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Crimson DESTR0YA
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Posts: 1888

I hope I'm not biting off more than I can chew here or being overbearing on you guys, but I'm going to try my hand at both this and the Left 4 Dead 2 project. You all seemed way more excited about the L4D2 thing, so I'm going to focus primarily on that, but while I wait on X's and CJ's weapon choices, I thought I'd give this a spin.



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"You know if you've got the aptitude, you should join the Mage's College in Winterhold…"

 

Those words circled in my mind as I thumbed the pages of the same tome I'd already read twice before. I don't know why I even bothered; Twin Secrets, the famous chronicle of Brarilu Theran. In it he claims to have imbued two Enchantments within one object; a feat not known to have been accomplished since, if it was indeed accomplished even then. Some scholars don't consider Twin Secrets to be a historical account, while the more skeptical question whether Brarilu Theran even existed, or insist that if he did, he was no master Enchanter. Regardless, all I knew was that I couldn't do it. No one could.

 

And if they could, I doubt they'd be living in Skyrim, least of all in Whiterun. The Nords and their archaic and brutish beliefs were dominant here. It took an arrest, a near-beheading, a dragon, a trek through an ancient ruin, and a second dragon just to get a Breton such as myself fixed inside these walls. Well… Perhaps I'm selling myself short.

 

I am Lady Harmony Candide, Thane of Whiterun. Argh… No, no matter how hard I try, I can't say that without sounding arrogant. In truth, I should be Thane of nothing. I was in the watchtower when the dragon was slain, providing support from the top with my bow. In its dying throws, the beast soared one last time into the sky, finally falling at an angle right towards the top of the tower. Every archer had the presence of mind to duck, except for myself. It hit me head-on, and I fell down with it. I clung for dear life onto the thing's horns, then its wing, then what felt like a piece of metal. I fell to the ground with it, and as the dust cleared, everyone found the dead behemoth, and me, clutching onto the hilt of a sword buried into the thing's ribcage. It wasn't mine, and it certainly hadn't been the killing blow, but try telling that to a couple dozen victorious soldiers. Next thing I know I was kneeling before Jarl Balgruuf's throne and accepting the Axe of Whiterun, as well as I could one-armed, anyway. The fall from the tower had virtually destroyed the shoulder that held onto the sword. I consider myself blessed, though; I'm lucky the impact didn't rip the arm clean off. A few weeks' rest and the healing magic of the priestess of Kynareth helped it tremendously, but I'd never be able to wield anything heavier than a steel dagger again. I wasn't much of a warrior before, but now I was just about useless.

 

That's how I got into the study of Magicka. I couldn't stand the thought of being unable to defend myself, or to do any labor more intensive than that of a tavern girl. And I wasn't about to go looking for a big, strong Nord to do all that for me. So I turned to the arcane arts.

 

And I can honestly say I've mastered them. At least, to the extent of what the books in this room have to offer. The Jarl's court wizard, Farengar Secret-Fire, tolerates my presence here because of my title, but he's hardly ever spoken a word to me. He's kind enough to give me free access to his modest study in the palace, or perhaps he's too afraid to offend a person of influence. But that is as far as his kindness extends; whenever I've asked him for more personal assistance with a spell or alchemical recipe, he always insists he's far too busy. He's more of a librarian than a mentor, really. He did say one thing that got me thinking, though. One night… my first time reading this book, in fact, Twin Secrets… It had engaged me so that I stayed up all through the night, trying to wrap my head around the concept of infusing two Enchantments within one object, to cheat the Law of Firsts, the most infallible of edicts within the realm of Enchanting… When Farengar awoke the next morning, I was still reading in his study, and he just said to me in passing,

 

"You know if you've got the aptitude, you should join the Mage's College in Winterhold."

