J’Zhirr and Serana leave the College of Winterhold before dawn. When J’Zhirr reaches the town, he sees a hooded man walking leisurely down the empty street. Something about the man spells trouble, and it’s not just because of his glowing red eyes.
The man stops in front of J’Zhirr and cries, “Die, Dawnguard!”. Then he summons a gargoyle. we concentrate our attacks on the man. For once, the town guards are alert and quickly joins in the fight. Once we defeated the man, the gargoyle disappears.
It is snowing at Winterhold. It is not a light falling of snowflakes but a very bad snowstorm. J’Zhirr has not encounter such a storm before. The wind blows so strongly that the snow is falling almost horizontally. The swirling snow makes it hard to see clearly. J’Zhirr can make out the dark rectangular shapes of buildings but very little else. Perhaps it is better to seek shelter at The Frozen Hearth and wait for the storm to lessen its fury.
Birna owns Birna’s Oddments, the other business in the partly destroyed city. Birna grew up in Winterhold and since job options were in short supply, Birna took up trading. To make ends meet, Birna trades everything she can. If it’s worth putting a price on it, she will not hesitate to do so. She had been burned a few times and made some bad deals, but Brina is thankful that mostly she managed to come out on top.
She hopes to make enough money to leave this freezing place. However it will take her a long time to accumulate enough gold, for Birna is also the sister of Ranmir. Whatever money Birna makes, Ranmir drinks it away just as fast.
J’Zhirr visits the Jarl’s Longhouse in the morning. Jarl Korir is a typical Nord; deeply suspicious of any magic user. He seems to take delight in blaming everything on them, whether it is the coldness of the day or the Great Collapse which caused half the city to fall off into the sea. Even though the College of Winterhold denies any involvement in that natural calamity, Jarl Korir is certain that it’s their fault that the sea swallowed the city.
Jarl Korir tells his son that the mages do not care about them. They think that they are better than the people of Winterhold, who can be just thrown away. This causes the boy to hate the mages, upon which Jarl Korir praises his son heartily.
Haran worries about Ranmir drinking himself into a stupor and about her daughter playing unsuitable games. Yet she does not come across as someone who worries ceaselessly about the sky falling down. One does not have the luxury to worry about every little thing when living in such hard conditions.
Haran is more practical than Dagur. Recognizing that magic users make up the bulk of her business, she ignores Jarl Korir’s complaints about her customers. When told that Jarl Korir suggests that the mere presence of her customers is causing him harm, she curtly replies, “Well, then he’s welcome to eat and drink at home, isn’t he?”
A man sits in The Frozen Hearth, drinking for the love that is gone.
The man is Ranmir and he used to be happy and outgoing. One day, Ranmir fell in love with a pretty young woman named Isabelle Rolaine. The two of them were very happy together. Then Isabelle disappeared. Ranmir was convinced that she ran off with someone else, leaving him behind. In his misery, Ranmir turned to drinking to soothe his wounds.
And now this is what is left of that happy young man.
Dagur hates to see what Ranmir has turned into and thinks that if Isabelle could be found, or if Ranmir has some sort of explanation, then maybe he can pull himself together again.
Dagur’s wife, Haran, is able to add more details to the story. She says that Ranmir is convinced that Isabelle ran off with someone called Vex in Riften. However she also says that it is a dangerous undertaking. Riften is bad news and she is not about to risk her neck, no matter how sorry she feels for Ranmir.
But J’Zhirr just cannot keep his nose out of things, can he?