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"Well, there is little point in postponing the delivery," Lunise said. She was very used to the jarring freedom of movement the portals brought after using them for so long. "My only addition is to perhaps arrive somewhere outside of his study so he does not discover your abilities, but now that I think on it, he will probably surmise you have a special means of transport if we tell him where the letter is from. Although, we may still spare scaring him with a sudden portal in his study while he is reading alone."

Lunise turned to Nytala again, smiling. "Perhaps you might scry on his reaction yourself, if you wish."
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Meesei hummed to herself for a moment in thought. "I do think you are correct. Once your father learns who penned that letter, he will know where we have come from. Or, at the very least, who we have been in contact with. And if I am right there with you while you deliver a letter of a very personal nature, then he may surmise that I am closer to a friend than a professional acquaintance."

In response to Lunise, Nytala, again, displayed a small amount of regret as she shoot her head. "I'm sorry, it is difficult to look into such specific moments in a specific future. That is not to say it cannot be done, but it would probably be more vague than you would like, and it would take too long, regardless. But...I can say that your father has seen a Psijic portal before. The look and feel of the magic is quite distinct, and I am sure he would recognize it immediately."
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Lunise lifted a hand. "Oh, I had in mind that you might see his reaction as it happens, rather than show us. I admittedly have no knowledge of whether scrying the present is easier. As for your presence, Meesei..." She froze and thought on it further. "...My initial thoughts are to disclose our relationship to him after the invasion is done." She paused to let her reasoning sink in. "Either way, I would not mind your company. If father and I need time alone, I shall let you know."
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Meesei nodded in agreement. She, of course, intended to follow Lunise's lead in matters of her own family. In any case, Meesei felt that Lunise's father would have a great deal to take in regardless of what he did or did not learn about the nature of their relationship. However, Meesei had been thinking of more practical reasons to disclose at least some details to him. "That is all your choice, my...fiancée." Meesei began, speaking the unfamiliar word deliberately. "I trust your judgment, and I will let you decide what we tell him. I have been wondering, though, if you think he can help me with this matter of my soul? You have said that he is an accomplished arcane scholar, and one specifically knowledgeable on Argonians. How...accurate do you think that knowledge is? I will admit, I have seen writings from non-Argonian scholars that have been woefully mistaken about us."

Nytala, meanwhile, was starting to prepare her spell to create a portal across both spacial and temporal barriers. It was not a simple spell, but the rather strange properties of Artaeum's realm made it possible. Although, she was not showing any signs of wanting to rush Lunise and Meesei's discussion. There was no telling for how long she had been dreading their final goodbye.
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Nytala's reluctance was not lost on Lunise, though she felt it just as much as her mother as she answered Meesei.

"I cannot claim to be versed in all of his studies, much less in Argonian physiology," she admitted. "Though, as I understand it, his research into the anatomy of the various peoples of Tamriel is a passion of his. Not to mention, he researches live subjects in the field, not just cadavers or...captives. For the amount of time and effort he has invested, to call his research inaccurate to the point of having no use would be a surprise to say the least." She took in a breath through her nose, eyeing something in the sky. "Whether his studies extended to Argonian souls, however, is a roll of the dice. Research in such areas is predictably difficult, even in Alinor's best institutions. Regardless, we shall inquire with him."
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"Well, we never know what might be helpful." Meesei reasoned. "Even if he does not have specific knowledge of Argonian souls, the input of someone who is an authority on anatomical knowledge may still be helpful. Just off of the top of my head, he may be able to provide some insight into how exactly my physical body helps to stabilize my soul. Perhaps we will even be able to find a way to replicate that effect after death?" Meesei's rationale was, ultimately, just hopeful guessing, but they were not irrational guesses. For such a novel problem, having input from a variety of perspectives certainly could not hurt.

Nytala, at this point, seemed to have prepared her spell. There was a slight magical aura around her hand, though she had not yet opened the portal. She took in a quick breath, then looked specifically to Lunise. "I am ready to open the portal. It will take you directly to your father's study, but to avoid startling him too much, you should probably step through as soon as I have opened it." She explained, which, of course, meant that whatever was said between the two of them now would be their final goodbye.
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Lunise's eyes wandered as if she did not want to feed Meesei false hope, yet did not want to discourage her without knowing. She settled for a neutral observation. "That would be a most fortunate piece of information," she said.

At Nytala's gaze, Lunise was drawn to look at her and felt a quivering somewhere in her body. Her mouth tightened and she looked down. "Indeed, this should be done quickly."

