Skyrim: A New Life

Deeper into the ruins she went. Past corridors so choked up with cobwebs she needed to call up her magical flames to burn a way through, and into chambers with ancient Nordic engravings on the walls. All the time harassed by the living dead.

Ancient Nordic Engravings

 

She also came across strange runes carved on the floor. They turned out to be traps of a magical nature. Twice she was hurtled through the air as he feet made the lightest of contact against these deadly sigils on  he floor.

Ultimately she came upon a large, ornate iron door. Strange gurgling sounds came from the other side and Tolfdir’s appearance out of thin air did not help at all as she nearly jumped out of her dark skin. He said a magic dampener had prevented him from joining her earlier but now that they had bee reunited they needed to press on as he could sense a source of immense power on the other side of the door. Se’rtih pushed the door open and unlike all the other doors did not squeal on rusty hinges. The sight that befell their eyes was wondrous and Se’rith doubted she had ever seen anything like it. A large rune covered green orb was spinning in mid air. Surrounding it was some kind of force shield. It was both beautiful and intriguing at the same time. It was only a malevolant voice that sounded like the wind blowing through a grave that brought them out of their stupor. ‘So you have arrived at last,’ it said menacingly.

At the sound of the voice the orb rose higher and spun more ferociously. The clinking of mail and the drawing of steel was also heard from below followed by a massive bellow. Se’rith and Tolfdir advanced cautiously and peering over the ledge they caught sight of a revenant, the largest Draugr yet seen inside Saarthal. A majestic horned helm adorned its head while it wielded a massive double handed axe in its clawed hands. With a howl it bounded up the stairs and shrugged off Se’rith lighting bolt that simply was absorbed by the creature. Its form shimmering slightly as the magical energy passed through it leaving unharmed.

The creature proved impervious to almost all type of magic, though the cold hard iron of Se’rith’s mace did cause it to stop with every blow. The revenant wasn’t without magic of its own as it froze Se’rith with a powerfully, cold blast of eldritch magic. She felt her limbs slow and the mace suddenly became very heavy. The next thing she heard was ice shattering and then she felt herself flying through the air as one of the axe’s beards cut painfully into her side. She could feel her robes moisten as blood poured freely from the wound. The undead creature approached sure of its victory but it was Tolfdir that saved the day. Employing a powerful fire spell he erected a wall of living flame for a few seconds. Seconds that he used to channel a massive amount of healing energy into his apprentice. Se’rith felt the warmth return and the strength once again flow through her limbs. She stood up gingerly and hefted her mace. Her red eyes seemed to shine with an inner fury as she charged the monster in a fit of uncontrollable rage.  Her mace met the creature at the same time as three fire bolts that he left Tolfdir’s hand. As the creature weakened the rotating orb seemed to spin slower and lose some height. The revenant dropped down to one knee and Se’rith took her chance. Gathering all her strength she grabbed the mace with both hands, electrical  energy from her charged spell shrouding the head. With all her might she buried one of the spikes deep into the creatures head that virtually disintegrated as the orb behind her stopped spin and hung motionless a mere centimetre above the floor. The revenant crashed to the ground dropping its massive axe with a clang. Se’rith went to her knees also dropping her weapon and she almost fainted from the effort.

Tolfdir once again channelled healing energy into her battered body and soon enough her head cleared and she could stand up. Her gaze went to the orb that had so captivated them on entry. ‘What in Oblivion is that Tolfdir?’ she asked.

Skyrim: A New Life

She found Arniel hunched over a battered wooden table in an alcove outside a four roomed chamber. She was instructed to find four magical artefacts that the scryers had detected in this chamber. Arniel had no idea what they were or what they did but required them promptly. He said all this without lifting his head from a ledger in which he was inscribing  the archaeological finds. Se’rith thus moved into the chamber and after some searhcing discovered three small golden rings that emitted some dim aura of restoration magic and a glowing amulet that rested in a niche on a wall that bore some inscriptions. As her fingers closed around the amulet she was startled by a loud rumbling and the squeaking of metal. She turned around swiftly and barring the passage from whence she had come where several metal bars that had come through several holes on the passage floor. On the other side a very worried Tolfdir ran towards the bars. Se’rith was trapped.

