Skyrim: A New Life

Chapter Two Part Two

As the wind stop whirling and the noise subsided the Whiterun Guards gathered around Se’rith. A few of them were whispering ‘Dragonborn’, or ‘Thu’um’ in reverent tones. Irileth approached her and took her wrist in a warrior’s handshake, it all seemed far to reverent for her tastes. The incident had indeed puzzled her, perplexed her in fact but she could not allow these new events divert her from her path of speaking to General Tulius in Solitude. Night had already started to fall as the shadows from the gargantuan dragon bones spread around her.

She pressed on Irileth the importance of relaying what had happened to the Jarl at Dragonreach and told her to instruct the Jarl that Winterhold would come to Whiterun’s aid should he call for it in the event his city came under dragon attack. Farengar could easily send a magical missive to the College. Saluting her fellows she took the road West towards Solitude. A guard advised her that the road to Solitude would be long but a welcome stop at Rorikstead for the night would do her well, The Frostfruit Inn would always welcome a weary traveller. Thats when the earth and air shook.

‘Dovakinnnnn…’ A gruff voice carried on the wind and the guards looked skywards expecting another dragon to swoop down at them but the skies were empty other than the glittering stars of the heavens. They asked what that was but not even Irileth had an answer. It had been a strange day indeed. Their road was going to be long so Se’rith and Brelyna made their farewells and headed West. The stars and Nirn’s two moons shone brightly in the black canvas of night.

Skyrim’s nights were indeed beautiful, a myriad of colours and twinkling lights. Rorikstead itself was a small settlement on the road leading West from Whiterun to The Reach. It was a small farming community whose fields looked bountiful and plenty. It was the late watches by the time they got there and headed to the Frostfrut Inn for some well needed rest and succour. Dragons now flew the skies of Skyrim, the world had indeed changed!

OT-screenies courtesy of Enhanced Night Skyrim by CptJoker. The first mod I downloaded for Skyrim on the 15th November. I had the same mod for Oblivion as well. Well worth it

Skyrim: A New Life

Chapter Two Part One

Having made the long  journey to Solitude Se’rith and Brelyna were disappointed to have been told by a Legate Rikke at Castle Dour that General Tulius was at a place called Helgen overseeing the execution of a most important prisoner. Helgen! Wasn’t that the place mentioned in that deranged woman’s journal that also had a reference to a dragon? In consideration of Se’rith’s position as Archmage, Rikke offered Legion transportation to Helgen. It would take them nearly a day and a half to walk there so Se’rith graciously accepted. It took half the time to get to Helgen, when they got there they found a smoking ruin. Scorch marks were all over the place and stone walls were cracked and broken in many areas. Towers had their battlements torn off while burnt and mangles corpses lay all over. In some cases these corpses had been fused to the armour they had been wearing by some super heated fire. Large prints dotted the earth and what looked like claw marks scored the walls. Of General Tulius there was no sign. There appeared to be no survivors though trackers of the Legion escort found tracks leading from a cave to the south of Helgen leading North towards Riverwood. Se’rith instructed her escort that she had business in Riverwood and would try to find out what had happened here. She instructed the Optio leading the escort to report back to Rikke at Solitude that she would be visiting Jarl Balgruuf at Whiterun and talk to his court mage Farengar Secret Fire to tap into his knowledge of dragon lore. She politely declined the offer of further escort.

They took the road out of the northern gate and made good time to Riverwood. The sun had started to wane as they made the small picturesque village. They found it in a state of pandemonium. Several villagers were in a state claiming they had seen a dragon fly overhead heading North a few hours ago. One lady, Gerdur, was adamant in what she saw. She was extremely worried about the safety of Riverwood and would send a plea to the Jarl at Whiterun to send a detachment of guards to help protect Riverwood as they had no wall or no armed force to protect the populace. Se’rith made a mental note to raise it with the Jarl. She bade Riverwood farewell and followed the reddening sky to Whiterun.

Whiterun was bathed in the most glorious sunset tinting the sky red and crimson, the perfect backdrop to the glorious mountains of Skyrim. She ascended the stairs to the Dragonreach, her ears full of the worried conversations of the populace full of tales of dragons and fire from the sky!

The Jarl was in deep counsel with his Housecarl and his Steward. Indeed the Dunmer Housecarl drew her sword upon Se’rith’s arrival. Yet when the word that news from Helgen was on her lips she was put immediately in front of the Jarl. She reported all she had seen at Helgen and brought the pleas of Riverwood to his ears. After some opposition from his Housecarl the Jarl ordered that a detachment be sent to safeguard Riverwood as he would not have his people living under threat. A hooded mage then approached and greeted the new Archmage warmly, at this the Jarl stood up and shook Se’rith’s hand. She was the first Archmage to have visited Whiterun for a generation. He took her presence as a sign that the College would lend its aid to Skyrim.

