Author's Notes: So it seems like is just going to take a bit more work to get used to! But I'm willing to do that, if it means getting my stuff out to people who would be interested in reading it. Basically, this story was the spawn of me playing Oblivion. Matthias is not actually my character, although I do mention mine later on in the story. If you catch it, that'd be awesome. Mwahah. But yeah! I can't really give away much; please just read my story and review it, if you feel inclined. That'd be great! (Also, I don't own any of the characters herein, except for Matthias Etanne and his father.)
"Again. With feeling."
Standing stiffly, I stared at my father with a somewhat disdainful look on my face. Nonetheless, I did as he asked. Sticking my hand out in front of me, I focused with all of my might, using the annoyance that I was feeling as a means of strengthening my power. In the palm of my hand I could feel a warm sensation, and my fingers began to curl around it. Just a moment later, the warm sensation became hotter, and just when it felt like it was going to burn my hand, I expelled it, and it flew toward the stump in front of me. The stump barely caught aflame.
"Well," my father said, "that's better than the time before. We're getting there." He rubbed his hands together and stepped forward to place a hand on my shoulder. "You've got it in you, Matthias. It may take a while to get there, but you've got it in you. We Bretons aren't said to have an affinity to magicka for nothing."
I only nodded. Destruction magic had always been difficult for me, though I was never quite sure why. Perhaps it was because neither of my parents had been particularly adept at it. My father, Francois, had always been better with things alchemical, and my mother Anya, Mara rest her soul, was considerably better with everything related to healing magic.
The two of them met in Anvil when my father, who had traveled from High Rock to Cyrodiil, stayed at The Flowing Bowl, where my mother was working as a waitress at the time. My father had come to Cyrodiil after having sold everything he received from his parents' passing in order to start anew in the land of the Imperials. He hadn't expected to meet his wife on his one-night stay in the city, but we all know that things happen whether we want them to or not. Though he had originally intended to travel to the Imperial City and move into one of the vacant houses in the Elven Gardens district, his plans were delayed a good amount as he courted my mother. It wasn't until the two of them married that the move was finalized.
It's been my father and I for some years now. My mother, though talented as she was with Restoration magic, had not been able to heal herself when she went out to collect several of the local plants on the road near the Chestnut Handy Stables and was ambushed by a highwayman. It happened too far from the stables for her to be saved in time. That was when I was ten.
Now, at twenty, it was my goal to be admitted into one of the local chapters of the Mages Guild. I had always had an affinity to magic. My father always attributed that to my being a Breton, like him and my mother. On some level, I thought that it might be something more. I wasn't born under any of the signs of the Mage, after all, so I didn't have as deep of a well as either of them did. No, I was an oddball, born in Second Seed, and granted with an apparent power that I wasn't even fully capable of accessing just yet. The only thing that I seemed capable of doing was Conjuration magic.
But my father didn't know that. In my off time, I would often travel to the Market District and do odd jobs for some of the merchants in return for a few drakes here and there. There was a book at The First Edition that I had my eyes on for quite some time, called The Doors to Oblivion. Just in reading it, I felt smarter, more learned. Not too long thereafter, I found myself able to call upon some of the creatures from Oblivion. In the safety and quietness of my room, I was able to conjure a skeleton and a scamp. The magic binding didn't last very long at first, and neither stayed corporeal for more than a few seconds. But with practice, I eventually became able to summon them for about a minute. I even managed to summon the skeleton with basic weapons, like a long sword or an axe. Those were some of the prouder moments of my life.
…Unlike this one, where I couldn't even seem to grasp the concept of an intermediate level fireball. My father didn't seem disappointed, more confused. And, while he knew that it was my intent to eventually travel to one of the nearby cities and try to join the Mages Guild, he wasn't aware of the fact that I intended to do it soon.
"Father," I called out as he turned to head back inside. When he stopped and turned, I found my throat dry. It was now or never, I told myself. "I…"
"By the end of the week," I began carefully, "I want to go to Chorrol and see if I can get into the Mages Guild."
There was a look on his face that seemed almost…bracing. Yet, at the same time, accepting. He glanced down for a brief moment. When he looked back up at me, he had a small smile on his face. "I was wondering when this day would come. I've been preparing for it."
That caught me off guard. "How so?" I asked, curiously.
"Come inside, and I'll show you."
I followed my father into the house, and he told me to take a seat at the table in the middle of the room. He stepped toward a locked cupboard near the basement entrance, and after a wave of his hand, the lock was undone. He pulled the doors apart to reveal many different things, though from what I could see, it was mostly alchemical apparatuses. My father turned back around a moment later with a bag in his hand, as well as what looked like a book. He set them on the table.
