Now My Wings Fit

Out to Sea (And Back Again)

12

Quests completed: An Unexpected Voyage


* Pictures are screenshots from my playthrough, with thanks to the Player’s Diary mod.

An introduction to Jez-Ebel

Race: Argonian
Class: Necromage(1)
– Specialisation: Magic
– Attributes: Intelligence, Willpower
– Major skills: Athletics, Blunt, Alteration, Conjuration, Destruction, Restoration, Sneak
Birthsign: The Apprentice

22330_screenshots_20170623120025_1

Backstory:

Jez-Ebel was born the second and youngest child to a farmer couple in Black Marsh, Shahtsan and Oleed-Lei. She is the the younger sister of her sister, Nakhvee.

Nakhvee was a Shadowscale, and so was trained for her perceived destiny in the Dark Brotherhood from a young age and joined the Brotherhood when Jez-Ebel was fifteen.

As time passed and Nakhvee sent news back from her new life, Shahtsan and Oleed-Lei decided that Jez-Ebel would have a better life in the Dark Brotherhood than she could at home, and so they arranged – through Nahkvee’s contacts – for Jez-Ebel to join the Brotherhood.

Not long after settling into the Black Marsh Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary, Jez-Ebel met Georyn, a Breton Mage who had been a member of the Mages Guild in High Rock. Georyn had been sent on an expedition to Akavir, but he never arrived there: as he was journeying through Black Marsh he slew a highwayman who tried to rob him. It transpired that the highwayman was an active Dark Brotherhood contract, and he was forced to join the Brotherhood as repayment for stealing it. Within months, however, he found that he enjoyed the lifestyle of the Brotherhood far more than that of the Mages Guild and decided to stay as an assassin.

Georyn and Jez-Ebel became fast friends over the next year and a half, and Georyn began to train Jez-Ebel in the magical arts, specifically Alteration, Destruction, Conjuration, and Restoration. As Jez-Ebel improved with her training, she discovered that she had an affinity for reanimating corpses.

This discovery inspired Jez-Ebel and Nakhvee to join forces when carrying out contracts: Nakhvee would murder the target, while Jez-Ebel would wait in the shadows and reanimate the new corpse for long enough for her and Nakhvee to make their escape with the use of Invisibility potions brewed by Gulum-Wulm, the Black Marsh Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary’s alchemist. The idea was that no one would even notice that the target was dead until her and Nakhvee were already a safe enough distance away.

The plan worked well until one fateful contract, where Nakhvee and Jez-Ebel were tasked with murdering Llahusa Romoinith, a Dunmer slaver working in northern Black Marsh. The plan worked well enough to begin with; Llahusa was slain and reanimated by the sisters, but upon their escape Nakhvee’s Invisibility potion wore off early, and she was spotted by Llahusa’s wife, Neddrasi. A week later, Neddrasi exacted her revenge on Nakhvee and killed her.

Torn by grief, Jez-Ebel recovered Nakhvee’s body and forced Georyn to place a powerful Restoration spell upon it which would preserve it indefinitely. Jez-Ebel then began extensive research into Necromancy in the hopes of finding a way to return Nakhvee to life. Goeryn warned her not only of the dangers of such a pursuit, but also of its impossibility; while Jez-Ebel may be able to reanimate Nakhvee’s body, she would not be able to bring her back to life. Such a feat would take the power of an incredibly powerful Necromancer – possibly the most powerful Necromancer in all of Tamriel.

Rather than perturbed by this warning, Jez-Ebel was only spurned on further to achieve her goal. She set her sights on travelling to Cyrodiil, where the Mages Guild’s newfound stance on Necromancy would allow her to eliminate her competition and allow her access to Arcane University, which would no doubt have much more research on the subject of Necromancy than the Black Marsh Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary.

And so, Jez-Ebel booked passage on a ship to the Imperial City with the view of joining the Mages Guild and discovering a way to bring her sister back to life.


(1) This class is actually a Necromancer. The Necromancer class does exist in Oblivion, but only as an NPC class. I have created the class from scratch in order to use it. Unfortunately, there is a limited number of characters available for the name of a custom class, and so I had to call the class Necromage instead.

