Did you ever notice that the game Olivion has so much of everything (including bugs) that it feels like just as much of nothing (except bugs)? I’ve been playing for 94 hours and, with each minute spent, I feel more of a hollow individual.
Still, I was playing the game and I found a most interesting journal contained within. It was titled “Confessions of an Axolot”, and appears to chronicle the adventures of a cynical Breton long past bored.
Enjoy it here without having to put up with the game’s annoying “handwriting” font and without having to search for a document that patently doesn’t exist.
Day 1: 27th of Starch or some such stupid month. Year of the whatever.
I woke up in a prison cell. It seemed that I had somehow fallen asleep standing, and I had no idea what the hell I was doing there. I hope I committed a really good crime, like … I checked my surroundings: I was wearing rags, there were chains hanging from the ceiling and moss growing on the walls. Fantasy, then … like hiring a prostitute then, once the deed was done, backing my horse over her repeatedly and taking back my money.
The man across the hallway taunted me for my imprisonment, apparently not realising that he had also been imprisoned. He also seemed blissfully ignorant of the fact that he was a douche. Me, I didn’t say anything. Better to be thought a filthy prisoner than to open my mouth, say “jolly good show, old bean. Care for another spot of tea?” and be proven some sort of foppish non-sequitur spouting madman.
My imagination stopped running to slowly milking every pint of blood from my hall mate’s body when the door to my cell opened. Freedom at last? An explanation of my imprisonment for an undoubtedly incredibly fun crime that providence had cruelly allowed me to forget?
No. Today was a day of a different sort of providence. Who should be visiting my cell but … some old guy!
“There shouldn’t be anyone in this cell!” said one of the guards. “This cell contains the SECRET PASSAGEWAY TO FREEDOM.”
I heard a muffled curse from the cell across the hall.
“Why hello there!” said the old guy in the condescending tones reserved exclusively for Emperors and child prodigies. “What are you locked up for?”
“Oh this guy?” said one of the guards. I think his name was Baurus. “This is Axolot. He’s in for …”
“Hush!” said the Captain, who I can’t be bothered recalling the name of; she was clearly not to be long for this world. “We do not have time for this! Open the gate!”
“I don’t know …” said Baurus. “His crime seems pretty bad.”
“Open this gate or be charged with treason, fool.”
Baurus opened the gate, so the Emperor appeared to want to make small talk.
“I am Emperor Uriel Septim, ruler of Cyrodiil, protector of the Dragon Fires, liberator of the swans, and patron saint of injured sparrows.”
“Septimus Prime, got it. What brings you into this cell of a criminal of amnesiac repute?”
Septimus Prime looked at me and began to talk. I honestly can’t recall what he was saying because I was suddenly so transfixed by his face. The bottom half moved, his mouth opening and closing as if to shape the words he was speaking, but above his nose was a wasteland totally lacking in emotion. It was as if his eyes had been glued on.
“… so that is why I pardon you from all of your crimes. Also so that you don’t try to kill me and escape.”
The door open, we ran down a corridor, where we were attacked by people in ugly armour. The captain, whom I had predicted would not be long for this world, quickly departed for the next. I pilfered the sword from her body but was advised to stay behind a locked door.
It seemed that I essentially had been granted an extension to my prison cell. I began to fantasise about somehow converting it into a brothel with an cauldron that would double as a spa and as, well, a cauldron, for my cannibalistic clients.
My reverie was again interrupted, this time by rats bursting through the walls. All plans for my new business were immediately dashed when I realised that no one would want to be entertained by my crew if the solid brick walls could be broken by rats. I stabbed the rats to death and felt strangely satisfied.
I noted my lust for blood. Perhaps I was imprisoned because I had stabbed to death a hoard of orphans on a night time cookie raid … but who had raided whom?
I ran through the tunnels that had opened unto me feeling as if I was being tutored for something. Buggered if I knew what, though. I eventually came out at a very convenient junction: the guards were fighting off the ugly armoured guys. I wondered if I would be able to join them if the Emperor lost. I would have to apply for special uniform consideration. I wouldn’t accept membership in any society that would not allow me to wear a cape.
“Hey, maybe that prisoner who we set free is actually one of them!” said one of the guards. “Watch out! He’s got a sword because we left him in a room with the spoils of corpses fresh for the picking! Oh, foul hubris!”
Septimus Prime furrowed his eyebrows. He looked annoyed.
“Listen, shut up or I throw myself on the swords of the Mystic Dawn just so that they can open the Oblivion gates and send daedra to eat you … and the rest of my stupid subjects. Honestly, why do I bother upholding peace in a land populated by such … oh!” he said. “You! You look like a good sort. I’m going to let you live.”
I bristled. I thought about stabbing him right there and then just because I hated the trusting look on his stupid half static face.
The Emperor led me to a side room, and I felt vaguely uneasy: when the king of anything invites you into his private quarters, you’ve got something to be worried about.
“Blah blah,” he went on at length, as I gazed into his soulless eyes and imagined him as the captain of some great star vessel. “Blah blah blah find my son.”
“Your son?” I said. “What does he look like?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” said Septimus Prime. “I always keep a spare illegitimate child handy just in case someone wants to destroy my dynasty.”
I pondered this, but I couldn’t make any of it make sense. ”I thought you hated your dynasty?” ”That’s why I’m entrusting you with this task: you look vaguely incompetent, or at least incredibly lazy. Take this amulet that will only fit my true heir and then … do whatever.”
I took the amulet, weighed down as it was by the burden of narrative expectation combined with financial delectation. Upon closer examination, it looked like the sort of cheap play jewellery worn only by the regal.
Almost as soon as our hands parted, a hole formed in the wall and out burst one of those Mystic Dawn fiends. He slew Septimus Prime and, before he could move on me, Baurus came in and slew him right back. He looked at the body of the Emperor and fell to his knees, weeping.
I wanted to tell him that he sucked at his job, but he had a bigger sword than I did.
Baurus packed me out of the sewers so that he could mourn. I found myself on the shoreline, and observed the big world around me. I swam across the river to what looked like a shrine. Strangely unmotivated to save the world from evil whatsits, I spent a remarkably enjoyable afternoon slaughtering mud crabs.
As I fell asleep by a campfire conveniently left there by someone I had just recently slaughtered, a voice whispered to me:
Close shut the jaws of Oblivion …