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Dear Mr Curly,
I have done little travelling lately because I have been so dreadfully weary. Can it be true as the old Ecclesiastes said; that all things lead to weariness? Surely not. Perhaps the opposite is true: that all nothings lead to weariness. I have a peculiar feeling, Curly, that I am worn out from something I haven't yet done and the more I don't do it, the more exhausted I become. How strange. Could it be something I haven't realised? Perhaps it's something I haven't said? Something I haven't finished! It must be very large and true whatever it is and a lively struggle in the doing but I look forward to it immensely. I know I need it. First, however, I must curl up in my chair and sleep deeply with the duck. Perhaps I'll dream of this thing and wake up refreshed and do it. My fond wishes to you Mr. Curly, and to all Curly Flat.
Yours sleepily,
Vasco Pyjama
P.S. Not having breakfast can make you weary. That's for sure!
Michael Leunig. The Curly Pyjama Letters.

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"Nothing quite so broad in scope, I'm afraid." Ariel laughed through her nose. "But there is a festival coming up next month that we're all looking forward to. It's always fun, but it's special for us because it's always been something of an anniversary for us..."

"You've packed your clean shirts, Rhazii?"

"Yes father," Rhazii said as he rolled up the last of his clothing tightly enough to fit in his luggage. They usually travelled light but they had to put on some kind of show to make it look like their journey was long.

"And you pressed them after you washed them, yes?"

"Yes father," Rhazii complained. "You're being nervous. I checked everything three times."

The knock on the door shut them both up. They were all nervous. It showed on their faces as Lorag saw them looking at him.

Fendros frowned and tilted his head. "Good morning, Lorag," he said unsurely. His eyes flicked to Lorag's clothing and back up to his face. "Do you need something? You look like you're ready to head out to a town."

Rhazii kept his mouth shut. He had a strong feeling he knew why Lorag had arrived. He had also been warned of Lorag's sensitivity regarding the matter.

The search started out with enthusiasm. However, the way Kaleeth changed brought Janius and Julan partly down with her. Janius was still in better spirits, lending buoyancy to the journey, but it did little to slow Kaleeth's behaviour.

As much as Janius wanted to put the matter off, Kaleeth's long absence from the camp prompted him to take action. He beckoned Julan to follow him before they worked together to find where Kaleeth had wandered to.

Janius spotted her first. No matter how many times he witnessed Kaleeth every being still under the water, the sight of her as such always caused a brief panic in his mind. Humans only assumed such positions when drowned to death. Thankfully, Kaleeth was Argonian. Still, he worried for her for other reasons.

He turned and spoke to Julan. "How about you wait nearer to the camp, Julan? Your mother and I need to talk."

Once Julan had made some distance, Janius stepped carefully into the water. He did not care whether Julan decided to eavesdrop or not.

Janius was as careful as he could be not to startle Kaleeth by placing a hand on her arm to stir her.
The three exams for this week have come and gone. Two went great, and the differential equations one was every bit as terrible as I'd expected.

Now I'm back to making good progress on Xos stuff, but you know, it just occurred to me that if I finished right now and posted my Xos thing as well as the collab, I would be triple posting on the IC. That's a no-go.

@Muttonhawk will just have to write another Yorum post within the next 72 hours or so to break up my chain of posts. I'm sure he's up to the task, being the winner of the last race and all.


Unrelated to the meme: Congrats on the exam successes! Best of luck for your numbermagicks marks.
Alright, I think I struck the main points I wanted with this scene. You can end it whenever you feel like. There will be other conversations that happen behind the scenes, including a proper heavy private conversation between Ariel and Sabine that will provide some support Sabine needs. However, that would be a long solo writing exercise and I would rather get other stuff moving. I'm sure you can fill in the blanks for how that kind of scene would play out anyway!

All the same, where to next? Are we moving onto the parallelling of Fendros and Ahnasha's in-law meet-up with Kaleeth's tribal reunion now?
Sabine paid Meesei the required attention even as her eyes wandered back to the table. "I am unsure what kind of people I will find. I will remember what you say, though."

Ariel spoke up now that colour had returned to her face. "Are there other clans you are planning to visit soon?" she asked.

"Yes," Sabine replied. "Mostly the larger ones. Only a few. I sent word ahead that I would visit at particular times, looking for packmates, so I expect anyone interested would gather. They do not expect I would visit in disguise. The number of people I will have to meet is going to be overwhelming, but I have some time."

"Are you accompanying Sabine, Karl?" Ariel said after a nod. "I could help disguise you, too."

Karl smiled politely. "I have a number of duties at home that will keep us apart. But, if I've become used to anything about Sabine's talent for magic, she's never truly very far away."

Sabine glanced at Karl with an abashed smile. He brought a hand up to rub her shoulder.

Ariel hinted at her excitement with a broad grin, but she quickly brought her attention across the table again. "What about, Meesei? I imagine you are busy as well but do you have any short term plans for your own matters?"
The pause that followed only made Sabine look more withdrawn. She did not wish to dwell upon her memories any more than Ariel dared to speculate what they might contain. Rukeewei's attempt to steer on the conversation did not land gracefully, either, as Ariel did not so much as smile. His endearing nervousness brought her levity in almost any other circumstance.