* The screenshot is from the playthrough and so everything contained within it belongs to Bethesda Game Studios.

* I have included links to relevant pages on the Elder Scrolls wiki throughout, for those who wish to learn more about the lore of things mentioned throughout this post. These are the pages I used for my own research while building the character. If anyone has any questions about the lore or about any of the original characters mentioned in this post, please do not hesitate to ask in the comments section.

* Large thanks to Emily at Fantasy Name Generators, for the help of her name generators in naming the original characters with whom Jez-Ebel has interacted.

An announcement

As of late, my posts on this blog have become rather… erratic. I can only apologise for that. There are many reasons varying from a busy personal life to poor mental health, but rest assured I am not considering giving up on this blog for one instance. To prove this, I am putting together this post to update you on my current writing status.

I am completely obsessed, fanfiction-wise, with Final Fantasy XV. I am mainly writing short stories for this fandom which are being posted simultaneously on my Fanfiction.net and AO3 accounts (links are in the sidebar).

If any of you are familiar with my side-blog, Now My Wings Fit Fighting Fantasy, I am currently in the planning stages of a fanfiction Choose Your Own Adventure tale set in the Elder Scrolls universe. While I do not yet have a name for this tale, I can confirm that it will be set c.4E70 in Bruma, and the plot will revolve around the Vigilants of Stendarr.

Finally, I shall be starting a roleplay playthrough of the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. I have installed two mods for the purpose of this playthrough: a player’s diary mod, and an alternate start mod. I shall be documenting this playthrough on this blog, beginning with a detailed description of my character and her backstory.

I will see you all soon, hopefully with the backstory of my roleplay character.

An Observation from a Car Park Wall

The sky is grey and
The rain is drizzling warm:
Goldilocks weather.

Why I always fight for the Imperials

Like most games, Skyrim is filled with choices. Do you follow Hadvar or Ralof when escaping Helgen during the quest Unbound? Do you follow Delphine’s instructions to kill Paarthurnax in order to join the Blades? Do you tell the Alik’r warriors where Saadia is, or go after Kematu in order to get to the bottom of the story in the quest In My Time of Need? There are, however, few opportunities to choose between two sides of a conflict or cause.

As I understand it, there are three such choices in the game: at the beginning of the Dark Brotherhood questline, during the Dawnguard questline, and before the Civil War questline. Granted, one choice that you can make about these factions is to ignore them all completely; you don’t have to visit Aventus Aretino in Windhelm; you don’t have to buy the Dawnguard DLC, or go to Fort Dawnguard at all even if you have the DLC; and you can go the entire game without joining either side of Skyrim’s civil war. Yet each of these factions have two sides that you can choose between if you choose to engage with them, and it would seem that none is more contentious in the community than the Civil War questline.

Do you fight for the Imperials, or the Stormcloaks?

There are many reasons to fight for either side. Some of them are more superficial than others; some involve going into the lore and deciding which side the player thinks is ‘right’. Others, like the author of the following Skyrim Confession, has a very subjective reason for choosing to fight for the Stormcloaks.

When I started my first playthrough of the game, I was convinced that I was going to fight for the Stormcloaks, for one reason and one reason only: viva la revolution! I ended up not doing the Civil War questline at all in that playthrough, but over the course of that playthrough I changed my mind, and in my second playthrough I fought for the Imperials.

I do, admittedly, have subjective reasons to fight for the Imperials. What first turned my opinion against the Stormcloaks was the first time I met Elisif, who captured my heart immediately. Her grief ran so true, and made me began to question Ulfric and his motivations. My desire to fight for the Stormcloaks dropped even further when I found out that, if Ulfric wins the civil war, Jarl Balgruuf is no longer the Jarl of Whiterun. I truly believe that Balgruuf is one of the best Jarls in the game, because he really seems to give a shit about his people. It’s a refreshing change from the trope in the fantasy genre of having tyrannical leaders who only care about their own power.

