197. The beauty of Queen Maraya

197. The beauty of Queen Maraya

It is said of Queen Maraya that her beauty is celestial, boundless, and compelling.  That her eyes shine radiantly like gemstones set in white marble, and that her smile is like the edge of a sunrise.  The Jewel of Satakalaam, wife of the High King, firstborn of King Fahara’jad of Sentinel.  It was her great beauty that gave rise to Rancer’s wrath, and upon which the foundations for this Daggerfall Covenant were built.

It is true, she is very beautiful.  But the beauty of the flesh cannot sustain a union of divergent banners for long, because it takes but a cloud to blind us from the sun.  It is clear however that there is more to Queen Maraya then what is seen.  She has climbed from the depths, rising above her own struggles of loss and pain, to offer compassion, gentleness, and empathy to her people in their time of need.  This is the beauty of Maraya, Queen of Wayrest, and it is a beauty upon which the foundations for this Daggerfall Covenant will endure.


196. Returning the Shard

The Dream Shard is returned to Pariah Abbey, and back under the care of Azura’s Spirit Wardens.  Although it is an uncomfortable thought leaving such a dangerous artefact under the protection of monks, at least it is with the people who will benefit from it the most.  The alternative would be to lock it away in Wayrest, where it could be seen by only the privileged few.  Already because of greed and fear too much beauty in this world will never be seen in the light of the sun.

It is a risk, but should we sit in darkness because every time we light a torch we cast new shadows?

No, the Dream Shard may not be in the safest place, but it is in the right place.  For every freedom we have is a risk, but it is a risk worth fighting for, because it is the ability to risk that defines us as free.


195. Redemption?

195. Redemption

Count Hosni talks of righting wrongs, of making amends, and of driving out the cultists.  I wonder though what price his conscience sets for his atonement.  Is it one good deed for every bad, one life saved for each death caused?  Whatever his tariff, I have to believe in the possibility of the redemption of Count Hosni Et-Tura; because I have to believe that a man might find peace despite the darkest of circumstances.

Besides, if Hosni can stay true to his word and turn from smuggler to benefactor, from thug to protector, then we can say there is at least one aristocrat in the whole of High Rock who is worthy of the title Noble… and a Redguard one at that!


194. The Omen of Blood

Whether the Lady Adima was a cultist who gave herself over willingly to this deception or just another innocent victim of Vaermina’s Omen may never be known.  It is unfortunate that her only release from this puppetry can be death.

But is that not what death is?  A release from the restraints of our mortality; the shackles of our senses, the chains of our conscience, the mercuriality of our emotions, and the service to our flesh.  Is life nothing more than playing the marionette for the mundus?

I fear my lack of soul begins to mark my outlook … I fear that by and by I am becoming the monster I must fight hardest against.


193. “Smile, you fool”

193 (a). Smile, you fool

Smile, you fool.  Nod your head and laugh a little.  Act like you’re enjoying yourself.” – Countess Gisele Phien

The Countess Gisele Phien, like every other guest at the Count At-Tura’s betrothal party, is unable to leave for fear of her life.  The Count’s father is being held under armed guard at the guest residence, whilst his mother is locked up further away in the estates summer house.  And yet I soon discover that it is the Count himself who is the prisoner.

The Lady Adima, his betrothed, has used alchemic potions to induce the Count into a deep dreaming sleep and, in much the same way as the Supernal Dreamers, seduced and subjugated him to the point where she now dominates his very disposition.  It would appear that the master key to unlocking this elaborate prison lies deep within the Counts subconscious, and I must make myself a part of it if I am to free the captives of the At-Tuar estate.

But just as I am about to drink the potion that will allow me to slip into Hosni’s dreams, I hesitate, as my conscience flashes a memory into my mind of a poor destitute wretch, curled up, shivering and whimpering in the corner of a prison cell, staring blankly, neither seeing nor hearing the panic and barbarity that is happening all about him.

It was during the manic chaos of the prison break from Coldharbour that I came across this fellow inmate paralyzed by shock.  I wanted to wake the poor man from his hysteria, to rouse him to at least die with a weapon in hand.  But as I was about to shake him, I stopped, at that very moment I become lucidly aware of our plight, and that no delirium, and no nightmare, no matter how frightful and incapacitating, could be as dreadful as the horror which surrounded us at that moment, and to which I was about to recall him.

It’s funny, but when life seems too difficult to endure, and I wish nothing more than to hide my face from the unkind judgement of the sun, my conscious feels lighter for leaving him be.  Yet when I taste hope upon the morning breeze, and I yearn for a cloudless sky once again, my conscious weighs heaviest, and I can bear my reflection the least.

Sometimes you must first free yourself of your own fetters before you can free others from theirs.  For most of us it’s about finding a cause greater or more deserving then our own.  The cause that I need to inspire me is the freedom of the Countess Gisele Phien, and as I drink the potion and enter the strange beauty of the Counts dreamscape, I begin my fight to reach her jailer.