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Chapter Thirty-nine The Eye of Magnus.


BrotherofCats

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Nora and her Housecarls spent the next morning getting some rest, then Nora went to the Adept level classes that afternoon. She asked Drevis Neloran about her dreams. The Illusion mage cast a spell on her, made some noncommittal sounds, and shook his head.

 

“I can't think of anything at the moment, since these dreams don't seem to be of magical or Divine nature,” said the Bosmer. “I know these dreams must be disturbing, and I will check my reference materials. Don't give up hope, Nora. We'll find something yet.”

 

Neloran then gave her three copies of one spell tome, Compelling Whispers, a spell that would let the caster force an enemy to fight for them. Normally Nora wouldn't consider such a spell, but if it allowed her to turn an evil person to the side of good, even if temporarily, she would learn it.

 

“No, I haven't found anything firm, yet,” said Phinis Gestor, looking up from a book he had been perusing. “Some hints, legends, and I hate to say it, but the cure might be worse than the condition.”

 

Nora didn't like the sound of that, and the disappointment on her face must have been noticeable.

 

“Don't give up,” said the Conjuration Mage. “I'll keep looking. And in the meantime, the Archmage wanted me to give you three spell tomes. So, here you go. Conjure Frost Atronach. I'm sure this will come in handy.”

 

“Here, these are for you,” said Faralda, handing over her three tomes. Scattershock, a spell that allowed the caster to send out a stream of electric bolts that harmed health and magicka. “And remember, we have a training session tonight on the top of the central tower.”

 

“Annekke isn't here yet.”

 

“Then we'll just have to work without her. Don't be late.”

 

Colette Marence approached her after her adept level class in Restoration, a frown on her face. “Here,” she said, shoving the tomes on to Nora. “Now, I need to get back to my own research.”

 

Nora really wasn't sure about the Master of Restoration. Always complaining, always in a bad mood. But she had followed the archmage's instruction, and Nora had three copies Horrid Wilting, one of the few attack spells of the school, dealing massive disease damage over a short period of time.

 

After her classes Nora ran up to the top of the central tower, where Faralda and Urag gro-Shub were waiting for her. Nora was surprised to see the Orsimer scholar up there, and even more surprised to see a wooden rack set up with several dozen throwing daggers.

 

“What?” said Urag, seeing the Dragonborn's expression. “I wasn't always a scholar. I was raised in one of the strongholds, and given the warrior training that all young Orcs undergo. Before I decided that I wanted to fight my battles with my mind, and came to the College.”

 

“Okay, Nora. We're going to do basically the same thing, with Master gro-Shub taking the place of Annekke. His daggers are the practice variety, dulled, and even if they were razor sharp they wouldn't get through your armor. So, I call out targets, and we'll send our attacks in without warning.”

 

It started off well enough. A couple of fire spells and a dagger, Nora stopping them all with ward or buckler. The attacks started coming in faster, but the Dragonborn kept up, bouncing knives away, then taking several spells on a ward.

 

“Shock, target three.”

 

Nora brought up a chain lightning spell, sending it into one of the trio of targets, letting the charge bounce to the others. She had found that throwing destruction spells were like using the targeting systems on a suit. Visualize the target, and the spell homed right in on it, ignoring what she didn't want to hit. That didn't work with area spells, like fireball, of course, but if there were friendlies close she wouldn't throw a spell like that.

 

Faralda sped up her casting, while Urag starting increasing the speed of his throws. Nora stopped using her buckler when a pair of spells hit her, a shock and a cold one. Her hair stood on end from the electricity, and the cold penetrated her armor for a hit that really hurt. Faralda was putting more power into her spells, though still not enough to cause serious harm.

 

Nora knocked a knife out of the air with a swift motion, to her sped up cognition moving at the speed of a tossed object. She batted three of them down, aiming for the hilt, before the fourth time when her palm contacted the blade. Not anything to worry about with the dulled weapon, but something to keep in mind if she faced real weapons. She got into a rhythm, switching smoothly between ward and block, then hammering the targets with spells. She threw in a couple of protective spells for good measure when she had a second. She snagged the last knife out of the air, catching the hilt and tossing it to the ground, to the surprised hiss of the Orc.

