Book Two, Part One, In Which Nerussa Sees An OId Face And Gets

  • 6th Hearth Fire


    Arissa went back to Falkreath, said she had some things to do. She’s a bit less oblivious than Rumarin. He asked me on the way over to the tower whether I’d mind introducing him to the woman I met in the library at Winterhold. Apparently he’s been thinking (must have hurt…) about trying to learn more spells. He’d tried to learn from spell tomes before, but found them too complex, I think somebody taught him the bound weapon spells, I can’t really remember. Anyway, he was hoping she’d be able to help him find a simpler guide. I didn’t quite have the heart to refuse to let him come with me after all that business with the… Dragon, and everything, so we came up here in the carriage. There was nothing suitable in the library, though, so he didn’t stay very long after that. I promised to let him know if I met any "strange" mages. Skyrim seems increasingly full of strange people, so I'm sure it won't take too long. It’s strangely quiet without him, though, there’s no other students here, yet, of course. At least there’s no snoring.


    And so I’m left with my pile of pilfered spell tomes and my thoughts. And they’re really not getting much clearer. I still need to find out my position with the Thalmor, but after, well, that business, I really don’t think there’s anyone I can safely approach. Although I suppose if and when news gets to Elenwen I won’t have to bother. Before this, there was no reason for an Altmer who escaped Helgen to be of interest to anyone much. But an Altmer who escaped Helgen and is Dragonborn? I can’t imagine that news staying in Whiterun alone.


    I’ve tried to locate references on Dragonborns in the library, but Urag said they don’t really have much in the way of non-magical history, and shouting isn’t really seen as magic, understandably. It doesn’t even exactly feel like magic, or… well, it does and it doesn’t. What I’d learned about it from my professors isn’t entirely inaccurate, to an extent it does feel brutish, lacks finesse, but… I feel like there’s potential there, like if I practice and perhaps learn more Words, perhaps there’s more to it than mere brute force. I now understand, of course, the strange wall up the mountain. I’m even starting to get a feeling that I know what it might mean. Something about… finding… something.


    The very small amount I’ve managed to find out from Urag and the other staff here, combined with what happened by the tower suggests that if I absorb another Dragon’s soul, it will allow me to understand the word, and use it. I’m unsure why the second word I came across worked first, perhaps it’s something to do with the stone? Or perhaps it’s just not always something you can choose. I’m not eager to fight another Dragon too soon, though, I’m definitely getting stronger, magically, but I was backed by several guards, three Dunmer, Rumarin and Arissa, all of whom could use ranged weapons or magic.


    Excitingly, though, I’ve learned that Calcelmo is in Markarth! Of course, if he was in any Skyrim city, it would have to be there, all that Dwemer architecture in actual daily use must be incredibly exciting (or possibly infuriating) to him. I don’t expect he knows much about Dragonborns, but he might have some ideas about refining the shouts.


    But for now, I need to return to my studies.



    6th Hearth Fire (evening)


    Can’t sleep, too agitated from finally getting the hang of the Muffle spell. I walked right up to Urag and tapped him on the shoulder before he realised I was there, and he’s got a librarian’s ears! This will be extremely useful for visiting shopkeepers after hours. Speaking of which, I should probably note down the advice Arissa gave me on all that. First and foremost, don’t be greedy. Better to steal a few hundred septims safely every time I’m in town, than to clear out a merchant’s coffers and have him either go bankrupt or buy a better lock. Most of the merchants seem to keep all their money in one place, given Skyrim appears to lack any form of banking, so it’s very tempting to just grab as much gold as one can carry, but of course they would notice, whereas if I fill one of my leather pouches, the pile looks about the same.


    Secondly, if you can’t be discreet, disguise your intentions. There’s no quiet back way out of the Bannered Mare, but if you stroll out of the front door at eleven at night, loudly singing The Age of Aggression and weaving from side to side, the guard will shush you and then go back to daydreaming about Ysolda or Amren while you slip round the back of Belethor’s. Apparently this “Thane” thing means they might overlook some bad behaviour, but that only applies in Whiterun. Thirdly, I need to get MUCH better at sneaking around before I even think of pickpocketing anyone.


    She didn’t really have any suggestions about the Thieves’ Guild, not being a member, but I’ve noticed they tend to have a few jobs available at once, and Vex and Delvin don’t seem to mind if I ask for ones in a specific city. It’s far more efficient to have two jobs in the same location, but it might also draw attention, so in future I’ll be asking for different jobs, and planning around them. I’ve no real interest in travelling back to Riften every few days, anyway. My main reason for joining the Guild was to make money for spell tomes, but I’m actually starting to enjoy the challenge. It’s certainly preferable to risking my neck with bandits, although I do need to practice my spellcasting on something.


    I’m also wondering whether perhaps it would be worth while visiting some more of these tombs and so on, seems likely there might be more word walls in them. I need to learn more about the carvings on them, they’re not like any script I’m familiar with, and I’m familiar with most. Tomorrow morning, I think I’ll work out my plan for the next week or so.



