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   Chapter 7 No.7

An Enchanting Tale By AaronDennis Characters: 21150

Updated: 2018-01-10 12:02

The following morning, after further lessons in alteration provided by Brelyna, S'maash asked her for assistance. During their conversation, she decided to allow him access to her arcane enchanter and provided him with soul gems. He took to it immediately with the ancient, elven boots he had recovered from Anutwyll.

She observed him as he efficiently broke down the enchantment. First, he placed the golden boots on the table. Focusing his intent on the force of magick as it broke free from the boots, he learned they had been enchanted with the ability to muffle footsteps, something he had missed while he wore them. Once the enchantment was freed from the boots, their physical structure became unstable. They fell to pieces. He then turned to Brelyna.

"Why do some artifacts resist disenchantment?"

"If the force of the enchantment exceeds that of the arcane enchanter, it is incapable of releasing the enchantment from the item. Furthermore, if the item is held together by a powerful enchantment, the physical nature of the piece cannot be destroyed, so the enchantment can't be freed."

"A form of alteration?"

"Yes, actually; many fail to realize that enchanting is directly correlated to the school of alteration, " she answered.

"I heard about a former enchanter, here. Where did he go?"

"Sergius Turrianus?" she chirped. S'maash shrugged. "He was our only instructor for the school of enchanting."

"The nords, Wulfgar and Wulfbore, said he worked with the Dragonborn."

"You must mean Arniel Gane…no one knows for certain. Weeks after his disappearance, we went through his room. There were some journals he left behind.

"It seems he and the Dragonborn had been working on some way to find the dwemer. Arniel was convinced that by using a warped soul gem he could replicate the power of Lorkhan's Heart. He then obtained Keening, a dwemer artifact. I don't know what happened after that. He simply vanished. I'm afraid the Dragonborn hasn't been seen in Skyrim for somtime, so there's no way to know just what happened…."

S'maash's heart pounded. He knew the story of how General Nerevar battled Dumac, and was familiar with the subsequent change of the chimer into the dunmer; it involved the Heart of Lorkhan, and the disappearance of the dwemer.

"Is anyone living in Arniel's room, " he asked.

"No. No one wants to set foot in there. It's been twenty years, and still people are scared; nonsense, if you ask me, but I have no need to be in there."

"Do you think I could take his room?"

"I'll check with Tolfdir. If he approves, it's all yours, " she said.

During the next few days, S'maash wrote his brother another letter explaining he had finally found his place in life. Next, he poured over the many, dusty tomes kept by Urag, the orc, in the Arcaeneum. The librarian's abrasive personality softened a tad once he realized the young elf was serious about reading. Finally, S'maash was given Arniel Gane's old room. With free reign over an arcane enchanter, endless soul gems, and complete silence, he engrossed himself in reading, working, and also writing down every question he came upon.

A week went by before he amassed an entire journal brimming with questions. What is the origin of the arcane enchanter? Are they ingrained with the force of alteration? Can they be amplified? How do soul gems function? Why do they shatter after use? What is it about the Star of Azura that allows it to remain in existence and subsequently refilled? For the most part, his questions remained unanswered.

While conducting studies, he also attempted to discern the nature of the gems he removed from the ayleid ruin. Brelyna, having grown close to S'maash, decided to take some time and assist in that endeavor. After crushing one gem to a fine powder, and refining it into a liquid at her alchemy table, she then ran the contents through the glass and steel apparatus. It turned out to be a solidified version of the ayleid fluid found in glowing pools, pools that were collected and crystallized into a welkynd stone.

While the ayleids had a process for speeding along the results, the liquid itself, or the liquid while in mist form, had the potential to bind and coalesce into a solid state. Only rarely and under specific conditions did the stone truly become a welkynd stone, so the ayleids refined the process through artificial means.

"So, it's just a welkynd stone in its infancy, " S'maash asked her that night.

They were sitting on the edge of the well before the statue of the once great Shalidor outside the College. It appeared as though its stone robes fluttered in the wind. The moons sat perfectly atop the center of the starry sky. Brelyna, clutching her fur-lined, blue robes, peered into the darkness.

"Yes. Has there been any progress on your research?"

"Not much, truthfully, but then I did not expect to make leaps and bounds after a mere fortnight, " S'maash replied.

"What will you do next?"

He looked up as he brought his thoughts together. "I want to understand why an alteration spell, such as stone flesh, doesn't permanently alter the living, while a similar enchantment, such as fortify heavy armor, permanently alters the equipment, " he stated.

