Fredas, 31st Frostfall, 4E 201 & Loredas, 1st Sun’s Dusk, 4E 201

Skyrim quests: The Staff of Magus, The Eye of Magnus.

Every Sentinel was asleep within a mile of leaving Winterhold. I allowed myself to relax to the brink of sleep. Although Meeko was not with me, Hashire was almost as good at detecting danger and giving the alarm.

When we arrived in Morthal, The Sentinels climbed wearily down from the carriage.

  • Inigo: Give me a minute or two, and I will be as alert as ever.
  • Argis: The same for me.
  • Celestine: Where are we?
  • Kharjo: What day is it?
  • Wulf: Cut the jokes and tell me seriously, are you up to walking to Labyrinthian and facing whatever is inside?
  • Argis: Walking?
  • Wulf: It is not that far, and we do not know how safe the horses will be tethered in that vast complex. Also, walking will keep you more alert than sitting on a saddle getting rocked to sleep!
  • Argis: I am ready.
  • Celestine: Me too.
  • Inigo: Me as well.
  • Kharjo: This one is ready.
  • Wulf: Then let’s get going!

The snow fell heavily at first but cleared as we went.

The roads were empty. It was strange as I had become used to many pilgrims travelling in large groups.

We left the road and headed diagonally to Labyrinthian

It soon came into view.

  • Argis: Are we there already?
  • Wulf: Not really. We will have to walk around the perimeter to find one of the entrances to the complex. Then we have to figure out which of the many buildings is the one we want.
  • Celestine: Your coin helped at Mzulft.
  • Wulf: I don’t think we can rely on it all the time.
  • Argis: What are the different buildings?
  • Wulf: One is a labyrinth. Hence the name of the complex. It is a maze that all Arch-Mages of the College had to survive before taking office. Your sword and bow would not do you much good if you ever entered it. It was meant to test prowess in the different Schools of Magicka.
  • Celestine: They don’t use it any more. I don’t think Savos had to do the test.
  • Argis: Is there a main building?
  • Wulf: When in use, the complex was a city called Bromjunaar. It was the capital of Skyrim when the Dragon Cult ruled. The main building leads to the ruins of that city. The whole place was abandoned when mortals won the Dragon War.
  • Celestine: Can we expect to encounter a Dragon Priest?
  • Wulf: I think there are most likely several throughout the complex.
  • Kharjo: Is there much treasure?
  • Wulf: One of the most sought-after treasures on Nirn is supposed to be in the complex somewhere.  It is called Glamoril, and like Magnus’ Staff, it is hard to differentiate its actual capabilities from excessive speculation. Shalidor, probably the most powerful mortal mage in history, became obsessed with its creation and even made a deal with Sheogorath to gain the knowledge he needed. It is unknown if he ever completed it and what it is. It might not be a physical object at all but a dweomer.
  • Inigo: I wonder how many mages have died in the pursuit of Glamoril?
  • Wulf: I am certain Savos Aren watched several mages die here, but I can only speculate on what they were seeking.
  • Celestine: They might not have been looking for The Staff of Magus but stumbled upon it.
  • Wulf: Hopefully, we get some answers as well as the staff.

We had to walk a fair distance around the perimeter before we reached one of the two unblocked entrances to Labyrinthian. The other one is almost directly across, and although it provides a significant shortcut for traders and pilgrims, very few groups dare to risk the many hazards of the complex. Wisely, most walk or ride the long way around.

As soon as we entered the complex, we were set upon by a menagerie. Trolls, wolves, skeletons and Draugr fought each other as well as us.

While fighting, I noticed some glowing figures at one of the entrances. They did not join the melees, so I assumed they were not hostile.

After all the hostiles were dispensed with, we made our way to the glowing entities.

They weren’t ghosts or spirits but a projection of six mortals from a past event. One of them was a young Savos Aren. I put my hand up to forestall any questions from The Sentinels. I wanted to listen to the conversation. At first, I did not know all of their names. They were gathered as we travelled through Labyrinthian.

  • Savos: Come on, we’re finally here! Let’s not waste any more time!
  • Takes-In-Light: Are we truly sure this is a good idea?
  • Atmah: We’ll be back at the College before anyone even knows we’re gone.
  • Girduin: You should care about that since you’re the Arch-Mage’s favourite!
  • Savos: Don’t forget, this whole idea was Atmah’s to begin with.
  • Hafnar: Let’s just get inside, see what’s in there.

The scene faded, but before The Sentinels bombarded me with questions, the ghost of Savos spoke to me.

“It would seem I’m bound to this place. The bitter irony of it all… my greatest failure, and even in death, I can’t escape it.”

I asked, “Is this where we will find the Staff of Magus?”

There was no response. I don’t think Savos had any intention other than to tell the story of what happened.

He continued, “I never meant for any of what happened here. I tried to seal it up and lock it away forever. But now it all comes out again…”

The ghost of Savos faded, and the questions began.

  • Argis: You never mentioned ghosts!
  • Wulf: The first six were not ghosts. It was a projection of a past event. Some people call the phenomena a ‘psychic impression’.
  • Celestine: But the older Savos was a ghost?
  • Wulf: Yes. He did not answer my question about the staff through choice.
  • Inigo: How can we see things that happened in the past?
  • Wulf: I have read several accounts of similar occurrences. This is speculation, but I believe Savos wants us to know the story. I think his ghost created the projection.
  • Kharjo: But that one seemed ashamed of this story?
  • Wulf: Think of it as a deathbed confession.
  • Inigo: An after-deathbed confession.
  • Argis: Do you think we will see more of these projections?
  • Wulf: Logically, yes. We have only heard the beginning of the story.
  • Argis: As long as they just don’t appear out of thin air and yell, ‘Boo!’.
  • Celestine: Thanks to the projection, we know we are in front of the correct entrance. How do we get inside?
  • Wulf: I realised something just then. I thought Savos Aren was an apprentice when Artaeum, the Psijic Order island, first vanished. By the clothing they were wearing, it must have been when the island disappeared for the second time just over one hundred years ago.
  • Celestine: When did it reappear?
  • Wulf: I think it must be very recently, and that is why nobody has heard from them till now.

I walked up to the double doors and could see no lock. In the centre was a stylised head of a dragon.

  • Wulf: Remember that torc I showed you. The one that Savos gave to Mirabelle to pass onto me.
  • Celestine: Is that our way into the building?
  • Argis: Yes, and I know how to use it. I have seen knockers before!
  • Inigo: What has your breast fixation got to do with getting into Labyrinthian?
  • Wulf: Argis is correct. Watch!

When I placed the torc with its open end up near the dragon’s mouth, it automatically locked into place and could pivot.

I said to The Sentinels, “Three is the most common number of knocks to request entry in all civilisations. Gather close. I have a feeling this is not an ordinary door.”

I knocked three times, and we were teleported inside the building.

  • Argis: You were worried about us staying awake. Any more surprises like that, and I won’t sleep for a week!
  • Inigo: There are a lot of skeletons. Who were they?
  • Wulf: Mortals who attacked Bromjunaar during the Dragon War.
  • Inigo: Did they conquer it?
  • Wulf: No. The city thrived till the dragon’s lost. Then it was voluntarily abandoned.
  • Argis: Are we going to be searching the entire city for the staff?
  • Wulf: I doubt it. I think we just follow the projections. Savos will be our guide.
  • Celestine: You always sound so positive that your gut feelings and intuition are correct.
  • Wulf: I have to be. Otherwise, I might get paralysed by indecision.

As we approached the doors opposite the entrance, another projection appeared before us.

  • Elvali: I can’t believe we’re doing this.
  • Savos: Can you imagine the looks on their faces when we come back?
  • Hafnar: You keep talking like you’re sure we’ll find something useful in here.
  • Girduin: Given the history of this place, it’s more than likely there’s still some amount of power here.
  • Savos: Enchanted weapons, tomes of ancient knowledge, Shalidor’s secrets themselves… who knows what we could find!
  • Takes-In-Light: And what if… What if things are guarding this place?
  • Atmah: Against six College-trained mages? I think we’ll be fine.

Savos’ ghost continued his narration.

“It was Atmah’s idea to come here, at first. She talked me into it, and I convinced the others. We were sure we’d find it all here, hidden away from time. Power, knowledge… All the things we didn’t want to wait for. We thought it would be so simple.”

Savos faded away.

