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Meesei shook her head. "Not at the moment, no. You just need to remain still and allow me to examine you; it should not be difficult. Your transformation will certainly be different from usual, as the Ring will grant you complete, perfect control over your beast spirit. You will not encounter the normal instinctual urges, or resistance to non-instinctual actions. Essentially, you will be able to feel and control your lycan body just as if it was your own, human body."

Standing up, Meesei moved their chairs closer to the corner to ensure they would have enough space. "Whenever you are ready."

---

Ri'vashi closed her eyes and let out a long, slow breath. "Khajiit will be okay when she knows her family's spirits can rest easy. But, she can focus for now. She can keep her mind on her duties."

Ri'vashi found the nearest weapon rack in which to put away her practice sword. She had no doubt that Fendros and Ahnasha would want to get back to their son soon, so she decided to keep her questioning as brief as she could. "Have you decided on a plan for dealing with Do'rhajul? You said you wish to try and dissuade some of his team, but surely not all of them will be open to words? If you have to fight, we can dedicate some resources to helping. Your pack does not have to do it alone."
Meesei maintained an encouraging smile towards Sabine. "Well, I am hoping to get a better since of how my beast spirit has changed since I started my experiments. You see, it was a gradual process. I started the process a few years ago actually, and worked on it on and off. It was only more recently that I achieved actual results. However, the change, I feel, was slow enough that it took until now to notice it, so I am not entirely sure what the spirit used to be like, precisely. I want to form a comparison between my beast spirit and another under the influence of the Ring. So to that end..."

Pausing a moment, Meesei looked down, pulled the Ring of Hircine off of her finger, and held it out to Sabine. "You simply need to put on the Ring and transform. I then would like to examine both you and your vestige with the techniques I have been using on myself." She explained.

---

Ri'vashi clutched her right hand into a fist, and started to unintentionally bare her teeth. "Just...he...needs to die. Ri'vashi wants to do what is best for the clans, she knows, but...he has to die. However, whenever it happens, he needs to die. Just promise Ri'vashi. Please promise Ri'vashi that he will meet the only end fitting for a murderer. However you have to do it, promise that he won't get away with his crimes." As much as she tried to hide it, her eyes were watering into tears as her thoughts returned to her former clan.

Ahnasha found herself somewhat surprised by Fendros' stern response. Ri'vashi was a figure of authority in the clans in virtually every way. She commanded respect, and there were few who could hold sway over her, but Fendros was perhaps one of the few. Now that he was officially Meesei's second, his voice carried a weight beyond that of the rest of the pack. All of their pack, the children excepted, had authority, but Fendros also had an additional mark of leadership by his title.

Meesei chuckled. "I...do not think that would be possible. Not something so severe. Being caught between transformations would surely kill me, and as for our souls...I doubt I could truly merge with my beast spirit, even if that was my intent. The beast spirit is a Daedra, after all, and Daedra do not have souls. They have a vestige; something which serves the same purpose, but is still fundamentally different from a mortal soul. It is an immortal entity bound to Oblivion, and I believe it would be too different to achieve something like that. I...suppose I cannot say any of this with certainty. I could be wrong, but I have had other theories on what has been happening between myself and my beast spirit. Along with meditation and practice, I have been using conjuration to explore the essence of both my own soul, and the beast's vestige. I used that magic to attempt to modify how it bound with my soul during a transformation, so that my body's energies remained familiar enough to me for me to use my magic, but I think in the process, I accidentally imparted some understanding upon it. It has been gradual, so I do not have as much of a baseline as I would like, but I think instead of gaining greater control over the beast spirit, I have been teaching it to be more like me. I know it sounds crazy, but I do honestly feel like my beast spirit has been calmer as of late. More reasonable, almost rational. If it is true, it might provide an explanation for the mechanism of how I could use magic in that form. My initial assumption was that I was modifying how the vestige bonded with me so that it did not disrupt my magic, but I may have been mistaken. The vestige might be growing to understand what magic is, and therefore does not resist it when I attempt to use it."

