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"Once we are in Vile's realm, it will be a battle to escort the Axe-bearer to Vile. Difficult, certainly, but not a complex plan." Meesei answered. She was finding the Orc's attitude to be refreshing. He seemed content getting straight to the point and addressing the important subjects. The meeting could be over quicker than Meesei was expecting. "Indeed, there is a limit to how much planning we can make. We have no real ability to scout the battlefield beforehand, since that battlefield is in another plane of existence. At least, we will not be able to know the exact terrain or other obstacles before we enter his realm. Skilled conjurers can survey his realm in a more abstract sense, but only to determine the location of sources of magical power. Namely, Vile himself. They will be able to sense where he is when we create the portal, but unfortunately, we will not be able to open the portal too close to him. His immense power would prevent us from breaching into his realm at all. But, they will be able to get us as close as they can. When we attack, we will know exactly where Vile is, but for anything beyond that, we will have to be adaptable. He will likely be caught off-guard by the surprise attack, but he will send every Daedra he can after us. I would say that the best way for us to prepare would be to plan how to best make use of our forces' strengths, and how to cover for each others' weaknesses. And of course, to train and arm our soldiers specifically to fight Daedra."

Kaleeth was alone heading into the dining hall, as it was Janius' turn to feed Leaps his breakfast. Julan had joined him, likely just to have an excuse to play with him for a while. For Kaleeth, she had ended up somewhat gorging herself at the feast the previous night; her beast spirit was not one to encourage anything approaching moderation in her. It had not helped that she seemed to find the dragon flesh much more appealing than most of the others. Needless to say, she was only feeling in the mood for a light breakfast.

Kaleeth was momentarily surprised upon being stopped, which soon turned to a smile once she realized that it was Rhazii. She could not remember the last time that Rhazii had pulled her aside for something, so he certainly had her curiosity. "Oh, of course, Rhazii. Is there something you need me for?"

"Sixteen thousand troops, according to the Emperor." Meesei answered immediately. She had made sure to make her handshake just a bit stronger than Legate gro-Tagnud. She was smaller than him by a fair margin, and her clothes hid her build, so she wanted to subtly reassure him that she was no weakling lizard in a dress. Beyond just her grip, she walked with a practiced, confident posture, and spoke in just the same way. She wanted to give off no appearance that she was anything less than the Legate General's equal. At minimum.

Given how direct gro-Tagnud was with his question, Meesei was equally as straightforward in her answer. "I do not know how much information you have been given thusfar, so I will be as complete as I can in my explanation. We are going to open a portal to Clavicus Vile's realm with the intent of defeating him and removing most of his power. More specifically, we will be opening a portal from Mundus to my lord Hircine's Hunting Grounds. Then, from there, we will open another portal to Vile's realm. Your men would be fighting alongside my own, as well as Hircine himself, and all of his Daedra which he commits to the battle. Additionally, we may be joined by Dominion forces, depending on their response to our request. As for the battle itself, there is only one singular objective of importance to our proposed attack. We have in our possession an Axe created by Clavicus Vile. Our goal is to have that Axe touch Vile himself. We are going to have the Axe empowered by another Daedric Prince, so we need not even cut him with it. If it makes contact with him, then our task will be complete. The energy within the Axe will weaken him enough to allow Hircine to defeat Vile in combat and, for the lack of a better word, 'kill' him. Daedra cannot die, especially Daedric Princes, but destroying his form will destabilize his essence, and release much of the power he has been gathering. The outcome, of course, being that Vile will no longer have the strength or influence to destroy the Towers that stabilize Mundus and absorb our world into his."
"You can calm yourself, Rhazii. I did not say that I would hurt you. Or at would really need to mess up in order for that to happen." Meesei said, giving Rhazii an obvious, wide grin. Finally, she stood up and shifted to a more natural style. "But yes, I have no more to say. You should get some sleep, and perhaps consider my suggestion of speaking to your aunt Kaleeth, whenever she has time."

Meesei ended up returning to her room for only a short time before teleporting herself directly to Lunise's room so they could have each other's company for the night. The enchantments Meesei had placed in the room gave it a minimal risk for them to spend such time together, even overnight.

Unfortunately, Meesei had no choice but to part from Lunise's company early the next morning, given how busy her day would be. She personally visited Saras to inform him of the Emperor's letter and entrusted him with informing the rest of the council in turn. In the meantime, she would be traveling to the Imperial City to meet with the Orc Legate specified in the letter. She had no reason to believe she would be in any danger, and as a show of trust, she would be going alone. Once she had spoken to Saras, she clothed herself in a fine dress as red as her own feathers and opened up a portal to the Imperial City.