  • Inigo: You warned Master Neloth’s apprentice that his eagerness would get him in trouble.
  • Wulf: Yes, I urged Talvas to come to the College where they at least try and deal with young mages and their impatience.
  • Celestine: Every Apprentice thinks they are capable of learning quicker than the pace dictated by the teachers. The smart ones realise that the senior mages only got to be old by being careful.
  • Wulf: The need for patience is emphasised.
  • Celestine: Many incidences of what happened to impatient students were given. But you will still have the few who think they are better than the ones who perished. They convince themselves they won’t make the same mistakes.
  • Kharjo: A harsh lesson was needed to convince that dead one of the truthfulness taught! Khajiit are taught such things from kittens. As you know, cats are curious and full of confidence. We learn to climb easier trees before getting stuck up big ones!
  • Wulf: Unfortunately, Savos was more than stuck. It seems he fell a long way.

Through a door was a short corridor that ended in a lowered portcullis with a lever to raise it. The portcullis barred access to a large cavern.

  • Wulf: Can you hear that?
  • Kharjo: Of course. This one has big ears!
  • Inigo: Skeletons. Lots of them.
  • Wulf: There is something unusual about the entrance to the large cavern. Any guesses?
  • Celestine: It has a bit of a corridor before the portcullis.
  • Wulf: It is designed to ensure a large number of people can’t quickly enter. Watch what happens.

I pulled the lever, and the portcullis was raised for only a few seconds before dropping back down.

  • Wulf: Let’s get in line close to the portcullis. Argis will then pull the lever, and we will rush in as quickly as possible.
  • Argis: I might not make it and miss out on the fighting!
  • Inigo: They are only skeletons. You can shoot them through the bars with that giant bow you carry.
  • Argis: Next time we see giant spiders, you can shoot them with your bow.
  • Inigo: It is not as much fun, is it?
  • Argis: Not even close.

We got in line, and Argis pulled the lever. We rushed in, but he didn’t beat the portcullis dropping.

Then an undead Dovah rose from its grave.

Argis moaned, “Unfair. An undead dragon, and I don’t even get to whack it once!”

Amongst the skeletons were some Lich. They summoned dozens of bone spiders.

I ignored all other foes and headed for the dragon.

I was unsure if Dragonrend would work on an undead Dovah. It is supposed to make them contemplate their mortality which is so foreign a concept they become confused and earthbound. An undead Dovah has had plenty of time to consider their mortality!

Dragonrend did work, and I soon disposed of the abomination. Of course, there was no soul to be absorbed!

The skeletons were proving to be more of a problem than expected. Apart from the Lich aiding them, several were mages of not inconsiderable talent.

We eventually prevailed and moved to the portcullis.

  • Wulf: Should we let Argis join us?
  • Celestine: I vote yes because he is handy to hide behind when arrows are heading our way.
  • Kharjo: Sorry, we do not allow Nords in Bromjunaar. That one will have to set up his caravan outside the gates.
  • Argis: Very funny. Have you ever had your tail tied into a knot?

I pulled the lever and let Argis rejoin us.

I looked at the dragon and said, “That is a new one on me and something I wish I had never encountered. It is bad enough I take their souls. His fate might even be worse.”

We exited the large cavern then listened to another projection.

  • Elvali: We… we have to go back. We can’t leave Girduin…
  • Hafnar: We barely made it out alive, and you want to go back in?
  • Atmah: It’s too late. There isn’t enough of him left to go back in after.
  • Takes-In-Light: Gods, what have we done?
  • Savos: We can’t go back. We might as well go forward. We can still do this.
  • Atmah: Savos is right. We can make it if we just stay alert.

Savos’ ghost added, “Girduin died first. It happened so fast, none of us had a chance to react. One moment we joked about what we’d find below. The next, he’d been ripped in half. And then we were all fighting to survive. None of us was prepared. It was amazing the rest of us survived. When it was over, Atmah, Hafnar and I stared, pale-faced, at one another, unwilling to admit we’d made a terrible mistake. We could have turned back. It could have ended there. But we kept going.”

  • Kharjo: This one doesn’t think turning back was an option.
  • Inigo: They would have to run through the cavern with the undead dragon again.
  • Celestine: The chances of at least one more being killed was very high. They did not know the odds of that happening if they kept going.
  • Argis: I think everybody in the same situation would keep going.

In the centre of the room was a plinth with an inscription written in Dovahzul. On the floor in front of the plinth was a torc. It was similar to the one I had used to gain entry. I picked it up and inspected it.

  • Celestine: Is that the same torc?
  • Wulf: I am one hundred per cent certain it is. It has scratches in the same place, and its patina is identical.
  • Kharjo: This one will say gobblygook. Do not try and explain. This one’s whiskers will curl up.
  • Argis: It is obvious it teleported here when we teleported inside.
  • Wulf: Celestine, is this the same Argis that accompanied you from Silverpeak Lodge?
  • Celestine: It could be a doppelganger.
  • Inigo: Touch it with soap. If it screams, we will know it is the real Argis.
  • Argis: Hey, not fair! I bathed recently. Well, not that long ago.

I read the inscription to The Sentinels,

  • Hail All – Brave City Bromjunaar
  • Forever These Walls Shall Stand
  • May Enemies See Her Majesty
  • May All Quake to Behold Her

We proceeded through another door and found ourselves heading down.

As we approached an ice-covered door, a deep and sinister voice spoke Dovahzul.

“Wo meyz wah dii vul junaar?”

All of my Magicka was instantly drained. I looked at Celestine, and the shock on her face told me the same had happened to her.

  • Wulf: Well, that confirms we have a Dragon Priest somewhere in Bromjunaar.
  • Celestine: My Magicka was stolen! I can cast spells that allow me to drain another mage’s Magicka, but they have to be in the line of sight. How could the Dragon Priest do it remotely?
  • Wulf: He has the Staff of Magnus.
  • Celestine: Oh, pooh!
  • Inigo: What did he say?
  • Wulf: Who comes to my dark kingdom?
  • Inigo: Tell him we are just looking for a missing Sweetroll.
  • Celestine: Wulf, the dweomer you put on my robes works very well. My Magicka reserves will be normal soon.

I inspected the door then said to The Sentinels, “This icy doorway is similar to what you would find in the labyrinth. Only magic can open it. Draw your weapons. We don’t know what will come through when I open it.”

When everybody had their weapons ready, I cast Incinerate on the door.

It opened, and a spectre stepped through.

We soon turned it into a puddle of ectoplasm.

We walked through the door into a chasm with many connecting walkways.

The Dragon Priest said, “Nivahriin muz fent siiv nid aaz het.”

Our Magicka drained again.

  • Wulf: The message from our friendly Dragon Priest is, ‘Cowardly men shall find no mercy here.’
  • Kharjo: What about scaredy-cats?
  • Celestine: If he steals my Magicka one more, I will kick him in the wedding tackle!
  • Wulf: There is only one place you could have learned that term. What have you and Rigmor been discussing?
  • Celestine: The usual stuff.
  • Inigo: I am sure any discussion on gonads is fascinating. However, you might want to know the air stinks of many Draugr.
  • Wulf: Be careful. They are the guards of a Dragon Priest, so they will probably use the Thu’um. You don’t want Unrelenting Force to topple you into the chasm.
  • Inigo: Can you imagine the racket Argis would make when he hit bottom!
  • Kharjo: That one would probably ring like a bell.

I was as vulnerable as The Sentinels because there is no dweomer to protect against the Thu’um.

Inigo helped me take down a powerful Draugr then inspected one of his short swords.

“My friend, I thought I had put a nick in Righty! But she is OK!”


“I wanted to name my swords, but after days of thought and worry, I decided that Lefty and Righty are good enough.”

“And they say I am weird?”

After battling many powerful Draugr, we finally left the maze of walkways.

The Dragon Priest said, “You do not answer… Must I use this guttural language of yours?”

I replied, “Joor dreh ni uth tinvaak nol aan Dovah!”

There was no reply.

  • Kharjo: What did that one tell the evil one?
  • Wulf: Please don’t eat me, Great Lord. Khajiit are much tastier!
  • Kharjo: This one is not tricked. ‘Tinvaak’ means talk. ‘Dovah’ means dragon.
  • Inigo: My friend, that is why you are losing miserably in your prank wars with the children. You underestimate your opponents.
  • Wulf: It is hard to accept those cute little people could be so devious and evil!
  • Celestine: What did you tell the Magicka thief?
  • Wulf: Mortals do not order dragons to talk.
  • Argis: But he is not a mortal?
  • Wulf: He used to be. The Dragon Priests were subservient to the point of grovelling to their dragon masters, no, their gods.
  • Inigo: You have given him something to ponder.
  • Wulf: Yes, and maybe he will be too busy doing that to keep taking our Magicka.
  • Celestine: There could be an interesting mystery to ponder.
  • Wulf: If he thinks I am Savos, it will be a fascinating mystery.
  • Argis: What mystery are you two being mysterious about?
  • Wulf: We await further evidence, and then we will tell you.
  • Kharjo: This one is in no great hurry to listen to gobblygook mystery!
  • Argis: Riddle’Thar would not be pleased with your lack of curiosity.
  • Inigo: A Nord lecturing on Riddle’Thar? I must still be consuming large amounts of Skooma!