Meesei turned her head and looked at Sabine with a curious gaze. "I find it difficult to test with only myself as an example, but perhaps...do you think you would like to help me with an experiment?" She asked.

---

After a few brief moments of confusion, Ri'vashi's expression turned almost suspicious. "This one...you can't..." She stammered before she collected herself enough to whisper back to him. "Ri'vashi can accept that some of his team might be saved from their current path, but Do'rhajul himself...you truly cannot be suggesting letting him live? The man is a murderer, a war criminal. Not even that; he has been treating this war like an extermination. No mercy. Not for innocents, not for children. He killed the only family Ri'vashi knew without remorse. Khajiit does not care if he was lied to, or if he surrenders. There is no amount of rationalizing in the world that could possibly justify his crimes. He needs to die. That is the only way this can end: in battle, or in an execution. Every single breath he takes is an insult to spirits of the friends and family we have lost."
"Very well. I will see if I can visit her later tonight to make sure she will be available tomorrow." Meesei responded before lightly shaking her head. "I have not had a chance to meet with her since Sentinel. I am wondering if she will have any sort of perspective on how to deal with Arinette. It seems that she has been able to learn how to make use of the magicka that the staff absorbs, though based on Do'rhajul's reaction to her usage of the staff, there are some limits on what she can safely do. For the most part, however, I am simply looking forward to spending time with Lunise."

"But, aside from all of that, I am just glad to be able to rest for now." Meesei continued. "I have been working on attuning my beast form more closely to magicka, to improve my capabilities in that form. I do not feel too significantly weakened, but it is still not perfect. It essentially requires that I bridge the gap between my two forms and erase the mental gap between them. The Ring helps immensely, of course; it would likely be impossible without it. But progress has been encouraging. As strange as it sounds, there have actually been times where I have forgotten which form I am in."

---

Ri'vashi had her eyes on Rhazii, even as she stepped closer to Fendros and Ahnasha so that they could speak in relative privacy. "Hmm, Ri'vashi has seen this many a time with young warriors. And her father went through it with Ri'vashi when she was a cub. This one thinks his heart is in the right place, but you are both obviously right about him. Still, if you want to placate him, Ri'vashi can say with confidence that he is ready for low-risk tasks. He has all the right techniques. Just take your time, and Ri'vashi is willing to help if she can."

After a moment, Ri'vashi took in a long breath, and her expression started to betray some discomfort in her thoughts. "But before Ri'vashi goes...there is something else. You faced down Do'rhajul. He is still in High Rock, yes? You...you have to let Ri'vashi help you. Let her come with you. If he is there, then he needs to pay for what he has done. He is the one responsible for taking away everything Ri'vashi held dear, and he deserves to die."
Meesei had a soft smile as she looked into the flames. "I understand how you feel perfectly. There is something about love, or a lover, specifically, that is different. The kind of affection is different. I would not call it 'better' that friends or family by any stretch of the imagination. I love you, and the rest of the pack, more deeply than I could ever care about anyone else. It is just...it is difficult to put into words. It fills a...different part of my life. It is two different kinds of love, neither of which I would want to live without." She explained, albeit with some uncertainty at her wording. Even if she had not been as clear as she would have liked, she had a feeling that Sabine understood her.

"It can be difficult to arrange time with Lunise, but I can see her far more than most would be able to in our situation. I feel fortunate that her duties require her to frequently operate independently, and travel often. If she worked in an embassy somewhere, I might never get to see her." Meesei said.

There was another pause, and Meesei turned her head to look over at a pouch on one of her tables. It was one of her satchels that Lorag had recovered for her after the fight, which contained the ring she used to contact Lunise. "A meal does sound nice. I wonder...perhaps tonight would be a good time? And perhaps I could see if Lunise could join us as well? We could have...I suppose you might call it a couples' dinner?"

