Safe Haven

But up here, you will find none of that. This is my realm. My safe haven from the world. I go here in troubled times. Alas, I’ve yet to find a way of bringing others here… Perhaps this is the way. Writing. So come along! I invite you, dear reader, to accompany me on a journey through my imagination. For the most part, I do this for my own mental health, which has not been in top form of late. Perhaps if my id sees more than just a lone boy traversing this subconscious domain, he will relent.

To begin, I propose we visit the safest part of my realm. This place is free from the troubles of the world. There is no entrance, no exit. One can simply be here, or leave, at will. It is sunny, and on the warmer side of comfortable, without being too hot. There are a few cirrus clouds in the sky. The air is of wonderful quality, with a hint of some scent that you find enjoyable. Perhaps it’s lavender, or perhaps Earl Grey tea. In fact, it may even be diesel exhaust, or chlorine trifluoride if you enjoy that sort of smell. They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and this is a more literal example.

We see a trellis, entangled by ivy, providing shade over a small pond. In this pond are lily pads, and some sort of fish. Being purely imaginary, some details are inconsistent from one visit to the next. The fish, for instance. There is not a fixed number of them, and they are not a definite species. Next to this pond is a wooden bench, which could comfortably seat two people. On either side of this bench are small tables, so that whosoever sits at this bench may have a beverage by their side without having to hold it in perpetuity. Around the pond, the ground is covered in lush green grass, which, while clearly kept trimmed, is not perfectly mowed and as such is uneven in places. There are also flowers among this grass. Very colourful flowers, at that.

A few metres out on all sides from the pond, the grass ends. In fact, the land ends, too. It drops away endlessly. This is an island floating in the sky, yet also exempt from the troubles inherent in high altitude – wind, low oxygen – that sort of thing. There is no railing or fence, but that is not cause for alarm. One cannot fall from these islands. This plane of surreality is mine and bends to my will, and my will is that none may come to any harm in this place.

On two sides of the island – could be any two sides – there are bridges. Small bridges, built from stone and wood, which connect to two other islands. The first of these islands is slightly larger. As before, the grass is lush and dotted with flowers. This one has a tower on it. A small tower, made of stone, with medieval-style ramparts and arrow slits. Inside are two hammocks, some storage chests, and a ladder which leads to the roof of the tower.

This tower is cozy. Inside, one feels like a toddler who has built themselves a grand fortress by draping sheets over furniture and forbidding their sibling from entry. That is to say, whosoever enters this tower has the utmost confidence in its fortification, with not even the tiniest shred of doubt that it is indeed safe.

Outside the tower, there is a small cluster of aspen trees. Chances are, this is really just one tree. Did you know that? Aspen trees have the interesting property of being connected by the roots, sometimes. This means that what may appear to be multiple trees are actually one organism. These trees are on a small mound, which has a tiny opening wreathed in pebbles. From this opening comes a trickle of water, flowing fairly fast, following a bed of pebbles to the edge of the island, where it falls infinitely. As luck would have it, the water is sourced infinitely as well.

The other island is tiny. Miniscule, in fact. However, there is a far larger island above it, and a thick, sturdy set of vines or perhaps roots are left dangling just above this tiny island, as a ladder. Again, I should reiterate that this is, despite your intuition, absolutely safe in every way. Up this vine-ladder, one finds a small area of grass – (this island does have fencing around the edge, by the way) – parted by a path of flagstones, polished immaculately, leading to a house.

The house is made entirely of wood, except for glass windows and iron hinges on the door. There is a roof of sorts, although it doesn’t need to be solid, as it never rains here. Inside, it is only one large room. In this room is a large round table which could seat seven people comfortably for dinner. One corner of the room acts as a kitchen. The food is infinitely replenished, and the washing-up is done automatically. There is also a library. A few shelves contain books bound in leather, with gold text. This is not a distinct collection of books, but rather, if a book is needed, it will be available on that shelf. Beside these shelves are a couple of luxurious armchairs either side of a coffee table. The final corner of the room has a bed. It’s rather a fancy bed, made of ornately carved wood, with a canopy and curtains.

Outside the house, surrounding this island, you may notice many small islands around, not six feet diameter, any of them. Each of these islands has some ornate and mystical pedestal with a glowing crystal hovering just above, gently bobbing in the air. These will move around at night, to light any areas that need to be lit. Or, if no light is needed, the glow will dim.

Now, I’ve just realised that I have completely forgotten the most important part of this place: An unlimited supply of tea. Be it Tetley, Twinings, PG Tips, Bigelow, or, God forbid, Lipton, any sort of tea you could wish for is available on demand. Coffee, too, but that is naturally a lower priority. But of course, tea alone cannot always satisfy. As such, there is also no limit on the supply of scones, muffins, croissants, eggs, sausage, bacon, or anything else that goes well with tea. For the sake of being inclusive, I’ll also say that anything which goes well with coffee is available too, but I can’t cite particular examples as I don’t tend to drink coffee.