"Well, I can assure you, at least part of that reason has to do with the magicka reserves in a person. Equipment such as armor doesn't have a reserve of magicka, " she answered.

"But weapons with charges behave as though they do and can be recharged with the same force, souls, as used to enchant…every item enchanted is infused with the living essence, " S'maash's voice trailed away.

Brelyna was impressed. She had never met one so inquisitive.

"So, you think the souls have more to do with the enchantment than the effect or spell, " she asked.

"If the souls—once filtered into the soul gem—adopt the same energy flux as magicka…is that what it is? It can't be just magicka; by that logic, a welkynd stone could be used to cast an enchantment. What am I missing, here?"

"Souls and magicka are different forces, though both magickal. If Sergius were still here, he might explain it a little better, " Brelyna said.

"Who taught him?"

"I assume someone in Cyrodiil."

S'maash rubbed the hairless sides of his head. The bitter night's cold nipped at his ears.

r; we're back to dragon's resisting soul trap."

S'maash clicked his tongue. A moment of silence passed as the two looked around at the many tomes in the Arcaeneum. S'maash welcomed the silence of the library. He felt it was more conducive to exploring thought. It was evident Urag felt similarly. Finally, they resumed their discussion.

"Well it's a thought. I know the dwemer were capable of creating great weapons like Volendrung; I'd love to hear the story of how that artifact fell into Malacath's hands. Then, you have the fact that they worked with the Heart of Lorkhan. Then, the ayleids and their mastery over light magick…I can feel it. There's more we can achieve, here, " S'maash complained.

"Well, it's all too much for me. Not to mention, if Arniel was working on something similar, it did not end well for him, " Urag replied.

With that, they ended their discussion. S'maash decided to read up on Azura. He discovered what was needed to summon her. During his search to gather what he needed, one of the chicks hatched. The others did not, so he put his endeavor with Azura on hold to run tests with his new chick. He marked the new chicken with a green band around its right leg.

The initial test to be documented involved the chicken's ability to pull a bag of small stones. He compared the results to similar chicks he purchased in town. The store bought chicks were much weaker. Proud of his great finding, he decided to retry a former experiment.

Again, he attempted a weak enchantment on a store bought baby chick. His reasoning was that the chick was still in its infancy, and as such, it had not yet solidified its magickal nature. He was mistaken. The little bird burst into a bloody mess, knocking him on his rear again. In a fit of rage, S'maash kicked the furniture around the room, which drew the attention of Tolfdir, who had recently returned from another trip with the students.

Upon finding S'maash in a rage, and covered in blood, the old nord flew off the handle. "What's this? Are you practicing necromancy?"

"What? No!" S'maash started.

"Silence. I will not tolerate this. Your entire room is covered in blood. I kept quiet before to see what might transpire. This is the third time you've desecrated a living creature!"

"Please, I can explain, " S'maash begged.

"No. You are here by expelled from the Winterhold College of Mages. Take your belongings and leave at once, " Tolfdir ordered.

The young elf's heart sank. His stomach churned knots, and then he sighed as he looked around the room. In resignation, he shook his shoulders.

"I need to find something quickly then I will go." It took the elf a moment to sift through the junk he had strewn about. Tossing around pieces of wooden furniture and ragged bed sheets, he located his journal and handed it to Tolfdir. "Everything is in there. I hope you'll see you've made a mistake, " S'maash said.

The old man's face remained grim, yet he took the book. He watched S'maash gather the remainder of his belongings from his trunk. Still bloodied, the elf took a look at the room. Then, he turned and left. In disbelief, he trudged from the tower to the courtyard, from the courtyard to the bridge, from there, into Winterhold.

It was late, a snowstorm brewed in the southern horizon, and the lights in the night sky danced in a dizzying array. Before exiting the town, S'maash stopped a guard.

"What is it? Dragons, " the guard asked.

"Where do mages go when they leave Winterhold?"

"Kicked out of the College eh? What, you practice necromancy, " the guard inquired.

"They think so, but no, I don't. I'm not overly familiar with Skyrim. I have only been here and in Riften, " S'maash replied.

The guard carefully scrutinized the elf. His robes were still stained with blood. Then, he glared.

"I think it best you find your own way, dunmer."

S'maash shook his head in desperation. He knew he needed to find a place to work while he hoped Tolfdir read over his journal and realized the misunderstanding. Work was not easy to come by, at least not work allowing him the time he needed to conduct more studies, so he followed the road south into Windhelm, south into a blizzard.

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