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C0DA

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Notice: The following contains contentious information; while its canonicity is somewhat disputed, it must be acknowledged in some way. The full text can be read here.

C0DA
C0dasymbol

Author

Michael Kirkbride

Release Date

February 14, 2014

Website

http://c0da.es/

Other Links

http://c0da.es/prophet
http://www.c0da.es/ayrenn
http://www.c0da.es/e8e
http://www.c0da.es/wgt1
http://www.c0da.es/hahd
http://tomorrowindtoday.com/

C0DA is a script for a 64 page digital graphic novel authored by the ex-developer Michael Kirkbride, released to the public on February 14, 2014, on its principal website. Before its release, several other texts were featured on the site alongside some art-work, including, but not limited to, KINMUNE, Et'Ada, Eight Aedra, Eat the Dreamer, and the Republic of Hahd.

The main purpose for C0DA was to encourage the idea of The Elder Scrolls lore as a living open-source world that anyone can freely contribute to and reinterpret in their own personal manners. For this reason, C0DA was released alongside the website Tomorrowind Today; a site for other people to feature their own stories. The text itself can not really be interpreted as "canon," more so it attempts to persuade the reader to deconstruct the idea of canon entirely. The story was also designed to address several of the mysterious concepts introduced in some of Kirkbride's earlier works, as well as in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.[OOG 1]

C0DA is set in the far distant future of the late Fifth Era, where an apocalyptic event known as Landfall has forced the remaining inhabitant of Nirn to take refuge on the moon Masser. The story centers around the Dunmer noble, Jubal-lun-Sul, who seeks the means to shepherd his people to a safe world, away from Landfall. His actions eventually culminate with the destined end of the universe to make way for the peace and salvation of its rebirth.

Background

C0DA's background is introduced in the text Loveletter From the Fifth Era, The True Purpose of Tamriel, which brings some insight into a few aspects of C0DA's lore, most importantly the concept of the "Amaranth." The Amaranth is a state that lies beyond all existence and the means to create a brand new universe; it was designed to present the natural "end-point" of the Elder Scrolls mythology.[OOG 1]

C0DA's timeline officially begins with a currently unreleased text known as "Dies Irae," said to feature a catastrophe resulting in the death of the Three Good Daedra.[OOG 2][OOG 3] It continues with the short text, "The Prophet of Landfall," which depicts the arrival of the Numidium and the very beginning of Landfall.[OOG 4] It is heavily implied that the Numidium's return was caused by its siege of Alinor which lasted from the "Mythic Era until long into the Fifth."[OOG 5] The Prophet of Landfall is followed by another unreleased text referred to as "Stringendo," which progresses into the partially released text "Landfall: Day One." This text depicts the events leading up to the refugees escaping Nirn on a ship known as the Wonderweir, including the erasure of the Altmer race and the Nerevarine's confrontation with the Numidium, utilizing Akulakhan.[OOG 6] The subsequent and final text is C0DA itself, bringing a hypothetical end and new beginning to the Elder Scrolls lore.[note 1]

Plot

Sometime well into the Fifth Era, a catastrophic event known as Landfall has forced the surviving inhabitants of Nirn to take refuge under the surface of the moon, Masser. Those refugees who escaped from Morrowind have reformed a sprawling new community known as Ald Sotha in the Velothiid, also known as Morrowind 2, built from the burrows of titanic worms. The winds on the moon's surface make it too hazardous to traverse. When the winds die down during periods referred to as "Landfall Season", all inhabitants of Velothiid are permitted to make pilgrimage to the moon's surface. However, the danger's of the journey deter most people from taking it, and because of this, many have forgotten where they originally came from. The narrative opens on Jubal-lun-Sul, a Dunmer noble of the old salt-merchant House Sul, a bloodline said to be registered by C0DA. He is overlooking from the balcony of his under-manor, reminiscing about his first pilgrimage and consultation with Memory and the Wheels of Lull.

The setting flashes earlier to the year 5E 892 during the 88th Landfall Season. Jubal-lun-Sul travels with his wealthy friend, Hlaalu Hir, through a worm tunnel on what is to be his first pilgrimage to the moon's surface. Jubal appears sheepish and slightly anxious, while Hir, who has clearly made the pilgrimage before, is much more optimistic. Upon exiting the tunnel, they look upon the remains of Nirn, now the Wheels of Lull, an interlocking skeleton of fiery debris, gears and other mechanical apparatus, as well as what appear to be incomprehensible mathematical equations.

