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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
xxx
P.S. Not having breakfast can make you weary. That's for sure!
Michael Leunig. The Curly Pyjama Letters.

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Janius lowered his arms and let sympathy show on his face. "I see what you mean, then. I'm sorry." He stepped and put a hand on her shoulder. "Looks like it wasn't just Zharanthixil who changed." He lowered his eyes and shrugged. "It might not make sense now, but I have a feeling it's more about them than you. There has been a lot of time for things to happen."



Rhazii flinched to run after the man before he was struck to the ground and surrounded. His previously anxious face now tensed into outright worry. He consciously faced himself away from Ahnasha as she approached to not let his emotions betray him. There was no more time for pleading.

"Sorry," Rhazii said quickly. He closed in a rush, fluidly binding the man's sword while thrusting the point of his bound blade towards his throat.
Janius crossed his arms and watched Juran-Selth walk away. Kaleeth caught his attention with what she said, but he paused to try and understand. "Were you expecting something different?" He turned around to face her, briefly glancing in the direction Juran left. "You look an awful lot like you knew him differently. What did Juran-Selth used to be like?"



Rhazii edged his way into position with his eyes darting between each of the bandits. His heart pounded so loudly in his ears that he worried about it giving away his position. All he had to do was get to his mark and run him through. Stay wary, but don't panic. He had ambushed a camp or two of Falmer like this. It would be similar enough.

He stood and advanced after the first arrow landed. Rhazii tried not to look at the shocking collapse of the struck Breton. The Khajiit screamed almost with the same voice as someone he knew. The atronach drew enough attention that he did not slow down. In the seconds that rushed by, however, Rhazii slid to a stop. It was necessary. The Imperial, his target, had just enough time to raise his guard with a weapon. Rhazii held his sword out, ready with a low guard himself. He tried to focus on his opponent over the smell of charred flesh.

They paced around each other. Rhazii's face was wide-eyed and blank, but his ear quirked at his mother's voice.

He made no rush to clash with the man immediately. Instead, he whispered across to the man, hoping Ahnasha would not hear. "Please, put the sword down." Rhazii swallowed. "Please."
Janius remained evidently uncomfortable about their safety. The tightness in his shoulders he thought he left behind in Thorantilth's hut returned to him in full.

However, Juran had not come off as anything less than patient, realistic, and certain. Janius retained his deferential tone. "I am grateful that you would allow this. It means a lot to us. I understand what you ask of us; we shall pay proper respect in the village." He turned to Julan. "Is there anything else you want to ask about the rite?"



"A shielding spell would be great, please," Rhazii whispered. "The only other magic I know that could be useful here is a basic healing spell."

After receiving the stoneflesh spell from Ahnasha, Rhazii followed along behind her to the letter of her instructions. He was not as habitually stealthy as Ahnasha, but his previous experience was sufficient for their approach.

Rhazii's heart raced in his chest. Picking out someone to kill was unnerving. If Ahnasha was not right there beside him, he felt he would turn around and never return. He answered without thinking too hard about it. "The Imperial. The one on the right, with the armour on." His grip on the bound sword behind his back grew tighter.
"Thank you for your support." Janius nodded respectfully. "I understand our arrival here is...contentious...not all happy. Should we expect more hostility? Is there anything we can do about it?"



Ahnasha's pause from the tracking brought Rhazii out of his focus. As soon as he crouched down, she could perceive his anxiety gradually returning as she spoke. Still, the compliment on his tracking skills did give him a brief smile.

As for the bound weapons, Rhazii hesitated and itched at his chest. "I said I could get a sword, it's just the bow and anything more complicated that takes me a while. Here..."

He stepped back in his crouch to hold his hands out. With a wave of magicka, a roiling purple sphere grew in the space between his hands. A snap of a small portal opening allowed him to grasp at an unseen handle, which was revealed with a burning blue light to be a barbed bound sword. The problem was evident in its length being only suitable for fighting one-handed. He held the weapon horizontally.

"This is the only kind of sword I've learned how to get," he admitted.
This was everything I had in mind for or ever planned to write for Jvan's distant origin story. It's not particularly relevant, but it's been on my mind.

