Skyrim: A New Life

Se’rith was back on the road. She took the North Road out of Riverwood and went on past Whiterun, the tundra seemed to go on forever and a multitude of travellers and peddlers travelled to and from Whiterun, obviously a trade hub for the Hold. Se’rith was amazed at the diversity of insect life. Colourful butterflies fluttered peacefully along the sides of the round, some even hovering curiously near the dark elf. She did not have the heart to pluck them out of the air knowing full the alchemical properties of many of their wings.

OT-diversity in bud and insect life comes from 83Willows 101 Bugs by 83Willow.

The road back to The Pale was uneventful and soon enough Se’rith was back in the Nightgate Inn enjoying a spot of lunch, some cooked beef washed down with an ale and finished off with a delicious sweet roll. As was expected the weather was foul. Snow fell endlessly and the wind howled. Yet she went on until nearing Winterhold. She was suddenly set upon just as the South Road dips into the village. An argonian materialised out thin air and drove a short sword into her side. It dug in painfully and the wound begun to sting instantly, poison! Se’rith quickly gathered her wits  and as she pushed the would be assassin back with a blast of lightning, she pulled at a scroll on her belt. She had acquired a brace of Fireball scrolls from a wandering wizard staying at the Whiterun Stables and one of them saved her life as she blasted the super heated ball of magical fire at the feet of the argonian. As she inspected the still smouldering body she saw a tattoo of a hand on the argonian’s left palm. Her weapons were of exquisite quality and her blade was still coated with some residue of the poison Se’rith seemed to have resisted. Most worrying of all was small note she found folded and ticked into the assassin’s pouch. It seemed the Dark Brotherhood, the Assassin’s Guild was after her for some reason or other. Se’rith suddenly felt very scared!

She took the road back to the College with greater haste and did not feel safe until she felt its stone walls around her. She went to her room in the Hall of Attainement and changed out of her travelling clothes, after bathing. The road had been long and tiresome but she was not afforded the luxury of rest as a feline voice was suddenly asking her if his scrolls worked. J’zargo was somewhat shocked to hear Se’rith’s rpeorts. Yes they did work destroying the undead that got anywhere near the shrouding flames but the damage to the caster left them weak and vulnerable. His whiskers seemed to droop at this and for the first time since meeting him Se’rith noticed him somewhat subdued. She told him to keep working at it as the spell was clearly potent, it just needed tweaking. At this the khajit perked up and thanked the Dunmer. He proclaimed he was in her debt and if she needed any assistance J’zargo would be happy to provide it. With that he gave her a curt bow and left her to rest.

Once rested, she went into the Hall of Elements and found Sergius. She handed Ahlam’s necklace over and passed on the Redguard’s message. The somewhat dour Sergius was quite pleased however and passed over a small pouch holding a not so insignificant amount of gold for her troubles. She knew exactly what she’d be doing with that. A travelling mage, calling himself and ambassador of the Manatis was staying in the College peddling a number of new and very rare spells. Serguis’s gold would go to purchasing one of these spells. Though the tome was difficult to master, Se’rith was able to commit it to memory.

OT-Spells courtesy of Phendrix’s Magic Evolved mod (Highly recommended if you are going to play mage).

Se’rith had one more matter of business to deal with, dragons! She sought out Mirabelle and showed her the adventurers journal she had found when she was assaulted at the Guardian Stones. She also showed her a very peculiar stone she had found in an ancient barrow she was investigating in the mountains above Riverwood. Mirabelle did not laugh as Se’rith expected but instead advised her not to show this to anyone else and to seek out Farengar Secret Fire, a former College student and widely recognised as Skyrim’s authority on dragon lore. As luck would have it, or unluck, he was now in the employ of the Jarl of Whiterun as court wizard. Mirabelle told her she had found a dragon stone, something of which she knew very little about. Farengar would be in a much better position to tell her more. Though she laughed off Se’rith’s question about the existence of dragons there was something in her countenance that sent a shiver down the Dunmer’s spine.

