It's been… what, two months now?
Well, I don't know, time doesn't mean much to me anymore. Just put one day in front the other. Or was it one foot in front of the other? I don't know that either. It doesn't even matter, anyway.
What's for dinner tonight? I'm not even hungry; I just eat because there's nothing else to do.
"Virani, are you listening?"
I'm trying not to.
"Of course I'm listening. What could possibly be more interesting than the study of magic I'll never master?"
He's giving me that look again. That 'if you hadn't helped me in that evil temple I'd probably hit you' kind of look.
"With a negative attitude like that, no, you will never master Restoration magic." He's running his stupid hand through his stupid head of strangely well groomed hair. "Or even cast a basic healing spell, in your case."
"I don't need to heal myself if I'm just going to kill them before they get close. Restoration isn't even a valid school of magic!" I'm twisting my head around expecting Colette to jump out of the river next to us and full-heartedly explain why restoration is a valid school of magic, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise!
No such luck.
What was I talking about, anyway?
Oh, yes, two months.
Two months travelling with this priest Erandur and he hasn't lost his patience and left, or tried to kill me, or tried to kill himself, or discovered any particularly dark secrets about a certain person that may make him attempt all three of the aforementioned actions at once.
Not that that certain person is me, of course. My only dark secret is that I've been banned from every major inn in Cyrodiil.
"It is valid, so stop using it as an excuse for your own incompetence." If he runs his hand through his admittedly nice locks one more time I'm going to tear them out and stick them to my face. "Now clear your mind and lift your hands again."
Clear your mind. That's a vague and impossible to follow instruction. I can see why this guy took the holy atoner route and not the path of a teacher.
"Clear your mind? How do you even do that? I'm not sure what teacher you had but trying to think about not thinking about things just makes me think more. Is that not a problem for you at all? Thinking too much?"
Oh, now he's giving the 'you've just triggered off a terrible memory of my time with a deluded cult of deluded cultists' look. Gods, I hate that look more than anything.
I think I'll just lift my hands up and humour the poor guy.
He snaps back to Tamriel.
"Yes, good, like that. If you can't clear your head try to think of good memories. Good dreams, even."
"Most of my good memories and dreams involve me with no pants on but I can give it a go…"
Erandur's completing ignoring my stupid comment and gives an exasperated sigh instead. The kind of sigh that suggest he's had years upon years of thoughtful reflection. Yep, maybe it will take three months to push him over the edge instead of two.
Is there such thing as a two month anniversary?
Well, no. Anniversary implies we're married. As in, bound in matrimony. I am not married to this priest with the well groomed hair and Azura's ass is he running his hand through it again?
Now all my good memories involve him fiddling with his tresses somewhere in the background when he really shouldn't be there. I don't want to see Erandur in my fondest childhood memories. Get out, Erandur.
"For Mara's sake, Virani!"
"What? What is it?" I zoned out again. Flames.
He just puts his head in his hands and rubs his temples. That usually means it's the end of the day's session.
"I'll go set up a fire."
And up he gets, gracefully and passive-aggressively stomping into the forest.
He usually gives empty encouragement or sympathies after one of our failed lessons, but he hasn't. And that means he's having a bad day.
Which means Vaermina was giving him nightmares last night.
Another thing about the priest; he pretends that Mara's unconditional love protects him from the Daedra's whims but considering I don't really sleep I've seen him wake up sweating and on one night sob uncontrollably.
I should probably add that one to my list of things that make me a horrible elf- not knowing how to deal with someone crying so you've just left them alone in the vain hope they'll deal with it themselves.
The sod's got enough pain in his life; sometimes I wish I could tell him he's wasting his time. More than that, I wish I could tell him why he's wasting his time.
You know, my other, probably more important dark secret that doesn't involve the inns in Cyrodiil.
It's hard to harness the forces of life when you're technically dead.
I try not to think about it but it's quite difficult not to when you've been travelling for a few days without… feeding, and your friends start to look like featureless walking blood bags.
Of course, I haven't told him this because the last time somebody found out my house was burned down and I was chased into the snow bear's asshole that is Skryim.
Being a vampire doesn't really make for a good basis of trust. But so far we're doing just fine, which is weird. I may be a bit soft in the head but for some reason he's stuck around.
"Would you like me to cook?"
Also failed to mention is that among many other talents, Erandur has the innate ability to appear seemingly out of nowhere.
"By the Eight! How are you there? How? What?"
"Should I cook tonight?" He smiles a little and my not-beating heart melts "I'm sure we're both getting tired of your badly burnt leek soup."
"Wh- Yeah. Yeah, you go and cook whatever you want, Erandur. Whatever you want."
It never takes him long to calm down. Only takes one fire for him to forgive me for pretty much ignoring him all day.
Another virtue he has that makes deceiving the man (or mer, whatever) even harder. If he ever found out I'm not sure what he'd… well, I'd say I was feeling concern for something other than myself but it might ruin my reputation as a figurehead of apathy.
Two months really isn't that long.
Oh, wonderful. Food that doesn't actually do anything for me and doesn't actually taste of anything. Three cheers for being dead.
We're sitting round the fire now and it takes every fibre of my being not to blurt out 'would you be offended if I said I wanted to drink your blood?'
Luckily, I haven't yet, and we're sitting in comfortable silence.
"Virani, we should continue with the Restoration lessons tomorrow. Maybe theory instead of practical methods?"
One day I anticipate him to tell me that I'm a hopeless case and that actually I should exile myself from the College of Winterhold for the good of Tolfdir's sanity. Not today, though. Today he's pretty set on helping me even though I know he can't.
"Yeah… theory. My favourite."
It's been two months and I can't tell him that it just won't work. Two years, two decades from now and I still won't be able to tell him what I am.
You know, I may already be dead but for some reason watching him is killing me.