Another Day Of Oblivion.
Another day in Cyrodiil, another quest in “The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion” where my ongoing mission to save the world had now led me to the sewers of Imperial city with my new friend Baurus.
Well, I say “friend” but he’s more of an acquaintance really. A contact I was sent to meet by “The Blades” a semi secret sect sworn to protect the Emperor…. Erm….who was recently murdered, so nice job by the Blades there then.
Praps a little back story is in order….
The Emperor was murdered in front of your Badger, but before he croaked, his worship whispered in my ear that he had a secret heir. Well I thought the old boy was hallucinating because I could see that he actually had plenty of hair! Receding possibly, (Which was I suppose quite apt given that he is voiced by Patrick Stuart, who is of course the captain who Baldly went where no man has gone before.) but still plenty of it.
“No you fool!” Gasped the Emperor. “An Heir apparent, someone to take the reigns after I’m gone!”
It turned out that his heir is a monk called Martin and I have to track him down and bring him to The Blades, who with their proven track record of protecting all things emporial, will keep him safe until he steps up to the big seat.
Trouble is that there’s this whopping big piece of jewellery see? An Amulet, and he needs it in order to light some fires which are part of his ascension ceremony. If he doesn’t light the fires then three things happen in quick succession;
1/ He doesn’t get to be Emperor.
2/ The Hordes of Oblivion take over the world.
3/ We all have a really bad day!
Well I gave the Amulet to The Blades for safe keeping while I went off to bring back Brother Martin, but when we got back they’d only gone and lost it!!!
So let me get this straight! These are the same Blades who let the Emperor get murdered by a secret sect right? And now they’ve lost the bling bling needed to keep the hordes of hell at bay? I’m thinking that somebody at Blade HQ needs to re-read the job description.
Anyway it turns out that the old Emperor was assassinated by a group of religious fanatics called “The Brotherhood of the Mystic Dawn.” And they’ve now also stolen the amulet! As a reward for bringing back Brother Martin safely, I am recruited as a Blade and sent off to locate the Mystic Dawn and recover it.
Why have they called themselves “The Brotherhood of the Mystic Dawn” anyway? I mean, what a mouthful!! Plus if they want to abbreviate to snappy initials it’ll end up looking something like “TBotMD” which frankly looks a bit rubbish!
Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that their nefarious machinations are surrounded in a mysterious cloak of intrigue, best represented by the shadowy half light suffusing the world at Dawn yes?
Well I think you’re wrong about that! I think that they are led by woman called Mystic Dawn! Only time will give us that answer my friends.
Well to cut a long story short, it turns out that in order to get to this cult, I have to find “The Four Books of the Mythic Dawn Commentaries” which between them contain a secret message which will give me the location of Cult HQ.
I managed to beg steal or borrow the first three, (although one of them is a library book which is already overdue so God alone knows what the fine will end up being by the time I get it back!) but the forth can only be obtained via a meeting with a clandestine figure known only as “The Sponsor”, said meeting to take place in a little known spot in the sewers.
Now I hate to belabour a point here, but I have to groan once again and say what on earth is wrong with these cult guys, that they can’t simply hold the meeting in the local “Travel Inn”?? It’s a moot question though I guess, as a Sewer they have said, so a sewer it must be.
So that about brings you up to date and to the point where Baurus and I are wading through a sewer under the city.
I’m not generally a big fan of sewers, or labyrinths or mazes, but it has to be said that the sewers under the Imperial City are actually rather nice. The semi regular holes in the ceiling allow shafts of light to pierce the gloom, illuminating well appointed brickwork, quaint little bridges and sweeping Victorian style archways… yes, all in all this place is quite a bit nicer than the first flat which Mrs Badger and I lived in
Many years ago.
Some of the neighbours are a bit on the violent side of course, mostly Rats and Goblins, but this again brings back memories of the old homestead.
Bravely I allowed Baurus to take the lead and he deftly hacked and slashed his way through the local Rodentry and Goblins, while I followed behind stocking up on any gold or lock picks they happened to be carrying.
Eventually we came to a heavily barred doorway next to a set of stairs. “This is it!” pronounced Baurus dramatically. “Through that door is the meeting place and our instructions are to sit at a table that lies beyond and wait for The Sponsor.” He scratches his chin. “Funny now that I think about it, I always wondered why there was a table in there!”