Skyrim: A New Life

The Guardian Stones stood in a very pitcutresque location near the quait village of Riverwood that was to the south of Whiterun. Covered in vines and extremely weathered, the stones had constellations carved into them and had a hole in the top section. Se’rith approached them reverently fully aware of their significance.

Closing her eyes and whispering a prayer to the Nine, she placed her hand on the stone with the carved constellation know as the mage. The stone began to shimmer and a radiate green light. The circular hole began to crackle with lightning and without warning a straight column of green light shot up into the sky. It lasted a mere moment and Se’rith could detect no immediate change. The drawing of steel and a deranged shout behind her however did make her change as pain flared across her back as sharp steel cut through linen and robe to score deeply in her back.

Some insane woman, she was even frothing at the mouth, was slashing wildly at her with a dagger. She was clearly not in control of her own senses. Se’rith tried to back away but when the crazy woman opened a second wound on her left forearm instinct took over and soon enough another smoking corpse was at Se’rith’s feet. During the fight a journal had fallen out of the woman’s backpack and as Se’rith recovered from the fight she read it as she rested her back on the Mage Stone.

A dragon! This woman must have been insane indeed!

OT-I think this is Arthmoor’s Live another Life’s way of getting the main quest started. The mod allows for alternative starts to the game without having to go through Helgen.

Skyrim: A New Life

The difference between The Pale and the lowlands of Whiterun Hold could be no different. Snowy hills and rocky outcrops gave way to rugged lowlands interspersed with tufts of hardy grass. Tall pine trees gave way to bushy, wider trees. Green replacing white but they both shared the ruggedness Skyrim was renowned for.

Whiterun Hold

The weather, however was not an improvement. Snow flurries had given way to dark, overcast skies and a constant rainfall that made her robes sodden and uncomfortable to move in. The road from The Pale led into a deep, wide valley dominated by a massive mountain peak. High Hrothgar, The Throat of the World towered imperiously over Skyrim. In the mid distance Se’rith saw an unmistakably Nord palace atop a large hill. This must have been the Dragonreach she had heard about at the College. Her destination of Whiterun was close indeed.

As she moved towards the city she saw a man garbed in armour approached her and warned her of bandits on the road. Ha inquired as to her destination and when she replied she was heading to Whiterun he informed her that events in some place called Helgen had raised the level of alert and security in the city. Strangers and new arrivals were not being regarded kindly. Not that Se’rith hadn’t seen that side of the Nords yet! The guard also recommended a place called the Bannered Mare should she be wanting to stay long.

OT-I am using the Various Guard Replacers mod by JulianP that varies all the guard outfits in all of Skyrim’s cities. Adds a lot of chrome but also immersion as it gives each city a distinctive look.

Whiterun proved to be a decently sized city, much bigger than Winterhold. Se’rith inquired about the location of the woman Ahlam and she directed to a small tavern called The Drunken Huntsman. There a Redguard woman entrusted her with a gold necklace. Se’rith was to tell Sergius of the precise enchantment she required. Se’rith assured the woman that all would be well. She spent the morning exploring Whiterun and dabbled in some alchemy by concocting a number of potions in a shop owned by a cranky Imperial. She also ascended to the Dragonreach and once again Skyrim’s stark and rugged beauty took her breath away. Not only was the building itself of masterful quality but the view from its steps was something to behold.

Having had her fill of Whiterun she loaded up on rations and water skins for the journey back home. Being the pious sort she inquired about where she could worship locally and she was directed to the Hall of the Dead where the local priest had a shrine to Araky. There she was surprised to find the priest in a high state of agitation. He had lost his Holy Symbol somewhere in the catacombs but dared not enter as her feared the dead had awakened with out the proper care of Arkay. This made Se’rith think of the deal she had made with J’zargo and indeed his scrolls were still tucked into her belt. A good opportunity here to kill two cliffracers with one stone. Help the priest and please the divines and see if J’zargo’s bluster had some substance!