So with the superficial reasons out of the way, I will venture into the lore-based reasons. As the Senile Scribbles put it, the only true ideological differences which will make a difference to the day-to-day lives of the citizens of Skyrim between the two sides of the Civil War are that Stormcloaks are for religious freedom but not racial equality, the Imperials are for racial equality but not religious freedom, and both support same-sex marriage.(1)

I would argue, however, that the reality is more complicated. If you fight for the Imperials, you are not fighting against religious freedom; on the other hand, if you fight for the Stormcloaks, you are fighting against racial equality.

The Stormcloaks claim that the White-Gold Concordat has effectively made Skyrim’s most popular religion, Talos worship, illegal. I do not dispute that. Yet what the White-Gold Concordat dictated and the reality of its enforcement are different things.

If you follow Hadvar during Unbound, you have the opportunity to speak to his family in Riverwood, and Alvor has this nugget to tell you: “We didn’t pay much attention to it [the clause of the White-Gold Concordat which outlawed Talos worship] when I was a boy – everyone still had their little shrine to Talos. But then Ulfric and his ‘Sons of Skyrim’ started agitating about it“.(2)

You can see this in the world of Skyrim itself. Once you fight for the Imperials, the Talos priest in Whiterun, Heimskr, disappears (and in a mod he ends up in the Dragonsreach dungeon), but this is a superficial change. You can still find Amulets of Talos in the world, and the several Shrines of Talos that dot Skyrim’s landscape are not torn down.

Shrine of Talos.png

A Shrine of Talos near Whiterun; http://elderscrolls.wikia.com/wiki/Elisif%27s_Tribute, accessed 05/05/17

Talos worship lives on, even after Ulfric dies.

On the other hand, when the Stormcloaks win, there is even more hostility against non-Nords in Skyrim.(3) What’s more, is Ulfric seems to be that which is far more common for a fantasy ruler to be: a tyrant.

As we have already seen, Ulfric has no need to fight for the right to worship Talos. What Ulfric wants, really, is to be High King.

Of course, another contentious issue is whether Ulfric was fair in his killing of High King Torygg. I personally agree with Roggvir on this one; Ulfric engaged Torygg in a duel which he won fairly, even if his method was gruesome and unnecessarily violent.

Even taking that into account, however, we see that Ulfric had one motive and one motive only: he wanted to become High King. His reason for the uprising was to take power for himself, not to reinstate Talos worship (which hadn’t even disappeared anyway). While a Stormcloak victory gains Skyrim its independence from the Empire, this is barely mentioned,(4) and therefore it has no real consequences on the running of the country.

What Ulfric is really doing, then, is telling Nords that they are being persecuted when they aren’t, and drawing them in to fight and die for the sake of raising his own station.

Yes, there are subjective reasons for my fighting for the Imperials, but the way I see it, they have done nothing wrong – unlike Ulfric. I have nothing against Stormcloak soldiers other than their racism, because they have been played like pawns in Ulfric’s bigger game. Yet, on the whole, the Imperials seem to me to be the better side to choose.


Notes:

(1) https://youtu.be/mv3ScKLD1Vc?t=3m11s (Accessed 20/05/17).

(2) Quote is an edited transcript from http://elderscrolls.wikia.com/wiki/Alvor (Accessed 20/05/17).

(3) One example of this can be seen in the treatment of Imperial Adrianne Avenicci after a Stormcloak victory during the Battle of Whiterun: “If the Stormcloaks win the Battle for Whiterun, Adrianne … notes that if it weren’t for her Nord husband, the Stormcloaks would have stopped purchasing from her altogether, due to her Imperial background.” Quote is taken from the trivia section of the page http://elderscrolls.wikia.com/wiki/Adrianne_Avenicci (Accessed 20/05/17).

(4) http://elderscrolls.wikia.com/wiki/Stormcloaks (Accessed 20/05/17).

 

Anything Can Be A Bookmark

Having surveyed the
available resources,
I elect to use
a playing card. The seven
of spades, to be specific.

