Chapter 23: On The Road
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It feels weird to be on the open road so soon after arriving in Dawnstar. And yet within a few minutes of getting the first quest that wasn’t given to me by Ghriza, or self-assigned, I find myself leaving Dawnstar, for a time at least. 

The very last thing that I did when I was in the store was purchase basic equipment and potions. It took me all of five minutes. I mostly did it to appear as though I was going to take a while to journey to and from the place since it was at least a day or two’s journey and that was assuming someone was a superhuman being who didn’t need sleep… Like me. I also have one more advantage compared to other people: I can fly. 

At the moment though I am still within eyeshot of Dawnstar. I could certainly utilize magic to vanish from view, which I intend to do when I fly, but it’s kind of fun to pretend to have to deal with mundane weaknesses. There’s something rather humbling about making the choice to walk places rather than be as efficient as possible. 

The road ahead of me is snow-covered and I can see and hear wildlife in the distance. It is midday still, turning to early afternoon, and the sun reflecting on the snow around me would be difficult to look at for someone with lesser eyes than mine. Fortunately, I can look around and study my surroundings with ease. 

I walk for several minutes at a relatively relaxed pace. Around me I can hear both wildlife and distant sapient beings like giants, and even bandits and thieves plotting in distant lairs. My enhanced senses, now that all of my powers are fully active, give me a monstrous sensory range and if I wish I could enhance it further by using things like mid-tier divination magic to scry on distant targets.

The words of distant creatures fill my mind, and in doing so impart knowledge of new languages to me. I can hear the guttural language of giants being spoken not terribly far from here and thus gain the power to understand them. That could be helpful in the future, since giants are somewhat widespread throughout Skyrim. 

At the same time, I allow my powers to color my perception of reality. Now that I am on the open road I freely peer at objects, delightfully and casually utilizing “Observe” to its full potential now that I am free from civilization. I also study how different my surroundings looked in the distant past and how they’ll look in the future. 

The road ahead of me stretches on into the distance and I leisurely wander it. I allow myself to walk about a mile and a half away from Dawnstar before I subtly raise my hands to my chest. It is time for me to begin to master magic, through the most brute-force method of all: practice.

In my mind’s eye, I can view a list of every spell I know at will. There’s a not-insignificant number of spells there, belonging to every school of magic which exists in Aurbis, from the dark magics of the people of the Reach, to the restorative and positive magics of the school of restoration, I know a handful of spells from every continent on Nirn and beyond. 

So far my “Observe” ability is not strong enough to let me see spells known by my foes and peers, but if I had to guess I’d be willing to bet that most other people don’t know quite the robust amount of spells that I do. I would be wise to keep this ocean of knowledge a secret, for now, until I can get to a place where I can safely learn more magic. As powerful as I am this is land of dragons, gods, and demons. One mistake, in the wrong situation, can still end badly for me. 

I sort through the different schools of magic that are available to me, not gawking for any particular amount of time at any singular school, before my eyes fall on the school of “Illusion” magic. This is the school of magic that deals with perceptions of reality, the senses, and even emotions felt by those under the sway of its spells. I am far from a master of this school of magic, but I don’t need to be. 

I mentally “select” a spell, by focusing on it and willing knowledge of it to flow into my fingertips. It takes a second to get used to doing something like this, but when it works my fingers begin to glow ever so slightly. I can feel the power at my fingertips and I let out a single, quiet chuckle as I close my eyes and mutter an incantation before raising my hand to the air above me. 

The second that my hand reaches out above me I can sense a subtle aura flare to life around me. I can still see myself if I look down, but the aura slightly distorts the air around me and I can tell that I have been rendered invisible to the naked eye of any curious onlooker. 

I do not bother testing this in any real way. My innate stealth, coupled with this spell that I can feel working, gives me confidence in my own abilities. I can feel the magicka flow out of my hands and into the air around me, slowly feeding the aura I have created, and I know that my spell has worked. If there is anything I’ve learned being a jumper for these last few weeks it’s been to trust my instincts when it comes to my admittedly bizarre supernatural powers. 

Now that I am shrouded in what amounts to a handmade sleeve of invisibility I turn my eyes to the sky. It is a clear day and the sun is beating down on the icy wilderness that surrounds me. If I want to arrive at Silverdrift Lair quickly… There is only one way to travel.

I will myself upward into the air and I feel my feet shed the metaphorical shackles of gravity. I lift off of the ground, gently, and into the air above me. I rise until I am hovering just a few feet off of the ground and then stop. At this height, if I fell, even if I were a mundane human, I’d be okay. My pride might be bruised from such a fall, but I wouldn’t. And since I am more than a mundane human I’d be actively fine, not even needing a second to catch my breath.  

I focus on the mission at hand and I feel a subtle urge to go southeast of my current location. I turn slightly and allow myself to go in the direction of the subtle but persistent urge. I find myself moving at a speed equal to my walking speed, which is certainly not slow but is definitely not as fast as I can move. 

