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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, Sabine, Fendros, and likely most people going through the portal could not help but be on guard. Between the common description of the Hunting Grounds and other old stories about planes of Oblivion, they could only assume there would be danger ahead. However, as they emerged from the portal, first appearances were anything but dangerous.

"Is this it?" Janius looked up at the trees and the sky. "It's...more peaceful than I expected," he commented.

"If any plane of Oblivion is going to look like this, it would be the Hunting Grounds." Fendros toed at the grass curiously, but quickly kept his eyes back on their surroundings.

Sabine brought a spell to detect life up in her palm to check the coast was clear.
The timing of inviting Ariel to visit remained peculiar in Sabine's mind. However, she only nodded and pressed her lips shut. There were more pressing matters for now.

"This is it," Fendros said, looking up at the portal. He took a deep breath of cavern air. "Fifteen or so years ago, I never would have anticipated going to Oblivion, let alone the Hunting Grounds."

"Without needing to die, no less," Janius added with a smirk.

Fendros took Ahnasha's hand and smiled. "How does it feel to know where we're going?"
Sabine opened her mouth, somewhat confused. "Do not mistake me when I say this, but...I visited her a short while ago. I did just as you said when you told everyone in the pack to visit their families. It would be nice to see her again. However...we have many things to worry about already."

Her confusion only deepened when she thought about it. "Did you want to see her, Meesei? I understand you did not have time beforehand."
The morning was abuzz with excitement of all kinds for the coaligned armies. Those with any niggling doubts or attachments outside of Hircine's cult -- most of those present -- had anxieties over what might be on the other side. Those fully devoted were feverishly anticipating the visit. Those with neither merely trusted the reassurance of their leaders and left their excitement to stepping closer to the fight with Vile.

Meesei's pack had greeted her when she returned no differently than if she had not spent any time at all on Artaeum. In a sense, she had not, but the experience added to the jarring feeling overall. All the adults had some duty or another keeping them busy, while the children tried not to show their worry.

It came as a surprise to them all, then, that Meesei would be expressing much more worry than usual around them. It went ignored for a short while, but enough exchanged glances had Fendros quietly urging Sabine forward to talk to her.

Sabine put her hand on Meesei's shoulder. "The portal is set up correctly. It will not go wrong, I promise." She worried her brow. "Meesei. Is something wrong?"
Lunise gave the suggestion a moment of thought. "I believe I could do that." She nodded. "Of course, Teroiah has her own command structure, but I doubt she will turn away an additional mage. Whether your officers will trust me remains to be seen."

She sighed. "You have the right of it regarding my motives. If I was to stay in the city drumming my fingers and waiting for news, I might fall to insanity."
Lunise's scant involvement in Meesei and Pircalmo's conversation meant she patiently consumed two and a half cups of tea before judging that they should move on. She was convinced that the pair could have spoken unabated into the coming night and beyond. Fortunately, Lunise was nothing if not skilled in politely interrupting, and the three of them quickly moved on to farewells, thanks, and promises.

As Lunise hugged her father goodbye, she let herself share the moment of blissful ignorance he was experiencing. It was when she let go that the twinge of worry over Meesei's possible fate in the coming invasion returned to her heart.

Lunise and Meesei exited the study afterwards to find a secluded spot to open a portal. On the way, Lunise spoke up with a prevailing thought in her head.

"Meesei, I have been thinking while you and father spoke," she said. "Mother did not want me in the invasion. She gave her reasons. They were compelling. However, I pondered on the possibility of being close enough to assist. I might at least venture with the host into the Hunting Grounds to help coordinate efforts for the following push."
I don't mind either way. At any rate, I got back from holiday yesterday night. I'll try to get a post in tomorrow night -- I'm still quite tired today and have been busy catching up on things.
I imagine Meesei and Pircalmo will be having a lengthy and in-depth conversation until Lunise finally cuts them off, so we can skip along a bit if you want.
Lunise sighed and closed her eyes. "Very well. A few minutes." She signalled a hand in Pircalmo's direction. "Father, pick the one question you would like to discuss now."

"Yes, yes, I can work in a hurry, my daughter," Pircalmo said. He was oddly uninterrupted in his rifling through notes by the limited time they had. All it took was spreading a few choice pages over his desk, tracing his finger over some text, and pausing for a moment with bated breath. He turned his desk chair sideways and slowly sat himself down, looking into space with intense thought.

"So..." Pircalmo finally made eye contact with Meesei again, taking up a quill without looking. "I would like to ask about early development, particularly unhatched eggs and hatchlings. Being in your previous role, as I understand it, brought you very close to the process. But first, I think it necessary to speak a foundation to our conversation, as the exact terminology varies across regions and customs..."

While not speaking at a rapid pace, Pircalmo did demonstrate a well practiced erudition in explaining his surrounding understanding of the early stages of Argonian life cycles. Such was his skill in framing the information that he gave a quite understandable presentation in just over five minutes -- while leaning on more complex terminology known to restoration magic, granted, but that was no problem for Meesei.

Pircalmo's following questions had several facets to them, likely as a way to weasel through Lunise's request to limit to just one question. They were mostly in service of filling in several crucial gaps in information; where Hist and ritual met biological and magical effects and the ways such interactions allow for the complexity in Argonians not normally found in other egg laying creatures. For Meesei, the challenges in answering them usefully were not so much their time constraints as were rephrasing the concepts in languages other than Jel in a way that made any kind of sense.
Well, I haven't tried the sushi here in New York, but I can at least confirm the west coast sushi is good. As for what to do in New York, it depends on what interests you. There's music events, bars, restaurants, museums, galleries, all sorts of places to explore beyond the sightseeing. It's kinda overwhelming; my to do list is way too long.
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