Letters From Tamriel

An epistolary gaming blog

The Asylum Sanctorium (subtitle: The Tribunal Are the Worst)

@Zells - sepia stone - smallEvery time new DLC is announced, I always think this’ll be the one that gets me to log into the PTS.  Once again, however, now that Clockwork City has gone live on the PTS, I’m deciding to wait.

But I read all the press releases, watch the live streams, and the Asylum Sanctorium cracks me up:

Half house of healing, half shrine, this isolated area of the Clockwork City serves as a sanitarium for inhabitants driven mad by the strangeness of its artificial environment. It is also the permanent home of three Dunmer Saints that Sotha Sil transformed into immortal machines. The sanity of these fearsome creatures has been eroding ever since.

The Tribunal are just the worst, aren’t they?

Let’s break this down.  In the history of Elder Scrolls games, have you ever once met a hybrid construct that was NOT insane?  It’s almost like the act of shoving a living soul into a machine is not a good idea.  Go figure.

So there’s these three saints, heroes who served the Dunmeri people and are venerated by them, but Sotha Sil doesn’t care about any of that, because hey, it’s Tribunal Time now, the Velothi saints are yesterday’s news, and besides, Sotha’s got an experiment he wants to try.  It’s never in the history of Mundus been a viable idea, but he’s Sotha Friggin’ Sil, right?

Souls in the Elder Scrolls mythos are never destroyed; they just move from plane to plane.  It seems likely our genius inventor buddy would know that.  But even so, he grabs these souls, shoves them into metal bodies, and when he sees they are not handling it well (because no one ever does), he… builds a Clockwork Arkham to contain them.  He could have released them, rather than locking them in a bigger box, but he didn’t.

(The same way Vivec could just set that moonlet down somewhere, but instead chooses to leave it hanging over Vivec City as a constant threat to “his” people.  “Love me, or I’ll kill you with a rock. This rock right here.”)

In their lifetimes, these saints could have been Secretly Horrible People, but we don’t know that, and even if they were, who deserves that fate?   And even if they did, do the people who will be slaughtered by those monstrosities when they finally break free deserve that?

(Tony Stark has more ethical restraint w/his inventions than Sotha Sil does.  Let that sink in.)

Sotha Sil has to know imprisoning the Saints is not a long-term plan.  He has to know they’re going to get worse.  He has to know that when they get worse, they’re going to be “worse” forever – these are souls he’s torturing, when they break, they’re permanently broken.  And eventually, everybody escapes Arkham and causes havoc, death, and destruction, right?  James Gordan could have told Sotha an “Asylum” wasn’t a good plan.

My last comment contains MAJOR Spoilers from TES 3: Morrowind, and speculation about the Clockwork City plot, so I’m putting it behind a cut.
In the Mournhold DLC for TES 3, at the end of Almalexia’s questline, you fight your way through the huge Dwemer complex under her palace in Mournhold, and in the final battle you defeat Almalexia herself, which I gotta say was a real joy.  When that fight is finished and you look around the room, you find the missing Sotha Sil.

Honestly, finally seeing Sotha Sil for the first time will always remain one of the high points of gaming for me.  I was truly shocked.

He’s been missing a long time by that point; it’s a running rumor throughout the game.  Is one of the Living Gods dead?  Did he abandon his people?  Shockingly enough, Vivec declines to say exactly, but (also shocking!) assures everyone that everything’s fine, Sotha’s just wandering, like he does.

But no, not wandering, he’s in Almalexia’s lab.  She captured him, strung him up in her machines, and has been draining the divine energy out of him in order to bolster her own.  He’s dead by the time you find him, a desiccated husk of a god, bled dry by a woman who was his lover and friend.

The Tribunal are just the worst.  Everything they are is grounded in betrayal, murder, lies, and using others for their personal gain.Sotha Sil-captured

In the Twitch stream of the Clockwork City DLC, the devs declined to show Sotha Sil even though chat was screaming for a glimpse of him.  Devs said “no spoilers!” and that players would find out about SS during the main CWC plot.   I’m wondering if he’s already a captive of Almalexia’s, and that’s why he’s disappeared from the CWC in the ESO timeline.

I can hardly wait to find out. 🙂

The Clockwork City is gorgeous, by the way.

Tick. Tock.

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