She wasn’t as confident when the catacomb doors slammed behind her. The rattling of bones and the drawing of steel caputured her attention as a walking skeleton lunged at her with a wickedly curved sword that appeared of a very ancient design. Having prepared one of the scrolls she read the magic words out loud. A blazing shroud of flame burst from her body completely shattering the skeleton apart. Impressive J’zargo she thought. But she changed her assessment as soon as the racking pains began. Her sides felt aflame and she could feel an immense weakness. Had the spell tapped into her own life force to power itself? Whatever the case the kahjit had created a powerful spell indeed as the only thing left of the skeleton were small shards scattered over a large area. The priest and his amulet were reunited and Se’rith made for Winterhold but would pay a visit to the Guardian Stones that were nearby.

OT-I have included the above screenie to show the variety introduced by the Skyrim Monster Mod.

Skyrim: A New Life

Se’rith took the South Road just after noon. The common snow storms had thankfully subsided and this made her journey somewhat easier than recent forays from Winterhold. As she approached the ruined fort she had been attacked from she dropped into an attack stance and readied her Sparks and Lesser Ward spells. This time however she passed by unharmed and soon enough came to a cross roads. A signpost indicated that the South Eastern road would take her to Windhelm, and indeed she could see the city’s walls in the distance. A second arrow pointed North West with the word Whiterun etched into in. She consulted her map and saw that the road to Whiterun was long and passed through an area of Skyrim called The Pale. She proceeded on her journey until a wondrous sight stopped her in her tracks. Two large, fur clad giants were escorting a massive woolly mammoth up a mountain track. Her eyes almost popped out of their dark sockets. Yes ofcourse she had read of mammoths and giants but seeing in them the flesh was another thing entirely!

Her observations were rudely interrupted by the whistling of arrows and crude battle crys. The giants, that had hitherto been peaceful and serene, quickly drew clubs. Well she called them clubs but they were really trees! Running down the path a group of four ruffians were pelting the mammoth with arrows. Its cries of rage punctuated with whelps of pain. Her flank soon sported several goose feather fletched missiles. Se’rith was incensed that such a majestic creature was being set upon by such low life. She ran towards them shouting in elvish and releasing the power of her magic. One, rather emaciated bandit, took a bolt full in the chest and almost doubled up in the air as she opened a massive hole in the centre of his chest. He fell over a rock dead, his black linen cloak enshrouding him like a funerary robe. The air around her was suddenly filled with more arrows but also balls of fire. She looked up the path and a heavily armed adventuring party  was charging into the fray making short work of the bandits but also taking the fight to the giants despite Se’rith’s pleas. She took a step back into the shadows of a nearby barrow as these adventurers were wielding great power and her jaw almost hit the floor when two mages brought down the shorter of the giants under a barrage of Fireballs, oh to wield such power!

OT-adventuring bands from Adventurers and Travellers Mod.

As the battle continued she withdrew further into the entrance to barrow. She sheathed her weapon, now a dagger she had found in the ruined cairn where the Alchemist had been murdered by a bandit outside Winterhold. She could hear voices as she approached the barrow and as she turned the corner she saw a heavily armoured Redguard and a blue robe Argonian engaged in deep discussion. Steel was drawn and the crisp smell of magic permeated the air as she approached but Se’rith held her palms open, facing them to indicate the Dunmer way that she came in peace. Though still wary the Redguard woman introduced herself as Selma and her companion as Beem Ja. They were discussing whether to go into the barrow, that Selma called Iron Bind Barrow in search of treasure. Beem Ja shook his head saying he didn’t like the smell and that he wouldn’t go in. Selma let out and exasperated gasp at the Argonian and stepped into fissure in the cliff face that acted as this barrow’s entrance. ‘Well then Dunmer, are you coming?’ came her voice from the darkness.