---

"It's not exactly what I said." Ahnasha spoke up, arms crossed. "I did say that if you could defeat Ri'vashi in a fair duel, then you could help us with Do'rhajul. And that is true. If you could somehow manage to defeat Ri'vashi, master swordsman and the military commander of all of the combined lycan warriors from every clan in Tamriel, then I would love to have your help with Do'rhajul. But you cannot, and there is no shame that you cannot, son. It was...meant to be a learning experience for you. Ri'vashi is strong and skilled like Do'rhajul, and I hope through this you have seen what kind of odds you would have to face against in order to fight him. Someone who can predict your every move, respond perfectly every time, and outmaneuver you in ways that do not even seem to make sense in the heat of the moment. That is why you could not come with us earlier. I know you want us to be safe, but...you just have to trust that we are doing everything we can to make sure that none of us get hurt."
Meesei simply chuckled. "You are quite punctual, Sabine, do not worry." She responded. After finally releasing her grip on Sabine, she walked over to her fireplace and knelt down next to it to ignite the firewood she had prepared. The air was already comfortably warm within the city, as a result of the Dwemer machinery in the walls, but Meesei still enjoyed some extra warmth from time to time. After the fire was lit, and without as much as needing to look at what she was doing, Meesei telekinetically pulled one of her chairs across the floor so she could take a seat in front of the flames.

Even with her scars being in much the same state as they had been in the infirmary, Meesei appeared remarkably different now that they were in the comfort of her own quarters. She did not sustain the poise and presence that she had to maintain at most other times. She had not dressed since transforming, so she did not have her usual enchanted adornments, bone necklaces, and the like which gave her the air of an experienced hunter. She did not sit up straight and stiff to show her strong composure, but rather, she was laying back lazily in the chair with her arms behind her head, and her legs stretched out as close to the flames as was safe. Closing her eyes, she smiled and slowly wiggled her toes as she enjoyed the warmth of the fire against her sore feet. After a few seconds, she moved one of her hands down and gently traced a claw across one of the lightning scars that cut diagonally across her stomach. It was a temporary mark, fortunately, but quite prominent, and actually not altogether hideous. It was the kind of scar that she would imagine some warriors would actually like to have, were they not temporary even for non-lycans. She did not have a hint of mystique or prestige about her, but instead just appeared to be a wounded Argonian. She was not a symbol of strength, but a tired woman, showing a few early signs of aging. Her scales did not have quite the vibrant colors they once had, which was more apparent in this lighting.

Meesei slowly turned her head so that she could look at Sabine. "So, how has your relationship with Karl been? I have rarely had the opportunity to meet or speak with him, unfortunately."

---

"No, your father is probably right." Ri'vashi said as she stepped up to the pair, holding her wooden sword down at her side. "Ri'vashi thinks the point has been proven. You have made promising progress this last year or two, young one, but it is still just that: progress. You are still years from reaching your destination. Wanting to train is admirable, but destroying your body in the process is...counterproductive."

Ri'vashi glanced to Fendros. "Rhazii did not tell this one everything, but she gathered that he wanted to help your pack directly, correct?"
Saras was not particularly hard for Meesei to find, since word of her pack's quick and stressful return had reached him by that point. He did not wish to disturb the pack during their recovery, so instead he was taking an account of which agents he had available to follow up on the inevitable aftermath of the pack's encounter. Meesei essentially needed only to confirm what he had already been planning to do.

Afterwards, Meesei returned to her chambers and awaited Sabine. She had settled in a room in the upper floors of one of the Silent City's towers. It was one of the original Dwemer structures, rather than one of the additions that the clan had been making over the years. It was a larger space that gave her ample room for her own personal training and research. Since she no longer used Apocrypha as a source of knowledge, she had returned to exploring new abilities, and improving her existing ones, through more traditional practice. She had an enchanting table, complete with array of magical focuses and other baubles. On the opposite side of the room was small table with a collection of carved bone totems; her own shrine to Hircine. An attuned mage might be able to detect some warding magic she had enchanted into some of her belongings to protect against any errant spells that grew larger than she expected. Aside from that, she had a reasonable amount of open floor space.

