So, ah… are we cool now? Are you, like, not evil anymore?
I think it would be a misnomer to call me evil, Sigrid says. But, with hindsight, and lacking several thousand septims worth of charms, I’ll concede my actions do seem a lot less tasteful. Would you believe this expensive falling cage trap once felt like a brilliant idea? Now the whole thing just seems chintzy and cliché.
This is actually my first falling-cage-trap experience, so I’m not a good judge. Can I leave?
Hm? Oh, yes, I figure we’re pretty much done here. While it’s certainly interesting how easily you overcome charms, I think we can all agree it’s not “interrogate you in a cage” levels of interesting. I am going to reactivate some basic wards, however, in case you jump out and punch me.
There are a lot of little voices in the back of my head kinda screaming for it. I mean, that’s it? You were being affected by your own charm spells, perfume, and magic clothing, and now that they’re all gone you’re just… letting me walk?
Is it that surprising? As I said, you’re one of the rare few to have broken through these sorts of charms, so you should know what it’s like to realize everything you’ve been doing is inane and stupid. Not only that, but you used charm magic not even twenty minutes ago. Did you not see what it can do to one’s self-perceptions?
I… yeah, but I was shoveling raw imp gall into my face, basically doing the alchemy equivalent of mixing a drink in my mouth. You were using some professional charm perfume made by bigshot Telvanni wizards. Turning the user into an egotistical megalomaniac seems like a pretty big design flaw for them to…
Okay, no, this… this explains everything I’ve ever heard about the Telvanni.
You never once found it strange how many of them are married to clones of themselves, Sigrid asks?
I’m sorry, I’m realizing a lot of obvious things about dark elves tonight.
So like, what’s the plan for the rest of the Telvanni Bug Musk? Or all the crazy charm-enchanted gear?
Well, the leylines on the dress and undergarments were no doubt shattered when I literally ripped them off my body. Nords may have no concept of shame, but that doesn’t mean we can just blink clothes off the way you do. Those rings and bracelets simply have wards and absorption spells, so I’d like to hang onto them. As for the charm boots, and the rest of the Bug Musk… given what they turned me into, I’ll probably just sell them.
That, ah, seems like a really irresponsible way to dispose of super-powerful magic items?
Charm magic is common practice, Katia, and the entire spell school isn’t going to miraculously vanish off the face of Nirn if I burn some shoes. Any trained illusionist with a free weekend could learn the incantations, and any enchanter with a soul gem and some magetallow candles could imbue it into clothing. Charm magic isn’t exactly rare or difficult, and if it were, mages would simply resort to different, more destructive methods of bending others to their wills.
Welcome to wizardry, where people with awful ideas and no social skills invoke supernatural forces to gain power and respect. Almost makes you want to tap out and start a little shop selling healing potions.
Wow, that’s… pessimistic. I mean, it’s not like every wizard is an evil jerk like you who wants to control everyone. Even the ones who learn mind control stuff, there’s probably a lot who use it responsibly, to like, stop bad people and make the world a better place.
You mean exactly how I was attempting to use it? You’re new to the practice of magic, Katia, so let me give you a lesson I apparently forgot: there’s no such thing as “good” or “evil”, just “powerful” and “powerless”. For their own safety, powerless people will work together in something we mistake as “good”, whereas those with access to power will stomp on whoever they can in the pursuit of some perceived greater good.
So how about this: if you want to use powerful magic to make the world a better place, I’ll allow you to put my expensive magical equipment in the deepest part of a cave and then fill the cave with deadly traps. That way, the traps can take care of all the other mages who want to “make the world a better place”, and we’ll actually get something good from it.
I mean, I’m just saying, I totally used your own mind control stuff against you to stop your evil reign and save Kvatch, so… fuck you, I’m right, magic is awesome.
Oh, right! In the commotion, you hadn’t even considered what happened to the skeleton. Feeling a little guilty about that, you quickly reach out with your magic to check in.
Just like the first time you contacted the skeleton, you are hit with an immediate wave of happiness. You can feel the skeleton’s thankfulness that you would contact CairnCorp®, and curiosity at how your will can best be served today.
You concentrate on the fact that you’re fine, and that you don’t need anything. You just wanted to thank it for its help and make sure it was okay after that big magical explosion. Both it and Sigrid’s daedra kind of disintegrated, so you’re not sure what happened to them.
The skeleton warmly reassures you that there is nothing† to worry about. It is currently in the Chapel of Health™ receiving newly-molded replacement parts so that it – like all‡ CairnCorp’s® convenient models – can be in optimal condition for the next time you are in need of The Maker’s® holy aid‡†.
So like, this is an ongoing thing? Any time I need a second skeleton, I just follow the stars to this plane and dial you?
A star tesseract is a perfectly suitable conduit used by many conjurers, but CairnCorp® is also glad to offer compatibility with binding circles and other liminal bridging techniques, as per your needs and tastes. Since this was your first summon with a new account, you should find an informational packet from CairnCorp® nearby, explaining the exciting perks of your free CairnCorp® Conjurer Account™. In this packet you’ll find your basic account information, safe‡‡ summoning tips, and an Ideal Mastercard® used to access your complementary savings account. Your account has a current withdraw limit of 5000 septims (75300 Akaviri roundmarks) a day, although this will increase by 1000 (15060) for every CairnCorp®-brand soul gem you use for enchanting.