Se’rith was rather calm, a fact that surprised her no end. Her logic told her that the amulet must have something to do with it. It radiated a powerful magical aura and after some consultation with Tolfdir she placed it around her neck. Her vision immediately clouded over for an instant and she became somewhat unsteady on her feet. She could her Tolfdir’s worried shouts as if in a haze. Gradually here vision returned and her attention was immediately focused on the wall where she had found the amulet. It shimmered with energy making it look somewhat insubstantial. Though she couldn’t see through it she sensed a passage on the other side. Calling forth her lightning bolt she hurled a lance of electrical energy at the shimmering wall. It virtually disintegrated upon contact. Simultaneously the bars retracted into their holes with a whoosh of air.

OT- I captured this screenie to highlight a cool little mod called Better Quest Objectives by whickus. In the absence of an Oblivion style journal this is a great little mod as it enhances the quest descriptors and adds more detail to the rather bland vanilla ones.

Dank, stale air flooded from the tunnel that had instantly perked Tolfdir’s interest. He ambled past Se’rith, all concern for her evaporating with this new discovery, and headed into the tunnel. Se’rith followed cautiously. If this tunnel had been magically sealed it must have been for a very good reason. She adopted what she thought was an adequate combat stance and followed her mentor in. A winding corridor led gradually downhill into a small chamber that had a small sepulchre in the centre and several wall mounted coffins around it. This is when Se’rith experienced the most frightening moment of her life until then. As Tolfdir examined the coffins more closely a flicker of moment at the edge of her retina caught her attention. Reality distorted and a ghostly incandescent figure appeared before her.

The apparition spoke of judgement and of innocence. It also spoke of the Psijic Order, an order that according to Tolfdir had disappeared over a century along with their base on the Island of Artaeus. What worried Se’rith more was the fact that Tolfdir had not seen or heard anything. His musings were abruptly disturbed by a loud roar and the sounds of coffin lids being popped. Both mages turned around with Tolfdir instructing Se’rith to defend herself. Confronting them were two living nightmares. Dessicated bodies with strands of long, dead hair hanging from their heads. Cruel, pale fires burned in their eye sockets as the Nord dead walked once again. They were both armed with ancient longswords that still held a keen edge. Calling force his magic, Tolfdir engulfed one in flame while Se’rith let lose her lightning once again. The smell of scorched dead flesh permeated through the air. Though slow and ponderous both Draugr, as Se’rith was later to learn they were called, were tough and took an inordinate amount of damage before falling lifeless to the floor. Se’rith was visibly shaken and the Break Bone Fever running through her veins was making her weak. Tolfdir insisted however that they press on as another passage had been revealed by one of the detached coffins. This time however he led and his body was enshrouded by some sort of ethereal armour.

OT – The ornagy/yellow draugr you see in the screenie comes with the Skyrim Monster Mod by Dogtown1 that adds a massive amount of new creatures and enemies. Highly recommended.

Se'rith blasts the undead as she delves deeper into Saarthal.

