It took Se’rith the best part of a day and a half to make the journey back to Winterhold. She stayed the night at Morthal and then made her way back. The Staff of Magnus was securely fastened to her back as she battled past snow flurries and high winds. She gave Windhelm a wide berth, her valuable cargo making her wary of Stormcloaks and she cut across country to rejoin the Winterhold-Windhelm road near the Shrine of Azura. Soon enough the ruined walls of Winterhold where within sight but it was the green wall of shimmering force that was surrounding the College that captivated her attention the most.
OT-the walls and extra bits you will see in the following screenies come from the Expanded Winterhold Destruction Ruins mod by Rhinala70. One of the best mods out there at the moment that adds ruined walls and areas to Winterhold to actually make you feel as if you are in a city that has suffered a cataclysm rather than a ramshackle village! It also adds quests and a massive underground ruined city.
Ascending the ramp to the College she found Tolfdir and several of the other masters were huddling by one of the magical braziers. Tolfdir screamed her name out loud when he saw Se’rith and screamed with elation when she showed him the staff. As she looked around she noticed Mirabelle was not with them. Upon inquiry she was told by Tolfdir that Mirabelle did not make it out as she fought with Ancano to give the others time to get out. Ancano! The Thalmor would be reaping the whirlwind! Tolfdir filled Se’rith in. Ancano had revealed his intention when he had heard of Se’rith’s quest to Labyrinthian and after he had sent an agent after her. He began to manipulate the Eye of Magnus and strange green lights and magical anomalies began to swirl and attack College members. The apprentices were able to barriacade themselves in the Hall of Attainment with Faralda and a few of the other Masters while others streamed out of the College. Urag was keeping the Arcanaeum safe with the assistance of the Manatis Ambassador. Mirabelle confronted Ancano and the last Tolfdir saw of her she was bleeding profusely from a wound on her side and ordering them out as she sealed the doors to the Halls of the Elements. The shimmering wall before them prevented anything to go through it and all manner of spell and ethereal walking had been unable to penetrate it. The earth suddenly shook with a tremor and Tolfdir looked anxiously towards the College.
At the tremor the staff in Se’rith’s hands started to tremble and vibrate. The green gem it sported shone brightly and it seemed to tug in the direction of the College. On a hunch Se’rith moved forwards and as the light of the gem touched the force field around the College it parted as if it were butter being cut by a hot knife. The College Masters roared behind her and charged forward, charged spells in their hands many shouting Mirabelle’s or Savos’ name. Se’rith followed them in. Atronachs were awaiting them in the courtyard, no doubt Ancano’s summonings. Tolfdir shouted at Se’rith to follow him into the Hall of Elements and to leave the Atronachs to the others. Blasting a way through for them, the old man blew the sturdy doors off their hinges and they run in. Mirabelle’s unmoving corpse was at their feet, half her beautiful face a charred mass of melted flesh and hair. Ancano would pay! The Eye of Magnus had swelled in size and above the din of battle and the gathering force of magic Ancano’s maniacal laugh could be heard. He was breaking into Altmer and the Common tongue rambling about power and the changes the Dominion would make. It was clear the power of the Eye was turning him insane. Now was the time to strike. Tolfdir yelled at her to use the staff on the Eye and thats when things started to happen.
The Eye started to come apart, magical anomalies sped out of it. Some attacking Se’rith, others Tolfdir and some Ancano. The Eye itself started to shake violently, its metal plates pulsating with a life of their own. The runes on its surface glowed evilly. Ancano, suddenly back in control of his senses, screamed in anger and started covering Tolfidr in flames. As Se’rith moved to assist he yelled again to concentrate on the Eye. The Dunmer concentrated the staffs power on the centre of the eye. Green light met blue with a shattering sound like a clasp of thunder. The magical anomalies flocked to the power beams like bees to honey. The staff took on a mind of its own as it seemed to swell in size as it engorged in Se’rith’s hand. The Eye, on the other side seemed to contract and its spinning slowed down. A scream of pain, followed by a blast of cold air made Se’rith look to her left for an instant and the next thing she knew the Eye stopped spinning and so did time. The staff shone like a new born star and then burst. Se’rith went flying backwards as the force wave expanded. The staff flew to the right until it hit the wall while the Eye was motionless hovering peacefully above the brazier. Ancano lay frozen dead covered in ice spikes, Tolfdir was unconscious on the floor near the Thalmor and it had all become strangely quiet.