Schnee (schnee) wrote,

The Black Door

Here's another Skyrim fanfic fragment, creatively titled The Black Door and (mostly) based on real events:

"What... is life's greatest illusion?"

The toneless whispered words hung in the air even as Ma'Oglala removed her palm from the black door. The khajiit stood motionless for a few moments, then began stroking her chin. She had removed her mask for the day, a rare display; usually she was not seen without it, but the day had been too nice, sunny and surprisingly warm, and the ragtag bandits littering the coast knew better than to bother the Dragonborn. A light, pleasant breeze tugged at her dreadlocked hair now, and her brow furrowed as she pondered the question; she had never been much of a thinker.

After a few minutes of silent deliberation, she placed her hand on the door again. The tarnished metal was cold to the touch, and strangely oily; it drew her in, threatened to pull her toward a terrible unknown, as if a black writhing mass of eels were dragging her down a lightless well. She dispelled the thought with a shake of her head, then steeled herself and firmly announced, "the one where you saw a lady in half!"

There was an almost palpable pause. The waves of the cold seas sloshed back and forth, soothing and rhythmic; seagulls circled lazily overhead or bobbed on the waters. The spiky grass growing in the coarse black sand waved in the breeze as the Dragonborn stood confidently and waited.

Finally, the door spoke again, disapproval resonating in its ghostly disembodied voice. "You are SO not worthy." Ma'Oglala grinned in spite of herself and cast a quick glance at Lydia, who was trying very hard to suppress a giggle; then the khajiit stuck out her tongue and blew a raspberry. A fine mist of cat saliva descended on the unmoving, unmoved metal like dew on mountain flowers on a cool spring morning, and as the Dragonborn remounted her horse and rode off towards Dawnstar with her companion, only the echos of their shared laughter remained behind.

If you've played Skyrim, you'll probably understand it alright. If not, let me say that in the general area of Dawnstar, at the coast of the Sea of Ghosts, there's a disused sanctuary belonging to the Dark Brotherhood (the assassins' guild). The Black Door leading inside asks the above question, and if you don't know the right answer, you only get a choice of various silly replies, among them "um... the one where you saw a lady in half?"[1]. The door will then inevitably reply "you are not worthy", and refuse to open for you.

I've always imagined that it would be a bit less dispassionate than it is in the game, though, when faced with a certain khajiit. :)

EDIT, 2016-10-06: posted on AO3.

  1. As well as "Dreams are reality, and reality is really a dream?", and – my second favorite – "Being happily married?". On a side note, if you opt to destroy the Dark Brotherhood (like I did) rather than joining them, the Dawnstar Sanctuary will remain permanently inaccessible to you.
Tags: computer games, fan fiction, skyrim, stories, writing

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