“No Matter” he continued. “The Sponsor is only expecting to see one person, so only one of us can enter.” He nodded toward the nearby staircase. “This leads to a vantage point where the meeting place can be observed discretely.” He explained. “So which of us goes in?”
“Well obviously that should be you!” I suggested hastily. “Your superior knowledge of the city and sewers makes you an ideal choice.” I continued as Baurus pondered thoughtfully. “Ahhh would that I could face the danger in your place, but I would give myself away in a second.”
“There is truth in what you say.” Baurus agreed. “But I would ask you that if I don’t survive the meeting……”
“Yes but if some evil was to befall me….”
“It won’t! So less talking and more walking ok??”
Quickly shoving Baurus toward the door I mounted the stairs and made my way upward and around a corner to a bridge which crossed above the room and from which the whole event could be watched in secret.
The darkness of the room below is broken by the tiny oasis of light provided by a single lamp situated on a small wooden table, containing a moth eaten book and an old flagon and flanked by a rickety looking chair where Baurus seated himself and proceeded to wait.
Before long a side portcullis creaked slowly upward and a hooded figure stepped slowly into the room. “Good day to you potential initiate, I am The Sponsor.” Moments later a similar portcullis opened on the opposite side of the bridge where I was kneeling and two more brotherhood members dressed in dark malevolent looking armour stepped through with smoking torches and stood menacingly on the bridge.
End of part one.
It sounds SO much better when YOU write it, than when I played it!! :)
Nice tale as always, Sir Badger ='.'=
Wonderful. Feels like I was back there, playing it!
Quickly I cast “Moonshadow” on myself and its powers of invisibility faded me from view.
“Hark unto me initiate.” Continued The Sponsor. “I have the forth tome which thou seeks, art Thee ready to begin the ceremony? To drink in the wisdom from the faded pages of the book of the table and to imbibe of the life changing brew contained in yonder flagon?”
“Well yes.” Offered Baurus holding up a hand. “But is there supposed to be something in this flagon? Only it’s empty you see.”
“Empty?!” Stuttered The Sponsor and then slapped his forehead irritably and bellowed, “Dawn Guard!!”
Leaning over the edge of the bridge, one of the two figures shouted down. “We’re up here!”
The Sponsor sighed. “Yes I KNOW where you are! Who was supposed to bring the Life Changing Brew for the flagon?”
The two figures looked at each other sheepishly, or at least as sheepishly as I could tell past their dark helms.
“We thought you were bringing it!” Shouted the man closest to the edge. “Didn’t you?”
The Sponsor crashed his fist sharply down on the table. “NO! I didn’t bring it!” He snapped. “That’s the job of the honour guard and that’s you two isn’t it??”
No reply came from the two watchers who proceeded to stare wordlessly at their mailed boots.
“Never mind!” snarled The Sponsor struggling to regain his composure. “The flagon is purely symbolic, we shall have to do without it.”
As the hooded figure turned back toward the table, Baurus raised his hand again. “Excuse me, but don’t I know you?” He asked.
The Sponsor paused for a moment before replying. “I hardly think so! I am The Sponsor and I dally not in the affairs of initiates.”
“My apologies” Baurus offered. “please continue.
Clearing his throat The Sponsor continued in a chanting monotone. “Place your right hand on the book of the table.” He sung.
“In so much as you have ventured to this place to become one with the brotherhood,
So must you learn the ways of the dawns soft light,
Shunning the harshness of the hated noon sun
We keep low to mother earth and suffer no man to learn our secret ways.”
At this The Sponsor clicked his heels together and span three times on the spot, glaring momentarily upward at a suppressed snigger drifting down from above.
“Has our master not told us.” He continued. “That though the Rat stands lower than the soaring Eagle, lo he is far less likely to be sucked into a jet engine………”
“Wait, I’m sure I know you!” Interrupted Baurus suddenly. “Aren’t you Raven Camoran the butchers assistant?”
“No!” Snapped The Sponsor. “I am The Sponsor and I know not the name you have mentioned!”
“Sure, sure I’ve seen you!” Baurus persisted. “I’ve seen you hanging around outside the transvestite place in the Temple district in that tight little red dress!”
“Don’t be ridiculous!” Choked The Sponsor. “You threaten to soil the ceremony with your unfit outbursts!……… Would you say that it was too tight? This Red Dress.”
