Sunday, February 02, 2014

24th of Last Seed – Apprentice

The College of Winterhold

I am now an apprentice at Winterhold College. The college isn’t really what I thought it would be, but… Let me get back to that, and for now let me start at leaving Whiterun.

What gold and valuables I picked up in Bleak Falls Barrow and what the Jarl of Whiterun rewarded me with for slaying the dragon was enough for me to buy a horse. Winterhold is quite a ways away, on the very north coast of Skyrim, in fact, so the expense was very much worth it. The man at the Whiterun stables told me the horse’s name is Queen Alfsigr, or Allie for short, so Allie it is; I’m not going to refer to my horse as ‘Your majesty’.

Buying some food to last me the journey, Allie and I set out for Windhelm, first taking the road east, then heading north into The Pale, planning to then go further east and north into Winterhold. The difficulties started almost immediately, though. I had barely gotten clear of the farms surrounding Whiterun before I was attacked by a pack of wolves. I think there were about ten of them, but luckily I was near a watch tower, and the watchmen and I managed to dispose of them with only a few scratches. Unfortunately, that attack did set the tone for the rest of the journey: Skyrim is truly a harsh land.

I was accosted by more wolves throughout the ride, and as if that wasn’t enough, I was attacked by huge spiders, bandits and rieklings as well. To my shame, I must admit that I had Allie run as fast as she could to get away from some of my attackers. Ylva Snowcrow, running away with her tail between her legs. I bet my ancestors were really proud of me. Oh, and just to top off all of this, the weather here in Skyrim is bloody cold. I thought the area around Riverwood and Whiterun was cold, but that was like a steamy room compared to Winterhold. When I finally reached the town of Winterhold both Allie and I were close to becoming corpsicles. Luckily there was an inn with shelter 
for Allie and a roaring fire for me, so by the next morning we were both properly thawed out.

The college, though. Wow. First I had to prove to the gatekeeper there that I was able to use magic. A simple test, really, and I understand why they wouldn’t want any old vagrant within their walls. Having, of course, aced that simpler test, I was accepted as an apprentice of the college. I’ve been given my own room in the Hall of Attainment, along with my very own apprentice robes, and I’ve been thought a basic ward against magic. Having talked with some of the other apprentices (and some of the faculty), I can understand why.

The college isn’t what I thought it would be, though. I was imagining a place where we would be taught new spells and to grow stronger in out use of magic. Instead, it is a place where knowledge is gathered, where you can have a safe(ish) place to work on your own spells, and to meet with other mages and exchange ideas. There is some instruction, but for the most part you are left to your own devices. I’ll say that you are in fact encouraged to go your own way.

But, of course, other happenings have been happening as well. Our instructor, Tolfdir, took us to the ruins of Saarthal, just south of the college. While there, I somehow managed to be visited by a vision of a Psijic monk that told me that something had been started and it was up to me to do something. Very helpful. Oh, and apparently the Psijic Order is some sort of highly secretive order of mages that no-one have seen in a few centuries. Of course, the first one they speak to after so long has to be me. What we found in those ruins, though… A huge sphere, floating in the air. We could feel the power within it, and I don’t know about Tolfdir, but I want that power.

Unfortunately, something else was there calling me. A wall like the one in Bleak Falls Barrow. I could feel it before I saw it; it almost felt as if I could hear it. Strange chanting, growing stronger as I neared. I tried to ignore it as long as I could, trying to focus on the strange orb, but it was useless. The pull was too strong, and now the word IIZ is having a party in my head. That was all that happened, was it? Nope! Tolfdir sent me back to the college to inform the Arch-Mage about what we had found, and almost immediately after I left the ruins I was attacked by a dragon. Yup. Another one. I do wish they’d leave me alone, but I can’t deny that I am rather proud of having killed a dragon all on my own now, pride that was slightly tempered by the fact that another dragon soul found its way into me.

I thought it best not to say anything about the word and the dragon when I returned to the college, and now it seems like I’ll be heading out into the world. We need to find out more about that orb I found, and to do that I have to track down some books that the college ‘misplaced’. Of course, this will give me time to work more on my magic. Maybe even find another barrow and see if I can get some more gold. The mages hold their spells close, and learning a spell without paying for it appears to be difficult.

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