All posts by She Who Wonders

The Wailing Prison

(Read Part 1, Waking in the Wailing Prison.)

Sisters, I have walked through the flaming fires of Hell and come out on the other side.

Flaming fires of Wailing Prison
Flaming fires of Wailing Prison

I met Lyris. She lives up to her name as Titanborn. Though I am far from small, I surely look like a child when I stand beside her.

I say she lives. I hope that is still so. There is much to share and most is far from pleasant.

Lyris Titanborn

She was waiting for me after I escaped the inner cells of the prison. The Prophet, according to Lyris, is also a prisoner, but somehow he can send messages to me, even though it is apparently dangerous for him to do so. Our job, Lyris and I, is to help him to escape from his cell. Somehow, he knows a way to get us free from here.

Exiting the prison building

Outside is worse than I feared. I did not share with you the answer to my repeat question of where I am, or rather, whose nightmare I have ended up in. It is so horrible that I hate to speak it, but I have awakened in the prison of Molag Bal. Outside the Wailing Prison, his statue sits on a high pedestal. The sky and land are gray from the perpetual ash that falls like snow. We are in Coldharbour. I sometimes feel my doubt at ever being free start to take over my will, but I fight it. If there is a chance to escape, then I will give everything I have to doing so.

Outside the Wailing Prison - Coldharbour and the statue of Molag Bal
The sky of Coldharbour and the statue of Molag Bal

When we step outside the prison, Lyris waits patiently for me to gather my wits. I wonder if I’m the first prisoner that the Prophet has seen promise in and called to try to rescue him. I am sure now that it won’t be an easy task. How many have fallen before me?

Our first job is to figure some way to destroy a Sentinel, one of several all-seeing eyes that Molag Bal uses to view his playground. How? I don’t know. Lyris doesn’t know. I suspect even the prophet doesn’t really know. Hopefully when we get there, the way will become apparent.

On the ground, it is even worse. Some of the prisoners have been here so long that they’ve gone crazy and become feral. All that can be done is to kill them. I hate the choice, but if I don’t, then I will truly dead.

All around me there are cries as the feral ones attack the other escaped prisoners. There are some that aren’t attacked, blank-eyed bodies that barely move, standing around the scattered campfires and staring into space. For some reason, they really scare me more than the feral ones. Perhaps because it’s as though they’ve given up and don’t care who or what they are anymore.

The soulshriven outside the Wailing Prison
The soulshriven stare ahead, unseeing and not reacting to the commotion around them.

It wouldn’t be much of a prison without guards, I guess. Here, the bright lights that break the gray dreariness are the flame atronachs. Time and time again I watched some of the newly released prisoners rush toward them, only to be consumed like a moth drawn to the campfire. Even when several prisoners overpowered them, the atronach’s dying flash would further injure or perhaps kill anyone who had stayed too close, perhaps to rob the body of any armor or gold it had possessed.

The flame atronach in the Wailing Prison
The bright light of the flame atronach.

Perhaps the thing that shakes my meager courage the most is realizing that the battles I’ve described to you – the escaped prisoners fighting the atronachs, the feral soulshriven who attach anything with any life left in it – none of these matter. The atronachs revive back in the same spot they were guarding. The soulless, which, my dear sisters, also includes me; we soulless rise from where we’ve fallen, or even worse, sometimes start back at the doorway where we left the inside of the prison.

I fight against hopelessness. If even death is removed as a means of escape, how can I ever get out of here? Lyris must see my doubt, she comes up and encourages me. She is so sure that the Prophet knows how to free us.

Listening to her, I believe. She is so convinced that it is impossible for me to be otherwise. So I now have hope that this note will actually reach you, that you’ll be able to learn my story.

Supplies for a trip

As I travel, without even thinking, I gathering supplies. Cooking ingredients that I find, lockpicks that are hidden in backpacks. It makes me pause for a moment as I realize that the only reason I would collect things is if I expect to survive this, to actually make it through to the other side of whatever this adventure is.

