This post may contain spoilers for readers not caught up through the story.
So, about that last chapter. Let me preface this by reminding everyone that this story was never supposed to see the light of the internet. It was something I was writing for myself and I had no intention of sharing it with anyone. Ever.
And now, a confession. Back in August I mentioned that I had been writing about Elspeth since November 2011. But that’s not entirely true. The truth is that I’ve been writing about Elspeth (although her name has not always been Elspeth) since 2007, when I finished my Oblivion story. Back then I planned an original sequel that I intended to set in Skyrim. I wrote out some plot ideas and sketched out the main characters but soon life and dissertations and weddings and baby-having got in the way and I put the story aside for a while. When I found out that the new Elder Scrolls game would be taking place in Skyrim, I was ecstatic and immediately began thinking about my story again.
When I sat down to play for the first time, I had a very clear sense of my character, her personality, her moral compass, and so forth. As I wrote her story, I started to flesh out the the plot I had already planned with details from the game. Eventually, quests and characters from the game started working their way into the story even though they clashed terribly with the canon. But since I wasn’t showing anyone, I basically wrote like this:
Because I wasn’t going to show anyone ever. So it didn’t matter.
Then sometime in April, I decided to start the blog. I went back through my story and figured out how fit Elspeth into the canon. In doing so I changed a lot of things: her name, her history, her personality, her family.
But there were some things, such as her ancestry, that were immutable. I can’t emphasize this enough. I have known her for so long and there are some things about her that are just true. When I was playing the game, it never occurred to me that it would ever make me uncomfortable. Skyrim’s hero is Dragonborn. Mine is a Septim. It makes perfect sense and yet, it seems strange to put it out there.
I’m not sure why I felt compelled to write this post. At first, I felt the need to explain–even apologize–for my creative decision but…fuck that. Just, fuck that. People are going to read or they aren’t. But writing this post helped me put some things into perspective and I do like to share the creative process, so there is that. Also, that gif. is the reason the internet exists and I seldom have a chance to use it.
I don’t like to make promises regarding my story but I will tell you this much. What has been revealed here was not added as a cute way to turn Elspeth into a paragon. Nor is it going to be a simple way to resolve the quests in Skyrim in a more satisfactory manner. If Elspeth gains anything from this, she will earn it. And it’s going to hurt. A lot.
Post Script: I still have all my notes and drafts from the original story. If anyone is interested in how my characters related to each other in that story, let me know. Some of it is quite…amusing. In particular, Lydia’s role.