The Aspiring Mage is a Nord warrior who is randomly encountered in the wilderness. He can be seen attempting to reanimate the corpse of a woodland creature. He had wanted to follow in his grandfather's footsteps and become a mage, but his application to join the College of Winterhold was denied. It turns out he is only able to cast magic because of his grandfather's leveled staff of reanimation. You may persuade him to give you the staff, intimidate him, or just pay for it.
As he tries to reanimate the creature, he will intone, "Rise up and live again!" and "I grant you a new life!" When his attempt fails, he will be frustrated, as he'll say, "Come on, get up!" and "This should work. I've done it before." He will finally give up: "Gah! This staff is useless... I'm useless. The whole world is useless!"
You can approach him to ask what the problem is. He will be embarrassed that you noticed: "Oh... hello there. Didn't notice you come up. I was focusing my magicka. Or at least, I thought I was. I don't really know what I'm doing." You can reply in two ways:
- "Yes. It's painfully obvious you don't know what you're doing."
- "You don't have to tell me that."
- "That's quite a staff you have there."
- "I used to think so, too."
Either way, he will continue by explaining, "See, my grandfather was a wizard. My father wouldn't talk about him much. But I found some of his things in the attic. Including this staff. After that I thought I was turning into a wizard too, because dead things near me would come to life again for while. I even went to the College of Winterhold. But they just laughed at me. The magic is in the staff, not in me they said." At this point, you can try to acquire the staff from him. A successful attempt will have him say, "In fact. Keep it. I must have used up the magic in the staff or something. It's just a dumb stick of wood now." as he hands you his staff.
- He never unloads properly from the game, because the associated world encounter does not complete as it should.
- This bug is fixed by version 2.0.4 of the Unofficial Skyrim Patch.
- He may not have his staff equipped and may not actually be wielding it when encountered in the wilderness.
- This bug is fixed by version 2.0.5 of the Unofficial Skyrim Patch.