Monday, February 6, 2012

Skyrim: A Journal of War - Chapter Twenty Five: Only The Petulant Man Will Pass

Another day. Another gods-forsaken temple in the middle of nowhere. And I've got no clue what's waiting in there for me.
Nightingale Sentinel: Hail, traveler! Wait! Another Nightingale?! And a living one?!
Me: Uh, yes... unless you're sworn to kill the living.
Nightingale Sentinel: Oh, I'm not. The rest of them are, though. Or at least, they don't seem to like the living. I don't know if they're actually sworn to it.

Me: So who are you?
Nightingale Sentinel: The last of the Nightingale Sentinels. I've defended the Twilight Sepulcher alone for what seems like an eternity.
Me: The last....? What happened to the rest?
Nightingale Sentinel: When The Skeleton Key was stolen by the pretender Mercer Frey, it cut off our connection to Nocturnal's realm. I was newly made a Sentinel, so I was not fully connected to the realm as the others were. Now, they are but shadows of the men they once were.
Me: Was that a pun?
Nightingale Sentinel: Was it? If it was, I apologize. Regardless, they have forgotten all but the duty that binds them to this place. At times I feel my own memories fading away into darkness... a fitting curse, given that I am responsible for all this. You see, I was distracted by love... and in that time of distraction, I was blinded by treachery and the guise of false friendship.
Me: Wait a second.... you're Gallus!
Nightingale Sentinel: Am I? Yes... yes, that sounds familiar. It has been a long time since I've heard that name. But how do you know of me?
Me: Karliah told me all about you.
Nightingale Sentinel: Karliah? She lives? But what of Mercer?
Me: He's dead. I killed him. And I recovered the Key.
Nightingale Sentinel: Yes... yes, I can feel it's power upon you...
Me: Yeah. So, if you could just point me in the direction of where to deposit this...
Nightingale Sentinel: Ah, would that I could... but only the living can walk the Pilgrim's Path. Still, I may know something that will help. There was one here who tried the path and chose... poorly. His journal may have information that will help you pass the trials.
Me: Well, that DOES sound ideal. Where is his journal?
Nightingale Sentinel: On the left side of this chamber, on his body.
Me: ... he couldn't even get out of this room?
Nightingale Sentinel: Gosh, look at the time. I have an awful lot of eternal guarding to get back to. Must be off. Best of luck.


Me: Well.. might as well look at it. What have I got to lose besides a lifetime of haunting this place anyway?


"Shadows of their former selves, Sentinels of The Dark.
They wander ever more and deal swift death to defliers."

Me: Hmmm. The Nightingale Sentinels, obviously. Going to have to sneak past them. Find a shadowy spot out of the way. Shoot an arrow behind me. Run for it while their backs are turned. Be absolutely quiet. Stop narrating my own actions out-loud.... D'OH!
Nightingale Sentinel: Do I hear the sound of the living in this place?
Me: ohshitohshitoshit...


Nightingale Sentinel: Do I hear the sound of the living in this place?

*sneak sneak sneak*


"Above all they stand, vigilance everlasting.
Beholden to the murk yet contentious of the glow."

Me: Heh. Stick to the shadows. Stay out of the light. Easy peasy.


"Offer what she desires most but reject the material.
For her greatest want is that which cannot be seen, felt or carried."

Me: Hmmm... statue of Nocturnal. But what does she want most that can't be touched? Souls? No... though someone did leave some soul gems here...

Me: Worship? No, Karliah said she didn't care about that. But since they did say to reject the material. Wouldn't want these offerings to stay her offending her.

Me: Must be an answer here somewhere.... hello? A chain next to the torches!

Me: Torches? Of course... what would the goddess of shadows and thieves want more than darkness? I'll bet this turns off the torches... somehow.




Me: Ha!


"Direct and yet indirect.
The path to salvation is a route of cunning,
with fortune betraying the foolish."

Me: Hmm.. a straight hallway full of traps, swinging blades and floor triggers. For most, an obstacle. For the Dragonborn who knows how to run very fast... an annoyance. WULD NAH KEST!



Me: Well, that was surprisingly easy. The old traps are pretty well maintained what with this being an abandoned, haunted temple and all. Come to think of it, how are all these candles still lit? For that matter, WHY are candles lit in the temple of a goddess of darkness?


"The journey is complete.
The Empress' embrace awaits the fallen.
Hesitate not if you wish to gift her your eternal devotion."

Me: Okay. Nothing else here but a deep pit with no obvious exits on the other side. Clearly this is meant to be some kind of leap of faith into the darkness. Oh well... here goes nothing!




Me: Gah... that was stupid. But I'm still alive... I think. Hey, a skeleton clutching a note. Wonder what this says?

Me: Well... bugger. Guess there's nothing to do now but starve to death. Or try and get the goddess' attention.

Me: Hey, Nocturnal! I have your precious key! I've come this far. Help me out here! Or.. or... I'll be really annoyed? Hey... what's happening to the flOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOR!


Me: Not again...
Nocturnal: Rise, Nightingale... and look upon your mistress.

Me: Consider me... risen.
Nocturnal: So... once again the Key has been stolen and a "champion" has returned it to The Sepulcher.
Me: This has happened before?
Nocturnal: For power to mean anything, there must always be the temptation to abuse it. But I can see that it will be some time before this comes to pass again. For now, it is as it should be. Though I already see your thoughts turn to reward. Yet you have done nothing to earn one.
Me: WHAT?!
Nocturnal: You have done that which was required of you by your oath. I do not give rewards for mere competence. But we both know that you do what you do not for honor, nor for oaths nor out of loyalty. It is the prize that drives all my children. But worry not. You shall have power. And trinkets. And wealth. The Thieves Guild shall prosper once again. And I will be content. Now, go to your fellows, Matthias the Bastard. And do try to make sure the Key doesn't get stolen again so soon?
Me: Yes, Mistress.
Nocturnal: Good boy. Also, my face is up here.

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