 

“You are doing very well, Nora,” said Faralda. “So much improvement, though you have yet to reach your potential.”

 

“Yes,” said a hated voice from behind Nora. “Most impressive. And how is it that you can move so fast, apprentice?”

 

“Adept,” growled Nora, turning to face Ancano, her hands coming up in a defensive position.

 

“And I am a master wizard of my order, Adept. You would do well to remember that.”

 

There was an applied threat there, and the Thalmor was careful to leave enough space between himself and Nora. Space to throw spells before she could close. Not knowing that she could Whirlwind Sprint into him like an express train. The sound of Faralda calling up her own spells was comforting, and the Altmer man had to know he couldn't win a magical duel on this rooftop.

 

“I have some questions about the item you found in Saarthal. My order will be quite interested in the details of such an artifact.”

 

Nora looked over at Faralda, not sure what she should disclose. “What item?”

 

“Do not insult my intelligence,” said Ancano, keeping his distance.

 

“Go ahead and answer him, Nora,” said Faralda. “And if Ancano doesn't mind, Urag and myself will stay for the questioning.”

 

“That will be fine,” said the Thalmor, in a tone that let Nora know that it was anything but. However, he had no choice, so he made the best of it.

 

“Please describe what you found. And leave out none of the details.”

 

So Nora told him, a complete description of how they fought their way into the chamber with the orb. How she felt like she was looking at something of immense power, an object that could cause great destruction if not handled properly. At the end of fifteen minutes or so the Altmer nodded his head. “Thank you for your cooperation.” He turned and walked to the door leading to the stairs, and was gone.

 

“I really don't like him,” said Nora.

 

“I don't either,” said Faralda, frowning. “I don't know many of my own people who do like the Thalmor, though there must be enough in the Isles for them to maintain power.”

 

“Eldawyn hates them with a passion.” Nora decided this was not the time to fill in the details of Elda's rage against the Thalmor group that the party had ended up murdering.

 

“I have some books on metamagic for you to study,” said Urag, reaching down by the knife rack and picking up a bag. “Read them, study them, and you will find ways to improve both your magic store and your regeneration rate, as well as some other aspects of magic.”

 

“Are they like the skill books?” asked a hopeful Nora.

 

Urag laughed. “I'm afraid not. You have to read them, understand them, meditate on them. These skills do not come easily, which is why most who study magic stop at the adept level. Which, from my understanding is not where you want your career to end.”

 

“Then thank you, Master gro-Shub. I will take good care of them.”

 

“You had better,” said the gruff Orsimer, gathering up his knives.

 

Faralda escorted Nora from the tower and to the courtyard, making sure that Ancano didn't bother her. Nora wasn't sure how long she could keep this up. It was not her way to run and hide from trouble, but her method of confrontation would cause too many problems for this institution, which had already done so much for her.

 

“We're going for a ride while there's still some light,” said Nora, looking into the gorgeous golden eyes of the Altmer. “I want to test out Thundering Hooves.”

 

Faralda laughed, a musical sound. “Have fun.”

 

Nora, Lydia and Valdimar saddled their horses, then mounted in their cold weather clothing. They had tested the spell the night before, Nora casting it and noting that the horses of all three glowed slightly green. She had cast the spell every eight minutes, counting down the time in her implant, and the horses hadn't faltered. They used up their reserves of stamina, but the spell let them regenerate it faster than it was used, so they could run at a fast gallop for hours. A few times Nora had cast the spell, and one or both of her companions' mounts had run out of energy. So she wanted to get a good handle on the limits.

