"When the power of love exceeds the love of power, the world will know peace."
                                                                    --- Jimi Hendrix

We got up late that next morning, had a quick bite to eat, then geared up and headed out the door.

As we left, we both had to take one final look back at the Ghostfence.


It was strange, that something that had existed for so many centuries was now just a landmark of a darker time in Vvardenfell's history.

There were still left-over blighted creatures within the mountain area, of course, but no new ones would be created, as the blight that caused them was also as dead as Dagoth Ur.


It was a walk that seemed to take forever, but within the hour, we made it back to Balmora. The cooing of the stiltstrider greeted us. People all over the town greeted me with smiles, somehow knowing that Dagoth Ur was gone from their land, that the danger they all faced had been removed.


After dumping a ton of equipment, Laurenna and I got in our best clothes, I grabbed my staff, and we headed to Vivec to make my final report.


A quick teleport via the Mages Guild offices, and we were off to the southern-most canton, the Palace of Vivec himself.


We made our way up the huge number of steps, enjoying the pleasant air and sky. It was a remarkable change from the air, smell, and constant ashstorms of the last few days.


Vivec was most happy to see us.

"The blight is gone, and we have survived." he said. "Now we must dedicate ourselves to rebuilding the Temple. And you must dedicate yourself to your responsibilities as Protector of Morrowind."

"Survived, indeed," I replied, "but now, things are different."

He nodded in agreement.

"We have lost our divine powers, but not altogether." he said. "Some token of the people's faith remains, and we shall dedicate it to rebuilding the Temple. Now that Dagoth Ur is gone, we can turn our energies to the more humble needs of the people. It is good, honest work, and I believe there is redemption in it."

Very noble of him.    


"There are still issues to be resolved between the Temple and the Dissident Priests." he continued, "And now that our greatest enemy is gone, we must reorganize the Temple to meet the needs of the people. We have less need of Ordinators, for example, and greater need of priests, healers, and teachers. And we must find time to mourn the honor the dead."

"What will you do concerning the temple, now that the Heart has been destroyed?" I asked.

"Without the power of the Heart, our divine powers diminish." he replied. "Our days as gods are numbered. I have told my priests that I shall withdraw from the world, and that the temple should be prepared for a change. We may be honored no longer as gods, but as saints and heroes, and the Temple will return to the faith of our forefathers - the worship of our ancestors and the three good daedra, Azura, Mephala, and Beothiah. The missions and traditions of the Temple must continue...but without its Living Gods."

"What about the Tribunal?" asked Laurenna.

Vivic gave her a sad look. "Almalexia, Sotha Sil, and I gained our divine powers from the Heart of Lorkhan," he replied, "and now we no longer have access to the Heart, so we must lose our divinity. I have always worn my divinity lightly - fundamentally, I am not at all a serious person - and I will not miss it. I have tried to do what was necessary. I am afraid I have done some harm. I assure you - I will be quite content to be a mere mortal again, dedicated to my own amusements."   


"So, my work here is done, then?" I asked.

Vivec smiled. "Done?" He grinned, and shook his head lightly. "No, Eldorf, the Wise, there is much to do. You still have Kagrenac's Tools, potent weapons, and the wit and experience of a proven hero. The Tribunal and the Temple are happy to yield to you the duties of fighting the enemies of Morrowind as our protector."

"There are many blighted beasts and horrors that have survived," he continued, "and they must be hunted down and destroyed. There are lesser monsters and villains of all kinds who prey upon the people. There are unsolved mysteries, and legendary treasures undiscovered. I'm sure you will find much to occupy you."

"I did have other things to discuss with you." I said.

"Actually, I believe we've finished our business." he replied. "I will notify the Temple that you are our champion. There shall be no more persecution of the Dissident Priests, and I hope both sides shall swiftly be reconciled. Now, you are my guest, I am your host, and we have time for explanations, or bitter recriminations, if you like."


"Yes," I said, "what about Nerevar? Why did you murder him?"

His face clouded with a look of anger. "We did not murder Nerevar." he said. "The legend that we murdered Nerevar comes from a story told by a shield-companion to Nerevar, Alandro Sul, who lived among the Ashlanders. The Ashlanders have retained Alandro Sul's account as part of their oral histories. The account is persuasive in some details, implausible in others, and is in any case, false."

"What about your oath?" I asked. "Does an oath not mean anything to you?"

Vivic stared back at me in self-righteousness. "Along with Lord Nerevar, and at his insistence," he replied, "Almalexia, Sotha Sil, and I swore before our god of oaths at the time, the Daedra Lord Azura, never to employ the tools of Kagrenac for any purpose." His face turned to one of shame. "We broke our oaths, yes." he continued. "We turned our backs on the old gods. I still see no compelling reason to worship any of the Aedra or Daedra. But, for the respect I held for Nerevar, and the respect I held for myself, I should never have betrayed my oath."

He paused for a moment, then added, "Of all my life's actions, I most regret that failure."   


"And those dissident priests," I asked, "why was it necessary for them to suffer for the truth?"

"Why did I cause others to suffer?" he asked, resuming his floating position in the air. "I respect that question, and I respect you for asking it. The most I can say is: I did the best I could, as I saw things. Can you, mortal, presume to judge the actions and motives of a god? But, because I needed you, and you needed me, I will make an accounting for my sins, to you. Then again, perhaps you have earned the right to judge me.


We turned to go, but before we opened the door, I turned, having one last thing to say.

"You might have done the best you could," I said "but consider this: This entire matter could have been avoided had the Tribunal not fallen victim to their own lust for power."

"Consider that the very enemy you had me kill, Dagoth Ur, TOLD you that the Heart should be destroyed, and that the tools should have been destroyed with it."

"Even if you had kept the tools, the Heart would have been gone, and this entire situation would have never come to pass. In your lust for godhood and power, you, and the Tribunal, put everyone and everything at risk."

"Yes, you've done good things for the people of Vvardenfell, I will give you that. The fact that you were instrumental in making sure that Morrowind's incorporation into the Empire was made peacefully is to your credit, so, yes, there has been some good with the bad. Therefore, since you made an error in judgment, Lord Vivic, I forgive you for your transgression."

"You forgive me?" he asked.

"Of course." I replied. " forgive is divine."

With that, I turned my back on this ex-god, and slammed the door behind me, just to drive home the point.





All he could do was glare.


"Well," exclaimed Laurenna, "I guess you told HIM a thing or two."

"Darn right, I did." I replied. "But I'll tell you what: He had that coming, and he knew it. I was just glad to get the last word in."

Laurenna laughed. "I can't believe you actually said 'I forgive you.' That'll get quoted in some book somewhere. You know that, right?"

I smiled. "I sure hope so. I'm just glad to get my own life back. I'll let some other member of the Blades take care of the paperwork."   


"So what's next for us?" asked Laurenna.

"Well, we should head back to Balmora, pack up our stuff, and head back to Solstheim Castle." I said. "I've got a lot of potions to replace."

"Always work to do." she replied.

"True, true, it's how I keep my old mind from going sour on me."

I took her hand as we walked down the steps. "Let's get something to eat." I said. "I'm starving."

There was no argument there.