Meeting with the Legate was a somewhat more irritating process than meeting with Marod. They had established their connection with the Penitus Oculatus long ago, so the process for meeting them had been defined and streamlined. However, Meeting the Legate required waiting to be cleared to enter the military compound in the Prison District, then waiting for a soldier to lead her to a Captain, who made her wait in a room for a slightly higher ranked commander, who finally took her across the district to meet with the Legate. At the very least, she had finally been able to get into the same room as him before noon. She managed to avoid showing any of her frustration as she entered the room, and kept herself perfectly quiet until everyone who was not meant to hear the conversation had been instructed to leave.

"Legate gro-Tagnud, I presume? I am Meesei, the Champion of Hircine." She introduced herself.
I think I will make the skip to Meesei's next task.
~|Strike Team Base, Day 3 ATC, 9th hour|~


The previous night had, unfortunately, been more eventful than Fa would have liked. If the arrival of the Jedi rescue team and the attack of the wild beasts were not enough, they also discovered a Sith outpost that was an uncomfortable distance from their encampment. It was not close per ce, at least in that she doubted they would stumble upon them by accident any time soon. However, they were close enough that their farther patrols could reasonably encounter the strike team’s encampment, or their own patrols, which was an unacceptable risk.

Fortunately, the news was not all horrible. During their scouting run, Fa had observed the Sith for hours, and from what she could tell, it was doubtful that the Sith had already discovered them. Their lack of alertness, or transmissions back to their main base, was evidence for that. Fa’s team still would have the element of surprise; they just needed to form a plan to eliminate the threat without alerting the Sith forces as a whole.

It was the next morning that Fa called for a meeting in the cavern to discuss the matter. Vebra, as well as the rescuers, were all present. She was still dubious about involving these new Jedi in her operations, but she doubted that she would be able to convince them to simply stay behind. Astera, at least, had proved herself to have reasonably good judgment with her handling of the scouts she found, so Fa supposed that they might be able to adapt to her team’s methods.

Fa, as usual, got straight to business the moment everyone had arrived. She activated a holographic display showing some scans she had made of the topography surrounding the Sith outpost before proceeding. “It is unfortunate that this problem is arising so soon after our arrival, but this matter is now our priority. The Sith appear to have a small outpost that is far too close to our encampment for comfort. Normally, I would suggest relocating immediately, but we have already used our shuttle too often in a short period of time, and it may be dangerous to wait until we can use it again. Thus, we will need to enact a plan to remove this threat without making ourselves known to every Sith on this world.”
"Ideally, after we make it safe enough for you to join in the majority of our tasks. We should only need to kill one god before that is the case." Meesei joked, though with a seemingly serious tone. "But yes, the hard truth is that most of the tasks we undertake require only the most skilled and experienced among us. You began your training in earnest only relatively recently. But I suppose you will want something more concrete than that for an answer, and I suppose it would be just as easy to give you one. The day that you can defeat, or at least match, any other member of our pack, Julan excepted, in a duel will be the day that you can join in some of our more dangerous missions. And of course, you will need to defeat one of us in good condition. If Lorag breaks a bone one day and you manage to defeat him, then no, that will not count. I only specify because I honestly believe that Lorag would still take that duel, just to prove a point.

Meesei knelt down to be at eye level with Rhazii, though with his height, she only needed to kneel slightly, even with him sitting. She still made no comment on his tears, and instead pulled him into a hug. "Rhazii, my nephew, you know that I love you. You are my family, and always will be. No matter what events come to pass, and no matter where you end up in life, we will still be family beyond death itself. I have always been fond of how you look up to me as someone other than 'The Champion.'" She said, though after a moment, he would feel the grip of her hands tighten around his shoulders. "But with that said, I am still The Champion of Hircine. I do value the criticisms of my pack, but I also have a certain...reputation to uphold. My role is to maintain morale as much as it is to be a leader. And you might see how it would be difficult for me to command the respect of the clans if they do not think I can even command the respect of my own pack. So, as much as I love you, my nephew, if you disrespect me in public again, you will have given me no choice but to demonstrate some of the Champion's wrath. Publicly. You understand, yes?"
Again, Meesei's expression was unmoved, no matter how much anger Rhazii started to show. "It is not a disappointment if you are performing exactly as I expect. Make no mistake, if you continue to behave as you did at the feast in public, then neither Fendros or Ahnasha will be able to protect you from the consequences. I promise. But, you have not disappointed me. I never expected you to know exactly how to handle yourself in what is essentially politics."

