It was late Frostfall.
This season had been colder than usual. The harvest was over and a crisp blanket of white covered the ground, creating a new landscape which adorned the roadside as they passed. The path in front of them was dressed in faint footprints left by earlier travelers, now fading in the newly fallen snow.
Her breath disappeared into the air in front of her. She pulled her cloak tighter, burying the cold deep in her chest as the carriage moved slowly down the road.
A’kira dreamed of home.
She could almost feel the sun warming her fur as her memory drifted to a sunny day at Breezehome.
Her mother had fresh line-caught fish cooking over the fire for lunch, a bowl of mixed fruits and vegetables on the table behind her. Juniper berries were A’kira’s favorite. The berries didn’t grow in this region, so they would have to buy the berries from the trading caravan just outside the city walls. A’kira was happy to be around other khajiits.
This was the day A’kira’s father, J’Zargo left to become a student at the College of Winterhold. Two years had passed and in that two years, so much had happened in Skyrim. J’Zargo helped the dragonborn, Viktor Ravenscar, defend the city of Whiterun from the evil magic unleashed by the Eye of Magnus. Winterhold was almost destroyed but the khajiit’s brave efforts paid off and Jarl Balgruuf awarded Breezehome, the house inside the walls of Whiterun, for his service to the city.
Tristane Blackfyre is the current Arch-Mage of the college and friend to both J’Zargo and Viktor Ravenscar. He also rewarded J’Zargo for his courage in the face of evil and for being the example of leadership and integrity as a student at the college. He made J’Zargo his apprentice and next in line to become Arch-Mage. His efforts afforded his family a respect not shown to most khajiits.
A’kira was so proud of her father’s success and longed to follow in his footsteps. It was her dream ever since she was a cub to follow his example and join the College of Winterhold.
J’Zargo had become a more prominent destruction mage in his role at the college. She remembers him teaching her the basic destruction spells and his patience in their practices. She, too, grew over the years and her own abilities had flourished. Her hopes of becoming a student at the college of Winterhold were finally realized in the recent autumn months, and today she arrives after making the trek to take her place and learn from the most respected mages in Skyrim.
When she received the letter from the courier, she almost cried. There was one spot left at the college for a new student. Tristane accepted A’kira as the newest destruction mage.
A bump in the road shook the carriage and brought A’kira back to the present, and she sighed as the road came into focus, snow falling lightly.
The carriage stopped at the edge of the snowy town. Bjorlam turned around and said, “We’ve arrived at Winterhold. The college is just up the road, through town.”
A’kira thanked him as she handed him a pouch full of coins.
She threw her knapsack onto her shoulder and pulled her hood further over her head, walking towards the giant stone structure outlined in the snow flurries ahead of her. She was so excited. Every nerve was on end and she could feel a tingle underneath her fur, rippling through her body.
“I finally get to see the College of Winterhold, and learn from masters of arcane magic” She thought to herself, “And spend time with father!”
She had not seen her father for two years while he worked hard learning and practicing the most complex destruction spells, becoming a powerful and well-respected mage. To study and learn from the mages of Winterhold’s famed college was special to her, but to also be reunited back with her father made it even more so. This was like having a dream and she wasn’t sure if it was real yet.
The cold didn’t even bother her at this point. She quickened her pace and was almost running through town. The snow was heavy and everyone was inside their homes. She could see smoke billowing up into the sky from fireplaces, a sign of warm comfort inside. The street was empty except for a few chickens wandering and the hold guards patrolling. As she reached the stone bridge that would take her the rest of the way to the college, a familiar voice surprised her from ahead.
“A’kira, my daughter.” J’Zargo said as he reached out his arms to embrace her.
He received word of her arrival today and has been waiting in the wind and snow to see his daughter.
She was even more excited. “Father!”
She ran up to J’Zargo and threw her arms around him. “Father, how I’ve missed you!”
After a long-overdue hug and kiss on his daughter’s cheek, J’Zargo took her knapsack and said “Welcome to the College of Winterhold, my dear.” He put his arm around her to block the wind as they walked up to the courtyard. “I’m so proud of you.”
As the college came into view, A’kira gasped and stared in awe. This was the first time she’d ever seen it. The stories she heard growing up didn’t do justice to the college. She could hardly contain her excitement. J’Zargo paused and said “I can still remember the day I arrived and saw the college for the first time.”
A’kira just smiled.
J’Zargo said “Come, dear. I will introduce you to my friend, the Arch-Mage, and show you your living quarters in the Hall of Attainment. In the morning you will meet your instructors and begin classes but tonight is our time together, we have a lot to catch up.” He kissed her cheek again as they walked towards the door ahead. “I’m glad you are here.”
A’kira stood for a moment and felt the cold wind on her fur. She was starting her own adventure.