Over the next few weeks I'll try to wrap up more loose ends and catch up on more posts.

ed: as always, some explanatory notes in the summary


That's some nice tying-together-o'-things.

I wonder if the experiences and scars Jvan picks up along the way influences her future iterations? It's probably outside of the scope of this RP to answer narratively, but I am curious whether the porcelain shard she picked up is going to stay along for the ride and cause some kind of convergence at some point.
Janius watched Juran and Kaleeth closely when each of them spoke. He could not quite predict what their relationship was yet.

After a pause, Janius answered. "Two reasons. We had recently visited Thorantilth to get his permission to stay for a short time, Kaleeth, Kaj-Julan, and myself. My name is Janius. We wanted to speak to you and Reanaseer about the same thing." Janius glanced at Kaj-Julan. He was careful with his tone. "We also wished to consult you. Kaj-Julan here, his grandfather has said it is time for him to earn his marks. Julan has elected to undertake the Rite of Might."



Ahnasha could feel Rhazii relax somewhat in her arms. He returned her hug, even if he did not look like he was cheered up. Ahnasha's levity at least made him breathe a quick laugh. "Okay, mama," he said, letting her go.

Beginning the hunt at least brought Rhazii into a state of focus. He was noticeably more attentive to clues and details than the last time Ahnasha had hunted with him outside of his beast form. Though he was not in terrain he was familiar with, his experiences with the Silent City's scouts had not been wasted. He moved quickly through the woodland, pausing at times to check spaces for tracks or smells he picked up.
Juran-Selth's appearance did not lower Janius' guard at first. The man's tattoos marked him as a measure more skilled than his subordinates were, but his authority spoke for itself. Only the Master-Hunter approached them did Janius put himself at ease.

He looked over his shoulder at Julan and Kaleeth, checking them and letting them speak for themselves first. Only once they were okay did Janius speak to Juran. "I am fine." He swallowed. "Juran-Selth? We were just looking for you. I do not believe we have met before."



Rhazii put on a strong, if dour, face and looked ahead. "I can conjure a bound sword but not yet one that's quite the size I usually use. I can't get a bound bow right all the time. Maybe with a few minutes I can conjure one."

He pursued his lips. His ears had not lifted since the topic started. "Can we at least hunt transformed afterwards? I was looking forward to that."
The situation escalated faster than Janius could have anticipated. When Kaleeth was pushed against the hut, Janius reacted in turn. He grasped Deerz by the chest, stepped across the back of his leg, and threw the hunter back-first into the dirt. It was nothing Kaleeth could not have done herself but Janius was not going to let them be bullied.

"You step too far!" Janius pointed at him. "Call us names all you like. Do not lay your claws on us unless you want them pried from your fingers."

Janius had a small hope that speaking a moderately complex phrase in Jel would help make them think twice.



Rhazii held his breath and looked into the trees. Ahnasha had not convinced his gut feelings, as evidenced by the tension in his expression, but he relented. "Okay," he sighed. "Fine, I'll do it."
Janius was in just as much of a daze about Zharanthixil's words as Kaleeth was. He breathed in to respond and stopped himself at the sight of the hunters. Their postures were enough to signal the threat. The details of their tattoos took a few moments to register with Janius. He crossed his arms and tempered himself against the way he and Julan were referred to.

Giving Kaleeth a sideways glace, Janius kept quiet and let Kaleeth take the lead. They had only just arrived -- he did not want to jeopardise their blessing to stay by saying or doing anything rash.



Rhazii looked back up at Ahnasha, surprised out of his thoughts. "We're going to hunt people?" His breathing shallowed, even as he tried to hide his anxiety. "Mother, that's doesn't sound right. That's what ferals do, I..." He rested his fingers on his chest. "All my lessons on control have been against that."
Janius was too surprised to come up with anything particularly profound for Zharan. "I...Thank you," he managed. "I am confident in Julan. I would only disallow it if I did not think he was ready."



Rhazii's eyes drifted to the ground halfway through Ahnasha's story and did not rise up. His silence had the hint of an answer, but whether he truly did not know or he was too stubborn to admit what he did know, he remained wordless. They walked for another half a minute before it became clear he did not know what to say.
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