Sun's Dawn, 24
I awoke from a terrible dream with a headache. Towers reaching to the sky, the rotted smell of a horker, the cold feeling of loneliness. I knew, after short recollection, that it was a dream of my loneliness here in Winterhold. Gods, why must I have to live here. It's frozen, the city's once great walls have fallen to the sea below. The college above could be experimenting with Gods know what, this isn't a place for a bosmer to live. I should surround myself with foliage and deer, not ice and fish. Dead fish at that.
At least the locals share this feeling, but there's simply no escape from here. No boats or ships come through, the ice makes it too hard to steer, and no carriages bother delivering supplies here. Farthest I could safely get from here is the mine to the south, but even that has the threat of wolves, and bears from what I've heard. Maybe I should apply to the college, learn some magic to defend myself and make it to some actually relevant city, or hell even just keep a little more warm.
Sun's Dawn, 25
Had the same dream again. Dagur had to wake me up, according to him I was screaming and scaring people away. I feel bad for him, he has to house two elves while keeping up a business in a city that hates elves. I use "city" loosely, of course. I apologized, and unsurely told him it wouldn't happen again. Speaking of, the other elf, Neracar, asked me a little after that if I could accompany him on a small trip down the mountain. This isn't the first time he's asked for my assistance, he just wants me to carry some things and keep an eye out for any wolves. While down there, I felt a bit of unease. And it wasn't because the mage I was with has dabbled in rather strange experiments, though that didn't help. No, it was more so the sea itself. "Sea of Ghosts" I think they call it, it doesn't really comfort you. That, and it reminded me of my nightmares. The smell of rotting fish, the salt of the water, the towering glaciars and ruins around us, none of it was comforting at all. Granted, nothing in this cluster of wooden shacks and ruins ever is.
Anyway, his experiment was just some conjuring thing, none of my business and I didn't bother him about it. I've learned from other times he's asked me to accompany him not to, you either won't understand a word he says or he'll get irritated and lose focus. Always something goes wrong as well, you learn eventually to back up a few steps so you don't get hit by an explosion, or grabbed by some big conjured monster thing. Maybe I should stop coming with him altogether.
Sun's dawn 26
I wasn't in my tavern room when I awoke this morning.
I specifically remember laying down on my bed, and yet when I awoke this morning I was at the shore. No, "shore" isn't the right word, I was a long swim from land, and a height twice my own submerged in the sea. I don't remember going out of the inn, let alone swimming in the freezing ocean. It was still dark when I arrived at shore, and when I asked Dagur if he had any memory of me leaving, he said he hadn't, nor did he even hear the door open. I asked every person who would've been there, not a single one remembered the door to my room being opened. Furthermore, the dream was back, but worse. The towers around me twirled like maidens, the salty smell consumed my senses, and the darkness around me was lit only by the green lights of the sky, one of the only signs of beauty this far north. The ground beneath my boots was wet with black ink, the same color as the towers around me, though they glimmered with snow as well. I calmed this time, rather than scared, though. That's the strangest part to me. Maybe it's my subconscious telling me to off myself, but why would I drown when the bridge of the college is a long enough drop to even kill a cat.
I'm telling Dagur to lock my room tonight, and keep the key in his own pocket. I don't want to drown in my sleep before I see a tree again, and I ESPECIALLY don't want to be known as "that one elf from the tavern. no, the short one."
Sun's Dawn, 27
I wasn't in my bed, but I wasn't drowning, so that's a plus. Dagur put a chair in the front of my door, just to be safe. At least some nords here still look past my ears and care. It's sort of funny, my hat actually obscures my ears. One of those wool hats, with the fur on the front and the sides. Keeps me a bit warmer, and makes me look like a short, skinny man at first glance rather than a tall-for-his-race wood elf, so most people who don't like elves leave me be.
I got off topic, the dream was generally the same as before, though my panic is changing into a comforting relief feeling. As if I've been told bad news, then told that it's been solves and I no longer have to worry about it. I returned to the shore, where I had almost drowned, and felt an urge to press on. I almost took my jacket and hat off right then, but decided not to. Maybe these dreams are awakening a sort of adventurous side of me, it's only natural after being stuck alone in the ass-end of an already cold Skyrim surrounded by people who hate you.
Sun's Dawn, 29
I did it. I swam out to the platform of floating ice a good 3 houses away from the land. I put my hat and coat on a piece of wood and floated it so that I would have something to keep me warm. I had also brought a fire tome from the lady at the college. I don't know how to read these kinds of books, but I'm hoping the book itself will be warm enough.
