16th of Sun’s Dusk, 5E 138
Dear Colleague and Successor,
I am writing this letter to you on the last day before I resign my office and withdraw from mortal society. It is my final gift to this place; one I pray will never be used.
I hope you followed my instructions carefully in breaking the seal and that your companions are all still alive. I do not know what need pushed you to do this, but I hope for the sake of the College that it’s a dire one.
Within the chest that should now stand before you are many legendary artifacts, most thought to be lost and some that should never have been found. There are also the journals and research notes of many famed mages and alchemists, as well as my own notes both on the artifacts and on various places and events I believe none but me have seen and lived. I have no way of knowing who you are or what you may need, so I have given you all that I dare.
I would have tried to lock these things away forever if I had not myself once saved the College using an artifact I had no business even speaking of at the time when I wielded it. You will find that one in the chest among many others. Use them with the wisdom I hope was required of you to be granted this position and, gods willing, you will succeed.
Finally, in case the problems faced by the College is more mundane in nature, beneath these items there are three full sacks of gemstones.
As for myself, I cannot even imagine how time and tongue must have distorted my legacy, so here are the facts as I remember them:
I came to the College in the autumn of the year 4E 201; a young alchemist seeking knowledge and power. Mostly power, I’m afraid. After an accident left the College without an Arch-Mage only a year later, I was asked to replace him. Young and foolish as I was, I accepted, but with the council of my dear late friend and colleague Master Wizard Tolfdir, I slowly grew into the role.
I was made a vampire soon after enrolling as a student. Vampire royalty, no less, of a line native to Skyrim. I chose this and I do not regret it, but I was utterly unprepared for the reality of this peculiar existence. No book can contain its horrors or its delights.
Duty pulled me back to the College, and duty and responsibility held me after my appointment, but with time I grew to love this place. With time, I began to love knowledge for its own sake. This, above all else, I take with me in the nights to come.
Most of the current faculty is aware of my condition and I have even given lectures on the subject. Only once did I lose control on these grounds, after I had been secluded in study for weeks and had forgotten to feed. The unfortunate Apprentice who came into my chambers did survive, but he was never the same again. For that, I continue to do penance.
I hope those of us who are able to control our nature are still welcome to come here and study despite my lapse in judgement.
As the centuries have past, however, I have grown weary of petty mortal politics; slaughter and strife over dust and fleeting moments of power.
During my term, I have tried to sway the Jarls from their prejudices against magic and its practitioners, but to no avail. Most have no interest in knowledge other than as a tool to gain advantage and care little that their ancestors used to call it the Clever Craft and accord it great respect.
Even the College is afflicted by politics and my patience for the quibbles of children isn’t what it was, even for older children learned in magic and lore. So at sunset tomorrow I will return to the court of my kindred. I may even sleep for a while.
I leave this place and this office in the capable hands of Talmeni Maryon, our esteemed teacher of Destruction, and I have given her the instructions that lead here. Brave Talmeni, flame of Colovia, I hope you are not the one to open this.
Do not attempt to find me. I cannot guarantee your safety on that journey.
Arch-Mage, College of Winterhold