This is the 2nd day in a row that Morrowind’s official soundtrack is the topic of discussion. In some way, this attests to how amazing the OST is to me, even if I had only played this 3rd main installment in the series after its successors – Oblivion and Skyrim. This time, I turn to the Skyrim remaster in the Dragonborn DLC.
Distinctly split into 3 portions, this OST plays most often when travelling in the outskirts of Morrowind. For most players, this is the first OST you hear in Elder Scrolls III – Morrowind, in the starting town of Seyna Neen and its surrounding marshes. Likewise, the first 22 seconds of the soundtrack begins slow, employing the same light instruments found at the start of the main theme (Nerevar Rising). This is your character’s first step into Morrowind, land of the Dark Elves, taking in the humble sight of a small typical Dark Elf settlement.
As you step into the surrounding areas, away from the safety of the town, the music builds up to include deeper-sounding strings and the occasional low-pitched percussion drums. While the drums build up the sense of grandeur, the strings play a melodic tune that is both mellow and calm, as well as splendid and wonderful. This resonates well with the environment as you take in the deep swamps of Morrowind for the first time – its bizarre creatures, curious plants and towering trees that are overgrown with tendrils.
These are nothing like Skyrim or Oblivion’s wildlife. None of your generic mountain flowers or berries. Not every corner has your typical skeevers/rats, wolves or bears. Instead, you have your glowing Coda Flowers and Ampoule Pods, your strange netches and scribs. It is with this music that you discover how trying fantasy-like this game is.
At around 50 seconds, a deep trumpet-like instrument joins in, cutting the initial build-up momentarily. When the music picks up again, it begins low and slowly crescendos with a strange mystical tune, both dark yet curious. This conjures the image of travelling through the Morrowind outskirts near a Telvanni stronghold. There were no map indicators to spoil the nature of the landmark you are approaching. All you can see in the distance is a strange, slightly alarming sight – giant mushrooms connected by spiraling stem-like pathways. The more you explore, the more bizarre this land looks. This is even true of Skyrim, when you first step foot onto Solstheim in the Dragonborn DLC.
What truly is this strange, mystical and alien-like land that we have entered? This sense of peculiarity alternates with the peaceful tune from the start, preventing the player from being truly overwhelm with alarm. It’s not an exaggeration, for after the initial scrib, kwama, nix-hounds, etc., I was ready to declare myself fully drunk and completely out of my mind. This is nothing like Oblivion, I thought to myself, where are my typical bandits, wolves and goblins. And my gosh, is that a house made out of…shell?!