With a shrug of her shoulders Se’rith followed Selma in and it took a minute for her eyes to get used to the change in light level. The entrance was an ice tunnel, carved into the rock itself. The workmanship was old but there was evidence of recent activity as the walls and ceiling were covered in sticking webbing of the finest silk. THe drawing of steel further down the passage made Se’rith run forward to see Selma engaging the two largest spiders Se’rith had ever seen. They arched back on eight legs exposing hairy fangs, dripping with venom. One such fang scraped the Redguard’s vambrace as she lurched forward to attack, the venom’s acidic properties hissing on the steel armour. Se’rith released a bolt that blew the spider up on contact. She was perplexed at the power behind the spell but a blur of blue and a flash of green answered her query. Beem Ja sped past her and also made short work of the second spider with another blast of eldritch energy.’Ha, I knew you’d follow Beem Ja,’ cried the Redguard as she charged down the passage. The Argonian and the Dunmer followed until they came to an immense cavern whose ceiling was lost in the darkness. The webs were of an immense density here and the smell of death, decay and carrion hung heavily in the air. Weapons were drawn and spells were ready but nothing prepared them for the monstrosity that dropped with cat like grace from the darkness above.

A third spider hissed and spat its angry venom at them, a spider so large that it instantly relegated the previous two to the second largest she’d ever seen. It was huge. Its spindly legs looked more like tree trunks and its eight green eyes shone with wickedness. Selma launched itself at it burying her steel longsword into the beast’s bulbous abdomen, ichor and blood spraying out of the wound. Se’rith jumped onto a boulder to give herself a perfect angle to loose a lightning bolt a the spider. It glanced of its hind leg splitting it to the bone. The Argonian was meanwhile pouring arcane fire into the spider. He held his hands open in front of him like a fan, yellow flames arching out pushing the spider back.

Thats when things began to go wrong. Beem Ja lost his footing on a desicated corpse wrapped in webs on the floor. As he fell his magic fizzled out as his concentration waned. The monster had found its opening. With a sickening squelch it impaled the Argonian on its two front legs while with a speed that belied its size, buried its fangs into Beem Ja’s neck and injected its venom into his body. The mage convulsed twice and then stayed very still. This provoked a berserk like rage in Selma. She charge the spider jumping on its back and hacking at the back of its head. Multifaceted eyes were gored on her sword. Se’rith for her part exhausted herself pouring bolt after bolt into the spider. Caught between blade and spell the monster fell, its legs collapsing in on themselves. Selma run to her fallen companion and cradled his head in her gore stained hands.

Se’rith watched sorrowfully as the Redguard gently laid Beem Ja’s head down. She dug in her pack for a stamina potion as the fight had bee a hard one and she could feel her connection to the magical weave weaken. Selma was distraught. She thanked the Dunmer for her aid and apologised for leading her into such mortal danger. She bade Se’rth grant her the respect of solitude as she dealt with her dead friend. Se’rith totally understood and walked to examine the spiders corpse. She collected some dripping venom in an empty water bottle and walked off into a side passage. There she found a grand entrance to some sort off tomb. Even from a distance away she could feel an evil chill.

The daunting entrance to Iron Bind Barrow

She quickly backed off and bade farewell to Selma. Heading back on the road she noticed the sun low in the sky. Her road was still long and she was getting ready for a night walk when out of the trees a most welcome sight appeared, an inn. Named the Nightgate Inn, she entered and closed the door. Falling onto a bench made from a split log she closed her eyes and let out a long, tired breath.

Se'rith in her new cloak

OT- Cloaks from Cloaks mod by Noodles.

War in the Pacific Admiral’s Edition. Game vs Herb

11th June 1943

04:02 Radar CONTACT CL Santa Fe. Covering Force moves to intercept two enemy cruisers entering Munda anchorage from East. South Dakota fires first 16inch salvo 04:09. Enemy cruiser seen to sink at 04:35.

04:13 SS Seadragon reports sighting and engaging enemy heavy cruiser on a south easterly heading to the East of Kavieng.