Another Draugr attacked.

It was going to be a long day if we had to battle them every few feet!

Several caverns and tunnels later, the Dragon Priest asked, “Have you returned, Aren? My old friend?”

“You don’t know who walks your halls? You are weaker than I thought!”

  • Celestine: Still not conclusive proof.
  • Wulf: I agree. You could argue either way.
  • Inigo: I am sure your mystery is worth discussing but not when freezing cold water surrounds my nether regions.
  • Kharjo: This one agrees. If they shrink any more, this one will become a Nord.
  • Argis: If my teeth weren’t chattering, I would think of a comeback.
  • Wulf: I am sure you will think of something within the next week or so.
  • Celestine: Drained again. How much Magicka can Magnus’ Staff hold?
  • Wulf: I don’t know, but the closest another mortal has been to me has fifty per cent of my Magicka reserves. That mortal is you.
  • Celestine: And I had the most Magicka reserves by far when at the College. Much more than any of the Master Mages.
  • Wulf: He has already stored dozens the amount of Magicka in the staff than the average Mage can physically.
  • Inigo: Hello, reminder, cold testicles!

We were soon in water that was only knee-deep, which was a relief to Inigo.

Inigo was quick to attack all enemies. I know he dislikes dark crypts full of Draugr and was probably eager to leave Labyrinthian.

Just as a powerful Skeleton mage attacked, the Dragon Priest asked, “Do you seek to finish that which you could not?”

I did not bother replying but downed the enemy and continued.

We came to another cavern with a shallow stream.

  • Inigo: Can you hear them?
  • Celestine: Yes, I can.
  • Argis: I have little ears and a big helm over my head. What can you hear?
  • Wulf: Trolls.
  • Argis: Well, let’s make them dead trolls.

I zapped one troll then Inigo finished it with his trademark double sword slice and dice.

The other trolls were distant but very noisy. I pointed to what looked like a small keep ahead with skeletons on its ramparts.

As we approached the keep, the Dragon Priest said, “You only face failure once more!”

“Nahlot joor!”

  • Inigo: Did you just tell him to shut up?
  • Wulf: I said, ‘Silence, mortal!’. I want him to keep worrying about who he faces.
  • Celestine: He is starting to piss me off with the Magicka draining crap!
  • Kharjo: This one thinks we have two doppelgangers. That one never swears.
  • Celestine: I swear all the time but not out loud. Just in my head.
  • Kharjo: Argis does that, but it echoes inside that one’s enormous head.
  • Argis: Now I have to think of another comeback. They will be good that I promise you!
  • Inigo: They don’t work as well a week after the insult.
  • Argis: Kharjo can deliver the insult again, so I can then counter with my masterpiece.

We decided to ignore the other trolls who were down a side passage.

Arrows and Lightening took care of the skeletons on the ramparts.

  • Inigo: My friend, why do they have a lever to lower the bars outside the keep?
  • Wulf: I have no idea. I have encountered such a thing before and have put that question into my WTFK pile.
  • Inigo: WTFK?
  • Wulf: Who the fuck knows.
  • Kharjo: This one thinks that is an excellent idea.
  • Celestine: Rigmor’s ‘Whatever!’ also works.
  • Inigo: Rigmor, look. They have put a lever outside of the keep’s gate!
  • Celestine: Whatever!
  • Wulf: She uses ‘whatever’ in all sorts of ways. For instance, when I think I have won an argument, she will dismiss me with it. I then start thinking, ‘Did I win it or not?’
  • Celestine: Wulf, you don’t argue with Rigmor! If she wants her way, she just bats her eyelids and smiles. The mighty Dragonborn then meekly surrenders.

As we approached the raised bars, our undead friend asked, “You… you are not Aren, are you? Has he sent you in his place?”

“I am Ysmir, Dragon of the North. The defeater of Alduin and a son of Akatosh. What is your name, insolent one?”

“You are Dovahkiin? I am Morokei, and I do not bow to half-breeds. You will die like any other mortal.”

“I have defeated many of your kind, including Miraak. He was immeasurably more powerful than you. I defeated Alduin, the mightiest of the Dov. Your words are hollow, and your doom approaches by my side. Watch and see how pathetic your seizure of my Magicka is.”

Within seconds of my Magicka being drained, I cast Lightening of such strength it would have brought down a dragon. The skeleton it hit exploded into bone fragments.

I pulled the lever, and the bars lowered, then we continued onwards.

We approached a cemetery where some rare denizens flew amongst the headstones.

I signalled for quiet then aimed at the Wispmother.

The arrow hit her midsection.

When she died, so did the Wisps she controlled.

I picked up several of the Wisp Cores. They are a hard-to-find alchemy ingredient.

A central cairn had a plaque in Dovahzul. I read it to The Sentinels.

“Here lies the hallowed dead of Bromjunaar. May ever their souls be their own.”

  • Wulf: The only way you can ensure ‘their souls be their own’ is via Arkay. The residents of this city abandoned The Divines for the celestial sons of one Divine.
  • Celestine: Like the Alessian Order abandoned the religion created by their Goddess.
  • Inigo: Religion does not need to make sense.
  • Wulf: There is no hope of that ever happening!

We came to another magic locked door. This one was covered in fire.

Morokei said, “Did he warn you that your own power would be your undoing? That it would only serve to strengthen me?”

“Morokei means glorious. You are gloriously stupid. Magic is only part of my power! I have demonstrated how fleeting the draining of my Magicka was. But even without magic, you have no answer to the Thu’um or my martial prowess. Aren was a student, and he thwarted you. What chance do you have against me?”

I told The Sentinels, “Same as before. I will open the door with a spell. Get ready to kill whatever comes through.”

I cast Ice Spear.

The being that attacked us lasted mere seconds.

Not far past that door, we watched another projection.

  • Savos: Come on, we can’t stop now. We have to keep moving!
  • Atmah: Where’s Elvali? She was right behind me.
  • Hafnar: Dead. Something grabbed her from behind. Gone before I could do anything.
  • Takes-In-Light: This is insanity. We never should’ve come here.
  • Atmah: You’re right. This is all my fault. Should we turn around, head back?
  • Hafnar: I don’t think going back is a good idea.
  • Savos: Going back would be the end of all of us. We keep pushing forward, and we’ll make it. We will!
  • Atmah: Come on, you can make it. Let’s go.

Savos’ ghost said, “Elvali died here. I don’t even remember what killed her. It could have been any of the countless faceless horrors. I think she was glad in that final moment. Hafnar was covered in blood, but his stupid Nord pride wouldn’t let him admit defeat. I… I don’t know why I pressed the others on, convinced them to keep going. ‘If we can just make it through, it’ll all be worth it’, I told them. And the fools believed the words I myself didn’t trust.”

Savos faded, and I found myself getting angry at his self-recrimination.

  • Celestine: How could they go back? They would not all have made it through the Draugr and the undead dragon. They had no choice but to keep going and hope the worst was behind them.
  • Argis: Nothing would be gained by returning the way they came. He is stupid to blame himself for making the only sensible choice.
  • Wulf: They say with death comes wisdom. Perhaps when he has finished his haunting, his eternal soul will realise that he did nothing wrong except get in way over his head.
  • Celestine: We have only seen his guilt over persuading the others to this point. The other students ignored the warnings of the College and willingly put themselves at risk. He did not force them to come! He is not to blame for their decision.
  • Wulf: We still don’t know the ending. Maybe his guilt comes from something else other than persuading them to continue?
  • Inigo: I think I smell Draugr, but I am not sure.
  • Kharjo: This one also thinks something strange is approaching.

I already had a first in this place in the form of an undead dragon. Now we encountered another first, a transparent Draugr.

  • Argis: What is that?
  • Wulf: A Draugr.

I inspected its weapon.

  • Wulf: Its sword drains stamina.
  • Inigo: Ignore the see-through bit if we encounter more like it. It was no more challenging than other Draugr.
  • Celestine: I wouldn’t say I like the blue. I wonder if it comes in different colours?
  • Inigo: Blue is beautiful!
  • Celestine: On a handsome Khajiit maybe, but I think a Draugr could do better. Possibly red would be more in keeping with their intent.