--

The destructor has gone

February 7, 2014 at 10:59 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Tamoria
Member
Posts: 234

Well hey, it's sure been a while since we heard from Harmony, and this is one heck of an interesting incarnation of her! As awesome as you L4D2 project is going to be, I was hoping to see a Skyrim narration from you play out as well, I'm glad to see this up! It will be fun to see Harmony in this setting. Great intro, I like Harmony's background and I always appreciate seeing a canon NPC line being used with weight in these narrations. Looking forward to more of this if you keep running with it!

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February 8, 2014 at 12:47 AM Flag Quote & Reply

B "Diddy" M
Member
Posts: 295

I'm a huge skyrim fan and am looking forward ot this a lot. I love the world of skyrim and the people in it. Ironically, my only issue with it was that I wished they went *more* in-depth in the game in terms of characters. This is essentially exactly what I wished was in the game, so you can expect me to be watching this very closely!

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February 8, 2014 at 2:10 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Crimson DESTR0YA
Administrator
Posts: 1888

I don't think I ever mentioned this, but this is not the first time Harmony has been reimagined. Harmony is a very old character of mine. She played many different roles before I made her a Pokémon trainer, that was just the first time I'd ever shared one of her stories with anyone. In fact, I believe I first created her for a classic-style RPG I wrote back in jr. high. So in many ways, this is Harmony returning to her roots!

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February 8, 2014 at 3:21 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Cecil-Jacobs
Member
Posts: 739

How fun! I just took to playing Skyrim again myself as a mage no less! I'll be comparing our experiences.

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Ask me about my waifus

"I'm happy to report that my inner child is still ageless". James Broughton

February 8, 2014 at 8:35 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Crimson DESTR0YA
Administrator
Posts: 1888

Farengar's words planted a seed in my mind as soon as he said them to me, but ever since then it had grown into a full-blown obsession. I considered if it was even feasible for me to get there. Winterhold was a long way away, and was a mere shell of its former self. And with the city went the hold in its entirety; none of the major roads that used to lead to it were maintained anymore, all buried long ago by feet of snow and ice. No carriage would be willing to take me that far, and while the horses of Skyrim were stout enough to traverse almost all of its rugged terrain, I couldn't possibly afford a horse of my own to take with me. I may have held an expensive title in the hold of Whiterun, but that certainly didn't make me wealthy. Far from it. Thanks to the grace of the Jarl and his court I lived a comfortable lifestyle. But I still didn't have the financial backing of the other nobles, and had almost nothing I could honestly call my own. I ate for free in the palace of Dragonsreach with the rest of the court, and my housecarl, Lydia, made sure I had all the other necessities.

 

Lydia. My newfound semi-royalty gave me plenty of instant connections, but she was my only real friend in Skyrim. It is apparently Nordic custom for a Thane to be appointed a housecarl, a lower member of the court assigned to tend to the Thane's needs, much like a steward to a Jarl. Lydia was the housecarl Jarl Balgruuf assigned to me. I offered her dismissal almost immediately; this is apparently an important Nord custom, but I'm no Nord, and to me this seemed like no more than glorified slavery. Lydia would have none of it, though. "I am your sword and your shield," she always says to me, and I believe she truly means that. She's a strong and hardy woman, as capable a warrior and guardian as any man. But she's a pure-blooded Nord through and through, and so whenever I've tried to talk to her about spellcasting or alchemy she's always as lost as any other citizen of Whiterun would be. At least she doesn't outright scorn me for dabbling in such affairs.

 

I live with Lydia in a small cottage on the edge of town, right near the gate. The house has been hers for years, but she gave me the master bedroom immediately, even though I insisted she keep it. Considering I have neither the need nor really the ability to work, and that Lydia's full-time job is to tend to my needs, we spend almost all of our time together. When I don't feel like eating at the palace, Lydia happily hunts deer or rabbit and prepares nice, simple meals for us. Oftentimes I consider this a welcome break from the luxurious feasts at Dragonsreach, with sweet rolls and Alto wines and nearly every kind of pheasant in all of Tamriel, not to mention the boisterous, booming conversations of the great warriors' latest adventures.