I note that this appears to be my default speed unless I push myself, and I also notice that my level of skill, as measured by the perk entitled “Skills” which is the very same perk that allowed me to get “Mining/Tunneling” as a skill earlier today, with both illusion magic and magic, in general, is increasing. I can feel this pushing me towards a “Level-up” with both skills, which would be a fun reward for doing things this way.

I extend my fist in the direction I am going in, and I begin to increase in speed. I do this by willing myself to move faster, which is a sort of instinctual action that I can tell to do thanks to jumper-based knowledge. This manifests, as I am flying, as a quiet alien voice in the back of my mind that whispers that I can go faster by imagining I can go faster. I can feel my instincts absorbing and internalizing this knowledge, even as the voice in my mind calls me a “Dovah”, which I know means “Dragon” in the language of the dragons in this setting. 

Hearing that word again makes me want to be introspective. It makes me want to call upon the potent powers afforded to me by my nature as a dragon, powers which were among my very first abilities. I question, without intending to speak to anyone, even the soft voices inside of my mind, if there is a reason why the very first fully supernatural ability of mine to manifest was the eerie power known as “Soulseer”. This commonly utilized power of mine allows me to see moments in someone’s life, and to learn about them before they ever see me seeing them. 

As I invisibly sail through the air I feel the power of dovahs in my veins. My blood itself carries the power and potency of the mightiest predators to ever roam Nirn. I can feel the fire of the soul of a dovah deep within me, which feels strange since I can also feel the frost of undeath beneath my skin, chilling my very bones. 

I feel my draconic nature stirring within me, underneath my bones, and in a part of me that is not physical. I must strive to master all of the different parts of me that lurk beneath the… disguise I wear that allows me to pass for a mundane mortal.

I ceased being a mortal being the very second Ghriza spoke to me, and now that I am well and truly in another world internalizing that fact and mastering the different powers I wield will ensure my survival, and could guarantee that I get to undergo greater apotheosises than the ones I’ve already undergone.

Flying to my destination is not a long task even though my destination is many miles from where I first took off. This is due to the fact that the longer I fly the faster I begin to move. I do not reach a moment where I have hit some sort of wall as far as my maximum possible speed goes before I find myself in front of the foreboding snow-covered entrance to the ruins where I was directed to go by Frida. 

I am in the mountains that I know to be somewhat northeast of the hold capital named Whiterun, the capital of the hold named, uncreatively, “Whiterun Hold”. All around me snow is actively falling, but the cold temperature does not bother me. 

I can see the entrance to the ruins, as I hover invisibly not terribly far from them. I am in mid-air right beside a number of small trees. My utter silence coupled with my total invisibility ensures that barring me directly touching anyone I will not be seen unless the person seeing me can see through invisibility. 

Near the Nordic door leading into the ruins rest a pair of bandits. They are lazily “guarding” the door to the ruins, and at this distance, I can tell something strange has happened.

My potent eyes do not detect life behind the doors, despite the fact that they would be able to do so at this range. I hear the bandits muttering to each other complaints about their companions and when I look at the two of them memories of their compatriots, which number more than the two of them, enter a quiet corner of my mind. 

As I peer at the ruins, my otherworldly vision reveals to me visions of this place in the distant past. I can see ancient Nords on their knees in supplication before a powerful looking member of their species, a “Dragon Priest”, deep inside of the place before me. The visions before me would be confusing, if not because I have a command of Skyrim’s history which is extensive and allows me to glean information even from confusing visions like this.

I can see ritual chambers inside the… grand tomb in the distance, and I can see visions of hearts in chest cavities slowing down and eventually ceasing to beat altogether. I see corpses slowly rising up and gaining a mockery or rather a pale imitation of life they use to serve those who once spoke for dragons, back when dragons ruled over mankind. 

Slowly a realization dawns on me… One that it seems those in front of me have not yet had. This is not a bandit lair, even if it was once, for a few days. This is a tomb that has been invaded. And that invasion was put down, violently, and somewhat recently.

As I study this scene, the distant and subtle smell of blood, both fresh and dried, though overshadowed by other scents, come to me and is caught by my skilled nose. It comes from the direction of the tomb as if there was a small breeze from inside of it that managed to escape its confines.

The bandits in front of me must be ignorant of this. I am too far from them to be seen by them, which I know thanks to my inhuman senses, and so I silently put a hand on a tree in front of me and cast my “Marking” spell that will allow me to teleport to this point whenever I wish. 

As I do that my invisibility spell is interrupted and dispelled, but I change which spell I have “equipped” almost instantly and recast the spell, returning to my previous state of invisibility. My foes do not notice me.

The arcane artifact I came here to seek is now almost assuredly in the hands of the undead remnants of an ancient cult of dragon worshipers. And… I am a dragon. As well as undead. I could have a lot of fun here if I were creative…

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