You ask what the black, squid-looking thing is. The skeleton tells you that new applicants also receive a free plush Wraithhorse™. Since CairnCorp seems amenable to feedback, you note that a skeleton made out of plush fabric doesn’t really work all that well. So on the conjuring, I can seriously just call on you no matter where I am, any time of day?
In any plane of existence as well, the skeleton notes – although using star tesseracts, you’d have to know the plane’s skies. Your free CairnCorp® Conjurer Account™ entitles you to check out one Soul Cairn® denizen at a time, at your own mana expense. If you are a career conjurer, however, you may consider filling out form A-26 and upgrading to a Platinum Account™, which allows the simultaneous summoning of up to six Soul Cairn® denizens and is available for the low price of your soul.
Thanks, you think to the skeleton, but you’re good for now. You’ll keep the offer in mind.
By the way, do you have a name?
The skeleton uneasily tells you that individuality like that doesn’t have a place in the Holy Ways™ of the Makers®. It is simply a skeleton.
Okay, it’s just, calling you “the skeleton” or “it” feels really impersonal. You kinda saved my life back there, and all of Kvatch. Can I give you a name?
The skeleton isn’t comfortable with how this relationship is progressing. It’s going to file a request with the Keeper™ to have a different skeleton take over your account from here on out.
Did I, ah, mess this up?
Hey, Sigrid, I don’t usually win things and I’m not sure how to handle this. The other day you took a robe, a package, and a purse of gold and stuff from me. Since I beat you in a magic duel am I, like, allowed to go get that now?
Sigrid says that you’re technically burgling her home, so “allowing” wouldn’t be the appropriate word for it. This place is covered by Guild insurance, though, and your entire goal is apparently to take roughly thirty septims’ worth of goods, so she won’t oppose you if you finish what you came here to accomplish.
Okay, but like, can you tell me where the things are? Or give me a key? I always expect this post-battle victory stuff to be easy and intuitive, but instead it’s just really awkward and everyone is naked. You know there’s a bunch of robes in that crate right next to us, right?
Don’t be gross, Katia, those are necromancer robes. Anyway, I’m still the ranking member of this Guildhall and I don’t want to deal with the aftermath of aiding in its burglary. But, I also don’t really want to take any accountability for robbing you earlier, so if you’re good with calling this square as-is, I’m just going to fill out a New Applicant form and say you joined the Mages Guild last night. Welcome to the wonderful world of professional wizardry. Here’s your key, and help yourself to any silver daggers, calcinators, and various items that may or may not have been “left” upstairs. The gold would be in the pile with the rest, so just take a sack of it to cover losses.
I, ah, I’m still processing the “joined the Mages Guild” part, but when you say “sack”, are you talking like “coin purse” or “laundry bag”?
You know, a money sack. The type people offer you huge amounts of money in when they perceive you as an apex of compassion and amenability within the local community.
So like, a grocery bag? I don’t have a frame of reference for this and I’m scared.
Sure, yes, that’s fine. Just don’t take everything; if this ordeal is any indication, I’ll probably have to give a good amount of it back as reparations, apologies, and other unfortunate yet inevitable consequences of magical competence. Let’s not leave me with any additional problems beyond what I already have.
And just to check: this isn’t some horrifying, hope-crushing trap? Like, you’re saying I can go upstairs, get my stuff back, and literally take a grocery bag full of gold?
Sigrid admits that she thought about signing you up for the Mages Guild and running away while you weren’t looking so you’d have to handle all the fallout of what she’s done, but she should probably just stop being a horrible person while she’s ahead. Perhaps it’s residual charm effects, or perhaps it’s simply the terrifying fact that you’re not grabbing the boots and Bug Musk to make her give you everything, but a grocery bag full of gold feels fair.
And you’re not mad at me for ending your evil reign?
She says that it was probably inevitable anyway, and at least this way she avoided a dramatic “what have I become” moment and was instead defeated in a nude mime fight over thirty gold. She’d say this was a victory for everyone involved.
And… I’m actually in the Mages Guild now? I can, like… go here or any Mages Guild in the world, read the books, eat the food, and sleep in the beds?
If it sounds too good to be true, Sigrid says, remember that the government basically funds this to keep mages from going on angst-fueled killing sprees against the people who shunned them, and is only giving them food and education in the hopes they’ll direct their sociopathy away from the Empire.
I like the official tagline more: “the collection, preservation, and distribution of magical knowledge with an emphasis on ensuring that all citizens of Tamriel benefit from this knowledge”. I totally had a page from the charter hung on my wall when I was little.
But, ah, on that note, is the skeleton thing I did back there gonna cause problems? I heard about the guild recently banning necromancy, and I’m not sure if, like, I’m a necromancer now.
Sigrid explains that the official rules say that the Soul Cairn falls on the “okay” side of the line, since the Ideal Masters reanimated those creatures and you’re simply summoning them. For the most part, people will just be astounded you were willing to tolerate the paperwork and bureaucracy. Most conjurers prefer to pull from the Deadlands, which is like a house with no locks and an owner who’s constantly angry that people are constantly stealing his pets and silverware. Or Infernace, which is more of a… laid back Soul Cairn.
A “laid back Soul Cairn”?