 

Though we're both somewhat quiet by nature, in all my time with Lydia I've gotten to know her pretty well. Despite her ignorance of magical arts she is an intelligent woman; her interests lie mostly in Nordic history and theology, but she knows a surprising bit about Dwemer lore as well. I often find myself daydreaming of going adventuring with her; I'm sure she could tell me all about the wondrous crypts and ruins dotting the long-abandoned lands of undeveloped Skyrim. Then I remind myself that I can't even pick up a sword anymore, let alone swing one, and that if I hadn't crippled myself I likely never would have even met Lydia in the first place, and I realize that even my daydreams are in vain and so I abandon them.

 

But what about adventuring… as a mage? As a great mage, as one who can really defend herself? No, as one whose reputation precedes her, as one whose skill alone intimidates her foes, as one who hardly even gets into petty skirmishes anymore because of all the countless bandits and draugr she's already fried to a crisp? Or perhaps as one who never gets into skirmishes, a mage who most of the hold isn't even sure exists, for she's mastered the art of the Illusory spells, muffling her footsteps so that even through forests of fallen leaves her movement goes undetected. What if I could master Invisibility? I could walk head-on into the heart of one of many of those old fortresses that have now become miniature bandit colonies filled with all the nastiest undesirables Skyrim has to offer, paralyzing and silencing each and every member one by one, stealing back all kinds of lost treasures and returning them to their rightful owners! What if… What if the Master spells exist?

 

By the Nine, this obsession has completely taken over. I was never content with the life I'd led in Whiterun to this point, but now it's flat-out unacceptable! Here I am, a hanger-on heroine, a bottomfeeder in the pond of the nobles. By freak circumstance I stumbled upon a comfortable lifestyle in one of the most prosperous holds in the region. I'm a noble with no worries or expenses; but somehow, I still don't feel like I'm my own woman. But this idea about the Mage's College… this would allow me to be something different, something I can really call my own.

 

"I'm leaving for Winterhold," I announced at dinner. The suddenness of the declaration left even myself surprised. Lydia was so taken aback she nearly choked on a bite of venison.

"What?? My Thane… Why??"

"I'm going to the College. I'm going to become a real mage."

"But, we- you have a life here that most of the citizens of Whiterun would kill for!"

"Let one of them take my place, then."

"Lady Harmony! Does your Thanehood mean nothing to you?"

"Just about," I said as I stood and walked toward the Axe of Whiterun that hung on the nearby wall. "Let me show you just how much meaning my title holds."

I grabbed the heavy battleaxe off its stand on the wall, at least, I attempted to. The thing was far too heavy for my good left arm alone, and my right one completely crumpled at the prospect of supporting any of its heft. With a shot of pain and a yell, I collapsed to the floor along with my badge of office.

"My Thane!" Lydia shot up to my assistance.

"Lydia… my friend…" I said through the throbbing pain in my shoulder, "How would you feel… if this… were you?"

Lydia just looked at me. She seemed to be on the verge of tears. "I… I…" Suddenly, she appeared to swallow something inside of her, and her whole demeanor changed.

 

"Understood, my Thane. What shall I do to assist you? I'm sure I could convince the Jarl to part with a steed…"

"No, I'll go on foot."

"On FOOT? All the way to Winterhold? I… Well, then, I'm going with you!"

"No, Lydia…"

"I'll travel with you, you'll need someone to protect you from trolls and bears and thieves and… by the Nine, milady, there are dragons about now!"

"Lydia!" I placed a hand on her shoulder to calm her down. "If you came along, I know full well I'd be the safest aspiring mage in all of Tamriel. And that's… a problem."

"My Thane?"

"I… I need to prove to myself that I can do this. That I can do something on my own. That I'm even worthy of the opportunity the College would present. I'm no master, but I'm no amateur either. I can cast any number of spells to protect myself. I know a spell I could cast that, were you to strike me with your blade right now, would prevent it from even drawing blood. I can light trolls ablaze, freeze a bear to its bones, and send lighting coursing through any thief's veins. Were a dragon to attack, I could Ward off its breath until I found a cave too small for it to give chase through. And were I to sustain any injuries, I could heal them off in less than a minute."

"My Thane, I… I'm sorry I have underestimated you so! Can you really do all those things?"

I smiled. "That's what I want to find out."

--

The destructor has gone

February 9, 2014 at 8:36 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Tamoria
Member
Posts: 234

Love it so far! Of course Harmony wouldn't be happy with the luxurious life of Thanehood. And I really appreciate her friendship with Lydia, they seem like they would get along! Looking forward to the next update, and I'm still psyched to see you writing in a Skyrim setting!

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February 9, 2014 at 10:59 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Xelakian
Member
Posts: 486

This is awesome. I look forward to seeing more. On a side note, Elder Scrolls Online comes out in a few months. Would anybody else be willing to give it a shot with me? From what I've played, it's pretty neat and stays relatively true to the base gameplay whilst also differentiating the classes enough to make basic roles while allowing freedom to switch between roles.

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Friend Code: 1006-1639-8826

February 10, 2014 at 2:32 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Crimson DESTR0YA
Administrator
Posts: 1888

Bethesda is notorious about absolutely never making anything Mac-friendly, so I doubt I'll be able to play. Also I don't really like MMOs.

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February 10, 2014 at 2:55 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Xelakian
Member
Posts: 486

They are making it for Mac.

http://elderscrollsonline.com/en/preorder

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Friend Code: 1006-1639-8826

February 10, 2014 at 2:58 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Crimson DESTR0YA
Administrator
Posts: 1888

That's absolutely astonishing news to me. I guess they want to milk this cash cow for ALL it's worth.


I've been Skyping with Case about it, we MAY play over the summer. Neither of us loves that monthly fee though, ouch.

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February 10, 2014 at 3:23 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Xelakian
Member
Posts: 486

They've implied that they're not going to release expansions like WoW, but rather just update with new content constantly. Plus, it's supposed to be only $15/month, with the first month free. Personally, I see it as more likely to succeed because of the monthly fee than without, as it'd then have to switch to an allegedly free model where you pay your way to success, which tends to ruin the game altogether.

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Friend Code: 1006-1639-8826

February 10, 2014 at 3:31 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Crimson DESTR0YA
Administrator
Posts: 1888

Now that you've described that alternative model it actually makes a lot more sense. Still, bottom line is $15 a month is a lot of money for us =/

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February 10, 2014 at 3:44 PM Flag Quote & Reply

B "Diddy" M
Member
Posts: 295

I've heard a lot of ESO isn't as polished as it could be. Like, the people who enjoy The Elder Scrolls for the lore may like it, but the gameplay is definitely like other MMOs and hasn't taken in improvements made by MMOs such as WoW and Rift. I haven't played it personally, but that's what I've been hearing from everyone that has played it.

Another awesome update on the story! I like how Harmony doesn't feel entitled or power hungry, but rather is just trying to push herself as far as she can. It's so tiring to always see people play into the dragonborn thing so much with skyrim stories, and this is a great breath of fresh air into stories like these. Keep it up!

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February 11, 2014 at 11:10 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Crimson DESTR0YA
Administrator
Posts: 1888

Thanks Diddy! And you touched on an important point I meant to make more clearly before now: Harmony is not the Dragonborn, for the intents and purposes of this story. Deekin can claim the title of PR's resident Dovahkiin for himself.

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February 11, 2014 at 11:20 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Xelakian
Member
Posts: 486

Hey, Deekin may not be the only Dragonborn. Ever hear of a Dragon Break?

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Friend Code: 1006-1639-8826

February 11, 2014 at 11:49 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Crimson DESTR0YA
Administrator
Posts: 1888

I prepared for my journey the next morning. The first thing I knew I'd have to do is find an adventuring outfit. I must admit, for all I've talked about rejecting the life of nobility, I'd gotten rather comfortable in these fine clothes Lydia insisted I wear. I wanted nothing to do with them of course, but Lydia swore up and down that I couldn't possibly be seen in the palace in anything less, so before long I found myself trying on a half dozen outfits imported from this "Radiant Raiment" in the city of Solitude, all paid for on the Jarl's account. It didn't take long for me to adjust to the new attire. The silken outfits were far more plush than anything else I'd worn in my time in Skyrim, that's for sure. But I was nervous to so much as eat in them for fear of soiling them, and I wasn't about to go out into the wilderness in them.

 

I had a set of leather armor that I crafted myself back in Riverwood, but I didn't want that either. It wasn't enough to just go to the College to become a mage, I… I wanted to go to the College AS a mage. I wanted to test what magical skill I already had, to take THAT to the College and grow right from there. As of this point, I had almost no experience casting spells in actual combat, against things that wanted me dead. I certainly didn't want to start at the College with that being the case.

 

The one area of the arcane arts that I was already certain of my ability in was enchanting. I absolutely adored it, enchanting things was the closest thing I'd had to a hobby since becoming Thane. I'd spend whatever gold I had on soul gems, then enchant things and sell them to the local shops to pay for more soul gems. The process barely paid for itself, and it only took a couple of weeks before the Whiterun market had become completely saturated with Iron Daggers of Burning, but in that time I think I'd developed a fairly keen understanding of the craft. I knew that I wanted to start my career as a mage there.

 

Lydia gave me all the money I needed for soul gems. She told me if I wasn't going to let her come with me, this was the least she could do to help me. I was hesitant to accept but I didn't really have any other options. From there, I considered what I wanted to equip myself in.

 

Dangerous as it may seem to walk halfway across Skyrim without armor, I wanted Magicka to be my primary means of both offense and defense. This meant keeping Stoneflesh at the ready at all times, and Stoneflesh's effect is most pronounced when its caster is without armor. A peculiar effect, to be sure. One prevailing theory believes armor partially prevents the spell from properly binding to the skin, another claims the effect is psychological; quite simply, when a mage knows the spell is her only means of protection, her desperation and dependance on the spell show through in its casting. I'm not sure which is true, but the effect was well-documented. It's why dedicated mages always wear robes rather than armor. And considering a dedicated mage was precisely what I was striving to be, I knew I needed some robes of my own.

 

I got a set of plain blue robes for next to nothing at Belethor's shop. I really didn't want to be so cliché, but I read something about the importance of the color of a mage's robes as it relates to her role. Blue robes are the safest way to avoid offending anyone, as they're not so much affiliated with a particular craft of Magicka. Brown robes are typically meant for those in the service of one of the Divines, and black robes are, unfortunately, associated here in Skyrim primarily with necromancy. Originally they represented the school of Conjuration as a whole, but I certainly didn't want to be mistaken by a passing traveler or Imperial caravan as a necromancer just because of the color of my robes. Ironically, I knew next to nothing about resurrecting the dead, or even the simplest tasks of Conjuration such as summoning a familiar. It was a weak spot in my knowledge of the arcane arts to be sure, but that was mostly reflective of Farengar's library; almost everything I knew I learned not from him, but from his books.

 

Regardless, the robes were exactly what I was looking for. With my biggest soul gem, for this would be my biggest, most basic and most essential garment, I interwove the enchantment. As I did, I meditated upon my own body; the body is a wonderful thing, all the healing spells known to us do nothing more than serve as a catalyst to propel and expedite the healing process we are all born with. The limitations stay the same, and we find ways around them; like my shoulder, not fully healed, but rather its owner finding a new life to circumvent the injury. I pondered the same process, but with Magicka. Like the body, my Magicka reserves too replenished over time. A catalyst to propel and expedite that process… That would help me greatly.

