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Skyrim FanFiction, Skyrim Erotica, and More

A Robbery at the College of Winterhold

the-college-of-winterhold

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“I just want to say that this is a bad idea,” Arnbjorn said.

It was midnight in Winterhold—the winds gusted off the water and filled the air with flakes of ice. The Nord’s silver beard was crusted with frozen bits of snow, but he didn’t seem the least bit cold. He never did.

“So you’ve told me,” Narova said. She checked the rope knots on her climbing spikes again, then packed them into a leather satchel on her hip. “Five times already, by my count.”

Above, the great towers and spires of the College of Winterhold rose up until being swallowed by the gray-white storm. More than a few windows still had candles burning, which Narova didn’t like.

Fucking mages. Up all night practicing spells and reading their tomes—makes them hard to rob.

“It shouldn’t take me more than an hour to get in and out,” she said, squinting up at the Arch Mage’s tower. “If I’m not back by dawn…” she trailed off and shrugged. “Come in and save me, I guess.”

Arnbjorn frowned. Took the reins of her white horse. “Don’t make me come in there after you. Mages aren’t good for my digestion.”

Narova glanced at him, saw that he wasn’t joking, and nodded. Then she cast a spell of water walking and jogged out across the cold sea. It was two hundred yards to the base of the tower. The wind stung her face and ears as she ran, like the barbs of some slaver’s whip. It had been a while since she’d scaled a set of walls like this—not since she’d decapitated that Shatter-Shield bitch in Windhelm.

Narova was glad to get the practice. Infiltrating fortified cities wasn’t a skill you let go to shit. Not in her line of work.

She reached the base of the tower, which was cut from jagged slabs of frozen rock that turned into mortar and stone a hundred feet above or so. The entire thing must have been five or six hundred feet tall, all told.

Child’s play. Narova could still remember the trees of Valenwood—a thousand years old and a thousand feet high. A primeval forest where you could travel for weeks and months without ever needing to put your feet on the ground.

Never wanting to, either.

Narova dug her first spike into a seam of the rock, pounded on it twice with her hammer—which she’d wrapped in linen to muffle the noise—and then began to climb.

It was rough going on the slab—frozen and sheer as it was—but once she got to the mortar it was simple. She soon abandoned the spikes and scaled the rest of the tower with nothing but the tips of her fingers for support. The cold wind continued to rip at her skin and howl inside of her elf ears, but she didn’t mind so much.

The pain kept her focused. Reminded her she was still alive.

The window to the Arch Mage’s quarters was made of colored glass. Blue and caked with frost. There was a time when Narova would have had no option but to shatter the thing and crawl through, hoping nobody was roused by the noise.

Times had changed.

Narova focused her mind and whispered an incantation. The glass rippled and then pulled apart, as if it had some secret mouth that only needed a bit of coaxing to open. Narova slipped through and then ceased the Alteration spell, letting the window close behind her.

Only a few flakes of snow betrayed her entry.

The chamber took up the entire floor of the round tower. Books and shelves of alchemy ingredients lined the walls, and a vast garden grew in the center—bathed in pale blue light from the windows.

The room seemed empty, but Narova cast invisibility to be on the safe side, and then crept over to the indoor garden. She picked through the plants. Lots of mushrooms, some Canis Root, and way in the back growing between two stones was a crop of Deathgrass.

Narova moved quickly, careful not to disturb the other plants, and snatched up the grass. She carefully put it in an apothecary satchel, and then moved on to the shelf of ingredients. There were dozens, even hundreds of glass bottles, all of them labeled in a neat script. Narova flicked her eyes across Frost Salts, Vampire Dust, Void Salts and countless other expensive reagents before finding the Dremora hair on a middle shelf.

There were at least ten strands in the bottle—pale silver and floating in some clear liquid.

Narova reach out her hand, and was halfway to the bottle when she stopped. Sniffed the air. Something wasn’t right…there was a trace of sulfur on the air. And brimstone.

Someone else was in the room, also under the cloak of invisibility.

Narova pulled the small ebony dagger from the leather scabbard at the small of her back. She was halfway through a spell for Detect Life when she felt two ethereal chains clamp down on her wrists and ankles.

Then she was thrown into the wall.

She crashed into the stone with a thud, cursing from the pain. She felt the invisibility melt away and howled as her limbs were stretched out even further. Her joints strained to keep her arms and legs attached to her body.