Meesei hummed as a thought passed through her mind. "Hmm, you do remind me of someone, you know? Your Aunt Kaleeth, I know you are familiar with her past. She was raised to be a hunter for an Argonian village before we came across her. But did you know she was also the first and only member of our pack who was not a lycan before we found her? And neither did any of us infect her. She and Janius became infatuated with one another shortly after meeting, but it was the decision of Hircine himself to infect her. She does not have much memory of the event itself, but I believe that, after she sought out Hircine through a hunt in the wilds, he chose to grant her lycanthropy because of the potential she held. The same kind of potential I see in you."

Despite Rhazii's anger, Meesei actually gave a quick laugh. "And I can promise you, it was...equally unrealized at the time. Perhaps moreso. For all of your life, you have known your Aunt Kaleeth as a skilled warrior of immense strength. She is determined, fearless, and can meet any threat head-on. She is an Argonian knight, if there were such a thing in Black Marsh. But what you were too young to remember was that when she first joined our pack...being a werecrocodile did grant her immense strength, but that was about the only advantage she had. Kaleeth was only about nineteen years of age at the time, and in combat, she was only passable with a spear at best. She was...not terribly good at much of anything. Non-Argonian culture was completely foreign to her, and she could hardly even speak Cyrodilic. She was the very definition of a fish out of water. She could only rely on the brute strength of her beast spirit to keep herself alive in a fight, and failed many times when it was not enough. Kaleeth's beautiful body would be marred by scars today if her lycan blood had been unable to heal them. And yet, I can see the surprise in your eyes at my words. The person I have described is nothing like the woman you know. When she was in crisis about the new life she had chosen, and considered abandoning us, she chose to persevere. And now you see the results. She may have much to teach you, now that I am thinking about it."
Meesei hardly budged, though she did let out an amused breath. "That reaction could not be any more typical of one your age, Rhazii. You are about in your sixteenth year, yes? A bit older than Sabine was when she first joined my pack, but much younger than all of the others. Do you truly expect to match the ability of those with decades more experience than you? But yes, the other members of our pack, Julan excepted, have had far more opportunities to grow their skills. Lorag received legion training, fought in a war, then had to survive on his own for nearly a decade before I found him. Janius had years of Fighter's Guild experience; enough to survive a harrowing encounter in a spiders' den. I was raised with the singular purpose of becoming my father's successor as a Treeminder, then forged my own path in service of Hircine with the knowledge I had. In this war, we have all fought battle after battle, survived certain death on multiple occasions, and honed our judgement in situations where to choose wrongly would mean the deaths of ourselves, or those we care about. It was those trials that made us what we are...and you should be glad you do not have to face them."

Taking another step forward, Meesei placed a single finger on Rhazii's head to push it back and force him to make eye contact with her. "Our trials nearly killed us, nearly broke our minds, out bodies, our willpower. Our strength is build on the pain of our scars, and it was an unenviable path to take. are young and inexperienced, but you have one advantage we never had. You have good teachers. We can pass the lessons we learned onto you, without you having to suffer for them. You have always received training from us, of course. I know you have taken well to lessons in magic and steel alike, but your training can extend so much beyond mere fighting. You can learn from us all, but only if you open yourself up to listen. If you go off on that typical adolescent rebellion and start believing that you know more than your mentors, then you will never reach that potential."
As opposed to the anxiety and nervousness that was no doubt going through Rhazii's mind, Meesei hardly took a second to respond, her tone forceful, but not shouting. "And yet they were not the ones to air grievances in the open. Fendros did not share his resentment for Do'rhajul to the other clan leaders, nor did Janius. Do you think your father loves your mother less than you do? Do you think Janius is indifferent to Kaleeth's suffering? Of course you do not. But they make their voices heard in private, or among the open debate of our council. They do not spread their doubt to other clans."

Meesei took a step towards Rhazii. "But I am under no illusions of why you did it. It is because you are young, impetuous, inexperienced. You have just now reached the age where you have just enough knowledge to think you know what you are doing, but not enough wisdom to realize all the ways you are wrong. You were born to a pack privileged with strength, influence, and respect. To that, I can only apologize. It was unfair to you to be born into a pack with such high expectations placed upon its members. The simple fact is that no one of your age should be expected to deal with what we have to face, without all of the struggles we had to overcome to earn our position. But that is the reality of it. It may not be fair to you, but you are still part of my pack, and you have to act knowing that you represent, in some capacity, my pack. You have to listen to and obey us completely, even when it does not make sense."
Since Heat told me that he would be able to take over for Orro, and there does not seem to be too much support for a reboot, I believe we can try to keep going as we are now. I would like to try and get some activity going after the hiatus we have been on, so I would like to know how many people are still interested so I can plan for how to include everyone.
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