 

They ran the horses toward the tiny village of Whistling Mine, ten miles from Winterhold. Her implant told her it took fifteen minutes, which translated into forty miles an hour. Nora knew from reading that horses could normally run at twenty-five to thirty miles an hour, though some racehorses could get up above fifty for a very short period of time. And most riders were limited to a walk of less than ten miles an hour if one wanted to move for any length of time. The spell let them gallop at forty miles an hour, with no apparent fatigue. The Dragonborn wondered if injuries to the mounts would occur, but she had three mages who could heal, so unless the mount broke a leg it would not be a problem. A broken leg would necessitate making sure the bones were in the proper placement and pouring the healing energy into them, a time-consuming process.

 

“Lydia. Fall back twenty feet,” ordered Nora as the green glow started to blink, indicating the spell had almost expired. Lydia reined her horse back until she was at the specified distance, and Nora cast the spell. Lydia's horse glowed the slight green of the engaged spell, and she kept up easily with Nora and Valdimar.

 

“Valdimar. Move up twenty feet. I want to see if the distance is the same all around.” It was, and Nora knew that she could move a small herd with the spell.

 

“Now try thirty.” When Nora cast the spell this time her horse glowed, but those of her Housecarl's didn't. “Twenty-five.” This time all of the horses glowed green.

 

That was enough for her to work with, and it was starting to get cold, so they headed back to Winterhold and the stables.

 

“That was a wonderful gift from Master Tolfdir,” said Lydia as they pulled the saddles off their mounts. “We can travel so much farther in a day. It's a wonder that everyone isn't using it.”

 

“It's an adept level spell, Lydia. Even most who dabble in magic wouldn't be able to cast it. Fortunately, we have three who can.”

 

They retired to the inn, and Nora spent the next couple of hours reading the tomes Master gro-Shub had picked out for her. They were hard reads, and Nora wasn't sure she really understood them, but she did the meditation exercises and felt like she had gotten just a little stronger. Unless it was her imagination.

 

Nora was tired, but she wanted to have enough sex that the nightmares wouldn't come. She asked Valdimar if he was willing, and received a wide smile. “Always, my Lady.”

 

“And enough of that,” said Nora with a laugh. “Remember, when we're together in bed its first names only.”

 

The pair undressed each other, then lay in bed, Nora working on Valdimar's penis. Not that the man needed it, but he seemed to appreciate her efforts, and Nora had always loved giving oral to men. There was a knock on the door, and both looked up in surprise.

 

“May I come in, my Lady?” asked Lydia in a soft voice.

 

“We're not decent,” said Nora.

 

“I knew that,” said Lydia, opening the door and coming in, her eyes growing wide as she saw the erection of the man. “Could we continue my training, please.”

 

“Of course, Lydia,” said Nora with a laugh. “And what would you like to study tonight.”

 

“That,” said Lydia, licking her lips as she looked at the man. “I would like to learn how to pleasure a man.”

 

“You willing, Valdimar?”

 

“By Oblivion, yes,” said the enthusiastic man.

 

“But no penetration of Lydia,” cautioned Nora, looking up at her Housecarl and receiving a nod. “She wants to save that for her husband.”

 

“Understood,” said the big man. “I was called upon to pleasure high born ladies who wanted to let their future husbands tear their hymen. But would you like penetration, Nora?”

 

“Damned straight. I haven't been a virgin for over two hundred years.” Nora looked up at the female Housecarl. “Well, Lydia. Join us on the bed and we'll start the lesson.”

 

“I'm a little nervous.”

 

“Then let me warm you up first.”

 

Nora went down on the younger woman, bringing her to orgasm while Valdimar looked on. Then she turned her attention on the man, moving her mouth down his body until she inhaled his cock and started working it with her mouth, her left hand gently caressing his balls.

 

“Men love this,” Nora told the young woman. “You can be as rough as you want on the cock, but the balls must be handled gently.”

 

“What about when he cums?” asked the wide-eyed Lydia, reaching a hand over to feel the testicles of the man.

