Luna turned her attention to the Mages Guild. She had long been a member, but in her addiction, they had kicked her out on no uncertain terms. Luna had been a powerful spell caster, and still was now, but her body and mind had been ravaged by the Skooma and she had a long way to go before reclaiming her previous strength. She looked healthy outwardly now, her skin having regained its glow and her eyes having lost their sunken and haunted look, but her soul was battered. It was her own fault, she knew, for succumbing to the addiction; now she was determined to set herself right. The mages had helped her when coming off the Skooma, their magics soothing and calming her, potions held to her lips when she was too weak to drink on her own. That had lasted only a few days in it's worst form, but she felt indebted to the Mages Guild for standing by her, even after her rank and standing had been revoked. She set out to rejoin the guild, starting fresh from the beginning and truly earn her way back up the ranks.
She set out for Anvil, stopping to summon Wildfire, her Nightmare mount and old friend. "Carry me swiftly, my friend," she whispered to the horse-like demon, brushing her fingers through Wildfire's fiery mane. "I'll not keep you overlong." Wildfire did indeed carry her swiftly, and she found herself outside of Anvil sooner that she had expected. She slid off of her mount, and whispered, "Be well, my friend. Oblivion awaits you."
The Nightmare spoke into her rider's mind, "It was a pleasure to carry thee, Luna my friend," before rearing up and galloping away at an amazing pace. She disappeared without a trace a little ways from the Anvil main gate. Ernest, who worked at the nearby stables looked at Luna with thinly veiled fear and dislike. He didn't even like his own horses, and Luna's Nightmare mount made him especially uneasy. Luna just smiled at him, as much to spite him in his unpleasantness as to truly be friendly. She had never done anything to harm the man, and his not so subtle distaste for her just pissed her off. It was uncalled for, and she found it insulting. "Oh well, fuck you..." she thought in mock cheerfulness as she smiled at him walked through the main gate to Anvil city.
Luna secured a room at The Count's Arms, before heading back towards the Mages Guild. She took a deep breath to steady herself; she and Carahil had an interesting relationship, and she felt she might need a bit more tact than normal when dealing with this woman. They both had nasty tempers, and Carahil had a bit of arrogance that rubbed Luna the wrong way. Luna guessed it was from Carahil's closeness with the Arch Mage that this arrogance stemmed, and this only pissed her off further. She couldn't stand people thinking they were more important than they were simply because they knew important people. With another steadying breath in, Luna pushed the door open and strode into the guildhall.
Carahil's nose wrinkled at Luna's presence before she quickly put on a smile. Luna knew why, and that righteous anger flared up again inside. Luna had come to the Anvil Mages Guild in desperation, when her withdrawal had become quite painful. It was the center for healing and Restoration, and so she had come seeking help. She had been quite a mess when she arrived already, but quickly dissolved into a fever. Luna knew that the Altmer woman before her had heard her begging for Skooma in her delirium, as the other mages healed and soothed her. Instead of understanding, Carahil felt only distrust and dislike for Luna, not able to see that the woman before her now was a different one that that pitiful creature begging for drugs.
Luna stamped the anger down before she said something that would definitely not help. She smiled back at Carahil, feeling about as much sincerity in the gesture as the Altmer did, but knowing it was necessary "I'd like to rejoin the guild," Luna stated calmly. "I'll need your recommendation, off course," she said, nodding at Carahil.
"Yes, of course," Carahil said, eying Luna carefully. The tall Altmer couldn't begrudge Luna her wish to rejoin the guild, and even felt something close to respect that Luna was willing to start at the bottom again, but she just couldn't bring herself to trust that the dawn wouldn't find Luna holed up in a Skooma den. Carahil set Luna a moderately difficult task of assisting in the arrest or execution of a rouge mage terrorizing the merchants on the Gold Road. At least, it would have been moderately difficult if Luna had the skill level of any other of her current rank. In truth, Luna's skills rivaled Carahil's, and that was perhaps the reason behind all of the other ugliness.
Luna sighed and told Carahil that she would set out in the morning. "I have a room at The Count's Arms for the night, and I'd like to reacquaint myself with my fellow mages. I feel I owe them a debt," Luna said and then wandered further into the guildhall. She quickly made eye contact with Thaurron, a friendly Bosmer that had always treated her kindly. She walked up and extended her hand in greeting, but the friendly elf pushed it aside and pulled her into a quick embrace.
"I knew you'd be back," he said, smiling.
"Thanks," Luna said, somewhat surprised, but quite happy. Marc Gulitte was in a corner, reading as usual, but he too smiled, and then raised his cup to her. She felt a prickling in her eyes at this unexpectedly warm welcome, and quickly busied herself by stroking Thaurron's pet imp Sparky behind the ears. He let out a soft purring sound, and pushed his head into her hand. Luna spent a while catching up with the Anvil mages, Carahil ignored for now, and then headed back to The Count's Arms. Luna knew she would have a bed in the guildhall if she needed it, but didn't really wish to spend the night surrounded by so many memories. She figured she would sleep better in the cozy double bed she had rented at the inn, memories aside.
The next morning, Luna set out on foot for the Brina Cross Inn. She avoided the main road, as she knew there was a Khajiit highwayman who preyed on travelers on the way to the inn. She had no doubt that she could best him, but knew that he would most likely be carrying Moon Sugar, and just didn't want to go there right then. She knew she would be able to leave it be, but didn't feel the need to put herself in a position to have to resist it either. She arrived at the inn quickly, making good time over the countryside.
Luna spoke to her contact at the inn, rented a small room, and rested for the night. The next morning she set out along the gold road, as planned. Luna's Detect Life spell alerted her to the woman waiting behind the boulder before she jumped out in an attempt to surprise the mage she mistook for a simple merchant. A quick paralyze spell taught her the error of her ways, and she died of shock damage before the two assisting battlemages arrived. Luna quickly searched the body, pocketing a rather large purse of gold and a few useful potions before turning to the stunned battlemages. "Wow, we expected to have to save your ass," the male said, looking at Luna with respect. Luna smiled at him, knowing they had expected an average Associate, and thanked them for the help she knew they would have been had she needed it.
"I'm glad you were behind me," Luna told them. "I didn't know what to expect. She was easier that I was anticipating. Having backup is a good feeling, even when your quarry doesn't measure up." She smiled again, and began walking back down the hill toward Anvil.
Bite the Bullet:
That was easy: