Today was much like the last: no fighting, no stress, just training and relaxation. I had worked on my physical combat abilities with Rithleen yesterday, but I consider myself far more skilled in meele than in magic, so I dedicated today to the Mages Guild, trying to work my meager skill into something with more utility for my life in Morrowind.
Ajira was more than happy to take my money in exchange for an lesson in alchemy; she was kind enough to charge me less than the standard rate, though she did not mention it. Her nose seems to be constantly searching for monetary opportunities, a task which takes her business far outside the Mages Guild at times. Despite this, she is a very effective Alchemist and the expensive alchemy equipment on her desk is well-used and cared for. She admitted that my arrival, an "active adventurer" as she put it, has done a lot her projects both inside and outside the Guild.
She did not volunteer details of what these projects were, but from what she did say I gather that a lot of the alchemy ingredients she purchases from me gets shipped out of Morrowind to parts unknown by parties also unknown, a business which she greatly profits from. It does make me wonder why she remains in the Mages Guild and the Balmora branch in particular, though it is likely Ranis and Ajira share an arrangement, one that sees a little profit in Ranis's pockets as well.
Such is the way of life in Morrrowind. Coming from the heart of the Empire tends to instill a certain rigidity of morals, even when you exist at the edge of discipline, as the Auxiliaries probably still do and I know my own set of morals have become more malleable lately. After all, I did agree to Ranis's request last night, but I plan on doing whatever I can in an effort to not have to kill the persons of interest.
Pleasant though it was, I did not spend much time on my Alchemy training. It is a useful skill, but not one I have had to rely on. Due to the wide differences in geography and fauna, it has been of more use putting a few extra Septims in my pocket than brewing useful potions. One ingredient for a potion may only be found in the northern parts of Morrowind, while the second may be on the other side of the island in the south. The alchemist shopkeepers alleviate the search for common ingredients, but it almost seems a waste of effort when they are also selling the potion you were trying to make in the first place. A true student of the art would never pass on the opportunity to practice her craft, but for me survival takes priority over pride.
After Ajira's chattiness, Marayn's no-nonsense instruction proved a relief. He admitted himself to being more skilled in Destruction and Mysticism schools, but still knew far more than I in the use of Alteration spells. I spent more time than I expected I would with him and when we had finished I was far more confident that my Alteration spells would succeed when I needed them.
Estirdalin was my final teacher, the two of us practicing Illusionary magic together. In contrast with Ajira and Marayn, I was nearly Estirdalin's equal with Illusion magics and the opportunity to practice alongside someone of similar skill was worth the cost and I feel we both improved notably
I left the Mages Guild after dinner and walked across the river to Balmora's south end to visit a friend of mine. A Dunmer stopped me on the bridge, another messenger from Dagoth Ur, or so he claimed. At least they are all sticking to the script and let me walk without any issue. By morning the man will likely not even remember being out here, much to his chagrin.
My friend asked me to do a favor for him: visit a few people in Vivec and ask them for information on the Nerevarine and the Sixth House, a cult my friend believes is connected to the Nerevarine prophecy somehow. He gave me the names of three associates of his and a purse of Septims for my expenses...not that I needed them. He also mentioned I might consider joining House Redoran, but I have a lot on my plate right now, as the Imperials say.
I returned to the Mages Guild, taking a different bridge across the river and bought some healing scrolls from Galbedir. The hunt for the next Propylon stone is going to take me into the east, an area dominated by the Telvanni and I am not sure what services I can expect in that region. I bought everything healing-related that Galbedir had, just in case.
My other tasks are more mundane, though the list is long. Tomorrow I leave Balmora and likely will not be back for some time.