 

I opened my eyes, and could feel my new robes' aura. The enchantment was a success; these robes would not increase my Magicka reserves, but would allow them to restore more quickly and easily.

 

The robes weren't all I'd brought with me to the Arcane Enchanter, though. I had the rest of my planned gear with me: a pair of plan leather working gloves, a pair of fine fur boots, a circlet of copper and ruby, and a ring and a necklace, both of silver and garnet, that I'd forged myself.

 

Since coming to Skyrim I had managed to become a decent blacksmith. As I mentioned before, I crafted a good set of leather armor in Riverwood with nothing but a bear's pelt and some advice and tools from the friendly blacksmith, Alvor. And every Dagger of Burning I enchanted and sold I also crafted myself, and by the second batch or so, they were as good as almost anyone's work. Jewelry was a little bit different, however, but some of the same principles applied. No one would ever accuse me of making beautiful jewelry, but what I made was sturdy, with thick, hardy chains and well-set stones. I'd still never worked with gold. It was a little rich for my blood or title, but Lydia was able to get me a bar of silver from the Dragonsreach stores. The two garnets I'd run across in Bleak Falls Barrow, back when Farengar sent me to fetch a stone tablet that was important to his research on dragons, somehow. As I closed my eyes to enchant the two pieces of jewelry I'd crafted (I had gotten to the point at which I could enchant two objects at once, as long as I was enchanting each with the same enchantment and two souls of the same size), I considered how much rested on this. How much rested on itself. My whole goal in joining the College was to try to hone my skills as a magician, but in order to do that, I'd need my skills as a magician to even get me to the College, let alone to get inside. Things building on top of themselves for their own benefit. A paradox, perhaps, but a real one. A tangible one, one I could grasp. What about my own strength? Set aside the magic for a moment; it's a tool, a shield, a weapon, that will need to be wielded by a strong person at heart. When it's me versus the enemy, the strength of my magic won't be what matters. There will be no such thing as the strength of my magic. It's just my strength. My will. And so the necklace and ring both fortified my health.

 

I was amazed when I learned that a spellcaster could wear gloves. If properly enchanted, the gloves would not only allow the magic to pass through the material but could also serve to even enhance the power of the spell. I pondered this notion. The importance of the hands. Magicka flows through the body like blood, but the hands are where the wizard releases. Even when casting a healing spell on one's self, the wizard uses the hands. The Magicka circulates through the hands like blood. What if some were to collect? As it builds and it builds, not being consumed, but ready to be accessed when needed… Again, the body serves as inspiration. Gloves that envelop the hands, cover the hands, but at the same time amplify that Magicka within. And so my leather gloves are enchanted to fortify my Magicka.

 

The circlet next, yes, we must enchant the circlet! The same principle can be applied, but rather than amplifying the Magicka at the point of release, let us consider the point of origin. The mind, yes. The spell, the knowledge on casting the spell, the expected results and prerequisites for casting the spell… All of this comes from the mind. The mind is the origin of the spell. Let us embrace the mind with an amplifier, yes, just like the gloves. What, I wonder, would be the result, if purified, fortified Magicka from the Mind then passed through the Hands with the Gloves? The end result is the spell is far greater than the wizard alone could make it. Men and Mer use tools, as it is in survival, as it is in Magicka.

 

 

I open my eyes, gasping for breath. I think I forgot to breathe. Where have I been? Oh… This again. This tends to happen as I enchant, I get lost in the process and all else becomes secondary. Let's see… robes, circlet, ring, pendant, gloves… Boots! Yes, the boots.

 

I'm glad I saved the boots for last, for the enchantment I wanted was easy. Given a basic understanding of the process, a rookie mage could enchant these boots as well as the Arch-Mage himself. One simple concept, one common concept, common because of its vast usefulness. That and, as it turns out, there's just not that much you can enchant with boots.

