Morrowind’s Prison-Industrial Complex

I drew a comic based 100% on real, actual (Morrowind) events. I’ve also written a prelude to it because I think those events were hilarious as well. At least everybody in Morrowind is so cynical that nobody even pretends the guards do anything other than participate in an exploitative system that does nothing to deter actual crime.

Steen was tired and beat-up and dusty from trekking all across Morrowind. She was feeling bad about always crashing at Aryon’s place, and besides the local inn was closer, so she went in and asked to get a room for the night. She paid the innkeep 10 golden drakes.

“Alright,” he said, “the room is yours for the day!”

“Cool!”

“To get to your room, you just have to go down the first flight of stairs on your right,”

“Uh-huh”

“Then at the bottom, go 10 doors down, and go through the first door on your left after that,”

“Okay”

“Then, you head down that corridor, and go 10 paces until you get to 3 more doors,”

“Hold on, I think I better be writing this down or something…”

“Then go through the eastern-most door, and immediately turn left,”

“Uhh…”

“Then you will be at the part of the inn we all like to call ‘The Maze'”

“Oh god”

“Go up a half-flight of stairs at the end of the hall, and there will be 5 doors on each wall. Face to the West, and your room is through the door directly in the middle.”

“Is there a room number or something?”

“No room numbers.”

“Can you… can you walk with me to my room?”

“Sorry, no, I gotta stay and keep bar here. Can’t have those ruffians drinking all my sujamma without paying for it!”

Steen followed the directions to the best of her recollection. The inn was HUGE, and all the rooms looked totally identical.

“Well, I’m pretty sure this is the right room. Besides, I don’t think anybody would care if it isn’t, none of these rooms are being used.”

She put down her pack and put on her pajamas. She could feel her eyelids growing heavier at the promise of a nice, soft bed. So soon! She pulled back the covers, and started to crawl into the bed.

“YOUR CRIME HAS BEEN REPORTED!” shouted a guard from somewhere down the hall.

“Huh, I wonder who they’re arresting, I didn’t see anybody else down here”

Suddenly, Steen saw two guards bolting toward her at break-neck speed. They grabbed her and pulled her out of the bed before she could even close her eyes.

“You filthy fetcher! You didn’t pay for this bed! YOUR bed is over there!” the guard gestured at the room next door.

“Well, I think you can see how somebody could make this mistake…” Steen explained, kind of thinking the whole thing was a prank.

“All I see is a mouthy little outlander who thinks she can come to Morrowind without bothering to learn the local customs, and just be a hooligan all day!”

“I… now hang on!”

“Quiet, n’wah!”

“OK look, I’m cooperating, alright? Can I just send a message to Master Aryon? I’m supposed to be gathering ingredients for some experiment of his, and if I’m going to jail he should know about it, so he can plan the experiment around that or something.”

“Master Aryon?? You’re Aryon’s protege??”

“Yeah…”

“Holy shit, that dude is loaded!”

“Can I just send my message…”

“Sit over there, and keep quiet!”

The guards huddled together and spoke in low voices.

“She said she’s running some errand for an experiment, right? Well, if we lock her up and she gets delayed, probably all of Aryon’s… frog tongues or whatever will spoil, and his experiment will be delayed! When he finds out it was all because we arrested his protege, he’ll take it out on us!”

“OK, new plan. Instead of taking her to the clink, we bring to Aryon’s place, and try to ransom her off for some of that sweet, sweet Telvanni gold.”

“Yea, we’d be doing him a favor! But… what if he decides he’d rather blast us into Oblivion than pay up?”

“OK, if it looks like he’s going to blow us up or whatever, then we tell him that we just wanted to escort her home safely, and we’re letting her off with a warning.”

“Got it. Good plan.”

The guards turned back to Steen and raised their voices for her to hear, “Get up Outlander, you’re coming with us!”

About Steen

Steen is a nerdy biologist who spends a lot of time trying to cultivate Chloroflexi. When she isn't working, she likes to draw comics, play video games, and climb.
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