40 - Ranyu

We found out the following day that he was an archer. He wore the lightest of dremora armour, which delighted Brelyna, as she got to see his muscles all the time. I recalled when I was hoping I had that effect on Zahra. That wasn't all that long ago. How far we'd come in so little time!

The women sent us out hunting for fresh meat. Ranyu would probably do most of the work with his bow, but I had one, too, and knew my way around better than he did. We could stay in the hills, and hunt goats, or go down to the valley, and look for deer. I asked before we left which we needed, as that would give me an idea how long they wanted us gone.

Naturally, the first creature we encountered was a cave bear, and I had to summon my heavy armour and war-hammer for that. Bear meat's not the best, and we had enough pelts, so we just took the claws. They're light, and Brelyna would know if she wanted them for alchemy. I couldn't remember what they were used for, as it was a long time since I made any potions.

I think that was the last kill I made that day. Ranyu could see farther than I could, and was more accurate with his bow. I drew a heavier one than he did, but once you have enough strength to make the kill, anything else is wasted. I used mine for combat, not hunting, so I didn't much care.

And I could carry more of the meat and horns, so I did. When we got back, it looked like he was the hunter, and I was just the porter. Brelyna apparently thought so, anyway.

Zahra had been talking to Brelyna about how she'd have to adapt to Ranyu. She wouldn't be able to summon an atronach without sending him back, so she had to lose that habit quickly. And then there was the problem with her accomodations at the College, and the lack of privacy. With her Dunmer proclivities, and his eagerness to impress his new mistress, nobody wanted her to get thrown out for being disruptive.

Brelyna didn't think she'd be spending much time at the College, anyway. She had the impression that the orb that they'd found at Saarthal was going to become her main item of study, whether she wanted that or not. She'd been sent on this mission to fetch the books already, and was expecting more of the same when she got back. Which should be soon, or the Archmage would be getting annoyed with her.

"I can teleport myself back to Winterhold, but will Ranyu go with me?" she asked.

"If I don't, just summon me when you get there. That's what the spell's for," he reminded her.

I pointed out that Winterhold was a lot colder than here, so they'd both better remember to cover up a bit before they left.

"And remember how to cast that spell properly," Zahra added. "You don't need to tease him."

"There was something different about Brelyna , when we got back from hunting, but I can't quite put my finger on it." I looked at Zahra with a questioning expression.

"New hairstyle, for one. She wears a mages's hood most of the time for the enchantment, and so she wants a style under that which won't let it tangle. But when she takes it off, she wants a different style that looks good. So I taught her how to use alteration magic to change it."

"You're becoming quite the teacher. Should I take you to the College, and get you a job there?"

"Then the lack of private quarters would be our problem, as well as Brelyna's, wouldn't it? And I prefer the job I have, and I like it well enough here."

We had a visit from Paarthurnax a few days later. He was concerned about the "disturbance in the currents of time" that he could feel. He didn't have a clear picture of what was going on, but it involved me, and a lot of magic, and probably that Dunmer girl, Brelyna, and the College.

So her re-appearance on our doorstep at the end of the week wasn't a complete surprise. The pair of them looked different. Ranyu had a light cuirass on, apparently no longer needing to display to her, and she had a new robe, that didn't look like College issue.

And no hood, so her hair was more attractive than usual. She noticed me noticing, and explained.

"When I got back to the College, I found a Psijic monk waiting to speak with me. A real one, not a mystic vision. And after he had, I found this robe hanging in my wardrobe. It's got a much stronger enchantment than the College one, so I don't need to wear a hood any more. And the design on it is similar to the ones the Psijic was wearing, so I think he brought for me.

"Anyway, the monk told me to go talk to the Augur of Dunlain, who was down in the crypts under the College, and he sent me back to the Archmage, who sent me to Mirabelle, who sent me to Mzulft."

"And when did you find time to learn that new hairstyle?" Zahra asked her.

Brelyna looked a bit embarrassed about that. "It was supposed to be the style you taught me, but I got it wrong. Ranyu said he liked it better this way, so I kept it."

"But you've already been to this Mzulft and back?" I asked.

"Yes, but that accounts for just about all the time since we were here last. Everything else happened in the College itself, including the explosion that killed the Archmage."

"That sounds like things are getting serious. Paarthurnax' premonitions were right."

I had to explain who Paarthurnax was. I'd probably mentioned him to Brelyna before, but Ranyu needed to know, too.

And Brelyna needed to explain to us about the Eye of Magnus, and Ancano, and all the rest of it. She was full of praise for Ranyu's archery against the malevolent magical anomalies that had been spawned by the release of energy from the Eye. And he was just as effusive about her staff-wielding.

But they both felt that the next mission needed reinforcements. The Staff of Magnus, which was apparently powerful enough to control the magic of the Eye, was buried in Labyrinthian, guarded by who knows what.

"We hoped that you two would join us," Brelyna pleaded. "I've been learning frost spells, since I won't have a frost atronach for that, and this robe lets me use stronger wards and armour spells. But although I have one of the best possible archers by my side, or behind me, wherever he's supposed to be, I could still use help with melee and fire magic."

We took a lot of persuading. Not because we were reluctant, but because ...