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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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Fendros was sitting on a stone bench leaned forward with his hands woven together and his legs jittering. He had been running through the points of his address in his head over and again. He took a moment before he stilled himself and looked up at Saras, and even longer to wrench his mind around to even thinking about the staff.

"I...was too far away to see if it was there when..." The image flashed in Fendros' mind of Meesei's final moments. He spoke faster. "I did not see it from where we were either. Either some daedra has it Ahna said, gone." He shook his head. "It's not worth going after it now. Not with the portals closed."

Fendros stood up and gave a worried look. "Thank you for the report. Please have Meesei's belongings brought to us when it is convenient." He sighed. "And for Hircine's sake, Saras, get some sleep after the address. You're invaluable, have demonstrated that in this last mission a thousandfold...and we'd like to avoid having you collapse."
Yalu 'Suumko

With a hollow wheeze from its engine, Yalu swung his banshee around toward the walls. The close air support on his wings could fly over relative safety with all the anti air turrets on the walls blasted off their mounts, but the weather left visibility to be desired.

Yalu's voice hummed quietly over the comms from the shelter of the prone cockpit. "We have the skies. Mark urgent targets for the hornets and banshees. We will be shooting down their aircraft as they come."

Yalu did his friends a favour in the spare moment to do a strafing run on a parallel street to the wall to keep anti-armour teams pinned. The street lit up with rapid fire plasma bolts. No small arms fire did more than scratch at this distance. It was all he could do before enemy air support came onto the radar. He pulled up and boosted into the rain to gain altitude.
Lol, thanks Vec, but we're getting quite close to finishing this.
Janius held Julan just as tightly, and with no suppressed tears. He cried through a joyous smile and pat his son hard on the back. "My little treasure..." was all he could initially say, repeating the words a few times, before he could finally muster his wit. "It's good to be home. It's never been better to be home."

Of course, Julan was not alone waiting for his loved ones. He had sprinted off from a gathered group of those familiarly close to the pack; Rhazii, Karl, Lunise, and even Narsi had found one another.

Rhazii stood with the Avarul family sword on his belt. He quickly strode up to Ahnasha to hug her more tightly than anyone had hugged her in her life. Fendros soon received a similar greeting. The relief in Rhazii's tears and quiet sniffing was infectious.

Karl, impaired in the eyes as he was, was guided to Sabine's arms by Lunise. Karl and Sabine kissed with force. None of their usual reticence to display public affection was present. They were all but giggling, forehead to forehead.

Narsi was caught looking for Lorag with a pleading hope in her eyes. Her face quickly hardened when their eyes met. "You look like shit," she said first. It was a fact – Lorag had barely the time to rest the bags out from under his eyes. Seconds of silence passed between them, then she twitched a fleeting smirk, avoiding his gaze.

All the while, Lunise, still fully uniformed and looking as stern as any Thalmor, was on her toes peering around the pack's reunion.

Fendros noticed and his heart sank. He sighed and excused himself from Ahnasha and Rhazii without looking to see if anyone else was approaching Lunise. She met Sabine halfway there and held her back.

The pack saw Lunise's eyes waver behind her stony expression as Fendros spoke to her. She pursed her lips and cast a spell to turn invisible, but everyone could hear her reaction, combined as it was with the weeping around her. It was despair. No amount of loss in her life, no amount of stoic conditioning, could have stopped it. Fendros searched for her with his hands, knelt down, and rested his hand consolingly on what looked like open air which shuddered.

Fendros peeked back at the rest of his family. He looked regretful to cut his reunion short. He certainly regretted how those in his pack who had not yet heard the news came to a realisation as to why Lunise was behaving this way. He gently lifted the invisible Lunise to her feet to guide her to a more discrete place. He had enough time to spare before his planned address to everyone at the Silent City to see to Lunise's comfort. He owed Meesei that much at least.
For better or worse, Fendros let Saras and Hjergir give their words unchallenged. He himself was saving any personal eulogies for a proper memorial -- when he had the energy to confront his suppressed grief. Darahil's news was a welcome shift in the conversation.

Fendros smiled. "I should like to see that for myself. Hircine willing, I might believe our victory to be fully true and real." Some renewed confidence straightened his back. "If there is no more to be said right now about confronting Vile, we should have a recount of other fronts in the battle. And the details of our move back to Mundus, including the movements of the Imperial and Aldmeri hosts. Although, if there are those among this meeting who have not yet reunited with lost loved ones from before the fight...I would hear your opinions on reconvening in a few hours time."

Fendros' mouth twitched down momentarily. Meesei's lover Lunise was not party to clan meetings such as this. He would likely have to deliver the news of Meesei's fate himself.
Yalu 'Suumko

Ryker got a chilly response from Yalu once they dusted themselves off. "Do not speak of it," he spat before moving on without reciprocating the handshake. Yalu did not make clear whether he was distracted or intentionally curt. It seemed like both.