“No, I thought it looked alright.”
“Silence!” Barked the hooded man. “We have wasted enough time already.”
“Excuse me Raven?” Shouted the brother closest to the edge of the bridge. “How much longer do we have to stand up here?”
The Sponsor placed his arms by his side, his fists clenched and shaking. “You stay up there.” He breathed threateningly “Until the ceremony is concluded. You stay to ensure that none intrude upon the proceedings!
“Well I know that’s normally the case.” Replied the leaning man. “But it’s just that I’m really uncomfortable in this armour. It’s chafing my armpits something rotten!”
“It’s not supposed to be comfortable!!” Shrieked The Sponsor. “Its dark and deadly malevolent armour!!!”
The leaning man stood upright again and huffed to his colleague. “Well was there any need to get nasty about it? I was only asking.”
The other man placed a commiserating hand on his friends shoulder. “My armour is virtually dropping off me.” He admitted. “You know what? I bet we’ve accidentally swapped this morning!”
Now all the while my friends, I have been safely observing the unfolding scene surrounded by my cloak of Moonshadow. But the big drawback to Moonshadow is that it doesn’t last forever and if it’s going to give out then the chances are that it’ll do it at the least convenient moment you can think of.
This was that moment!
AS good a writer as Badger is, Corwin and Viking_Berserker have the sense of it: Oblivion is a game that just feels empty, and for which one must make up with an abundance of imagination.
Hmmmmph…. Finally get the chance to scribble down the last bit for you, and now I have to do this instead!
I’d be the first to agree that the “Elder Scrolls” series has been guilty from the start of creating vast overly ambitious worlds. I’ve been on board as a player since “Arena” and “Daggerfall” (Back in my PC days) and right from the off they’ve built huge playing areas and then stuffed them to the gills with repetition of characters, scenery and dialogue.
Perhaps “Bethesda” might have been better served to concentrate on smaller environments with more detail and original content. But then for better or worse we’d have been denied what has become a genre landmark!
It’s not to everyone’s tastes granted, but I for one don’t see what’s wrong with asking the player to use their imagination for a change. Things have moved so quickly in the computer games world that I think that many of us have forgotten that of was just yesterday we were playing pong, and marvelling at how advanced it was!
When did using an “abundance of imagination” (Thank’s for the compliment by the way Tauschitz :)) become a bad thing?? What a shame it would be if we ended up losing that precious commodity simply because we are so spoiled and spoon fed these days.
I’m not claiming that “oblivion” is perfect, of course I’m not. “Bethesda” has moved on enormously in some areas, while in others they’ve stubbornly refused to learn from mistakes of the past.
But Oblivion has far more atmosphere than its predecessors, it offers a decent storyline with exiting gameplay if you want it, and a vast and gorgeous sandpit if you don’t. Like all the best fiction it doesn’t tell you what you should be thinking each and every moment. It invites you in and gives you licence to stretch the wings of your imagination and what on earth can be wrong with that?
It’s detractors are many but I think that they do this flawed gem an injustice when they bemoan those flaws without giving the game and indeed the series, its due for all that it has tried to give us as well as what it has managed to deliver.
Now look what you’ve gone and made me do! This was supposed to be a fun thread to share with you all an admittedly warped version of a session I had the other night, not a dissection of the games flaws and merits!
<Shuffles off into corner grumbling.>
I haven't played Oblivion, but I have played Morrowind. As "open" as Morrowind was, the main quest/storyline was linear to the core. To point having to start from A and going to B to C to D, etc. Removing a point by killing a certain NPC screwed the main quest. I think this is where the Eldar Scrolls could take a lesson from the Ultima Series, which is both open-ended and has a non-linear story structure.
Morrowind was decent but Oblivion is much better in my view. Among other improvements they finally have combat working fairly well and to me that's a big factor in almost all rpg's.
How do you mean Ultima didn't have a linear story structure? Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to discredit the Ultimas, personal favorites of mine, but the stories were all more or less linear… I guess in U7, if you knew what you were doing, you could skip the idea of following Abraham and Elizabeth thereby going about it non-linearly (heh, I had to make sure linearly was a word).
thx for another nice read while i drink my morning coffee here at my desk, Sir Badger :)
Waiting for part three. :)
Part Three En-route….. Badger's had his paws a bit full this week.
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