 

All I had to do was envision a field of leaves, my goal across it, a sleeping bear in between. My hands are bound, I can cast no spells. I have no weapons, nor even any armor. I have naught but my robes and these boots. So how do I cross? Simple. Just walk to your goal. Won't the- no. No sound will be made. There is no danger. Just walking. You can walk, can't you? Yes… that first step, and- silence. Step. Step. Step. All the while the world is silent, the ears at rest just like the bear. As soon as I reach my goal in the vision, I open my eyes, and I now have Fine Fur Boots of Muffling.

 

I changed my clothes right there in the study and dashed back home to Lydia to see if I looked as cool as I thought. If her praise was any indication, I looked like the greatest mage in all of Tamriel.

 

I felt like her, too.


--


She gets going next update, promise!

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The destructor has gone

February 14, 2014 at 11:12 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Tamoria
Member
Posts: 234

Hehe, I like the mention of the market being saturated with all those enchanted daggers, I always wondered if the protaganist in Skyrim ever ends up completely disrupting the economy. And oh wow, I really like your process of enchanting! That's a really neat way to envision it. I never put much thought into it before, but the meditation and the thoughts that Harmony goes through to enchant seem really fitting, and well-written. Looking forward to seeing her hit the road with her new awesome duds!

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February 16, 2014 at 5:08 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Crimson DESTR0YA
Administrator
Posts: 1888

I have two collaborative projects I'm about to try to undertake, but it's been awhile since I've written and I'm a good bit rusty. I don't know if I'm actually returning to this now or if I'm just using it for practice, depends on what you guys think of the writing and the story. Let me know, I hope you enjoy!


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I set off at about 4:30 on a cool Morndas morning. I wanted to get a headstart on the sun by traversing the relatively safe plains around Whiterun in darkness so I could have as much sunlight as possible for the wilderness of northern Skyrim. I knew the land immediately to the north fairly well, as Lydia and I would often use those fields to hunt deer and mudcrab for food and souls for enchanting. Gods, Lydia. It was hard leaving her. As excited as I was to redefine myself as a great mage, it hurt my soul to leave my only true friend in Skyrim. Even on those hunting trips though, she was my crutch. I’d lob an assistive spell here and there but it was her bow and blade that got it all done. I needed to grow stronger on this journey. It would hurt to leave her for so long, but I knew I’d return to her as a woman on par with her strength.

 

As expected, the first two hours or so of my trek were serene. Under the last gasps of morning’s darkness I walked northward unopposed. By the time the sun’s rays made their way through the gaps in the mountains I was almost at their feet. But I’d need more than sunlight to protect me from the dangers in these mountains. Hardly anyone in Skyrim walked the path I was walking anymore. Northern Skyrim, the towns of Dawnstar and Winterhold, had become isolated from Whiterun. As such the path had become rife with bandit camps, none of whom took too kindly to my presence. Fortunately none of them were all too organized, mostly groups of three or four, and mostly ignorant of all things magic. Stoneflesh easily deflected their weak swords and arrows, and they had no defense from my flames and sparks. They served as good practical combat practice, of which I’d had some of before, but always with Lydia, never on my own. It felt great to finally know that for the first time since losing the ability to wield a blade in that dragon attack, I was capable of defending myself alone.

 

From common bandits, anyway. There are some powers in this land that aren’t so easily warded. There are yet others from which there is no defense.

 

The ground became increasingly snow-covered with the elevation of the land as I continued northward. The cold didn’t bother me much; most non-Nords in Skyrim complain about the icy climate but I didn’t mind the cold. Still, I had only ever been in the southern parts of the country before, and I had to admit these mountains were pushing me to the edge of my tolerance. With the increase in the harshness of the winds came a similar increase to the harshness of the wildlife; in place of the deer and elk were wolves and frost trolls. The trolls were an area in which I was at an advantage as a mage versus a swordswoman; their hide is notoriously resilient to blade strikes, but even the hardiest frost troll recoils in terror from a spark of flame. Still, the creatures possess great strength and deceptive speed, so I had to make sure to keep my distance while launching firebolts in their direction.