The room where we witnessed the latest projection had a spiral stairway blocked by rubble. That decided where to go next. We had no choice but to head down the tunnel from where the weird Draugr had come.

It was apparent we were getting close to Morokei when he said, “Come. Face your end!”

I did not bother replying.

We fought and destroyed many transparent Draugr and even transparent war dogs.

On one occasion, Morokei drained our Magicka silently.

  • Celestine: Well, that answers that question. He does not have to speak to drain.
  • Wulf: I think we can also say the other question is answered.
  • Argis: Are you going to tell us finally?
  • Celestine: We thought Morokei believed we were Savos from the very beginning.
  • Wulf: And since he spoke Dovahzul, that would indicate he thought Savos could understand and speak it.
  • Inigo: But it seems he did not know who it was who entered this place.
  • Wulf: He simply reverted to his native language, Dovahzul.
  • Celestine: Later on, Morokei suspected Wulf was Savos and acknowledged that Savos did not understand Dovahzul.
  • Kharjo: Ahh, that is when he switched to Tamrielic.
  • Argis: You all overthink. That can’t be good for you.

We came to a Word Wall. It taught the Word of Power ‘Tiid,” which means time. It is the first Word in the Slow Time Shout. I already knew it and the Shout.

  • Wulf: In Dovahzul the Word Wall reads, ‘Vegunthar wahlaan qethsegol bormahil vahrukt Hungunthar tiid naak kriaan se junnesejer kroniid se Dunkreath.’
  • Argis: I recognise a few Nord names.
  • Wulf: Ancient ones. It means, ‘Vegunthar raised this stone in his father’s memory, Hungunthar Time-Eater, slayer of the Kings of the East, conqueror of Dunkreath.’
  • Inigo: These are names and places unfamiliar to me.
  • Wulf: I would say Hungunthar was a hero of the Dragon Cult. Much of their culture was destroyed after the Dragon War. Nords tend to do that. For instance, there is very little of the Snow Elf culture left intact. I believe Dunkreath is a town later called Strond in Morrowind.
  • Celestine: There is a saying that goes, ‘The victors write history.’
  • Wulf: That is why you have to sort out propaganda from fact. The victorious leaders can’t very well admit lies and exaggerations on the scale that seems to be the norm when stirring up righteous hate of the enemy.
  • Inigo: That is why you dislike that book on Saarthal. It offered an excuse for the genocide of the Falmer while admitting a lot is still unknown about the Night of Tears.
  • Wulf: I am sure the Falmer perspective would be far different.

Not far from the Word Wall was a row of columns.

I said, “I bet there are a lot of enemies hiding here. Let’s just get rid of them quickly. I think we are very close to the end.”

There were numerous enemies, but it did not take long before we finished off the last of them.

In the next room, we watched another projection.

  • Atmah: We shouldn’t have left her there to die!
  • Savos: What else could we do? Stay there and die with her? She refused to go on, and we didn’t have a choice!
  • Hafnar: This is it; you know. Through this door. Can you feel it?
  • Atmah: We’re not going to make it, are we?
  • Hafnar: We stay together, no matter what. Do you agree?
  • Atmah: I’ll be right with you.
  • Savos: Agreed. We all stay together.

Savos’ ghost said, “There were only three of us left. Takes-In-Light sat down and gave up, and we left her there to die. I have no idea what killed her, but I’m sure something did. Atmah cried to herself. Hafnar wouldn’t look at either of us. And I kept telling them it would be all right. I was in charge now. I pushed them on, insisting it would be worse to try and go back. What happened after was my fault. All mine! We all knew this was the end. Without even opening the door, we knew what was beyond would kill us. None of our spells were potent enough. None of our wills were strong enough. ‘No matter what, we stay together!’, Hafnar said. I looked at him in the eyes and lied to him. ‘Yes, we will stay together and leave together.’, I assured him.”

  • Wulf: I think Savos is bending the truth a bit. He might even believe his lie so he can convince himself he planned whatever happened next.
  • Celestine: I agree. How could he make a plan in this room without knowing what is in the next? They might suspect what is in store, but they haven’t hinted what it might be in any of these projections.
  • Argis: They still had to go forward. They lost three on the way to this room. The last three would probably all die going back the same way.
  • Kharjo: The Argonian gave up on life. This one finds that disturbing.
  • Wulf: Imagine being so discouraged that suicide seems a valid option.
  • Celestine: Some people, and societies, harshly judge people who choose that path. They speak from ignorance. When learning to be a healer, the Restoration School of Magicka, we learned a lot about the body’s parts and functions. But sadness, more accurately despair, like that which Takes-In-Light felt, is not fixable with magic or potions or pills. Not with what we know now. Who knows if lost knowledge might offer a solution?
  • Inigo: I tried to kill myself once. I have told Wulf the story, but maybe I should tell all of you one day soon. Then you can better understand somebody like Takes-In-Light and the thought process that leads to such action.
  • Argis: That would be good. I have known many who took that path after surviving battles and wars. Maybe if they spoke about what ailed them or learned to recognise something is troubling them, it would not happen so often?

I told The Sentinels, “Stay here. I want to approach the door and see if I can detect anything.”

I walked up to the door and stood still.

Nothing! There was no sound, no sense of dread or power, or any other clue as to what might be on the other side.

I walked back.

  • Wulf: I am going in alone. No protests. No arguments. I don’t want another Savos Aren if I can avoid it.
  • Celestine: Surely, it is wise to have a mage with you?
  • Wulf: I want to talk with Morokei, and the chances of that happening will improve if I enter alone.
  • Inigo: You are not one for taking unnecessary chances. I will wait.
  • Argis: I, too, will wait for your triumph.
  • Kharjo: This one will wait. But do not ask Khajiit to stand still or tail to cease swishing from side to side!
  • Celestine: I will stay. I wish I had a tail to swish!
  • Wulf: I am confident. I do not think possession of Magnus’ Staff will help Morokei at all. He is just another Dragon Priest.

I opened the door to a large chamber.

Two beams of energy emanated from the spirits of Hafnar and Atmah. The energy was used to maintain a containment barrier around Morokei.

I climbed some steps and approached the spirit of Atmah. I had the distinct feeling she knew I was there.

I climbed some more steps and approached the spirit of Hafnar. I was positive that he also knew I was there.

I needed the Staff of Magnus, but it was stuck inside the containment barrier with Morokei. I decided to inspect the barrier up close. I brought forth my Dovah then made my way to Morokei.

The Dragon Priest did not respond to my presence until I was almost touching the barrier. He then turned and stared at me.

I tried to decipher what I was seeing. I soon concluded that a Master level of Necromancy was needed to accomplish what Savos had managed. This is what I initially believed was the chain of events. 

The three mages entered and were confronted by Morokei. In the ensuing battle, Hafnar and Atmah were slain. Savos enthralled their ghosts, their spirits. He made them cast a containment barrier using unlimited Magicka drawn from Aetherius, where their souls are. I have heard of this being done several times, including to volunteer Blades who guard the remains of Tiber Septim. In death, those Blades maintain a shield around his tomb. In death, these two mages of the College keep a containment barrier around Morokei.

There would be few necromancers alive capable of such a spell. There is one less with the death of Savos Aren.

After many boasts and insults as we travelled through Labyrinthian, Morokei was silent. He knew I was his doom.

“Morokei, nu hi koraav Bormahu wahl zu’u Dov hin nil rot vonun!”  (Morokei, now you see Akatosh made me Dov your empty words vanish!)

There was no reply.

“Forgive me for using this guttural language. After all, it is that used by those who defeated you and your gods. Am I your god, Morokei? Other Dov recognise me as a Son of Akatosh and not a half-breed so I am your god! No matter, it is time you were sent to The Void.”

I did not know if what I was about to do would release the souls of Hafnar and Atmah to a peaceful afterlife. Maybe a Priest of Arkay can tell me one day.

My theory was that the Destruction dweomer on my bow would do enough damage with electricity to interrupt the Magicka stream that maintained the containment barrier.

I aimed and let loose an arrow. It hit Hafnar’s spirit.

Not only did it interrupt the Magicka stream, but it also destroyed the spirit’s connection to Nirn. Hopefully, Hafnar’s soul was freed.

I aimed at Atmah and repeated the process.

Both energy streams were gone. Morokei was free.

Morokei slowly backed away while casting his best Destruction spells at me. They were ineffective.

He drained my Magicka, and my Dovah laughed.

“I can kill you with Thu’um or sword. You are powerless to stop me!”