04:46 SS Blackfish engages destroyer escort of two battleships near Lihir. Enemy task force on southerly heading.

05:23 Visual CONTACT CA Quincy. Damaged enemy cruiser spotted and engaged, enemy ship sunk 05:57.

06:34 SS Billfish reports two attacks by carrier planes to the East of Kavieng. Sub proceeds to shadow. COMSUBPAC orders all boats to attack. Be aggressive!

08:23 Lt Phillips sends message ***SIGHTED***ENEMY CARRIERS***

09:15 Second confirmed sighting of enemy flattops. Estimated two days out of Munda.

10:00 Enemy float plane shot down by CAP over Munda.

11:23 LRCAP scrambled as enemy planes detected incoming. Ki-43’s and D3A2’s. 30 enemy planes shot down. No loss.

13:45 TF 186 reports unloading completed, withdrawing.

15:09 CAP scramble as incoming raid detected from NW. 3 D3A2’s dive on CVE Sangamon, no hits. All enemy planes destroyed.

18:09 US I Corps receives message ***HAVE MADE EDGE OF AIRFIELD***TWO LINES OF BUNKERS DESTROYED***ENEMY HANGING ON***ATTACK TO CONTINUE TOMORROW***

Skyrim: A New Life

After heading make to the College Se’rith had a light supper and headed straight to bed, the day’s efforts finally caught up with her. She had an untroubled rest and woke ere the crack of dawn full of vitality and energy. After dressing she headed to breakfast bumping into Mirabelle on the way who remarked how well Se’rith looked. Indeed the Goddess had been kind to her and with the aid of Stendarr cleansed her of disease. Mirabelle asked Se’rith to join her for breakfast and the Dunmer took the opportunity to quiz her about College mages that had dedicated their research to the study of the stars. Mirabelle’s countenance changed rapidly. Such research had been carried out by a number of mages most notably one named Malyn Varen, who had gone insane, and more recently an Altmer named Nelacar. Could this be the elf Aranea mentioned? Mirabelle went on to tell Se’rith that  this Nelacar had chosen exile from the College after the Arch Mage had told his research was not welcome after the incidents with Varen. Last she had heard he was holed up at the Frozen Hearth in Winterhold but banned from the College grounds. Se’rith knew where had path would next lead her. As she left the College Sergius Tarrianus, the Master Enchanter, grabbed her by the arm and told her she’d been nominated to go to Whiterun to fetch an item of great importance for him! He handed her a note and without another word turned away.

Nelacar was a tall elf with sparkling, golden eyes. Se’rtih found him in a side room at the Frozen Hearth. Upon seeing her he curtly told her his ties with the College were cut and that Soren could go up a guar’s arse for all he cared. His defensive nature dropped immediately when Se’rith mentioned Azura’s star. He started with a dire warning that insanity followed that accursed item and that his friend Malyn Varen had lost his mind with tales of immortality and dreams of storing his soul in the star so he could live forever.  The Star, he continued, was also a soul gem but one with unlimited uses as the soul would pass through it when used and leave it vacant for a new soul. Malyn tried hard to find a way to achieve his goal of immortality knowing full well his research was against College regulations. It wasn’t until people started to die that the Arch Mage took action. In a fit of madness Malyn slaughtered one his apprentices to use her soul. The Arch Mage and several of the masters cornered him and subdued him. Azura’s Star had driven him mad. Last he’d heard, Nelacar went on, was that Malyn had holed himself up in an old imperial outpost called Ilinalta’s Deep. As for Nelacar’s situation he deftly swerved Se’rith’s questions.  He then politely bade her to leave with a twinkle in his golden orbs.

A lot to take in indeed. She decided to take a walk down the South Road to clear her and mind and decide her next course of action. As she left the Frozen Hearth there was a commotion just at the entrance of Winterhold. An adventuring party was passing through and took the path to Saarthal. Se’rith’s soul sparked for a moment. Adventure was always true to her heart and seeing these strong, confident warriors and wizards made her want to delve into dark holes with the promise of glittering reward. Yet it was only a fleeting moment as her sense of duty also kicked in and she was soon heading down the road deciding what she was going to do.

