Sorry to drop this during a time when the FanFic page is so busy. I wanted to do so at a time when things slowed down a bit, but I'm on a real computer at the moment, and I'm not sure when I'll have time and access to one this weekend.
Anyways, welcome back for the next segment of the saga of Crystal Beth, her new book and new life. I hope you enjoy this read. Recap
: Travelling sorceress and Mage's College Associate Crystal Beth decided to write a "guide for College mages" while doing some adventuring in Falkreath. She figured it would be a diversion to her usual adventuring, a bit of mental exercise. She's hoping her guide will eventually become something any College mage can possibly use to gain the upper-hand amongst the typical enemies of Skyrim during combat situations....indoors or outdoors.
She presented the first draft of the first chapter of what may become her first book to the Arch Mage himself. He approved of her work, and urged her to write more.
After addressing the Arch Mage, Beth wound up spending a brief bit of time at the College. And after this, she gathered up all her coin (19,000+ gp) and headed off to Solitude to become the proud owner of Proudspire Manor, where she plans to write even more.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Midnight, 16th of Sun's Dawn, 4th Era, Year: 202
While our Altmer sorcerer Crystal Beth
sorts her new life (and new house) in Solitude, things are getting ... interesting back at The College of Mages. ..."and I realize this first lesson is a slap to the face for those who have never been dungeon-eering. So let us break further chapters into morsels we can more-easily bite and digest.....
"Well. What do we think of this?" asks the group's unofficial leader, Mirabelle Ervine.
It is late at night, and Mirabelle has just finished reading one of the hand-written copies of Crystal Beth's tome-in-process to a group of the College's females. The Arch Mage himself took the time to scrawl out five copies of the first chapter, using an old-fashioned pen on parchment. He then distributed three of these copies: one to Mirabelle Ervine , one to Tolfdir, and one to Crystal Beth herself (for approval purposes). He kept the other two copies for himself. Now that Beth's work is out for anyone to read, Mirabelle has decided to take initiative, and make an example of Crystal's writings, to further her own agenda.
"What do we think of this so-called 'writing sorceress'?" she asks the group now.
Mirabelle is wearing her usual drab-colored robes, and has a small smirk upon her face as she takes measure of each and every present member. She stands before the group in the center-rear of the Library itself, while Nirya and the others are all seated at various tables. Tea has been brewed, and sweetrolls provided.
After reading their copy hours ago, Mirabella and her confidante (another high elf sorceress named Nirya) decided it would be a good idea to have a little "meeting". This meeting would take place late at night in the Mage's Library. This way, it would guarantee a lack of possible interruptions, as everyone would most-likely be asleep.
...Also, this meeting would females-only
, so as to keep out 'furthering opinions' any of the males could generate.
The College's males mostly seemed to like Beth so far, and while not exactly praising her work as the Arch Mage had done, neither did they seem to properly critique or have any drastic opinion on it. Not that Mirabelle or Nirya could tell, anyways. Mirabelle noticed their behavior, she particularly noticed the "lack of contrary-ness"
amongst the males. She decided they would simply not be invited to this midnight meeting. Better to control the room, this way.
"Confusingly scripted, terribly
-written, and most of all, I think it is simply un-couth that she presented her crude writings directly to the Arch Mage him-self. And she's a simple Associate, at that. Who does such a thing?!" asks Nirya. She's got her usual highbrow tone of voice, as if she's not to ever be doubted.
"Exactly", agrees Mirabelle. "I myself have spoken to Beth numerous times, telling her 'not to bother the Arch Mage, unless absolutely necessary'. "This
", Mirabella speaks, shaking the Roll of Paper that is the Prologue and Chapter I of Beth's upcoming book in her hand, "..this
is not a reason to bother the Arch Mage".
"Further-more, I think Beth is lying" Nirya continues. "I do not think she has visited all the places she claims to have plundered. Nor has she taken down entire groups of bandits, necromancers, and other such enemies, as she asserts to have done". "Lying?
You think she is lying, do you? And why do you think thus?" asks a new voice. It's Faralda
, the Destruction trainer. She asks this as though she's curious and slightly bewildered.