Yalu kept his helmet on and his communications austere for the clean up and the ride back to base.

Yalu had composed himself enough with the task of rearming for the assault on the keep. He was no stranger to such places, and as such rearmed his scattershot and needle rifle. However, if they were going in heavy, he knew exactly what to ask for to assist their surgical strike. He approached Ryker's vehicle with large rectangular ordnance cases in each hand while the spartan was seeing through its inspections. One after the other, he lifted them onto the brackets behind the main gun.

"I have come to seek pardon for my earlier tone," he proclaimed, before unlatching both cases to reveal a spartan laser and a rocket launcher. "I will be taking a Banshee in during the initial approach. You will need fire support."
Fendros thought about extending more courtesy. Instead, he solemnly nodded and led the procession back to camp. Yerig's place was no longer here. It was enough for Yerig to know the clan would be there for him if he changed his mind.

The meeting was so soon enough after they arrived that Fendros had still not properly rested. He had at least reverted back to his Dunmer shape and donned a fresh set of clothing, but he had to source a stamina potion to keep himself from nodding off.

The immense weight of expectations came first from the clan leaders. He was familiar with them personally enough as Meesei's second. Today, they were entirely different in his eyes.

Saras' prompt sobered Fendros enough to stand up from his seat with a deep breath and take on a determined expression. He would deliver this news with the stony face his father often made. "Thank you, Saras. I have taken some time to consider this." He turned to the wider meeting. "Friends, you have likely deduced the fate of our late attendants by now. I shall provide any details you wish, though in line with Saras' suggestion of brevity, it suffices to say that General Ri'vashi and our previous champion, Meesei, turned to hold off the Daedric horde to allow us the opportunity to confront Clavicus Vile. I saw Meesei's fate myself. As for Ri'vashi...I had hoped to see her back here, though I must assume the worst by this time." Fendros paused to blink back a burning behind his eyes. "What happened speaks for itself. I should like to relay the entire story to you, and then address the wider Lycan population with what I hope will be encouraging words for this bittersweet ending to the war. Ri'vashi was a friend and true comrade to us all. And, believe me when I say few were closer to Meesei than myself. I will see to it they are honoured in the highest--" he ran out of eloquent words "--the best way we can."

Fendros took another deep breath to rally.

"All of you here also made this victory possible. All of you, and your people. This will, in the end, be a celebration as much as a memorial for the fallen. I thank you, and as Meesei's designated Champion of Hircine -- a title I will be defending with all my strength and virtue -- I look forward to continuing her legacy and improving our peoples' lot in the world. I hope to earn your respect and count on your support."
"I can promise you all those things," Fendros said without hesitation. "We can bring him to his homeland swiftly and find...discrete allies who should know the appropriate traditions."

Sabine stood up slowly. The sadness on her face had begun to give way to waves of fatigue.

Fendros peered around for a moment before taking on his werewolf form. He reverently took up Do'rhajul's body in his arms and gently ordered the group. "Back to camp."

It seemed such a short time upon the cliff, but now was not the time for protracted ceremony.

Fendros continued his conversation with Yerig on the way back. "Thank you, Yerig, for fighting alongside us. Your promises were with Do'rhajul and you still helped to save us. If there is anything we can do for you once we return home...either way, you are always welcome in the Silent City." He stopped and gathered himself again. "Call me curious as to your next chapter."
Fendros squatted down to put a hand on Sabine's back.

Sabine herself took a short while to respond. She slowly nodded and looked up to Yerig with a tear-soaked face. "You are right. I just wish it could have been different."

It was then that Tarna stepped up with her mouth clamped shut and offered Yerig a waterskin and a hand up.

"Is there anything you wish to say, Tarna?" Fendros asked.

Tarna slowly shook her head. "I am not a good speaker. I will miss him, but...that's not strong enough to say on its own."

Fendros nodded and sighed through his nose. "We should take his body back to give him a proper burial. Yerig...there is food and rest at camp. When you are refreshed, we should speak of what the next steps should be for you and Do'rhajul's remains."
Yalu 'Suumko

Yalu's lungs emptied at the sight of his target slumping as instantly dead as it did. If not for the rest of the commotion, he might have frozen. Vael's voice over the comms brought him back to the action. He retrieved his needle rifle, aimed down at the fleeing grunts, and helped to pick them off.

Tar's shouting made him glance to see what was going on. Yalu's kill, all the slaughter of the grunts with their backs turned, and then Tar's shouting, all combined to bring out a sudden irritation in him. "'Mdalak! Get up! Focus!"

He felt his ears ring with how loud he shouted into his helmet. He felt an immediate pang of anxiety at his outburst. He shook himself out of it and headed for the nearest door to the platform. "Pushing ahead," he declared with a more moderated voice. "Cannot see any more targets outside. The rest will be barricading by now."

He did not move out of sight yet, waiting for Grikgar's sitrep.
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