Se’rith finally walked into Winterhold amidst a heavy snowfall to find a ghost town. Several burnt out and destroyed buildings gathered at the foot of the entrance to the College of Magic. A small inn just inside the village entrance provided her with some warmth and shelter as she nibbled on something to eat. She felt rather dizzy and her left arm seemed to burn. That damned wolf must have infected her with something. Hopefully there would be someone in the college that could help her out. After a few minutes composure she talked to a few of the locals and to a former member of the College that had now set himself up in the inn, the Frozen Hearth. It seemed that Winterhold had suffered some great mishap but as of yet none of the locals had told her what. As such she bid the innkeeper farewell and headed to the College entrance.
A steep, snow covered ramp led to a stone bridge that covered the chasm between Winterhold and the College. Se’rith took her first step on the ramp with great trepidation and excitement. T His was it, what she had sought for and longed for on the long nights during the sea journey to Skyrim. Acceptance into a proper magic school and seek the tuition to nurture her blossoming magical power.
Awaiting her atop the ramp was a High Elf. Se’rith immediately stiffened, was she one of those bastard Thalmor. She started to call forth her magic but the High Elf soon proved to be a member of the College tasked with guarding its entrance. Her name was Faralda and she stated that the way forward was barred to anyone wishing harm on the College. In a formal, but cold tone she asked Se’rith what her intentions were to which she replied that she sought to investigate the mysteries of Aetherius and develop a knowledge of magic. Se’rith poured her soul into her answer and her passion for the Art clearly impressed Faralda who then asked for a demonstration of Se’rith’s mastery of the Art. The task was simple, to cast a healing spell on her. Though Se’rith had focussed her early training on destructive magic all mages were taught the most basic of cantrips and incantations of the other schools. She sought deep inside her and soon both her hands were bathed in golden, soothing light. As she touched Faralda she felt the positive energy from her magic flow into the elf who smiled and nodded her acceptance.
She beckoned Se’rith to follow as she turned away and walked across the wind and snow swept bridge. The waves of the Sea of Ghosts crashed mercilessly against the base of the cliffs far below but Se’rith did not notice as she kept her gaze on the walls of the college as they got closer. Faralda stopped on three occasions along the way casting a light spell into three braziers. As the light of her spell floated over the braziers a beam of pure blue energy shot into the grey skies and disappeared into the heavens. She stopped at the main gate and instructed Se’rith to seek out Mirabelle Ervine within the confines of the College. Without further word she turned back the way she came to resume her vigil atop the entrance ramp.
Taking a deep breath Se’rith took a step forward and was through the great arch that led into the courtyard of the College. A circular courtyard surrounded by arched cloisters acted as a foyer. Dominating this open space stood a fourth brazier, also spewing pure blue energy, and a massive statue of a robed mage caught in the act of spell weaving. Despite the awe she felt, Se’rith felt at home for the first time since leaving Morrowind all those weeks ago.
Half an hour later Se’rith’s journey was disrupted by a bone chilling howl coming from the mountain side to the West. Lifting up her cowled head she could barley make out the outline of a small wolf, silhouetted against the midday sun. The wolf seemed to be stalking a small mountain goat bleating its way up the slope but it soon turned its head towards Se’rith as it caught her scent on the wind. With a growl it leapt down towards the Dunmer sensing a heftier meal!
Se’rith unholstered her iron mace, a rather ungainly weapon she had managed to ‘borrow’ of the Master at Arms of the ship that bore her to Skyrim, and called forth the power of her magic into her left hand. The palm and fingers of said hand were soon crowned in forked and spitting lightning. Gathering her thoughts she mustered the words of power and directed a powerful bolt towards the hurtling wolf. It hit the animal squarely on the snout, the coarse smell of burning flesh and fur soon assaulted Se’rith’s nostrils. She was unable to get off a second blast as the beast was soon upon her, gnashing its teeth against her left arm. As she raised her arm to protect herself, she wheeled her body around to deliver a solid blow on the wolf’s head. She must have hit it hard as it stumbled for a brief second, seemingly shaking its head to clear its mind ready for action. That second was the only the Dumner needed. A second bolt of lighting left her fingers and this time scored a deep telling hit on the beast’s flank. It flew briefly through the air before landing with a whimper several meters away. Se’rith held her defensive stance for a few seconds but the only movement coming from her enemy were the wisps of smoke coming from the mortal wound in its side. She had her first victory in Skyrim and despite the strain on her resources, that last bolt had depleted her energy, she could feel the link to the magic weaken, she felt an immense sense of pride and achievement.
OT- the Young Adult Wolf that Se’rith saw off comes as part of the 490 new animal type and variants added by Nedius’s Real Wildlife. A highly recommendable mod that adds the animal variants as well as new food and ingredient types.
As she walked away from the dead animal the College of Winterhold came into full view as it sat majestically atop the cliffs of Hsaarik Head overlooking the Sea of Ghosts. She had almost arrived at her destination and what she hoped would be the start of a new life.
OT – I am using Calientes Body Mod for Se’rith as well as Killer Keos’s Skimpy Armour for CBBE mod. This adds some revealing female outfits for the CBBE mod. If anyone is wondering I am also using the Skyrim HD 2K textures.
Se’rith paused outside the mine she had just stumbled upon, just a bit further on down the road to Winterhold from the fort she was set upon. The position of the sun in the sky suggested it was more or less midday. As such she sat down on the stump of a tree trunk just to the side of the mine entrance and dug into her pack for an apple. As she sat on the stump and gazed out onto the Sea of Ghosts she was alerted to the sound of footsteps coming up the road. Her initial wariness soon subsided when she realised that the footsteps belonged to a very friendly Winterhold Guard. He certainly posed an imposing figure in his fur lined armour and a quiver of flawlessly fletched arrows on his back. After enquiring as to Se’rith’s motives for being at the mine entrance he bid he goodbye and told her the college was only about an hours walk further down the road. The Dumner reciprocated the farewell and was left with a much better second impression of the Nords after her experiences at Windhelm! She watched the guard march further up the road and noticed a sigil on the cloak he wore over his armour.
OT – The armour and weapons the Guard carries and wears come from Noodles’ Cloaks of Skyrim mod and the Lore Friendly Armour Pack mod by rahman530. The former adds a varied selections of cloaks across the world and each town’s guards also have their town sigil on the cloak. The latter adds a plethora of armours and weapons with a distinctive ‘Northern’ feel to them.
Se’rith sated her hunger with a small snack of bread and apple washed down with some clear, refreshing spring water. Taking one more moment to savour the view she gathered her belongings and once more set on the road to Winterhold.
OT – The screenie shows part of Imps More Complex Needs mod. It adds a massive amount of immersion to the game as it records and tracks the need to eat and drink throughout the game. Each type of food has its own nutritional value and each type of food and drink will have a different effect on the character’s body. It comes with nifty eating animations as well. Caters for blood intake for vampire characters as well!