"When you told me that you wanted to join the Mages Guild, I started putting away a little bit of money with each and every potion that I was able to sell. I had to dip into it once or twice during the more difficult times, but here you should find enough to get you to Chorrol, get you some food, and some good clothes." Before I could speak, he continued, "And this book…" He ran his potion-stained fingers over the dusty cover. "It's an alchemical book of mine, filled with all of the recipes for every potion that I've ever made. I've gone through and marked them with levels of difficulty, and what you need in order to get the best out of each. Alchemical apparatuses don't come cheap; otherwise I would gladly give you mine. But this…this should serve you well. Make good use of it."
Once I was sure that he was finished talking, I thanked him. I even hugged him. Upon pulling back I looked at the bag of septims and the book. This was it. By this time next week, I was going to be in Chorrol, hopefully as a part of the Mages Guild.
Standing outside of my house, I stared upward. The sun was low in the sky, and there were few clouds. Midyear was always the nicest month out of the year for me: warm, but with a breeze that kept it from getting too hot. And rain, while rare, was equally warm and inviting.
I returned my gaze to the front of my house, where my father was standing. "Time for me to go," I said with a small smile.
"That it is. Write me when you get to Chorrol, and let me know how everything goes." He stuck his hand out, which I shook. But then I brought him into another hug.
"Do me proud."
I nodded firmly. I intended to do just that.
As I turned on my heel, it felt like the weight of the world had suddenly been lifted from my shoulders. My future was ahead of me, and I couldn't have been happier. Granted, I really didn't have much on me, but I think that that was part of the reason why I was so content. Starting out my journey from basic scratch would give me a feeling of accomplishment. I may have not been prepared to the fullest as some people might have been, but I had enough. That was all that I could ask for.
I began my trek to Chorrol on the path just beyond the Wawnet Inn. I stocked up on a few different foods, like fruits and grains, just in case that I had to stop along the way. I decided to leave early in the morning, because I knew that, at a leisurely pace, I would arrive in Chorrol in several hours. The only time I had ever left the Imperial City was going with my father on a trip to Lewayiin when I was young. I don't remember it well.
The path through the Great Forest was nice and clear, void of any creatures that my father had warned me about. I did, however, notice several different plant specimens. Watching my father work with his potions and apparatuses did lend me decent knowledge of some of the more common growths. I gathered a couple Steel-Blue Entoloma Caps, as well as a few drops of St. Jahn's Wart Nectar. A bit further up the road I was able to find myself some Somnalius Frond, as well. Things were looking to be quite nice.
Somewhat fatigued, I decided to take a break near a rundown fort. It had ivy root overgrowth all over, and looked to be positively abandoned. There was a breeze in the air that caused some of the dirt on the road beneath me to swirl around my feet. This was nice, I thought. Not very worrisome at all.
That is, until I heard rustling nearby. My ears perked up, and I glanced around me. Nothing in sight just yet. Carefully, I laid my bag of ingredients on the rock I was sitting on, then moved to stand. While I may have not been able to master the intermediate fireball, I was still able to conjure an aid from the lands of Oblivion to help me. I focused very intently on the image in my head, stuck my hand out in front of me and clenched my hand into a fist. Soon I heard the nasty cracking sound of the skeleton forming, and when I opened my eyes, it stood in front of me, wielding an axe.
I heard the rustling sound again. Quickly, I turned to the right. Some of the bushes near the fort began to move. Almost immediately, my skeleton companion stalked over to them and began hacking away. I heard the sounds of a beast crying out in pain. A wolf emerged, and it was coming right at me. The axe had only managed to cut into its tail, I noticed. What would be best against it, I wondered? I had no weapon, other than my small list of known spells, of which only two or three were offensive.
There wasn't much time to think. The wolf was closing in on me, and so I stuck my hand out in front of me, casting a low energy shock spell in hopes of deterring it. The wolf yelped, stopping for just a moment. This gave my skeleton the chance to catch up, and it whacked the wolf right on the back with its axe. The creature fell to the ground with another yelp, lifeless. Soon thereafter, my skeleton began to decorporealize. It was gone.
My first real fight. It wasn't anything epic, but it sure as hell was a memorable event nonetheless.
Returning to the rock, I gathered up my ingredients bag and continued on my trek to Chorrol. By the time I reached the Weynon Priory, where I had heard the Champion of Cyrodiil, Faramel the Altmer, had started out his journey, I knew that I was close.
Sure enough, just a few minutes later I was standing at the gate of Chorrol, with the majestic oak tree—the symbol of the town—carved into the giant wooden doors. The sight was something to behold, that was for sure.
"Good afternoon," I said to the guard standing by. The guard only offered me a nod in greeting before he opened the gate. Inside me was a wave of different emotions. I was tired, first and foremost, from such a long journey. Walking for hours did tend to fatigue one. But at the same time, there was an excitement in me that I could feel coursing through my body. It rejuvenated my tired muscles, giving me the energy to keep on walking.
As I had absolutely no idea where I was going, I figured that heading to the Northern Goods and Trade store just a few meters away was probably a good idea. There, I could purchase a guide to the city, and be told my way to the Mages Guild.
