558. We, the Vestige

558 (a). We, the Vestige

The azure plasm absorbs my fall, but as I rise to my feet the beast itself is upon me. Without more waste of words, with no more will to give or take, I stake my Rubedite blade and Ruby Ash shield ‘gainst the beasts massive daedric club and destructive spell, as we to battle to whatever end fate accords.

Yet this ‘final confrontation’ was not contrived by fate. It is not destiny’s guile, and I am no chosen one of prophesy read about by some blind old man in an esoteric scroll. At any point in my journey here I may have set down my blade and armour for good. Whether it be after slaying the Gravesinger, dragging the High King from Quagmire, scaling the Doomcrag, restoring the desert people’s wards, or even after walking the Far Shores, I believe I have earnt my stipend five times over. And even after we ended the Beast’s Planemeld I could with clear conscience have left my ‘companions’ to finish their quest to requite their hubris and soothe their guilt.

558 (d). We, the Vestige

I am no prisoner. Yet whilst I have an abrading emptiness deep within me, grinding at where my soul should nest that only vengeance thirst can sate, I am all in all but an ordinary man, it is Molag Bal who is the prisoner of fate.

For I am not as singular as the old man had me believe. During the uprising at the Wailing Prison I was but one of a thousand, thousand who escaped Coldharbour that day. I saw them throughout my journeys through High Rock and Hammerfell. Mercenaries gathering in big cities looking for work, beneath every dark Anchor that fell, in the darkest, deepest of delves, and sometimes just wandering the wilds, picking flowers or chopping wood. Yet I could always distinguish them, for like myself they never did quite fit, looking much like sailors taking a first stroll upon land after a long, long voyage on the open seas.

558 (g). We, the Vestige

Some of course fell along the way, others settled down finding others things to placate that deep emptiness… for now. Some just lost their appetite and faded away. But many didn’t, haven’t, or wont. And when the Guilds united to open the portals to the Hollow City those that were left found themselves drawn back to Coldharbour.

The power of the Amulet feels like ambrosia in my veins and the longer my struggle against the God stretches on, the more undaunted I become. For now I know that though Molag Bal may yet strike me down, he can never win. For there are a thousand, thousand more to take up my blade, just as thousands have come before, and thousands more will come after. For we are the past and future both, we are despair and hope, we are the Vestige.

558 (j). We, the Vestige


557. He who blinks

557 (a). He who blinks

Molag Bal… Tormentor, Corrupter, Harvester of Souls and Lord of Brutality.

The daedric prince looks down upon me with such intense hatred, I want to look away, but can’t. They say that one’s eyes are windows to our thoughts, anecdotes for our mind, interpreters for our soul. In his eyes I see all his cruelty, his brutality, his malice, his scorn and contempt. I see the enslavement of all Nirn, and the end of the mortal age.

But I see also him blink… and it is enough.

557 (d). He who blinks


556. Into the breach

556 (a). Into the breach

I feel as if I have been recast, wrought and hammered into a weapon of singular purpose. Long have we hacked away at the branches of evil, now with the power of the Amulet of Kings coursing through my body, it is time to strike at it’s very root.

The dread horns bellow once more, the air about roils with hatred, and a horde of daedra swarm upon me.

Molag Bal can but watch as one by one his most trusted guard falls meekly to my blade. Unencumbered by pity, compassion or remorse, it is a most savage slaughter.

556 (j). Into the breach


555. The grievous choice

555 (a). The grievous choice

Alas that the time has come for me to make the grievous choice. How does one weigh the life of one companion ‘gainst another? I thought I was ready, I thought I knew, but… but this isn’t a choice  between good or bad, it is all wrong choices and not one right. I can but choose which wrong choice feels the least wrong.

555 (b). The grievous choice

And as I watch the repercussion of my choice in fretful anguish, my heart beating in my chest like wooden thunder, a voice whispers to my stained conscience… ‘You must rescue me.  And I, in turn, must rescue you.’

555 (c). The grievous choice


554. And yet Mannimarco…

554 (a). And yet Mannimarco…

The Vestibule of Heart’s Grief, Molag Bal’s palatial fortress; there are few places in all the realms of Oblivion more feared. It is in this stately antechamber where the Lord of Brutality reaps cruel vengeance upon those who have displeased him the most. Some consider it wisdom that the enemy of your enemy is your friend, of that I am not so sure.

Conscience does however make it difficult for me to abandon his prisoners to an eternity of daedric penance. Even in weighting their collective atrocities against the peoples of Tamriel, I find myself questioning my own path, and whether it is only by fortune, fate or providence that I am not chained next to them. Is that empty alcove there not reserved for me?

We all make wrong choices; do wrong things, things that have bad consequences. Does mean we are all evil, that there is no way back, that we cannot be trusted again thereafter? By abandoning these transgressors for their mistakes am I not abandoning us all?

And yet Mannimarco…

554 (i). And yet Mannimarco…

Only the naive forgive and forget; only the foolish neither forgive nor forget; and considered wise are those who can forgive but do not forget; for so brief is life there is not time enough to hold grudges. And yet here lieth Mannimarco, the King of Worms whom I can never forgive, but I shall forget.

554 (j). And yet Mannimarco…