She stepped up and hugged Nytala one last time, and though she held on for longer than she intended, it did not last as long as their previous embrace. They had said what they needed to say. There was nothing left to do. "Goodbye, mother," Lunise said. "Thank you for watching over me. Thank you."

When she finally let go, Lunise stepped away with fresh tears on her cheeks. She sniffed and wiped her face clean, relaxing her expression to rapidly compose herself. Her stern and official visage was put on like a mask. Though she still spared a brief, grateful smile.
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Nytala was even more reluctant than Lunise to release her embrace, but nevertheless knew it was time to let her leave. Each motion she made and each word she spoke came slowly, but with purpose. She held her hand out in front of her, which was soon surrounded in a glowing light, then smiled. "Goodbye, Lunise. I am proud of you. Proud of what you have done, and what I am sure you will do. Always remember that."

With those words, Nytala finally cast the spell and opened the portal in front of Lunise and Meesei. It was visually distinct from the sorts of portals that Meesei used, and based on the amount of effort Nytala seemed to be exerting at the moment, far easier to create. Regardless, the other side of the portal would have opened at the correct time, right in front of Lunise's father in his study. If Nytala was correct, then he would recognize the magic, though that would not stop him from being surprised at who was stepping through.

Meesei briefly took Lunise's hand and gave her a reassuring nod, though just as quickly released her grip to step forward through the portal. They needed to make their way through quickly to avoid causing any undue alarm to her father, and Meesei taking the first step meant that Lunise could not delay.
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Lunise gave Nytala a nod, took a deep breath, and then stepped through right behind Meesei.

She had barely a moment to readjust to the familiar and comparatively dim yellow-walled study before the portal shut and went silent behind them.

In front of them, Pircalmo, the academic Altmer that Lunise and Meesei had not seen since nearer to the beginning of their closeness, stood halfway out of his chair with an open book resting on one palm. He had his brow knitted and mouth open, grasping desperately to say anything.

"Lunise?" He breathed, astonished. "And you! Meesei, the diplomat...w-what-? How did...?"

"I apologise for barging in, father," Lunise said calmly. Only the last red vestiges of her previous tears hinted at her prior emotional state. She clasped her hand, holding the letter in her fingers. "I know this may be confusing. We...The details are hardly the most pressing matter."

Pircalmo stood up and sighed. "No, no, I should apologise. You surprised me, that's all." He leaned to look around Lunise's shoulder. "I have not seen that spell in some time, and it raises a great number of questions, I must say."
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Despite entering the portal first, Meesei took a step back once she had arrived to allow Lunise to be in the forefront of Pircalmo's attention. While their last meeting had been quite cordial, his daughter was the most likely sight to calm any surprise. Meesei waited patiently for Lunise to greet him before speaking up herself.

"It is good to see you again, Pircalmo. I too apologize for any undue surprise; we did do our best to step through as quickly as we could once the portal was opened. I...would just like to start by saying that there have been no emergencies, no one has been harmed, and no one is in any immediate grave danger. There are some matters to discuss, but for the most part, this is a social visit, despite our unusual arrival. Or...at the very least, the message Lunise brings is not a bad one." Meesei explained. She supposed it was true that she did not know what Nytala's letter contained, but she doubted its contents would be something Pircalmo would not want to read.
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Pircalmo's reaction was hard to place exactly, being between mild concern and quiet curiosity. Lunise's eyes lit up and she picked up right after Meesei's prompt.

"Indeed, a message." She took a breath to gather the right words. She slowly lifted the letter to eye level between her thumb and forefinger. "This is from mother," she said gently, holding the letter forward. "To you."

The wave over Pircalmo's expression told of a great many questions being answered by Lunise's few words. He stared at the paper envelope with overwhelmed fascination. "I beg your pardon?" he whispered.

Lunise took two gliding steps across the study to put the letter within reach, neutral, if determined. Meesei could guess Lunise was having far more success hiding her emotions this time. "From Nytala." Lunise gestured with the letter. "Go on."

Pircalmo took the envelope reverently with two hands. For a long moment, he simply held it in front of himself, looking down and shaking his head. He spoke in breathy disbelief. "How in all of creation did this come into your hands?"

"We met her," Lunise explained quickly. "She put it in my hands herself, though I will admit she wrote it following my encouragement. I think it best that you read it before I say anything else." She stepped back and clasped her hands behind her back, frowning and straight-backed.