Skyrim: A New Life

Se’rith awoke and satiated her hunger by breaking fast with some bread and water. She then went on a fruitless search for an alchemist to aid her with the Bone Break Fever she had contracted. Mindful of the meeting with Tolfdir she made up her mind to head to Saarthal before she incurred the wrath of her new mentor. She left the College and took a winding path that rose into the hills above Winterhold. The wind and the snow whistled past her ears as she battled against the elements. Visibility was greatly reduced as the wind whipped the snow into a maelstrom. Such was the lack of visibility that Se’rith did not see the first wolf that attacked her until she heard the growling and gnashing of teeth. The shaggy beast was upon her and she learnt that the Lesser Ward spell she had learnt was no good against physical attack. She quickly called forth her Sparks spell and soon enough the wolf was whimpering away, its scorched flank charred and bloody. It returned however with two more, a large black beast and a smaller brown one. This time, however, she was ready and dispatched all three beasts with well delivered blasts of lighting. Continuing with her journey she stumbled upon the source of so many wolves. A majestic elk with large antlers lay bloodied and torn a little off the path. No doubt the pack had brought the graceful creature down and had started to feast on it. Se’rith decided there and then she couldn’t hate anything more than wolves!

The path to Saarthal

 

Se’rith arrived at Saarthal shortly after. It was a huge dig site. Scaffolding and rope bridges took her down to the entrance where Tolfdir and Brelyne awaited her. The door to Saarthal had an evil look to it. It was made of black stone and seemed to  be covered in serpentine designs and sigils. Tolfdir greeted her and instructed her to follow him into the ruin but warned her to be alert and to be mindful of where she stepped.

Once inside Se’rith’s breath was taken away. Saarthal was much larger inside than anyone outside could have guessed. Its ceiling was high and lost in the darkness, while flying buttresses held up stone archways that connected several columns with curved wooden walkways that linked the different levels. More wooden scaffolding and rope bridges attested to the presence of the College’s archeaologists. Broken pottery and rotting cloth could be seen amid the flickering torchlight. Tolfdir was telling the apprentices, Omund and J’zargo were already inside, about how Saarthal is one of the earliest Nord settlements to have been discovered and its presence had caused much excitement in the College. He went on to say that their task was to investigate the presence of magical seals on any tombs that may be discovered. He was also clear in his warning that they shouldn’t delve to deeply into the ruins as one cannot be to sure what can de discovered in these dark places.

Saarthal

Tolfdir instructed Se’rith to follow the main passage to find Arniel Gane whose task it was to catalogue any and all magical items found in the dig site. Before she left however Tolfdir handed Se’rith a spelltome. He told her to read it and comitt the spell to memory as it would help her bring light to the dark corners of Saarthal. She took a moment to thank her mentor and to read the tome. It contained the words of power for a very simple spell from the school of Alteration called Candlelight. She closed her eyes as the words of the spell once again disappeared into wispy smoke as she read them. She then tried the spell for the first time and was suddenly rewarded with a pale blue, but bright light hovering slightly above her head. Its light chased away the shadows to reveal every nook and cranny in the ruin, well at least the ones in the range of the spell. Se’rith was mighty proud of herself. She had been a member of the college for one day and had already learnt two new spells. She strode confidently on to find Arniel.

 

Skyrim: A New Life

Se’rith was in awe as she walked around the College getting to grips with her new home. On the other side of the Hall of Elements she bumped into the Archmage himself. Apologising clumsily, she was happy to note that the Archmage was a fellow Dunmer and was willing to spend some time chatting to the new novice. He told Se’rith of the disaster that afflicted the city of Winterhold, the Great Collapse as it was known. A natural event that some believe was a by product of the eruption of Red Mountain in Morrowind. The Archmage told her how massive waves had crashed against the cliffs battering the city. Entire districts were washed away and what remained once the storms subsided was a mere shell of what once was. Locals remained very suspicious of the College as it was left largely unscathed by the battering making the already magic phobic Nords even more wary of magic users. Indeed local lore lay the blame at the feet of the wizards of the college.

On the second floor of the Hall of Elements Se’rith found the Arcaneum or the College’s library. She revelled in the smell of candle smoke and musty books and was rather surprised to find an orc, who introduced himself as Urag-Go-Shub, as librarian. Though in true orc fashion threatened violence if his books were not cared for. Yet for all his gruffness he proved to be an amiable chatter and pointed out that Se’rith looked to be showing the symptoms of Bone Break Fever, which may explain why she was always feeling so damned tired! That wolf had a lot to answer for! Urag also provided her with a small note as he was always interested in acquiring more books for the Arcaneum., especially rare or lost titles. He had heard of rumours of one particular title in a ruin somewhere but claimed his adventuring days were over and it was time for a younger mage to carry on. Though Se’rith had not even agreed to search for the book she took the note anyway not wanting to fall foul of the orc!

