and the road stops there.

"It's a long way by road, but there's a narrow trail over the ridge that you can take on foot. You risk bandits that way, of course, and since you can't carry much, most of the traffic takes the long route."

"We'll take the shortcut. I promised the family that bought the farm that I'd lend them the wagon to move their furniture in, so we'll be going on foot anyway."

"Couldn't stay away from me, huh?" said the man behind Gilda, reaching around to grab her breasts.

Seconds later, he was on the ground complaining of a broken arm, and possibly cracked ribs. Clark healed the bones, but left the aches and bruises. "I don't want to use up all my magicka, just in case that happens again. You're lucky she didn't kill you."

"Kill me? Just for that?"

"It wouldn't be the first time. How many men have you killed, Gilda?"

"Not more than a dozen. But that's not counting women, of course, ... or elves, ... or undead, ... or creatures," she replied, thoughfully.

"Wait, you're not Greta? You look just like her."

"No, she's my cousin. I haven't seen her since I was about six, and I know we were like peas in a pod back then, but I didn't know we grew up looking the same. I was expecting to see her at aunt Hilde's, if she hadn't married, and moved away."

"She isn't married, but she has gone away," the man told her. "Nobody's seen her for a couple of months, at least. Even her mother doesn't know where she went."

They delivered the statuette to Gilda's aunt, but not before a couple more incidents with the local men. Gilda asked Hilde about Greta. She'd been complaining about how the men wouldn't leave her alone, but her mother hadn't been very sympathetic. She'd wanted Greta to just pick one of them and settle down. "It's about time she was married, and with her figure, she should be be able to get a good match."

Gilda thought that "a good match" wouldn't be any of the local men, though some of them might be learning better manners as they healed.

Asking around did get a few clues. Some of the women had heard of a Monastery of Dibella in Skyrim, that was supposed to be a refuge for those whom Dibella had blessed with more than they could handle. "Greta doesn't have an amulet like mine, so she'd feel the weight," Gilda pointed out. "I don't think she knew how to put the men in their place, either."

Nobody knew exactly where this Monastery was supposed to be, just somewhere over the border. "We'll have to ask Hamal, at the Temple in Markarth," Clark suggested.

There was something subtly different about Hamal. Clark couldn't quite figure it out, but Gilda could. "You've got an amulet like mine, haven't you?"

"Yes, as soon as we found out about the new enchantment, of course all the priestesses wanted one. It took some time to learn to judge how much was needed, but everyone here has one that suits her needs, now. Except Fjotra, maybe. The rate she's been growing, she'd need a different one every week."

Clark asked her about the Monastery. She didn't have a lot of information, but it was helpful. She'd sent a couple of women there who'd decided they were too top-heavy to be good dancers, and needed reassuring that Dibella had something else in mind for them. "We haven't had any return, which may be a good sign or a bad one."

The place was about as far beyond the Orcish settlement of Dushnik Yal as that was from Markarth, which put it just beyond Valthume. It was built into the rocks, and at one time had been a chapel to all the divines. The remote location meant that it didn't get many visitors, and it soon got abandoned, until the current group re-dedicated it to Dibella. As a retreat, the remoteness was an asset.

The acolytes at the Monastery of Dibella thought that Gilda was Greta, too. She'd been there, but she disappeared a few days ago. "She wouldn't have just left," one told them. "She was too afraid of the bandits and beasts out there in the wilderness. She arrived with an escort of female mercenaries that she'd hired in Markarth, and where would she find another to take her away again?"

"She was miserable when she found out she was the biggest here," another chimed in. "At first she thought we'd all found a way to make them smaller, but that's not how it is. I have enough back-ache with these, I can't imagine what she, or you, go through."

The priestess took them aside before Gilda could answer. "Please consider carefully what you say. These women are still rather fragile, despite all we do to help them. Most of them would rather be smaller, and we do make a show of alteration spells and prayer to make them believe we're trying to achieve that. Really, we want them to see the positives of Dibella's blessing, and accept what they have cheerfully."

"Is that why everyone is walking around topless? And why all the statues are generously endowed?" Clark queried.

"Correct. We want to instill pride in being Dibella's chosen. It is a blessing, not a curse, if your attitude makes it that way. However, having to listen to their tales of woe is starting to make my back hurt, too."

"Gilda, tell her your story. Especially about your amulet. I don't see an enchanting station here, but I think we have everything on the wagon to make one."

The priestess confirmed their lack, and Clark went back out to fetch what he needed.