|I kid you not -- the original caption for this UESPWiki image is: "This can't possibly end well..."|
That done, I returned to Silus with the pieces. He then informed me that we would need to go to the Shrine of Mehrunes Dagon to repair the Razor. When I voiced my discomfort with that plan, he left to do the deed on his own. Having failed to dissuade Silus, I knew that I would have to supervise him, because I fully expected him to repair the Razor and use it to, if not try to summon the Daedric Prince once again, at least wreak havoc on the townspeople. When we finally got to the shrine, I was surprised to find that Silus could not repair the Razor, despite his supplications to Mehrunes Dagon. He asked if I would try, and keeping in mind the necessity of controlling this potential disaster, I agreed. Despite my established distaste for dealing with Daedra, Mehrunes Dagon seemed willing to speak to me rather than the Mythic Dawn devotee. The Daedric Prince told me that he would be willing to repair the Razor only if I agreed to kill Silus. I had thus been presented with the second major moral dilemma in this quest.
So far, Silus had only shown the potential to do evil; his obsession with the Mythic Dawn aside, he had not actually done anything wrong. Because he had not attacked, provoked, or even given me a good reason to do so, killing him would be an act of murder. On the other hand, I had little doubt that, had our positions been reversed, he would not have hesitated to kill me in order to obtain the artifact. Another factor in the dilemma was the artifact itself. Like Dawnbreaker, Mehrune's Razor is a powerful weapon that could have helped me in my quest to rid Skyrim of its monsters. It might be worth the life of a man who was probably up to no good anyway.
It was that "probably" that finally persuaded me to spare Silus and purposely fail the quest. I simply could not justify killing a man who had done nothing wrong yet. He might be a weak-willed fool, but he had not actually hurt anyone to date. Furthermore, if I'm being honest, I relished the idea of telling Mehrunes Dagon to get stuffed, especially if it meant doing battle with him or his minions as a result. When I declared my refusal to sacrifice Silus, I got my wish: Mehrunes Dagon summoned two Dremora to dispatch Silus and me -- naturally, they failed.
For his part, Silus was grateful for my decision and promised to keep the fragments of the Razor on display under lock and key in his museum. So far, he has kept his word, but if he ever changes his mind, I might have to change mine.