A beam shot from Magnus’ Staff that started to absorb my life force. It would kill an unprotected mortal in seconds, but I could withstand it for hours.

“I tire of this game. Divines have mercy on your soul.”

With all my strength, I struck Morokei with my sword. He turned to dust. His armour and the Staff of Magnus clattered to the floor.

I picked up the Staff of Magus. Its primary purpose is to absorb and store Magicka. It was the perfect tool for dealing with the Eye of Magnus. Its ability to absorb lifeforce was not an effective weapon against somebody with rudimentary protection dweomer. The staff did allow any spell cast to be far more powerful.

I used my Thu’um, “Sentinels, to me!”

They came running but didn’t immediately ask questions. The Sentinels knew I would address them as soon as I got my thoughts together. I let them inspect Morokei, and when they were finished, they stood patiently and waited for me to say something.

  • Wulf: As you can see, I have the Staff of Magnus and Morokei is destroyed.
  • Celestine: Is it as powerful as the legends claim?
  • Wulf: Magnus’ spells used a phenomenal amount of Magicka. This staff stores enough Magicka to cater to his needs. It can absorb lifeforce, and it does improve the power of cast spells, but it is not what some legends claim.
  • Inigo: What do you think happened here?
  • Wulf: Morokei killed Hafnar and Atmah. Savos enthralled their souls, so they were ghosts under his control. His undead slaves had a connection to Aetherius and limitless Magicka. With it, they maintained a barrier around Morokei, thereby imprisoning him indefinitely.
  • Celestine: I have heard of this dweomer. If his friends did not volunteer, Savos decided to risk their souls to keep Morokei here.
  • Wulf: I don’t know if they had agreed to the solution or not. I doubt that such a rare necromancy dweomer was known by all three. I am beginning to think Savos planned it before they entered.
  • Kharjo: Why didn’t the evil one use the staff to destroy the barrier?
  • Wulf: The barrier looked and felt different than those that surround the Eye. I will need to research to understand why it was resistant to the Magicka absorption of the staff.
  • Inigo: I think we should keep going and see if Savos has any more to say.
  • Wulf: Yes, let him finish his story before I finish mine. But wait, I want Celestine to hold the instrument of a god.
  • Celestine: Wulf! You are not a god, and I am not a Lusty Argonian Maid. Not only that, Rigmor would kill me!
  • Inigo: Sarcasm earlier and now a puerile joke based on innuendo. Celestine might be possessed!

I handed the giggling Celestine the Staff of Magnus. Her face lit up with a giant smile as she studied it closely. After a few minutes, she gave it back and said a silent, “Thank you.”

There was an exit to the cavern far to the left of the entry we had used. When we opened the door and entered a short tunnel, a projection appeared.

Young Savos’ projection said, “… I’m sorry, friends. I’m so sorry! I had no choice! It was the only way to make sure that monster never escaped! I promise you that I’ll never let this happen again! I’ll seal this whole place away…”

The projection faded. Savos’ ghost appeared then said, “I had no choice, don’t you see? I had to leave them behind, had to sacrifice them so I could make it out alive. If we’d all died there and we’d let the thing into the world, who knows what might have happened? That’s how I consoled myself for years after I’d sealed this place shut and vowed never to let anyone open it. Now you’ve put it all to rest, but it can’t undo my mistakes. They can never be undone…”

Savos faded away, and I knew what confusion his words would create.

  • Argis: He says he sacrificed them. You said Morokei killed them. Which is it?
  • Wulf: Both. He was convinced whatever was in the next room would kill them all, so he formulated a plan where he would survive.
  • Celestine: It seems that Savos did not fight Morokei.
  • Wulf: I think he went into the room with the best wards he could cast and watched the other two fight and die. Then he swiftly enthralled his deceased friends and had them cast the containment barrier.
  • Argis: He did not kill them himself but allowed them to die?
  • Inigo: You think that he planned to use them in the manner you found them?
  • Wulf: He formulated the plan after they got to where the second to last projection was. That is the only scenario that fits his words.
  • Argis: They went into battle, expecting to fight to their last breath beside trusted companions. I think all people, not just Nords, would find that preferable to meek submission. Yet Savos did not try and kill but used his skills to survive. I hope his friends didn’t notice his betrayal in their final moments!
  • Kharjo: That one must have had some idea what they faced to formulate a plan.
  • Celestine: Morokei probably talked to them like he did to us. If Dovahzul was spoken along with this city’s known connection to the Dragon Cult, Savos would have figured it out even if the other two had not.
  • Wulf:  Dragon Priests are powerful, but a loose Morokei would not have been as devastating as Savos imagined. Miraak was a genuine danger to all of Nirn.
  • Inigo: How did you defeat Morokei?
  • Wulf: A dragon is a god to a loyal Dragon Priest. I told him Akatosh made me a dragon, and therefore I was his god. He could see the Dovah in my eyes as I stared at him. When I released him from the barrier, he cast his best spells, stole my Magicka and tried to drain my lifeforce. I had not yet fought back, and in the end, he realised he was as powerless against me as against the dragons he worshipped. That is when I killed him with a single sword stroke.
  • Inigo: I can tell from that description that you allowed your Dovah to fight. Why was that?
  • Wulf: I control my Dovah via an agreement between my halves. I know that might be hard to comprehend, but it is a fact. I had difficulty at first as I could not accept that more violent, aggressive and domineering part of me. To others, it seems I am both halves at the same time, but I am not. I am nearly always my mortal self who is acutely aware of my Dovah’s emotions.
  • Inigo: Morokei insulted your Dovah, didn’t he?
  • Wulf: Very much so. He should have bowed before me and renewed his vows of allegiance. Instead, he displayed the same arrogance and traitorous actions as Miraak. He dared to challenge one who gave him his powers and made him immortal. My Dovah was not going to be satisfied with me simply cutting Morokei down. He needed to humble him, as dragons do in combat against any foe.
  • Celestine: You have destroyed other Dragon Priests without having to involve your Dovah half. Why was Morokei different?
  • Wulf: The other Dragon Priests did not have time to contemplate who they faced. They attacked, thinking I was just another mortal enemy. I told Morokei who I was, and yet he chose to fight. That distinction, when measured by the ego of a dragon, changes everything. It is not right to ask my Dovah to be subservient while suppressing all his emotions. Eventually, he would fight for control as he did when I first awoke.
  • Celestine: I now understand your need to confront Morokei solo.
  • Kharjo: Will The Divines be angry over that one’s godly claim?
  • Wulf: Not in the slightest. I am not trying to turn worshippers of The Nine away from them. Plus, Lord Akatosh gave me the soul of a dragon, so he expects me to behave like one on occasion. Such behaviour is just another tool to aid me in completing Divine Tasks.
  • Celestine: I think Savos’ actions were not selfish but practical. If he had used his friends as a diversion for the sole purpose of escaping, that would have been entirely different.
  • Wulf: I cannot judge him even though I would never have made that decision. It is arrogant to claim some form of moral superiority, and therefore your preferred solution is superior.
  • Inigo: You are very uncomfortable when The Nine have accepted collateral damage in the past. Yet you love your gods without hesitation. You know they made decisions after great deliberation. Savos also decided collateral damage was necessary. I cannot make any distinction, my friend. We have no right to judge him harshly.
  • Argis: He must have relived this every day for at least a hundred years. He felt guilty, and any who think his actions were wrong must accept that as sufficient punishment. I wish him peace in the afterlife.
  • Wulf: The truth will be made known in my journals and a report I will write for the College of Winterhold. My journals allow others to judge me. My account of Savos will enable others to judge him.

At the end of the short tunnel was a barred door. I tilted the bar, and we continued.

A lowered gate controlled by a lever blocked the next door.

As we stepped through that doorway, a Thalmor came strolling through the opposite one. I signalled The Sentinels not to fill him full of arrows or turn him into an ash pile.

The fool had lightening prepped as I walked up to him.

  • Estormo: So, you made it out of there alive. Ancano was right… you are dangerous. I’m afraid I’ll have to take that Staff from you now. Ancano wants it kept safe… oh, and he wants you dead. Nothing personal.

The idiot was taken aback by the loud laughter coming from me and The Sentinels. After a few seconds, I calmed down enough to talk.

