The Elder Scrolls

The Prisoner and the Escape

I’ve always wondered what it’s like outside these stone walls, how the world has changed since I secluded myself within them. Since my internment I’ve had nothing but my own thoughts to accompany me in this vast emptiness I’ve yet to fill between my thoughts and dreams, interlacing reality with mortality with the effervescent notions of fantasy and escape. The bars that let the morning light pour into my cell are nothing short of miraculous when I only consider the physical process which led to their arrival at my feet on the cold stone. But when I take into account the events which happened to lead both my feet and these rays to the same location, the machinations of time and space and the warping of reality both in actuality and my personal perceptions of such, the light seems to fade and glimmer, almost a warbling of the rays, and between the beams I begin to see the shadow and reach for it with my own soul to take it in. That was my mistake. Avoiding it the first time. Standing only in the light from all angles, the ever-encompassing glow, I forgot what it meant to be a shadow, in the dark and not knowing the light. The pure magicka that pours from the massive hole in the sky and dances off of everything living and not, it’s not enough to know my true self, to know anything fully and completely. I had tried to forget the darkness that inevitably resided within me, the churning miasma of anger and sorrow, pride and jealousy, lust and avarice. Too much learning and not enough understanding. I had forgotten what it meant to be me. I see now, as I stare at the shadow of the bars between the beams of light cast in through that small window above, that my time here is not meant as a punishment, per se, but as more of an opportunity to enlighten myself with the darker side of my being, so that I may appreciate the light side that much better. I had been overtaken by my shadow, my second soul, my counter-self, and allowed it to bloom into a devastating and demented flower, rife with fungus raping its stalk and protruding from its anther to produce the spores of its own ilk. In the light and shadow, the dichotomy between the two seemed to muddle until my thoughts became unfocused and I could no longer tell the difference between the two, the light and shadow. As it fell at my feet and crept up my legs while the waning sun carried on into the twilight, I felt Mother’s call beckon me to her realm and the sinking night waded in anticipation on the horizon. And I too felt this anticipation, this yearning to escape that had not overcome me since the beginning of my stint as not only a prisoner of this cell, but of my own mind as well. And I slowly drifted into sleep that night, wondering “would I ever have redemption beyond where my own mind has now led me?”

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The next morning I awoke to a fellow prisoner chiding me, most of which I ignored until I heard the sounds of footfalls echoing off the stone walls, much like my own thoughts the previous night. They stopped, not the thoughts but the footfalls, just behind the door at the top of the staircase. My mind raced momentarily “Were they really here to end me?” “Was my time truly up?” “Had all my contemplation been for naught?” A hurried creak, more footfalls from their silent patrons, and then the door was shut again.

A moment of hesitation, the briefest moment only lasting a second and a half, yet it felt like eternity to me.

Finally I heard the woman speak firmly, as my last few breaths became more and more shallow from regret and anxiety…

“Baurus, lock that door behind us..”

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