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Welcome! This blog is devoted to considerations of morality in the The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim by Bethesda. Rather than a fansite, review, or walkthrough, it is a serious attempt to examine the game through a moral lens. Please note that the purpose of this blog is to discuss morality within the context of the game, not to determine whether playing the game is immoral in and of itself; the latter type of "discussion" tends toward tedium and inhibits, rather than promotes, a meaningful conversation.

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Waking Nightmare

Upon traveling to Dawnstar to follow up on an invitation to see the Mythic Dawn museum, I was informed  that the town's residents had been suffering from abnormally intense nightmares and memory loss.  Erandur, a Priest of Mara, believed that the nightmares were the result of a disturbance at the abandoned Nightcaller Temple just outside of town.  Naturally, we set off to investigate, and Erandur filled me in on the history of the temple.

Nightcaller Temple, as it turned out, had once been a Shrine of Mara before the Cult of Vaermina, Daedric Prince of Nightmares, took it over.  Years ago, Orcish raiders invaded the temple, and the Daedric priests' last line of defense was the Miasma -- a gas-like energy field that put everyone in the temple into a deep sleep; the nightmares and insomnia plaguing the residents of Dawnstar appeared to be fallout from the Miasma.  Erandur and I fought our way through the awakening Orcs and priests (all hostile) to find the source of the Miasma: a staff called the Skull of Corruption, Vaermina's Daedric artifact.  The catch was that the Skull of Corruption was protected by an unbreakable force field.

The process of breaching the force field involved a kind of time travel; the details are morally irrelevant, but this stage of the quest did reveal that Erandur the Priest of Mara had once been known as Brother Casimir of the Vaermina Cult.  He confessed that he ran when the Orcs attacked, and in his shame, converted to Divine worship.  This is a critical point for my playstyle; Erandur's remorse and willingness to suffer for his misdeeds compelled me to save him later.  After I disabled the forcefield, returned to present time, and defeated Erandur's revived former comrades, Erandur began the ritual to destroy the Skull of Corruption.  As I watched the priest, the voice of Vaermina broke into my consciousness, saying, "He's deceiving you. When the ritual's complete, the Skull will be free and then Erandur will turn on you."
Have I mentioned how much I dislike being a Daedra's puppet?

Given Erandur's backstory, there was no way I was going to kill him without provocation, especially at the word of one of the more malevolent Daedra.  First, I believed he was trying to help the people of Dawnstar.  Second, he had done significant penance for the crimes in his previous life.  Third, even if he did turn on me, I was confident that I could defeat him.  Therefore, I decided to simply allow Erandur to finish the ritual, then congratulate him on a job well done and leave him to the task of re-dedicating this former Temple of Mara.  He offered his services as a follower, and some day, I might actually take him up on that.

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