A Walk in Paradise

I slept like a rock that night. The Battle of Bruma was one of the most tense intrusions into Oblivion that I had ever encountered. Not so much that it involved a siege engine, but that there was so little time to close the gate before the monster machine got out into the mortal plain. I had won the battle, but it left me exhausted. Martin could sense this, and recommended that I rest up before coming back up to Cloud Ruler Temple. I was well-rested by the time I woke. I remembered what Martin had said; that the portal would close behind me, so I needed to bring anything I needed with me. The spell of Recall would not work where I was going.

I still decided to bring a number of arrows, the Bow of Silence, and the Sword of Silence. The one I would go up against could summon creatures to his aid. Silence would prevent him from casting spells. Of course, I would have to strike him first, but if I could, I'd have the advantage.


I made my way into the main chamber. Near the fireplace, a huge pictograph was drawn on the floor. The two stones I had retrieved earlier stood to my right and left, floating in mid-air.

"Shakula?" I heard from behind a desk full of books. "Oh, you're here." It was Martin.


"How are the preparations coming?" I asked. "I have all the potions and weapons I need, so I'm ready."

"Good for you." he replied. "I have everything in place for the ritual. I'll open the portal whenever you're ready."

"Do you have any idea what kind of place I'd find myself in?" I asked. "I'm not sure how I'd be able to find him."

"Interesting question." he replied. "I don't know what you'll find in Camoran's Paradise."

"How will I get back?" I asked. "Do you think I'll find a portal like the one you are about to create?"


"The one thing I do know for certain is that the portal I create through the Mysterium Xarxes ritual will close behind you. You'll have to find another way back."

"Sounds tricky." I replied, sounding worried. "I'm certain I'm not going to find a door marked 'Mortal Plain" anywhere."

"I have a theory about this so-called 'Paradise' that he has created." replied Martin. "I believe that Mankar Camoran acts as the 'anchor' for Paradise, just as a sigil stone anchors an Oblivion Gate in place. If this is true, Kill Mankar Camoran, and you will unmake his Paradise."

"So it would be like pulling a Sigil Stone from its perch." I surmised.

"That's my take on it, yes." he replied.

"Very well, then." I said. "I have to go in. I won't have a problem killing him, even if that's not the way home. If not, I'll find some other way."

"Shall I open the portal then?" Martin asked.

"Yes." I said. "Let's do this."


Martin stood in front of the fireplace, whispered a few words, made a few gestures, generating a brilliant flash from his hands. Suddenly, the two stones began to glow many times brighter than usual, floating over the pictograph on the floor. The air began to smell of sulfur, and I felt the hairs on my arm rise, as if a lightening bolt was about to fire down from the sky.


As the two stones reached the apex of their arch over the pictograph, they merged into a ball of magical fire.

As they did, the pictograph began to glow.

Suddenly, large, sharp objects began to grow up from the floor, like three large, curved fingers, forming a bowl.


As the fingers reached their full size, the ball of fire over the center of the symbol fell into it's center, bursting into a huge ball of energy.


"I've done it!" shouted Martin. "It's up to you now. May Talos guide you!"

I just stared at the portal. Beautiful, in a way, but at the same time, an opening to what could ultimately be a place I might die in.


I reached out my hand. There was a slight amount of warmth, but for all of it's brilliance, not that much heat. When one sees fire, one expects it to be hot. For all the appearance of fire, it was nothing more than a doorway to another place.


I took one step, then another, and another, right into the center of the portal.

Suddenly, everything around me faided, turning bright white, then black.

The sound of the portal sounded far away now. I took another step forward. Blackness. Where was I? Another step forward. Silence. One more step forward. Was I hearing crickets?

My eyes started to see shapes, outlines, like trees, a sky in twilight.


I was in a forest? A garden? I was alone. Or maybe not, for I heard the grumbling of a daedroth nearby.


And so it came, looking for me, lunging to the attack. I met it's attack with hard, cold steel.

And then I heard 'him' in my head.

"So, the cat's-paw of the Septims arrives at least." It was Mankar Camoran. "You didn't think that you could take me unawares, here of all places? In the Paradise that I created? Look now upon my Paradise. Galar Alata, in the old tongue. A vision of the past...and the future."

"It could use a few less monsters, and a few more kittens." I replied outloud. I wondered if he heard me.     


I decided to follow the obvious stone trail. Suddenly, another daedroth ran to attack. I used the spell of summoned armor and met the attack head-on, running right into the creature, spinning as we met, slicing through the monster.

As I continued down the stone walkway, I saw another daedroth attacking a person. Not a creature of Oblivion, but a human. I heard him scream in pain as he died. I ran over and killed the beast, but it was too late to save him.


As I looked over the body of the human, I could hear Mankar again.

"Behold the Savage Garden, where my disciples are tempered for a higher destiny: to rule over Tamriel Reborn. If you are truly the hero of destiny, as I hope, the Garden will not hold you for long. Lift your eyes to Carac Agaiator, my seat at the pinnacle of Paradise. I shall await you there."

Some higher destiny. These people live here only to be hunted by every monster around here? Some Paradise.


Several more monsters down the road, and just before I encountered a bridge, I encountered a dremora. I had to summon my armor again, and after a number of swings and misses, I finally managed to him down. In checking his corpse (these creatures usually carry a key to some door) I found a set of bands around his forearms. I had not seen such things before, but decided to keep them, since they seemed to be important.

Suddenly, I can hear Mankar Camoran in my head again.

"How little you understand." he droned on. "The principalities have sparkled as gems in the black reaches of Oblivion since the First Morning. Many are their names and the names of their masters and the Coldharbour of Merida, Peryrite's Quagmire, the ten Moonshadows of Mephala, and Dawn's Beauty, the Princedom of Lorkhan...misnamed 'Tamriel' by deluded mortals."


By the gods, this guy was a chatterbox!

I continued over the bridge, encountering a door framed by beautiful flowers, belying it's obviously deadly nature held within.

Sword drawn, I decided to see if the voice in my head had his body hiding here inside this place.

It would be worth it just to shut him up.





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