Back to the present day, Hir visits Jubal at his under-manor, and Jubal appears hesitant to share the results of his marriage proposal to the High Alma. Hir, a busy man, and in a hurry, demands he spit out the news. To Hlaalu Hir's astonishment, Jubal excitedly states that the High Alma had agreed to allow him to marry her daughter. Hir, both cheerful and confused, wonders how Jubal managed to convince the High Alma to agree to a marriage so far outside of her caste. Confirming Hir's suspicions, Jubal states that there is a catch, that he must hunt a specific thing to prove his worth. Given it is Sacrifice Season, Hir believes the High Alma has sent him on a suicidal pursuit to kill a Worm. Jubal denies this and states his actual target was picked by Memory, that he must hunt and kill the Numidium, a notion Hir finds amusingly ludicrous.

Jubal-lun-Sul and Hlaalu Hir travel together to a corner club, in which Hir owns. Sitting in a booth, Jubal says he needs a "cat," a request that Hir is reluctant to fulfill but eventually gives into. A skinny Khajiit comes to their table and hands over a bag of Skooma, on the house, which Jubal smokes from a pipe. Jubal then perceives himself back in the Velothiid Worm tunnels, though different from before. He is greeted by the ghostly Wheels of Lull, with "women's eyes" appearing within its cogs.

Jubal and Hir eventually find themselves walking through a multi-leveled marketplace in Ald Sotha, privately overseen by Hir's family, for reasons concerning Jubal's marriage. The friends are interrupted by two mysterious ghost-like apparitions in the form of fingers, referred to as the "Digitals". The Digitals point at Jubal accusingly, seemingly frightening the market's crowd into hiding. Something glows to the left of Jubal, but he pays no mind, instead telling the Digitals to quite down as their loud noises are distressing the pedestrians. While Hir attempts to turn Jubal's attention to the growing light to his side, in which the people are truly hiding from, the Digitals accuse Jubal of trying to be a condescending groom. Jubal asserts he is merely shopping for a weapon, to which the glowing light reveals itself to be Vivec, who states that he may be able to help him.

The story flashes back to old Resdayn, designated Morrowind (0) during Eras now erased. Jubal begins to monologue over the fabled life of Vivec. He states that a youthful Vivec, alongside his friends Nerevar, Sotha Sil, and Almalexia, discovered a hidden cave with a special stone that gave them powers that they used to chase away demons. Switching now to a different story of Vivecs legendary origins, designated Morrowind (1), Vivec is now a teenager leading a gang of guttersnipes in Mournhold. He is visited by a masked soldier of the extinct House Indoril, Nerevar, who sees something special within Vivec. Vivec eventually becomes a general of House Indoril and drives out a horde of demonic Ash monsters, it is said that he fought so well he became a god.

The next fable, one well known by the people of Velothiid, is set in a land known as "Tomorrowind", also dated to an erased Era. The people of the comic book styled Neo-Victorian Tommorwind are being terrorized by strange figures with television sets for heads, transforming their victims to match their odd appearance. Alandro Sul, depicted as a camera wielding journalist, runs from these monsters and calls for Vivec on his wrist watch. Vivec arrives and picks up Alandro with Muatra, they meet up with the members of the "Pseudo-6th-House", Almalexia, Sotha Sil, Molag Bal, and The Ur, all seemingly presented in a satirical grasp on real life Superhero comics. Alandro Sul recommends that they get Nerevar for help, to which Vivec responds saying "Ha. which one." The group descends into an inter-dimensional tunnel made of liquid video in order to find the Intellective, a bionic brain-headed despot from the future, revealed to be Yagrum Bagarn. The Intellective is accompanied by Tsaesci scientists, who are upgrading their master. Alandro Sul, shocked by the current situation, wonders whether the Intellective is making another Numidium, to which Vivec replies that he's buying one instead.

Jubal is shown sitting in his study, he breaks away from the Tomorrowind story, stating that after the return of Numidium, time stopped making sense and the inhabitants of Tomorrowind were forced to live inside the moon in an event known as Landfall. However, Jubal-lun-Sul believes he has found a way to escape from Landfall. He also believes his ancestor, Alandro Sul, knew how to escape too.