Pircalmo did not look up from the paper. With reluctant, anxious movements, he opened the letter and unfolded the paper to see what was written.
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Having not held the letter herself, Meesei was briefly surprised at how substantial it was. There were multiple pages folded into the envelope, written front and back, and not in large print. As Pircalmo started to read, Meesei wondered if she should find a seat.

If there had been any doubt to Lunise's story, it would not have lasted long for her father. Even early in the letter, there were details that only Nytala could have known. The content of the letter was, of course, deeply personal between Nytala and Pircalmo, as one would expect of a married couple that had not spoken in centuries. Nytala spoke of regrets both old and new, commented on developments in Pircalmo's life that occurred well-after she left, and gave encouraging words for his future. He might have noticed some hints of how she had changed through the centuries in the way she spoke and the attitude she took, but he would still be able to see the personality of the woman he once knew. However, as much as she obviously wanted her correspondence to be a pleasant surprise for him, there was a bittersweet message behind it. She did not come right out and say it, but a great deal of the motivation behind her words was to let Pircalmo know that it was okay to move on. Given the circumstances of her departure, there had likely always been some doubt on whether or not she would return, but her letter put that doubt to rest. She was a part of the Psijic Order, believing in its goals and the role she expected she would play as a part of it. She did admit that she wished she could return, but had every reason to believe she would not. While it was possible that the Order may decide to return Artaeum to Tamriel, she would always be a part of the Order; possibly to the end of time itself, were she fortunate enough to live that long.

While most of the letter was personal to Nytala and Pircalmo, there was a section close to the end that pertained more closely to the current situation: There is still a part of me that wants to believe it was foolish for me to have even left Tamriel to begin with, if only for what it might have meant for our daughter. I can only be thankful for you, and for the role you have had in shaping her. It is ironic that, despite my absence, I have had more of an opportunity to watch how she has shaped her life as an adult. I will respect her privacy, and her right to decide for herself what details of her life she is comfortable sharing, but I can say that she has become a woman to be proud of. I know we both worry for the danger in which our daughter's lifestyle places her, but she is brave, principled, and possesses wisdom far beyond her peers. Some of her choices may be hard to understand, but if you still trust me, then believe me when I say that you should trust her as well. In some ways, I now believe her judgment is better than my own.
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Pircalmo became swiftly absorbed into the words. After barely the first few lines, he wordlessly settled back into his seat at his desk, placing his hands on its surface as he read the letter.

Lunise stood patiently. She could only guess as to the contents of the message, though the depth of its effect was apparent just by Pircalmo's demeanour. He gradually hunched his head, bringing two fingers up to support his temple and resting his elbow on the desk.

A few minutes passed. Pircalmo turned the first page. Lunise's fingers were white and red, clasped as tightly together as they were.

A few more minutes, another page. Pircalmo did not show any reaction except the occasional smile or amused breath from his nose. The sad tension in the room kept Lunise and Meesei from feeling entirely comfortable with taking a seat. However, it served to make the time pass quicker.

Eventually, Pircalmo emptied his lungs and turned the last page over, before leisurely standing up from his seat. He turned around with two steps. As he clutched the back of his chair, he revealed a listless look on his face. His stare focussed on Meesei, which caused him to smile politely.

"Thank you for the letter." He had a troubled moment in breathing in. "How about the two of you take a walk around the campus grounds while I finish up my task here?" He passed his smile to Lunise. "The weather is a treat today. I would not wish you to miss the flowers and the trees this season."

Lunise sighed, looked down, and nodded in understanding. "A fine idea. We will return in a few minutes." She did not give Meesei a chance to answer before she moved to place a hand on her upper arm to lead her to the door.
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Meesei could not read Pircalmo perfectly by any means, but it seemed to her that the letter's tidings were mixed. After close to two hundred years apart, Meesei supposed it would have been too optimistic to think that Pircalmo would have put the letter down smiling. With all the emotion it must have brought back for him, Meesei supposed she understood why he would want a few minutes to himself, and did not argue when Lunise guided her out of the room.

"What do you think the letter contained?" Meesei asked once she and Lunise were out of the room. She did not entirely remember the layout of the campus from their last visit, but it was easy enough for her to follow Lunise's lead. "She wrote quite a bit more than I had expected, but I suppose there was quite a lot of time for them to catch up on. I do not think Nytala would have included anything she did not think he needed to hear." She commented.
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"Neither do I," Lunise said. "My suspicion is just about everything likely guessable could be in that letter together. The two of them were very close, I remember that without exception."