As the pleasantries finished Farengar requested that Se’rith join her in his study. He was eager for news of the College and Se’rith retold her adventures in Labyrinthian and her fight against Ancano and the Thalmor, she kept the presence of the Psijics secret however. She produced the stone that she had found at Bleak Falls Barrow and the Farengar’s eyes literally shone like gold. He called it a Dragonstone and the characters carved in it were in draconic, the ancient language of the dragons. Dragons talking! Even Brelyna raised a sceptical eyebrow. All this talk about dragons was making Se’rith very nervous. Dragons were creatures of legend and myth, of children’s stories. They were not flesh and blood but what she had seen at Helgen and what Farengar was telling her made them seem all too real. She would delve into the College’s archives upon her return to see what she could find. The guard that suddenly burst into the main throne room with shouts of dragon would make that trip the archives moot.

A dragon, a real dragon not one from the pages from a child’s book, was breathing fire and killing guards at the Western Watch Tower. Jarl Balgruuf himself was willing to lead the charge roaring at the top of his voice to kill the beast burning his hold. His Housecarl intervened and calmer heads prevailed. A small group of guards led by the Housecarl, Irileth would meet the dragon and kill it. Se’rith and Brelyna offered their assistance knowing that their magical abilities would be needed to bring the beast down. Irileth accepted graciously yet many of the gathered Nords were suspicious, old prejudices die hard even in the face of adversity. They left through the main gate and headed West, the pillars of black smoke marking the location and the fate of the tower. It was aflame when they reached it, charred bodies of Whiterun guards, some only recognisable by their yellow livery, dotted its entrance. Weapons in hand these men had gone to Svongarde fighting with steel in hand!

An alien roar filled the sky as a grey skinned beast flew over the tower, its wings casting evil shadows over the gathered men and women. It breathed a long cone of fire as it strafed the guards, they dived to either side as the brush caught fire. The heat was intense but nothing was as majestic, as terrifying as the beast circling above them , legend made flesh. It landed with a tremendous noise, the earth trembling. It targetted a guard which it then immolated with its fire. Se’rith was paralysed with fear. What could a mere elf do against such a beast? Yet she could see the arrows peppering its flank, its dark blood seeping from the wounds. She could hear its roar as Nord steel bit into its flesh. The roars moved her out of her stupor. She called forth her lightning and watched it score deep, scorched gouges on its wings and its side. It let loose another cone of fire and lashed with its tail sending another Whiterun flying through the air.

It saddened her heart when they brought it down. Her bolts had blackened its side. Irileth’s blade had cut deep in many areas. Brelyna’s fire bolts had burnt through the membrane of its wings. Arrows peppered its snout, one leg was bent over at an almost impossible angle. Yet she could not forget the horror the beast brought with it. The destruction it had wrought, the destruction at Helgen…Then the questions in her mind. Where had it come from? Was it alone? Was it a harbinger of doom? Questions she did not have the answers for. Questions that only got deeper when the corpse decomposed in front of their eyes. Its flesh fell from its majestic bones as a wind built up from nowhere. Ethereal voices assailed Se’rith’s ears as the wind whipped up to a frenzy Se’rith standing at the eye of the storm…

Skyrim: A New Life

Masters and apprentices streamed into the Hall of Elements. They ran to the prone Tolfdir and some of the younger ones went to assist Se’rith. She was full of concern for her mentor as well, as she hobbled towards him. She looked down at Ancano’s frozen corpse, and even in death his visage still held that look of supreme arrogance it carried in life. She was relieved to see Tolfdir respond to Colette’s restoration magics, ‘not as useless now’ she could just imagine her saying. Tolfdir stirred weakly and opened his eyes. As they locked with Se’rith’s he nodded slightly and the corners of his mouth turned upwards in a smile. Thats when the Psijic’s appeared.

In the now customary blur of time shift and grey light three of the Order materialised in the Hall. Two positioned themselves around the now still Eye while the third sought Se’rith. He smiled warmly at her and congratulated her on her efforts and success. Indeed he called her the saviour of the College and he could not see anyone else better to lead the College. Se’rith was taken aback, her the Arch Mage. She was just a fledgling magic user with no experience but the Psijic Monk was adamant. Tolfdir also added his consent, he had weakly got to his feet and had made his way to Se’rith and the monk. Adding his endorsement he warmly clasped the Dunmer on the shoulder adding his support. Several of the Masters nodded their agreement while most of the Apprentices dis likewise, Brelyna positively jumping with glee. Several of the older members, Sergius and Nirya in particualr, stole jealous glances in her direction but with Tolfdir being so vocal in his support they also had to acquiesce. Even Urag seemed pleased as he took her small ebony hand in his large green paw. He still had to drop that despite being an Arch Mage he’d still skin her little posterior should she damage any of his books! As to the Eye? Well the Psijic’s said that Tamriel was not yet ready for power of this magnitude and that they would care for the Eye until the world had matured, to use their phrase. They cast a spell that made the Eye spin rapidly and turn a blue hue. In a flash of grey blue light they disappeared, Psijics and Eye was well!