"She has to be
lying!" Nirya barks. "Every-body knows Skyrim's treasures have long been looted! Every-body knows Skyrim's barrows, forts, and caves have all been gutted! Look at the lack of findings after Sarthaal! OH...there is some sort of 'mysterious' artifact we've located, but what of the so-called treasures? Shall we line our pockets, then, with bone dust and wooden spoons?" she asks sarcastically. ....."Simply no evidence has been found. And I will conclude: it is not possible for a single sorceress to take on an entire group of enemies by her-self, as Beth has claimed in her text, using such a vari'ty of spells. Simply not possible. She would be killed for certain".
"How do you know? When was the last time you took your-self into Skyrim's wilds? Fought an actual enemy? How long has it been? Let us all hear from the 'great Nirya herself! Fess up!" challenges Faralda.
"It is truth, that of which Nirya speaks". Mirabelle now counters in a calming voice. ...."When that group of mages, Tolfdir and Beth included, visited a nearby ruins known as Sarthaal, they found absolutley nothing of interest, other than the strange glowing artifact which now resides hauntingly in our very own Hall of Elements. Other than this artifact, the place was littered with bones and empty chests"
To her, the discussion is closed. As she looks to Nirya for the next item on the agenda: Figuring out what to 'do' about Crystal Beth
, another female elf with a high but pleasant voice speaks up.
"You are wrong!"
It is Brelyna
, a young Assocaite mage who's budding talent had been hampered by a few botched spells recently. Her voice wavers a bit as she finds her confidence. ....."I was at Sarthaal, yes I was in-deed! And although a lack of true treasures was located, I have seen sacks of gold Beth has been stashing away. I have seen them, in-deed! Each one, filled with a-thousand coin at least! She must
be having successes with her adventuring, otherwise she would not be able to bring in so much!"
As she says this, a couple mages gasp.
"Rubbish" Mirabelle dismisses. "Perhaps she has been storing sacks, but I'd wager these are filled with nothing but foodstuffs!"
"Rubbish? Are you calling me a liar?"
"No. I am calling you what you truely are: naive and impetulant. But you are young, Brelyna. You are young and youth has plenty of mis-steps along the way. 'tis okay to be wrong, some of the time", she says this with a smirk.
"I am not
! ... I am not
wrong! I speak truth upon what I have seen, me lady!" she says, suddenly standing out of her seat.
Mirabelle looks to Nirya, her tea ( imbued with traces of moonsugar for 'enhancement purposes' ) starting to go cold. Nirya's face hardens as she gazes cautiously back at Mirabelle, and she shrugs her shoulders just a tad. Nirya apparently didn't expect any contrary opinions, either.
"The discussion is closed" Mirabelle decides. "I have nothing more to say to any of you, on this subject".
She orates this publicly to the other females, but as she speaks these words, she suddenly looks again to Nirya, sending her a mental wave she hopes nobody else will be able to pick up.
"Very well, then. But I know
what I saw." says Brelyna, sounding defeated. ...She's so eager. So eager to be "included", thinks Mirabelle. Such naivety. I was like her once
thinks Mirabelle...only I was not as mis-harbored as she
One of the other females now sighs heavily before speaking.
"This discussion is not closed", she says firmly.
It is the Breton woman with the bowl-cut brown hair. The Cleric. She is the only one present not wearing a typical mage's set of robes. Instead, she is dressed in stuffs made much more crudely: leather armor and leather boots
. Only upon her head does she wear something which is possibly magical: some sort of fortifying circlet.
Her name is Claire, and she's a cleric from one of Cyrodiil's provinces. As a cleric, she supposedly uses religious persuasions to enhance her work, mostly those persuasions of Mara. Mirabelle grasps her memory for the woman's name. Ahh. Claire Voyance the Cleric of Chorrol
is her full title.
Claire Voyance had moved to Skyrim (according to her) to help the Imperials as a sort of "nurse", being adept at both Restoration and blunt-weapon combat. But now that she had arrived, Claire had taken more of an interest in learning spells other than healing types; and hence, she showed up here at The College. of Mages.
Now that she was here in Skyrim, Claire was having doubts about the Imperials and their causes, and had (so far) declined to help them at all out in the field. Like Crystal Beth, Claire Voyance is also a newcomer in search of learning a few things about magics. But Claire's crude dress, and also the fact that she is from Cyrodiil, have made her a bit of an outsider here at the College: Welcomed by some, ignored by others, and looked down upon by a few more.
