A commission from my friend Storiel ^^
I've been wanting this particular scene commissioned for ages.. allow me to explain it.
So, I used to love playing Skyrim as a way to relax, take a break from the world and my crushing anxiety, my life not going so great at the time. Like any responsible player, I modded it till it crashed constantly, reluctantly removed a few mods, then resumed playing.
Of the mods I included, was Frostfall. Frostfall implements a camping system and hypothermia, so you need to care for your body heat. This lead to the most memorable experience I've had in gaming. I think I'll write it out as a short story.
I was on what should've been a normal trip between holds. I don't remember where or why, but I ended up traveling through a snowy forest in the dead of winter. I thought that the the trip was only supposed to last a day, but life never goes according to plan.
By the time the sun was setting, I knew I wouldn't make it in time. I knew I wouldn't survive the night without a fire. I hadn't packed any firewood.
Fortunately, I never leave anywhere without my trusty hatchet. Unfortunately, as is per my luck, a blizzard began brewing.
So, I spend some time chopping some logs. It's not something I'm used to doing, I'm not strong at all (I'm a mage, not a warrior or rogue!), I pretty much suck at gathering wood is what I'm saying.
Night had fallen. The blizzard was picking up. I finally have the wood I need to start a fire.
This is where being a master wizard comes in handy. I had just left the College of Winterhold as a master of Conjuration.
You know what masters of Conjuration are good at? Conjuring things. Like, say, a shelter.
I had to drink the only potion I brought (I hadn't expected this to be a difficult journey, not making that mistake again) to be able to summon the strength to do it, but I managed to cast the spell.
From the ground rose a stone platform, engraved with arcane symbols, and from that rose a half-sphere of swirling magic to block out the snow.. and the cold.
I drag myself inside, set the firewood in the fireplace, and desperately try to summon some fire from my hands. I can't feel them. Can't feel my feet, either. Don't want to look at them, just need to get this fire going..!
A spark. A little more.. It caught!
I lay there as the fire banishes the cold, the magical barrier keeping the warmth in, the snow assaulting the barrier but merely sliding off, the roar of that and the wind faint but noticeable.
I sit up. Every mage worth their salt knows a little bit of Restoration, just enough to save themselves in a pinch. I'm not sure if this frostbite would heal naturally or not, but better safe than sorry, right?
Wobbly and exhausted, I drag myself over to the conjured table and chair. Fancy spell, that, comes with all the amenities that a master mage could want. All except firewood. A flick of the wrist and the candles are lit. I look to the wine goblet. Empty. Not surprised, but still disappointed. I'm sure I have something worth drinking in my pack somewhere.
I should sleep, but not yet. I want to warm up first, I want to feel alive first.
I take a deep breath.. and let myself relax. I look out in front of me. The blizzard is letting up. How long has it been? I have no idea. Time has very little meaning when you're freezing half to death, thankfully only half this time.
Maybe I'm just delirious from almost dying, maybe I'm super tired, or maybe.. maybe the night sky is really, really beautiful tonight. The snow, the same that literally could not care less if it were to kill me, beautiful. The mountains, beautiful. The moon, beautiful. Life is beautiful.
I should sleep.