"Solstheim? A terrible place I've heard."


I had told Laurenna all about my adventures in Mournhold, and the only part that upset her was the fact that she had missed out on the shopping there. Well, that and the fact that I finally admitted to running in one of the caves in dirty water in my good robe. Thank the gods that they came back nice and clean.

We spent a lot of time walking around the second island just to the west of the castle. It was nice not having to deal with the problems of Vvardenfell anymore. That is, until I received a letter from the Mage's Guild requesting my presence at an examination for two of their youngest students. It was to take place in Ald'Ruhn and the gild just wanted me there since I was the big hero of the land, as well as Archmagister. I decided to tell Laurenna and invited her to go with me.


She was glad that I had invited her along. We hadn't really been on an adventure together in a long time now, and the warrior in her was begging to wander somewhere, anywhere, as long as it wasn't at home.

We picked some berries in the back of the castle to bring in for dinner, and just loitered outside, enjoying the view. Snow had fallen earlier, but for now, the skies were crisp and clear, leaving a bit of a frosty bite in the air, not too cold, but enough to make you feel like you were breathing fresh air. It was nice.


We brought the berries into the kitchen, then went upstairs to change clothes for dinner. After all, when you're the owner of a huge castle, you don't dress frumpy for dinner.

The butler set us up with a few drinks, and asked if a toast were to be involved.

"To the Emperor and the King!" he started.   


Laurenna looked at me. I looked back at her. "To my wife." I said, "The king and the emperor can wait for the next toast."


"Oh, you know exactly where THAT will get you, right?" she said with a sly grin on her face.

"Uh, who? Me?" I replied innocently.

Well, actually, I did know, and after dinner, I found out I was right. I'm not called "The Wise" for nothing.


We got up a little late the next morning, and prepared for our trip to Ald'Ruhn. Before leaving, I needed at least one Staff of Office, so we headed to my display room in the Armory.

While there, I showed her the two blades, Hopsfire and Trueflame.

"You keep them together like this?" she asked.

"Yes, for sentimental reasons." I replied. "They were together once over two thousand years ago. They should remain that way now as well, even though one of their owners turned out to be not quite so nice to the other."

I decided to bring along my Wizards Staff, and we headed out to the main Armory room.


I also showed here two of the armor sets I had obtained in Mournhold. She didn't seem to care much for the "Her Hands" Ordinator armory.  Too frilly.  "I never did like that mask, either." she added. "I prefer to see the owner's face."     


"How about this one?" I asked. "Royal Guard armor, full set, directly from the King himself."

She looked it over. "Yeah," she said, "I could get into that. I'd need a battle to get into it, of course. I don't like the helmet - still can't see the face, probably can barely see out those eye-slits."

"Probably right." I admitted. "Still, if there's a need, you're welcome to it. Maybe we can test it out while we're hunting sometime in the future."

"Yeah, I'd like that." she replied. "I'd like to see just how good it really is."


With that, we took our leave of Solstheim Castle and headed to the boat docks.

We were told there would be a short stop-over at Solstheim Island fort dock to drop off some supplies, advising us that there might be a delay getting us to the docks at Khuul.


There wasn't a lot we could do about that - while I could have changed into a cliffracer and flown the distance directly, or used the Recall spell to arrive immediately in Caldera, Laurenna didn't have that ability. Resigned to a longer boat ride, we scurried on deck and waited until we pushed off from the dock.


As expected, it was evening when we arrived in Khuul. We headed out from the docks up to the stilt strider station and caught the next bug for Ald'Ruhn.


It was nearly 1 AM when we finally arrived in Ald'Ruhn, and we were both exhausted from the trip. We made our way to the local inn and purchased a room for the night.

Once we were situated in our room, we both collapsed in the bed, unable to fend off the demands of the sleep fairies.


It was much better in the morning.  One of the staff woke us up around 10 AM.  We got up, had a bite to eat, then headed to the Mage's Guild offices to get this exam over with.

I couldn't wait to see who this young apprentice was. He came highly recommended. Probably some rich family with connections, but we'd soon find out.


I was told that the two people that needed the exam were in the lower section of the offices, so that's where we headed. There was a young child there, by the name of Drenesi. By the looks of him, he couldn't have been more than 10 or 12 years old.


He introduced himself as an apprentice of the Mage's Guild, learning how to make potions and scrolls.

"Potions AND scrolls." I replied, in a very authoritative manner, "That should be interesting. Scrolls are much harder to make, needed special papers and enchanted ink."

He nodded in agreement. "I have been studying alchemy send I could read." he continued. "Go ahead, ask me anything."


I quizzed him for nearly an hour. He nearly knew more than I did. Seems his father had been a master at the art, and before he died of Corprus, he had managed to teach this young lad everything there was to know.

I advised the local guild guide about his success in the exam, and everyone in the room was smiling at his success.


There was another student, this one studying the healing arts. His exam also went well. I reported this as well to the resident guild guide.



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