 

“Men love it when they can cum in your mouth, swallowing it down,” said Nora, talking as she licked up and down the shaft. “However, if you don't want to do that, you can take it in your mouth and spit it out. Or you can bring him to orgasm with your hand and avoid his seed in your mouth altogether. It all feels good, believe me.”

 

“Yes,” said Valdimar, his eyes closed and an expression of extreme pleasure on his face. “It's all good.”

 

“Would you like to try?”

 

“I don't know what to do.”

 

“Just lick on the shaft, like you would the labia of a woman. I'll work the head.”

 

Nora smiled as Lydia started licking Valdimar's cock like an ice cream cone, while Nora worked her way down the head and onto the shaft, leaving Lydia enough room to work.

 

“Lick his balls. Gently.”

 

Lydia did as told, and was soon slurping away on the scrotum and enclosed testicles. Nora moved down the shaft until he was lodged in her throat, gagging slightly as she relaxed around the penis.

 

“Would you like to try?”

 

“Yes,” said a breathless Lydia.

 

Nora helped to get the cock in the Housecarl's mouth. Lydia tried to get as much down as she could, but gagged and came off of it before it was halfway down. “I don't know how you could take him so deep.”

 

“Lots of practice,” said Nora with a laugh. “Don't worry about taking too much your first time. You work his balls and I'll get him off with my mouth.”

 

Valdimar had to be in Sovngarde, with two beautiful women servicing his cock. Nora could feel the head of the cock swell in her mouth, then the seed flooding down her throat. She pulled off a bit, keeping a small amount in her mouth for the next lesson.

 

“Do the balls always do that?” asked Lydia in a hushed voice. “Climbing up toward the body, then pulsing?”

 

“Many times, though not always. Now, I would like you to taste what's in my mouth. You don't have to, and it will only be a tiny bit. But I want you to give it a try.”

 

Lydia nodded, and Nora kissed her, pushing a little bit of semen into the younger woman's mouth, who took it in and swallowed.

 

“Not bad, huh?” asked a smiling Valdimar.

 

“Not really much of a taste at all. Do they all taste like that?”

 

“Heavens no,” said Nora, laughing. “It depends on what they eat, among other things. Now Valdimar, why don't you pleasure our student.”

 

“My Lady. No. I'm saving myself...”

 

“It's only oral, my dear.”

 

Valdimar was an expert, thanks to his training in Morthal. He got Lydia off several times, Nora playing with her soft breasts. The man smiled, moved up to kiss Lydia, letting her taste herself on his lips.

 

“Just watch,” said Nora, pulling the big man over and on top of her. Valdimar penetrated her wet pussy, thrusting gently as first and working up to a rhythm.

 

“You can play with anything you can reach,” gasped Nora, looking over at Lydia as Valdimar fucked the hell out of her.

 

Lydia caressed both of them, their bodies, their genitals. Watching and listening intently. Nora had a pair of orgasms before Valdimar came in her.

 

“That was beautiful,” said Lydia, tears on her face. “But I still want to wait.”

 

“No problem,” said Nora, smiling again. “When you find the right man you will know what to do.”

 

The trio fell asleep on the bed in a bundle of limbs and bodies. When Nora awoke Lydia was gone, though Valdimar had held her through the night, keeping his Thane safe from the bad dreams.

 

*     *     *

 

Nora spent the next three days attending classes, then practice sessions with Faralda and Urag in the afternoons after class, then studying the books the Orsimer librarian had lent her. She could feel herself growing more powerful every day, in tiny increments. Achieving understanding of many of her spells at the cellular level, not just regurgitating the words while she visualized the symbols. No, they were becoming a part of her, and when she told Faralda that the Altmer smiled.

 

“Most mages don't achieve that until they are to master level, and most never internalize the spells like that. You have the makings of a mighty mage, one who will make the world sit up and take notice.”

 

Nora spent her nights at the Frozen Hearth, her and Valdimar teaching Lydia everything they could about how to please men and women in bed. Lydia was an apt student, and Nora was sure that whoever she got married to would be a happy man indeed. Of course that would mean Lydia would have to leave the Dragonborn's service unless she found a husband willing to adventure with her. Nora would miss her, but wouldn't let herself be so selfish as to stop any of her people from moving on.