Savos Aren materialized in the middle of the room. A Dunmer in a strange looking cloak. Red eyes burning beneath the shadow of his hood.

“I was rather impressed by the Alteration spell you cast on my window,” he said lightly. “But your effort at invisibility is crude at best.”

Narova gnashed her teeth together and burned the magic chains away with her mind. She dropped to the floor—landing on the balls of her feet—and then rushed forward, dagger pulled back and ready for murder.

She took three swipes at Savos, all of them killing stokes, but came up empty each time. He didn’t dodge her attacks. In fact he barely moved at all except for a thin smile spreading across his ash-colored lips.

But her blade passed through him each time as if the mage was nothing more than a clump of mist sculpted into the shape of a person through some strange form of magic.

When Narova came around for a fourth try, the Dunmer’s arm shot out impossibly fast, clamped on to her wrist, and squeezed down so hard that she dropped her dagger on reflex. Savos hopped back a step and then cast a purple, translucent shell around Narova.

“That was even more impressive than the window spell,” Savos said happily. “No one has broken my Bound Chain in fifty years. Try to break out of this one as well.”

Savos looked on eagerly as Narova frowned, then steadied her mind and tried to crack open the shell. It didn’t work, the thing just vibrated a little.

“Pity,” Savos said, shrugging. “Seeing you break through that shell would have truly made my day.”

Then, he seemed to entirely lose focus for a moment, and drift away into his own private thoughts.

Narova stabbed at the shell once, twice. On the third stroke her blade shattered. Savos looked over at the noise, eyeing Narova as if she was an irritating pet.

“You were robbing me. Why?”

Narova didn’t see much point in lying.

“I need the ingredients for a potion. Heard you don’t like to share.”

“You heard correctly. Deathgrass and Dremora hair…are you trying to suppress a gateway to the Netherworld or something?”

“I’m trying to kill a necromancer.”

Savos narrowed his red eyes at her. “Interesting. He must be powerful, to warrant such a…costly form of preparation. I was under the impression that the servants of Sithis had more or less abandoned the elegant assassinations of their forefathers.”

“Powerful enough to kill Festus Krex,” Narova said, taking a risk. She knew Festus used to be a student at the college.

“Festus…” Savos said to himself, searching his memory. “A cunning wizard, as I recall. Never could get a firm handle on Restoration magic, though. Always leaving behind scars…”

The Arch Mage seemed to wander off into his own thoughts again. Narova was starting to get pissed off.

“Are you going to finish me off, or am I going to be stuck here all night while you daydream?” she asked.

“You’re impertinence is…rather insipid, I think. By far the least interesting part about your burglarization of my quarters. What is your name, Bosmer?” Savos asked.

“Narova Blackhair.”

“Of Valenwood?”

“Of nowhere in particular.”

Savos nodded.

“So many lost souls wandering this frozen tundra. It’s sad, really.” He looked at her hard—his red eyes searching for something inside of her own. “I’m going to let you have those ingredients, I’ve decided.”

The purple shell faded away to nothing.

“I remember Festus Krex well,” Savos continued. “He was a prickly one, but I found him to be most interesting. Even if he was rather evil down there in his bones and soul and everything.”

Narova didn’t move. Wasn’t sure if it was some kind of trick.

“Go, Narova Blackhair,” Savos said. “Avenge old Festus for us both, eh?”

She nodded and walked over to the shelf, keeping her eyes fixed on Savos. But he didn’t move. Narova picked up the bottle of Demora hair, then she glanced towards the stairwell.

“I think not,” Savos said, seeming to read her mind. “You shall leave the same way you came in. I should like to see your Alteration at work one last time. It was truly…beautiful.”

READ THE NEXT STORY

Shaking her head, Narova walked towards the far window and began casting her spell.

Fucking mages, she thought.

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3 comments on “A Robbery at the College of Winterhold

  1. Pingback: A Werewolf and a Bosmer Walk Into an Apothecary | Bus Ride Fantasy

  2. Elspeth Aurilie
    February 27, 2013

    I loved this characterization of Savos and their banter. Excellent work as always.

    • Fargoth
      February 28, 2013

      Thanks! It’s funny I originally had written him as just a mean guy…but then with the expansion and Neloth who was always “interested” in how things would turn out, that seemed more interesting (and somebody had to take the role of that mage, since old Neloth didn’t fare so well in one of my earlier stories!).

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This entry was posted on February 26, 2013 by in Skyrim Fiction, Tales of Narova Black Hair and tagged , .
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