"Are your okay, Sabine?" Ariel asked.

Sabine nodded and brought her eyes up to meet her sister's. "I am being helped by someone wise in the clan," she said. "I do not want anyone to worry. There are other important things to do."

Ariel cleared her throat. "You can count on my help with those alchemies. And...for anything else you might need." The way she spoke revealed her attempt to hide the discomfort she displayed.

"And it is not so simple as choosing who you like." Sabine turned to Rukeewei. "If it was, I would not be in the my previous pack until Lorag stopped snoring so loudly."

Karl snorted and stifled a laugh. Sabine's deadpan humour was only made more absurd by how fast it came from a serious and frightening topic. Even Ariel smirked through her pallor.

Sabine continued. "I want to find people who are dependable and kind hearted. I also need people who are better than me at other things. Fighting, speaking, planning, knowing people. A lot of people want to take advantage of me. I cannot be what everyone wants me to be without help, but I do not want to be manipulated either."
@Cyclone So, when are we to expect that Xos story progression? Toun's knuckles are itching for another round...
Many questions ran over Ariel's expression. Only a few were answered by Meesei's elaboration. She leaned back a little and focussed on what she thought she could comprehend. "Well, if you feel shy about visiting the local clan, I understand, but it sounds as if you will be received just fine."

"It is for other reasons, too," Sabine said, looking away. "With everyone treating me like I am more important than before, they do not act the same way. They are either scared or want to get something from me. I want to visit clans without anyone knowing me so I can meet the people who expressed interest in joining my pack and they can be honest. I can try to know them better. I do not want to form a pack with people who are not themselves around me."

Ariel deeply nodded. "I see, I understand now." She breathed a laugh. "It's not fair that I assume you were falling back on old habits. I'm sorry, Sabine."

"It's okay." Sabine had a small smile.

"But, I am still unclear..." Ariel lowered her brow. "What has prompted you to form a new pack? Is it some kind of custom after what you accomplished?"

Sabine frowned and shook her head, looking at the table in front of her. She partly opened her mouth but did not end up answering.

Karl carefully prompted to speak by taking a slow breath. "Sabine...survived a bad situation," he said quickly. "It suffices to say, she convinced the former General Do'Rhajul to join her in a new pack, that he might redeem himself for the things he perpetrated. She sealed that promise in the strongest bond us lycanthropes have. A pack."

"I can say what happened," Sabine mumbled. "Just not now. I do not feel like it."

Ariel was shocked to stillness and growing pale. She left her lips slightly parted. By her silence, she did not know how to interpret Sabine's heroic act, let alone what was left unsaid.
Ariel wore a wide smile. "There is nothing wrong with those kinds of memories, Meesei. I would not assume anything of one I have never met but I doubt your current mate would be free of her own such thoughts." She grinned. "Even if she is an Altmer."

Sabine was more insistent, even if she did not meet Meesei's eyes as she continued. "If you change your mind, you should go find her. You should not wait. Not with...everything happening as it is."

Apart from a nod or two, there were no other responses. Everyone could sense Meesei's desire to change the subject.

"I believe, Sabine, you were trying to say something before," Karl said.

"Mm," Sabine breathed in. "Ariel, do you have hair dye I could use? And an eye colour tincture? Maybe also something that can make me look less pale. And could you cut my hair for me?"

Ariel lowered her cup. She struggled to answer, taken off guard. "Uhm...well...most of those, of course. Making them would be a triviality. And I can certainly cut your hair. Do you feel something is wrong with your appearance?" Ariel tilted her head. "You look beautiful the way you are, you do not need to change so drastically."

"No, it is not that," Sabine responded casually. "I need to look like a stranger. I am going to visit the Thorn clan soon. And some other clans later on. I, um, need to find people to join my pack."

Ariel glanced to Meesei and back. "You're looking for new members? But you have remained at your size for years now."

"Not for Meesei's pack." Sabine tilted her head forward. "For my pack. I formed a new pack."

"Oh." Ariel blinked a few times. "I am still somewhat confused."
Ariel tightened her lips and nodded understandingly. "Nostalgia does have its power, none can deny it." She sucked in a breath and returned to mild worry. "Is it something you do not like thinking about? It sounds like a good memory. Or, at least, not one that would have any harm in dwelling on." She hid behind her wine glass as she sipped.

As usual, Sabine asked the question that stepped ahead of their remit. "Did you want to try and find her, Meesei?"
"Oh..." Ariel waved a hand forward. "It was just side projects here and there. I would do the same ten times over for you, dear, and not just because of all the help you have given me." Ariel's eyes lingered on Rukeewei's face, showing a small smile. "We make a good team."

Dessert came out in short order. The girls were very excited for it, but their energy quickly waned once they had their fill of sweets. They still complained vehemently when ordered to bed in spite of their repeated yawning. However, they were eventually upstairs and quiet enough for the conversation at the table to shift.

Sabine in particular waited with her hand turning her wine cup nervously. When Ariel resumed her seat, Sabine breathed in to speak but was too quiet to be noticed at first.

Ariel spoke over her. "Meesei, I must ask. You've been showing little...sadnesses at times, I've noticed. When I revealed the bergamot extract and a few times during dinner." She lowered her brow in concern. "Are you okay?"
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