Then (after dropping off two dozen daedra hearts and similar amounts of other oblivion components in my house) I went to Bravil, and did a refreshingly easy quest that turned out not, in fact, to be the mage guild recommendation quest, despite being given by the guildmaster.
Basically, it consisted of four tests:
(a) The test of jumping puzzles.
(b) The test of reading a map.
(c) The test of realizing that staffs are overpowered when you don't care about conserving charges.
(d) The test of being an Argonian.
Then I got in this morning and discovered that my overnight builds had failed because I was a dumbass and ran the overnight build macro for the wrong fricking build system. Fortunately, it should only take a couple hours to get a minimal build going that I can do work with. [sigh]