At this point, I’ve been writing long enough, and I started late enough, that I’m quite tired and can’t carry on. I do have more to say, but I can never resume a piece that I leave half-finished, so I will end this now and I may continue in my next post, which should be tomorrow. However, I cannot promise an immediate continuation, as I have no idea what I’ll be in the mood to write about tomorrow.


The Plight of Urban Society

Before the sunrise, they awake. The hour is small, but smaller yet is their will. Their sustenance is the product of industry and greed. Wrenched from the hands of nature, and not milked for milk, but for money.

They groggily start their cars. On the road, and on the verge of sleep. None are competent, and none are forgiving of incompetence. They curse the traffic, fully aware that they are part of the problem, yet doing nothing about it. A seeming eternity passes.

They are now at their place of work. For hours they stay. They work. They work and work and work, and their blood boils. The successes are never acknowledged, while the failures cause immense distress.

Hours have passed. Now, a brief respite. One hour for lunch, but it seems like one second. Back to work. Deadlines. Things must be done swiftly but correctly. Hours more. Hours and hours and hours.

But now, finally, they can return home. Another commute. Another traffic jam. It seems that it will never end. But home they come, and they arrive at last. Home, only to be greeted with paperwork. Be it taxes, insurance – whatever it is, there is always something.

A figure is incorrect. They have to call a customer support number. They are put on hold. They are given no help at first. Only after speaking to one person after another, for hours upon hours, does anything productive happen.

Now they have to cook dinner. No matter what, some part of it will be overcooked, or undercooked. The sauce is too thin. The sauce is too thick. Something will always go wrong.

Finally, to bed. Six hours of sleep, and the cycle repeats.

Apathy is the Best Medicine.

Whenever something is getting you down, and you need a bit of cheering up, just remember: you are completely and utterly expendable, in every way. Your life has no inherent value. You are merely the sum of your parts. On the black market that can go for less than $100,000. There are thousands of people – perhaps millions – who wouldn’t think twice about ruining or ending your life. Within 300 years, all of us will probably be dead, very few of us remembered.

So, how is this supposed to be uplifting? Simple: You don’t have to worry about your problems. Once you realise just how utterly unimportant you are, all of your problems will therefore also be unimportant. Problem solved.

20th Last Seed

I began my travel to Vivec this morning. I took the entire day and a few hours of night to reach the city, and had quite an exciting encounter along the way. About forty-five minutes after the sun set, I came across a Dunmer on the roadside, wearing a rather fancy suit under a bonemold cuirass. He greeted me, introducing himself as Nels Llendo. He was surprised that I didn’t know his name, and tried to assure me that he’s not the bloodthirsty brigand everyone else would say he is. He made an offer: “You give me, say, fifty drakes,” he said, “and you will be allowed to continue on your journey safely.”

Naturally, I was not going to simply hand over my cash. Despite having said that he didn’t want to get my blood on his shirt, the bandit drew his sword and attacked. Luckily enough, I happened to know a healing spell, and I was just able to win the fight – but not by much. I was fatigued, cut, and bruised, but alive. Also, I was wealthier by 100 septims, and had acquired a new cuirass and an enchanted sword. I left the bandit in a bush off the road and continued on my way to Vivec.

Upon arriving, I was truly impressed by the sight of the city. Each building was larger than some entire villages, housing dozens of businesses and homMGE Screenshot 017.pnges. Unfortunately, this causes the city to be maze-like at times, with every corridor looking rather the same as each other. Eventually, I found my way to a cornerclub which had beds for rent, and got some rest.

19th Last Seed

The sun came up just as I was arriving in Ald’ruhn, and the wind was picking up considerably. It’s one of – if not the – largest Redoran settlements on Vvardenfell, and the buildings are largely underground, with just a small entryway on the surface. The uniqueness about Ald’ruhn, however, is not in the subterranean housing and businesses, as that is typical of Redoran settlements, but rather in the Manor District. The Manor District is entirely within the hollowed shell of an ancient Emperor Crab known as Skar.

After a bit of asking around, I found Bivale Teneran in her shop under Skar and delivered the clothes. She payed me not with coin, but with an enchanted belt of Iron Will. As I began to leave, she stopped me and asked if I had time to do another favour for her. I said I certainly could, assuming it wasn’t too demanding a task, and she explained: A man named Ienas Sarandas, here in Ald’ruhn, purchased some clothing to be paid for in two installments, the latter of which was overdue. I was asked to retrieve either the clothes Ienas had purchased, or the payment of three-hundred and sixty drakes. First, however, I decided to drop by the tavern for a bit of a rest.

I confronted Mr. Sarandas in as polite a manner as I could, and he went on about how his poor judgment had left him in quite a bit of debt, and gave me several unpaid-for items to return to vendors about the city. They were as follows:

  • A brocade shirt & silk pants for Bivale Teneran
  • a racer suede belt for Tiras Sadus
  • two rings for Daynes Redothril
  • designer shoes for Llether Vari
  • a firejade amulet for Bevene Releth.