There were some horkers I had to sneak past. Disgusting things, teeth as big as my head and thick as my arm. Most travelers talk about a fire within them, but that's not what I felt. It wasn't a fire within, but a blanket around, if that makes sense. I felt comfortable the further out I went, like I didn't want to return. I heard some people out though, maybe some bandits. I decided to head back, it wasn't safe, even if it felt nice. I made the swim and told Dagur and Nelacar. Nelacar asked me to describe any plants I found, and if I could bring them back. Dagur asked what exactly I did, but besides the horkers the farther from shore I was the harder it was to remember. He looked worried, and asked about my room. My dreams weren't as bad as before, so I told him to leave it unlocked.
Sun's Dawn, 30.
I found a quicker route to the outer islands, not far south is a broken stone wall I can use as a bridge. Nelacar always experimented to the north, so I never thought of this alternate route. I brought a sack this time, and wore it on my back to bring Nelacar any ingredients I find. No horkers, or wolves for that matter. Just the sun and the sound of the tides.
I decided to go through the tome I bought, and learned a decent bit about the spell. I managed to conjure a small flame, and lit a group of sticks I found along the shore with it. Maybe escaping this city isn't impossible after all. My main fear is bandits, this far out it wouldn't be hard for them to shoot an arrow into my head without being seen by any guard. In fact, while I never actually see any, every time I go too far out I can hear them whisper something. Maybe it's in some other language because I can't understand a word of it, but it scares me every time I hear it, and it usually marks the end of my adventure.
First Seed, 2nd
I went to the nearest general goods and bought some wool reinforcements to my jacket, and asked the woman from the college to teach me more about the spell she sold me. She taught me to scorch a hole into an old rag I had on me, and I knew I was ready. I set out once again, not caring of any whispers or bandits. I knew I could take them on. I went further, became surrounded by a pack of wolves, whom I quickly dispatched. Continuing forward, the whispers began. Not a single rock was left unturned, as I searched the lands for bandits. The whispers felt as if they were right behind me, and so I erupted the ground behind my back into flames, but there was nobody. It wasn't an assassin, they were fairytales and nobody would spend coin on my life. But it was something. The whispers became louder, as I got farther from land and began walking on solid platforms of ice and glacier. I knew it wasn't bandits, now.
It was the call of the wild.
I went forward, until I found a glacier with a door, and a boat. I wanted to enter, yet the ocean nearby it was oddly more enticing. It was calm, but in the same way a corpse is calm. There was something down there, something important, and I wanted to see it. But I wasn't that crazy. I went this far out, but that's as far out as I would go. I noticed the sky getting darker. I knocked on the door, hoping to get some quick shelter, but all that resided there was an old man who spoke in rambles and threatened my life when I asked to rest for the night on the bedroll nearby. I decided to walk back to the inn.
First Seed, 3rd.
This dream was different. I was walking, with the spell book in my hand, to a pile of dead crabs, fish, and other disgusting creatures. It squirmed as if alive, and consumed the tome in one swift motion. It spoke words I don't understand that shook the ground and towers around us, and the ink of the ground bubbled and swirled. Like a few nights before, I awoke far from Winterhold and far from morning. It took me a while to understand where I was, but I decided not to return, and to instead continue following the spirit of the wild. Entered the old man's cave again, asked him what he was doing, he talked about the dwarves, somebody's heart, and other nonsense. Why the advanced dwarves would care about keeping somebody's heart is beyond me, but the man was obviously crazy.
The ocean nearby still intrigued me. The whispers of the wild returned, I wanted to go down there, but something told me not to. Maybe the college has some potions to help me see or breathe underwater.
First Seed, 4th.
I didn't explore today, not outside. Instead, I bought all books from the shopkeepers, and asked to borrow some from Nelacar. The spellbooks and the way they described the spell's history and use was great, but the stories were better. Culture of people outside of Winterhold, and Skyrim itself. The mystical nature of these historical events. Documentation of gods, beasts, and people. I never even knew what a sload was before this. Maybe I should bring these to the old man. The old man, that's right. I'll go out and get some water breathing potions now. Satisfy my urge to know what's beneath the tides.
First Seed, 5th.