 

On the third night after Nora had returned to Winterhold the students were back. Arniel Gane led them in, and Nora had to wonder why Tolfdir wasn't with them.

 

“Oh, Master Tolfdir is with the group bringing the artifact back here,” said Gane, looking exhausted.

 

“How?” asked Nora, who couldn't see how that thing would fit down the tunnels. And how were they going to move it. Besides, she really doubted the wisdom of bringing an object fraught with such hazard into the College. If it was as powerful as she thought it could destroy Winterhold.

 

“We found a hatch in the ceiling, and a shaft leading up to the surface. Probably how the ancient Nords got it down there in the first place. And the orb floats in the air, so all it took was a harness made for it and the muscle power to get it going. They're building a sledge for it to take it across the ice.”

 

Nora had been given the task of stopping disaster by the Psijic monks. If it had been up to her she would have left it in place, then collapsed the room and the tunnels leading to it. Let it remain buried. Instead, just like so many Earth scientists, they were letting their curiosity get the better of them. Nora could only hope that the damn thing didn't blow up in their faces.

 

She sought out J'Zargo as soon as he got his bags off of his horse.

 

“Ah, friend Nora. J'Zargo wants to know how the scrolls work?”

 

“Oh, they worked just fine,” she said with a smile, that soon changed into a mask of anger. “If they were intended to blow up and injure me and my party. Just perfect.”

 

“No. No, they were not intended to do that. This cat made a grave error then. J'Zargo will consider this a horrible mistake. Please, give me the scrolls and I will dispose of them.”

 

Seeing the contrite and embarrassed look on the face of the Khajiit, Nora felt sorry for him. The young mage wanted to become powerful, so that he could help his people, and had worked hard on what he thought would be a boon for fighting the undead. Nora handed over the nine scrolls she had yet to use, and now never would.

 

Classes and training went as usual during the next four days. Nora learned more spells, at least one each day, while continuing to strengthen herself with the metamagic texts. On the day before the Orb arrived she had cast some novice spells for practice, something she had gotten quite good at, but something felt different. She talked to Faralda after her training session on the roof.

 

“Try casting some novice spells while I read your magic,” said the Altmer destruction master.

 

Nora cast Flames into one of the targets, a novice level destruction spell that did damage over time while eating up magicka. This was a spell that depleted Nora very little, since her regeneration rate almost kept up with it. Faralda cast her detect magic spell, her eyes growing wide.

 

“I've never seen someone of your level achieve this feat.”

 

“What feat? What's happening?”

 

“You've achieved a metamagic Alteration feat,” said Faralda, still staring at the Dragonborn. “You're able to tap into the magicka of the world to cast those low lever spells, without using your own reserves. Let's try something else so I can be sure.”

 

Nora called up Oakflesh from Alteration, feeling her skin toughen in an instant. That spell should have used up magicka in a burst, and it would take about five seconds for her to regenerate the energy, but she felt no drain, no regeneration.

 

“You used no magicka with that spell either. So I have to say that you can now cast novice spells off the energy of the world. It should also reduce the cost somewhat of high-level spells.”

 

“This is a good thing, right?”

 

“My dear. This is a wonderful thing. Most mages are in expert training before they even have a chance of this feat. Many mages never reach it. Keep on going and you'll soon be able to do the same with apprentice level.”

 

Nora took a moment to let that sink in. Faralda was telling her that she was advancing faster than other mages. The Sole Survivor had always been a good student, honor roll through undergrad, top of her class in law school. And the Supersoldier serum that had improved her body also had an effect on her mind. She wasn't sure it had made her smarter, though some in the Commonwealth would have disagreed. What she did know was her cognitive processes were faster, her memory better, and she took in new knowledge at a prodigious rate. Like magic.

