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.
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.
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.