Lunise walked with her arm up against Meesei's for a moment before drifting away as they reached the end of the hallway. By the look of concern on her face, she needed the small comfort, even in a place where they were not allowed to be close. The sting of it outside Artaeum was already forming.

"It is my hope that father is simply overwhelmed, temporarily," she continued. "I have no reason to believe there would be bad news in the letter."
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Meesei nodded, stopping in place and looking back down the hall. They were alone at present, though she now had to keep in mind the fact that they were in a public place, in Tamriel. She would not have thought that she would have become so accustomed to the freedom they enjoyed in Artaeum over only a few days, yet it had seemed so natural.

Regardless, Meesei's focus remained fixed on the situation at hand. "Perhaps so. I have to imagine that any correspondence after two hundred years of silence would be overwhelming. Still, if I noticed it, then I am certain you did as well. I could see him smiling at times, probably from some nostalgic memories. I think it was probably something good overall for him, but...there might have been something more, just by the way he was acting. I am not really sure. I know he suggested we take a walk around the campus, but...are you sure you do not want to speak with him? I can wait out here, if you think it would be best for the two of you to be alone for a while. I do not presume to understand your father better than you, but perhaps he might benefit from having you there to support him if he is overwhelmed? I can speak from experience when I say that you are a wonderful person to have around in difficult times." Meesei suggested, speaking somewhat softly.
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Lunise stopped a pace after Meesei. "Father was never very good at opening himself up to such support," she answered. "He was trying to save face in front of you. I am..." She hesitated. "...unsure if I should return right now. But I did notice what you mentioned."

She stood, looking reluctantly back at the door without commitment either way.
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“I, unfortunately, do not think I can tell you one way or another what would be the best choice.” Meesei remarked. “As I said, I do not know him as you do. But, maybe I can help you ask yourself the right questions. Do you think he does not ask for that kind of support because he does not want it, or because he is afraid to ask? I know that the…expectations of Altmer society are much different from what I am accustomed to. I know that if you seek him out and open up to him, it may change his perception of you as a proud, strong Justiciar, but…perhaps that would be something you would want at this point? That is your decision.”

Meesei paused and took a look around the hall multiple times before, briefly, smiling and putting a hand on her shoulder. “I think I will go and sit outside in the garden for a while. You can come with me if you like, but if you want to go back and talk with him in private, you do not need to worry about me. You can take as much time as you like as well; I know how to act like I belong.”
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Whether or not Meesei's words helped, Lunise stood in quiet thought without shifting from the spot. She weakly returned Meesei's smile at her contact. "Very well," she sighed. "I need a moment to decide, but...I have not spoken to father this way before. I will seek you out when I am ready."

There were few things that caused Lunise to be so tensely ambivalent as Meesei witnessed before she took her leave. Right before she rounded the corner to the staircase at the end of the hall, she could spot Lunise stepping slowly towards the door, before reaching out to take the handle and closing her eyes.

Despite Pircalmo's hidden motives to have solitude, he did not lie about the beauty of the flowers skirting the buildings and in the garden sections. Meesei was treated to a well designed and maintained artwork of shades and hues from all across Alinor and beyond. The students that passed her by, nearly all of them Altmer, as it was the last time, hushed and whispered to one another upon seeing Meesei. However, it was either to the absurdity that someone who did not belong could be in such a place or due to Meesei's confidence that she was unaccosted
throughout her wait.

And she had a distracting amount of time to wait. She was given free reign of the campus for what she could guess to be well above an hour. Before Lunise went out to find her again. Lunise approached with every detail of her just as prim and postured as usual, except for an oddly subtle sadness around her eyes.
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Meesei stood up from the stone bench on which she was relaxing when she saw Lunise approach. She had to admit that she had not anticipated such a long conversation between Lunise and her father, but she did hope that was a good sign. If it helped her, then an hour of light boredom was a worthwhile sacrifice.

There were students in the garden, some passing through, others taking a break themselves. They could have moved somewhere else, or waited for them to move along, but Meesei elected to freeze the both of them in time. Or take them out of it, more accurately. Even if there were easier options, Meesei did feel there was a certain sort of romance to halting time, just to afford her the opportunity to lean in and give Lunise a kiss. More seriously, based on Lunise's demeanor, Meesei felt that she might benefit from a more personal sort of comfort than she was free to give in the open. "How did it go? Was there anything of concern in the letter?"
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