The setting returns to Tomorrowind, in a reminiscent documentation of the whole ordeal. Alandro Sul narrates his memories of Vivec and the Pseudo-Sixth House, praising them as "super-people" capable of doing the impossible to save the world. He concludes saying that he can't imagine a world where their kind of impossible isn't possible.

Back to the Ald Sotha marketplace, Jubal tells Vivec he is not supposed to see him yet. Vivec then teleports himself and Jubal back to the Sul under-manor where Jubal states that the people who just witnessed him teleport are going to think he is cheating. Vivec vanishes after Jubal turns his back to him, which makes Jubal believe Vivec has forgotten the things he had once said, a flaw he intends to fix. Following this, Jubal walks over to his balcony and calls upon his servitor to send a micro-wasp missile message to Hlaalu Hir immediately.

Sometime later, Hlaalu Hir arrives at Jubal's tea room, complaining about the expense of Jubal's request. Nevertheless, Hir offers Jubal a flask of Sujamma to help cope with what he's about to go through. It is revealed that Hir has hired a group of Khajiit surgeons for Jubal, who are to perform a strange surgical procedure injecting large amounts of Skooma to put him in an extreme psychedelic state. As Jubal begins hallucinating, one of the surgeons begins to mention an old Khajiiti proverb: "Two moons, two paws, ten claws. Take but one away and you—" Jubal interrupts him saying "cut them both off."

The scene cuts to a corner club in Ald Sotha where Jubal is having his bachelor party. The regular patrons have been replaced with strange guests, including many gods and demi-gods. Jubal wears bandages over the stumps where his hands used to be. As he does not recognize many of the guests, Jubal grows nervous, but Hlaalu Hir assures him he'll be fine. Jubal goes to speak with some of his divine guests, including Morihaus, a Hist tree, and Almalexia. While drunk, he gets into a particularly heated conversation with Akatosh, whom he ridicules for failing to keep his control over time. As the argument continues, Jubal eventually tells Akatosh to go away as he is drinking with the groom of his brother's dead body. As Akatosh vanishes, Talos approaches Jubal congratulating him, but Jubal tells him to go away too, calling him a "virus." As Talos angrily backs away, Kyne confronts Jubal and insists that he apologize to Talos immediately. Making amends, Jubal sits with Talos where they both continue to get even more intoxicated. Jubal and Talos then decide to leave the party, holding each other up for support. Contemplating the argument they had just had, Talos demands to know why Jubal called him a virus. Jubal replies saying the reason for this insult was because Talos had fed off "the Mastery" like a virus, something he doesn't take any particular offense to as the alternative situation would have required one of them to win at the expense of the other.

Talos and Jubal-lun-Sul exit the subterranean tunnels leading to the surface of the moon. There, Jubal points to the remains of Nirn stating that, the Arena, was where they used to live. Jubal goes on to say that, from the beginning, the only reason they were put there was to fight, which is a notion he doesn't quite understand. Talos, as he begins to transform into Lorkhan, tells Jubal that he is lying, and that anyone who has cut off their own hands already understands; Jubal had the Arena in reach, but decided to refuse it. Knowing time was almost up, Jubal begins to meditate, and just as Lorkhan decides to leave, Jubal takes back his insult of calling him a "virus" and instead refers to him as a "preacher."

As he sits meditating, Jubal-lun-Sul is finally visited by the massive spiky Numidium. Jubal greets the Numidium —who only replies with empty speech bubbles— stating he has to kill it now. As he promised no tricks, the Numidium agrees to shrink to Jubal's size for the time being. Jubal decides to start his confrontation with the contrarian Numidium by reciting scriptures from each of their respective cultures, the Dunmer and Dwemer. Beginning with the words of his people, Jubal delivers a line from Sermon 11:

Quotebg.png
"ACCORDING TO THE CODES OF MEPHALA, THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE THEORIST AND THE TERRORIST. EVEN THE MOST CHERISHED DESIRE DISAPPEARS IN THEIR HANDS. THIS IS WHY MEPHALA HAS BLACK HANDS. BRING BOTH OF YOURS TO EVERY ARGUMENT. THE ONE-HANDED KING FINDS NO REMEDY. WHEN YOU APPROACH GOD, HOWEVER, CUT BOTH OF THEM OFF. GOD HAS NO NEED OF THEORY AND HE IS ARMORED HEAD TO TOE IN TERROR."
―36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 11