  • Wulf: What is your name?
  • Estormo: Estormo.
  • Wulf: If Ancano wants the Staff of Magnus, why didn’t you get it for him?
  • Argis: That is not fair, General Valdr. You are asking a Thalmor to think.
  • Wulf: You didn’t get it for him because you knew you were not powerful enough to survive, am I correct?
  • Estormo: Well… ah…
  • Wulf: Yet we were powerful enough to get the staff and survive. Can you see why your demand is so silly?
  • Estormo: Ah, did he call you General Valdr?
  • Kharjo: This one thinks this Thalmor owed the other Thalmor money.
  • Argis: Or he stole his girlfriend or boyfriend.
  • Celestine: There must be some reason Ancano hates Estormo so much he would send him to certain death.
  • Wulf: Yes, Estormo, I am The Dragonborn, and you are no Alduin. Any of my friends here could kill you in seconds.
  • Celestine: Ancano has not been in any condition to issue orders for some time. Therefore, you must have been sitting and waiting for a couple of days.
  • Estormo: Well… ah…
  • Wulf: You are repeating yourself, Estormo.
  • Inigo: In all the time you were waiting, did you not wonder who would be powerful enough to survive Labyrinthian and walk through the door?
  • Argis: He was too busy rehearsing his grand entrance speech.

In an effeminate voice, Kharjo mimicked, “I’ll have to take that Staff from you now. Ancano wants it kept safe… oh, and he wants you dead. Nothing personal.”

The Sentinels and I burst out laughing again. Estormo looked worried.

Then I used my Thu’um.

“I find it very personal!”

I Shouted Ice Form, then stood back as Estormo fell, covered in ice.

Kharjo said, “This one wants to kill the Thalmor!”

Inigo replied, “Only if that one gets there first!”

Estormo watched helplessly as two Khajiit competed for the right to end his life.

Inigo slit Estormo’s throat before Kharjo arrived.

We stepped over the corpse and continued.

We opened another barred door.

Then climbed through a trapdoor.

As we stood in the frigid air and surveyed Labyrinthian, I talked to Rigmor.

“Can you chat, milady?”

“I am on the privy so, yeah.”

“Ahh, that explains the echo!”


“We have just retrieved the Staff of Magus from an ancient city. There was no great danger to us, but I have found the experience unsettling.”

“I felt the anger of your Dovah. It would not have been pleasant being the target of such wrath!”

“There is so much to explain and discuss, but it will have to wait till we are together.”

“What are you doing now?”

“We are heading back to the College. Hopefully, we can end this Divine Task soon.”

“I can be with you overnight if you need me.”

“I love you.”

“Love you too.”

Our walk to Morthal was uneventful.

We collected our horses from the stable.  Once again, I rode Hashire and led the other horses while The Sentinel slept aboard the hired carriage.

We arrived in Winterhold to find the streets empty. The only people outside were the Legionnaires.

I was going to talk to Captain Oritius, but he yelled, “General, we have everything under control here. They urgently need your help at the College.”

A magical barrier surrounded the entire College.

Celestine exclaimed, “I can’t imagine the amount of Magicka that would require!”

Arniel, Faralda and Tolfdir stood staring at the barrier and did not hear us approach.

A startled Tolfdir turned when I coughed loudly.

  • Tolfdir: You survived! You have it then?”
  • Wulf: Yes, we have the Staff of Magus.
  • Tolfdir: Let’s hope it’s as powerful as the Psijics believe it to be.
  • Wulf: They had no idea what its capabilities are, nor did they make any claims about what they may be. Logically it was connected to the Eye, so that is why they suggested we may need it.
  • Inigo: My friend, this is not the time to be pedantic.
  • Wulf: I am tired of people not thinking before wagging their chins!
  • Tolfdir: I apologise. We are all rattled by the current events.
  • Wulf: Where is Mirabelle? Where are the students?
  • Tolfdir: We were guiding the students out of the college and into the city. When this new barrier came into being, it threw Mirabelle far, and she fell to her death.
  • Wulf: And the students?
  • Tolfdir: A couple were injured but have been healed. Some are stuck behind the barrier.

The news of Mirabelle’s death rocked me. Tears came unbidden, and I felt not just sadness but an overwhelming sense of guilt. My friends know me well.

  • Celestine: Stop blaming yourself! You could not have done anything more than what you have!
  • Inigo: You can’t keep everybody alive! Now concentrate on what you need to do so there are no more to be mourned!
  • Wulf: OK. OK. Give me a second.


“Guilt? Why do I sense strong guilt?”

“Students were hurt, and another Master Mage has died.”

“And you blame yourself once more as if you are an omnipotent God who should have saved them all! Get over it! We have had this discussion before. Several times!”

“I am who I am.”

“You can’t bring them back, but you can save others.”

“That is what The Sentinels said.”

“Well then, go do it!

  • Wulf: The students are not in danger while inside the barrier as long as they stay away from the Eye. Once again, I do not think this was the doing of Ancano.
  • Celestine: I agree with General Valdr. I think the Eye doesn’t want people interfering with Ancano.
  • Wulf: Ancano is a form of protection. He is weak and can’t use the Eye. But while he is connected to it, neither can anybody else.
  • Tolfdir: Anybody who studies history knows of similar political games. A weak king is defended by those who gain by having him in power. They might hate him but prefer he be there rather than somebody more competent.
  • Wulf: The High Council has been known to do so with undesirable Emperors.
  • Kharjo: Ah, so the Eye does not like Ancano but fears somebody like the General or Arch-Mage Aren taking that one’s place!
  • Argis: Hey, that makes sense even to me.
  • Inigo: I don’t think it would protest either General Valdr or Arch-Mage Aren trying to control it.
  • Wulf: Maybe. Or it could decide nobody is capable of safely controlling it.
  • Tolfdir: What now?
  • Wulf: I believe the Eye will recognise that I wield the Staff of Magnus and drop the shield.
  • Celestine: Once again, I concur. Its ability to absorb copious amounts of Magicka is not what is required in this instance.
  • Tolfdir: I can’t figure these things out as quickly as you two. I will just be pleased to see the barrier gone.

I walked up to the barrier.

Almost as soon as I directed a beam of energy from Magnus’ Staff at it, the barrier vanished.

We made our way to the courtyard. A couple of curious students sat and watched. They had no fear as they did not realise their peril.

  • Wulf: All of you are to stay here. Once again, the strength of arms is not what is required.
  • Celestine: What about if you need healing or help hold off hostiles or…
  • Wulf: I think it will be me against Ancano, and he is weak. He has no control over the Eye. Of that, I am one hundred per cent certain. And the Eye has no reason to harm me. I carry Magnus’ Staff, and unless I try and control the Eye, that should be enough to be regarded as neutral. That last part, I firmly believe, but I could be wrong. Therefore, I want everybody to remain here!
  • Tolfdir: I cannot remain behind! It would not be here if I had not teleported it.
  • Wulf: The College had just lost its two most senior mages and can’t afford to lose you as well!
  • Tolfdir: Then you had better fetch some rope and tie me down!
  • Wulf: I could just turn you into an ice block.
  • Inigo: My friend, you can’t deny his chance at redemption.
  • Wulf: OK, Tolfdir. I don’t think you have anything to redeem but come along if you have to.

We entered the College, and I Shouted Dragon Aspect.

“Mirabelle described that Shout to me. I can’t sense any extra dweomer.”

“No, the magic of the Thu’um is just different enough that most mages would not detect it.”

“I am ready.”

We entered and walked towards Ancano.

  • Ancano: You think I don’t know what you’re up to? Do you think I can’t destroy you?
  • Wulf: I know you can’t destroy us. You are a weak mage with very little power.
  • Ancano: The power to unmake the world at my fingertips, and you think you can do anything about it?
  • Wulf: It is at your fingertips, but it might as well be a million miles away. You do not control it!

Tolfdir coughed, so I turned to him.

  • Tolfdir: Do you think it wise to torment him?
  • Wulf: Mad idiots make more mistakes. I have shown that countless times.
  • Tolfdir: Well, I believe in fry first and ask questions later!

Tolfdir cast Incinerate and then Lightening. Both spells dissipated before reaching Ancano.

  • Ancano: I am beyond your pathetic attempts at Magic. You cannot touch me.
  • Wulf: Tolfdir, you are not thinking straight. Remember the undead who drew power from the Eye in Saarthal?
  • Tolfdir: Oh.
  • Ancano: Enough!

I watched in disbelief as Ancano detached himself from the Eye and prepared to cast Mass Paralysis.

Tolfdir fell like a toppled statue. I laughed.

Ancano quickly reconnected with the Eye

  • Ancano: Still, you persist? Very well.
  • Wulf: The power to unmake the world, and you cast a paralysis spell. That was pathetic!
  • Ancano: Come then. See what I can do now!

I was told that Ancano had opened the Eye, and he did so again.

