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<Story> Alchemical Disappointment


Started by MargieArgie
Post #2853
Member

91
Faction & Race:
Ebonheart Pact (Dunmer)
[This is mostly an attempt to give an introduction to Selah Medanas' character, less than to make a coherent plot or anything like that. Any other characters are only for her to interact with and probably won't be developed more than that or brough along elsewhere. I'm not sure how much of it'll come through, but I hope enough.]


The sound of an opening door caught the attention of the proprietor of an alchemical shop, and he began to speak in the gravelly voice common to Dunmer men. "Good morning, welcome to- Ah, Muthsera, good to see you again."

Selah Medanas, the newly-entered customer, was a frail and clearly elderly Dunmer woman, who, despite her age and slightly bowed posture leaning on a staff, gave off an air of confident authority. "Good morning," she said, unsmiling. "I have brought you a list of items I require in my experiments. I can only hope you have them this time." She had already taken the list - carefully ordered and with quantities clearly included - out of a pouch on her belt, and wasted no time in handing it over.

After a short time reading it, the proprietor shook his head. "I have most of these, but I'm afraid I don't have skeever tails or blue mountain flower. I'm sure you understand this is something of a difficult time to get things like that, with the war and all."

"I see. Despite your claims that you have ingredients from across Tamriel, a claim you were previously able to fulfill very well, this has been the third time in a row you have not had common ones from neighboring provinces with which we are allied - despite having provided you beforehand with the kinds of ingredients I am likely to need in the future." If she was angry, she did not show it; her face barely even registered disappointment. "I am quite acquainted with the nature of the world at the moment and would not think such trade routes disrupted. If you prefer, I can look into taking my patronage elsewhere."

Were the Dunmer capable of blanching, the proprietor would have been doing so - the woman had made him quite a lot of money over the past few years. Instead, he shook his head. "I will do what I can to keep more items in stock, Muthsera. Rest assured this won't happen again."

"I hope you are correct. As it is, I will take what you do have." The proprietor moved to collect the ingredients she had listed.

- - - - - - - -

It had taken Selah Medanas a bit more time to find the skeever tail and mountain flower, but not too long after she returned to her home - and laboratory, lined on nearly every wall with books, ingredient storage, and the various furniture and appliances of scholarship, magic and alchemy. As soon as she entered, her assistant, a young, dark-haired Dunmer woman, greeted her, bowing, with "Mistress Muthsera?"

Selah would have preferred a true apprentice, but most of the mages with enough skill to be one were away on the front lines of the growing four-way war engulfing the continent. I never thought that I would curse such an important part of our society as the Morag Tong, she thought, or preferred the presence of foreign rulers, but I am beginning to prefer the old times under the Akaviri Potentate. Even before the invasion of several years before by the Akaviri, though, few would have agreed with her; most were too young by far to remember the Potentate, and many of those who did had no fondness for the time. It took only a moment's thought, of course, for Selah to agree with them. Not even the usual nostalgia for youth could drive away the natural pride a Dunmer had in their race and their living god-rulers.

Returning her thoughts to the present, Selah began to speak. "Hlireni. I shall provide you with a list of potions to mix while I continue to prepare the clairvoyance spell. Be quick, I will need them as soon as I am finished." After quickly sketching out the list, and handing Hlireni the ingredients she had bought, she immediately moved to one of the desks where a book lay open.

"Telekinesis, mistress? May I ask what that's for?"

"Make the potion." Selah did not even stop to turn around, and her tone was as calm as it always was. She sat down and began reading, tracing the words with a stylus.

"I really would like to know. It would help me learn, after all."

"I have provided you with your duties." Selah still did not raise her voice or turn around, and Hlireni conceded defeat. She was beginning to learn any more questions would be answered with the same thing or with silence - though never anger, and certainly never violence, as some employers might. That was something of a relief, but she also knew not to expect praise or even happiness if she did well, or at least no outward signs of them. When she was working, she was all business; as Selah had put it when Hlireni was first hired, failure was simply a chance to try again, and success the baseline to be expected. The assistant turned and did as she was asked.

- - - - - - - -

Selah did not respond when she heard a knock at the door a couple hours later; she was, after all, in the middle of very carefully tracing out a few Daedric symbols that would amplify her spell. Barely a moment passed before said door opened, and Hlireni said, "May I help you?"

A light (if still a little gravelly) male voice responded, "I think you'd know who I am by this point. May I come in?"

"I'm afraid my mistress is busy with a spell at the-"

"Allow him inside, Hlireni." Selah reached a point where she could safely stop without concern of side-effects. As she turned around, the assistant returned to her potions while the man entered. He was clearly no mage himself; he had the muscles and civilian clothes of a warrior.

"I hope I'm not delaying you too much, Selah. I can always return later if you'd like."

"There is no need for that, Dravil. I can spare the time, especially for a friend." She stood up. "In any case, I have made more progress than I expected. Delays would cause me no trouble."

Dravil smiled. "Not even going to ask me why I'd interrupt you? I'm beginning to wonder just how accurate the stories I've heard about you are."

Selah shook her head; that was as much of a reaction as most could expect from her. "Stories tend to be exaggerated. If I did not already know you as well as I did I might have, but I am not so detached from others as to treat someone I know so well that way. I assume from your expression that Daynasa is well?"

He beamed. "Very. She'll make a full recovery, and our child is fine."

The rare traces of a smile crept across Selah's face, and her voice gained a small amount of warmth, and perhaps relief. "Excellent. I understand how fragile the health of the mother, and especially the fetus, can be so late in pregnancy."

Hlireni turned back to the group. "I'm finished, mistress."

"Very good. You may join us, if you like."

Hlireni smiled and moved to the chair Selah had just gotten up out of. Now that business was over, she could relax. "Nice to hear about your wife, by the way. Oh, mistr-"

"You need not call me that now, if you would prefer otherwise."

From anyone else, Hlireni might have considred that a little too blunt, but she was beginning to understand how to pick out her employer's subtle tones. "Sorry, Selah. Where was I... Oh, yes, that young Nord man I mentioned earlier, the one that moved in down the street. I... uh... don't suppose you have any charm potions you could give me?"

Selah chuckled softly - as good as a laugh from anyone else. "You will have to do without. It would be better for you to get his attention in the proper manner." Hlireni began to speak, but the mage interrupted her. "If you were going to ask me for advice, I cannot give you that either. I have never had much interest in such things myself, and thus little experience."

Dravil shook his head in a sort of mock pity. "I never understood how you could live three hundred years and never, you know..."

"'Never' would be inaccurate. I learned early that it was not worth the effort for me, though, and I have not missed it." She paused for a moment and looked between the two others. "Not that I begrudge either of you for enjoying it. It is nice to see love and romance in others, even if I do not feel such myself."

Hlireni smiled, then suddenly looked around, fidgeting. "Actually..."

"Now would be a good time, yes." Selah might not have shown much expression on her face, but she could see them on others - and her assistant's was very transparent. With a nod and a slight blush, the young woman stood, bowed, and walked out the door.

"Sorry to leave you alone," Dravil said, "but I should probably get going too. Thanks for the time, though."

"It is no problem. I appreciate the visit, and the news. Be well." As the man stood up and left in turn, Selah watched him leave, then turned back to her spell. She'd needed the break anyway, and was able to return to her work with renewed vigor.


Count only the happy hours.

Character bios:
Selah Medanas - Fatimah
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