As described in the section on Initial Attributes in Character Creation, you start with a number of increase points, indicated in the race description. These increase points are used to improve your character's attributes and purchase skills.
The skills you choose for your character may come from the lists in any of the supplements you are using. As described in the introduction to the Skill Descriptions, new skills may also be defined when the existing skills are insufficient.
There is no list of which races may or may not learn a particular skill. Instead, we leave it up to the discretion of the players and GM to enforce the "realism" test to determine what is or is not allowed.
Most skills will cost you 50 increase points. However, if you select a skill which is related to another already selected (both the skill list and individual skill descriptions include a list of related skills), the second skill only costs 25 increase points. Thus, a character would have to pay 50 points for their first "sword" skill (i.e. long sword, scimitar, etc.), but only 25 for each additional sword skill.
Each skill has up to two attributes associated with it: a primary and a secondary attribute (which are the same in some cases). For each skill you select for your character, divide their primary attribute by two and their secondary attribute by three, and add the results together, rounding the final total down. This number is the character's skill level (percentage chance of success) in that skill.
If there is no secondary attribute for a skill, just leave out that portion of the formula.
It is possible to select the same skill twice (or more) in the creation process, in which case it counts as two (or more) skills. This would be done in order to increase the character's proficiency in a particular area by raising their score in that skill. Note that any skill is implicitly related to itself, so the second and subsequent selections of a skill only cost 25 points each.
When this happens, your character will be allowed to train (see the description of the Training skill) under a trainer who will be assigned by the GM for a number of hours equal to your current skill level in the skill which is being improved. The GM will determine the skill levels of the trainer (both in the skill the character is training at, and in the Training skill). They should be quite high, but should not generally exceed 100 (people that good typically have better things to do with their time than train novices). The level of training available (the trainer's skill levels) may also be dependent on the geographical area in which the character is being trained.
As in real life, you do not have to decide everything you want to learn before you start learning any of it. (Imagine showing up for the first day of school and having to fill out university application forms!) What this means is that you are free to select your character's main skill, then repeatedly select it, doing training immediately, until you are happy with the skill level achieved, before you move on to select other skills. Stated another way, you don't need to decide how many times to train in something before doing any of the training. Be careful, though, as once you have spent the increase points to learn or train in something, those points are gone.
Every character has a native language, or languages. A native language is a language that was spoken by most of the people with whom the character interacted while growing up.
Every character receives their native language for free, generally at a skill level equal to their Intelligence. This may be increased based on the character history if the GM feels that experiences would have improved the character's command of the language. You may voluntarily give your character a lower skill level in their native language; there is no bonus for this, so it is only done to better match a character concept. You may also choose to improve the character's facility in their native language by selecting that skill to receive additional training.
Some characters may receive more than one free language, if they are from an area where multiple languages are regularly used. For example, most residents of Switzerland know at least two of German, English, French and Italian, with varying degrees of facility. In such cases, the player should select one that will be the character's "primary" native language, and any others will be assigned a lower skill level by the GM.
See the description of the Language skill for more details about how much fluency the various skill levels represent.
After you have selected your character's initial skills, your GM may assign a few more. These will be dependent mostly on the character history you should have written, although the GM may also feel that a certain skill would be beneficial in the campaign being planned. The GM will read over your character history, and hopefully pick up on all the little clues you left regarding what extra skills you would like.
The GM has free rein here. Your character may be assigned a skill which you have already selected; treat this the same as if you had selected the skill twice, and do the training calculations as above. Alternately, the GM may choose to skip the tedium of training, and simply assign your character a certain number of extra levels in a skill.
This whole process may seem somewhat arbitrary, and it indeed is. Surely you have known (or known of) people who always seem to be just a little bit better than you at everything they do. Both exceptional and exceptionally ordinary characters may be produced with this system. It is up to you to make the most of what you are given, just as in life.