 

On one such encounter in particularly rugged terrain, I decided to climb a nearby bluff to snipe at a troll in safety. The move was anything but, as it turned out. For I had encroached upon the lair of a dragon. The beast roared and took to the sky, and I panicked as I realized my mistake. Ironic, considering my reputation as a dragon-slaying hero in Whiterun. That dragon required a whole platoon of trained guards to fell. But this was worse. This was a Blood Dragon. Farengar had in his library a book on the ancient hierarchy of the dragons, and I recognized this one immediately. The Blood Dragons are some of the older, wiser, more resilient of their kind. Far more of a threat than the one that attacked Whiterun. Even that one took the effort of a team of soldiers. I was alone.

 

I knew fighting was futile. I cast Stoneflesh and ran. Direction became irrelevant, I moved where the terrain was friendliest and upon which I could run the fastest. It gave chase, torching the trees above me as I fled, nearly crushing me with one on more than one occasion. I had to find shelter. A place to hide. Anything, anything at all. But I couldn’t slay a Blood Dragon. Not alone. Sometimes I’d lose the beast, just for a second or two, just long enough to cast Healing or swallow a potion. But it would always find me again. It could smell me. Finally, mercifully, I stumbled into a massive graveyard, Hamvir’s Rest as I’d later learn. No sooner did I step foot in the cemetery than did its residents arise to greet me. It may seem as though a graveyard full of undead is the last thing I’d need while being chased by a dragon, but as it were, these thralls were tasked with protecting the place, and keyed in on the Blood Dragon as a bigger threat than I. The skeletons greeted the dragon with a hail of arrows, distracting the beast from finding me and forcing it to deal with the obstacles. I’ve fought similar creatures myself, and skeletons tend to be the weakest of the undead guardians, so they were dispatched with relative ease. But I didn’t need them to slay the dragon; it was enough to slow and distract the beast while I made my escape. I found a nice little crag in the mountains I managed to slip into while the skeletons fought in vain, and by the time the last of them had fallen for good, the dragon had lost my scent. It looked frantically around before finally giving a yell in frustration and returning to its roost.

 

I gave the beast several minutes to get good and gone before I emerged from my spot; I’d escaped with my life, but at the cost of my bearings. I had to have gone south a ways because I was back near the foot of the mountains, but aside from that, I had no idea where I was. I decided the best course of action was to climb the nearest mountain and hopefully get a vantage point from up there to tell which direction I needed to go to get to Winterhold. It was a rough climb, but at least there were no hostiles on this mountain. A herd of goats were the only souls I encountered. Once I got near the top, though, I noticed a small plume of smoke. A camp of three bandits had settled down atop this mountain. I approached, hoping to reason with them, as I was weary from the encounter with the dragon. But I’d have no such luck. They attacked, and I was forced to dispatch them with the last of my Magicka.

 

Exhausted, I sat down to make their camp my own for the night when I noticed something behind one of the tents; a stone. A Standing Stone! I approached it; it was the sign of the Lord. As I traced my finger across the etching, I felt a strange… comfort. Like I was wrapped in a blanket, or a shell. Like I was protected. I held the Stone with both hands and took it as my new sign. It was clear that as a fledging mage on her own, there was no protection I could afford to turn down.

--

The destructor has gone

December 14, 2014 at 11:11 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Tamoria
Member
Posts: 234

I  think this really stands as evidence that you are back on your game with writing! It's well thought out and a fun read, I really enjoyed it. The action really came across well and I love the dragon chase scene! I'm excited to see more writing from you, both on this front if you continue it and with those collaborations!!

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December 14, 2014 at 4:58 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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