With the outer portals of the Endless Stair secured, we now make our push into the Labyrinth complex without fear of becoming cut-off. The first chambers we discover however stop us dead in our tracks.
We enter the most enormous library I have ever seen. Hugh walls and columns bricked with thousands upon thousands of books from ceiling to… seemingly bottomless floor. It is enough to turn even Hermaeus Mora green, it certainly made my mage companions giddy with greed. Libraries are said to be the energy that fuels imagination, indeed, one can sit in a library and be almost anywhere in Nirn in but the turn of a page. I dread to think however what nether realm of Oblivion one might end up in whilst reading these dark tomes.
Beyond the library, supposedly a place of enlightenment, we enter chambers utterly devoid of illumination. What little magical light the mages can conjure barely disturbs the blackness. In fact, it only serves to rouse and agitate the strange featureless statues that inhabit this perpetual darkness. As ever it is Gabrielle who proves to be a ray of sunlight, leading us to the very portal of the Planar Vortex, guarded by that most mighty of daedric titans, Telkor the Unforgiving.
And one more surprise awaits us, a familiar face appears who had always seemed to be more then her semblance, turns out to be so much more then any of us could have imagined. Who can we really trust in this abominable realm, a truthful enemy or a deceitful friend?
Our forces gather at the gateway to the Endless Stair, Molag Bals most northern citadel, where we hope to find the Planar Vortex and put an end to his wicked Planemeld once and for all. The plan is for a small vanguard to push ahead into a daedric fortress full of Coldharbour’s most terrible and deadly denizens, and prepare the way for our main forces. I’m pretty sure I would have maybe considered volunteering perhaps… had I not already have been picked.
One choice I do get to make however is for who is to accompany me on this mortiferous assignment. My obvious choice for a companion would of course be the arch-mage Vanus Galerian, but alas he is fully occupied with co-ordinating the main force. So I asked the ever reliable Gabrielle Benele to support me, for ever since we first met in Glenumbra she has never let me down, but she believes it best I have a fighter at my side if I am to succeed. Perhaps she is right, and the best fighter I know is Darien Gautier.
With what we have been through together on our journey I consider Darien a friend and would trust him to stand resolute at my side in the darkest night. But to be honest of late his talk of dreams and premonitions concerns me. Perhaps it is well that I shall be able to keep a close eye on him, for my experience in Stormhaven with Vaermina’s plague of dreams taught me that you should never ignore your dreams when they involve Oblivion.
So together a formal Imperial legionnaire and a former captain of the Camlorn Guard, who might one day have crossed blades on the fields of Cyrodiil had not the thieving elf’s insidious worm cult picked me off the street and stolen my soul, push forward, side by side, comrade by comrade, into Brutality’s citadel and most likely death. Fate it seems can be one sardonic bitch.
Casting a baleful shadow down across the Reaver Citadel is the grim Pyramid, the seat of power of Valkynaz Seris, the leader of the Deathbringers kyn. It is here that the Dremora Lyranth, her every word dripping with malice, finally reveals her cause… Vengeance.
It seems the price for her opening the way for us to the Planar Vortex is that I am to be her vessel for vengeance against the Valkynaz. It is not that this scheming Dremora is not capable herself of banishing her enemy, it is that such is the Dremoran fixation with status that if she were to do so with her own hands then she would lose both standing and honour. Besides, how much sweater the taste of her vengeance when Seris’s blood is splashed across his own halls by a mere mortal. They say when vengeance sings, it sings loudest in a female’s voice.
One wonders however if eternal banishment might have been preferable for this vengeful Dremora if Molag Bal were ever to discover that it was blood willingly offered by Lyranth that opened the doors to his last garrison? I imagine the vengeance of a daedric lord to be a most dreadful din.
Now that the warriors of the Fighters Guild have successfully infiltrated the keep through the tunnels beneath the guildhall, it is time to implement the second stage of King Dynar’s plan. We must push our way into the upper Citadel to open the portals for Galerion and his mages to join the fray.
The Mages guildhall is however heavily guarded by both Dremora and ancient spell wards. Thankfully with the support of the fighter’s blades and arrows we can now engage the Dremora head on.
I know who I am and what I am capable of. I am a soldier, a warrior, someone who faces his fears in the light, not shirks from them in the shadows. Yet like every soldier I foster no fondness for conflict, it is as I am, but a hammer with which to build peace.
Our motley coalition of man, mer and beast are ready to push on towards our final purpose, but standing obstinately in our path are the ominous walls of the Reaver Citadel, the dread keep of the Deathbringer Clan.
A frontal assault upon the Citadel is too far beyond us, we would be crushed like the Gray Host upon the great gates of Bangkorai. The renowned Ayleid strategist King Laloriaran Dynar however has devised a plan, but to achieve it somehow I will have to infiltrate the fort and reach the Fighters Guild building within. Once again it seems I shall need to put my trust in the enigmatic Dremora Lyranth, but this time I am not just trusting my fate to her, but perhaps the fate of all of Tamriel.
For some veiled reason Lyranth seems to need me to infiltrate this citadel just as much as I do. Galerion would not be happy to know that I am putting such faith in this monster, but I’ve found that there is rarely a difference in motive between a martyr and a terrorist. The affairs of this realm are no more or less deceitful then those of Tamriel. It is the fool who toils in deference to others rather for their own desires or needs, and I am putting my faith in a monster, not a fool.
Besides, the only true way to discover if you can trust someone, is to trust them. Tamriel is a land built upon Alliances, Pacts, and Covenants, its people have learnt the only way to survive is to put trust and faith in those you at one time or another called ‘my enemy’.