The dreams make sense. As does the hunger for adventure, the "call of the wild." After having the same dream as the last two nights, feeding the spell tome to the pile of corpses, I awoke in the middle of the night. I hadn't been asleep for more than an hour if I were to guess. The inn was quiet, and so I left to journey to the old man's cave. Or rather, the sea nearby. Taking care of a small pack of wolves or two, and having whispery requests become deep demands pounding at my skull, I arrived at the old man's stead. I unhook his boat, and sailed not too far out. Jumping into the water, after drinking the first of the three potions of course, I swam down. There wasn't a problem going down, which made me fear the travel back.
It was all a blur, but it wasn't long before I saw an orange light in the middle of the green liquid fog. The warm blanket I assumed was the feeling of adventure surrounded me now, the ice-cold water feeling like a lukewarm soup. Further down, finally reaching the ruin and getting a decent look at it. A shrine, with a book at it's center, pages unaffected by the sea around it. My hand, almost on it's own, opened the book. One can only imagine the fear I felt as a tentacle, not unlike the tail of an argonian or clump of seaweed, wrapped itself around my arm.
Deep voiced chants rang in my head, at first unintelligible, then recognizable, then understandable. My body shook as I heard "I AM HERMAEUS MORA, HOARDER OF KNOWLEDGE." If my body wasn't already surrounded by the sea, the small tears of horror sliding down my face would be more visible. The earthquake continued "WITH JUST THE SLIGHTEST FEELING OF CURIOSITY, YOU HAVE TRAVELED TO LANDS UNKNOWN, FOUGHT THAT WHICH YOU ONCE FEARED, AND LEARNED THAT WHICH YOU WOULD NEVER IMAGINE" In the state of my mind at the time of hearing this, I would have been in too much fear to understand a word, but I understood everything the Prince said, as if he were speaking to me with my own mind.
"THE SLIGHTEST FEELING OF WONDER WITHIN YOU IS ENOUGH TO RISK YOUR LIFE TO CHASE THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE UNKNOWN. PLACE YOUR OTHER HAND ON THE BOOK," The voice inhaled, "READ IT. UNDERSTAND IT. YOUR MIND WILL BECOME A VESSEL FOR MY OWN." I raised my other hand, fighting the now raging current. I grabbed the left page, and raise the book from it's alter. Another tentacle was formed from the words, then another, and soon both arms were covered with slimy, black limbs of a beast I could only hear of in stories. I could barely focus on the text on the pages with the loud booms of fate and screams of the rushing water. The book was not a telling of information, but a pact. I was to become a servant to Mora, Daedric Prince of knowledge, we would trade information among one another. I inhaled, and choked. My potion had run out, and I couldn't remove my arms to retrieve another. I was stuck, and drowning, and panicking. The abyssal, warm current had swallowed me. Unable to reel my eyes from the words, nor my body from the alter, nor my lungs from the water pouring within them, I signed the book with my soul. The tentacles swiftly receded as my vision faded to black.
I awoke, slumped over a table in the Frozen Hearth. My hat and coat were on my body, though I stripped them off to dive to the alter. Was it all mere fabrication of the mind, a bad dream induced by too much mead? I reached into my bag, and there were three bottles. It didn't happen, I must have blacked out, is what I thought. Examining the bottles, one was empty. Furthermore the skin on my arms was stained a dark green. As I examined the spots in my skin, a man walked past me and told me I stank of fish. Almost falling out of the bench I was sitting on, I asked Dagur where I had been all day. He gave me a stare, and told me that I had been sitting there since he awoke. He saw that I was breathing so assumed I just had too much to drink. I asked if I hadn't left the inn at all, to which he said that he's seen me at that table all day. I asked Nelacar, who didn't know I was even there. He said that he was pleased to see another elf not from the college in Winterhold, though. Confused, I was about to enter my room when Dagur shouted from his table, and told me that I'd have to pay him. I told him I had already paid my rent for the month, to which he said that he's never seen me in his life, let alone sell a room to me. My legs shook at the realization that it was as if I had never existed. I paid for my room, and simply laid in the bed, staring at the ceiling. Over the conversations outside my door, I could still hear whispers in my mind. Whispers I once thought were bandits, then an inner call to the wild, now I understand as a deep hunger for knowledge of the unknown. I try my hardest, I read through every page of this journal, yet there is nothing I have written nor remembered of my life before the 24th of Sun's Dusk.
The dreams of Apocrypha never stop. My thoughts of them have evolved from horror, imagining what lies within, to curiosity at that very same thought.
I wrote this based on Skyrim's Wintersun mod, if you haven't yet you should 100% try it out. My one playthrough followed a wood elf from Winterhold who had been manipulated by Mora to travel to his underwater shrine and become his servant. I thought it was a cool idea, and wanted to write and share about it here.
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