Friday, May 6, 2016

Skyrim Day 027 - An Unexpected Promotion

11 Heartfire, 4E201
Winterhold College

Morthal holds few charms and its inn is not one of them. I spent a clammy, uncomfortable night in the swamp-town and woke up almost as tired as when I had tried to go to sleep. Despite Urag's book being nearby I had little energy as it was and was anticipating an eventful day. The book remains where ever it is, at least for now.
Staying on the road kept the walk safe, but boring. I stopped at the coastal city of Dawnstar to trade my crossbow for arrows, then walked back outside the city, encountered a pack of wolves, and missed all five shots I took with my bow. Money well spent.

I intended to leave the road and walk along the coast as I usually do and came upon an Impeial Legion camp just on the other side of a small hill which hosted a ruined temple of Dawnstar.
No one had much to say to me, but the soldier doubling as their blacksmith was willing to sell me some arrows, some of which I hope to shoot something with some day. The wilderness outside Dawnstar provided only goats and wolves and I soon sighted the semi-ruined College of Winterhold, far into the distance.
It did not seem to be in any more pieces than it was when I had left, a good sign. When I arrived in the almost completely ruined town of Winterhold a storm suddenly whipped up, leaving me almost blinded by the snow. Beams of lightning and balls of fire were erupting ahead of me on the college's walkway, but when I arrived the skirmish was already over. Tolfdir and two students were standing among piles of the strange globe things I fought the other day.

They were stuck, the way back to the College was blocked by a storm of magical energy caused by whatever Arcano was attempting to do. Tolfdir urged me to waste no time in using the staff, but I had no idea how to actually use it. I tried pointing it at the whirling maelstrom in front of me and with a loud zapping sound it abruptly disappeared.
The students stayed behind to guard against any more floating globe things leaving Tolfdir and I to charge inside. During our short jog I learned that Mirabelle had also been killed, having stayed behind to ensure everyone else escaped. With her death Tolfdir became the leader of the College, if not the Arch-Mage, but it  was clearly something he did not want.

Dagger in one hand, staff in the other, I pushed the gates open and we stepped inside the Hall of Elements where Arcano was still siphoning power from the Eye.
Tolfdir shouted at me to use the staff on the Eye as he attempted to distract Arcano with his spells. He ran towards the Thalmor, his spells uselessly parting themselves around Arcano, while I approached the Eye, one of my own on it and the other on Arcano.

Pointing the staff at the Eye caused a beam of energy to lazily form between the two and so long as I kept the staff close enough this energy seemed to "open" the Eye, revealing blinding blue light within. The Eye continued to open and Tolfdir continued to exhaust himself when suddenly there was a flash of light from within the Eye. Instinctively I dropped the staff and shielded my eyes and when my vision returned to normal Tolfdir was unconscious and Arcano had moved to the rear of the Hall, cursing as he battled the magical globe things.

Bright balls of light were being flung from the Eye all over the room, forming the hostile globes as soon as they struck a surface. I scrambled around the globes to recover the staff and, on a hunch, held it up to the Eye again. This time it slowly closed, more energy being drawn from the staff. Once it was closed Arcano's cursing changed from sounding 'mildly annoyed' to 'greatly alarmed'.

Whatever occurred between the staff and the Eye had disconnected Arcano from his source of new-found power. The globes were doing their best to batter him into submission, but they were not a great threat. He screamed at me to help him, which remains confusing even now, so I walked up behind him and buried my dagger into his back, helping him as he did Savos and Mirabelle.

It was over. I woke Tolfdir and helped him to his feet. He glanced at the Thalmor's body, but said nothing. We both stared at the docile-looking Eye of Magnus for a few moments, then he sighed and admitted he had no idea what we should do with it. As if on cue, a mage of the Psijic Order suddenly teleported in and congratulated us as two of his Order also arrived. He stated that recent events proved we were not ready to harness its power, a statement I certainly could agree with. Having said that, the three Psijic mages faced the Eye, rasied the hands, and disappeared, bringing the Eye with them.
What followed was a very awkward conversation. Tolfidr laughed nervously and said he wondered what the College would do without the Arch-Mage and his second-in-command. He continued on without letting me speak, saying that he was too old and too tired to assume responsibility and the other teachers were not going to be willing either. Forging ahead, he babbled that I had obviously proven myself to be strong, resourceful, and skilled in magic, though I am not sure where the last part came from.

With that I was named Arch-Mage of the College of Winterhold...after being a student for less than a week. But I gather that is how organizations in Skyrim work: the strongest dies, the next strongest assumes the mantle. In my case this was literal: two sets of 'official' wardrobe was waiting for me in the Arch-Mage's Quarters, though I will have to send them away to be modified for Khajiit use.
Having been at the College for only five days I barely knew the other students and none of the surviving instructors, save for Tolfdir. I figured I could do worse on my first day as Arch-Mage than to walk around and talk with everyone.

Arniel Gane, the Breton I tried to assist in Saarthal. While not a mage, he rents space at the College to perform his research in and has hit a bit of a problem with resources. In an effort to solve this he requested that I bring him some Dwemer artifacts, specifically ten cogwheels from their ancient machines. I assured him that if I ever found myself in an Dwemer ruin again I would bring him his wheels. To what end, I neither know or care.

The College's sole Nordic student, Osmund, had a tale to tell me. He had traded his family's amulet to Enthir, a Bosmer also renting space at the College. Apparently Enthir has a reputation for "finding" items for a small fee, in other words: fencing stolen goods to the students. The trade of the amulet was for scrolls and rare books, but Osmund was now regretting the transaction, the amulet being the only link he had left to his family. My assistance was requested. Had Savos dealt with things like this? I suspect not.

Enthir pretended to be a slippery sort of fellow, but he sounded a bit unsure of himself in front of the new Arch-Mage. When confronted with Osmund's request he stammered that he had misplaced the amulet, but that if I were to retrieve a poor trade of his own he was sure to have found it when I returned. You could almost admire the arrogance. His task would at least take me out of the College, so I agreed, much to his relief.

Brelyna Maryon of House Telvanni also had a request to make of me: be her test subject for a variety of spells she had researched. I agreed, hoping that she would not be so foolish as to cast destructive magic inside the student dormitory. I am not sure what she was trying to do, but her spell turned my vision blurry and rather green. This was noticeable in some way and she profusely apologized, assuring me that a night's rest would dispel the effect.
J'zargo descended from the great height of his pride to admit a need for assistance as well. Much like Brelyna he had been researching new spells, but needed someone else to see if they worked correctly. Fortunately, he only needed someone to use the three scrolls he prepared on the undead, which he claimed the spells were specifically designed to destroy. I agreed to his task as well, guessing that I could find some undead while on my way to collect Arniel's cogwheels.

By then my green eyesight was beginning to give me a headache and I had a list of things to do that was longer than my arm, so I somewhat hesitantly settled down in the Arch-Mages's quarters, well aware I was sleeping in the bed of a man whose body was presently floating out to the sea. I have slept in worse places, but I was not prepared to be waking up tomorrow as the leader of a College I barely know.

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