So, I recently finished the Aldmeri Dominion storyline for Cadwell's Gold and I have to say, it was really good. When I first started playing the game, I had zero interest in playing the Dominion. But, by the time I reached Cadwell's Gold, I thought I might as well do it.
Playing through the Dominion's storyline as a Nord was an interesting experience. Curiously, the Auridon and Grahtwood storylines in particular worked really well with it. You spend most of your time in those zones hunting down extremely racist elven supremacists and doing so as a human, especially a Nord, felt even more fitting than if I had done it as one of the Dominion's member races. Crushing the Veiled Heritance as a human was very cathartic. Not much to say about the other zones, as those dealt with less racially charged issues.
The way I view Cadwell's Almanac is it's Meridia showing the Vestige alternate timelines where they joined the other factions. So, in the original timeline, my Vestige was a Nord who lost his sister in the sacking of Windhelm. So, he joined King Jorunn's army, fought against the Akaviri and was present for the forming of the Ebonheart Pact. He was a member of the Pact from the beginning.
My original backstory had the sister survive, so the Vestige instead fled to the West to bring her to safety. Years later, he would foil an assassination plot by Thalmor, who would then abduct his sister and use her as leverage to press him into service. However, it quickly became apparent that that backstory wouldn't work, as the character's relationship with Ayrenn feels way too genuine to be forced. So, I came up with a different backstory.
Following the death of his sister, the Vestige didn't travel to Riften to join Jorunn's forces. Instead, he gave in to his despair and became a bitter shell of a man. He became a drifter, doing mercenary work, banditry, anything that would put mead in his cup. After the Planemeld started, he was approached by members of the Worm Cult. They made him an offer. Help them destabilize the Pact and they would resurrect his sister. With nothing left to lose, he agreed. He committed heinous acts for the Worm Cult, numb to the suffering he was inflicting. It was only when he razed a village in the Rift and caught a glimpse of the dead body of a young girl the same age as his sister had been when he died, that he realized what he had become. He killed all the Worm Cult members at his side and fled from Pact lands. By the time the Aldmeri Dominion was formed, he was a guard for a Khajiiti merchant caravan, working for mead and skooma. A pathetic wreck of a man whom everyone preferred to ignore. Until an Altmer officer named Anaya took note of him. She offered him a position in the Dominion. Since she offered better pay as well, he accepted. After enlisting, Anaya denied him skooma, forcing him to go clean. After that, she took him along on all of her assignments. Anaya was not like most Altmer. She cared greatly for the other races and believed the Dominion was the perfect opportunity to unite everyone under one banner. The reason she cared so much about the Vestige was because she wanted everyone to see that the Nords also had a place in the Dominion. That everyone would be equal under the Eagle Banner. The Vestige found her ideals laughable, stating that he wasn't a true Nord, but a disgraced outcast who wasn't worth more than a bottle of mead. Nevertheless, Anaya persisted. However, their time together would come to an end when they were captured by the Worm Cult and sacrificed to Molag Bal. Then, the Vestige managed to escape to Khenarth's Roost, while Anaya remained lost in Coldharbour. The torment of Coldharbour had shown the Vestige what true misery and suffering looked like and when returned to Tamriel, he decided he would honor his only friend's wish and try to be what she wanted him to be.
While he would never truly believe that the Aldmeri Dominion could succeed, he still devoted himself to Ayrenn's cause and tried to regain some semblance of honor.
Since we don't know how the Vestige's storyline ends yet, I can't be certain about his future in this timeline, but if I had my way, he would get together with Mane Khali and settle down Elsweyr. I just couldn't help but feel like there was something going on between those two during the Reaper's March storyline.
All in all, playing a Nord in the Dominion was far more amusing than I thought it would be and I'm glad I went through with Cadwell's Almanac.
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