---

"You over-committed on your last swing. It took too long for you to recover, so you were not able to respond in time to Ri'vashi's attack." Ri'vashi explained as Rhazii struggled to get back to his feet. "Among your peers, you are usually the strongest and can force your way through many situations, but you must not neglect precision and agility. Among skilled opponents, it is often far more impactful. You will particularly need to hone your precise movements when we spar in beast form. You will not be able to overpower a werebear, just as you cannot overpower Ri'vashi now."

With a firm, two handed grip on her sword, Ri'vashi did not wait for Rhazii to strike first. Taking aim at the center of his chest, she thrust her wooden blade straight towards him: a seemingly straightforward attack.
Ahnasha rubbed her hand over her bandages for a moment. "It's a bit sore, but yeah, I'll live. I can come with you. I wouldn't want Rhazii getting in too much over his head, at least not without us around." She said as she slowly pulled herself up to her feet. As they started out the door, she put her arm around Fendros at his waist and leaned up against him. She was having no trouble standing, but the experience had, of course, put many "what-if" scenarios through her mind, particularly with how badly Kaleeth had been hurt. With that in mind, she certainly was not going to object to spending more time with her family.

Now that she had calmed, Kaleeth laid herself back down on her side, but kept one hand on Julan's. He still looked frightened, but the tears were at least gone from his eyes. Kaleeth laid her head back on her pillow and looked up at the ceiling for a few moments before drifting her eyes back over to Janius and Julan. "I think I need to rest for a while; I'm very tired. Are you two going to be okay?"

Meesei raised up a hand and shook her head gently. "Thank you, but I believe I will be okay. I am recovering, I just need some more time. I have dulled my pain for now, and it should subside by the time I go to sleep. Fortunately, no silver touched me today. You can feel free to do as you..." Meesei began, but halted herself as a thought came through her mind. "...actually, after I speak to Saras, would you like to join me? Just talk for a while, spend some time together? It has been a while."
Meesei hummed a moment. "Saras has been conducting an investigation to return any bit of information he can find on these people. It honestly would not surprise me if he has already exhausted the options we have been speculating upon. Although, now that we have solid descriptions of the rest of Do'rhajul's team, it is possible he might be able to uncover more information on those he was previously unable to identify." She reasoned.

"I think we're going to have a week or two to plan and decide, whether we like it or not." Ahnasha commented. "There is no way we are going to be ready sooner than that. Kaleeth needs to recover, and the rest of us are not in the best shape either. Still, I think planting those notes sounds like a good plan. I...can do it." She said, albeit hesitantly. "Maybe we can have some of our agents in the area focus on finding their camp, or wherever they might be hiding? I do not want to be surprised again."

Meesei nodded in agreement. "That makes the most sense for now. I will be sure to speak to him. Just...try to do what you can to recover for now; mentally and physically. Rest, try to comfort our families. Rhazii appeared rather stressed when he left, I believe. It would not do well for all of us to spend the next week fearing for our next encounter with our enemy."
Lorag raised his brow at Janius. "The Throat of the World? What, to talk to the Greybeards or something. I think I remember pilgrims talkin' about going there when I was stationed in the Rift, but I, uh, don't think they take visitors."

"A locked door would not be likely to stop us." Meesei commented. "But, regardless, I would want to be cautious. Pacifists they may be, but I would not wish to be perceived as...threatening such powerful men. They are said to be so strong in the Voice that they could tear a person apart with a single word. I would say that it is likely an exaggeration, but it also likely has some truth at its core. At any rate, they could perhaps give us more insight into Yerig's origins, but I doubt we would gain any insights into his more recent history. All of our information on him suggests that he has lived as a hermit in the Reach for decades. Descriptions of him that Saras has gathered paint him as a kind old man who offers travelers food and shelter, or even protects them from danger at times. He has always been described as being alone in the mountains, so if he did have a family, they have not been with him for decades. He is obviously no mercenary, so I do wonder how he came to join Do'rhajul. I can think of many possibilities, but it is all speculation.

"It does feel like we're doing that a lot. Speculating." Ahnasha said, before giving a brief sigh. "Still, I do think I'd rather try the diplomatic approach. I don't want to have any more close calls like we did today. I just wish we could get something more solid about why he's with them. I mean...what possibility would even makes sense?"
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