 

“I'm jealous, I'll have you know,” said Faralda with a smile that belied her statement.  “In a year, if not before, you will be my equal. And that is not something I say lightly. It took me a decade to reach my skill level, mostly in destruction. When you face the dragon you will be one of the mightiest mages in Tamriel.”

 

“Wow,” said Nora, the implications sinking in.

 

“Don't let it go to your head,” cautioned the master mage. “Even the mightiest archmage can be felled by arrows, or the opportune strike of a sword. Though with the armor you carry, and your unique fighting style and physical attributes, you will be much harder to strike down than most. But not impossible.”

 

A week of classes had gone by, Tolfdir's place taken by an expert mage student, a Nord named Freida High-Seas, before the caravan with the Orb arrived. It came down on its large sledge through the middle of Winterhold. A hundred people had stopped their day's tasks to watch what to them looked like another Mage College disaster entering their city. Many more weren't present, and Nora had to think that they were probably hiding in their houses. The Jarl, Korir, stood in front of his longhouse, scowling and commenting to his people about this new abomination the mages had brought to his capital. Almost all the Hold guards were in evidence, but with a master mage and fifteen advanced students escorting the Orb, they were dissuaded from trying anything to stop it. Still, it was looking like a public relations disaster, if they even had that concept here.

 

“Ah, Nora,” said Tolfdir, looking down from his horse and smiling. It seemed his guilt was gone, his mind totally captured by this unknown device. “Isn't it beautiful?

 

Nora had to admit it was. The unusual textures, the flowing colors. Was she the only one who felt the menace of the Orb? “Why bring it here?”

 

“Safekeeping,” answered Tolfdir, shrugging his shoulders. “Ease of study. After all, if it remained in Saarthal the masters of the college would have to travel back and forth to study it, neglecting their students. Like I have, and I must apologize for that. Meet me in my office after we get the Orb installed. I have another assignment for you.”

 

It took them two hours to get the fifteen-foot diameter orb over the bridge and into the College, floating it above the guard walls. Eventually the mages were able to float it into place inside the spiral staircase that led to the upper floors. Tolfdir stood staring at it for an hour, and Nora was beginning to fear for his mental health. Finally, with a shake of his head, he noticed that Nora was waiting for him.

 

“It is beautiful, but I need to take care of some other business. So please, follow me to my office.”

 

Nora walked up the spiral stairs behind the master mage, wondering the whole time what it was he wanted to talk to her about. If it was the possessed rape he had taken part in, she prepared herself to talk him out of his guilt.

 

“I hope you're not still beating yourself up over what happened in Saarthal?” she asked as soon as she entered the office.

 

“The what?” Tolfdir's eyes were unfocused, as if he were still looking at the Orb. “Oh, that. Not anyone's fault, and something we need to put behind us. And I must say, the report Faralda gave me was most encouraging. Being able to cast novice spells off the magic of the world is quite the feat.”

 

“Thank you,” said Nora, feeling her face heat with a blush. But she was beginning to grow more alarmed at the behavior of the master. It wasn't normal to take what he had done so hard, even if not responsible, then less than a week later be over it.

 

“I have a project for you. I would like you to research into the Orb. Ask Urag gro-Shub what he might have on this object. Then report back to me.”

 

“Well, I have some tomes that might be of interest,” said the scowling Orc. “But some miscreant made off with the books I would really like to give you. So, if you want those books, you will need to confront some very dangerous mages and take them.”

 

That actually didn't seem like such a bad idea to Nora. She wanted to get out into the world and make it a better place, killing bandits, necromancers and vampires. She had a lot more spells at her command, and while practice was good, she thought she would advance more with practical experience. And she now had a way to cover ground much faster.

 

“Who stole them?”

“Orthorn stole a number of books when he ran off to Fellglow Keep to join those Summoners. Some kind of peace offering. I think one of those volumes may have had some relevant information.”

 

“Didn't the Archmage do something to get them back?”

