A Mage's Staff

Raminus Polus is in the lobby of the Arch-Mage's Tower in the Imperial City and is happy to finally meet the newest guildmember who came with such high recommendations. One of the first things that you'll need to do is to go pick out your Mage's Staff. It's more symbolic than anything else, but it's still expected (and it will probably be useful to you). So head on over to Wellspring Cave to pick it up. The island is east of the city, next to an island that you can't seem to get onto from the overland map. Polus marks it on your map, but the odds are very good that if you've been combing the shores of Lake Rumare looking for Nirnroot, you've already come across it. You're to speak with Zahrasha or Eletta to get the staff. Right, then. Off you go.

If you have a Night-Eye effect and a decent graphics card, the first thing that you're going to notice after entering the cave is that something doesn't look quite right. There is someone at the foot of the slope standing over what appears to be a dead body. Most suspsicious. Discretion (translation: stealth) is definitely in order. As you get closer, you'll see that the person standing is wearing a dark robe with some sort of design on the front. If you've been doing some independent dungeon delving, you've probably run into these guys (Necromancers) before. If you haven't, you're about to. There are several Necromancers in the cave itself and the dead body is one of the people you are supposed to meet. Be sure and click on her body so that your Journal will update to let you know that she's dead (like the whole rag-doll routine and not being bothered by the noise of your fights with the Necromancers wasn't enough of a clue).

If you haven't run into Necromancers before, here's some helpful advice. They are all Mages and, as such, stick pretty much with mage tactics. The like to summon undead things to beat on you while they pepper you with spells from a distance. Since magic is their only major offensive weapon, shut it down quickly. Silence is probably the best, but the odds are very good that you don't have a spell that you can use at this point ("Hush," the lowest-level spell with a Silence effect, is Journeyman-level). If your Alchemy skill is at least at Apprentice level, you can combine Rice and Vampire Dust to make a Silence-effect poison that you can apply to your bow. If you have a sizeable supply of Vampire Dust at this point, you probably don't need to be worrying about Necromancers. If you have completed the "Order of the Virtuous Blood" miscellaneous quest, you probably won't have any because you'll have sold them off for 250 septims each. If your Alchemy is at Journeyman level, you can use Motherwort, White Seed Pod, Harrada or Frost Salts in place of, or in addition to, the Vampire Dust. In any event, once their magic is shut down, Necromancers are about as difficult as Mud Crabs and have much better loot. Their robes are probably worth more than just about any other piece of clothing in the game and are apparently quite fashionable because the next time you visit a merchant to whom you sold one, they'll probably be wearing it.

After working your way through the cave, you'll exit onto the island where you'll find three more Necromancers, inlcuding Noveni Othran and her mwaa-ha-ha-ha villain rant. Defeat all three of them and then retrieve your staff from the chest in the middle of the grove. Click on the other body to get a "deader'n last week's fish" message and then take the staff back to Polus.

Polus will report the incident to the Council, but is puzzled because the Necromancers don't normally operate this openly. Nevertheless, you need to take your staff fo Delmar at the Chironasium to have it enchanted. The Chironasium is a fancy word for "Item Maker" and it's on the south side of the Arcane University.

When you talk to Delmar, you'll have to make a choice. Your staff can only hold one effect and there are nine available. From the School of Destruction, you can have a targeted Fire, Frost or Shock effect. All of the three are general-purpose, put-a-hurt-on-someone effects that will work well for any budding adventurer. For dealing with more sticky situations where subtlety is required, you may choose the School of Illusion with a Charm, Paralyze or Silence effect. Or, for more specialized situations, you may want the School of Mysticism with a Soul Trap, Telekinesis or Dispel effect. The effect that you choose is strictly up to you, so choose the effect that you believe will be most helpful to your character.

After choosing the enchantment, Delmar tells you to come back in a day to pick up the finished product. When you do, he'll point you to the cupboard at the rear of the room. Your staff and a few scrolls are inside. Help yourself and then report back to Polus for a promotion and your next assignment.