"What? What say you, Cleric? Speak." Mirabelle says haughtilly.
"Listen. While I am not saying that her methods have been proven by me, me-self, I am
saying that it is pointless to de-bunk Crystal Beth on these words, only". She gestures now, dramatically towards the chapter of text Mirabelle is holding. "I my-self have been to a few barrows and subterrnean areas. They are in-deed, packed with golds and treasures at times..."
"Nonsense" Mirabelle says, really getting irritated now, and trying her best not to show it. She's losing control of this "meeting", and it's not even 15 minutes young. ...."pure nonsense. You may have seen her stashing sacks away, but I'd wager those sacks full of nothing but food-stuffs!"
"No! It is true what I saw! All we have to do is get out there! Get into the world itself! We can find what she has, and show our strength and goodness for all of Skyrim's peoples to notice. And in so doing, we shall also line our walls with our riches. Praise Julianos!"
"I think she's right! And I believe Beth and her words!" ....It's The College's Restoration expert: a Breton named Colette Marence
. She speaks up now, her voice also a little wobbly. None of these women had ever been forced to openly challenge Mirabelle, you see.
"Oh! Let us hear it from the healer!" Nirya scoffs. "And supposing you find your-self deep inside a draugr-barrow, what magics can you dis-pence upon your enemies?! HA ha ha ha!!!!" she snickers.
"Restoration is a perfectly valid
form of magic, and I'm not going to let anyone else tell me otherwise!" Colette argues back.
"Perfectly valid for what? Healing up thy enemies in the midst of battling?" Nirya adds.
"Have you the power to turn such a draugr upon itself, backing it away into a state of confusion?"
"No! I have the power to utterly destroy
such a draugr!"
..."And while we're here discussing", Colette realizes, "I have a question. Where have all my research materials been disappearing? I demand to know!"
....But her voice is not heard while several women now speak at once, talking over one another like a group of beggars at a feast.
Claire Voyance, Faralda, Colette Marence, and Brelyna Maryon seem to be taking sides (more or less) against Mirabella and Nirya, and the meeting loses whatever 'order' it had, quickly and firmly. This is not
how things were supposed to go.
After speaking with Nirya the elf privately some hours before, it had been Mirabelle's plan to present her opinions to the rest of the College's females. She had assumed she would not be doubted, as it seemed quite obvious to her that Crystal Beth's claims were simply too far-fetched to be true.
In the process, Mirabelle had also
planned this meeting for political reasons.
There had been some talk at The College lately of the Arch Mage somehow losing his position. When ( if ) he did, indeed, step down or get ousted, Mirabelle was hoping that she
would be the one to take over. And why not? She has both the savvy and the cunning to lead this wretched place. Lead it to glory. Who would dare say otherwise?
In her mind, the fact that she's also a Breton
, and not dark elf, is also something to consider. Obviously, the problem is that most of Skyrim's population is Nordic
, and therefore, human. If an actual human
was to lead The College of Mages, word would quickly spread, and soon opinion would grow more favorably.
As the ladies bicker and doubt one another, a dark, hooded figure now 'approaches the prey'. The figure manages to hide a few moments; trick of the light, and now strides openly into the Library's center without immediate notice.
"J'zargo thinks Crystal Beth's tome is to be taken seriously, and with heed". says the College's solitary khajiit. "J'zargo also agreeees all that Beth claims, is true".
"What is this? Who let this cat-person into the bag?" Nirya demands, her cheeks growing rosey. "This meeting was to be women-only!"
"J'zargo wonders how long Nirya will keep her head in her rump. J'zargo also wonders why the Arch Mage, nor any of College men, were not consulted about this meeting. Such things make him curious", he admits.
"The Arch Mage?
" says Mirabella with a smrik. "And what say you about the Arch Mage, cat-person? What makes you think he needs to be present at every
meeting we call to order. We can certainly handle our own here."
"J'zargo thinks this human's tone of voice is in-appropriate. J'zargo is also eager to prove that he is ready to claim what is rightfully his", he says vaguely.
"Well, I think the College is due for a change in leadership." Mirabella ignores, subconsciously changing the subject.
"Yes, and when the change in leadership comes, J'zargo will be ready to take it. Then we all can benefit from the wisdom of the Khajiit."