 

“Archmage Aren's stance on things like this is to let them sort themselves out. Now it looks like you'll be doing the sorting.” Urag looked at her for a moment. “Normally I would caution you on going up against so many mages. But after seeing you in action, I feel sorry for the bastards.”

 

A woman in white robes was over on the side, giving a piece of her mind to a librarian's assistant. Gro-Shub must have thought that matter would sort itself out as well, since he headed back to his desk.

 

“Is something wrong?” she asked the woman, letting the assistant escape.

 

“Yes. There are pages missing from many of the books that are behind locked cases. This is unacceptable.”

 

“I haven't seen you around here before, have I?”

 

“I am Olivia Meronin. I am visiting from the Synod in Cyrodil, though I must say I don't see eye to eye with most of them. There was said to be much knowledge here that the Synod does not possess, and I wanted to catalog it, so mages from all over would know where to go.”

 

“And what was missing from the cases? Books?”

 

“No,” said the Synod researcher with a huff. “No, they tore a single page out of each book and took them. From the writings of Shalidor.”

 

“The mage from ancient times?” asked Nora, raising an eyebrow.

 

“The same.” And Olivia launched into a lecture on the mage Shalidor, who had founded the Mage's Guild and had written many times more than any other mage in history. Including five new spells, one for each school of magic.

 

“I'm about to hit the road,” said Nora, thinking about gaining access to new spells.

 

“And you are?”

 

“Nora Jane Adams.”

 

“The Dragonborn? Yes, you might be just the person to look into this. My apprentice, Jadro'Ra, was looking for clues in Solitude. He is overdue in reporting. I would search for clues as to his whereabouts in Solitude, or maybe the coast north of there. But be careful. These are very dangerous mages, and while I understand you are dangerous as well, all it takes is a single misstep to fall.”

 

“I'll be careful,” said Nora, thinking just the opposite. “Is there something I can say to the Khajiit that will identify me as someone he can trust?”

 

“Tell him that he makes a better rug than a mage.”

 

She went back to Tolfdir's office, to find that the old Nord had gone back to the Hall of Elements. She found him again staring at the Orb. And more alarming, Ancano was also staring at it as if it were the only thing in the Universe.

 

“I have a mission from Master gro-Shub to get the books I need. I'm going to Fellglow Keep to get them back from the thieves.”

 

“Good, good. But be careful, my Dear.”

 

Nora went through one last training session before leaving. Faralda was tougher than normal on her, but Nora still knocked all of Annekke's arrows down and stopped over ninety-five percent of the Altmer's spells, while servicing the targets on command without a hitch.

 

“It will be good for you to use your skills in real combat,” said the Destruction Master. “Just don't let your abilities go to your head. Treat every opponent with respect, as if they might fell you, and you will do fine.”

 

Nora checked out her traveling/fighting gear that night, making sure that everything was serviceable. Faralda had gotten her a set of Master Mage of Destruction Robes, a magical artifact that, along with the Dragonborn's other enchantments, gave her three times her normal already powerful regeneration rate, while allowing her to cast spells at a reduced cost in magicka. She wore her ebony chain over it, her belt wrapped around her waist. Dawnbreaker was sheathed on her left side, her monomolecular blade and her pistol on the right, along with four spare loaded magazines in their pouches. Six more pouches shared the belt space, allowing her to carry more gear, electronics, magical artifacts, keeping them close at hand. The hardened steel helmet that could switch from light to nighteye rode her head, the bear skin cloak of resist frost on her back. The boots had been upgraded to glass, with the same muffle and sneak enchantments on them, while the scale gloves still carried magicka and lock picking enchantments. She had six rings, two of them artifacts they had found in their adventures, all giving her a boost to her abilities. She left off the winter furs, which she would put on in the morning, but thought that all and all she made a striking warrior.

 

The next morning the party was mounted up and ready to hit the road. Nora decided to go after Olivia's assistant first, since the Khajiit might be in serious trouble. Of course, he was probably already dead, but on the off chance that he was still alive and in danger, she couldn't live with herself if she didn't go to his aid first.

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