456. My reflection in a wisp



I had not expected to encounter a wispmother in the hills above Pelin graveyard, the last one I saw was up at the Silaseli ruins on the Halcyon Lake. Had I known that she was here I would probably have tried to avoid her, not because I am afraid mind you, but because I am still unsure as to their true nature. And by nature, I do not mean disposition, because I already know this creature would rip me to shreds if I give it half a chance. No, I mean its origins.

As a child I read as many books as I could find on all the creatures of Tamriel; bestiaries and compendiums, hunting diaries and travellers tales. I’d listen keenly when the visiting bards sung of outlandish beasts in faraway lands, and daydreamed long after they’d left about seeing them all for myself one day.

I guess that was a real reason why I joined the Legions, ‘see Tamriel and beyond’ the recruiter had said, ‘broaden your horizons!’ She knew her audience. Because for us rural boys, signing up to the Legions had little to do with sentiments of duty and allegiance, that was for the city born and officer cadets. No, for us it was about escaping the agrarian shackles of provincial ambition.

As it happens I ended up never even serving beyond the boundaries of Cyrodiil. Most of my  service was spent supporting the province guards in trying to maintain civil order after the Emperor disappeared. And then later we spent more time within the Imperial City itself when the Empress Regent all but legitimised the Mad Elf’s debauched cult by banishing the Mages Guild.

Soon after the Banners invaded and we were pushed back into the City for good. Then… then came that longest night when that Dark Anchor fell upon the city. All lightness fled, and only chaos and pandemonium was left to fill its void.

So I never did get to ‘see Tamriel and beyond’, in fact the first time I ever left Cyrodiil was when I awoke in a prison cell in Oblivion, and by then I guess I was, for all intent and purpose, dead; so I’m not sure that even counts.

As for the natures of these forlorn wispmothers, although I suspect they are but elemental manifestations of some kind, I always rather liked the more romantic theories I’d read, that they were the ghosts of some lost race of Snow Elves, eternally searching for something that is forever beyond their reach. I think the rural boy in me could empathise with that.


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