Dragonrider versus the Cleric Beast

I am sitting in my usual seat in the living room. One of my housemates (we’ll call him Housemate 1) is playing Dark Souls 2; he’s fighting Dragonrider, an early game boss and the first boss he found (he’s playing the game blind). Another of my housemates (Housemate 2) is playing World of Warcraft. In a moment of peace, Housemate 2 looks up at the TV screen and declares, “Wow, that boss is really boring”.

It was a statement with which I agreed wholeheartedly. Dragonrider is a terrifically boring boss. He is a large man in armour with a shield and a one-handed weapon and, while stronger than Housemate 1’s character, had one main attack: lunge with weapon.

That the boss battle was difficult and Housemate 1 died several times to it (sorry, he didn’t; it’s a zero death run…) did nothing to make it more interesting.

When Housemate 1 had beaten Dragonrider, he began to compare it with the Cleric Beast from Bloodborne, which is the boss most players find first and was indeed the first boss Housemate 1 played when he played Bloodborne. The difference, he said, was that the Cleric Beast was interesting, both in design and attacks. Dragonrider simply wasn’t; even his name was uninteresting. “I think he rides dragons,” he remarked.

My theory on this is that the different genres of the Souls series and Bloodborne is the main reason for the differences in the boss designs.

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Dragonrider from Dark Souls 2. Taken from: http://darksouls.wikia.com/wiki/Dragonrider

When Arin of Game Grumps began his playthrough of Dark Souls 3, he described the biggest difference between the Souls series and Bloodborne as being that Bloodborne is more “European, Gothic” – more, to use my own word, steampunk – whereas the Souls series is more “medieval”.(1) This, I believe, is the key difference between the Souls series and Bloodborne which affects things such as boss designs.

hbomberguy, in his analysis of Bloodborne, mentioned the ‘dudes in armour’ argument: the argument which recognises that many of the bosses in the Souls series are “dudes in armour”.(2) While hbomberguy had no issue with such a concept, I think that it was this that lead to Dragonrider being so frightfully dull, especially compared to the Cleric Beast. There are only a few variations you can have between ‘dudes in armour’, especially when not only bosses are ‘dudes in armour’ but several of the normal minion enemies you face are also of the same ilk. The path to Dragonrider is filled with Dragonslayers, who are – you guessed it – ‘dudes in armour’.

This is not the case in Bloodborne. Where you have a steampunk horror game with a lore that includes humans turning into beasts and alien psuedo-divine beings who inhabit a realm known as the Nightmare, you instantly have a game where there can be more variety in bosses, both in their appearance and in the strategies required to overcome them.

cleric_beast_profile_extra

The Cleric Beast from Bloodborne. Taken from: http://bloodborne.wiki.fextralife.com/Cleric+Beast

In contrast, a medieval-style game has little choice but to have lots of ‘dudes in armour’, as that fits the genre in a way that lots of beasts do not, unless the presence of Bloodborne-esque beasts has been established in the lore. While there are groteqsue and monstrous bosses in Souls games, these remain limited by the medieval setting in a way that Bloodborne bosses aren’t.

Dragonrider is, then, a victim of his own setting. The first boss cannot be the most interesting of the game – and indeed the Cleric Beast is not the most interesting boss in Bloodborne – but the genre and setting of Bloodborne means that the Cleric Beast can be vastly different from the other bosses in the game. Dragonrider, on the other hand, is limited by lack of variety that the setting and genre could provide for bosses. All in all, it made for a wildly boring first boss.


Notes:

(1) https://youtu.be/Zk2wuSJOjCs.
(2) https://youtu.be/AC3OuLU5XCw?t=1h2m9s. This link jumps to the particular part of the video where hbomberguy starts talking about the ‘dudes in armour’ argument. It should be noted that hbomberguy doesn’t mind there being lots of dudes in armour in Dark Souls, which he mentions in another video (https://youtu.be/SRTfcMeqhig).

Where’s the End?

I shouldn’t have this
kind of trouble with loo roll.
It’s not Sellotape.

The Longest Day

My everything aches:
Legs, feet, back, neck, head, even
my fingernails.
My fingernails hurt. How
does that even fucking work?

Pesky Bodily Functions

Am I gonna sneeze?
I think that I’m gonna sneeze.
Nope, it was a yawn.

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