As much as I love the contributions that a certain ex-dev by the name of Michael Kirkbride made to the “official” TES and to the TES community creations, it saddens me that it created a sort of an “elitist rift” in the community.
The most 1337 of leets are those who only read fanfics that are often not supposed to be called fanfics but some other fanciful words (c0da, anyone?). Those fanfics, if ever narrative, tend to be written in a similarly “incomprehensible” style and deal with “incomprehensible” subject matter. // i.e. what MK generally calls “incomprehensible” – things beyond the average thinking range of a more or less functional very white very NorthAmerican very male individual, thank you very much; MK tradition seems to attribute this ‘transmundane’, for lack of a better word, experience to “non-humans”, claiming “humans” are unable to “understand”/”comprehend” (with these particular terms never precisely defined) “non-humans”, including “cats” and “elves” (but MK, who thinks himself “human”, somehow _can_ write this “incomprehensible” POV – huh?) – in short, this “incomprehensibility theory” is easily debunked by anyone with decent logical skills and enough knowledge of contemporary philosophy, psychology, natural sciences and cultural studies, but: you will never prove your point to MK and those who fell victims to this faulty – but oh so everyday – reasoning (keyword: dehumanising; look it up; and yeah, rant over now) //
And while I love “incomprehensible” (because this is what I actually understand much better than the average everyday “human” POV); while I adore writers like Dinmenel…
It should not be the end-all, be-all of a “good TES fanfic”.
Somehow, the lore community does not seem to accept, encourage or even acknowledge well-written stuff that simply does not fit the mold of “Kirkbrideana”. Something with the focus on more “mundane” matters – while it has always been a huge point in “canon” TES worldbuilding. Stories like 2920, The Real Barenziah, the Decumus Scotti adventures – basically, we could call this “Teddersiana”, since these narratives were written by a yet another TES ex-dev, Ted Peterson.
Peterson was the mastermind behind all things TES during the development of TESII:Daggerfall, which is my favourite TES game of all time (because you don’t have to save the world in it, and you’re not any sort of a Nerevarine, Shezzarrine or Dragonborn; in short, Daggerfall is way less generic than what this barely-over-twenty-years-old generation of fans – who started out beating Morrowind in junior high school but then never managed to even get out of the Privateer’s Hold alive – would like you to believe; they simply don’t know what they are talking about). Okay, it just so happens that I started out with Daggerfall when I was in high school, but, honest, it is different enough from any other TES release (even the original TES:Arena had the rid-the-world-of-evil vibe, and it irks me). I’m just that lucky one.
And I got lucky enough to stumble upon one fanfic author by the name of Pheonicia whose work by the name of Lord Lovidicus’ Complete Guide to High Rock I have enjoyed a lot (and everyone must know how tough it is, to actually find anything worthwhile on general fanfiction dumps). I believe it continues the “Teddersiana” tradition amazingly well. But I guess it’s not something I could share with those few loremasters who are nice enough to talk to me.
First of all, it’s AU. How many “lore-friendly” fanfics can you name that would be distinctly marked as AU? The whole point of being “lore-friendly” way too often devolves into being “lore-anal”, pardon my French.
The premise to this AU is “Twist of Fate”, another story by Pheonicia which is basically an Oblivion playthrough, but with a twist. A rather clever twist, I must say, even though I only managed to read the first few chapters and the last few (to actually find out how the author managed to make this twist work!): not to detract from the author’s talent, but I can’t stand playthroughs, and the PC isn’t exactly likeable, either.
Then, it (gasp!) takes liberties with magic and does not care to provide a lengthy convoluted explanation of how come this could be possible, featuring words like “Magne-Ge”, “daedrons”, “mythopoetic” and stuff.
The language it’s written in is also nothing like that of Kirkbride’s (although there are a few particularly strong and poetic metaphors scattered about). Well, MK has his flaws as a writer, but he’s the king of technique, even his most bitter enemies gotta acknowledge that.
The narrative works.
Even though it’s actually so painfully traditional about gender roles presented that it almost hurts me to read stuff like this. Even though there is a damned wedding. Even though the main character is that damned half-Orc. Even though too much is made of Karethys’ “glowing eyes” (in my opinion, hers are just the standard that all Dunmeri eyes should adhere to). Even though Elysana is not killed in the end (and I hate her LOTS).
It is still a lovely, lovely adventure story. // and it still has those “weird”, disturbing bits so characteristic of all things TES //
I got it downloaded with the help of this wonderful free program, made a neat PDF out of the result and spent a few beautiful evenings reading this (scale-wise, it’s a novel).