I stepped into the store, half expecting it to be run by an Imperial, given the name. To my surprise it was run by an Argonian named Seed-Neeus. She was dressed in dapper clothes, which led me to think that her business was relatively successful.
"Excuse me," I said, "but do you have a guide to Chorrol? I'm new in town and I'm looking to get familiar with it."
"Of course!" The Argonian woman stepped toward a bookshelf nearby, thumbed through some of the text on it, then pulled out a relatively thin, hardback book that had 'Guide to Chorrol' written on the front of it in fancy writing. She handed it to me. "Anything else that I can help you find today?"
I smiled at her hospitality. "Actually, yes. I was looking for the Mages Guild. Where can I find it?"
Seed-Neeus pointed down the stairs at the door. "When you leave here, turn left, and then left again, and follow the path up from the statue in the middle of the road. You'll come to a circle of buildings, with a tree in the middle. The Mages Guild will have an oval-shaped sign hanging over their entrance."
"Thank you." I pulled out the money and paid her, even giving her an extra drake for being so nice. I probably needed to save it, seeing as I didn't have all that many. Whatever the case, if I was going to be spending time in this city, I figured it was best to get off on the right foot with people. Seed-Neeus offered me a smile as I left.
I followed her directions and took two lefts, and then wandered up the road to the circle of buildings. The Mages Guild was right where she said it was. I could feel that tired feeling being overwhelmed by the excited, anticipatory one yet again. My aching muscles objected to me pushing them to their limit, but I ignored that. Instead I focused on the shaking feeling inside of me. Eighteen years had led me to this. I could do it. I knew I could.
Slowly, carefully, I placed my somewhat unsteady hand on the handle and pulled the door open.
My sense of anticipation did not disappear when I stepped into the Mages Guild. If anything, it only increased, as did my feeling of nervousness. I didn't know who to speak to. There were several people around, all going about their business. There were two elves speaking near a table on the north end of the room, while an Argonian read at a table not too far from me. It was actually a male Breton, older than myself, that came to speak to me. It must have been obvious by the look upon my face that I was both in awe and confused.
"Hello there," he said jovially. "I'm Alberic Litte, advanced Conjuration trainer and spell seller here at the Chorrol Mages Guild. Are you looking for someone? I'm afraid I don't recognize you!"
A very faint blush of color filled my cheeks. Why, though, I wasn't sure. Perhaps mild embarrassment for something or another. "My name's Matthias Etanne. I'm a Breton from the Imperial City." I looked down for a moment. "I've come to join the Mages Guild."
"Oh! Well, you'll need to speak to Teekeus, here. He's our head here. Teekeus!" Alberic called over to the Argonian sitting at the table nearby, who stood and joined us afterward. Alberic looked at me and rubbed his hands together. "This young man here would like to join us here in the guild."
"Thank you, Alberic," Teekeus said.
Like all of the individuals in the room, he was wearing fine mage's robes. I felt a twang of slight envy. Soon, though, I would hopefully be wearing them too.
Teekeus gestured for me to take a seat at the table where he had been reading. As I did so, I carefully laid my ingredients bag on the floor beside me, so as not to squish my phials of nectar, or the caps of my Steel-Blue Entoloma.
"So, you're interested in joining the Mages Guild?"
"Yes," I said. "Very much so. I've come from the Imperial City, the Elven Gardens District. My name is Matthias Etanne."
"Very well, Matthias." Teekeus proceeded to explain to me what was required of an individual who joined the Mages Guild, as well as the benefits. By the time he finished talking, I could hardly contain my excitement. "Does this sound appealing to you?" he asked me.
I agreed with a very firm nod. "Yes, sir. I'm very interested. I would very much appreciate it if you allowed me to join."
"Then it is settled. You are now a member of the Mages Guild." Teekeus smiled in that strange, almost scary way that Argonians smiled, and proceded to hand me an interestingly shaped key. I took it gratefully. "This key will allow you entry to the upper levels of the Mages Guild here, as well in all of the other cities. However, you will not be permitted entry to the Arcane University until you have gathered a recommendation from each head of each branch of the Mages Guild in Cyrodiil. Gaining entry to the Arcane University is something that is highly regarded by Arch-Mage Traven, and he doesn't allow just anyone to walk through its doors."
I nodded once more. "I understand." At this point and time, I wasn't terribly interested in doing that just yet. The Arcane University would be a goal after I had had the chance to get accustomed to the city of Chorrol. "I'll keep that in mind. For now, though, I think that I'm going to rest. It was a long walk from the Imperial City. If you'll excuse me." Once I stood, I bowed again, just out of politeness.
Teekeus chuckled. "You do not have to bow, Matthias. We are all friends here."
That made me smile. "All right."
And, with that, I went up the stairs, using the key that would unlock more of my future for me.