There is a Sentinel across the river. As I make my way there, I’m starting to remember some things. We three are sorcerers, I recall, and with that, I remember a couple of the most basic spells we ever learned. But they are battle spells. What I need, but now I am wondering why were we taught battle spells as young kits? Why would these be the first I remember?

I was focusing too much on writing this letter in my head, dear sisters, and nearly didn’t see the feral who attacked me. He is dead now, and for a short while perhaps at peace, but I realize I need to focus on my escape if I ever have hope of sending this to you or especially of ever seeing you again.

The energy from my radish is long gone. I keep looking for something else to eat, but everything needs to be cooked. I am not yet at the point where raw meat or molded bread holds any appeal. With any luck, I will be far away before I ever get to that point.

I found armor on an atronach. I am starting to enjoy the battle, especially with the spells I have recalled. I keep hoping that’s a sign that my memory is coming back, but I haven’t remembered anything else since.

Waking in the Wailing Prison

Dear Sisters,

This one hopes that this letter finds you well. It is hoped that the writing of this letter will both share some of my journey with you and indeed, to help this one recall more of her past. To explain…

The light that woke me was not the sun pouring warmly through a window, but the flickering dance of a fire. A nearby plate with two radishes reminded me of the empty pit in my stomach. Regardless of the consequences, I feel like I must eat and drink soon or I won’t survive long.

Radish on a plate in the Wailing Prison

One radish down. I’ll leave the other for now.

I appear to be in a prison of some sort. Don’t ask me why, most of my memories seem as lost as the Dwemer. Only two things am I certain right now, and those are that you and I shared our birth mother’s milk, thus marking us as sisters. I carry no memories of anyone other than the two of you, and thus this is directed to you, although I have no idea of where in this vast world I am located or where you might be currently found. Hopefully, my memories will come back over time.

The radish doesn’t seem to have hurt me, I actually feel better from eating it, as though I’m starting to recover from whatever was done to me before I landed in this place. Time to explore my surroundings.

Rotted meat and bones in the wailing Prison

Oh sisters! I am glad that you are not here with me, although I crave the company. The floor is littered with the bones and skulls of others who were here before me, including a skeleton, who looks like he died in mid-scream, lying on a sleeping mat. There is rancid meat in one corner, making the whole room reek. What meat it is, I dare not even venture a guess.

Sleeping skeleton in the wailing prison

There is someone here with me! I jumped when I heard him address me. He does not seem completely alive, more of an apparition from a children’s tale. I am not sure how he came to stand inside my cell, although I can not say that I am sorry to see him, even so; this is not a room that I would want to spend much time in alone. Even if he is crazy, which I strongly suspect, since he claims that he is the past and the future, despair and hope.

As to his name, he says I can call him the Prophet. And my job is to rescue him, and then he will rescue me. He must be crazy, right? Either that or I am going crazy myself. I am not convinced that isn’t what has happened. I have gone as crazy as Sheogorath or perhaps somehow fallen through to his realm and the world has gone crazy around me.

The Prophet disappeared! After telling me to find someone named Lyris Titanborn. Then an Argonian appeared, telling me to hurry quickly, and unlocked my door.

Now I hear him in my head. The Prophet, that is. Have I died, my sisters, and my eternity is to be in Sheogorath’s realm forever?

Exiting my cell

Lights in the Wailing PrisonWhat god have I angered? This is not the madness of Sheogorath, this is much worse, a land of damnation from the nightmares of Oblivion.

The rooms that I pass through are horrors worst than any nightmare.  And even worse, I am not the only one here. The place is filled with people from all races, trying to escape from the horror that is our surroundings. But where are they running to? What awaits us once we escape? I haven’t been here a day and yet I find myself afraid to hope that outside leads to freedom. I feel like I have been left in the worst nightmare a crazed mind could conceive and from that kind of nightmare there is usually no escape.

Basket of skulls in the wailing prison

Read Part 2 of the Wailing Prison adventure.