OT-extra travellers and adventurers courtesy of Adventurers and Travellers mod by kittenailer.

She was about an hour down the road when she noticed a small domed structure, almost hidden among the falling snow, to the left of the road. She’d past many times this way but never seen it before. She cautiously approached the building reading her magic as she heard some scuffling and the drawing of steel from within. The sudden crash of magic made her run towards the entrance. As she passed the threshold a blood curling scream filled the air. She entered and saw a rough looking Nord wielding a bow standing over the body of a mage, robed in blue. Looking up he smiled and said, ‘two for the price of one.’ He nocked and arrow and let fly. Se’rith darted to the left and hit a glancing blow with her first bolt. The arrow whistling past her cheek. The Nord was an assured bowman and moved with grace and agility but in such a confined space the effectiveness of his bow was limited. Se’rith soon had him bleeding and smoking from several solid hits and as he dropped to one knee she finished him off with a solid hit with her mace, brains and skull fragments dirtying her robes. Gods she hated that weapon. Looking around her she saw the bandit had attacked an Alchemist. Searching the room she found two full Apothecary Satchels which she added to her own. The robes the mage wore radiated strong magic and looked warmer and sturdier than her current garb. The dead mage surely would not begrudge a fellow wizard use of his former clothes. She stripped the dead imperial and consumed his body to ashes with magical fire while praying to Arkay to fend for his soul. The bandit carried several interesting looking weapons which she put into her satchels to trade for good or coin with Birna.

OT-the UI I use is the Sky UI from the excellent Sky UI team that is a 100000% improvement on the vanilla one. The weapons I think come from the Lore Friendly Armour Pack.

She also found an excellent book called The Herbalists Guide to Skyrim. This tome would be an invaluable aid for her Alchemy development. Detailed drawings of several ingredients were accompanied by instructions on how to use them in the brewing of potions. She learnt, for example, that the wings of a lunar moth could be crushed and used in potions of invisibility. She leafed it  for a while and then pocketed it. Looking around the small hovel she decided there and then that she would indulge both her sense of adventure and fulfil her duty to the College by travelling to Whiterun. Skyrim lay at her feet and the world was open to her to explore as she saw fit!

OT-HD textures for books thanks to HD High Resolution Books by Jac22v. A great improvement on the vanilla textures.

Se'rith in her new robes.

War in the Pacific Admiral’s Edition. Game vs Herb

9th June 1943

 

10th June 1943

04:53 Report from SS Sailfish. Spotted enemy ships leaving Truk

06:02 Report from SS Hoe. Attacked by carrier torpedo plane.

06:34 Report from SS 0-21 sighted enemy carrier dive bomber.

07:45 First wave hits Munda. Armoured units spearheading landings after effectiveness of tanks against Japanese infantry at Tassafaronga

08:56 First sightings of enemy search planes over target beaches. Chased away by LRCAP.

09:15 Radar CONTACT on USN Pennsylvania. Enemy ships approaching from North. Covering force moves to intercept. Two enemy CL’s engaged. One Kuma Class cruiser sunk by Pennsylvania.

11:34 Enemy air raid spotted. CAP and LRCAP engage over 40 enemy fighters. 20 at least shot down, but bombers get through.

11:42 Attack on CVE Sangamon unsuccessful. New Hellcat performs admirably.

11:54 Fuel storage explosion on CVE Long Island sinks ship in 5 minutes. 430 missing presumed killed. G4M1 launches torpedo.

14:34 Catalina’s returning from morning patrol confirm visuals of Japanese ships heading South just to the North of the Solomons Chain.

16:00 Covering Force ordered to Lunga to rearm. BB South Dakota heading North to relieve station.

18:09 Direct attack ordered by commander US I Corps to troops on Munda.