    8th Hearth Fire


    In Markarth. Will be taking the carriage to Solitude after this. Do not like this city, it’s beautiful but it’s sleazy. Good to see Calcelmo, though, he had no immediate suggestions (too wrapped up in his Dwemer studies, of course) but his nephew promised to remind him to look in his library for any relevant books. I was so pleased at having seen him that I let my guard down and walked straight into bloody Ondolemar! Literally. I think he even wobbled slightly! Always fun catching that Mer off guard, even in those circumstances… He wasn’t able to reassure me much, he’s not spoken to Elenwen recently but he agreed she was unlikely to take the news well. He actually seemed rather impressed. Called me Staril, which he hasn’t done in a long time. Obviously this wasn’t all out in the corridors of the Keep.


    Felt it was best to keep him sweet, so I agreed to sneak into some old Nord’s home to find evidence of Talos worship. Surprised myself having slightly mixed feelings about it. Talos is obviously heretical nonsense, but the more time I spend around Nords… Well, it just seems sort of harmless. And some of them are actually rather pleasant company, though I still feel more comfortable around fellow Mer, like Rumarin, and those two Dunmer in Whiterun, Jenassa and her friend… can’t remember her name, she was at the Watchtower, though, a Companion, I think. And the Redguard fellow who seems to stay at the Drunken Hunstman, Nazeem? Seems to put a lot of people off, but he’s actually quite pleasant, at least if he thinks you’re worth talking to. He’d fit right in at home.



    10th Hearth Fire


    A change of plan. Something Ondolemar said, made me think I should return to Riften to visit the Face Sculptor in the Ragged Flagon. I’m tired of wearing a hood all the time, but having been so cautious thus far means that none of the locals really knows what I look like, so a change of appearance might not be too obvious (I don’t want to raise more questions…) She’s done good work, I think, changed my hair to silver, made me look a little like I’ve spent too much time in the sun, but I actually think I look rather good. She advised me to stay indoors for a day after the treatment, so I’ll wait until this evening to head to the stables and take the carriage to Solitude. I’ve passed the time studying, I read the Invisibility tome on the way down from Markarth, and I’ve been focusing on frost spells in here – the light is poor, but I’m relatively familiar with Destruction magic, and the principles are largely familiar, so I haven’t needed to rely too much on a close reading of the text. I’ve already practiced the Invisibility – quite a popular trick in the Cistern, for obvious reasons, Sapphire even asked if I thought I could teach her to cast it.


    The ice spells, on the other hand, I tested in the Vaults and Warrens areas of the Ratway. More squatters, apparently too stupid not to attack someone in official Guild armour, or perhaps they were just that keen to keep living in filth. The Dunmer up in Windhelm complain, and I can somewhat sympathise, but really, they should probably see how some Nords in this part of the country live… Or indeed the Argonians outside their walls, but I don’t really expect either of those groups to have much interest in the other’s welfare. Anyway, where was I? Yes, the ice spells went well, although I had to switch to fire in one hand for the Nords, of course. Mostly this was in the Vaults area, the Warrens seems to be inhabited by a handful of complete loonies who mostly lock themselves away. One of them was a little more friendly, although he was mostly repeating the same few phrases about The War. One apparently thought I would make an excellent supper, and came out of his cell to try and debone me. After I’d put him out of his misery, I realised there was someone standing in the shadows of the soldier’s little room. Dagri’lon. Not even going to try to explain who he was, but I’d say he definitely fits Rumarin’s bill of “unconventional mages in sewers.” Suspect he didn’t think I’d find someone who fit it quite so literally, somehow. 


    So, tonight I shall travel to Solitude, spend the night in the “Winking Skeever” (apparently) and in the morning I’ll look for this Khajiit Olivia wanted me to find. Seems a bit of a fool’s errand, he’s probably long dead, but her story did intrigue me, and I actually rather liked her.  Hopefully the new face will mean I don’t have to be too cautious, although the Embassy is in that area, so there’s no sense being foolish. I’m told there’s a shop in Solitude specialising in clothing, so perhaps I can find something warm to wear that’s a little less… rugged than these furs, although they’re certainly excellent for snoozing in the carriage, and in inns with less comfortable beds.


    Table of Contents


  • Gnewna
    Gnewna   ·  August 2, 2015
    Heh, thank you! I can never resist trying to be funny, so it's nice to know it works, at least sometimes ;)
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  August 2, 2015
    There's so many little snippits in your work which amuses me.
    Apparently he’s been thinking (must have hurt…)
    I walked right up to Urag and tapped him on the shoulder before he realised I was there, and he’s got a librarian’s ears!
    A nic...  more
  • Gnewna
    Gnewna   ·  August 2, 2015
    Hehe, she's being kinda mean about poor Rumarin, huh? Yeah, ugh, Ondolemar, what a sod.
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  August 2, 2015
    Nice to see this up and great to revisit an earlier form of Nerussa. I had missed her musings here. Hehe, Ondolemar, Ondolemar, Ondolemar. She was very nice to him, but as you said, gotta keep him on your sweet side.