I stared into it and saw every star that is. I saw Aetherius but was not overcome by awe. I realised with absolute certainty that I had seen it before. I associated the view with the overwhelming love of my parents. Struggle as I might, I could not picture who they are.

There was a flash of energy and several of the Magical beings that had attacked Winterhold appeared. But they did not attack me. They attacked Ancano!

As he desperately defended himself against the unexpected adversaries, I held Magnus’s Staff forth and started absorbing Magicka from the Eye.

I could sense the phenomenal amount of Magicka being transferred and laughed as the Eye started to close.

As soon as it finished closing, I knew that Ancano was no longer attached to it. I did Whirlwind Sprint and stood before him.

I then did Ice Form, and he fell to the ground, immobile but aware.

I quickly drew my sword and killed him.

Tolfdir came running up and asked, “What do we do now? Ancano is dead, but the Eye is still here?”

“I am unsure, so let me think for a minute.”

A few seconds later, Quaranir teleported into the room. He did not use a Time Well this time.

He said, “We knew you would succeed.” 

“Bullshit! Even The Nine would not make that absurd claim! You may have seen a probable outcome and nothing more.”

“Regardless, you have proven yourself more than worthy to guide the College of Winterhold.”

“They will need a new Arch-Mage, but it may have to be somebody else. I have commitments elsewhere.”

“The Eye cannot remain here.”

“No, it cannot. It must be put out of reach of any fool mage who thinks of trying to use it!”

“We can safeguard it… for now.”

“That is a lot of trust that you are asking me to place in the Psijic Order. I assume you have a Pocket Plane somewhere. The same place you took your entire island to for the last one hundred years.”

“We know you could stop us. We also know you would be relentless in tracking us down if the trust was broken. I ask you, what are your choices? What other option do you have?”

“I trust you. I believe the Psijic Order knew where the Eye was long before we stumbled upon it. Your Order’s use of force during its long existence has been minimal, and its members have only ever sought to advise, not rule. I will let you take the Eye. The Divines will let me know if that was the right choice.”

“You have our gratitude, Arch-Mage.”

“It is still too early for me to decide on that honorific.”

 Another two Psijic Sorcerers teleported into the room. The three of them made a triangle which I was positive would be perfectly centred on the sphere.

I watched with envy as they cast their spell with no verbal content or hand movements. That skill would come in handy, and I might have to pursue the knowledge of it.

The Psijic Sorcerers and Eye slowly faded away. So did the nagging in my brain that accompanies an unfinished Divine Task. I had made the right choice, according to The Nine.

The Divine Task was complete, and my relief must have been intense because Rigmor detected it.

“You have succeeded again, my Dragonborn!”

“Yes. The Divine Task is complete, but there is still much to be done and decided.”

“I will finish my duties in a couple of hours.”

“I am exhausted, mentally and physically.

“Will we have time to ourselves?”

“Oh, yes! Don’t expect much sleep!”


Tolfdir approached cautiously and asked, “Is it OK for us to talk? You seemed to be in some sort of trance.”

“I had my eyes closed as I spoke to somebody in Cyrodiil. It helps reduce fatigue.”

“You spoke to somebody in Cyrodiil? How?”

“A gift of The Divines. Don’t ask me how the dweomer works. It is beyond my knowledge.”

“Well, you have done it! The College is safe again!”

“Far more than that. The Eye threatened the existence of Nirn itself. Ancano did not exaggerate its power. He did fib about his control of it.”

“I daresay the Psijics are right. There’s no one more deserving to be Arch-Mage, in my opinion.”

“We need to discuss that and several other topics. Do not announce anything yet, and please meet me in the Arch-Mage Quarters at 6:00 PM.”

“I will do so. In the meantime, here are Aren’s keys.”

“Can you please take care of Ancano? Send a message to the Embassy and see what they want to be done with him.”

“We could just dump him in one of the furnaces?”

“There will be family and friends who care about him.”

“Of course.”

“Thank you, Tolfdir.”

I want out to the courtyard to speak to The Sentinels.

  • Celestine: I can’t feel the Eye. Is it gone?
  • Wulf: Yes, I let the Psijic Order take it.
  • Inigo: You trust people with that fashion sense?
  • Wulf: Baby pooh yellow robes.
  • Inigo: Blah!
  • Wulf: My Divine Task is complete, so it was the right choice. Otherwise, I would have to go and find their island and take it back.
  • Kharjo: How weak was the Thalmor.
  • Wulf: Ancano was pathetically weak. But I am tired of this whole thing and do not want to go into details right now.
  • Kharjo: This one understands. Perhaps in a few days, you will tell us.
  • Inigo: What now?
  • Wulf: You can head off home. I am safe within these walls and have some things to organise. Send the other Sentinels to me but tell them not to rush but to be here by midday tomorrow.
  • Inigo: I suppose I will go to Langley’s for a few days.
  • Wulf: When you tell him about how good his vision was, he may have to make another extension to accommodate his head.
  • Inigo: He will be so full of himself.
  • Wulf: Please, thank him sincerely. His vision was of tremendous help.
  • Inigo: If you hear a large explosion north-west of here, it is Langley’s head.
  • Celestine: The College has lost its most senior people.
  • Wulf: They have a new Arch-Mage?
  • Celestine: Who?
  • Wulf: Me.
  • Celestine: How will that work? You might not be able to dedicate much time to it.
  • Wulf: I will arrange something with Tolfdir. It will work out.
  • Inigo: Let’s get going. I assume you three will accompany me to Langley’s?
  • Kharjo: Yes, this one thinks that is a good idea.
  • Argis: Sure, no problems.
  • Celestine: One in, all in.
  • Wulf: Argis, can you please tell the Captain that all is clear.
  • Argis: Will do.

The Sentinels left, chatting and joking with each other. Their bond is strong, and I am blessed to have them as friends.

I went into the arch-Mage Quarters and had a look around.

I unlocked an alcove and found an Orb similar to the one used to teleport to the Safe House. Next to it was a workbook written by Savos concerning a teleport spell he had been creating.

In the same alcove, there was a safe, a Shrine of Akatosh, which was a pleasant surprise, and a Shrine to Dibella.

I sat and read the workbook. Some of the concepts were foreign to me, but I think I can make the spell work. Savos had broken the teleport to the Safe House while experimenting but then repaired it by reversing his changes. Savos wanted to study some Dwemer teleports and mentioned a particular site he thought might have them. I decided I would speak to the experts at the Dragonborn Gallery and see what they know.

I returned to the alcove and opened the safe. Inside was copious amounts of correspondence in bundles bound by ribbons. Each bundle had a subject written on the ribbon.

I carried one of the bundles over to a chair and contemplated if I should read the letters it contained. They were correspondence from Malesam to Savos concerning his position as Rigmor’s advisor and protector.

After a few minutes, I put them in a draw. I decided to ask Rigmor to look at the letters first and then discuss them if she so desired.

I looked at the other bundles’ subjects and realised that I would have to read them all. They were not critical at the moment.

Several pieces of magical apparatus in the room had no documentation to tell me their function or how to use them. Others in the College can help me with those.

The Arch-Mage Quarters were large and uncluttered. They were a stark contrast to Master Neloth’s room! What it didn’t have was a small table and a couple of chairs. Savos liked to sit at his desk while those he spoke to stood in front of it. That is not my way of doing things.

I found spare chairs in the guest rooms and set them up.

It was nearing 6:00 PM.

“Rigmor, can you come over soon?”

“Yes, I told everybody I am exhausted and that I was getting away from the castle for some rest. They know the apartment is my refuge where I go to stop being a Countess and relax. I think Cerys also appreciates the opportunity to relax as well. She is like my shadow when I am in the castle.”

“The dweomer of the rings is supposed to warn us if somebody comes knocking on the front door of your apartment or any other room that we have decided is your safe refuge. But nobody ever has!”

“Nobody would bother me unless it was an emergency of some type. I have let everybody know I will not be pleased with interruptions on trivial matters.”

“You can’t grumpily tell somebody to leave via the rings. You would have to teleport back to do that.”

“Zap there. See what the fuss is all about. Zap back. Maybe.”

There was a knock at the door.

“Tolfdir is here. I will see you soon.”

I opened the door and said, “Tolfdir, I have set up some chairs. Please, come and sit with me.”

We sat, and I was still unsure how much to let Tolfdir know about Rigmor. I decided I would do a bit of fishing first.

“What do you know about the Royal Decree relating to Morgan of Winterhold?”

“All of the senior mages are made aware of it. Recently Savos talked to me privately and said that the gods had plans for the Countess and that the charge given to the College is far more important than just ensuring the safety of one young woman.”

