After the lesson is over, Tolfdir gives us a few hours to practice casting wards.
J’Zhirr decides to make use of the free time to explore the college. This one goes up the stairs to the Arcanaeum, the college library. Urag gro-Shub is the librarian. He welcomes J’Zhirr by saying, “You are now in the Arcanaeum, of which I am in charge. It might as well be my own little plane of Oblivion. Disrupt my Arcanaeum, and I will have you torn apart by angry Atronachs. Now, do you require assistance?”
Urag gro-Shub takes his work very seriously. He says, “If I didn’t, most of these books would’ve been burned to ashes or dissolved to nothing before the Third Era. Mages need to be reminded to be careful around research materials.”
Since Urag gro-Shub seems to be quite knowledgeable, J’Zhirr asks him about finding a Moth Priest. Urag gro-Shub says the obvious answer is to go to the Moth Priests’ home in the White Gold Tower far away in the Cyrodiil Imperial City. Urag gro-Shub then says, “Sometimes they go out looking for Elder Scrolls. Lucky for you, there’s a Moth Priest in Skyrim right now, doing just that. He stopped to do some research in the library, then left for Dragon Bridge.”
Guess that’s where J’Zhirr will be going next.
Tolfdir starts the lesson by giving a lecture about safety. He says, “So, as I was saying, the first thing to understand is that magic is, by its very nature, volatile and dangerous. Unless you can control it, it can and will destroy you.”
Brelyna Maryon interrupts impatiently, “Sir, I think we all understand that fairly well. We wouldn’t be here if we couldn’t control magic!”
Tolfdir patiently explains, “Of course, my dear. Of course. You all certainly possess some inherent natural ability. That much is not being questioned. What I’m talking about is true control, mastery of magic. It takes years, if not decades, of practice and study. Eagerness must be tempered with caution, or else disaster is inevitable.”
At this point, the other students starts chiming in, eager to get started. J’Zhirr suggests learning something practical and Tolfdir agrees. He says, “In continuing with our theme of safety, we’ll start with Wards. Wards are protective spells that block magic.”
J’Zhirr is roped in for the demonstration. Tolfdir teaches J’Zhirr a Lesser Ward spell. Then J’Zhirr has to cast the ward and keep it up while Tolfdir fires a fireball at J’Zhirr. Not to worry, mother, Tolfdir knows what he is doing. The ward holds and J’Zhirr is unharmed.
When the tour is over, Mirabelle Ervine tells J’Zhirr to go to the Hall of Elements. She says that Tolfdir is likely addressing the new apprentices and this one will be learning the first lessons from him.
Tolfdir is addressing three new apprentices in the hall. Interestingly, the Altmer that Mirabelle was talking to earlier, is also present. He is standing to one side, observing what is going on.
Ancano claims he is an advisor to the Arch-Mage and he is deployed here because the Thalmor wish to promote relations with the college. Seeing J’Zhirr, Ancano the Altmer says, “Another new Apprentice, I see. Are you of the sort that believe you’re here to change the world? Or are you only in it for yourself? I assure you that I shall be watching you — all of you — very closely.”
Mirabelle is surprised to see J’Zhirr. It seems that there has been quite a few new students lately.
Mirabelle immediately gets down to business, She hands J’Zhirr a set of novice mage clothing. She says, “While you’re not required to wear them, you may find them more to your liking than,” there is a little distaste in her tone as she finishes the sentence, “your current clothes.”
Then Mirabelle gives J’Zhirr a brief tour of the College. She brings J’Zhirr to the Hall of the Elements, where they hold lessons and meetings. Then she points out the Arcanaeum and the Arch-Mage’s quarters about that. Lastly she bring J’Zhirr to the Hall of Attainment where they house the newest members.
J’Zhirr is given his own room with a bed and desk. Strangely the room has no door. So much for privacy.
J’Zhirr enters the courtyard and sees Mirabelle talking to a Altmer. J’Zhirr stands respectfully nearby (far enough not interrupt and near enough to eavesdrop) to wait for their conversation to end. It never pays to get on a mage’s bad side.
Mirabelle says, “I believe I’ve made myself rather clear.”
The Altmer replies, “Yes of course. I’m simply trying to understand the reasoning behind the decision.”
Mirabelle says, “You may be used to the Empire bowing to your every whim, but I’m afraid you’ll find the Thalmor receive no such treatment here. You are guest of the College, here at the pleasure of the Arch-Mage. I hope you appreciate the opportunity.”
And with that, the conversation ends.
Faralda is still standing guard at the entrance to the College of Winterhold. This time J’Zhirr is able to pass Faralda’s little test. Pleased, Faralda welcomes J’Zhirr.
She leads the way across the bridge, stopping three times before three different stone cauldrons filled with a mysterious blue liquid. Each time, she cast a magic ball of light that flies towards the stone cauldron and ignites the liquid within. Along the way Faralda says, “The College is an asset to Skyrim, even if it goes unnoticed or unappreciated. Winterhold’s glory days may lie behind it, but the College lives on. Much knowledge lies within the College’s walls. No matter what, the College will endure.”
At the end of the bridge, Faralda leaves. She tell J’Zhirr that he should speak to Master Wizard Mirabelle Ervine.