Deep within Coldharbour’s Shrouded Plains I come across the ruins of a Tamrielic village. I can find no signs, or banners to indicate from where this village originally came, what it was called, or indeed anything of the people who once called this place home. The style of the odd intact window here and there however suggests that this may have once been a Colovian settlement.
It’s only occupants now are a small band of Dremora who seem to find this bleak desolation to their liking. I discover roaming in the wastes nearby more familiar beasts in the form of an Ice Wreath and a giant Troll. Perhaps these creatures, or their forebears, were inadvertently dragged into this vile realm when the village was abducted from Tamriel. If that was the case then their presence might suggest that the village was from the northern territories of Cyrodiil, perhaps from the foothills of the Jerall mountains bordering Skyrim.
Alas that this is little more then a game of speculation, for like many of the inhabitants of Coldharbour’s Shrouded Plains, this forsaken village is just another piece of Tamriel whose history and legacy are now forever lost to the avarice of Oblivion.
Beneath the shadow of the Spurned Peak in Western Coldharbour I discover the incongruous sight of an Alyleid Well surrounded by daedra. Seemingly still intact and radiating mystic dynamism, how long it has been since this artefact of Tamriel was abducted by Coldharbour is impossible to tell; perhaps a millennia, or perhaps but a day.
One wonders whether deadra can even benefit as mortals do by drawing upon its magicka. Perhaps these daedra are here to study just that, but then why bring a hulking great Daedroth with them. It would seem more likely that they are charged with guarding the Well, so as to prevent any of our invading forces from benefiting from its powers. The real mystery however is can an Alyeid Well still harvest magical energy from the Aetherius whilst in Oblivion, or will it become but another of Coldharbour’s corrupt reflections of Nirn? That is bread for the scholars, for I have enough on my plate with the hulking great Daedroth.
I guess I never believed that a daedra could be capable of feeling love. In fact I never considered them capable of any mortal like emotion whatsoever. Even their remarkable capacity for cruelty is not born from emotions like hatred or jealousy, but from antipathy and necessity.
And yet here atop the tower at the Spurned Peak in western Coldharbour I find Stibbins, the bungling servant of the renowned archaeologist Lady Clarisse Laurent, held captive by a Winged Twilight who appears to have become somewhat infatuated with him.
As with everything in Coldharbour, daedric love seems to be but a debauched reflection of what mortals experience upon Nirn. It is raw and elemental, callow, relentless and obdurate. Nothing else seems to matter to this besotted daedra, not even whether her captive requites her love or not, just so long as she can possess him.
Yet as with mortal love, it will inevitably end in heartbreak… only in a rather more literal sense.
From the sludgy pit to the claw-like craggy pinnacle, I battle though the hateful Ogrim, Watchers and Dremora of the Tower of Lies, and make good my escape to the nearby Hollow City. With me I bring a handful of Fighter’s Guild members, who themselves bring with them hope. For though we are still too few, it is not how many, but who. For both the Fighters and Mages guilds are represented on this most dismal realm by the many races of Tamriel. And it is in their diversity, both in contrast and harmony, that our best hope rests.
For our hope is the hymn sung by Tamriels heart. It is in the first buds of spring on a Wrothgar bluff, and in a cradle shaped bough of Hist deep in the marsh. It is in the rain clouds brewing on the horizon of Hammerfell, and in a verdant meadows beyond the mountains of ash. It is in the Elf maidens aria sung in an Alinor court, and in the sweet morning dew beneath the shade of Grahtwood. It is in the many hued rainbow after a Glenumbra storm, and in the campfires of Colovia burning dusk to dawn. It is in the purr upon your pillow under an Elsweyr tent, and in Kynareth lights dancing across a Skyrim night.
I found her contradictions compelling. Like every Dremora I’ve had the misfortune to encounter, her countenance was hard, sharp, and cruel, yet she was feminine and alluring still. She was charmingly acerbic, indelicately graceful, and playfully pernicious. Overbearing, patronizing, and contemptuous throughout, yet from her first guttural word till her last I found myself prisoner, bound and fettered by my own fascination. I could perhaps grasp at a hundred painted adjectives, yet still fail to express just how she captivated me so, or why for days after her smallest gestures still haunts my every moment of contemplation. It is enough to say, I found her hideously compelling.