Knowing every assertion made makes the Numidium want to destroy more and more, Jubal continues with the words of the Dwemer, in which he simply repeats "No" over and over again. Jubal states that while the Numidium wants to think of its philosophy as 'Never Underestimate The Little Guy', it is really only coming off as a brat, which gets nobody anywhere. Jubal goes on to reveal that the Numidium was, itself, the 'Disappearence of the Dwarves', their attempted escape from existence, which begs the question of why the Numidium keeps trying to come back. Jubal asks the Numidium if it has some sort of unfinished business, to which the Numidium replies saying "maybe." This makes Jubal incredibly frustrated, as that is the "magic word" and they both promised to not use any tricks. The Numidium reiterates, stating "GREY AREA. GREY MAYBE." With these words said, Jubal's assumption of the Numidium was proven correct, and he yells at it that the whole time, all it wanted was to win, which the Numidium affirmed with a simple "YES." Jubal, who had finally gotten what he wanted from the Numidium, apologizes to it before decapitating it with an empty speech bubble. While Jubal lay exhausted over the Numidium's corpse the Digitals return saying, there is no more Wheel or Lull, and that the time for union and Amaranth has come.

The next day, Jubal is ready for his wedding, clad in the brass shell of the defeated Numidium. As he is preparing, however, the room is flooded with Morag Tong assassins, led by Hlaalu Hir. A micro-wasp missile appears and begins drilling into Jubal's forehead. Jubal tells his old friend to call it off to no avail, Hir only replies stating that this is painful for him too. Jubal, growing ghost hands, pulls out the wasp himself and proceeds to kill off the Morag Tong assassins. While fighting, Jubal asks Hir what hurt him the most, which Hir discloses was that Jubal never told him what the Wheels of Lull had said.

Flashing back to the time Jubal made his first pilgrimage, he is greeted by the Wheels of Lull, a spirit known as Memory. Memory thanks Jubal for making the pilgrimage as fewer people make the journey with each passing year. Jubal asks her why, and Memory responds saying that she is leaving soon. Memory continues, urging Jubal to not tell anyone she told him this because otherwise they will all come to her, and she hates goodbyes.

In the present, Jubal continues to kill the remaining Morag Tong assassins, finally getting to Hlaalu Hir whom he proceeds to choke to death. Jubal, speaking over Hir's dead body, assures that Hir's House is dead and that he will never get to know what Memory said. Regardless, Jubal tells Hir to go in peace knowing that Memory was right, that goodbyes are the worst.

Jubal now enters the Temple of Ald Sotha, where the whole Dunmeri race is present for his wedding. His wife-to-be, the High Alma's daughter, is revealed to be Vivec taken a female form. The priest overseeing the wedding is Lorkhan. As Jubal and Vivec recite their vows, Akatosh, occupying in the gaping wound where Lorkhan's Heart once resided, begins eating his own tail. Once Vivec and Jubal kiss, Lorkhan's wound is healed and all things are made secure. The story ends with the birth of the first Nu-Man, who will become the next Amaranth.

Notes

  1. Michael Kirkbride revealed his personal timeline for C0DA on a Reddit thread seen here.
My C0DAverse timeline goes like this:
Dies Irae
Prelude to C0DA: The Prophet of Landfall
Stringendo
Prelude to C0DA: Landfall: Day One
C0DA

References

Notice: The following are out-of-game references. They are not found in any in-game books, but can still be considered part of The Elder Scrolls lore and are included for completeness.
  1. 1.0 1.1 Michael Kirkbride - Reddit AMA
  2. MKirkbride Comment on Reddit Thread: Would it be possible for someone to develop...
  3. Michael Kirkbride - Merry Eyesore the Elk: DIES IRAE - WRATH CAME TO RED MOUNTAIN
  4. Prelude to C0DA: The Prophet of Landfall
  5. Michael Kirkbride's Posts: Numidium's siege of Alinor
  6. Prelude to C0DA: Landfall: Day One

Disclaimer

TIL iconThis out-of-game text was authored by Michael Kirkbride and originally submitted to c0da.es. The original location of this text can be found at:
http://c0da.es/t/c0da

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