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.
Although the leaders of the three Banners alliances refused us men or mer, we have an army of sorts, made up of individuals from the Fighters and Mages Guilds. Though we are too few to storm the ramparts of Coldharbour alone, we will take our fight for freedom into the realm of Oblivion nonetheless. For our freedom from Molag Bal’s Planemeld exists not because of the Banner alliances, but because of those who stand most alone, standing together as one.
The lead up to the All Banners negotiations on the Isle of Stirk was my first opportunity to meet with all three of the Alliance leaders; if one doesn’t include the twisted play of the Mad God’s imagination. Whilst King Emeric’s political acumen is arguably unrivalled, and the uncompromising Skald-King was as imposing in personality as he is in stature, it was Queen Ayrenn of the Aldmeri Dominion who impressed me the most. Her equanimous demeanour belies her youth, whilst her voice, as warm as early spring, spoke with civility, dignity, and prudence throughout. No human would ever wish to live again under an empire run by Elves, yet I have to admit, of the three leaders I believe that perhaps Queen Ayrenn would sit most comfortably atop the Ruby Throne.
It was from the Isle of Stirk in the Abecean Sea that some twelve hundred years ago the All Flags Navy set sail to Thras to end the Sload threat to Tamriel. So what better place now for the grand leaders of Tamriel to meet and discuss a possible counter-invasion of Coldharbour.
Alas however the negotiations fail, for no side is willing to commit troops to the cause thus weakening their forces in the Three Banners war. What use will be a Ruby throne when they are kneeling to Molag Bal?
The ‘neutral’ Guild leaders offer a compromise, yet before agreements can be secured, the skies darken and amidst the taunts and threats of the Lord of Brutality, a storm of daedra breaks upon the isle, and the leaders of Tamriel find themselves fighting for their very lives.
Perhaps it is that the leaders might have agreed to the guilds proposal before the daedra attack, but I’d like to think it will make for a far better bards tale if it were Molag Bal’s surprise attack that finally swayed the argument.
Oh deceitful Mannimarco, how long have I sought thee. From the moment you ripped my soul from my body with your ritual bodkin, to my grim prison cell in Coldharbour. Across all the lands High Rock and Hammerfell have I chased your worms and now finally we meet again, perhaps fittingly in the Vault of Kings deep beneath the Jerall Mountains.
Oh sly Mannimarco, vengeance has been my engine. Bitterness rooted deep inside me where my soul should rest, grates, abrades, and grinds; oh how it has hardened my heart. Vengeance, that great motivator of men has for so long been my only muse, and now finally I get to shed her injurious shadow and sow my vengeful wrath and fury upon thee.
Nothing, nothing, nothing… No joy, no triumph, no relief.
Oh thief Mannimarco, even in defeat you swindle me. Cold vengeance warms not the spirit. It has done nothing to salve my pain, nothing to heal my scars, nothing to fill my desolate, hollow emptiness. Is it only within my soul that I can find peace?
We have the amulet, but the planemeld rages still and with everyday that passes the chains of Coldharbour tighten. It is time we take the fight to those demons in the outer dark. But we five alone cannot hope to invade a realm of Oblivion. We are going to need an army.