Se’rith then called an immediate conclave of gathered wizards. She was honoured to be the new Arch Mage but was too much of a realist to realise that she lacked the experience and foresight to lead the College. As such she would be delegating the day to day running to TOlfdir. She did however have a vision for the College. The first one was to help the people of Winterhold as much as possible. She had met a lot of hostility in her travels towards the College and wizards in general. She wanted to educate the Nords and wanted them to see the College as an ally rather than an enemy. She would make her first official visit to the local Jarl soon to establish a line of communication. College members were to be seen regularly in Winterhold and use their magics to help the populace. Being arrogant and aloof would help antagonise the situation more. Se’rith told Colette that her skills in particular would be a great asset, Colette’s breast swelled with pride as she was often the butt of jokes of her fellow Masters. Secondly she would travel to Solitude to talk to the General Tulius, the Imperial Commander there. Though she was aware that the College was apolitical the threatening Civil War would rend Skyrim, and possibly the Empire apart. As such she would pledge some covert support against the Stormcloaks but work up to an alliance against the Thalmor. Her last instruction regarded the Aldmeri Dominion. Any Thalmor agents or Ambassadors seeking entry into the College would be given one warning. Refusal would lead to imprisonment in the Midden. From now on the College would be free of Thalmor interference. This last statement was made to thunderous applause. She dismissed the mages but asked Tolfdir to accompany her to her new quarters were she embraced the old man warmly and then broke into tears. One danger was over, a whole plethora of them were about to reveal themselves.

Se’rith, Arch Mage of Winterhold.

CUT SCENE – Meanwhile over the skies of southern Skyrim, near a place called Helgen…

Skyrim: A New Life

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.

View of entrance to Winterhold

Entrance to Halls of the Dead

View of ruins to the left of the college

Ruined marketplace behind the inn

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.

 

Skyrim: A New Life

It was Savos who woke her. ‘I had to do it. I have carried the guilt all these years but I had to do it. It would take a massive sacrifice to imprison Morokai, the head Dragon Priest. I had to do it. Thank you surrah, sister of Morrowind. I can now go to my ancestors and face them with honour. The College needs you Se’rith. I bequeath my greatest gift to you. Use it well.’ With that he disappeared into the ether and Se’rith found the air in her lungs and her red eyes popped open. She held a staff topped with a green crystal in her hand. She had recovered from her wounds while her foe lay in a crumpled heap of dry bones and ash at her feet. The only thing that remained was a metal mask akin to the wooden one she had found outside Labyrinthian. Using her staff to prop herself up she hobbled over the mask and as soon as her hands clasped it she was almost overcome by the sense of power emanating from it.

 

After waking up from dropping off to sleep she found a small passageway leading to a small corridor that opened up into Labyrinthian once again. The air felt cleaner and less dense and she sensed she was higher up. A hole in the cavern wall let in sunlight that bathed the area in golden light. She follwed a winding passage upwards. Motifs of bearded nords escorted her in her ascent. Arriving at well lit foyer, three fully ablaze braziers stood among the ruins, she came across a tall Altmer dressed in Thalmor robes. Had that bastard Ancano followed here? The elf pulled back his cowl and introduced himself as Estormo. He was extending the gratitude of the Thalmor to Se’rith for obtaining the Staff of Magnus for them. He also added that Ancano had been right to have him follow her. Se’rith’s anger flared uncontrollably. He hatred for the Thalmor and the stress of what she had just been through broke upon her like a tidal wave. Screaming ferally she let loose spell after spell at the elf, his resistance was counted in a matter of seconds as her second blast killed him but she pumelled on until she realised that the wet splotches she was felling on her face was gore from the mangled corpse of the once Thalmor agent. Her red eyes were open in shock but her anger boiled. Ancano was due a reckoning. If the College was in danger that bastard must be the reason why!

 

CUT SCENE

Se’rith had no idea how much danger the College and Skyrim really were…

Skyrim: A New Life

The ruins of Bromunjaar opened up behind the patrolled gateway, after Se’rith disposed of the undead that guarded it. She wondered if the original guards were the ones still patrolling it! A graveyard stretched behind the gate for a long while. Stone cairns marked burials while rotting coffins were stacked up against a wall at the far end of the chamber. The occupants of the graves must have already gone for a wander as no more walking dead assailed the Dunmer. The ghostly voice was still in the air though, it had broken into the common tongue with promises of sweet death and eternal suffering! Undaunted she went deeper, always going down. Nothing Oblivion was going to stop her.