The Arcaneum, College of Winterhold.

She wandered the halls of the Arcaneum picking up a book here and there but she settled on two before she sat down. Her first read was the Explorers Guide to Skyrim. A very informative book that instantly perked her interest with mention of the Guardian Stones to the north of a place called Helgen. She made a mental note of asking Mirabelle or Tolfdir to provide her with a map of Skyrim at the next possible chance. She devoured the book and also delved into her second choice, The Holds of Skyrim (interestingly an edition specifically for the officers in the Imperial Legion). Skyrim had nine holds of differing size. She noted that Solitude in the Haafingar Hold was the seat of Imperial power whereas Windhelm seemed to be the seat of power of the Stormcloaks, the Nord element rebelling against the Empire. Having already been at the city she was in no hurry to go back as a Dunmer or a loyal citizen of the Empire.

Having lost herself in her reading she was surprised to find the Arcaneum deathly quiet. Moving down into the Hall of Elements she also found that empty and quiet. Leaving the main building she realised why. Night had fallen and she had not even noticed so engrossed was she in her reading. She made her way to her quarters in the Hall of Attainment and went to bed content. On the morrow she would seek out an alchemist in the College and see what she could do about her affliction and then head out to Saarthal.

 

Manchester United 4 Everton 4

Match corresponding to the Premier League and played at Old Trafford.

What a crazy match. United are guilty of very sloppy and very careless defending. A match during which they led by two goals twice and a match that now gives Manchester City the necessary motivation to go and beat Wolves and then United at the Etihad to be in the best position to win the title. United started very cagily, maybe believing in their record at Old Trafford versus Everton. The only keeper to touch the ball in the first 10 minutes was De Gea, the only team to have shots on goal in the first ten minutes were Everton. As such it was with no surprise that Nikola Jelovic scored an almost impossible header to give Everton the lead. A high cross eluded defence and keeper and from the most acute of angles Jelavic, who was later to get Everton’s third, looped the ball over De Gea into the net. This seemed to spark United into life and the football began to flow and roll. Valencia and Nani took over the wings and it was a cross from the left that saw Rooney head in the equaliser. At half time United were ascendant and Danny Welbeck’s sublime finish early in the second seemed to signal the beginning of the end. He sold Hiteinga a dummy and sweetly curved in a shot past the diving Howard. Top class finish that was accentuated by Nani’s close range lob making it 3-1. It seemed job done and City’s hopes dashed. Yet credit to Everton for plugging away without cease. Rafael and both central defenders however then entered brain fart mode. Fellaini was allowed a clear, though a very high quality, volley amidst four United defenders surrounding him. De Gea stood no chance. Everton hope sprang eternal, only to be dashed by a great one-two in the Everton area that left Rooney to blast the ball into the back of the net. 4-2 order restored. But this Everton side does not give up. Another defensive error let them in again and Jelavic pounced to make it 4-3. Everton’s fourth was product of good play down United’s right and a well worked move allowed Pienaar to worm his way between Ferdinand and Rafael to leave De Gea unable to make a save from a close range shot. United surged forward again realising the importance of the win today. Evra his the post with a header and Tim Howard pulled off a last ditch save against a Rio Ferdinand shot. Yet to no avail. 4-4, unthinkable before kick off or even during the match. What price Wolves getting something out of their game this afternoon?