Suddenly, Mirabelle places her hand to her head. She's got what we here on Earth know as a "migraine". Mirabelle simply cannot take any more of this loss-of-control.....
"I have had ENOUGH of this nonsense!" she says, now giving up hope of properly addressing the "Crystal Beth" situation here and now. "This meeting is adjourned. Now..be OFF with you, cat-person! Be off with ALL of you!
" she nearly screams, realizing her anger is starting to get the best of her.
Good thing The College's walls are sturdy and thick. As she loses her temper, Mirabelle has full confidence that Arch Mage Savos Aren (who is sleeping just yards above) will not awake to see what the commotion is.
As the ladies and the single khajiit look at one another, shrugging, and then striding off down two sets of stairs, Mirabelle calls Nirya over to her side. She sips on her now icey-cold moonsugar-laced tea, and wrinkles her face with disgust! Then, Mirabelle throws
the cup across the room! Good thing the orc is not here. He would no-doubt be worried about any of his books getting damaged, and might even attack to defend them.
"We have some things to discuss, Nirya".
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4:20 am, 16th of Sun's Dawn...
"Are you sure you have checked every drawer? The end-table? Her wardrobe?"
"Yes, I have. Her gold is no longer there".
"But perhaps she placed it under her bed? Or in another room? Or perhaps the Cleric was wrong with her claims."
"She always kept her gold in her room. I know this. She kept it in the center cab'net between the two wardrobes. I did not wish to speak this in the meeting itself, but the Cleric is right. The elf we know as Crystal Beth has in-deed been bringing in some gold, and storing it into her very own room. I saw it with my very own eyes, me-self, but 'twas a few weeks ago when I saw this. How much gold has she? I do not know. But she is poss'bly quite rich by now".
"Why was I not informed?" demands Mirabella. "And wher'st is this gold now?"
"I know not" Nirya speaks truthfully. "She must have taken it all horse-back, last time she left Winterhold".
"Dammit to OBLIVION!"
After the "female-only" meeting was ended, the two ladies made a plan. Nirya was to sneak into Crystal Beth's room, make sure everyone was asleep (especially that darn cat
-person!), and investigate Beth's now-empty room. She did so, yet could find no traces of gold, nor any other sorts of treasures. Just a few empty soul gems, books, and notes had been left behind. No gold.
Both ladies are now in Winterhold's tavern, having their own private meeting. It is quite late, yet neither is starved for sleep. They both refused any food or drink when the tavern owner inquired, telling him to "be off!"
As the tavern owner looks at them now from across the room, he says "Curses to you College-goers for destroying the grace which was once Winterhold" under his breath, and then immediately regrets what he said. What if they had some sort of super-hearing spell? If so, they could possibly have heard him, and could possibly incinerate him on the spot! Or worse! They could placate him and then
incinerate him! He starts to sweat. But as they discuss in an intense manner, he realizes there is no super-hearnig spell going on. Or perhaps they're simply not using it.
"Not selling any goods to these ladies!" he complains, now that he knows he is safe to do so. "Stupid mages".
Mirabelle is now seething. She's not sure whether or not 'Crystal Beth' is speaking truth with her adventures, and Mirabella doesn't particularly care at the moment. She's wondering about the gold. In her mind, she believes this gold to be stolen
, if it indeed exists in such great quantities. Two people now (one being her friend, the other a College newcomer...the Cleric woman) have so far attested to Crystal Beth's wealth. So if it's true she has become so endowed, this wealth could possibly be stolen.
No. MUST be stolen. It MUST be! For Beth could not possibly be galavanting about the countryside all by herself, taking down all sorts of enemies, and then claiming their winnings. Overall, Mirabelle does not doubt there are lots of enemies out there. She simply doubts Beth's methods of obtaining.
...But if Claire's words and Nirya's words were both to be trusted, if in fact Beth had thousands
at her disposal, this would mean she is surely quite the thief.
....In fact, if she did have thousands stashed as Claire Voyance eagerly attested, the possibility is that Crystal Beth could be the
thief. One of the very best
thieves Skyrim has ever seen. Should Tolfdir and the Arch Mage himself be alerted to such? That's a question Nirya and Mirabelle both ask at various times during their private meeting.
As Mirabelle and Nirya leave Winterhold's dark, depressing tavern to yet another snowy, depressing morning, they have nothing pleasant to say or think on the subject of Crystal Beth.