An increasing feeling of immense and ancient evil culminated at an iron door that was as black as a deadra’s heart. There she met the ghostly Savos again. This time he looked straight at Se’rith, his ghostly visage was crestfallen. ‘I hope you understand what I had to do, it was my only choice..’ with that he walked through the door. Se’rith pushed the surprisingly responsive door open to be confronted by a very puzzling sight. Two of Savos’ ghostly friends were encased in some sort of power field. Arcs of power stretched from these orbs and they in turn encased and entrapped another individual. There was nothing ghostly about this one though. It resembled a Druagr only that it was dressed in rotting robes. It radiated an aura of absolute power and Se’rith could feel its evil from a distance. Its intelligent eyes locked on her the moment she entered the doorway. Whatever it was it was conscious and possessed of great intelligence. Its yellow eyes seemed to flash and its emaciated mouth cracked into a wicked smile as it arched its arms and backwards to let loose a roar!

One of the ghostly mages turned to face Se’rith and shouted, ‘Savos you bastard.’ With its concentration broken it lurched at Se’rith and the beam of power holding the Druagr in place disappeared. The being laughed wickedly, its mirth sounding like a mournful wind over a grave as it filled the chamber. The ghost launched itself at Se’rith but disappeared as it neared. Its colleague likewise cursed Savos while also disappearing into thin air. Se’rith deduced that Savos must have led his friends into Bromunjaar and used their life force to entrap this being. A being that was now free and full of unlife by the looks of it.

‘Foolish mortal,’ came the craven voice from the other side of the room. ‘I thank you for my freedom and your death shall serve as the first sacrifice to the death on wings that come. Already great Alduin fly’s free and soon this world and its mortal stock will burn from horizon to horizon.’ It hovered over the platform it had been imprisoned in and hot Se’rith squarely on the chest with a bolt of lightning. The Dunmer felt as if her chest had been stamped upon by a giant of the Tundra. She thought, as she flew through the air, that it was ironic that it was a shock spell that would do for her. She was sure she cracked some bones on her back as she hit the wall behind her with a thump. She gingerly got to her feet as the effects of her most powerful health potion kicked in. It was clear that this being was immensely powerful but it was slow. If she kept moving she might survive.

Her magika was gone, her robes in tatters, her face and hair singed, her Staff of Sparks broken in two and spitting lightning, her skeletal minions dismissed with a word. Her gloves were worn through and her best potions gone. Yet the creature game against her. She had hurt it, yes but it came on relentlessly. Its cackling laughing taunting her as it promised an eternity of undeath as her thrall. She could not give up, if Savos had saw it fit to sacrifice his friends then this was an evil worth defeating. Her hands clasped two of J’Zargo’s scrolls she still had in her pouches. As a final act of a desperate woman she run straight at the being as it hovered in mid air, its robes trailing it like the legs of an octopus. Having quaffed her last two healing potions, her own concoctions that also granted the drinker an increase in temporary life force, she read the words of both scrolls as she jumped through the air and barged into the creature. Her body erupted in flame, she could feel her lungs turn to mush and it felt as if her molten flesh was pouring off her bones. Yet she heard the thing roar in pain as a massive explosion took Se’rith away from this plane and into the next. Darkness took over and she found herself in Morrowind, walking through Balmora with the sun on her face.

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

End of June 1943 Submarine Warfare Report

36 enemy vessels were either sunk or damaged during June. The most successful boat was the SS PomPon that accounted for 6 ships for a grand total of 12,950 tons all confirmed sunk. Disappointment was felt across SUBCOMPAC as no enemy capital ships were hit during the Battle for Munda despite a target rich environment and 25 boats on station. A lot of boats have gone in for repairs and the latest search radar upgrades and several new enemy convoy routes have been discovered and attacked. The SS Grenadier and the venerable SS-46 were both lost to depth charge action during the month.

 

Reuters, Changsha, 30-6-1943

Chinese forces have confirmed they have forced Japanese units out of Changsha. It appears that 20,000 dead in one assault has made the Japanese Generals think twice before engaging Chinese units in urban warfare. Colums of Japanese infantry were seen marching East and they were harassed by planes of the USAAF supporting the Chinese Army. Messages intercepted by our radio listening stations confirm that units have been ordered to march during the day as casualties on the march begin to mount. Both the CAF and USAAF fighters around Chagsha have gained local air supremacy thus giving our bombers a free run.

In further war news…