Manchester United Team

1   David De Gea

3   Patrice Evra

5   Rio Ferdinand

6   Johnny Evans

21 Rafael Da Silva

17 Nani (Goal)

22 Paul Scholes

16 Michael Carrick

25 Antonio Valencia

10 Wayne Rooney (2 Goals)

19 Danny Welbeck (Goal)

SUBSTITUTES

Phil Jones on for Paul Scholes

Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez on for Antonio Valencia

 

Skyrim: A New Life

As the awe of finally being in the College wore off Se’rith noticed a human female in earnest conversation with a High Elf in Thalmor robes. Had those bastards got their claws even into the College itself? As she approached she heard the female tell the elf in no uncertain terms that the College would not bend knee like the Empire had been forced to do. With a huff and a gruff nod the Thalmor walked away and into the main building. Spotting Se’rith the human turned and introduced herself as Mirabelle Ervine, the one individual Faralda asked her to seek out. Se’rith gathered her wits about her and introduced herself to Mirabelle. She was pleased to know that Se’rith sought entry into the College and her timing could not have been better as a certain Tolfdir was lecturing the latest batch of apprentices. Se’rith was instructed to join said group but not before a brief tour. Mirabelle also handed Se’rith more suitable garments to the ones she was currently wearing. As she touched the new garments she could feel the inherent magic enchanted into them. Her heart soared.

Mirabelle then beckoned Se’rith to follow her to the Apprentice’s Quarters called The Hall of Attainment. She continued by saying that all Apprentices lived together and that several rules needed to be observed. Silence was to be kept at all times as most apprentices were engaged in study or in magical experimentations of some sort. Se’rith was taken into a sparesely decorated, but warm room and instructed by Mirabelle that these would be her quarters and that she would share the living space with the other initiates. Se’rith smiled and nodded in understanding. The bed looked comfortable and there was a small desk for her to carry out her studies. Several instruments that would be of help in magical research and study were also dotted around the room. Mirabelle then left the Hall of Attainment and told the Dunmer to head into the main building were Tolfdir and other apprentices awaited.

Se'rith's quarters in the Hall of Attainment

 

Tolfdir proved to be an old man and was lecturing a gathered group of apprentices about the proper use of magic and the responsibility one had when weaving such power. The gathered apprentices seemed impatient to show Tolfdir what they were capable of but Se’rith could not help but agree with the old man. Magic needed to be harnessed and controlled and one should not get lost in the promise of power. There was another Dunmer in the group, a female named Brelyne, as well as a male Khajit called J’zargo and a large Nord male called Onmund.

They pressed Tolfdir for a more active lesson and with some reluctance he conceded. He lectured on the safety and how a mage must first look to protect himself before engaging in attack. His gaze swept around the group until his eyes fell on Se’rith. ‘You are going to help me young one,’ he said. ‘Do you know any ward spells?’ Se’rith did not know any ward spells but Tolfdir reassured her and told her not to worry and to ignore the sniggers coming from the others. Basic ward spells are easy to learn and as such Tolfdir handed over a small scroll with the necessary words of power for the Lesser Ward spell. As Se’rith read the words the ink faded in wisps of smoke as she committed the words to memory and there in her brain resided a new spell. One that would provide a small shield against weak elemental spells. With a gesture Tolfdir indicated that Se’rith was to cast the Ward. She closed her eyes and fell into herself, the path to the new spell was a new one as it was of a new school different to the destruction spells she was more familiar with. Uttering the words of power a shimmering force field erupted from her left hand to cover the front of her body akin to how a warrior holds his shield. Tolfdir nodded his approval and without warning launched a small wave of fire. Se’rith reacted instantly and took a step back but was amazed and pleasantly surprised to see the magical fire burst harmlessly against her ward! Tolfdir clapped and praised the dark elf, her self esteem rising after the initial shame of not knowing the spell.

Tolfdir then announced that as apprentices they would serve the College by assisting in  the exploration and recording of an ancient Nord ruin called Saarthal. He indicated that they were to meet there in a few hours and Se’rith hoped to use that time to explore the College somewhat and to see if someone could help with her affliction. Casting that ward should not have worn her out so much.