I began to go about returning all these items to their respective owners. By that time, the wind had started to carry a storm of dust through the city, from Red Mountain, which made it a bit difficult to read signs outside of stores, and caused me to take longer than I normally would have. Aside from that, however, I managed to deliver everything with no further issue, and all the merchants paid me for my time. I purchased a few items from around the city before taking a silt strider back to Balmora. I completed my set of chitin armour, and acquired a new robe and a couple books – one by Hardin the Herbalist, detailing various flora, and also The Ruins of Kemel-Ze, which accounts an expedition into an ancient Dwemer ruin.

I’ve arrived in Balmora just after sundown, and I plan to set off for Vivec City in the morning.

17th through 18th Last Seed

Upon waking up, I asked the publican of the Cornerclub about Caius Cosades. He directed me to Cosades’ residence – a bit of a shitshack, to be honest. I gave Caius the parcel, and he inducted me straight into the Blades, a vaguely-named-and-therefore-pretentious outfit of secret agents who faff about with spy business all day. Caius is the local Spymaster, and he’s asked that I follow any of his orders and obey his rules, which are as follows:
-Don’t steal from the Blades.
-Don’t kill anyone from the Blades.
-Try not to be a prick.

Before assigning me to any real task, the Spymaster dismissively told me to go out there and become less shit at a fighting. Clearly he has less interest in me as an employee than a concussed mudcrab would have in, oh I don’t know, counting the precise number of semicolons that appear in the collected works of Hardin the Herbalist.

I wandered around Balmora taking a look at all the local businesses for a while, and I overheard someone mention Hla Oad. I decided to go there for no other reason than I haven’t been there before. So, off I went.

Along the way, I met a Dunmer woman who stopped me to ask for my help finding her way somewhere. I agreed to help, and took a considerable detour to the Fields of Kummu before heading back. Nothing of much note happened, but this took the rest of the day and also the next.

Night of 18th Last Seed

I arrived just before the sun went down, and realised that there’s nothing worth seeing in Hla Oad. Don’t even bother going there, really. It’s a shitty collection of shitty huts in a shitty swamp. The only thing of merit in the village is that you can hire a boat to take you the hell out of there. So, a few hours of boating later, I found myself in Gnaar Mok, a village which could be described by taking an existing description of Hla Oad and changing nothing but the latitude.

Oh, also Gnaar Mok seems to have a considerable Thieves’ Guild presence, but I doubt anyone will ever want to deal with them, when there’s already a different mob which has established itself much more firmly in Vvardenfell. I quickly moved on towards Ald’ruhn, and the scenery shifted from lush swamps teeming with life, to burnt rock and no vegetation, save for what had been turned to charcoal years ago. In the transitional area where there was still some trace of life, I met an Argonian, whose name I don’t recall, in need of aid. He had promised to deliver some shirts to a clothier in Ald’ruhn, but had another matter elsewhere which demanded his attention. He entrusted me with completing the delivery to the clothier. The rest of the night was spent walking to Ald’ruhn.

16th Last Seed

I arrived in the small port town of Seyda Neen. It seems like a nice enough place, but there’s not much to see, and I don’t think they even have an inn. Upon my arrival, an Imperial legionnaire gave me a parcel of documents and instructed me – by order of the Emperor himself, apparently – to deliver it to a man in Balmora named Caius Cosades. He said that I should go to the South Wall Cornerclub and ask for him; someone there will know where to find him.

After leaving the census & excise office, I was approached by a Bosmer in a green shirt going by the name of Fargoth, who asked me if I’d seen an engraved ring of healing. He was certain that the Imperials had stolen it from him. As it happened, I had found that ring and picked it up just a few minutes earlier. I returned it to Fargoth, who was absolutely overjoyed to have it back, and he made a point of telling his friend Arrille, the owner of the local tradehouse. I stopped by Arrille’s establishment a short while after, and purchased a bit of armour and a cheap sword, along with a cloak in case it rained. After that, I got on the road to Balmora.

A short while after passing Fort Pelagiad and the surrounding village, I happened upon a young Breton lass who introduced herself as Maurrie. She was in a spot of bother, having been recently bethieved by some ruddy bandit. However, upon further explanation it became evident that she was not terribly concerned with the whereabouts of her jewels, but rather the location of the thief thereof. As bally well insane as it is, she fancies the chap who stole all her valuables. Never before have I heard of a robber being kind and polite about there business…

She was fairly sure that the robber, going by the name of Nelos, was in or near Pelagiad, and asked me to find him. I figured there’d be little harm in helping her out, so I agreed to find Nelos. Before I went in search of him, Maurrie gave me her left glove to give to Nelos as a token of affection.

So, off I went to Pelagiad. A few quick inquiries later, I’d found Nelos, who, to my surprise, actually seemed like a decent bloke. Also to my surprise, he seemed to actually care – at least a little. He jotted down a note, and asked me to give it to Maurrie. So I did just that. Maurrie was rather chuffed with it, and suggested before we carried on our separate ways that I look up her friend Emusette Bracques in Tel Aruhn, saying that she thinks I’d get along well with her.

I arrived in Balmora just after sunset and made my way to the South Wall Cornerclub. First order of business is to rent a room and get some sleep.