“When was this discussion?”

“About a week ago. Savos did not elaborate, and as far as I know, he did not speak about gods and their plans for the Countess to any other mage.”

“Did Savos use seers? Is there anybody in the College with foresight? He did not speak to the Augur of Dunlain.”

“Not that I am aware of.”

“Was he a follower of the Tribunal Temple?”

“We never discussed religion, so I am ignorant of his personal beliefs.”

“Is he to be buried in Skyrim or elsewhere?”

“His will instructed he be sent back to his family in Morrowind. He was collected by a Priestess of Azura yesterday.”

“Sorry for probing, but what he said about the gods is known by only a few. Now you know, and it is one of several secrets you will need to keep.”

“Do you want to trust me with secrets? I brought the Eye into the College!”

“Did you ever question the idea that teleporting it here may not have been the best thing to do?”

“No, I just thought it was and did it.”

“The same with the name you gave it?”

“Yes, it just came to me. I had not spent time thinking of a name at all.”

“Doesn’t both of those actions support my conclusion that the Eye manipulated you?”

“But why? Why would the Eye want to be here?”

“It had been discovered. You did not have the skill to control it. It came to the College seeking a mage that could use it. Just about every mage here came and had a look at it. None of them was capable of controlling it. When Ancano tried, it grabbed him and used him to protect itself from other inadequate, but more capable, mages from experimenting with it.”

“That is a good story, but what proof is there?”

“Logic. Ancano had no control over it. Those killed were not victims of Destruction spells but protective barriers.”

“What about those beings that attacked Winterhold?”

“Products of the immense power used. After you were paralysed and there was another energy surge, they appeared in the Hall of Elements. They attacked Ancano, not me.”

“Oh, I did not know that.”

“I trust you, Tolfdir, and you should accept the fact you did not make a conscious decision to bring the Eye here. But you already know about the gods and Rigmor, so I must tell you the rest. There is a handful of people who I have trusted with this information, and the reason will soon be made clear.”

“Well, that makes me nervous.”

“The first thing you should know is that the Guardian General and General Valdr one and the same.”

“You are Rigmor’s Guardian?”

“Yes, but The Divines will make sure there is no connection in the histories. That is another secret you must know and keep.”

“May I ask why?”

“In the future, Rigmor and I will be crucial in preventing the end of Nirn and Mundus. How that potential end comes about or when we do not know. So far, I have prevented such destruction three times, including today. Each time I did not know the danger until it was upon us. It will be the same when this future threat is imminent.”

“And gods have told you this?”

“Do you know the purpose of a Dragonborn?”

“They are supposedly placed on Nirn to be the mortal champions of The Divines.”

“Yes, that is correct. Talos spoke to me and told me what I just told you. But it is not just The Nine that have helped me protect Rigmor. Boethia and Azura have also spoken to me and assisted.”

“So why the disconnect between Rigmor’s Guardian and General Valdr?”

“When I rejoin Rigmor as her Guardian, it will be to stop the destruction of Nirn as mentioned earlier. The enemy might expect the Guardian General to make an appearance and plan for such. If they do not plan for The Dragonborn to make an appearance, that will be of great strategic advantage. The importance of this deception was made very clear by Talos himself.”

“I get the impression there is much more that I need not know.”

“Yes, there is a lot more. But what I have told you is enough to threaten the plans of gods and thereby the very existence of Nirn itself.”

“I understand. If the wrong people discover the deception, then disaster may follow.”

“So that brings me to the decision on whether to accept the position of Arch-Mage. If I accept it, there may be extended periods where I am away from the College. That was not the case with Savos.”

“You could do a lot of good for the College when you are here!”

“Yes, and there are times that the title might aid in my duty to The Divines. That is why I want you to act as Arch-Mage when I am not here. You will read all the correspondence that arrives. Be involved in all meetings I have with others concerning the College. In other words, you will be as much the Arch-Mage as I am and with the same authority.”

“That is… unusual.”

“But not unworkable.”

“I can’t see why not. We have lost our two most senior mages, and our reputation with Winterhold worsened. The surviving Masters are not going to reject you as Arch-Mage, even if you are not here as often as they would like.”

“And if I recommend you as my equal?”

“They will want an ultimate authority, you, but would accept I have equal authority when you are not here.”

“For the next few days. I will do tasks to help the College. I am sure Urag has some books he would like collected. I will ask the other Masters if they have things they need doing.”

“There are some students that went missing very recently. A rogue mage is causing issues in one of the holds. A mysterious door has appeared in The Midden. I think you will find a lot of work that would prove how handy it is to have a Dragonborn Arch-Mage.”

“I will also meet with the Jarl of Winterhold and see if I can repair the relationship.”

“Just the fact he owes you his title, and his life will go a long way towards that!”

“Do you know Septimus Signus?”

“Not as well as Urag. They spent many hours together deciphering Dwemer texts and studying their artefacts. Septimus left to investigate the rumour of an important Dwemer artefact over a year ago. I think Urag is getting quite worried as nothing has been heard from Septimus.”

“I know where he is and need help to rescue him. Septimus is a thrall of Hermaeus Mora, who wanted me to kill him. I think with a friend willing to help Septimus, he can reject the Dark Lord and work towards redemption.”


“He has killed and sowed chaos on behalf of the Dark Lord so he can retrieve what he thinks is the heart of Lorkhan. It will not be that but some other artefact Mora wants in circulation once more.”

“But you don’t want to kill him?”

“No, if he can reject the Dark Lord, he will be an example to others of the limited power these gods have on Nirn. I also think Septimus is insane. The concept of right and wrong would be muddled to one such as him.”

“I think Urag would be willing to accompany you. Would he have to deal with Mora?”

“No, that will be my pleasure. Hermaeus Mora killed a good man out of spite. Rescuing Septimus and hiding the artefact once more will act as partial payback for that murder.”

“You want to punish a god?”

“I promised him I would.”

“Arch-Mage Valdr, you will be the oddest leader this College has ever had!”

“There is another thing I need to tell you. A dark secret kept by Savos. If we hide the truth, nobody learns from the mistakes of others.”

“You said something the other day about him losing friends when exploring a tomb or crypt.”

“Let me give you the truncated version. I will write a detailed account to be entered into the College’s history.”

I told Tolfdir of the expedition to Labyrinthian by Savos and his five friends without offering my opinions on the matter. I could see he was shocked to find out a man he respected and worked next to for decades had such a secret.

Tolfdir was visibly upset and asked, “Do you think he knew the Staff of Magus was in Labyrinthian when you asked about it?”

“I think he suspected it was there but hoped it wasn’t so his secret would survive.”

“His shame could have caused far more damage than just delaying you. It could have resulted in disaster, even the destruction of Nirn!”

“Savos will be judged, but I hope each person who does so can see it from his perspective. What is right and wrong is not so easy to discern when you do that.”

“You have given me a lot to think on and have barely stopped since you joined the Apprentices for their first class. Please, use tomorrow to relax. That will allow me to talk to the other Masters and get a consensus on this shared role. Also, we have to get you a new set of the robes of office.”

“A day of relaxation is a wise move, Arch-Mage Tolfdir.”

“This will be interesting, Arch-Mage Valdr!”

“I will be using the Safe House. Savos repaired the teleport after he broke it experimenting.”

“Thank you for all you have done.”

Tolfdir wandered off, and I knew he would probably wrestle with what Savos did for many hours.

I was exhausted mentally and physically.

I picked up the bundled correspondence from Malesam then used the teleport. I materialised in a blizzard outside the Safe House.

I made my way indoors then searched the cupboards till I found a Robe of Talos. I donned it then contacted Rigmor.

“My beloved… your Dragonborn…”

Rigmor appeared in front of me, smiling and in her underwear. She said, “My Dragonborn needs me to banish all the worries and cares of this world!”

She then pushed me onto the bed, and despite my exhaustion, I found enough strength to help Rigmor with my therapy.

I know not what time I fell asleep.

I know I was surrounded by the peace I craved and a snoring Rigmor in my arms.

4 thoughts on “Fredas, 31st Frostfall, 4E 201 & Loredas, 1st Sun’s Dusk, 4E 201

  1. I’m having withdrawal symptoms at the moment because my puter died and I can’t play Skyrim. It had been playing up for a while, I was blaming the mods and as I was disabling them the crashing increased. A good reason to update. At least I can still read Wulf’s journals using my tablet. Love Rigmor”s greeting. Thanks Mark. Well, where to next…..don’t forget, you were going to take Rigmor to see the Clockwork mansion.

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